Posts filed under ‘Marketers’


Marketing budgets are always based on regression analysis. So each year’s budget is determined by the marketing activities of the previous years and their effectiveness. This is not only an outdated system but also is dangerous for the brand.

Recently Forrester research came up with a report to look at marketing firms that used methods other than regression analysis to determine marketing budgets and investments. Most firms were specialized marketing consulting and analytics firms and almost all of them had developed techniques to use predictive analytics for marketing budget allocation.

So let me give you an example of how this works. In India, this year a lot of hype was created by the Formula 1 race held at the Buddh International circuit in Greater Noida. As last year this event was never held, regression analysis would not have factored this event as a possible marketing opportunity and hence the budget could not have been allocated for this. So most marketing managers using regression techniques would have lost a good opportunity to showcase their brands.

Also in the era of social media and the internet, things are more dynamic. Let’s look at the 50 odd brands that tied up with the Eros/Red Chili’s production Ra One. Now most marketing managers would have taken into account the release of Rajni starrer Robot and the possible impact that movie had on their brands. If they had used a forward looking model like Predictive analytics instead, they might have been able to factor uncertainties and would have gotten a better deal out of the association. Now we have 50 brands associated with a dud. Not sure how many of those brand managers are getting promoted this year.

Finally the time for predicting the future by looking at the past has come and gone, now it is time to look at the future while allocating marketing investments.

Dr Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience in Healthcare, Life Sciences and Information technology industries. He blogs at He can also be followed on Twitter @drvikram. The views expressed here are his personal views and not of his organization.


November 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm 6 comments


What does it take to send across a powerful message to the consumer?

  • Sentiments
  • Desires
  • Message Placement
  • Aspirations
  • Guilt
  • Belonging

How about a cocktail of all the above mentioned elements?

Marketing efforts have to leave a positive impression on the consumer’s mind on the very first contact. It’s no surprise that the fate of most products or services are written on the very day, they are launched.

I wish to share one of the striking examples with our readers. Each day I use the Metro to commute to office. On my way, I pass by an alley with numerous automobile showrooms with cars from all passenger segments including basic to super luxury. As I pass by one showroom after another, the usual messages shout out at me to get my attention. These would include ’15 Kmpl’, ‘Easy instalments available’, ‘Drive in comfort’, ‘Pocket Friendly’ and so on. However, at the end of the alley, I see something different (See picture below).

With powerful messaging like the one above, a couple of striking features can be observed:

(1) Sentiments: Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person who is travelling the Metro train. He is cramped among a bunch of co-passengers and in a way jostling for space. What’s the only thing in the traveller’s mind? ‘I wish I could ride back home in comfort’

(2) Belonging: The moment a brand places itself alongside such a strong statement, it instantly associates itself with a particular value. The first thing that would rub into the consumer’s mind is that – ‘This product is going to take me into the elite few who can own it. I belong to the group of people who are envied upon by the rest of the world. I have arrived.’

(3) Placement: This message is being read by almost a million commuters who take the metro to work daily. Just by its sheer location – the impact of the advertisement gives an instant connection that turns it into a lead generating engine.

The new age marketer needs to put some thought into; not only how the product or service will be positioned but also where will it be placed and what emotion should it invoke. So ask yourself, ‘How am I going to plant a powerful message?’

June 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm 1 comment


If there was a single device which you could not live without, which would it be?

The Television …. Nope

The Personal Computer …. Nope

The Mobile Phone …. Definite Yes

Over a billion mobile devices are sold every year. Mobile phones outnumber television sets by over 3 to 1, and PC based internet users by over 4 to 1, and the total laptop and desktop PC population by nearly 5 to 1.

As the indispensable mobile has become the most interactive way to communicate, marketers today are capitalising on this ‘hard to ignore’ media. A simple means to use mobile for marketing would be an SMS by which one recipient of an advertisement on  a mobile, will forward that to a friend, leading to a viral communication which lets the customer be a part of advertising.

Apple’s advertising platform iAd is fast being accepted as the combination of interaction and emotion. The demo for iAd – Toy Story 3, showed the ability to not only see information about the movie, but to watch trailers, play games and more — all within the same application. Users were even able to buy products within ads.

Google, with one of its mobile advertising product, allowed marketers to embed ‘maps’ within the ads to target users based on their immediate location. It provided mobile users with more calls to action. And marketers with more options to connect with local advertisers. The ‘maps’ format uses IP to show ads based on geographic location but if users opt-in to use services such as Google’s ‘My Location’, the users exact location can be used.

Google QR, is an exciting way to market products and services through smartphones. The way to use it is simple. A service or product having a QR code needs to be scanned on your smartphone and you will be taken to that business’ web page, or a review page to see what other users think about that service/product. Marketers can incorporate QR codes to complement traditional marketing efforts. The codes could link consumers to product demos, videos, the brand’s Facebook or Twitter page.It allows potential customers to instantly learn more, by visiting a mobile version of the business’ web page on any supported phone. QR codes give shoppers an immediate connection to additional information that can potentially close a sale.

An interesting application of QR would be ‘Mobile ticketing solutions’, which would enable the easy validation of 2D mobile tickets from mobile phone screens – granting consumers immediate access to events without having to search for paper tickets.

Another exciting example of this format mobile ads is that used by HBO. HBO was running ads on a mobile site for a new season of its show ‘Eastbound & Down’. There were QR codes featured in print ads at bus stops that lead users to this page where they could view teasers and trailers for the show.Once users were at the mobile site, they could watch exclusive clips for the new season premiere. The target audience were men aged 18-45 along with pre-existing fans of the show.

Most of TGI Friday’s restaurants are located next to a cinema. So what do you think they can do about it? Maybe broadcast this, ‘A cinema night is not just going out to watch a film, but also indulging in cocktails and a meal for the full premiere experience.’  Through location based apps, TGIF would ‘sign-post’ these messages to users in real time when they are in proximity to a restaurant and cinema and are browsing on the go.

Mobile ads help in connecting with your customers in the right way, at right time and at the right location. Marketers have to use this powerful tool which is now being used only by a few pioneers in innovative trends to reach out to their targets.

PS : You could try creating your own QR Codes @

November 3, 2010 at 9:25 am 1 comment


Long Live the King of Pop. So say the fans and so do the marketers.

Michael Jackson died at the age of 50 under suspect conditions which caused a lot of stir in the global media. Last week, his glove sold for USD 350,000 at an auction where many more of his memorabilia found new buyers. This frenzy of cashing in on dead celebrities is not new however the magnitude of their fan following after their demise has grown and so has the marketing of their death. The Grim Reaper has now become the Marketer of the Decade.

Recently Mont Blanc released a Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Pen, to pay tribute to one of the most prominent personalities of our time. However, they priced this pen at a staggering price of USD 25,000. This is in stark contrast of the simplistic brand image of Gandhi who would drape himself in self woven cloth and would lead a modest lifestyle. Interestingly Gandhi also died under abnormal circumstances where he was assassinated in public.

Heath Ledger died at an early age of 28 due to a toxic combination of prescription drugs. The fan frenzy for his movie ‘The Dark Knight’ elevated the movie to more than USD 500 Million in the U.S. alone and won Heath an Oscar for his performance. Time will tell how marketers will look to exploit this young stars death.

Brand Equity of these celebrities has increased over time due to their untimely and unconventional deaths. What is really sad is the fact that some marketers are using these great personalities as mere marketing mediums and are looking at cashing in on their demise. That is why we see brand image mismatch as seen in the Gandhi – Mont Blanc case.

As new age marketers, it is our responsibility to draw the line where human tragedy and marketing are kept in their respective silos. Like one of the great quotes from a Spiderman movie goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

November 29, 2009 at 3:10 pm 1 comment


Have you ever wondered what the aroma of popcorn at a movie hall, the texture and smell of cornflakes, the smell of a brand new car or the popping sound of a new can has to do with branding?

Most marketers today use sensory branding as a tool to stimulate a consumers relationship with a brand and to enable a long-lasting emotional connect and build brand loyalty on that.


Our senses (Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell and Taste) help build emotion and thus remain in our memory longer. Sensory branding may or may not be related with the quality of the product yet they play a vital role in customers purchase decisions

Companies like Kellogg, designs the sound of their cereals in the laboratory. Singapore Airlines is considered as the pinnacle of integrated sensory branding and has a consistent visual theme. The color of the uniform of flight attendants is coordinated with the interiors of the flight. Rolls Royce emits a scent called “Old Rolls” from under its seats of all its new cars.

All though sensory branding is not a new phenomenon, companies today are integrating two or more senses to gain brand dominance. The most commonly used senses for branding are Visual (sight) and Audio (sound) however with so many advertisement cluttered on television and radio it is losing its effectiveness.

Marketers are increasingly moving toward the sense of smell in addition to sight and sound. The smell of scent reduces anxiety, enhances mood, brings excitement and triggers memory hence companies like Singapore airlines use the same scent (Stefan Floridian waters) in the perfume worn by flight attendants to the hot towels as well as other elements of service. 7-11 (Seven Eleven) introduced the smell of freshly baked bread and noticed a significant increase in sales. Research states that people stay 40% longer in fragrant places and 75% of our emotions get formed by what we smell.

Thus companies using multiple sensory branding are likely to be more successful and I’m sure the wait isn’t long before we see all marketers attract their customers via similar neuromarketing. Now thats something that smells fishy.

November 3, 2009 at 1:53 am 1 comment


Have you ever felt like pulling your hair out when you are barraged by pop-ups and banners on web pages, calls from stockbrokers and telemarketers, TV and radio spots every few minutes, tons of commercial messages in movie theatres or by similar marketing messages wherever you go. This practice of ‘interruption marketing’ haunts you in whatever you are doing as some marketer expects you to pay attention after interrupting you. Today, the biggest challenge is how to turn familiarity into love and trust.

permission_marketingThese interruption marketing strategies are fast becoming outdated. According to marketing guru Seth Godin this is an era of “permission marketing”. He says that marketers have no right to sell to customers. Consumers are no longer pleased by interruptions and with an ocean of options available they can easily shift to the next available brand. The challenge for marketers is to cut through the clutter and get noticed. That is where permission marketing plays a role as it is built around getting the customer’s confidence and buy-in before revealing further messages. This changes the ‘stalking’ approach of interruption marketing to a ‘love affair’ resulting in an envious long term relationship with the customer. Permission marketing improves targeting by helping consumers interface with marketers with relevant promotional messages., a provider of online e-marketing solutions claims that customer response through e-mails is immune to the measurement problem of banner advertising. The customer receives the ads in his mailbox and thus is more likely to pay more attention to them in comparison to banners. Intuit, seller of turbo tax, a software product that is used by millions of US taxpayers to prepare their returns gains customer attention by providing and updating each issue of its e-newsletter and has segmented their ads to specific customers. The recipients don’t rail against this clutter as they have signed up for this information.

So the secret to cutting through the clutter is not to scream louder or interrupt customers more often than your rivals, but to package your messages with useful information valued by the customers.

October 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment


A lot of companies do not want to talk about the R-word in their marketing communication as it has a negative feeling attached to it. This makes sense as you do not want any kind of negative emotions attached to your brand. However, on one of my recent web browsing session I came across this company who was trying to cash in on the negative emotions attached to the recession. Take a look at their innovative campaign.

Outstanding. Marketing recession to increase more entrepreneurs, now that a great idea. It is the hope after the depression that the marketer is trying to sell. The marketer has used an amazing visual communication tool to capture the state of the customer (potential recruits) due to the recession and how they could help their customers get a life free of any financial stress. The marketer has also been very culture conscious and has released similar videos in other dialects viz., Chinese and Japanese. This is a great way to sell based on negative emotions and may not be applicable to other industries.

New age marketing is redefining the rules as we start to understand the mind of the customer even better.

Disclaimer: I am not related to Nu Skin Enterprise in any way and am using this merely as a case study.

October 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

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