Tag Archives: Social media

The Marketing-Research Cusp

20 Jan

This is just one of the many contests floating around on Twitter (and other networking websites too) these days – a predictable fall-out of the Social Media penetration(actually – now expansion) – It really caught my eyes and I could not resist ruminating further.

A simple contest  by Cafe Coffee Day looks to me like an extension of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) research ( I am not sure whether it is intended or unintended). But this contest sure has an excellent multi-pronged usage:

1) Promotion of a new product,
2) Social Media Marketing (and hence, in my personal opinion current Word of mouth marketing) and increasing consumer connectivity,
3) Maintain and expand Loyalty,
4) Taste testing and Perception mapping – I agree, Perception mapping is not purely in its traditional, statistical approach but still, providing an image of the product and then seeking (collecting) Top-of-Mind reaction does give the coffee major a qualitative assessment of what their customers think of the new item. Additionally while traditionally taste testing meant contacting people, approaching them and then providing them with some incentive for taste testing, this is a kind of win-win situation where they assess consumer reaction, get a sense of the results with minimal cost and added marketing benefits.

Such promotion-research cusp essentially opens a huge scope for further creative ideas for marketers. However, there are certain pain points that I can think of:

1) Target – A very important aspect of traditional research/ data collection is that the sample ensures optimum representation of the average customer. But in this case, the followers have made the effort of searching  Cafe Coffee Day on Twitter themselves. Hence, in all likelihood they are ardent consumers of the chain. It is very difficult to track the demographic/ psychographic profile of the consumers from the website. Moreover, one also captures only the active social media user segment.

2) User Conversion – Also, a very important aspect of taste testing would be to convert non-visitors to their cafe into visitors. Hence, such taste-testing should be complemented with traditional research as well where one can test whether the new item would recruit new footfalls (especially with the growing cafe culture and growing competition in India)

3) Context – This medium of research also differs based on the context – We should keep in mind the Indian context where internet penetration stands at 7%-8%. Hence, we lose out on more than 90% people while carrying out research activities. The case would be entirely different in countries with high internet penetration.

In spite of the cons, this is just the beginning of social media exploitation for marketing. And even in the Indian context, think of a niche technology major or a study targeting marketers or journalists – Social Media is a great medium.
As for us, we need to think of the ways around these vices, which sure are present.

P.S : I have deliberately blacked out the tweets other than what I wanted to focus on.


The Virtual Word of Mouth

5 Jan

The importance of “Word of mouth” poked me in my face when I was involved with consumer/ perception tracking of one of the largest malls – month on month, it surpassed the influence of audio-visual media.

Of course, a simple fact which has huge implications for the mall marketers- their strategies and marketing mantras.

But to me, this fact leads to a series of thoughts:

1. What is the core behind Word of Mouth(WoM)?

WoM had a serious role to play before the mass-adoption of computers/internet came into play – where socializing meant physical gathering of humans. That was when people discussed about new trends/places/ businesses and experiences; that was when one could hear the juicy chutzpah!

But now, Social Media’s gumption and willing adoption in our lives have shrunk the social space – We socialize in our living rooms, at our workstations or via our phones, while commuting. And all the while, we keep discussing and sharing our interests: the funny piece of article, the new purchase we made, the trends to look forward to, the awesome but pocket-friendly restaurant .. dot ..dot..dot.

That brings to my second thought:

2. What has WoM evolved to?

All management students would remember the diagrammatic representation of flow of communication in their Soft skills classes. WoM follows the same, but is generally defined as oral communication.

Although officially word of mouth excludes audio visual-media but isn’t online networking an extension of Word of Mouth?

Viral marketing became the buzzword when “Hotmail” and its likes were launched – Creative and forward-looking marketers exploited it worldwide. The phenomena gained pace with Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and digital marketing has become a budgeted necessity now. This digital marketing works largely (though not completely) on the basic principle of WoM

3. Should the definition of WoM be modified?

Leads me to wonder if the Word of mouth should officially be modified to include Virtual Word of Mouth? After all, it is the gradual and logical extension. Should we, market researchers include Virtual WoM in questionnaires (that includes social media, mailers from friends/family and not direct internet marketing)?

Am sure Marketing masterminds and gurus somewhere are thinking the same.

Social Media ji, “Rishta aya hai”

4 Jan

Corporates, start-ups, social entrepreneurs, individuals, teens, SMEs, students – all are going gung-ho about Social Networking.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, Yammer and a hundred others: advertise karna ho, photos share karne ho, gaali dena ho, job dhundna ho, product launch karna ho, us bandi ko patana ho, gossip chahiye ya time pass karna ho – Social Media zindabad! – It is the latest frenzy, the marketing medium, the consumer aka revenue generator.

And also comes into picture: “The Great Indian Family” – Koi rishta aya hai? Ladke/Ladki ke baare main pata lagana hai? Go Social Media! is the new funda.

Several interesting encounters with the Social Media and Arranged Marriage cusp:

  • A friend calls fervently from office – “Ek rishta aya hai, please log into my Facebook account and hide my relationship status, abhi.” ( It said : it is complicated)
  • A curious friend calls up – “Meri behen ke liye rishta aya hai. The guy is in the friend list of your XYZ cousin’s friend’s friend Mr. ABC.” Now, do the task – Call my cousin to call his friend to further call his friend to find about the guy who is probably an acquaintance’s friend :P. After all, generally junta adds anyone they remotely know on their networking page – 2437 friends looks COOL!
    Ofcourse, the wait for the cycle of calls to finish and come back – aakhir ladke ki report toh jaane 🙂 !
  • Another interesting conversation goes as follows:
    Grandfather to his grandson – “Today’s generation – phones, computers, friends. God knows where will you people go. Start going to the community temple, at least people will know you. How would they recommend girls for you if you do not socialise? These are eating your time away- God knows why your father doesn’t say anything.”A day later- Tring Tring!

    Grandpa picks up phone.. talks for ten minutes, notes down something on a piece of paper and calls out to his grandson: “Beta, woh tum log computer main kuch kuch dekhte ho na … tumhare liye ek rishta aya hai 🙂 zara is ladki ke baare main dhundo.” (hands over his notes)

Change profile pictures to attract suitable bride/ groom; “About me” should be fancy and glamourous; Remove/ Hide controversial status messages, comments or pictures (ummm.. remove some friends from friend list too) … the list goes on.

Personally, I am not a fan of Indian arranged marriage system-it is more of “Sell yourself” than “Be yourself”. But that is a different story. Shoot me next time you meet me for digressing – now back to the point.

Toh point yeh hai ki, 30 years down the line an average Indian father would be narrating to his kid

“How I met your mother” : “Kids, our family was very modern – very ahead of times. Your great grand-dad heard about your mother and I saw her on Facebook (thinks – she did not have a LinkedIn profile with big degrees – much to dadaji‘s relief, she would not be the career-oriented types; and I had hidden my committed status), Ah! it was love at first sight.” (Thinks – “We started gelling more once she started working. We could relate.”)

Waah! kya pun hai 😛

So, in short chuck SM fatigue, who the hell cares about the analytics – % of people who see/click/convert, ignore both critics and enthusiasts – Social Media does contribute to the growth in Indian population ( eh, divorces too? :P) and modernizes the “Arranged marriage” system 🙂

Fodder: I have not researched whether matrimony sites/ agents are banking on Social Media -If they have not, for good or for bad, high time they say : Social Media ki jay ho! Lag jao bhaiyon bhed chaal main.

P.S: I feel there would be an extended version of this piece soon.

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