Well, I am back from a very good trip to Bangalore. Met some old entrepreneur friends, some interesting people. Connected with some very established people and re-fueled my engine for my entrepreneurial journey ahead!
Though while on the way I connected with some online marketers on the flight back and here I am writing a piece which I have wanted to since sometime now!
Let me start by saying: Branding and Obscenity are Pretty Much the Same
Why do I say this? Well, the guy sitting right next to me looked at a book I was reading, which was about Branding and how radical concepts have changed consumer perception overtime. I was reading a few case studies and making notes, for a couple of Offline Branding Campaigns I am working on. Now suddenly this guy shoots, about how he is an Online Marketer and does handles campaigns online and how his firm has been doing lots of work.
Without an introduction, I heard him as a client, and asked queries, and he started telling me about how Google helps, SEO, PPC and SMM works. Especially SMM, which we also know by Social Media Marketing. Since I was in the Case Study mode, I posed a question:
Give me 4 solid case studies with the ROI that you have generated for the client or where you have actually gone back to the client telling him that he needed offline/ other marketing techniques as well, and how did you execute it!
And this gentleman starts discussing the best works he has done. A viral campaign, which had x number of hits…Helped a company generate these many leads online (which he had no ideas, of how much was the conversion).
Anyway, being a good listener, I patiently heard him, and then asked another question:
What is the difference between Branding and Marketing and why did some of his campaigns did not survive and what he then suggested to those clients?
I am NOT generalizing this, but I have been interacting with Online Marketers, majority of them in their late 20’s and early 30’s who have had no experience of raising a brand. Who have not seen the entire cycle, boasting about serving the Indian SME in scaling up.
I have been into the Social Media scene, since sometime now, and have struggled with the statistics, which I could really go back with, to a client and suggest him, this is where you should increase/ decrease your marketing spend and this is what you should look at diversifying.
I have NEVER heard from an Online Marketer that they have ever gone back to the client telling them, that look you product needs this, as this is what you customer is looking for on the internet
Majority of Online Marketing companies optimize campaigns according to what the clients are searching a product/ service with. Well, I challenge this thought. How do you that it was the right consumer who was searching this term which you just took from suggestions which Google Adwords provide you.
Branding – YES, Social Media helps You do Just That
Okay, so now I have my Branding lessons on. I get to know how Branding is established, online:
- a page/ profile on facebook
- an account on twitter
- targeted Ads on blogs/ sites
- ghost writing on discussion forums etc.
- videos on YouTube
- ppts on Slideshare
- photos on flickr
And if you still cannot achieve traffic numbers, well, go and post this content on various multiple platforms which are identical, so your content will be looked upon by more and more people an chances by simple probability to achieve are higher.
Okay, so I understand probability, but I am still not convinced with this number generation method, I remarked.
I am a Social Media guy and I have a problem with how things are going in India today
Okay, so for all those, who feel I have a personal bias, I have explored the online media to a good extent and hence I write my thoughts here. Majority of bloggers, social media experts/ evangelists/ marketers, strategists, have not had any Branding experience and talk Brand all the time. I have a particular issue with this, as many a times, what they dont realize is they can grow only if their client(S) grow.
Online is the new thing – you have to get on Social Media coz DELL made 3 million dollars from twitter
This is what I have heard from every religious online marketer, I have interacted with, who is pitching to any business from technology to holiday to whatever. Coz DELL did it, hence the opportunity exists and as in India, a small company thinks, even if I can achieve 30% of this, at a low cost, well I will make decent numbers.
And what happens month on month when you go ahead with Online Marketing for your business
- MONTH 1
- Both the online marketing agency and the client are excited, many things happening around, online training, blogs building up, google ads, higher listing on search engines WOW
- The marketer goes back and shares the numbers:
- number of blogs, number of blog posts, google ads numbers, how they got the company(s) site(S) listed high on search engines on specific keywords
- Create content | POST it – HOST it – Virality!
- Lets do it! Pictures, PPTs, Blog posts, Videos and what not
- We will post it here – there – everywhere and wallah this will happen and this
- Conversations are not happening – says the client!
- Lets do ghost writing
- Lets do ghost profiles
- Lets do ghost comments
- Houston We’v got a PROBLEM
What did you till now, after a quarter?
Well, Sir, look at your brand, look at how many people came to this landing page, look at all of this. Sales will start happening soon.
Lets See – the client now is thinking of how to convert the contract into a pay for performance?
Well, and this is where problems start. Retainership goes down and performance kicks in, knowing well, you dont even know what GAP EXISTS (if any) between the following parties:
- Senior management
- Existing (employees and clients)
- Prospective (employees and clients)
The majority of online marketers, go ahead with no such GAP analysis, and without knowing what exists in the market and what needs to be addressed, just go ahead because they have a medium to connect people with, because out of the 300 million plus people on facebook, there will always be some who will be looking for your product/ service.
Well, I have no inherent bias against anyone, but if I strongly feel, if you are not clear of something, well, dont fluke and sell, coz what you don’t realize is anyway, after 3 years, there are only the better ones, who will be having the repetitive business, because you will be out of market to which you have been marketing.