brand building

4 ways insight-driven marketing can drive results on digital

  • Meghana Chandani
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  • 28 May , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Gone are the days when marketing used to be about intuition and gut feelings. Today, in a world where people use their phones for about 60% of their day, it’s extremely important for brands to understand what a typical day would look like in the lives of their consumers. What time would they wake up? What kind of breakfast would they prefer? Would they take a cab to work, ride a bike or drive their own vehicle? Where do they work? Do they come home to a nuclear family or a joint family?

The questions are endless, and while it may seem that brands are trying too hard to sell emotions rather than products, well it is true! Maybe it’s time to stop a moment and ask yourself, do you buy a product or do you buy the emotion attached to it? 

It is because of this very fact, that brands are paying a lot more attention to deriving insights into their consumers and their lifestyles. Insight-driven marketing is nothing but tapping into your consumers at the right time and place with the exact communication that they would want to receive. Insight-driven marketing can help you navigate your way closer to your consumer, and it also plays a vital role in formulating strategic business decisions based on the marketing insights you receive from your consumers.  

How Insight-Driven Marketing Can Help Build Your Brand

Get to know your consumers, as you’d like them to know you!

Understanding the demographics and habits of your consumers is not just a matter of numbers but is an art in itself. With an exhaustive insight-marketing driven approach you will be able to dive deeper into the following:

  1. What your consumers prefer,
  2. Which channels you will find them on,
  3. Are they likely to buy your products,
  4. Are your price points suitable to them,
  5. Do they resonate with your brand communication,

And many more such questions, which then allows you to optimize your marketing strategy to deliver the best results.

Here are an astonishing few facts that we found online from a study that dives deep into consumer behaviour - 

Did you know?

55% of people interested in grocery online are men

51% of women are interested in social and casual gaming

60% of men are likely to be in-market for jewellery 

56% of fathers online are interested in being a chef

Build your brand persona, one piece of communication at a time

Tapping into your consumer at the right time, using the right channel, with the right communication, can result in higher conversions, higher engagement and higher revenues in return. Many brands in today’s era are looking at diversifying their persona and communication, making it more personal and customised for their consumers. For example, a brand that’s available in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities may want to communicate with their consumers in each tier differently, based on the kind of content each group resonates with, and the different channels each of them would be present on. 

Cross-sell and Upsell to add more value to your consumers

Knowing the consumer behaviour and patterns through first-party data is crucial, helping brands cross-sell and upsell products that may add value to the lives of our consumers.

Being able to track their behaviour and journey helps us dive deeper into whether or not they would be willing to purchase more products at even a higher price.

Product development and business expansion decisions

If a brand initially thinks of venturing into a new line of services, building a new product or expanding the current business in different markets, these decisions can be made a lot stronger and effective if they are based on facts and insights taken from the marketing data and their consumer’s behaviour.

While all this may seem a tad bit overwhelming, here’s a step by step process on how you can go about analysing your data and putting it to effective use.

Step 1: Analyse the data that you have

While you may have run umpteen campaigns for your brand over the last year, giving you access to tons of data to look into, what’s really important is how you collate it, organise it and study the data. It’s extremely crucial to look for trends between your consumer demographics, age, gender, lifestyles and professions. For many brands, their data may not just end at consumer names, which cities they reside in, their age, profession and likes and dislikes, but also depend on which part of the communication did they most resonate with, that influenced their decision of buying the product or service.

Hence, for any brand that believes in connecting with their consumers, it is fundamental to understand:

  1. The Demographics of their consumer
  2. The lifestyle of their consumer
  3. Communication routes that they would prefer
  4. Creative routes that they would resonate with

Step 2: Learn and apply the marketing insights as you move forward

Let’s follow a simple rule: Gather data points ------> Derive marketing insights -------> Jot down a way forward and implement

More often than not, marketing professionals pause at stage 2 - Which is deriving digital marketing insights from the data points. The key here is to apply all the insights to your campaigns and communication routes, which will, in turn, help the brand see improved business results and higher conversion rates, where consumers will start to resonate with the brand on a personal level.

Step 3: Reflect, Compare, Repeat

Once you have implemented the marketing insights, the key is to compare data, both past and present, to be able to optimise your campaigns and strategy as you keep going. This will help retrospect on whether you’ve seen a rise in the sale of products and services of your brand and how much your brand has benefited from your insight-driven marketing approach.

Case Study

Here’s one such example of insight-driven marketing implemented by us for Tata Mutual Fund’s – #NoToKatauti Campaign

Brief:

To drive investments for their ELSS (Equity Linked Savings Scheme) Fund between November to March – which is the period when people resort to filing their taxes in India.

Process to gain insights:

We asked a bunch of 20-30 people over calls and video conferences, on how, when and under what circumstances they file their taxes. 

Insights:

  1. Most people in India file taxes in February and March, just a few weeks before the deadline
  2. Most people also file their taxes only when the fear of their salary getting cut arises to eat them up
  3. Most people hate not getting what they truly deserve, their income being one such factor

Hence from this very thought, stemmed the campaign idea of #NoToKatauti!

Consumer segmentation based on data and behaviour analysis:

We divided our audiences based on four major factors in India, namely people’s love for cricket, love for food, the housewife community, and students.

Not only did we first deliver the video to them that they resonate with most, but we also followed it up with the other three in line, creating a ripple effect and building tremendous brand recall.  

Results:

38.1% increase in brand lift

216.2% increase in brand interest

13.1% increase in brand awareness

25% of leads from YouTube

Case Study

Here’s another example of insight-driven marketing implemented by India’s No.1 cookware brand, Wonderchef:

Brief:

To create brand awareness, strategize and devise a campaign for a good cause. 

Insight:

We pulled out sufficient data to support the fact that the majority of men in India don’t cook, they don’t help out in household chores and they don’t have sufficient knowledge of ingredients. While we try to preach ‘Gender Equality’, are we really all that ‘Gender Equal’ as a country?

This very thought led us to create the campaign idea of #DearManHoldThePan.

Campaign Execution:

We got out on the street to ask men their thoughts and gather more information on whether they knew basic ingredients, herbs and how to even break an egg without ruining its yolk! And guess what? The results were hilarious, but very satisfying in terms of numbers, reach and the appreciation we received. Not only did this make our case point stronger, but also helped us develop more content, in the form of posts, influencer videos and a whole lot more!

Results:

Reach – 14 Million

Engaging about 3 Lakh Viewers

And we turned a whole lot of eyeballs!

Insight marketing to drive growth

Various examples have shown us time and again that personalised marketing is a digital trend that adds a whole different dimension and layer to any campaign or brand. By reflecting different facets of an audience’s personality, a product or campaign is bound to be a success. Relatability makes room for connection, and thus engagement, which is why marketing insights will never fail you. And with performance marketing, the insights only ever grow, enabling you to drive growth continually for your brand.


How can you create impactful videos during a lockdown

  • Divya Ram
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  • 28 May , 2020
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    • 4 min read

There are many things uniting us during this lockdown. One of which is our online content consumption, particularly videos. Does it feel like you’ve seen everything? Admit it. At some point, we’ve literally become one of the several memes we share daily.

Btw, my favorite pasta sauce (Arrabbiata FYI) tells me I eat healthy, read a lot and bring happiness to people. So… I have new goals for this month in lockdown.

As a consequence of the pandemic and uncertainty of the future, we are all dealing with anxiety and stress, literally keeping us up at night. Being restricted indoors and being inundated with grim news definitely doesn’t help. There has been a rise in good news movements across the world to bring some hope and positivity to people. 

We are actively seeking, looking at, and sharing meaningful content to boost each other in these strange times, to stay connected as we socially distance ourselves. 

It’s the ideal time for brands to publish content that can leave a lasting positive impact. Let’s talk numbers. 92% of marketers say video is an important part of their strategy as it provides positive ROI. 65% of users watch over three-quarters of a video and 92% of users on their mobile devices tend to share videos with their circle. 

But with video productions halted, what are the ways in which you can engage your target audience?

Brands have used user-generated content, home videos and existing footage to provide some hard-hitting content, highlighting the importance of staying home and relating it back to their brand. 

Here are some video types you can explore at this time (and where we can help!):

Home-made films: 

Let’s pretend we are in college and get back to the basics: boot-strap filmmaking. The idea plays a bigger role than the production quality. Sony Pictures & Kalyan Jewellers recently provided this gem which managed to connect all of the Indian audiences. UpGrad got some stars to film themselves at home to encourage upskilling while we sit at home.

With all of us missing the good ol’ office days, Tata Cliq came to us to create a campaign that could soothe work-from-home blues.  While content surrounding employees missing workplaces already existed, we decided to tell the story from a different perspective. The campaign film is narrated through different inanimate objects around office, telling employees #YouMadeItCliq. The film was executed using purchased stock footage and voice-overs from different theatre artists and radio jockeys to bring the objects to life. 

After Team Social Beat went into work-from-home mode, we produced a home-made video to check-in and remind each other the proper way to wash hands.  For Earth Day, we published a video made entirely from copyright-free videos sourced online. Using in-house talent to get the narration in place and minimal text narration, we encouraged people to remain conscious of the use of the earth’s resources, even after lockdown. 

There are several ways a video can be executed even with the on and off-screen talent sitting in their own homes. The video content is what sets it apart. While different themes can be explored, the two popular routes we see at this time is humour and the social/empathetic route. It’s crucial to focus on the message of the video as, in this scenario, the idea trumps production quality. 

Animated videos:

There are many types of animation videos we can leverage - typography, vector-based and sketch-based videos,  2D animation, explainer videos, and more

These videos can be used across channels to engage with your audience. As YouTube ads to social media posts and stories, depending on the type and duration, these videos can be churned out relatively quickly. Ideal to stay relevant, tap into trending topics, and publish timely content. 

An easily communicable disease making its way across the globe can be pretty terrifying, more so for those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Dr. Reddy’s reached out to us to create a film for their nutritional health drink, Celevida. The campaign film, #WinLifeEveryDay, showcases the key benefits of the health drink being a nutritional supplement for diabetics, supporting immunity and helping fight against infections.

Influencer videos:

Another group of people who are home and are experts at producing home-made videos that can help promote your brand in an authentic way - influencers. 

Influencer marketing campaigns are a no-brainer in the current climate. Not only do we consume a lot of influencer videos, we are guilty of turning into mini influencers with posts on new workouts, recipes, hobbies, and more! Even those of us who swore off TikTok have now participated in and posted our TikTok challenges. This is a safe space, you can admit it. 

Our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in, has an extensive database of more than 40K influencers across categories like lifestyle, health, fashion, food, entertainment, and more! 

For Himalaya Quista Pro, we partnered with influencers to share home workout tips and routines. boAt took to TikTok with the campaign #boAtheadStayINsane, creating challenges that can be done indoors and encouraging the audience to do the same. With social distancing in place, Khatabook took to TikTok to tell shopowners not to worry, they just need to download the app to get their pending payments. 

Since people are indoors and available, it’s a great time to go LIVE. There has been a jump in people viewing and participating in Live videos across TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Partnering with influencers and experts, through Live Q&As, FAQs, interviews, and more, brands can start a dialogue directly with their audience. 

As we can see… 

There are plenty of ways we can continue to engage our audience through videos. What’s important to ensure is that the message communicated through the video does not come across as insensitive and out-of-touch which will reverberate long after we cross this tunnel. It’s crucial to stay empathetic, true, and show solidarity in these unprecedented times. 

I’ll leave you with this meme. 


Why every brand in India should leverage AR in 2020

  • Tejasvi Batria
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  • 28 May , 2020
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    • 6 min read

Interest and investment in augmented reality and immersive digital marketing is greater than it’s ever been before. Through the journey of evolving brands, we have witnessed the adoption of a mobile-first creative approach. Augmented Reality marketing provides brands with a highly desired tool in their belt when it comes to driving sales and enhancing brand value through mobile devices. 

The explosive growth of immersive marketing saw big brand wins during the early days of the adoption of AR in marketing. Because of this, AR emerged as one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends, alongside voice commerce and the use of first-party data. Industries ranging from e-commerce to fintech and FMCGs raced to leverage AR marketing for their brands.

This growth has been witnessed with Augmented Reality marketing playing a key role in social media marketing as well. While Snapchat was one of the first social media giants to adopt AR, Instagram was quick to follow. Google, too, launched AR powered 3D images in searches for products on various e-commerce brands early this year. This proves that AR can be used in multiple ways for a number of different reasons, whether it’s increasing user engagement or offering interactive elements for consumers.

Tech giants fueling AR adoption

The first step to creating a space to build AR-powered apps, experiences and campaigns were taken by tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google. They created platforms like Spark AR, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore which made it simpler to leverage AR in marketing and products for any brand.

But the doors for AR marketing only really opened with the conception of Facebook’s augmented reality suite Spark AR Studio. This tool allowed anyone to create their own filters and campaigns which could be utilized for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Free for all to use, Spark AR by Facebook has provided a platform for many brands to create their own AR effects and filters. This quickly launched Augmented Reality marketing to new heights.

While e-commerce brands, specifically beauty and lifestyle, were quick to tap into the feature by allowing customers to try out products, brands also leveraged AR for high impact brand awareness. A prime example of this was Adidas Original’s decision to create a custom AR effect that was in line with the trend of vintage filters and retro photographs at the time. Their filter added a nostalgic look to your stories, including a ‘glitch’ effect. This custom AR effect was extremely share-worthy, very on-trend and was perfect for building brand awareness!

AR marketing witnessed a peak in the entertainment industry as well, with several well-known media giants tapping into Augmented Reality marketing for the launch of largescale projects. Known celebrities and producers used AR in marketing for movies, TV shows, and even new music. This was seen most prominently with Netflix. One of their largest campaigns tied up with the New York Times and Google Lens for readers to scan and discover images that led to a Stranger Things reveal.

India AR Adoption - Slice of the Consumer Pie

The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is expected to steadily grow as more brands across sectors leverage it to engage their core audience. India is projected to increase both the creation and consumption of immersive media following the global trend. Brands in real estate, media and entertainment, automotive, and retail are expected to showcase the maximum adoption due to clear use cases, as per the Nasscom Graphic: Geetanjali. 

By 2022, over $6.5 billion would be the estimated size of the Indian immersive media market, with a higher percentage of it pouring in from the Augment Reality market. Around $5.9 billion is expected, in comparison to the $0.5 billion estimated from the VR market, due to higher costs for creation and execution. The explosive growth of 172% from 2018 to 2022 can be attributed to the easily accessible tools and adoption of Immersive media by top Indian brands.

Top reasons for your brand to adopt AR Marketing

Branding and Buzz

AR marketing has the capability to improve and create an immersive experience thereby leading to better brand perception if created well. As such, it is essential for brands not to use AR for novelty purposes, but to build a more seamless experience that would provide a positive AR experience while thinking about the long-term benefits of the experience. 

Brands like Pepsi, with their #SwagStepChallenge and Lifebuoy, with #LifebuoyKarona, have used AR filters to create hashtag challenges on channels like TikTok to increase buzz around the brand. They roped in celebrities and influencer marketing campaigns to further amplify their AR filters. This helped create a massive awareness of their brand recording explosive cumulative reach of over 85 Billion views on both hashtags on TikTok, without the notion of driving sales or action. 

Better Product Visualization

Augmented Reality is often perceived with the restricted utility reserved for selfies or social media filters. However, the Augmented Reality market can stretch further this with the capacity for much larger impact. The ability to allow a customer to try out products without leaving their home or their screen is a level of immersion and interaction that even interactive ads cannot offer.

By creating AR versions of a product or set of products, brands can provide customers with a better idea on the actual look and feel, while simultaneously setting the right expectations for them in terms of the deliverables.

Brands that have most heavily used and relied on leveraging the tool are present in the retail, beauty and lifestyle segments. L’Oréal’s virtual makeup tool was a path-defining AR creation which helped customers across the globe test and try their makeup virtually anywhere. They added another step helping to enhance the marketability - the option to try the superimposed makeup in real-time with the filter, or take an existing picture to upload and have the filter tested on.

On the other hand, providing a vision to home and interiors, IKEA paved a way for real estate companies by allowing customers to view their products in real-time within their own homes. This increased the possibility of purchase with increased visualization, leaving very little to the imagination. 

The real estate sector now faces the need to implement AR in product visualisation as well, especially to keep up with marketing during COVID-19. With fewer brokers and agents taking on home visits due to the restrictions imposed by authorities, it has become difficult to meet the existing demand for house hunters. While many have turned to virtual tours, AR can significantly drive sales, during and after this pandemic.

Deeper Engagement and Rewards

Your core audience is bombarded with a colossal amount of marketing messages every day, making it hard for marketers to ensure their message is heard. Providing your brand with the parachute of AR and adding a layer of immersive marketing can place it above other brands in a consumer's mind.

Making the brand more interactive, healthcare brand Medlife leveraged Facebook Augmented Reality marketing to educate viewers on the CPR procedure. This created deeper engagement for the audience by providing learning and greater rewards to their subconscious mind as well.

Assistance for Improved Customer Relationships

For brands who are dependent on the physical store experience to drive business, Augmented Reality provides the potential to amplify this by creating a digital experience simultaneously. A frequent example of this is seen with QR codes and bar codes that can be scanned. Doing so pulls up an AR manual or experience with detailed information on the product and brand.

Two popular examples of Hyundai and Mercedes have showcased how the auto industry has utilized AR to improve customer experiences. While Hyundai created AR-powered manuals for drivers,  Mercedes created an app integrating AI to ‘Ask Mercedes’ any questions relating to the product and brand similar to a chatbot.

B2B Marketing

Augmented reality is a tool which can transform the B2B customer-vendor experience with the help of a single click. Limitations of what a vendor is able to provide, along with the misaligned customer experiences, is eliminated with the help of AR.

Creating dynamic sales presentation material to the customer with AR-powered content can provide a virtual 360-degree look at their product lines, and is one of the most used technologies in the B2B space. 

Use Cases Within An Organization, Going Beyond Marketing

Ever imagined that you could be in two places at once? With the help of a VR headset, this can be achieved. This novelty soon became a reality as the COVID-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift to a work-from-home model. Business continuity is a key focus for organizations while they are also looking to stay home to stay safe, but also want to provide real-time experiences. VR technology plays an important role to achieve this. 

Companies like Quess, which is focused on sales-driven marketing and human interaction has their employees getting AI-powered training on their mobile devices. The face-reading AI also provides them with real-time feedback on their voice modulation, tone and facial expressions and key notes to focus on for improvement. 

Kickstarting the AR and VR Journey for Your Brand 

The biggest learning digital marketers can take from this is that it’s time to adapt. Investing in the available AI technologies to maximize your results has become the need of the hour. It is critical for your brand to reach the objective of managing more data effectively and improving your consumer experience.

The creative potential of using AR in marketing can provide your concepts and campaigns with an increased potential for brand awareness and recognition. 2020 is the year to explore immersive marketing to maximize your brand’s potential. At Social Beat, we implement a mixed marketing strategy which includes AR to enhance our efforts and deliver results.


How AI and first-party data can be leveraged for better audience targeting

  • Roshni Chhabria
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  • 28 April , 2020
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    • 5 min read

In a constantly evolving economic landscape, there are many challenges that marketing leaders need to overcome. They are under constant pressure to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns by lowering acquisition costs and increasing profitability. There has also been a significant shift in the data landscape along with increasing privacy concerns after the GDPR and Cambridge Analytica data scandal. 

A cost-effective way to overcome these challenges would be to start looking internally and utilizing existing business assets. Leading companies like Nestle, Ikea, and others, are also looking to leverage high-quality first-party data in their marketing strategies. First-party data becomes an important factor for a successful marketing campaign and marketers who don’t adapt would be missing out a great deal. 

Death of third-party cookies

Earlier this year, Google declared that Chrome, which is the most widely used browser in the world, would start eliminating support for third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are a simple line of code placed by websites on a user’s hard drive. These cookies form the basis of building behavioural profiles of users on the internet and help marketers in their targeting.

Companies who are at the centre of consumer data, including Facebook, Twitter and Oracle, are slowly moving away from third-party data. On the other hand, a widespread concern around data privacy has led to consumers becoming more aware and demanding increased levels of data privacy. Browsers like Chrome, Safari and Mozilla are now blocking third-party cookies in their browsers. 

All of this combined would have a large impact on the targeting options available for advertisers. With third-party cookies now becoming irrelevant, first-party data in marketing automatically becomes a brand’s best option to track and target customers for their online campaigns.

The rise of first-party data

Any data that you collect directly from consumers and with their consent is known as first-party data. This data is usually reliable and trustworthy and can help drive high-value leads and limit unnecessary ad spends. For a brand, their online sources for collecting first-party data in marketing would be the company’s website, app, CRM, social media, email marketing, surveys etc.

In November 2019, sportswear giant Nike had announced that they will stop selling on Amazon and focus on selling direct-to-consumer via its own website and app. This decision comes as a part of their vision to elevate consumer experiences and build direct and personal retail experiences with its consumers. Selling directly through their own online properties and retail stores would also mean Nike can completely control and own their first-party data. This move by Nike shows us that they are confident in driving all traffic to their own website to enhance the consumer experience and also lower acquisition costs and improve profitability. This might just be the tip-of-the-iceberg and actually be indicative of the start of a massive shift in how brands sell online and start opting for the direct-to-consumer strategy. And this, in turn, could lead first-party data in marketing to become a new digital marketing trend in the making.   

Tap into the power of first-party data using telephonic conversations with customers

For brands looking to accelerate their adoption of first-party data in marketing, one of the most important and invaluable assets they already own are in-bound consumer calls. As per a recent survey, consumers are increasingly turning to phone conversations during the path of their purchase journey. A lot of research happens online but they also prefer to call a brand when they want some specific information and are nearing the end of the decision-making process especially in case of high-value purchases or time-sensitive products and services. 

Consumers are having important conversations and asking brands for more information that is relevant to them. They are sharing their concerns, their purchase intent and so much more on these calls. These inbound calls are a treasure trove of highly valuable information and it’s time for brands to pay attention and listen to what their consumers are saying.

Policy Bazaar, India’s leading insurance aggregator strives to provide its customers with a smooth hassle-free experience by digitizing its processes. Considering that insurance is not a one size fits all sort of industry, Policy Bazaar has been constantly implementing AI and latest tech solutions including chatbots to understand their consumer personas and ensure to sell the right product to the right consumer. They were one of the earliest companies to discover a goldmine of consumer insights in their 35 million minutes of monthly talk time via voice analytics. One of the key insights they found after analysing the word cloud of their conversations was that a lot of their customers were using the word cashless. The marketing teams assumed that consumers would be more concerned with premiums, claims, bonuses etc., and so there was no focus on showcasing the cashless network. Within a week’s time, the team launched a new feature that would show the customers a list of cashless networks that were available in the policies they were interested in. 

AI in marketing intelligence can help turn calls into rich first-party data with actionable insights. Analysing these customer conversations and deriving key insights which can be implemented into the marketing campaigns and communication strategy will in-turn lead to a highly effective communication strategy, increase in conversion rates and lower acquisition costs. 

Improving customer engagement with personalized content 

Brands that are activating and collecting first-party data should be using this data to personalize the content on ads that are being shown to a particular user. In the case of e-commerce companies, understanding past purchase behaviour and knowing what your consumer likes or has added to their cart before will help you segment your audiences and show them relevant messages based on which step of the consumer journey they are in. Another key aspect is that brands should ensure to deliver personalized experiences across the entire marketing funnel of their campaigns. 

Tata Mutual Funds, a leading mutual funds investment company had launched a campaign called #SayNoToKatauti which aimed at striking the right chords with personalized content to deliver higher engagement and reach. The campaign had a series of four brand films that had a common messaging point of tax-saving investments. The protagonist in each of the videos was in different relatable and everyday scenarios, like watching a cricket match or ordering food, which was then targeted and shown to people based on their own interests. 

Personalized campaigns with AI marketing and first-party data would also automatically mean higher efficiency and reach of your campaigns across all your digital marketing platforms. On Facebook, you can create lookalike audiences from your first-party data which are very powerful and can help build the right mix of good quality and scale both. Google has also recently launched combined audiences which is enabling advertisers to narrow down their target audience and serve impressions to people who fit into two categories. For example, you could target people who have visited your site in the last 60 days and also are part of the in-market audience for your category. This combination makes your targeting more efficient and helps you spend your money effectively thereby improving your ROI.  

AI in marketing is also quickly becoming the future of digital. With AI marketing, you can make a campaign immersive and experiential for a user, encouraging them to engage with a website or ad better. AI can use first-party data to leverage information and display content or information tailored to their liking, thus increasing the likelihood of driving them through to the end of the funnel. A prime example of this is the streaming services that have taken the world by storm - whether it’s television or music. By using AI, these companies display personalised recommendations that push the user to engage further with the service, optimising their experience with first-party behavioural data. 

In today’s marketing scenario first-party data is becoming an increasingly popular choice and marketers are looking to utilize it across all platforms to accomplish their key marketing objectives. It is crucial for brands to take control and utilize their first-party data to improve ROI across their marketing efforts. Businesses must invest in building trusted and personalized relationships with consumers and raise the bar for transparency and data privacy. At Social Beat, we analyse first-party data from different sources to fuel campaigns and leverage different types of engaging content for target audiences to drive conversions. Is your company making the shift to first-party data? 


Marketing during and post Covid 19 – Guide for Indian Marketers

  • Rhea
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  • 22 April , 2020
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    • 6 min read

There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive. 

So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind. 

Do not stall marketing activities

It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.

If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.

While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.

Steer clear from scare tactics

With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.

In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.

You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.

 

Build goodwill through user-centric initiatives

The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across. 

Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this: 

 

But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.

This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.

Use the down-time to update your brand assets

Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.

Keep your store information updated

Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website. 

Prepare for post-Coronavirus marketing

While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:

  • Increased levels of anxiousness and depression
  • Decreased trust in hygiene of people and products
  • Travel restrictions
  • Permanent shift to work-from-home setups, at least for some job roles
  • Rise in conflict
  • High levels of unemployment
  • Increased home deliveries
  • Lesser contact with older people
  • Expanding our identity beyond just our job role
  • Value of certified immune consumers

This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.

In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.

 

The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!


Why a full-funnel marketing strategy on digital is a game-changer

  • Roshni Chhabria
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  • 20 April , 2020
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    • 5 min read

With the advent of technology and social media, a consumer’s journey to make a purchase has become very complex. Consumers can now easily discover new brands on various social media platforms and are researching multiple brands, choosing to compare the pricing/offers before making a final decision. This new consumer decision journey has given rise to a highly evolved and aware consumer. 

So, how can brands modify the marketing funnel to engage with this new digital-age consumer? The full-funnel approach is one of the most significant aspects of a marketing strategy as this helps brands convert the prospective audience into customers. This can be done on digital platforms by showcasing relevant messaging to the target audiences, moving them along the funnel from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Consideration’ and finally ‘Conversion’. 

Most marketers, however, tend to focus on the bottom-of-the-funnel directly and optimise all digital campaigns to drive consumer action. However, this could lead to increased cost per acquisitions and lower conversion rates. While performance-based campaigns are key as these drive business results, it would not be an optimal strategy to focus on these alone as consumers need to be aware of the brand and build an affinity towards the same before making a purchase or enquiring.

With the shift from traditional to digital, it is also essential that a brand adapts their marketing funnel with a digital-first marketing strategy. This approach implies that it is essential for the brand to have a mobile-first approach for all digital assets in order to reach and engage with potential customers. Brands should leverage Accelerated Mobile Pages to improve the speed of landing pages and interactive ad formats to ensure the best experience for consumers. 

 

Create brand awareness by using video for top-of-the-funnel campaigns

 

In the first stage, the focus should be on creating awareness of the brand and its legacy. It is considered a good idea to leverage short videos in this stage to engage with potential buyers. Brands should also look at highlighting the benefits for the consumer by showcasing how the product or service can help them and resolve a pain point. 

The top-of-the-funnel should be looked at as a process of casting a wider net to reach potential consumers. The users at this stage might not be familiar with the brand and only be cold prospects. Using the full-funnel marketing strategy, brands could push consumers towards the next stage of the marketing funnel.

Brands could explore various options like masthead on YouTube or Reach & Frequency campaigns on Facebook/Instagram to drive the high-impact reach for the brand’s top of the funnel strategy. One other interesting option could be to explore vernacular videos for brand awareness depending on the brand’s target audience. With the launch of Jio, smartphones and data plans have become quite affordable, leading to increased consumption of vernacular content. In the current scenario, brands should look to adopt a multi-lingual marketing strategy to tap into the next billion users

 

Which Ad Inventory To Explore?

YouTube: Bumper Ad, Masthead, TrueView For Reach are the best ad inventories to explore using YouTube.

Facebook/Instagram: Reach & Frequency Campaigns and Brand-Awareness are instrumental in ad inventories to explore using Facebook/Instagram.

What metrics to track?

The metrics to track go as Cost Per Thousand Impressions and Cost Per Video View.

Keep In Mind: As brands, avoid using product-specific/sales material in this stage of the funnel. 

 

Prompt video viewers to consider the brand

 

Users who engage with the brand’s top-of-the-funnel activity will have to familiarise themselves with the brand through more details about the product/service via relevant content. It is recommended to leverage the power of thumb-stopping content to re-engage with these users. Brands should share more context about the product/service so that consumers could consider engaging with them and finally making the purchase. The middle of the funnel should be looked at as a broad set of interested audiences who are not customers yet but are strongly considering the particular brand. 

At this stage, the key focus should be on showcasing educational content in order to build trust and consideration for the brand. Case studies, Blog posts, White Papers, Ebooks, etc. are simple yet very effective tools for the brand’s middle of the funnel strategy. On Facebook, brands could explore Instant Experience ads which can help nurture intent and further drive engagement.  

 

Which Ad Inventory To Explore?

YouTube: Bearing Ad Inventory in mind, Trueview In-Stream Ad is typically explored on YouTube.

Facebook: In terms of Ad Inventory for Facebook, the way to go is through Traffic, Engagement, and Video Views.

What metrics to track?

To track metrics, CPC, Ad Recall and Landing Page Views are taken into account.

Keep In Mind: Alongside sharing educational content, brands should start positioning their product/service at this stage. 

 

Drive the brand’s most engaged audiences to convert

 

Once users are aware and have developed consideration for the brand, it is time to drive action with focused creatives and clear Call-To-Actions. At this stage, the consumer is already aware of the brand and is in a ready-to-buy frame of mind. With the right communication strategy, the users can easily convert into customers from a prospect lead. The focus here is to make the final pitch and keep it straight forward with the brand’s product/service details and pricing. Some potential buyers might require the extra push in the form of a time-bound offers/discounted prices to make the final decision. In the last state of the funnel, brands should highlight why consumers should opt for their product/service instead of their competitor’s as part of the content strategy.  It might also be interesting to segment different audience types based on demographics/behaviour and show customers highly personalised content in this stage to drive the conversion. 

 

By following a full-funnel, approach brands should be able to generate high-quality leads as the users have gone through the entire customer journey of awareness and consideration before purchasing or enquiring from the brand. This is especially important in industries such as Real Estate where the purchase cycle is relatively long, and consumers are continually researching options. 

Which Ad Inventory To Explore?

YouTube: TrueView For Action is often explored bearing YouTube Ad Inventory in mind.

Facebook: The best Ad Inventory to explore using Facebook is Lead Gen/Website Conversion.

What metrics to track?

CPL is typically used to track metrics. 

Keep In Mind: Showcasing a time-bound offer in this stage can create an urgency and prompt consumers to take action. 

 

For a more in-depth explanation on full-funnel marketing, take a look at this video:

 

 

Analyse those leads, work on strategies that converts them to customers, and drive revenue to the business. At the end of the day, a full-funnel strategy involves a lot of work and time, but with an efficient marketing machine, the battle is half won. 

 


Growth Marketing for Startups: Scale Your Way to the Top

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 26 March , 2020
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    • 7 min read

A product may be extraordinary, but only a stellar marketing approach will help give it the boost it requires to get the conversation going and keep it that way. In a digital age, leveraging growth marketing to lift your startup off the ground is a powerful way to grow your user base quickly, and growth hacking can be shaped to work with almost any marketing requirement. 

But to begin with, what is growth marketing? And how is it different from traditional marketing?

Growth Marketing versus Traditional Marketing

Growth marketing

Since your target audience isn’t aware of what you’re offering, your approach to marketing needs to be strategic. Simply put, growth marketing is a process of selecting and implementing scalable tactics used to swiftly drive a large reach on a budget. Experiential marketing allows you to test the waters, analyse trends and optimize marketing campaigns for optimal results. This helps increase acquisition, retention, recall, engagement, and a positive brand image, regardless of whether your company has a webpage, an app, or both. Growth marketing strategies will work for the common and unique components of both.

Traditional marketing

Traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel and follows the same principles in helping your brand build its market presence, but it does not implement optimized results the way growth marketing does. The latter nurtures the relationship with the audience, acting on the feedback of consumers, enabling growth in customer relationships, and thus, steady growth in the brand’s visibility.

With limited time, money, and manpower in the initial phases, it is unlikely that traditional marketing will be the right fit for bootstrapped startups that need to scale up quickly.

What are the elements of growth marketing?

Growth marketing for startups uses a combination of tools to drive growth and traffic, which can ultimately culminate as a marketing mix model strategy. With a 360-degree approach, growth marketing also doubles as full-funnel marketing, with brand-building aspects like search engine optimisation, performance marketing, and social media marketing. 

Here’s a look at how each element can work wonders for a brand.

Performance marketing

Assuming a startup has reached its market, the next step is to run ads online and track and analyse the data generated from various sources. Continually tracking and optimising campaigns will always be impactful since insights help pave a tailored path to achieve the desired results. 

Using programmatic and analytical solutions 

Media buying through programmatic solutions automates the process and enables the analysis and optimisation of campaigns with machine learning and AI. Using automated dashboards for analytical reporting allows you to consolidate campaign insights from various platforms to make swifter business decisions with a data-informed approach. There are also tools that help calculate the effectiveness of a brand’s campaigns in comparison to its competitors’. 

Leveraging and analysing first-party data 

Use Google Analytics and other tools to analyse which pages are witnessing better traffic and lesser traffic, and optimise both. Information like location, gender, age, clicks, session durations, ad engagement, and more, can all inform you on audience interests, helping you to build an insightful audience profile.

Case study

For our strategy for KhataBook, we leveraged TikTok, Facebook and Google to increase app installs, customer events, and acquisition, with different campaigns and creative resources. Alongside this, by using features such as ad scheduling and retargeting, we were able to achieve 1 million downloads on the Play Store. This goes to show that playing with different strategies will help you reach your goals eventually, but a lot faster. 

Social media marketing

Social media combines content and performance marketing to offer a one-stop-shop for guaranteed engagement. With so many different platforms for different kinds of enterprises, a startup only has to pick and choose which to use - from the most essential ones, like Instagram and Facebook, to niche ones, like LinkedIn and TikTok.

Leveraging the essential platforms

Your growth marketing strategy must include the Facebook family of apps, which includes Instagram, Twitter and even WhatsApp. With target audience segments and tools to run optimised ads, social media also enables measured results and insights. Apart from this, social media platforms offer readily available insights and data for the audience base you want to tap into. With hashtags volumes, follower counts, engagement through likes and views, and even digital marketplaces, your brand can drive ROI swiftly.

Extending your online presence

New platforms like TikTok are growing at breakneck speed and should be leveraged to increase your brand presence. By tracking the performance of your posts on a variety of platforms, you’ll be able to discern which platforms work best in terms of lead generation, audience engagement, and data collection. 

These platforms allow you to use multiple combinations of ad formats, such as video ads, HTML creatives, GIFs, and more. This is a great way to hack your content and see which creative resources are working best. 

Incentivize content

As discussed earlier, you can increase acquisitions by running referral campaigns. Audiences are always looking out for coupons, freebies, and bargains. Doing so will generate a buzz online around your brand, and will help to drive growth. While you should have these on your app or website, promoting these on your social media handles will give the campaign the boost it needs to generate and garner attention.

Engage with audiences

Social media is obviously the best way to engage with audiences far and wide, and it’s up to you to expand your strategy beyond likes and comments on posts. Explore the ‘stories' features that several of them offer, and come up with ways to be creative there. Data shows that over 400 million people engage with Instagram’s ‘stories’ feature daily. With both video and post formats available, adding elements like polls, countdowns, quizzes, filters, and stickers can increase your engagement rates exponentially. You can also ask customers to mention and tag you so that you can feature user-generated content as testimonials to your brand offering.

Influencer marketing

Social media is also great to connect with influencers and known personalities that can benefit your brand image. Seeking out conversations, tie-ups, and influencer posts work to create word-of-mouth marketing, amassing relevant audiences that are more likely to have a higher life-time value. Apart from the usual featured posts, other ideas include live streams on Instagram, re-tweeting posts, and following content based on viral social trends.

Content and SEO marketing

Content can be considered the driving force behind your organic marketing strategy. Continued and sustained audience engagement through authentic and valuable content will keep traffic incoming and ongoing, and your content will rank higher on search engines. It’s also more likely that these audiences will turn to you for trusted information over and over again, building customer loyalty.

The following growth marketing strategies are critical for increasing organic traffic and conversion rates. 

Blogs

Creating a blog is an essential hack to drive visibility and website traffic. Not only does it acquaint audiences with a startup’s product, but it also creates an opportunity to grow leads by offering relevant content in exchange for the visitor’s email. 

Other methods of creating content

Using out-of-the-box content marketing ideas will help your startup stand out from the competition. Based on the kind of product or service being offered, startups can choose to put out content through influencer marketing, customer testimonials, social media, by leveraging Quora and by creating multilingual content

Hacking your content

For startups, growth marketing with content also means efficiently using time and resources. Creating new content is essential, but it can also become time-consuming. In this case, repurposing existing content can help speed things up. For example, turn blogs into videos, ebooks, Instagram posts and more. This strategy builds your content base and simultaneously increases opportunities for shareability with your target audiences. It also offers variety to target different audience interests - someone who isn’t big on reading may be more open to watching a video on the same content. 

Encourage user-generated content

Ask customers to leave reviews whichever way they can, whether it’s through feedback forms, emails, or social media messages. A lot of brands that are just starting out also request their first batches of customers to send in their thoughts about the product through a note included with the packaging. This personal touch to the product compels them to comply, and you can then feature these across your online handles. This will build an element of trust for future customers and users.

Case study

To understand the facets of content, we can turn to our strategy for our client mfine, a cloud-based app where users can book instant consultations. They wanted to build a strong content strategy for overall organic growth. Since they are a newage startup, we analysed what would help them grow exponentially, and suggested running aggressive SEO strategies. This included building high-quality external backlinks, optimising existing pages with highly competitive keywords, building long-form content, and interlinking blogs and relevant pages.

This resulted in organic and increased visibility of their medical speciality pages, with an increase of 3,00,000 sessions in the span of 4 months. Traffic also increased steadily month by month, and 1000 of the keywords ranked on the first page of search results. The interlinks also helped decrease bounce rates and increased the amount of time spent on pages. All this goes to show that building on an organic strategy guarantees astounding results.

Video marketing 

Video marketing is a crucial part of content marketing as well but can be considered as a separate strategy owing to the number of ways you can go about it. Video content is one trend of the last decade that has taken off with virality, conveying dense amounts of information in a concise manner. To put things in perspective, 65% of viewers watch over 3/4th of a video, and 92% of viewers on mobile devices share videos with their circles. 

Types of video ads

By using a wide range of video ad formats across platforms, not only will you increase audience engagement, but you’ll also be able to track different parameters of data. From thumb stoppers, bumper and discovery ads to skippable and non-skippable ads, there’s a plethora of formats to play with. 

The kind of content you create with your videos also matters, since these will increase engagement, traffic, session duration, and customer loyalty in the long run. Your videos may fall into three broad categories, namely awareness, educational, and entertainment. Examples of these include:

  • Explainer videos, walk-throughs
  • Product tutorials, reviews, and reveals
  • Round-ups
  • PSAs
  • Case studies
  • Theatrical or humorous cuts/skits
  • Behind the scenes
  • Vlogs 
  • Q&A, interviews
  • Announcements, live sessions
  • Influencer tie-ups

Vernacular content

Implementing strategies in regional languages is, once again, another tangent of content marketing. With higher Internet connectivity in today’s day and age, new data users are increasing, and in India, it is estimated that there will be an unprecedented billion users that will make the move online. With this new wave of users, a new challenge is posed - ensuring that your content is in a language they can read and speak. 

Since over half of these audience segments come from Tier II and Tier III cities, having a multilingual marketing strategy can bring your brand to the forefront in a line of competitors. Moreover, it will not be enough to implement this on your webpage, but with your app, videos, creatives, ads, and all other content as well.

Case study

For KhataBook, we leveraged the growth of regional content online and created close to 200-300 videos in regional languages across platforms. On TikTok, we partnered with influencers who created these videos for us, and their relatable content in different vernaculars, with a large focus on the top South Indian languages, helped us garner 1 million app downloads, making the campaign a huge success.

Online and offline integration

While traditional marketing shouldn’t be your sole approach to hacking your startup’s growth, it is not entirely redundant to your strategy. By using the strategy of online to offline attribution, a company can work to uniquely build a strong brand presence. 

Conclusion

Combining all these strategies and tools might seem daunting at first, but they’re a lot easier to implement, and don’t take as much time to get started with either. Seeing results will take a few months, but with steady optimisation and performance tracking, you’ll be knocking your goals out of the park in no time. All it takes is an analytical approach to see what works and what doesn’t, and then tweaking it over and over again as you watch the numbers rise.


3 evergreen marketing trends of the last decade

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 24 February , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Marketing is all around us. It is more than the ads we see plastered across billboards, the jingles on our radios, and the ads on our TVs. With new digital platforms mushrooming, marketing has definitely evolved over the first decade of the 21st century. Having said that, there are certain aspects of marketing that form the crux of it and have remained timeless essentials that work to build a brand. Here are three such trends:

1. Storytelling

The art of storytelling remains powerful and paramount in the world of marketing. Simply because stories serve as effective communication that consumers connect with. Things that move us, be it with humour, emotion, or anything else, leave an impact, and brands have been quick to grasp the many benefits of utilizing this. Using storytelling captures attention and reels people in to see the story through to the end. This increases brand recall, awareness, and more importantly a connection with a brand that consumers can identify with. 

This is best understood through stories of how some brands used engaging narratives to set the stage to pack an emotional or meaningful punch, or vox-pop videos to increase engagement. Be it the films that BMW launched in the early 2000s to showcase their cars or the recent Puma campaign on what it is to be a “proper” woman that used the stories of successful women like Mary Kom, Dutee Chand, Anjali Lama, and others, to celebrate and give expression to individuality and women empowerment. The common aspect of both these campaigns is effective storytelling that got the audience’s attention. This is an evergreen trend that will continue to be the most important aspect of marketing. 

Using storytelling to spread awareness on gender disparity - Wonderchef

Our #DearManHoldThePan social experiment campaign with WonderChef used impactful storytelling to address gender disparity, starting in the kitchen, between a woman’s role in the kitchen in comparison to that of a man. Cooking is an essential life skill that shouldn’t be gendered as a role, and this is the story we wanted to bring out. The video sees conversations with different men and women based on their real-life experiences, notably proving that women still bear the brunt of kitchen responsibilities. Garnering over 2 million combined views on Facebook and Instagram, the video went viral upon its launch, with scores of people coming forward in agreement. Our influencer campaign #IHeldThePan had the likes of Jay Bhanushali, Swapnil Joshi and 73 other such famous personalities speak up for the cause, proving that storytelling is not only a great way to showcase your creativity, but also guarantees results.

2. Influencer/word-of-mouth marketing

How many times have we tried a product just because a friend said it worked well for them? We all do this. Hearing from someone else that a certain product worked for them, or about an interesting ad that piqued their interest can do wonders for a brand. This is where influencer marketing comes into play and this type of word-of-mouth advertising has remained a strong driver for customer engagement. Brands have employed influencers and celebrities alike to promote their products for them. 

People follow these personalities as they can identify closely with them and want to be like them. Word of mouth creates an image of trust and reliability around the product and serves as first-hand product testimonies. 

Case in point, Himalaya facial wipes, which focused solely on marketing through word of mouth, employed influencers from a range of different niches - from lifestyle and fashion. These influencers used facial wipes and created engaging content on both their blogs and social media handles.  The content was eye-catching, tailored to the kind of followers each influencer had garnered. By exuding class through the product itself, and reliability through the firsthand nature of its marketing, their facial wipes were featured in images across the globe, helping them to amass a total impression of 10 lakh and a total engagement and clicks of 1.7 lakhs. 

Driving app installs and purchases through influencer marketing - Bewakoof

With the objective of connecting Bewakoof with the relevant audience, we partnered with 9 millennial influencers from across India on TikTok. We asked them to create content to promote Bewakoof’s merchandise, with a call-to-action encouraging viewers and followers to download the app. The videos used the popular method of displaying before and after transformations, showing them as their most stylish selves once they wore Bewakoof’s line of apparel. This word-of-mouth marketing drove engagement and helped Bewakoof achieve over 25,000 app installs and more than 750 conversions, with a great return on ad spends. These results drive home the fact that consumers are more likely to listen to people they look up to, who vouch for the reliability of a product.

3. Personalisation

As we mentioned before, people connect with brands more when they identify with them. One of the key ways to make that happen is by creating personalised content for audiences. It is a crucial part of the customer journey and the experience itself. This is why brands incorporate personalisation with three relevant and significant elements in their marketing strategies - geographic, demographic and language. Personalisation, as a trend has remained unchanging because of how fundamental it is in any campaign. Segmenting your audiences and showing them customised messaging based on their likes and interests can positively influence any campaign and the brand connect. Personalised design and content, too, play an integral role in delivering results.

With marketers having access to real-time data and AI coming into play, personalisation is going to become a lot more accurate, making the customer journey much more enjoyable if used the right way. 

Driving higher impact at a lower cost with testimonial ads - Sundaram 

In order to bring out the long-term rewards of investing in mutual funds, we helped Sundaram run ads that showcased the end results of doing so. We created ads with customized investment journeys for different audience segments. These ads displayed different visuals which implied that by investing in mutual funds, people could reach their financial goals to achieve their dreams. For example, we targeted travel enthusiasts who searched for travel and investment-related brands and competitor keywords by placing ads on travel sites. Similarly, we ran personalized ads for car enthusiasts who had also searched for investment-related keywords. In our targeting segments, we excluded audiences who searched for car parts, servicing or accessories to ensure relevant audiences saw the ads. To add to that, the ads used images customized for a better fit instead of generic stock images. This resulted in a staggering 91% increase in conversion rates, a 32% decrease in cost per lead, and a 39% increase in click-through rates. This goes to show that personalisation gets messages across better, with higher impact. 

So while this decade saw some great new marketing trends come up, only the methods that get to the heart of the matter and look at long-term gains really stick their landing. As the world around us changes, these techniques also evolve and grow to accommodate newer inputs. With a whole new decade upon us, marketing in 2020 will see new technologies unfurl and change the playing field, pulling brands to think out of the box. 

This article was originally published in Business Standard.


Three new ad targeting features introduced by Quora

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 16 October , 2019
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    • 2 min read

It is the Internet era where people consider Google to be the universal encyclopedia that has answers for every query under the sun. As much as users love browsing information, interactive platforms like Quora have made their way through the plethora of information available online. For the past decade, users have embraced Quora for the concept that common people can share their thoughts as answers. It has emerged as a powerful tool that brings like-minds together on common grounds for knowledge sharing. It has also grown as one of the best platforms to amplify your content and ads.

Recently, Quora has introduced three new targeting options for ads that advertisers can utilise to enhance customer engagement, with an interested and valued audience. Here are the three new features added to Quora.

                                                                  Source: Google

Keyword targeting

Advertisers can customise their Display Ads to a relevant audience depending on their history of content consumption. Targeting is based on the keyword search, or related questions read previously. Say, for example, let the keyword be ‘baby food chart’. If users search or read questions regarding baby food or nutrition, then Quora narrows down the target audience and displays your ads in their feed and question pages. Advertisers can target audiences who have typed in the keyword in their search or read related questions in the past 20 days. This feature enables advertisers to focus on the interested audience, thereby improving the number of leads.

Gender targeting 

Gender targeting paves the way for more specific targeting of ads. If your product is women-centric, like cosmetics, then you can opt to display your ads in the Quora accounts of women. Similarly, for products relating only to men, the same principle applies. You will be able to find this option under the demographic category in the ‘Ads Manager’ search box. This streamlines your ad spends on targeting the right users who are potential customers.

Browser targeting

If your ad pertains to any software that is useful for a particular browser, you can choose to target customers with respect to the browser that they are using. This is an add-on to the existing feature, in which Quora targets the users depending on the mobile and device usage.

It is always exciting to experiment on different ad platforms. Now is the time to leverage the interactive Q&A platform of Quora with the new features introduced for targeted customer engagement. Implement these latest strategies to accelerate lead generation through Quora and reap maximum benefits. 

 


Social Beat featured in Insights Success magazine

  • Administrator
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  • 8 April , 2019
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    • < 1 min read

Our co-founders, Suneil and Vikas Chawla, were recently featured in the March 2019 edition of Insights Success magazine, as part of “The Top Ten Mind-Blowing Corporate Media Solutions Provider”.

Digital solutions today are an indispensable part of any brand or company’s marketing mix. While there are several digital agencies in India, the founding brothers spoke in-depth about what sets Social Beat apart from their peers – a client-centric approach backed by creativity.

Suneil and Vikas opine that while multiple agencies are churning out impressive results, one of the biggest challenges facing India’s digital marketing landscape is attracting and retaining quality talent for both the creative and digital marketing areas. The other challenge lies in the dynamism of the landscape and its ever-changing trends. You can take a look at the top digital marketing trends in India that will shape 2019.

To overcome these challenges, the founders speak about adopting new technology for better solutions for their customers including influencer marketing platform Influencer.in and multilingual content marketing platform 22 Languages.

The duo also spoke in depth about Social Beat’s YouTube knowledge series – Digital Bytes that sheds light on current and upcoming digital marketing trends, as well as Social Beat’s book, “Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018” – that provides comprehensive insights into how brands today leverage the power of digital to intensify their marketing efforts.

The success of any company lies in the well-being of its employees. And Social Beat prides itself on creating an inclusive, transparent and empowering work-culture. The founders allude to creativity and enthusiasm running high throughout the organisation that has helped Social Beat grow from strength to strength since its inception six years ago.

Read the entire article on Social Beat: A Homegrown Digital Marketing Leader here.


7 reasons why your brand should have a digital-first marketing strategy

  • David Appasamy
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  • 5 November , 2018
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    • 5 min read

Are you still stuck in the paradigm of an offline marketing strategy with a 60-second TV commercial being your leading mode of communication, supported by print and outdoor advertising? If you are nodding your head in approval, you are being rapidly left behind by those who have adopted a ‘Digital-First’ marketing approach!

Brands are steadily transitioning from traditional advertising to digital marketing because of the higher reach, better engagement and increase in generating high-quality leads. Read on for the top seven reasons why your brand should adopt a digital approach.

Your prospects and customers are all online

With over 450 million Indians online today, your prospects and customers are spending more of their time online than ever before. And this number is slated to grow to 735 million online by 2021. Of these, 199 million will be English speaking, and 536 million language speaking, with over 70% of them accessing the Internet from a smartphone throughout the day. They are increasingly spending more time online than on any other medium. Is there a better way for your brand to engage with India’s next billion Internet users and reach the tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India as well?

A digital-first approach will mean a mobile-first approach for your brand’s digital assets

The online population accesses digital platforms over 150 times a day for various reasons including search. Additionally, 80% of Indian users use their phones to access the Internet. This only proves that it is imperative for your brand to adopt a mobile-first strategy to rank higher than your competitors and leave a stamp in the digital world. From accelerated mobile pages for lightning-fast speed to optimising your web pages for better visibility on a mobile search, you need to leverage a custom-made digital strategy with a mobile-first approach to reach your potential consumers. Everything starts with the recognition that your digital marketing assets need to be optimised for the way consumers are behaving online now and in the future.

We leveraged the speed of accelerated mobile pages for a landing page developed for India Home Health Care, a top provider of home nursing and related healthcare services. The page helped reduce the cost per lead by a whopping 33% with a 20% increase in conversions.



Your brand or business needs to be easily discoverable

How discoverable is your brand or business? Search Engine Optimisation today is very different from what it was a few years ago. Deep and relevant content, like pillar pages and other long-form content, which is easily discoverable and distributed across multiple platforms, or amplified using social media works well. Consumers today are information seeking, with a ‘discovery mindset’, using search many times a day for multiple purposes- both business and personal. So why not market your brand by making it rank on the most used search engine in the world? Featured snippets are a great way to increase brand visibility and drive organic traffic to your website.

This is exactly what we achieved for Casagrand – one of India’s leading property developers with a strong presence in the south. Their blog on the best places to invest in Bangalore got highlighted as a featured snippet with an image and a list of all the locations presented in the blog.

Being discoverable is a key result area for your digital marketing assets so that consumers find your brand when they are searching for something they need. From using SEO plugins for WordPress to leveraging local SEO and Google Maps for your business, ensure your brand gets the visibility it deserves.

The world's second largest search engine, YouTube, is also a great platform to reach your target audience on. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Online consumers want to engage, not have information thrown at them

Is your online communication primarily elements of your offline marketing campaign? If you have to spend to reach your target group with your advertising, what makes you think they will choose to come to your social media pages to see your ads? Instead, your online marketing campaigns must seek to engage consumers by rewarding them in some way with relevant communications on social media platforms. Make sure all your online assets are designed in such a way that they trigger engagement and ultimately result in conversions. You need to leverage the two-way communication model that digital platforms offer to understand what your audience finds intriguing and feed them with high-quality content that converts.  Read our blog on how a redesign strategy for Chola helped increase social engagement for more insights.

The most watched channel today is YouTube

YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world after Google with over 100 million Indian users watching YouTube videos every single day! To add to that, according to YouTube Brandcast 2018, 9 out of 10 users consume videos that are in regional languages. This means that you must have a strategy for YouTube that could involve videos on your YouTube channel, or advertising on YouTube to maximise impact. Your channel must be optimised with effective YouTube SEO tips for discoverability, and the videos disseminated on social media platforms. And your ads on YouTube can be optimised based on brand objectives including calls to action. What you cannot afford to do is be absent from a burgeoning channel teeming with users.

Showcasing your brand through engaging and informative videos on your YouTube channel is one of the most effective ways to reach potential consumers and widen your clientele. Social Beat’s YouTube channel features a section on “Digital Bytes”, where experts share their insights on the top digital marketing trends of the industry.

The rise of language content

With the introduction of affordable data plans by Reliance Jio and the drop in the prices of smartphones in India, Internet usage has seeped into the tier 2 and tier 3 regions of the nation. This has unlocked a huge database of online users waiting to be targeted. The only way to connect and convert with these users is by incorporating an end-to-end multilingual marketing approach in a language your consumer is comfortable in – which is exactly what we offer at 22 languages. With the growth of regional content online, we tailor-make a language roadmap for your brand from landing pages and website development to social media campaigns and search engine optimisation. The sooner you start, the faster you will become proficient in the use of language content and communications to grow your business.

For instance, we tapped the reach of vernacular content for Cholamandalam Finance by creating an engaging video about the financial life lessons you can learn from an ant. The English video reached 96,000 users with 3,113 shares. However, the same video in Hindi reached 2.3 million users with 80,524 shares, proving that going regional is the best way to increase your brand’s visibility and reach.

The ability to interact with consumers during the decision-making process

Today, digital platforms enable you to interact with consumers when they are in the decision-making process to positively influence their choice towards your brand. From information search, comparison of brands, to the sites they visit, consumers signal their intent with their digital footprint. They can be addressed during this process to move them down the marketing funnel to fulfillment. Affinity and custom intent audiences of consumers who have expressed their interest in certain kinds of products or services can also be addressed to get their attention at the top of the funnel. Your offline marketing efforts should drive people online to your content or messaging so that you can engage with them positively to influence their decision.

Keeping these fool-proof reasons in mind, it is time you shift from print to digital media and give your brand the launch pad it needs. Whether you are a leading real estate developer, a top FMCG brand, a renowned financial organisation or a celebrated B2B firm, unleash the power of going digital and take your business to towering heights.


Social Beat: Brand new identity, same bold promise

  • David Appasamy
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  • 14 March , 2018
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    • 4 min read

Over the five years since our inception, Social Beat has consistently pushed the envelope and stood at the helm of digital innovations. This relentless drive towards perfection has been a key factor in the successful business results we have achieved for each of our clients. But the digital landscape within which we operate is continuously changing and with it, so are we. As we progress from being a startup to a meaningful player in the digital ecosystem, we are charging head-first towards a phase of rapid growth and impactful creativity. To keep up with our constantly evolving nature, we have re-launched our brand identity to better reflect the values we strive to embody today. But while the overall look of our brand might have changed, our core promise remains the same: to achieve measurable milestones for our clients through ROI-driven digital marketing.

What sets us apart?

Social Beat today is a powerhouse of talent, creativity, strategy and innovation. With our vibrant 80-member team spread across our offices in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, we have the best resources to help brands meet their business objectives. With our unparalleled capabilities in the field, we can say with full confidence that no one understands the digital landscape of India better than us. Social Beat has several unique tools at our disposal to meet the challenges and potential of India’s consumer audience today.

As the importance of video marketing continues to grow, our expertise in creating engaging, insightful video content is one of our biggest strengths. With a talented in-house video team, we offer brands a special edge to capture the attention of their consumers. Influencer by Social Beat is one of our most important services, capitalising on the rapid emergence of influencer marketing. Through Influencer, we put brands in touch with key influencers in the category, helping them achieve greater brand awareness and trust. As tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India benefit from easier access to high-speed internet and low-cost phones, regional language marketing is crucial to help brands engage with India’s next billion internet users. This is why 22 Languages by Social Beat helps brands create engaging content for their audiences in the language they are most comfortable in. This focus on results through a comprehensive marketing strategy is perfectly encapsulated in our new brand identity.

The meaning behind our new brand identity

The new brand identity symbolises the progressive vision of our company. From the choice of contemporary fonts to the colours used, every aspect of the logo is an embodiment of the values, culture and innovative methods used by us. After weeks of brainstorming and ideation, our in-house creative team led by Creative Head Panisa Shah finally conceptualized a logo that was the best representation of all that our brand stands for. We adopted a clean, minimal and contemporary look to symbolise our progressive approach to digital strategy. Aside from our new logo, our brand relaunch also involves a redesign of the Social Beat website. In keeping with the minimalist theme, we are giving our website an uncluttered, clean layout that is captivating in its simplicity.

A journey through our logo

The brand new Social Beat logo is minimalistic and contemporary with clear-cut edges and a bold, yet refined design language that is reflective of our distinctive identity. It successfully captures our passion, energy, creativity and professionalism in a memorable way.

Every component of the logo has a symbolism of its own that throws light on the values, ethics and passionate spirit that defines who we are.

Solid colours with a rock-solid approach: The colour strategy behind the logo was to combine the enthusiastic vibe of orangish red with the reliability and expertise of royal blue. A typical day at Social Beat is replete with vibrant minds working towards reinforcing our clients’ trust and confidence in us. This is why we chose a vibrant red to represent our fresh ideas, passion, creativity and energy, while royal blue represents our dependability and trustworthiness.

Bettering the lettering: We opted for an uppercase, clean, sans-serif font to portray the professionalism we offer. The straight lines reiterate our commitment towards providing polished, masterful end-results for our clients.

Forward is the way to go: The forward arrows represent the result-driven business generation approach and the progressive vision of the company. We are constantly scouting for the latest trends in digital marketing to ensure that brands stay ahead of the curve.

Energetic, enthusiastic and youthful: The strategically placed flash symbol symbolises the energetic and dynamic nature of the team, driven by fresh ideas and new-age concepts.

Strategy comes full-circle: The circle encompassing the logo stands for the holistic digital marketing solution that Social Beat offers to each of our clients.

Our re-envisioned brand identity will accelerate us towards our goal of becoming amongst India’s top companies offering digital marketing solutions. This new identity resonates with our USP of boosting ROI for our clients across a variety of sectors like the finance industry, FMCG industry, real estate sector and more by being a holistic digital marketing partner. It's a brand new identity but the same bold promise!


How To Create Low Cost Videos To Tell Your Brand Story

  • Lalitha Shukla
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  • 25 July , 2016
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    • 4 min read

Who doesn’t love a good story? We, humans are inherent suckers for good stories. They make us feel happy, sad, motivated, joyous, angry and the way they touch us and impact our thoughts, nothing else can. There is a reason why we spend hours binge-watching series, or why we watch movies or bury ourselves in books. All of these mediums have one thing in common – stories! It’s all around us.

Storytelling is a very powerful communication tool and is probably the best way to build a brand. Brands that have made a mark and who stand apart today have been successful in telling their stories in the most unique manner. There is also an art to storytelling and when done right it can help you get exceptionally good results!

We are all aware of the classic ways of storytelling through words and images. Today, however, the trend has shifted towards videos. This holds true especially when applied to digital marketing. Videos are more powerful than simple imagery and are super illustrative; they are also easily memorable and allow creating a stronger bond between the brand and the audience.

Videos in digital marketing can prove to be extremely powerful & worthwhile for both brands and consumers. A lot of effort goes into conceptualizing & producing a video and it can prove to be quite costly. But today, there are a lot of ways in which you can create good quality videos with a low budget.

1. Opt for short videos to convey your message – Short videos go well with our hectic lives and concise attention spans. Also 70% of the smartphone users are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, thus, the crisper & briefer the content, the better it is. Youtube is not the only video-embracing platform available online. There is no dearth of video-centric platforms and 90% of these platforms are famous for hosting short-form videos. Instagram, Vine and many other channels today host videos including Facebook & Twitter. The world’s first Instagram trailer was released back in 2013 for the movie Jobs which was a 15 second packed video with dramatic music, slow-motion shots of Ashton Kutcher reciting inspiring dialogs about eccentric, misfit rebels. It's almost like the first full theatrical trailer for the movie, except shorter.

Creating short-form videos is all about how creative you can get in less than a minute. These videos are streamed to viewers on a range of platforms that increases the reach exponentially. They are also far more successful and have wider reach because they are “snackable” in nature and easier to consume and producing them costs far lesser than creating a long video.

2. Smartphones are the best chattels–It’s not necessary to film a video with the help of high-end equipment & lights. Your best asset is in your pocket – your smartphone. As a brand, it might come across as a ridiculous idea but it actually is a very cost-effective & quick way of creating videos. It is not necessary to get engulfed in creating huge budget videos. You can convey your story through an excellent video shot on your smartphone or tablet (of course with a good quality camera)

 

 3. Your script is paramount –The script plays a huge role in the video as well. The content should be clear and precise with no ambiguity. The video holds no power if the visuals are perfect and the content is lacking. Both are of great importance. Thus, make sure you get your script right first. If you choose to outsource the production of a video inclusive of the conceptualization, it will cost you a substantial amount of money. However, if you decide to prepare the script beforehand then it might save you time & money. There are also affordable marketplaces from where you can subcontract video productions and these come at a remarkably low cost.

 4. Affordable online marketplaces – The internet is a great place to find the solution for your woes, and this case is no different. There are some really affordable marketplaces like Fiverr.com that has professionals from all over the world who can help create the video of your choice at really affordable prices starting from 5$. All you have to do is describe how you want your video to be and they’ll get it done for you within a matter of 24-48 hours. The system is commendable and you get what you seek for at really good rates.

 

5. DIY Videos – However, if you do not wish you outsource your videos then there is also an option to create your own videos with readily available online tools. Even beginners can create videos like a pro! Example of such websites include Videoscribe, Animoto, Sparkol. With Videoscribe and Sparkol you can create amazing whiteboard style animation videos. Animoto is inclined towards servicing users who are looking for a really simple way to create a video. All you need to do is select images and upload them with soundtracks provided by the tool.

With these tips, you can surely make the right impression with your videos. To make an amazing video all you need is an idea, a good script and the right tools. Gone are the days where we had to buy expensive video equipment! With the development of technology, you can create the perfect video for your brand at an affordable rate!

For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.


How can brands market themselves in the digital age?

  • David Appasamy
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  • 13 July , 2016
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    • 4 min read

Much has already been said and written about managing brands: creating awareness and loyalty, refreshing them, launching brand extensions successfully and increasing revenues from a brand’s franchise year after year. Companies like P&G and Unilever honed this to a fine art and became sought after employers by eager MBAs raring to manage brands.

This was when the television commercial and its production was the high point of months of research, mapping, positioning and creative options. Print and outdoor media supported the core TV effort, while promotions drove an increase in sales through value offer to encourage brand switch and sampling by new users. It was always about using mass media to build brand image, and influence the audience to buy a brand based on promised benefits and lifestyle cues.

The disruption of the Internet

With the advent of the Internet and digital content, many things changed fundamentally. The Internet was mass media, but in a very different way: instead of being a ‘one-to-many’ communication (broadcast) that was information push, the Internet offered the chance of engaging (conversations) with many in an interactive manner. For it is a ‘many-to-many’ medium, with users generating content as they engage with each other.

The nature of the medium itself changed how brands reach out to audiences:

  • From brand message to rewarding the viewer

Digital marketing is, in a sense, permission marketing. How would you like it if a brand manager came in and put up a poster on your living room wall? Yet, when we advertise on Facebook, that is what we are doing in a sense! Their ‘walls’ belong to the users, not Facebook, not you. So if you’re going to be there, then you better reward them in some way: with a great story, with humour, with new information, with emotion or a new idea - commonly known as content marketing. It not only has to be worth their while to view, it must earn that place on their wall. And if it does, they will, in turn, share it on their friends’ walls like it was their own.

One example is this video by the BBC on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.

  • From awareness to the audience owning the message

It is no longer about just pushing out information on a brand or product and building its image based on benefits and lifestyle cues. It’s about engaging with audiences and starting conversations.

In the nineties, as the Internet spread and broadband began to proliferate, BMW was doing a big push into the US market which was then dominated by Mercedes. But BMW did not have the financial strength and budgets that Mercedes had on conventional media. The spread of broadband was an opportunity that BMW capitalized on with the famous BMW films. Only, instead of commercials on mass media, they produced short films by well-known directors starring Clive Owen and other stars based on the storyline. Central to each film and a star in its own right was, of course, a BMW: BMW Star and BMW Ticker.

In all, some ten films were produced over a three-year period and went viral quickly. The viewers it was aimed at, a younger, highly successful, independent thinking audience as compared to the older Benz traditionalists, owned the films and shared them widely with their peers. The result was electric, with BMW’s sales in the US surging without having to spend on mass media.

  •  From mass messaging to personal engagement

In the days of conventional marketing, it was all about the message. Consumer research threw up problem statements and provided insights, based on which, brands were tweaked. Then came the all important messaging based on the problem that was being addressed. At all times, the communication was from the brand to its audience; one to many; a one way communication. Creativity played an important role as audiences were being bombarded with thousands of messages a day, from when they awoke to when they went to sleep. The power of an idea is what got the brand past the filter of the mind through relevance and originality-enough to get their attention. Still, it was one more message that they absorbed, with the outcome still in doubt!

With the Internet, everything changed. Ideas are still important, as is creativity, to reward the audience for viewing the message and provoking them to engage with the brand. This starts a conversation, and the beginning of building a relationship with the audience that relates to the brand based on the idea. The idea must reward the reader or viewer in some way: either through humour, or by giving them information of value they were unaware of, or by simply capturing their imagination in a sociable way.

Like this Nike ad which uses Messi as a role model.

In conclusion:

Large media houses do not own the Internet, its users do. They not only ‘own’ it, they initiate its use according to their convenience. Their use of the Internet, depending on time of day and context, can be to consume the news, network with friends, send emails, work or entertain themselves. A single medium serves to satisfy all their needs depending on time or context. A good marketer knows what kind of message to reach to them, when and in what context, always keeping in mind that the message must earn its place on their walls with relevance and reward them. Done well, it will gain their ‘ownership’, so they share it with their friends.


Most definitive guide to managing comments on social media

  • Rohit Uttamchandani
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  • 6 July , 2015
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    • 13 min read

Social media is two-way communication

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses and helps them stay connected to, and build a strong relationship with, their target audience. The best part of social media is that it's not just limited to one-way brand communication – it allows customers to get in touch with and interact with brands as well,  giving brands (who are active listeners on social media) invaluable customer feedback, which they can plug back into their products and services to build better consumer experiences.

However, this two-way communication, if not managed properly can be more of a bane than a boon and can end up causing considerable damage to the brand's reputation.

The guide to social media response management

Research shows that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions. Also, BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey 2014 says that 85% of consumers read up to 10 online reviews before they can trust a brand. Hence the effectiveness with which you manage your comments could have a great impact on your business.

Here’s a detailed guide to social media comments management – monitoring, responding and managing comments on your social media profiles. Since the guide is a little over 3000-word beast, we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Infographic – Social media response management
  2. Tools for social media listening and monitoring
  3. Managing Negative Comments on Social Media
  4. Managing Positive Comments on social media
  5. Managing inappropriate comments and trolls
  6. The perils of automated social media responses
  7. Social media response management metrics
  8. The Social Media Response Management Team
  9. Tools for managing social media comments at scale

 

Infographic – Social media response management


Tools for social media listening and monitoring
You should always be keeping a close watch on your brand mentions on social media and anywhere else on the web. Apart from this, it is also important to keep track of industry conversations to stay updated on what your competitors are doing.Here are 5 social media monitoring tools that will help you listen on and and keep track of your brand mentions:Entry-level toolsThese are free tools most suited for bootstrapped startups and small businesses:HootsuiteHootsuite is one of the best free social media management tools available. It allows you to monitor Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Wordpress blogs and a plethora of other networks and sites, depending on the plan you have. The free plan allows you to manage up to three social profiles.Hootsuite allows you to create streams to search for specific keywords and hashtags to keep your finger on the pulse of the social world. You can respond to these comments and mentions from within the platform itself.Google Alerts

Google alerts is a free tool to monitor mentions of your brand anywhere on the web. You can setup alerts for various queries – your brand name, competitors, industry specific keywords etc. and Google Alerts will send you emails notifying you whenever any of these keywords you specified was mentioned online.

You can even set the frequency of notifications to get notifications for every mention, or as a daily or weekly digest.

Mid-level tools

These are paid tools and are best suited for SMEs and mid-sized businesses.

Mention

Mention allows you to monitor in real-time any mentions of your brand not just on social networks but anywhere on the web. Like Hootsuite, it also allows you to connect your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to your alerts and react instantly from within the application itself.

Mention has some interesting setup features which allow you to include specific keyword matches and also exclude keywords that may be irrelevant to your brand. This helps get rid of the noise coming from homonyms and spam. Another interesting feature is that it also flags comments from Twitter or Facebook users who are influential so you can take them up on priority.

Pricing starts at 29 Euros/month

Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a social media listening and analytics solution that helps you discover the conversations around your brand on the web and turn data insights into actionable business decisions.

Brandwatch has a pro package for small and medium brands and an enterprise package for larger brands

High-end tools

These are enterprise level solutions and would work best for big brands with a well-established brand presence

Meltwater

Meltwater is a media monitoring and media intelligence platform used by big global companies like HSBC, HP and Nike. It monitors your media content from all over the web, scans billions of conversations and helps you filter out what’s relevant and important, with meaningful metrics.

It also helps you get to the right audience by finding and building relationships with key influencers.

 

Managing Negative Comments on Social Media

Managing negative comments is one of the most critical parts of social media comment management as it involves responding to customers who are at best unhappy and at worst frustrated or livid with your product or service.Here are twelve steps to effectively deal with and respond to negative comments and reviews on social media:

Do not ignore/delete

Deleting a genuine negative comment (trolls are an exception) is never a good thing to do on social media as it straightaway raises questions on the brand’s integrity. It may also stoke the customer’s anger and frustration and cause him to post a flurry of negative comments on various platforms, which may eventually boil over into an uncontrollable crisis-like situation. There are also good chances that the comment may have already been seen and possibly even saved as a screenshot by other customers.

Below is an example of what could happen if a you ignore a comment on your social media pages:

Respond ASAP

It is best to respond as quickly as possible to negative comments. Irate customers generally lack patience and expect quick resolution of issues. Undue delays could only make matters worse. The ideal time could vary from up to 24 hours for sectors such as real estate to 30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.

Here’s an example of a quick reply from Flipkart within an hour of the comment being posted:

Apologize first & acknowledge the error

Always begin the comment with a polite and courteous apology. This gives the brand a human face and also shows any other readers that the brand does not shy away from accepting errors when they do happen that once in a while.

Here’s another example from Flipkart:

Ask for more info, where required

Sometimes, frustrated customers may not give all the info that may be required to help sort out the issue. In such cases, it is best to politely request them for the info and, where possible, also tell them why this info is required to help quickly resolve the issue.

Here’s an example of Amazon asking for more info:

Be transparent

As a brand, it is important to be absolutely transparent and not make it seem to the customer that the brand is trying to cover up for the error

Give an explanation, where required

If there is a genuine reason for the issue, do not hesitate to communicate the same to the customer. However, ensure that the explanation is succinct and to the point. Irate customers are definitely not in the frame of mind to read stories. Also, ensure that the tone doesn’t seem like the brand is giving an excuse for the error.

Be absolutely honest – it pays

Lying about a fact or trying to hide facts is the worst mistake a brand can make. In the social world, lies get caught quickly and can cause the issue to snowball into a bigger one. Being honest on the other hand strengthens the brand reputation and builds trust, especially when the comment thread is viewed by other users.

Make it fun and interactive

Sometimes, making the conversation fun and interactive can go a long way in not only resolving the issue but also ensuring customer delight. Here's an excellent example:

Reassure them

For issues that might take a while to get resolved, it is best to notify them of action being taken as well as be proactive in giving them constant updates of the progress. This would help reassure them that their issue is being looked into and will definitely get resolved in due course

Offer an incentive, where applicable

One of the best ways to quickly turn an unhappy customer to a happy one is to offer an incentive. For ecommerce businesses, for example, this could be a coupon code for their next purchase, a reduction in price on the current one or even a complete waiver of the cost, where the situation seems appropriate.

Go private, if necessary

It may be prudent to take the conversation private in some cases. This could be either because of platform limitations, such as the 140 character limit on twitter or cases where the situation demands that the issue be taken out of the spotlight.

Here’s a good example of Hilton hotels taking the matter offline:

However, in such cases, once the issue is resolved in private, it is a best practice to close the issue on the social media comment thread as well, so other users know that the brand has responded and sorted out the issue.

Keep your cool – Be polite at all times

Irritated customers may get emotional and be downright rude, but it is imperative that you, as a brand representative, must keep your cool, not take things personally and reply with an absolutely calm state of mind.

Update and close

Always ensure that the comment thread has been updated once the issue is resolved, so that the same is visible to other customers glancing through the thread, while in the process of making a purchase decision.

On a closing note, each case of a negative comment would be different and would require a different handling of the situation. It is important that the team handling social media response management is trained to be able to judge correctly and rightly use their discretion in dealing with customer issues.

 

Managing Positive Comments on social media

Thankfully the two-way communication on social media is not only about negative comments. There are happy customers out there as well who are so overjoyed by your product or service that they revert with positive feedback of their experience.It is just as important, if not more, to reply to these positive comments, as it is to reply to negative comments. This could help turn those fans into loyal brand evangelists which could work wonders for your business.

Here are some key points to keep in mind while responding to positive comments and reviews:

Thank them

The bare minimum that is required while responding to a positive social media comment or review is to thank the customer for the feedback to acknowledge and appreciate the effort

Avoid canned, template-like responses

Canned template-like responses, like a standard “Thank you for feedback. We really appreciate your effort”, take away the brand’s human side and do not build a relationship with the customer.  These are best avoided.

Personalize

The response to every positive review must be personalized – addressing the customer by their name is a bare minimum. The more personalized the response is the more elated the customer would feel and this increases the chances of not only turning them into loyal customers but also evangelists for the brand.

Encourage them to visit again

Always encourage your customers to come back and bring their friends along as well. This helps build a long-term relationship with them.

Here’s an example of Raintree hotels, a popular hotel chain, interacting with a fan, who had left a comment on their post on Mangalorean cuisine:

Relay the feedback

If the comment or review mentions names of staff the customer was particularly impressed with, do mention that you will relay the feedback to staff member concerned. And do actually relay the feedback – you will make the staff member’s day as well!

Request reviews on other platforms

Where applicable, it might make sense to request the customer to leave a review on other platforms as well. For example, for the hospitality sector this could be Zomato or TripAdvisor while for local businesses, it could be a review on the Google Local Business page.

Leverage the feedback

Positive customer feedback can be showcased as testimonials on your website as well as promoted across your social media channels. This is the best way to leverage these reviews and make the most of them to help build consumer trust in your brand.

Here's an excellent example:

 

Managing inappropriate comments and trolls

The world is filled with different kinds of people and so is the social universe. You will invariably come across that one-off customer who just wants to create an issue where none honestly exists, or who is plain interested in causing trouble.It is best to verify their claims first and once it is confirmed that they are baseless, the best response strategy would be to ignore the troll, as engaging in conversation with them would only encourage them to troll further – these are people who generally enjoy the attention they get this way. The comment could be deleted at a later point in time, once the troll has moved elsewhere to seek attention.

On occasions though, at the discretion of the team in charge of managing social media comments, it may be appropriate to craft a tactical response to silence the troll and put him in place by stating the inaccuracies in his facts. This helps maintain transparency and may deter other trolls as well.

 

The perils of automated social media responses
Although auto-responders can help manage social media comments at scale and reduce the response time by a huge margin, when they go wrong they can go wrong terribly. Though automated response management tools are getting better at analyzing comments and responding appropriately, they still can’t make sense of things the way humans do. They can’t add a human touch to the response either.

Here are some examples of automated social media response bloopers:

 

 

Social media response management metrics

You can’t manage what you cannot measure. Here are three key metrics to help you figure out how you’re faring when it comes to managing comments on your social media channels.Average First Response Time

The average response time can be calculated by taking the average of all the individual response times for each post. These can be calculated as the time difference between the first response to the customer comment and the time the comment was posted

The ideal response time would vary from industry to industry - ranging from about 24 hours for industries like real estate to 15-30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.

Average Time to Resolution

The average time to resolution is the time taken from the opening of a comment thread to the time the issue is resolved and the thread is closed. This will depend on the type and gravity of the issue and may vary from a few hours to a few days or even weeks in some cases. In these cases, it is important to keep the customer constantly updated on the progress.

Average number of replies to resolution

This is the total number of interactions it takes to resolve the issue. This number should ideally be one. However, this is seldom the case and the average tends to be a lot of higher.

 

The Social Media Response Management Team
Given the importance that managing social media comments has on your business in the long-term, it is extremely important to have a designated trained team in place for response management.Role of the response management team:This team will have to be trained to

  • Use one or more of the social media listening tools mentioned above to constantly keep track of any comments, feedback or brand mentions
  • Confidently evaluate the brand comments/mentions and respond appropriately
  • Use, where required, one of the tools listed below to manage comments and mentions at scale.

Outsourcing social media response management:

If you do not have an in-house team for managing comments and you don’t want to take the trouble of hiring and training, you can always explore the option of outsourcing this to an agency specialized in social media or in customer response management. The agency would normally listen for mentions and respond to comments and consult you for any customer response information they may need from your end. They would also normally send you reports covering response metrics to evaluate your performance as well as sentiment metrics to evaluate how people feel about your brand.

 

Tools for managing social media comments at scale

For big brands, especially in sectors such as ecommerce, where customer engagement is high, the number of mentions, comments and reviews across channels and platforms may become difficult to keep track of, and reply to, without a software solution in place.Thankfully, there are quite a few online customer support softwares and help-desk solutions to help you streamline your social media response management process and keep your customers happy.

Here’s a list of the 5 best customer support softwares you could choose from. All of them offer a free trial - so you can try a couple of them that you think would work best for you and evaluate which one you could go ahead with.

Desk

Desk.com is Salesforce’s customer support software solution. It is mainly targeted to small and medium businesses but is also powerful and comprehensive for large enterprises. It can be integrated with over 50 applications including Mailchimp, Cyfe, Shopify and Trello

Pricing:

The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 30/month, billed annually.

Zendesk

Founded in 2007, Zendesk is probably the largest cloud-based customer service platform available with over 50,000 companies as clients. It can be integrated with most content management systems, customer relationship management tools, and web apps – the number of apps that can be integrated with its API exceeds 300.

Pricing:

Its base plan starts at USD 1 per agent per month (billed annually), while the regular plan costs USD 25/month (billed annually),

Freshdesk

Founded in 2010, Freshdesk has scaled up quickly to become a major player in the space, with over 40,000 customers.

Apart from being able to be integrated with 70+ popular applications, Freshdesk is also tightly integrated with Google Apps including Analytics, Contacts, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, and Gmail. These enable a slew of additional capabilities including the ability to schedule customer calls, attach large files to tickets, and much more.

Pricing:

Freshdesk is the only tool on this list that offers a freemium solution – with a free forever plan for up to 3 agents.

Kayako

Founded back in 2001, Kayako was one of the original pioneers of the multichannel helpdesk and the first to bring the helpdesk to the cloud. Apart from its cloud-based customer support solution, Kayako also offers a downloadable on-premise, self-hosted solution for Windows users.

Pricing:

The base plan starts at USD 24/month, billed annually.

Happyfox:

Happyfox is not as big a company as the ones listed above, but it is quite popular for its absolute ease of setup and no-nonsense user interface.

Pricing:

The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 19/agent/month, billed annually.

 

Is there anything else about managing comments on social media that you'd like to know or have any questions on? Do reach out to us in the comments below. Have any experiences to share? We'd love to hear from you!


Pure offline business adopting the internet

  • Suneil Chawla
  • |
  • 4 May , 2013
  • |
    • 3 min read

Offline and Online : Getting the mix right

The recent Havell's advertisement "Havaa Badlegi" aptly sums up many of the changes we are seeing in Indian Businesses today. Entire industries are beginning to get disrupted by technology and innovation. While businesses have been doing things the same way for decades, the drastic changes in the landscape, both globally and in India, have prompted many senior executives to relook at their digital strategy. While some industries have already seen massive changes in the last 5 years, for some industries, the next 5 years are going to be even more impactful.

Sectors where we have seen significant impact already

Offline Retailers: Offline Book retailers have been one of the first casualties of the ecommerce space. With a standardised product and ease of shipping, ecommece players have undercut book prices to take away a large chunk of the book market. Similarly, mobiles and small gadget sales are growing significantly online. Apart from sales, pre-purchase research online now plays a decisive role, where one recent survey showed over 80% of urban consumers now look up for research online prior to buying a mobile. Window shopping at stores and then going online to buy has prompted many large players in the US to shut shop. We haven't seen a similar impact in India as yet, but this shift from offline to online is irreversible.

Travel Booking: Travel booking for nearly all segments - flights, trains, buses, taxis and now even Autos in some cities, have seen significant market share being taken by online players. While holiday booking has some strong online players (e.g. SOTC, Thomas Cook and regional players like Raj Travels), online travel companies are now going aggressively after the holiday market. Expect more people to book their holiday packages online in the near future. As per a report by the IAMAI, over 80% of online commerce is travel related, reaching Rs.15000 Crores in 2012 and growing at a staggering 40% annually.

Recruitment / Hiring: Technology has changed the way someone searches for a job. From mass market sites like Naukri to Linkedin and Referring friends for jobs on Facebook, technology disrupted the way the 1990's head hunter worked. The HR agencies adopted to add value on top of these platforms instead of taking them head on, ensuring profitable growth. Due to the smart repositioning by off-line players, Online portals account for only 3% of the $250M market, while still playing a critical role in the ecosystem.

Upcoming sectors where technology will drive change

Education: Elearning has been a buzz word for a while, but there have been no large education companies which have nailed learning in India. Schools have changes, with smart blackboards, digital media lessons and online report cards, but the fundamental way of teaching and learning has not really shifted. On the other hand, globally, there are companies really breaking out. Successful examples include Coursera which allows anyone to take a virtual class from the best universities in the world on a wide range of topics to Codecademy, where one can learn computer programming. These global companies are seeing traction, even from Indian consumers. Some Indian players like Sikkim Manipal University have started initiatives like the EMBA course. It won't be too long before innovations in elearning change the way we learn.

Healthcare: Hospitals and Doctors in India are being swamped by the number of patients. While the leading hospitals and chains have invested a lot in technology, seamless connect with the patients pre-treatment and post-care is missing. New initiatives like booking a doctor appointment online to storage of reports on the cloud are seeing traction amongst the more adaptable medical organisations. Read our Healthcare Digital Marketing Case Study.

In our upcoming blogs, we shall discuss more about the options you have in your industry to adapt and lead the digital revolution.


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