A lost business idea

A lost business idea:
Found this interesting quote on eMarketer blog -

“Naturally occurring conversations will be utilized in product innovation and design, and companies will create incentives for people's attention and engagement while repurposing and analyzing content and engagement in new ways that will deliver valuable input.”
Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist, Ustrategy.com, in an article in ReadWriteWeb.com, December 11, 2009

It reminds me of a business plan that Surjendu (my classmate at IIMC) and I wrote in October last year. Our business plan was based on 3 ideas:
- capturing "naturally occurring conversation" using mobile platform
- incentivsing users to engage in conversations
- sharing business intelligence with companies who'd then use the info for product innovation/modification etc.

As it happens with most visionary ideas (huh!), ours was rejected by the business plan competition panel. I'm sure the panelists wouldn't have dared rejecting our idea if we had included this quote from a "founder and chief strategist". Too bad!!

Social Media Stats

Interesting stats about Social Media from eMarketer.
- Rate of growth of online social networking spending is more  in countries outside US even though US accounts for the largest share total expenditure.
- A large number of  marketers continue to use social media for brand-building even though the social channels are as useful for sales, customer service, IT and research.

Social Business Strategy coming of Age

Here's an amazing graphic that gives a holistic view of Social Business Strategy:

"The key to this framework is to understand that the process between SCRM and E2.0 is never ending and that they both integrate into one another.  The feedback and the knowledge that is obtained from SCRM is then fed back into the Enterprise to be acted upon.  Once action is taken the customers once again provide feedback and so the process continues.  This never ending sharing of information and customer empowerment is what is referred to as the experience continuum."

Source - Jacob Moran

The State of Inbound Marketing

Here's an interesting report by HubSpot on the state of Inbound Marketing. Key take-aways:

  • Inbound marketing channels deliver a dramatically lower cost-per-sales lead than outbound channels
  • Blogs lead other social media categories in terms of importance to business
  • Small businesses are most aggressively allocating lead generation budgets to blogging, social media and search engine optimization

How to improve your blog's search rank

3 take-aways from this chart - for improving search rank of your page:

1. A large number of links to your page increases its search ranking (22.33% – Link popularity of the specific page). So, get as many back-links as possible. Diversity helps too.

2. Anchor text of external links plays an extremely important role (20.26% – Anchor text of external links to the page) - Monitor the anchor texts of external links.

3. Trust/Authority of the host domain is the most important factor (23.87%). For regular bloggers, the take-away here is probably this - having a blog on blogger or wordpress is more SEO freindly than having a blog on some lesser known site such as blogadda. So, if your blogging somewhere else, consider exporting your blog to blogger or wordpress.

Here's a list of top 5 ranking factors {source - SEOmoz.org survey conducted in 2009}:

  1. Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links

    73% very high importance
  2. External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links)

    71% very high importance
  3. Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)

    67% very high importance
  4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag

    66% very high importance
  5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.)

    66% very high importance

Hyper Augmented Reality

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

What happened to Purchase Funnel?

In 1898, St Elmo Lewis developed a model which mapped a theoretical customer journey from the moment a brand or product attracted consumer attention to the point of action or purchase. St Elmo Lewis’ idea is often referred to as the AIDA model - an acronym which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action:
  • AWARENESS – the customer is aware of the existence of a product or service
  • INTEREST – actively expressing an interest in a product group
  • DESIRE – aspiring to a particular brand or product
  • ACTION – taking the next step towards purchasing the chosen product

As intuitive or interesting as it may sound, this funnel metaphor is not valid anymore. Consider this - The initial awareness is usually triggered by a mass media ad. After a certain number of ad impressions, some people may start their initial consideration with a relatively narrow list of brands. However, when a customer gets serious about making a purchase, she would start a more active evaluation. According to the old purchase funnel metaphor, the number of options open to customer at this stage would be smaller. This used to be true during the ice ages when internet was not there but now, this is the stage where consumers have maximum number of choices - thanks to Google that generates 50 million search results in .0001 seconds. With this broken purchase funnel and limited effectiveness of traditional advertising media in later stages of purchase funnel, what can marketers do?

Welcome to the world of Social Media; Social Media plays an extremely important role in these later stages of purchase funnel (err. customer journey - Source: McK). Social Media can help brands gain visibility by increasing their credibility thru reliable social channels when customers are actively evaluation brands. Ironically this is also the most under-utilized aspect of Social Media. Marketers who use Twitter to broadcast their ad messages or Social Networking sites for display ads are not harnessing the real power of Social Media. They are only catering to the first stage (awareness) of the customer journey, which is perhaps best served by traditional (offline+online) display ads.