Masala Digital

Marketing Masala in the Digital Age

Launched: India’s own Laptop Community

Through the years, Indian consumers have gotten used to the fact that if they want to find out more about laptops, they only have two options:

1. Read international reviews & opinions, a lot of which may not be applicable to India

2. Tread the dusty Nehru Place (New Delhi) or equivalent lanes in the city and dodge the dodgy hardware shops and hope to get a good deal

Both are impractical and unfriendly options, and more often than not, the only savior is the IT department admin at your place of work or Word-of-Mouth via friends. The only problem is that these routes can only yield limited info and hence, limited results.

Thankfully, India now has its own laptop review site – with Indian content, products that are available in India, best laptop deals and more.

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http://laptopcommunity.com/ is a community review site designed purely for Indian audiences and their needs. Still in its infancy, and hence beta (!), the site already has 100s of laptop models reviewed including the latest hp laptop, Dell, Apple & Acers of the world..and a list of models rated prominently basis their popularity with users. There is also an integrated discussion board (PhPBB based forum), product videos, Q&A, latest India-specific news & new launch info and some well written & regularly updated articles relevant to the site’s content.

Users who consider themselves laptop experts can join the community as experts to guide others. I am joining for sure…think I have had enough of providing gyaan to all & sundry, and it wont hurt to spread my wings a bit! Brands can look at the site as a niche opportunity to advertise their products to a bang-on TG…makes sense.

Try it out..and do leave a comment here about how you find the experience!

Digital or Die!

Original article here: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3630966

Digital or Die

By Rebecca Lieb, The ClickZ Network, Sep 26, 2008

One of the most crammed, standing-room-only sessions at MIXX this week featured the media directors of top agencies, including Digitas, Mediaedge:cia, Neo@Ogilvy, and MindShare. As they talked targeting and how they were spending millions of media dollars for their respective rosters of blue-chip clients, online media trainer extraordinaire Leslie Laredo leaned over to whisper in my ear, “Not a single person on this panel is over 30.”

Whether her observation is literally true is moot. The point is these senior agency executives are young, much younger than their typical counterparts on the traditional media side of the table.

Why? Are old dogs so adverse to learning new tricks? Because certainly at MIXX, as well as at OMMA last week, bemoaning the digital talent gap was a cry that emerged early and often.

It’s not just old-timers on the traditional agency side of the equation who are stubbornly resisting the shift to digital. It’s an issue across the media landscape. Their reluctance was perhaps somewhat understandable in the go-go ’90s and in the sober, austere, bleak era around 2002.

But now?

Still, I’m seeing traditional publishers cut back on digital endeavors (and digital staff) in a desperate and futile effort to sustain their flagging, dead-tree legacy brands. I’m seeing digital executives going to senior management with requests for back-end tools, such as content management systems and social media software, only to learn their corporate overlords have no idea what all that stuff is, much less what it’s actually used for or how it can benefit the business.

And I’m seeing some of those print publications flatline. Friends who have been print journalists for decades are panicking in the face of cutbacks, early retirement, consolidation, and plain old extinction.

But they’re not learning digital skills. A critic friend stays up nights over the fact his paper is due to shutter at month’s end. When I inquired about his online skills, he replied that even the most fundamental elements of a story, such as hyperlinks, were determined and executed by the online editor. He doesn’t know how to do any of that stuff.

An entrepreneur behind an online publishing startup, meanwhile, recently posed a hypothetical question: “If you could hire a top journalist with 20 years’ traditional experience or someone fresh out of J-school who knew the Web cold, which person would you hire?”

No contest. Hands down, I’d make the kid an offer.

New media is becoming old hat. It’s a fact of life. OMMA and MIXX were packed, refreshingly, with new faces. I’m speaking next week at MIMA in Minneapolis, another sold-out interactive marketing event. Newfound interest in and support for digital advertising is heartening, yet there’s still an astonishing degree of pushback across the media industries.

Across all industries and sectors, in fact. Veteran Web consultant and publisher Larry Chase related a story this week about rescuing a neighbor’s virus-infected hard drive (they’d let their virus protection software subscription expire). The relieved and chastised owner piped up that while they didn’t know much about virus protection, they had just learned how to create an e-mail attachment.

Clinging to Luddism and deliberate blindness in the face of the digital revolution (no understatement there!) may have been cute 10 years ago. Today, it’s inexcusable.

Those glib and somewhat arrogant aphorisms, such as “everything that can be digital will be,” have come to pass. In a climate buffeted by a tumultuous economy and tenuous job security, the advertising and media industries really have reached the point of go-digital-or-die.

The question, of course, is how do you change attitudes? How can media professionals be made to understand and convinced to embrace digital media and Web literacy, e-mail accounts, and the occasional Amazon order? It’s disheartening to watch friends and colleagues lose jobs — as well as their future prospects — before they wake up to this no-longer-new reality.

So what’s the answer? Some sort of digital Peace Corps? Community college courses? Should companies undertake in-house training initiatives?

What are you doing? Because friends can no longer allow friends to remain digitally illiterate. Or is the media and advertising landscape going to have to undergo a Wall Street meltdown before people start to change?

Smells like lunch!

Check out this KFC Press Release about a really innovative marketing campaign!

In a marketing first, KFC is highlighting the launch of its $2.99 Deals by placing the mouth-watering aroma of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the halls and offices of corporate America.

Forget television integrations or corporate naming rights, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s first-ever “scent-focused” pilot program teamed KFC with corporate mail rooms nationwide. Along with carrying inter-office mail, overnight packages and bills, mail carts in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas delivered the aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken during pre-lunch mail drops.

Through the pilot program, KFC worked with an online company, a business-to-business consulting firm and a non-profit, to include a $2.99 Deal – a plated meal including KFC’s world famous chicken, a side item and a biscuit – on the actual mail carts that pass the offices of hungry workers.

“There is truly no better brand ambassador worldwide than the signature aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said James O’Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC. “And we couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the value of our new $2.99 Deal than to inject the mouth-watering scent of Kentucky Fried Chicken into the corridors of corporate America.”

To bring the sweet-smelling promotion to life, KFC collaborated with Chemistry.com in Dallas; the Trade Association & Society Consultants of Washington, D.C.; and the Chicago offices of the Salvation Army.

 

More Smelladvertising:

 

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VIA (the washing powder) ran a poster campaign in Stockholm and Malmö which..er..actually smells!

Push the little spout at the bottom of the poster and you’ll sniff a sample on how the washing powder smells. Or how clean clothes smell after being washed with Via.

HOT!

So, smell some fried chicken, and if it gets too much, there is always the refreshing detergent smell to wash it off! Anyone for coffee beans?

More examples? Look at how newspapers are using smelladvertising to regain lost commercial revenues…here

The IE8 concerns around the Chrome fever…

In the midst of the Chrome Launch, Adage has this interesting viewpoint on Internet advertising and the implications that new browsers bring on to the table…

Latest Microsoft Browser Fuels Fear

IE8 Gives Web Surfers More Power to Block Ads and Cookies

By Beth Snyder Bulik
Published: August 28, 2008

YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) — Microsoft’s newest bro

wser is still only in beta, but it already has the advertising world in a tizzy. Its “InPrivate” set of features on Internet Explorer 8 out this week has publishers, marketers and industry advocates worried that it could block their ability to distribute, track and even monetize what the Interactive Advertising Bureau values as a $21.2 billion-plus internet-ad industry.
But Microsoft Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch advises to remain calm. “The point isn’t to block content or ads. The point is to put users in control of what they’re sharing,” he said, adding he has read and heard many misconceptions about what InPrivate can and cannot do.
Stealth surfing
For instance, the InPrivate Browsing feature — already slang-termed “porn mode” — only allows a user to hide single browsing session activities from “over the shoulder” viewers such as family members. It does not block ads from being served to the user or from advertisers counting views or clicks.
It works, and got its nickname, by letting users surf porn sites (or any other content, for that matter) without caching any content such as a list of URLs visited, cookies or other data. That could mean no cookies on your computer — as well as no cookies for future use by marketers or publishers, although only during selected InPrivate sessions.
However, it is the InPrivate Blocking feature that seems potentially more worrisome for advertisers. InPrivate Blocking acts to inform users about sites that consistently track and collect browsing histories. In fact, when a user opts into an InPrivate session, it will automatically block third-party content if it detects that the third party has “seen” the user more than 10 times. So, for instance, if the third party is advertising.com and it is serving ads across 10 sites a user has visited during an InPrivate session, it will begin to block advertising.com tracking codes and possibly content on the 11th website.
Cause for concern
Mike Zaneis, VP-public policy for the Internet Advertising Bureau, said while he is encouraged that InPrivate is never a default option on Internet Explorer — meaning that users have to manually opt in each time — he still has concerns.
“With IE’s market share, will so many people activate that so that it could affect the revenue side of the industry?” he asked. “Any content from anywhere that appears as third parties, whether advertising or stock tickers or news feeds, all appear as third parties, and in theory their content could be blocked.
“And if you’re blocking all third parties, you’re also going to block all analytic companies,” he said. “You’d be blocking the companies that do the auditing of ad delivery.” He’s particularly concerned about the potential disruption to the entire accounting system of internet advertising.
Mr. Hachamovitch concedes that IE 8 has no way of knowing if the content is an ad, a stock tracker or a newspaper column. It can only tell if it is third-party content. So that does mean that any content, say, ads, analytics and more, can be blocked. However, he repeated that the user must select InPrivate every time. And users can create “allow” and “block” lists, so-called whitelists and blacklists, to always allow content from trusted sources. Consumers can also subscribe to lists of acceptable content created by others.
Microsoft itself has tips for publishers and advertisers on how to get third-party content and ads seen. Publishers, for instance, can serve the ads directly from their site (making them first-party content) or they can make third-party content look like first-party content, he said.
Letting consumers decide
Ultimately, the point of InPrivate is not to block anything, but instead to give consumers control of the online information they chose to share, or not, Mr. Hachamovitch said. “In a world of well-informed consumers who expect choice, we all need to be thoughtful about how we conduct business,” he said. “To me, this really starts the conversation. IE8 Beta 2 starts us thinking about the expectations people should have about what they share and how.”
Of course, Microsoft is hardly anti-advertising, and in fact, depends on ad-servicing revenue from its own sites like MSN. In May 2007 it purchased for $5.9 billion aQuantive’s three businesses — Atlas, DrivePM and Avenue A — as a means to build out a massive ad platform, and it had pursued Yahoo in a bid to gain more display-ad leverage. Microsoft, moreover, is a longstanding member of the IAB.
“From the Microsoft perspective,” said a spokeswoman, “we’re right there with the rest of the crowd in that we think there is a lot of benefit in targeted ads. We just believe consumers have the right to know it’s happening and to opt in.”
JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley said the industry upheaval may be moot soon enough anyway, as ad targeting has come under serious scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. She said she believes the many different industry factions will come up with — by force or free will — guidelines and standards that are acceptable to consumers and regulators.
“In the short term, though, I can understand how it could be scary for advertisers, because ad targeting is so valuable,” she said.

Intel today launched its ambitious “Connected Indians” movement at The Taj Palace, New Delhi.

connected indians

Check out www.connectedindians.com!

The Connected Indians movement aims to be the catalyst for delivering the power of the Internet into the hands of a billion Indians. Intel states that its success will hinge on spirited public and private participation.

Over the next few months, Intel will mobilize people, resources & infrastructure to facilitate Internet adoption across India.

Over time, this collaboration will help build partnerships between people, Industries and stakeholders via a complete and connected ecosystem to accelerate the growth of Internet and its benefits to the society.

The Connected Indian web site is an innovation in itself wherein users can click on an interactive map to locate their co-ordinates, and then post their voice for an Internet-enabled India. Not only that, they can utilize the in-built feature to invite more of their friends and peers from their web contact lists to add in more numbers.

There is also an India Speaks section that highlights different areas where Internet is making a huge difference in the way people, processes, industries & services in India are progressing with the power of the Internet.

Intel is following up this movement on-ground with specially-designed “Net Yatras” wherein it will showcase Internet’s benefits to Indians using interactive tools & techniques.

This is one movement that has been designed with a specific cause in mind and Intel promises that for every 10,000 Connected Indians who register, the movement will donate a PC to selected government schools in rural areas.

Now that’s what we call a spirited initiative!

Know more about the movement here.

Join the movement here.

Join the Connected Indians Orkut Community here.

Intel’s partners in this venture include google, HCL, Zenith, Edurite, MAIT, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Indicom, Acer, Intex, Novatium, Wipro, Asus, CII, e-zone, lenovo, NIIT, Tata Communications, Croma, NASSCOM etc.

It will be interesting to see the kind of products & services Intel will introduce to take this step further & forward. Here’s wishing Intel all the best for the initiative & hoping that more & more brands take such steps towards better propagation and acceptance of technology!

iPhone 2.0 launch – the marketing hype

given Apple’s habit of creating a bang, the latest gossip doing the rounds is the launch of iPhone 2.0. Forget about company sponsored leaks, the way apple news spreads, and conclusions derived, is all pure marketing genius. And it’s all go to do with the product’s hype value – and the obsession apple fans have for the brand.  Read more to understand the madness:

Reasons why Apple iPhone will be launched on 15th June:

1. Apple 24-hr store closed on May 29th on account of a commercial shoot. The only two times the store was shut previously was when the iPhone and OS X Leopard were launched.

2. AT&T sent all retail sales employees a no-vacation blackout memo between June 15 and July 15. Being the only carrier for iPhone 2.0, the assumption is valid that its all thanks to the launch. The same thing happened when iPhone was originally launched.

3. This is the weirdest. Fortune published a report on a major spike in Ocean Containers labeled "electric computers" by Apple. This is direclty being refered to the 3G-enabled iPhone 2.0 that has apparently been shipped from Apple’s two major Asian suppliers!

Compared to all other brands who love to leak stories, in Apple’s case, the non-leak formula seems to be the most effective!

Stay glued to your PC on the 15th! Love it or hate it, you want to know what’s next as far as Apple is concerned!

So I was going through Seth Godins’ blog (author of business books and a popular speaker.) and I came across this post (what do you know) of his where he writes about a bunch of things every good marketer should know. Thought it would be a good idea to share it on here.

  1. Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
  2. Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
  3. Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
  4. Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.
  5. Marketing begins before the product is created.
  6. Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.
  7. Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.
  8. Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
  9. Products that are remarkable get talked about.
  10. Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
  11. You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
  12. If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.
  13. People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
  14. You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.
  15. What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.
  16. Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.
  17. Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.
  18. People all over the world and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.
  19. Good marketers tell a story.
  20. People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
  21. Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.
  22. Effective stories match the worldview of the people you are telling the story to.
  23. Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.
  24. A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.
  25. Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world.
  26. Marketers are responsible for the side effects their products cause.
  27. Reminding the consumer of a story they know and trust is a powerful shortcut.
  28. Good marketer’s measure.
  29. Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.
  30. One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.
  31. In the Google world, the best in the world wins more often, and wins more.
  32. Most marketers create good enough and then quit. Greatest beats good enough every time.
  33. There are more rich people than ever before, and they demand to be treated differently.
  34. Organizations that manage to deal directly with their end users have an asset for the future.
  35. You can game the social media in the short run, but not for long.
  36. You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support and you market every time you send a memo.
  37. Blogging makes you a better marketer because it teaches you humility in your writing.

Having read all of this what struck me is that it’s all so simple! and yet alot of these facts get overlooked only too easily. There is always room to learn more and more each day, but learning matters only when you put what you have learned to use.This is but a chip of the iceberg, feel free to add on.

About MD

Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.