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Showing posts from 2016

Ads of Flipkart Assured against Amazon Prime – how do they stack up?

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The Trio in Indian eCommerce market - Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal have been trying hard to not only keep its market share, but also get an additional pie out of it. In fact, the Indian companies, Flipkart and Snapdeal have been struggling to keep their game up against the giant, Amazon. In a market that goes behind discounts and offers, these eCommerce giants are trying to vow prospective customers with an additional offering - premium services that offers various additional features such as faster delivery, guaranteed quality and access to exclusive deals. If we rewind a bit, before these premium services, it was all about the prompt delivery promise (with Flipkart Advantage and Amazon Fulfilled). Later it was all about the quality and no-fake products value propositions. In July 2016, Flipkart revamped its Advantage offering and changed to Flipkart Assured (F Assured) program. As per a recent article in The Economic Times, this is expected to help the company compete against Amaz…

Book Review - Are You Ready to Succeed? by Prof. Srikumar Rao

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The book, Are You Ready to Succeed? by Prof. Srikumar Rao was introduced during one of the personal development electives at IIM Bangalore. However I got the chance to read it completely only now. This is a light as well as a heavy read depending on what your intentions are. Professor has included lot of exercises;more like self reflections in each chapter. So if you are doing every exercise seriously, the book is a heavy one requiring your sincere efforts and time.
I would consider the book to be a self mastery book focusing both on personal and professional lives. The author has taken lot of ideas, and examples from eastern philosophy. Two key ideas that I took from this book are mental models and mental chatters.


Mental Models - Put it simply, its nothing but how you formulate realities. For example, your may have built a mental model that unless you are in the US, no one will consider you successful; so even if you are in a good job, happy life and have all the possession one can …

Learning MBA Courses for Free! Part I

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Irrespective of whether you are an MBA or a B School student or a B School aspirant or someone interested in learning more about business/management, there are a plenty of resources available on the web. For a person who likes to listen rather than read through, there are many video courses/lectures as well. In the next few posts, I will try to put together an MBA curriculum completely based on free video courses (either MOOC or pre-recorded) covering both core courses and electives. Today, let's start with core courses (MBA first year curriculum). An outline can be pulled from any B School website. In this post, I will specifically concentrate on Finance and accounting courses.


Financial Accounting
Financial Accounting is a core course required for all the MBA students in their first year irrespective of the Business School they study in. Financial Accounting can be considered one of the foundation stones of any Finance course you take later. This is also one of the 'most fe…

Five TED Talks for all MBAs and MBA aspirants!

TED has been a great platform to listen to some of the greatest minds and ideas. TED is so vast today that its literally impossible to watch all the videos from TED and TEDx. I thought to share with you five TED talks every B School aspirant, or MBA student must watch. As said, these are the ones I picked from the talks I watched during B School, before and after. I am sure there are many more that you can share with the readers. 


How great leaders inspire action by Simon Sinek  MBA is all about leadership these days. Every curiculum and Business school try to impart on its students theories of leadership, and groom leaders. In this talk, Simon Sinek discusses about inspiring employees or followers to take action.Contrary to explain what we do - how we do and why why do (in that order), Simon argues that it should be always in the reverse order; and that's what makes an organization different. Making understand the employees, and customers the purpose of the firm makes the differ…

Book Review - Lateral Leadership by Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp

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Lateral Leadership - Getting it done when you are not the boss is a leadership book written by Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp. To be honest, it was not a pleasant read because of the writing style of authors. This is in spite of the fact that it's a short book and Viva Books printed it in good quality paper even if it was a low priced edition :) I expected the book to be something catering to professionals in roles without having the authority ( like a Product Manager or Business Analyst). But the book tries to be lot of things.

The authors take a two fold approach - first on improving the personal skills and later on to use them to improve collaboration and lead teams. At certain points, I felt it's more a personal skills training book than one on team building or leadership; may be it is due to the fact that it's all interlinked. The book is written in the three parts. First one introduces the topic of lateral leadership and what the authors mean by the term. The second part…

Understanding Native Advertising

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We hear a lot about natives, particularly native advertising. In this blog post, let's try to noodle about native advertising, native commerce and native apps. The topic of native advertising has picked up heat early this year after the publication of FTC guidance on native advertising.
What is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is nothing but a mode of showing advertisements matching with the mode and form of underlying platform. For example - promoted tweets that you see in Twitter or suggested products in Amazon or suggested posts in a news website. IAB has defined six standard ad units under the purview of native advertising. They are -
In-feed units  - these are what I consider the real native ads. They almost look like normal content in the platform; but are actually sponsored ones. For example - twitter promoted tweets.

Paid Search units  - One of the earliest native ad formats (perhaps even before the term was coined :)). So nothing new here; just that Google or Bing…

Understanding Data Management Platforms (DMP) aka Data Brokers

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Data Management Platforms (DMP) are a set of SaaS offering in the digital advertising ecosystem that have been living for may be around five years now. DMPs have been gaining market noise and Forrester Wave recently published a wave report also.  It's easy to get confused with Tag ManagementSystems that we discussed previously. I believe this post will give a basic understanding of what DMPs are and how they differ from TMS. A DMP's function is three fold - first to  aggregate various data sources, then to integrate them to provide analytics and segmentation capabilities; and finally to deploy actionable insights for various vendors - be it advertising or user experience. 


Let's try to dig a bit deeper into each of these capabilities --
Aggregate data sources
Aggregation of various data sources is the first step that any DMP starts with. Data sources include both online - be it site side analytics, ad serving or optimization and offline - be it transactional data or call c…

Understanding Google RankBrain

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A discussion on Google algorithms never get to and end :) We have been discussing about Google and search engine algorithms in general now in a series of posts. While Accelerated Mobile Pages got traction in the last few months; there was also another interesting update from Google on another algorithm component called RankBrain. RankBrain is not an algorithm update in itself; its more a component of a wider algorithm that we discussed earlier - Understanding Google Hummingbird.
What is RankBrain? We know that Hummingbird algorithm aims to change Google from a search query/result engine to a knowledge engine. Rank Brain could be considered as the major part of the algorithm that helps Google to achieve its goal. Rank Brain is the machine learning/artificial intelligence component embedded to capture the semantics better and further perhaps ingest information into features like Google Knowledge Graph. I think this is one component, which SEOs won't be able to go behind directly (e…

The most important and an invaluable promotion!

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It's just an amazing feeling. Last week I got a promotion -- not a professional one, but the personal one. I am moving to the next phase of life -- Fatherhood. It makes more special,  as it's a daughter. Though there was no specific desire for a boy or a girl; there was always a secret wish of having a girl 

It was a crazy week with a prolonged hospital stay, medications, confusions and what not. I am relieved that part is finally over! But the warning that i am getting is i am yet to see the real fun! While it's exciting days. it's nervous days too. To be honest, these are the days when you realize all those official nightouts and pressures are nothing compared to this.

I am not sure if i will be able to continue writing, reading etc. in the same pace as before since office plus a new born is not going to  be that easy...priorities are going to change...I am hoping I am able to continue writing in the blog....stay tuned!


Book Review Google Semantic Search by David Amerland

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Semantic Search - Search Engine Optimization Techniques That Get Your Company More Traffic, Increase Brand Impact, and Amplify Your Online Presence written by David Amerland is a book about web/search 3.0. In 200 pages,   the author provides a good overview of the new search norm for the marketing professional. Written in a slightly theoretical style, the books provides the nitty gritties of semantic search,  it's components and how it all span out from search engine optimization perspective.


If you were looking for a more in depth technical overview of how semantic Web or search works; you will be disappointed.  I feel this book is written  for a marketer in charge of various digital media, including SEO.


The book is roughly written in three parts - first one dealing with an introduction on how search engines are transforming from a query engine to knowledge engine. The second part deals with how content marketing is driving new search marketing and how various channels such as soci…

Understanding Omni-channel marketing

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Cross-Channel, Omni-Channel, Multi-Channel -- all these are jargons you here in today's world especially when the discussion is around digital space. Often when we say omni channel or cross channel, we refer to the various digital  channels available for promotion of content. A recent discussion with one of the leading market players in omni-channel customer experience domain poked my interest to learn more about this industry.
What is Omni-Channel customer experience?
You get digital product shelves at a super market instead of actual ones. Customers scan the product they want using QR code. At the end of shopping, the products are delivered automatically at the cash counter! That's omni channel customer experience. You think this is a fiction? Check this video of how Tesco created a virtual supermarket in South Korea.


So Omni channel is not (just) the regular digital marketing; its about utilizing digital platforms for enhancing customer experience - be it store experience,…

Book Review Who are you really and what do you want ?

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Who are you really and what do you want ? is a self help book written by Dr. Shad Helmstetter. Once again, the jazzy title of the book attracted me to read the book; but I wasn't disappointed. It's a light read written in simple language without much beating around the bush.

This book don't directly talk about finding your passion, being positive etc; but indirectly tries to convey the same message. The core aspect the author tries to bring forward is that we can achieve our dreams through proper goal setting and with the help of a coach.
Essentially, the author talks about three pillars to success --
1.Fine tuning our self talk. Understanding how our own sub conscious self talk is affecting us - positively or negatively. One third of the book is devoted on how to listen actively to our self talk, how to make it productive/positive to ourselves and do away with negative thoughts. This step is considered as the foundation step to understand what you want and how to achieve …

Digital Marketing Trends in 2016

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This is the time when everyone talks about what to expect in 2016 - be it Stock Markets, Business or Astrology! Predictions, suggestions, thoughts and cautionary notes come out. Here are my five top things, which I think will dominate in the marketing world….what do you think?

Accelerated Content Marketing
This is nothing new; from inbound to content - content has become the driving factor when it comes to online marketing. I believe this will continue to be the area of thrust with Digital Marketers continuing to invest in creative content deliveries to attract customers.
Focus on Influencer Marketing
Again not a new concept (and perhaps a subset of content marketing); but for sure to explode in 2016. Influencer Marketing (or Brand Advocates or whatever jazzy name you give) will be something businesses will need to concentrate more and careful selection for the platforms - be it YouTube, Snapchat or something will be critical to success (dirtying your hands on all may not be the righ…

Happy New Year!

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And thus ends yet another year. 2015 was truly a roller coaster ride with too many twists and turns. Though it was an eventful and a stressful one, it had its own fun moments too! It was a low on professional front, and a decent one on personal front. Hoping for a great year ahead.... 

2015 took me closer to analytics, data science and what not....hoping to fine tune the focus a bit on that in 2016. More on it in future posts. 2016 will mark 9 years of entering workforce, 6 years of association with IIMB, 5 years with marketing, 3 years as an MBA and 3 years of married life :)




After its start in 2010, this blog went to a sleep mode for some time, before I started blogging with full pace again this year. PGSEM is no more; and is being re-branded to PGPEM (with a complete makeover of program structure itself). The theme of the blog has shifted from a B School diary to more on digital marketing. I am hoping to keep my writing on business and marketing this year with few ones on MBA and…