Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: The Curious Digital Marketer 2.0

The Curious Digital Marketer 2.0 - A cool book on Digital Marketing; that's what I will say about this one. A very practical guide without much textbook type theories and definitions. It is very practical in nature. It's written in a Q&A format with a good range of questions that will come to a marketer in the industry or just starting her career. 

It touches almost all aspects of digital marketing from display advertising to analytics to social media marketing. The beauty of this book is that it captures the essence of each channel as questions yet covers the practical aspects of them.

Only drawback I see is - it's more India centric; so someone outside the Indian geography may find few data points irrelevant.I got the most value out of mobile marketing section.The book is also available at a reduced price in ebook format. One area that I thought the book could have done more justice is going into the details of paid marketing and some of the new buzzwords like programatic buying and real time bidding. 

Overall a good refresher and ready-reckoner for a digital marketing professional and worth keeping in your personal library!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How well is your advertising mix doing?

This is a daunting question that bothers every marketer. Which channel to use and which nurturing sequence to use is a topic well dealt with in marketing theory. With advent of digital channels that offer an opportunity of better accountability, the proposition of budget allocation becomes an interesting topic to look at. Since the ecosystem involves a gamut of vendors specializing in various media; providing credit often becomes the challenge. For example, the Pay Per Click vendor claims credit based on their clicks alone. However before reaching to the click, the user may have seen an ad (for which, the credit goes to may be a CPM), before which she may have seen an organic search result (or which, the credit goes to SEO manager) and so on. The domain of marketing attribution tries to tackle this challenge by providing fractional credits of these channels. The wonder kid in digital world - cookie enables a marketer with this. Many vendors playing this space are even trying incorporate offline channels like a trade show with the online channels.

So what exactly is marketing attribution? As per wikipedia , it is  is the process of identifying a set of user actions that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. Last click attribution often provided by all vendors is the common one. The second type of attribution is fractional attribution in which we provide various weights to each channel -- this could be in simple terms such as based on budget or resource allocation. However various companies playing the attribution space have come up with proprietary algorithms to assign the conversion weights.These days, even free tools like Google Analytics provide a significant level of attribution capabilities.

Here are some of the resources to understand better about this topic --

Digital Analytics Guru, Avinash Kaushik's blog post series
Introductory ebook by Visual IQ (One of the major market players in this space)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

MOOC - Lifetime learning

It has been long since I blogged something here. Lot's have been happening in life - change the personal status from single to married :) , moved to a new city and finally moved to a new company - this time to a small one working on an exciting challenge of marketing attribution. Hoo hoo! too much flux to handle. So far life has been kind enough to me with not many BIG surprise though it continues to be an enjoyable roller-coaster ride! 

An education like MBA makes you even more thirsty to continue to learn. Now that I have KINDA settled, have started to do courses in MOOCs. We very well know the number of such MOOCs have exploded recently. But this is even more good news for a learner as each of these MOOC come up with some uniqueness in terms of either the themes they offer or teachers they bring in. Some of the ones that I have learnt from and recommend are

I am now exploring one such MOOC called Open2Study; already completed few of them and currently doing User Experience for the Web

Have you used MOOCs? Which of them do you recommend?

By the way, I am planning to continue this blog by writing more about marketing and strategy topics; hope and wish I will manage it. Let me know your opinion. Read the series @ Marketing Chalk :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Curious Case of Self-Help Books

Lately, I have been reading a lot of books -especially self-help books :) Its actually fun to read those ;). For example, the latest one that I read was by Prof. Clayton Christen of Harvard Business School titled How Will You Measure Your Life?

A Harvard Business Review article with the same title was introduced to me during one of MBA elective classes. The article was just amazing that I was eagerly waiting to read his book. While I agree that he has done justice to the book, it was no as powerful as the article! That brought a thought to mind about how the self-help books are written (at least those I have read…)

Often, I feel Calvin was completely right on target :)

Calvin and Hobbes on writing Self Help books

In any self-help book, the author tries to

  1. Convince you that there are problems and its better to tackle those
  1. Convince that you are not alone in facing those problems; its universal
  2. While the problems may not be due to your fault; there is wide scope to improve
  1. The book gives sure short answers on how to tackle them

Lately, I have even seen many authors out rightly suggesting #4 in the above list is not possible and the book will only help you to think :)

My inquisitive mind suggested to read some of the old books on this topic - like those which are decades or hundreds' of years old - like the ones written by Dale Carnegie or James Allen. In one of our MBA elective courses on career management, we even went as deep as discussing the thoughts of philosophers like Socrates and Epicurus. It was fun :)

I believe if we see the modern books on self-help and happiness, earlier authors' and philosophers' thoughts are camouflaged in one way or the other as if they are writing it for the first time. May be the most value add is these authors make it so simple while the early philosophers'' thoughts were very deep. Considering these, I would think the essence of all these books or rather the best thoughts are --

  1. Don't whine about your situation
  2. Decide on priorities and move on
  3. If the course of action you took is not delivering results; just try another one

I am sure your immediate question would be - what if we keep failing on the courses of action we take? Just keep trying :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Content Marketing Buzz...

Inbound marketing was a buzzword in the world of marketing few years ago. These years, it is content marketing. So what is the difference between the two? I would consider content marketing as the back bone of inbound marketing. Without content, more or less - there is no inbound marketing. Recently I attended a webcast by David Waterman on whether Content Marketing is a hype. The speaker argued that its not a hype unless you make it one. I tend to agree with him. We have been doing the content marketing for years now; just that we were not calling it that name (I used to hear similar one for cloud computing). Content comes in different channels - whether it is your blogs or tweets or your communities. With the advent of content sharing platforms like slideshare, vimeo and others, a marketer is bogged down with content channels to reach their audience. I would consider going back to the drawing board and consider only those channels which the target audience utilizes. For example, of you are targeting the hard core programmers - listening to stackoverflow or quora would be the likely right channels rather than linkedin groups. There is no point in being in every digital channel and finding it difficult to update each one with the limited resources we have. Here is an interesting read where professionals at Content Marketing Institute argues the differences between the two and why content marketing is beyond digital medium.

One channel that continues to be effective is the blog. While the speaker in the webcast opined that we need to provide the conversion paths in the content we create; I would consider the content marketing is still widely optimal to create the buzz, improve the credibility and help to enter the prospect's consideration set.

Providing valuable insights in the blog or slideshare are always considered fruitful both from inbound marketing perspective, the Google juice and search perspectives. When it comes to enterprise content marketing, the wider the employees utilize the social channels, the higher the possibility of reach and conversions. Nowadays, organizations have started building social enterprises with one of the objectives being these. For an employee, this also helps to create the personal brand.

Friday, March 15, 2013

de doux souvenirs - Sweet memories from IIMB life

Some UN-forgettable Moments
  • When I met in person Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
  • When I got 4/4 GPA in my elective course Elements of Management Consulting
  • When I sat along with the Director and a Chief Guest and participated in a short discussion on a company's international aspirations!
  • When I received scolding from the Director for something I was not directly responsible for (It was a Déjà vu from good old Engineering days :))
  • At 1 AM when the group had no idea what to present the next day; Perumal (a group member) suggests an idea and later it becomes the insight for the classes applauded by Professor :)
  • At 4 AM, the group fighting on formatting issues of a project report after daunting discussions and heated arguments :)
  • Creating a presentation while the Professor is teaching and presenting to the class after the lecture and getting appreciation from the Professor ;) ;)
  • When I became the Secretary of Students' Council

Some events I wish never happened!  
  • Burning few bridges and loosing a good mentor and friend over petty issues and ego clashes :(
  • Screwing up during an important public facing event
Some Lessons learn-t the hard way!
  1. There is no such thing as 'free lunch'
  2. It doesn't matter how much you deserve; all that matters is how much luck is with you
  3. Be assertive; need not be aggressive; most of the time no harm in being aggressive also!
  4. You can learn any number of leadership theories; it takes experience to become one!
  5. It's OK to be little selfish!; there is no such thing as utilitarian thought though they teach about it a lot event in B Schools...
Few things I missed during B School life
  • International Exchange Program
  • Hostel Life
  • I thought I will become fluent in Hindi at least here; but didn't happen :)
 Some Professors whose classes I enjoyed the most
Some courses that kept me on my toes everyday
 Some courses I wish I never took!
  • Telecom Strategy
  • Quantitative Methods II (Operations Research, LPP etc.)
  • Management Control Systems
  • Services Marketing

Some courses I wish I studied more seriously!
  • Corporate Finance
  • Quantitative Methods I

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: The Wall Street MBA by Reuben Advani

I bought the first edition of The Wall Street MBA by Reuben Advani and this review is predominantly based on it. In the second edition few more chapters are added on Real Estate, Currency and Commodities. But I don't think there is any significant changes in the already existing content.

Overall a good read! a nice refresher for those in the field and a good introductory discussion for those new to the field. But don't get fooled by the title; it is NOT a crash course on corporate finance (well, I can see the author has changed that sub title in the latest edition). I felt this book to be more a refresher for financial accounting as half the book is written about FINAC. I must admit the first half is a thorough piece! When it came to the actuals of CORP FIN; its more a mere introduction on layman's vocabulary that we can get easily from the internet.

The coverage given on topics like Ratio Analysis, Cost of Capital and Financial Statements is exhaustive. I expected more on bonds, derivatives and some stuff on i-banking as the title suggests :P

Overall a good introductory and refresher type book!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review - Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

I think its very hard to read classics let alone write reviews about them. First of all if you have not read a book that is there for decades - you missed big time (unless you are from the young breed reading books one by one :P). Secondly, you would have heard from friends, lectures and other books to the extend that you may think the book content is repetitive!

Having said that and taken a bail :) my honest opinion after reading the book was that it had no 'aha-aha' moment. All it says is that change is inevitable and learn to move on!

The beauty of the book I believe is how Dr. Spenser has put forth his thoughts. The book could be read in half an hour; however the content resonates once you start to reflect yourself. The book essentially talks about the fact that we should not get lazy and fall into a comfort zone once we find some success. As per the book success is not everlasting; we have to change according to the circumstances; there is no point in thinking an 'auto-switch' for recovery will be enacted!

A quick read especially when your are emotionally down that will help you to rejuvenate and move on. I really liked the simplicity with which he has written the book!. A good summary is available in wikipedia with the key take-aways.

When I read the book, some of the thoughts I read in S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move On)by Paul McGee resonated well :)