I am sure you would have seen this ad by now.
Simple yet brilliant – that’s what Apple messages always are.
And most importantly, to the point.
I am sure you would have seen this ad by now.
Simple yet brilliant – that’s what Apple messages always are.
And most importantly, to the point.
No, I am not going to write yet another post on a topic for which more than 10,000 books & 8,000,000,000+ google search results exist. Even though millions of resources exist but there are only a few that catch your attention and this post is about that :).
I recently shared a personal anecdote on how brand influences action. What I bought was just another drugstore brand but why I bought it, had some correlation between brand and buyer behavior. The why of my buying behavior resonated with fellow professionals in some of the marketing and startup groups that I am a part of. While I received much positive feedback about the post but it also ignited a discussion on what is branding? Not surprisingly, everyone had an opinion, but not a consistent one. These groups have a mix of professionals from marketing, product, design, and entrepreneurship background and all these roles require an understanding of branding, albeit of a different scale. So, it was interesting to listen to different perspectives, especially from designers and marketers.
A couple of weeks back, I was in urgent need of a moisturizer and everything was closed due to lockdown except for essential services. To add to that, I have relocated to a different country recently and I am hardly familiar with my surroundings yet. I went to a shop nearby that had slots allotted to us hoping I will find one of the known brands there. I had a few minutes to browse the store and pick up something before the slot was over. With most of the labels here being in either German or Hungarian, I generally rely on Google translator for help but even that was giving trouble due to flaky connection. I couldn’t spot any familiar product on the shelf. I kept on trying to read different product descriptions with the help of the translator until I spotted this:
Product Management, Product Marketing, and UX Design – are these roles merging?
My answer – Yes and No.
I get this question asked often these days especially when we discuss the go-to-market plan in my product marketing sessions. The cohorts consist of aspiring product managers and as a logical sequence of the course they go through value proposition, UX design, followed by GTM plan.
This question is quite genuine considering the way things are nowadays, more so in case of digital products. There are overlaps at times leading to joint decisions. While product management as a profession has been existing since decades but speaking of India, I think this career has gained prominent limelight in the last decade especially in digital and tech organizations.
The new age PM is not only expected to know about products but also about design and marketing. Similarly, the new age UX is expected to know about the market dynamics and the new age product marketer is expected to know about the value proposition. Today a marketing person can’t say, I don’t understand the product specifications as its too technical. A product marketing person is very much expected to understand everything about the product and own up the growth.
Somewhere it’s all about the user! Everyone is expected to know the user and think about the user, which is great.
However, understanding design is different from doing design.
Understanding marketing is different from doing marketing.
While as a role, it’s expected that a PM has a thorough understanding of all three but in reality neither of these functions are replaceable. Despite the fact that all these roles are centered around users, a PM, PMM, and UX bring different expertise to the table when it comes to actual execution and growth.
Secondly, it’s also about the stage and scale. For long I have worked in a startup, where I was owning up both the product and marketing along with managing the design team. Initially, it was all good, as it was one team who was owning up the user experience, product, and the growth numbers. But as we grew, this model had scalability challenges and finally, I had senior resources to lead the UX & PM functions as part of my team while I concentrated on GTM & growth. All of them brought in fresh perspectives and expertise into the overall product plan leading to faster launches and sustainable growth.
A PM doing the job of PMM or UX is not sustainable in the long run.
So, are the roles merging? I won’t say these are merging, rather they are aligning to each other more now and this alignment is for good.
The know-how of all three functions are getting interlinked, the knowledge expectations from all three roles are getting merged but when it comes to execution and ownership, these roles have their own identities and independent KRAs to cater to.
And whatever be the role, finally it was / is/ will be about the user and the growth.
So, how is the structure in your organization? Are you a startup or large scale operation? Do you have independent resources to manage these functions or are some of the functions merged in your setup? If merged, is it PM & PMM or PM & UX? Would love to know your opinion on the same.
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” – Adam Mosseri, Instagram Chief.
So this change happened and I think it’s for good, as an individual as well as a marketer.
I know there’s a lot of hue and cry going on for this feature especially by the influencers but if I think of it rationally, my hunch is, this will fix many ongoing issues with the platform.
While the number of likes was one of the key ways to put a value on a post for the business side of Instagram, but if I think it from the business side I am not sure what purpose those likes were serving.
Not just for business accounts but for regular accounts too, these likes and follower counts have become like a digital popularity contest leading to users taking any measure to increase their worth in terms of social currency.
For Instagram, it must have been a very bold step, something that might even hit their popularity in the short term but considering all types of scams and bots that are floating on Instagram to increase these followers and likes, it’s high time that measures like these are taken.
I have been a huge fan of influencer marketing always; when done right it has given wonderful results for the brands that I have worked for. There was a time when I used to interact personally with the influencers for different campaigns and wow, what a wonderful era that was where some of those influencers actually created content better than us and our agencies. Those content were stunning, useful and worth every penny that we spent.
But speaking of now, the past three campaigns that I have tried hasn’t given us the engagement ratio of even 1%. In fact, nano influencers have turned out to be better than influencers or micro-influencers.
And there is a huge difference in the rates of hiring a nano, micro vs popular influencers these days.
One of the data points from a recent campaign that we did with few influencers – Influencers with 5k – 6k followers gave us approximately 10% engagement whereas the ones with around 60k followers gave us approximately 1% engagement. We got almost the same results from these two segments but the payouts to them were very different. We paid almost 5x to the folks with 60k+ followers as against the ones with less than 10k followers!
With the bought likes and followers, Instagram honestly speaking has been losing its essence. More than beautiful visual storytelling, it’s becoming an automated-content battleground.
Similar trends have been observed by many other independent studies and research. Recently in an analysis done by Markerly for over 2 million influencers on Instagram, it was clearly found that influencers with
Let’s hope that with changes like these, hopefully, the fake will get filtered out and better features and metrics will get introduced to help both the content creators and marketers. Speaking of features, I think it would be good to have:
The wishlist could be more but for now, all I hope is that Instagram retains its original charm and doesn’t meet the same fate as SMS or email.
What do you think about “Instagram removing likes”? Which tools do you use to audit the potential influencer’s account? I am currently using IG Audit and HypeAuditor. Any other good audit/ranking tools that you can recommend?
Two interesting incidents yesterday – one at work and one at home – both again reminded me of a very important lesson – it’s the first that’s always the hardest.
Yesterday, we went to a nearby cycling park with my 7 year old who has been cycling for months now and really enjoys cycling. Though as soon as we rented a cycle at the park for him, he refused to ride. The park had rough muddy patches unlike our apartment’s smooth cemented road and the cycle was a bit bigger than what he was used to. We tried to coax him but he just refused, again and again!
And then came our parenting storytelling skills to use (oh yes, as I always say, if children are one of the best negotiators, then parents are one of the best storytellers). We changed our pitch, we tried the following and these worked, albeit slow but worked:
Speed excites him and at his age, he has this strong desire to be not called a baby.
Handholding bit gave him the confidence to try.
Get down anytime you want, eased out his anxiety to go through the whole unknown track.
After a few initial hesitated pedals, he zoomed.
Simply put what worked here were:
And I remembered the conversation with one of my clients on similar lines yesterday. They had launched a new product recently with good discounts too but were struggling to meet their conversion numbers. After my initial analysis of their target audience, I felt discounts may not be the biggest triggers for that target segment. They may need a different approach and the first 100 might need a different strategy altogether than the remaining mass.
I shared with them my previous organization’s experience about one of the products that I had worked from scratch, right from concept to launch.
Out of the approx. 10,000 conversions that happened there in 1 year, the first 100 took me more than 6 months and the remaining 9,900 happened in the remaining 6 months :-). And out those first 100, the first 10 were the toughest!
What worked there?
• I was personally involved in first 100 conversions, in fact, first 1000. No outsourcing at all to any external agency.
• A lot of time was spent in defining the value proposition for each stakeholder. Detailed understanding of different audience type was done and then my marketing pitch was customized depending upon the user profile and what would be of interest to them.
• Handholding, training and robust support during the onboarding process to build the trust.
• Trial to experience the product with transparent, no strings attached deboarding process.
• Taking all possible steps to ensure the first 100 who took a leap of faith with us had an excellent experience. Once they became happy, the word spread.
Be it anything in life, right from dealing with your child to your customer, it’s the “first” that’s always the toughest. Isn’t it :-)? But if done right, it’s the first that leads to second and so on.
Digital Marketing is NOT Product Marketing.
Even for digital-only products, this remains true.
Time and again, I have been observing this hiring trend where a digital marketer has been hired and is expected to perform the overall product marketing role. When I asked the reason behind this from one of the companies whom I was consulting recently, the answer was:
“Oh we have a limited budget for marketing and we just want to do some Facebook campaigns”.
Ok, that could be for now but what about later?
“Even later, we think our prime marketing channels to promote our products will be digital only”.
Sounds simple and fair enough, isn’t it?
But it’s not that simple in the real scenario. It’s a small company and this marketer is expected to own up the overall “growth” of the product – from awareness to consideration, from lead generation to conversion. Yes, the channels to be used are of course digital.
Considering I have worked in startups for long, I totally understand the need for resource optimization in smaller companies. I have also been a huge evangelist for digital medium ever since the start of my career but, just because your prime channel of promotion is going to be “digital”, you can not expect a digital marketer to do the overall job of product marketing.
The candidate could be an expert in understanding Facebook or might be a specialist in search engine optimization but these can’t be the be all end all of product marketing.
The role of a product marketer ideally starts from as early as the market validation stage, right when the product team starts to conceptualize the product. A typical product marketing role during launch would look something like this:
These roles may vary a bit depending upon the product category and organization, but overall a product marketer needs to have a holistic understanding of marketing and not just channel-specific approach.
Depending upon the growth stage of your organization and product, you may decide to hire the person at an appropriate time but before hiring, do invest some time in deciding your goals and objectives and hire the candidate with the right skills accordingly. You may even decide to give your digital marketer the overall product marketing role in future but this upskilling will take time and may not necessarily work always.
Thank you for visiting my blog & reading this post.
This one is one of my favorite marketing quotes these days 🙂
Content and context matter the most today, isn’t it?
Before you proceed, can I request you to pause for few seconds and think about the last advertisement you clicked on any digital channel —just anywhere, any ad?
Before writing this post, I carried out this check multiple times and more often than not, I observed myself clicking on sponsored posts only if they were very appealing visually or the initial blurb looked emotional or entertaining or had the specific information I’d tried to find recently. In a nutshell, it’s the content and context that made me click. I am sure, it’s the similar trigger for many of you. There’s nothing new in this; since ages it’s the content and context that have been working for marketing but in this current era of digital excess and content overload, these are the only two things that matter the most – great content and right context!
You might be having great content but if you haven’t figured out the right channel and the right time to deliver your content, it’s gone. And same would be true vice versa, a perfectly planned campaign with the right audience segmentation is of no use unless you have content that can attract and connect with your audience.
While almost everyone is aware of the value of good content and context but the truth is, very few focus on the these holistically. Content is a lot more than beautiful visuals or infographics and context is much more than just geo-targeting or re-marketing. One of the most fundamental definitions of context marketing is, “delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, the more data we have about our user, the complex it gets to do contextual marketing. There are many framework and tools available that you can use to plan your content marketing but for context marketing, it’s evolving every day, simply because the algorithms and engagement level at each channel are changing at a very dynamic pace.
Personally, for me, the framework that always works for context is the traditional 5Ws & 1H model. As long as a marketer you spend sufficient time on your Ws and H, more than half of your task of segmentation and user understanding is done. Although it looks simple, I think very few follow it diligently. Next time you think of promoting your content, spend some time to address the following:
Till then, I’d love to know more about your favorite tools and framework for context marketing.
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*Icons used in the image from iconscout.com
The moment I had seen this post on Linkedin, I was sure it would be a hit. When I had spotted it first few days back, views and likes were not even in hundreds and today with thousands of likes, views, and shares, there is no doubt once again that great storytelling works, almost always, in marketing and everywhere else!
In this attention economy age, imagine a candidate pitching her/his profile by speaking for more than 2 minutes or by writing a post of more than 400 words? Do you think you would be able to focus on it without any distraction?
Now imagine the same pitch presented to you visually as a story like this? Chances are, you will be hooked and end up watching it just like me.
This particular video is a great example of brilliant marketing in many ways but for me, most importantly it’s a great example of stunning visual storytelling.
It has all the elements to make it a COMPELLING story.
And it has a very definitive call for action, making it a story that compels you to act.
What more can I as a marketer expect from a powerful story?
I am sure this candidate would land/have landed up a great role in marketing by now. As for me, this video not only engaged me but it has its lasting effect on me to an extent that I am going to use it as a wonderful reference for the power of storytelling in marketing.
I have always believed in the persuasive power of visual storytelling, in case you would like to check out one of my recent posts on visual storytelling, you may find one here.
I was recently conducting a workshop on digital marketing and while we were just at Instagram 101, some of the first few questions that I was asked were –
How to earn money from my Instagram page?
How to make brands pay me?
We have heard brands pay thousands of rupees for just one Insta post, how do we get such deals?
I want to be an influencer, as social media influencers make lots of money by just posting a photo or writing few lines.
This from an audience who was just starting with Instagram and other social channels!
Quick money attracts anyone and the idea of being paid thousands for just writing few lines on Insta or blog sounds very lucrative but in reality, it’s far from true.
Influencer marketing like any other channel of marketing requires some serious time and effort and unless you build your reach, credibility, and authority, there is no way you can establish yourself as a marketing channel.
To add to that, in this age of content clutter and media overload, it’s extremely difficult to cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd. I am no influencer on Instagram or elsewhere, so I don’t think I can give sure shot insights on how to be an influencer but I have been on the other side of the table for almost 15 years now – hiring endorsers, brand advocates, and influencers for all the brands that I have worked with till now. So, I can definitely give some insight on what all I look for when I engage with influencers for my brands.
1. Relevance: For me, this is one of the top criteria while engaging with an influencer. There are enough debates around reach vs relevance but in my personal experience, the subject matter credibility and relevance of influencer’s target audience matter a lot. Think of a juice brand being promoted by a food blogger or fitness expert vs. a travel blogger? Juice is a category that has a possibility of being consumed by almost any kind of audience but as a follower, your perception towards receiving a recommendation for a juice brand by a fitness expert will be different than from a travel blogger.
2. Reach: Of course reach is very important, no marketing channel can survive without sufficient reach but reach doesn’t mean only a very high number of followers. Reach is also a lot about engagement and interactions per post. For e.g., I definitely do a quick check on the quality of interactions on influencer’s last ten sponsored posts as one of the parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of the promoted content by the influencer.
3. Persona: Your brand has a persona and it’s extremely important to find influencers whose personas resonate with your brand. From the tone of voice to the type of content – it helps if influencers persona is aligned with the brand. While this sounds very simple but in reality, it’s quite a task to find the right fit. For a long time, I have been working for a photography brand. Now photography is a category, where almost anyone and everyone thinks he/she is an influencer. In this age of easy access to high-end cameras and millions of editing apps, it actually takes a few seconds to create gorgeous photos for your Insta feed. But I have observed it many times that just the ability to click perfect shots or having a large number of followers doesn’t necessarily translate to being an effective influencer for a photography brand. Sometimes the tonality doesn’t suit our brand and sometimes the quality of content. Finally, this is also a marketing channel and like any other marketing initiative, it’s important to have consistent brand persona while engaging with influencers too.
4. Content: The ability of influencer to create unique and authentic content is something very, very important for me. Influencer marketing is not only about promoting brand content as it is, but it’s a lot about engaging users with original content that’s relevant for brands as well as interesting for the audience. The more genuine the content would be with Influencer’s natural tone of voice, the more audience will trust. Influencer’s ability to create interesting content is a huge value ad to brand’s social media repository of user-generated content. There are many examples to highlight the same but one of the recent brands that I noticed doing it efficiently is Epigamia Yogurt. Many food bloggers participated in this campaign and they created beautiful Yogurt Art using Epigamia products and posted it on Instagram with hashtag #yogArt . Not only followers like me came to know of all the new flavors of Epigamia but we also got to know of many interesting ways this yogurt can be used in our day to day meals. And the best that I observed as a marketer was the gorgeous Insta feed of Epigamia – full of super creative user-generated photos using Epigamia products that would have otherwise taken huge time and investment for the brand to create! I know there are many brands who have created success stories like Epigamia but we also know of cases, like that of a recent mobile launch in India where almost all endorsers, celebrities, and influencers posted the same type of content on their social feed including the one where the influencer was praising the picture quality of this android phone but the picture was posted from an iOS :-).
5. Connect: The term “influencer” by definition is a person who has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others and it can only happen if the influencer shares a certain kind of relationship and connect with his / her audience. It’s important to evaluate the return visitors, comments, and quality of interaction between the influencers with their followers. And as far as authentic connect is concerned, there is no way one can do it through any shortcut, it has to be human and it has to be personal.
These are just some of the parameters that I take into consideration. I am sure others have some more parameters as well. In nutshell, it takes a whole lot of effort to be an influencer with credibility after whom brands run with a fat cheque. At least I haven’t met any real-life influencer yet who became an overnight success through quick hacks or digital bot programs :-).