Location Based Targeting is Real-Time Marketing

Location based Check Ins are becoming more and more common with people tagging and checking in with their friends and families on Facebook Places or Foursquare or even tweeting with the location.

From a Marketers perspective, who is chasing Real Time Marketing and trying to get their very own #Oreo moment , it can be one of the most important and potentially revenue linked use case. Let me explain my viewpoint here.

We all know of companies and brands trying to do real-time marketing at events like Super Bowl or Royal Baby’s birth or during T20 by Cadbury DairyMilk.. But these are good from the perspective of creating brand awareness. The real challenge is to have product sales or generating revenue using Real Time Marketing and the key for that is to use Location Based Targeting.  Let me detail this out below.

When a user has checked in to a location and if the brand has a presence or retail outlet or a partner store near by, then the brand can promote, engage or offer something to the user which will increase the chances of real conversion manifold since brands are actually engaging with them in real-time at that location. Icing on the cake will be if brands can not just push offers but contextualize to the reason of the visit to that place if available. This will be truly truly Real Time Marketing with higher chances of Sales. The key point that the brands should understand is that they need to empathize with the users and then promote to really create that connect which is key for the success of any Real Time Marketing campaign.

Do share your thoughts on what you think?


Business Insights from Life Events – Life Events based Targeting

Social Media has become an integral component of our daily life. Infact, it has become so important for many people, that they get withdrawal symptoms when they can’t access it. It has become as important as breathing air for many. From a business perspective, social thus becomes a critical channel to track the customers, i.e., it has become a gold mine of information for them to know their customer socially.

So, are there ways to do explore these for business advantage? Yes, we have already seen companies addressing customer queries on these channels, promoting and running campaigns on these. In fact, many have an integrated Social CRM solution. But can this be moved from beyond just transactional history based interactions?

Companies are running social profiling activities to understand their customer preferences for relevant targeting. Say, I love a specific company products, so the company can promote a relevant offer based on my preferences; thereby increasing the chances of conversion.

Also, with the addition of different fields in user profiles like the Life Events in Facebook, Businesses will be able to mine this valuable customer insight to deliver relevant targeting which can enable better conversions for them once Facebook allows the access to these within its Graph API. For. E,g say a customer of an insurance company has changed his relationship status from Single to Married. Now, he is a prospective customer for the insurance company for a family plan. Similarly if a customer has had a baby recently, they can target him a child plan.

The idea here is that by mining the life events in real-time, businesses can promote relevant promotional content thereby increasing the conversion chances many fold. We will see this trend picking up specifically in the Insurance sector but it’s not limited to them. Telecom can use it for family plans as well and so can banks for joint accounts, second credit card etc.

So, Opportunities exist for the first movers to jump in and take the lead and we will have to wait and see as to who drives this life event based targeting….

Br@ndsumers – Consumers driving the brandwagon

The era of push marketing has ended and its a fact which all marketers have to accept in todays online world.  The exponential increase in the amount of reviews/data generated by users online due to the success of social networking sites like facebook gas been a boon as well as bane for the brands.

No matter how big a brand is, any misconduct or a lacuna in its product or service can be catastrophic for any brands image. This sea change has started happening because consumers have become prosumers. They are sharing their brand experiences, good or bad online and others value these feedbacks much more than brand messaging. This consumers in todays digital world are driving the brandwagons; thereby becoming Br@ndsumers.

So, how do brands engage with these digital natives? The road ahead is steep for brands since its tough to get customers attention online to listen to brand messaging. The increasing amount of content on the web with better, faster and easier access to information on the go has made it even more worse. The way forward for brands is to provide its br@ndsumers a platform to share, ideate and suggest the road ahead for the brands offerings. Brands need to understand this delicate change and need to adjust to address every individuals need at the best service levels. They should not try to generalise this for the end users. We are moving away from the world of B2B to B2C to B2I. B2I being the Business to Individual connect where in brands maintain and nurture individual relationships.


Googling – Searching through the Digital Clutter

It took years for the oceanic search team to find out the sunken Titanic ship. It’s not their incapability but the vast spread of ocean which made it difficult for them to search out the exact location of the ship. It’s analogous to searching relevant data these days which has become equally painful and time-consuming considering the huge amount of digital clutter present on the web.

With the advent of web 2.o tools & features and the exponential increase of the digital users who started publishing online; the number of content for any keyword search results in huge number of entries. Since a lot of these early users learned the smart way of increasing their google site ranking using SEO, it has become increasingly difficult for a common man to find authenticated and reliable report quickly.

I still remember my early days of engineering in 2000’s; when I never had to go beyond the 1st search result page of google to find the relevant information. But with increase in individual publishers/authors and bloggers ( includes me) , the time to find the required information has increased. The reason is not only the added time to snif through many relevant looking search items, but because most times, we have to go and read about the author and check his credentials before buying his argument or viewpoint in the subject under research.

It’s a pain and thus there lies a huge opportunity for the companies to address the above issue. The need is to make search relevant and contextualize it to the needs of the individual.

Present day Advanced Search Options

If we look at the advanced options in today’s google search, it needs further refinement. I would expect the future version to have filters like:

  • Search Only Top 1000 blogs (Source a globally reputed blog listing site)
  • Exclude blog search results
  • Display Search results which are published only this year, last 2 years; All
  • Search only Research paper publishing sites
  • Search only Press releases and news sites

What do you think? Do you agree? If yes, would you like to add more search filters to above list?

Holy Grail of Marketing – Customer Attention

In a recent post on Never Stop Marketing, they put forth the point that Facebook is a Mall; Google is a Taxi and their Plan is to Monetize Your AttentionI agree to their view point since Facebook has matured from being just a social networking platform to a one stop shop for all, be it people, place, product or any other information. With 600 million users and counting, the third largest country by size is all set to become the first destination for all to shop. F-Commerce or social commerce; whatever you may like to call it, is increasingly becoming popular amongst early adopter brands to reach out to users by putting in practice the marketing fundamental of “Fishing where the fish is”.

In our multi-channel universe, customer attention is the most valuable commodity. As someone has rightly said, “‘He who has the attention gets the gold.’ Thus, companies are scrambling hard to get users attention by targeting them relevant content and offerings; a move away from the traditional push marketing principles.This is a novel way and a much more customer friendly but it has its own set of issues like the Privacy issues which users are skeptic about. Its a double edged sword; if users share their private information, likes, dislikes; brands can target them better; but the issue lies in where do we draw the line between being relevant and being too pushy. I think that the user control on this is the best way forward, which even Facebook learned it the hard way after so much hue and cry over its privacy settings issue.

My take on this is that customers are your brand ambassadors; you don’t need a face to propagate your brand message (see zoo zoo of Vodafone versus big stars like Shahrukh Khan for Airtel) or try to push messaging to them. Just Connect and Engage with them. Give them a space to share their views, thoughts, ideas; All what the brand needs to do is Listen and then respond patiently to them. Thats the mantra to win their loyalty. You will never have to ask them to lend you ears. They will be listening to you always.