Digital Case Study – FMCG – Mcdowells #No1Yaari

With video advertising becoming the most potent engagement weapon in the digital marketing parlance, brands & ad agencies have quickly grabbed this opportunity with both hands & using it to maximise their advertising ROI.

Mcdowells, as a brand, has been a big fan of using long & short form videos in the past to promote their brand message. Clearly, their spends have gone up significantly in the last 3-4 years, especially into digital. I am sure a lot is to do with their target segment which is mainly SEC A,B Youth & young adults. Continue reading

RIP Reports – Worldwide Failed startup trends

Let me start this post by making a simple statement. By the time I would finish writing this post, according to latest startup trends, around 11,000 new startup business would get added to this world. Must be wondering how I found that number?

According to a massive research startup study done by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor– around 472 million entrepreneurs worldwide attempting to start 305 million companies, approximately 100 million new businesses (or one third) will open each year around the world.

reynoldsInterestingly, Dr. Paul D. Reynolds, Director, Research Institute, Global Entrepreneurship Center also says,

” The developing countries of Asia and Latin America are far ahead of Europe in starting new businesses, according to a recent survey of global entrepreneurial activity. But few start-ups have the potential to make an impact on jobs and growth, and a negligible number benefit from venture capital, with the vast majority reliant on informal funding. The 2002 annual survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) was carried out across 37 countries representing 92% of world GDP. It finds that 286 million people, 12% of the workforce in these countries, are engaged in starting or running a new business, implying a global figure of about 460 million. “We were quite shocked by how high the index is in the developing countries,” admits Paul Reynolds, the GEM project co-ordinator. “Only now do we have a fuller understanding that half of the people in many developing countries are doing it out of necessity because they cannot find work, and that is what drives the rate up so high.” 

Every now and then we keep seeing these lists on buzzfeed or twitter around “17 coolest startups that can change your life” (like this one) and I’m sure a lot of you feel wow about the whole concept of startups. But let me spoil your party, most of these startup companies typically die around ~20 months after their last financing round and after having raised $1.3 million.

Failed startup Companies By Sectorfinal

  • 55% of failed startups raised $1M or less, and almost 70% companies died having raised less than $5M overall.  Not a big surprise. Companies at the earliest stages are the most vulnerable due to limited financial runway, immature products and businesses and general uncertainty about whether the market needs what they’ve built.
  • In each year since 2010, 70% of all dead tech companies have been in the internet sector. This is hardly a surprise as within tech, a majority of funding and deals has gone to the internet sector and so it would follow that the sector would have the largest proportion of dead companies.  The % of companies dying within the internet sector has stayed relatively range bound over the last several years as well.

On his many failed experiments, Thomas Edison once said,

I have learned fifty thousand ways it cannot be done and therefore I am fifty thousand times nearer the final successful experiment.

Well, it seems a lot of our modern day entrepreneurs have taken that quote to their hearts.

The rate at which startups are failing is quite incredible. Media, quite literally has made the whole idea of startup funeral extremely cool. It is hilarious (even bizarre) that the failed entrepreneur wants to grab the same attention like a war hero. The irony however, is that the media (especially the social media) is happily obliging to do it. Public post mortem of a failed Startup seems to have become a general startup trends in the business circles. A lot of professionals find it intellectually stimulating to visit the #RIP sessions of the startups. 

Dead_startup_Funding_Raised

 

Dead_startups_Time_Since_Funding

According to CB Insights report:

  • While the dead companies on our list raised $11.3M on average, the median funding raised which is a better measure in this case was $1.3M.
  • the average company dies ~20 months from its last funding round in the absence of additional funding or acquirers.

But the question which is bugging me continuously is,

Why do so many startups fail? 

Typically, there could be hundreds of possible reasons for a failed startup like:

  • lack of strong value proposition
  • high risk low return business model
  • longer sales cycles
  • non scalable, non profitable business

and many, many more. You could actually read about reasons of startup failure all around the web.

startups_failed_industry_Rankings

 

According to CB Insights startup trends,

“Death is not specific to a particular type of sector or industry. In fact, the companies on our dataset represent a fairly diverse set of subindustries.”

Interestingly, in the following Ted Talk, Clara Brenner, Co-Founder of Tumml talked about why a lot of social startups face such high failure rates.

She has mentioned about the importance of seed funding & how it needs to be utilized in a startup.

Also, the relevance of Impact Investors to Urban Innovation startups can be co-related with the importance of finding the right investor that matches your company’s vision. 

Finding a right investor for a startup is nothing short of doing matrimony match making. A lot of the startups fail even after getting several rounds of seed funding because the investor does not show enough trust or faith in the founding team’s vision.  

Digital Trends for Automotive in 2015

According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

 

has-reading-online-reviews-impacted-purchase-decision

 

Without doubt, we can now say that the conventional purchase lifecycle has changed (and continuously changing) with the ever increasing dominance (& relevance) of social media in our daily lives.

For those who are new to digital marketing, here’s a simple video that compares the purchase lifecycle back in 1990s vs 2014.

Unlike mediums like television or radio, internet audience can stumble upon your brand / product from anywhere. In today’s complex digital environment, there are more than 24 possible touch points that any auto buyer can go through in order to make a purchase decision. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the fortune of a brand gets decided somewhere between those never ending twitter feeds & Facebook timelines.

24 research touch points for auto purchase

24 research touch points for auto purchase

Take an example of car buying which is one of the most dynamic purchase life cycle concept in the modern day marketing.

Last year, Google Insights released a report according to which In-market auto shoppers are doing their digital homework. Auto video research is on the rise and mobile usage has increased 35% year over year. ( Read how digital drives auto shoppers in stores)

In this Google infographic, you can learn some of the digital automotive trends showing how consumers use the web to search for and buy cars.

Google_Auto_Trends_Infographic_2014

 

Key Digital Automotive Trends from the above infographics:

  • With more than 48% of car dealer search queries are now coming from mobiles, smartphone is increasingly becoming an important platform using which auto shoppers are doing their research.
  • Digital Search & Product Reviews are becoming an integral part in the auto purchase lifecycle.
  • Auto shoppers checking for product videos & video reviews is on the rise year on year.
  • Online Video is becoming most critical content piece in the entire buying decision.

How to attract investors for digital startup?

If ever anyone ask me to describe our current era in one word, my reply would be “ENTREPRENEURSHIP” & “STARTUPS“. I am quite certain that most of you would say “I agree”.

A word, which has truly changed the complexion of our modern day global marketplace.

The world (as we speak) is no longer a bi-colored canvas of small & large enterprise companies. Every passing moment, the next billion dollar idea is taking shape in some small county of California or in the hinterlands of India, which could possibly cause serious disruption in the way people were living their lives.

While, most of us think (and some believe strongly) that our idea has the potential to become the next Facebook, Google, Alibaba or Amazon but very few people actually spend time in crystal gazing into the idea’s future.

It is a lot like visualising bond movie’s starting action sequence or planning your moves in the Chinese Checkers game. You go 3 steps forward in your head and get airlifted to see how the idea looks from the top.

Remember, the person who is investing his money in your business idea wants you forecast not just the profitability but also get him a sneak peek into the near & distant future.

That’s why I said it is a lot like crystal gazing.

The exercise I personally recommend to every budding entrepreneur, is a lot like formula 1 race track simulation where the driver races the entire track in his mind just to get accustomed to the track.

As a startup business owner, you need to see every twist & turn in your business idea even before you are actually in the race to acquire funding?

How you would operationalise the idea?

What would be the day 0 of your new business?

From where would get that first deal?

How would you reward your employees?

How would you make your customer your best friend?

Some investor are not just interested in knowing how much return the business will offer, they are also interested in knowing how will you do it?

The return on investment is non consequential if the path to success is not carved out properly.

Since your idea is your dream, your need to bring your investor into your dream. One has to learn the art of crystal gazing into the business future to attract investors for startup idea.

Remember, being a visionary is of no use if you cannot show the path to others. ~ Anonymous

Digital Media Planning hacks for 2015

I was just going through the recently published article Rethinking the media plan on afaqs.com, it was kind of a deja-vu for me.

For a brief moment, I was teleported back to my day 1 of marketing class where the professor was talking about the book “Medium is the Massage” – by Marshall McLuhan ( the father of modern media theory ). Interestingly, McLuhan could see the integrated approach towards media (and communication) way before the modern digital world started to dominate our daily lives.

Today, the lives of human race is shrunk within a 4.5 inch smart device which has almost single handedly transformed and re-conditioned our thinking patterns like no other invention in the recent history. It is time for media planners to rethink their approach towards digital planning.

Talking from an Indian perspective, brands are increasingly moving towards more advanced planning methodologies. Where on one side, e-commerce has opened the floodgates for sales driven planning, traditional brand advertisers are taking baby steps to convert their all branding plan to sales focussed campaigns with a clear positive intent to drive more sales.

Legacy FMCG Brands like Dabur (see Dabur Liveveda ), HLL, P&G, Rekitt & Benkiser, Nestle are investing heavily into performance driven SEO & SEM campaigns to drive higher ROI for their brands. Some of them are even building their e-commerce portals (which may be an overkill of the idea at the moment). Incidentally, the idea of running pure brand campaigns is long gone from the market.

Online planners must do their digital media planning using these core marketing hacks before making a sales focussed plan for their clients:

Understanding Integrated Market in Digital

The modern day digital media planning is continuously evolving from the conventional eCPMs & eCPCs. With brands understanding the potential of online & mobile medium, they would push agencies to drive more business. In many cases, media planner might just become an extension of brand’s sales team. Though we always had CPA, CPL & CPS models under affiliate marketing but thats not scalable for all the brands. A brand which has huge presence across mediums like TV, Print, Radio, OOH ( somebody like Flipkart ) can surely hope for driving huge ROI in their online efforts. A digital planner need to really understand how the brand is using their messaging across mediums in order to cross leverage the impact & recall in online media. For instance, if the brand is using a particular type of communication in offline, the planner must contextualise the same in online to match the target audience.

Leveraging Google Search to reach Offline audience

It would not be incorrect to say that online habits are mirrored from offline behaviour patterns. A C-level executive of financial firm  would be an avid follower of CNBC shows, at the same time he would have moneycontrol.com, Economic Times, Financial Times bookmarked in his Smartphone browser. This was a very simple example, a complex example would be an adventure travel enthusiast playing a strategy game on his smartphone.

With google, you can open your imagination around a world of possible keywords which your audience may look for. As a digital brand planner, you must pass this intelligence to your media planning team as to what could be various categories of keywords in which your target segments may fall into. This clearly is mapping of one’s offline habits into their possible online behaviour.

Building digital plan to drive in showroom footfalls

It is a tendency of most of the agencies to fall into the trap of offering digital only plan to their clients, which at times may not be the best idea. Especially for the retail which is arguably the largest spender across all ad-mediums, digital only strategy is pointless if it cannot generate sufficient footfalls in their brand outlets.

With smartphones pushing the technology boundaries, it is now possible for the planners to build a online to in-store marketing plan.

Here are some basic fundamentals and digital media planning tips that can help to make sales & ROI driven media plan for their retail client:

  • Understand & define the brand audience they would like to drive to the stores. Throwing communication is wide open & hoping for someone to catch it may not be the right strategy in this kind of plan.
  • Find the right digital channels where you could possibly reach out to these customers. Email + Social + Mobile Search would be the best combo for such marketing activity.
  • Use the map locator as the CTA for all your communication.
  • Make sure you put some coupon code everywhere so that you can track the effectiveness of the activity.
  • Drive leads and send them SMS alerts along with the google map locator link of the nearby store. This works like a charm for any brand and can drive super quick sales conversions on ground.

Successful SEO Strategy needs better Digital PR Strategy

Google’s recent focus on improving local search has not only given consumers more relevant results, it has also given small businesses more exposure to consumers in their neighbouring areas.

With local search gaining momentum, small businesses will now have a fighting chance to compete with the big boys, especially those conducting content marketing, as Google’s new search algorithm puts local search results over large enterprise brands.

Although Google is yet to give the new algorithm a name, Search Engine Land has dubbed it “Pigeon” – a reference to how pigeons always fly back home.

According to industry experts, Google’s upcoming changes are more focused towards making the search results mobile friendly as the traffic momentum is shifting towards smartphones & tablets ( read Forecast: Google To Lose $1.4B In PC Revs As Search Shifts To Mobile ) which means factors like locations & distance would now hold more value in the search result query. The algorithm is also closely tied to other features, such as Google’s Knowledge Graph.

At this stage it is difficult to determine the extent that this update will have on search results, but it is apparent across both Google Search and Google Maps. Other algorithmic updates such as Google Panda and Google Penguin, which were focused on improving the quality of content, have had huge impacts on search results.

For instance, the Google Panda 4.0 update that was rolled out earlier this year in May effected 7.5 per cent of all English search queries.

Small businesses wanting to make the most of these new changes need to prove to Google and online consumers that they are legitimate businesses with a good product or service, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by setting up a local publicity & content strategy.

Now the advantage with the Digital PR firms is that they have strong resources for creating quality content along with local audience insights that can offer them huge advantage over other digital solution providers when it comes to leveraging Google Search. Quality Digital PR content along with a focussed social media campaign & geo specific mobile search can do wonders for any small or medium size brand without causing a hole in their pocket.

Also read: Decoding Digital PR Strategy in India