Category: Uncategorized


Note to Recruiters

Its never a dull month, some recruiter will call you for the next best job. So much so one likes to listen to opportunities and explore them…there are times, after the moment of excitement there is period of long silence. The difference between a recruiter and a salesman is – one is after your talent (so to say); the other is after your money. Net Net they both are trying to convince you to do something you were not thinking of…

While, they are an important part of any business. I think they need to follow some ethics in the way they behave :

1. If you shortlist someone – keep the conversation ‘followed up’ – never let it fall. You are portraying your company’s image here.

2. If someone has interviewed with you – let them know what happened.

3. If the interviewee denies your job offer after 3 rounds of interview; don’t be pissed you…remember you also denied someone after 3 rounds of interview (rather never got back to them).

Every job has pressure, and I only want to highlight the importance of courtesy in the process…hope you guys take due note.

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OK explain this statement to a struggling web analyst – my bounce rate is 50% but the time spent is 3 mins.

Choose your options:
(A) This Suckx
(B) Wow Amazing
(C) I have no clue are you using a free tool?
(D) The person spent 3 mins on your site/page and left it for another web destination outside of your website (did the user do what you intended him/her to do while on the page)

If you have that analytical creature in you – you will know that these metrics are very apart from each other. Let’s begin with definitions:

Bounce Rate : Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy. (Source)

Time Spent on Site : The time a visitor spends on your site. Or Time on page : This field indicates how long a visitor spent on a particular page or set of pages. It is calculated by subtracting the initial view time for a particular page from the initial view time for a subsequent page. Thus, this metric does not apply to exit pages for your site. (Source)

The lesser the bounce rate the better the engagement of the user on your website. But engagement is a factor of content on the site. If you just have 10 lines of text and few images you you are not expecting the user to spend a lot of time on the page and proceed to the next page or destination based on the action required on the site or what if you just have 1 page then but for sure you will have a 80% bounce rate. It is one of those derived metrics which has to be handled with care keep in view the content of the page.

When you combine the 2 metrics together you need to look at the derived answer – ‘result’ or ‘action’. Each page on your website has an objective to meet, let’s list down few of them :

Page General Objective
Homepage Welcome User
Contact Us Page Give user an option to reach you
Product Catalogue Page Give user a snapshot of all the product you offer
Product Details Specs Page Give user more detailed info on the product s/he selected
Product Support Page Give user to reach out to customer support
Contest Page Give user details of a contest
Contest Form All them to participate in the Contest
Contest T/C Make them aware of T/C
General T/C Make them aware of general T/C

Each of these objectives can be met in a specific time and engagement with the page. Till the time they are within the specified boundaries all is acceptable. You can do it by simply taking a print of the page you want to review and pass it to any general audience to see how much time they spent reading that article – that will tell you is the time spent good or not; or even so reflect on the engagement factor.

You can also use different optimization & tracking tools out there which helps you establish these co-relations. So depending on the nature of your website your bounce rate / time spent will vary. You cannot compare your bounce rate with any other website just like that – the parameters have to be as balanced as possible.

I’ll break here and continue in another part.

Another trivial marketing topic, where I’ve heard conversations on ROMI, ROAS, ROI, RPDS (Return Per Dollar Spent), etc. an organization is free to invent its own version of this acronym but the formula to calculate will remain the same. i.e. (revenue – cost)/cost

Another word that marketers like is – measurability. And, when asked by the management they look up to their agency to help answer the measurable aspect of the media (hidden question of the marketing plan). This goes back to my previous post of different components of a marketing plan – creative, media and business. ROI impacts the business objective that the creative & media are trying to drive together. Marketing team structures are getting complicated and there are information ownership gaps & confidentiality issue when it comes to measuring the actual impact of the marketing plan.

Thus Return on Investment is never seen the complete sense; with an exception where the a media type is able to capture it. We only look at the media $ spent and ignore operating costs, costs of developing the creative, etc. which are integral to the marketing plan.

So if I built a microsite + build some banners + bought some media = Total Cost of the Marketing Plan
Which resulted in $x in sales or x number of registrations (which is worth $y) or x number of visits to the store (which has a probability of y% to purchase) or x% of coupon redemption = Returns from the Marketing Plan (it has to be a $ value)

Am yet to see that coming thru or I’ve heard we have web analytics in place (then what are you doing with it?).

While I like to challenge a client to have answers; but few might find it too intimidating and think I am trying to act too smart (the agency guy knows it all – ha!).

Am not on an ego trip here, but stating why ROI get’s missed most of the time. Yes branding/awareness is also ROI; cause it shows how more favorable is your brand over the other and this increases the likely hood of your product being bought (given people like it).

There are no ROI benchmarks – but establish ROI based on business/economic rules – zero sum game or diminishing returns or high returns; see when your marketing plans are actually contributing to profits, chase your CFO for marketing $ evaluations.

Its now or your money won’t return to you…

I’ve been a loyal Dell customer for over 5 years and I somehow felt I couldn’t go wrong again with a Dell, not to forget I even made my company buy Dell for all our resources and few friends as well.  So, I decided to buy a brand new Dell XPS M1330 after reading some great reviews and feedback from owners, and long standing trust with the product & brand.

I placed my order with Dell 11/June/08, and got a followup call from their Sales Rep, who was quite cold (coz he really doesn’t have to sell nething, just take payment details and process the order) with his approach of selling me a Dell and in a very proud manner waived off Rs. 3000 from my total cost saying “Since, you are buying directly from Dell. We are giving you this discount”. (I really had nothing to say to him, he was just doing his job.)

Well fortunately or not, Dell Distributor in a nearby market offered me a Rs. 5000 discount plus some goodies – didn’t take that one cause I had to customize my system. But whatever, I wanted a good system whosoever was selling it to me.

This is what I ordered.

The days of Blue Started from the day it was delivered to me. (Why ME!!!)

On 16/June/08, I received my Dell XPS M1330 in a nice black color and I was surely excited to be a proud owner. Moments later, the minute I pressed the power on button – I saw a smudge on the screen. I thought, it would go away or must b dust or something – but it wasn’t. The screen was damaged and I paid Rs. 4000 extra for the WLED screen and this is what I get.

I called up Dell Customer Care immediately (it takes time to get thru).

They sent an technician over to inspect the system the following day and he tells me that the system is working fine. Then, I had to really show him the problem.

After some 30 mins of waiting – we get the customer care person back on line to request for a repair or replacement. I opted in for a replacement and they agreed then. 3 hours down the line, they call me back and suggested, “sir, what if we repaired your system and gave you a 2 GB pen drive free!!!” .

Dell needs to have some real high-sense-of-customer-is-duh-people. A 2GB (some Rs. 800) pen drive for a damaged Rs. 4000 screen, which I am sure if I had to get it replaced otherwise would cost me some 20k!!! I needed a replacement is what I cared about. I can’t accept a system not even 24hrs old not inspected by me before purchase go in for a repair on day 2 – NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Eventually, I get a replaced system on 23/June/08. Since, I was away from home I didn’t get time to test the system. Two days later I get a chance to test my new replaced machine, only to be let down again. This time one of the USB port is faulty!!!

Customer Care, “ah, some bios settings needs to be changed for it to work. We’ll find a technician on the phone and get right back at you.” Never happened and if ONE of the USB port is not working it is not working – it’s as simple as that.

I registered a complaint with them on 27/June/08 only to be told that Dell XPS Support team works out of Malaysia and they work till 4pm IST.  From 27/June till about 1/July, they could not get me a tech support guy to resolve – can you beat that!!! And, this is Dell XPS Premium Support service!!! I wonder what happens post the service agreement expires.

Finally, I decided to return both the Dell XPS’s and get a refund.

Their sales rep called me to check if they can replace my system with an upgraded processor or something, but by then their supervisor decided to send me an email confirming a refund. And, I’ve had enough of Dell and I didn’t trust the quality of product being delivered. I am sure the customer care guys would have also got annoyed with me – that they also gave in. Here is an exerpt from the email which I got from Dell:

Dell Reply to my Emails & Request

Dell Reply to my Emails & Request

I logged my request for refund on 2/July/08 and they eventually picked up the system on 9/July/08 at 9:00pm, after exchanging a lot of emails & follow ups between Dell in Bangalore and Dell logistics in Gurgaon/Delhi.

And, now I await my refund which will take another 7 days to come through and I hope they would refund the complete amount.

I think Dell has done a fantastic job in getting the system to me and taking it back as quickly just to make sure I don’t get super pissed off (but i am).

It took both of us (Dell & Me) 1 month to get things moving and I am still left without a laptop to use & work on, not to forget the monies that are still pending from them.

I am not happy in the manner in which they are building systems in India. The built quality is very poor, the display hinge flexes, the plastic has dust on it, keys are not aligned properly on the keyboard, and the packaging is not strong enough to withhold the transit.

I am sure it’s a one-off-experience, but it has left me warned of Dell and resulted in this post.

Just check 1000 times before you buy a Dell next, especially in India. And, if it says “made in india” – you better do some double quality checks on the system. Preferably, buy it from a local Dell dealer in your city only draw back being you won’t be able to customize the system.

I continue to think Dell is a Dell, but for the time being I am not taking one.

Happy Shopping with Dell 🙂

Dell Time Line of Interaction (PDF)

It was long back when we greeted each other with our first name, things are a little different now, our offline nick names have transcended to cooler new digital names also know as aliases. “Neo” at one point in time was the most used internet name, thanks to the movie The Matrix.

This is just one aspect of how digital media has started to influence our daily routine.

Over the last decade we have seen many new media emerge, many new ways not just to disseminate content in all its forms, but also to interact, invite contribution, build relationships, and engage in conversations.

What was a relatively static landscape for many years has exploded into an extraordinary mosaic of elements old and new, juxtaposing reality TV, blogs, search engines, interactive cable TV, location mash-ups[1], iPods, podcasts, digital TV recorders, personalized adserving, online social networks, free newspapers, satellite radio, photo sharing, and far more.

The emerging media can be classified into 2 broad categories; Mainstream media and Social media. Mainstream media will continue deliver on consistent communication over large networks controlled by the media & content owners. However, social media will help build conversations, relationships, and increase “self-exposure” of the creator.

As a marketer it is imperative to create marketing messages which align to both these mediums. Where, mainstream media will allow you to send a message; the social media will encourage engagement of your target audience and help create content that you can – moderate or filter – but cannot ignore.
Web Content CreationOver a third of American and Australian adults have shared content on the Internet. The most popular form of content creation is sharing photos, text, and video. While a minority has posted to a blog or their own website, this is becoming a significant group. Almost 50 million Americans have now created content on the Internet.

India is not far behind in terms of user generated content[3].

– 76 percent of total bloggers are men
– 54 percent are between the age group 25-34, 32% under 25 and 15% over 35.
– 58 percent of bloggers started to express themselves, while 40% to entertain others
– 47 percent of blog owners said that they most enjoy expressing opinions

Some of the most popular emerging media brands today are:

– Photo bucket
– My Space
– Facebook
– Wikipedia
– Google (& it’s content network)
– YouTube
– Bebo

Brands which have adopted New Media Techniques:

Consumables
– Sunsilk (SunSilkGangofGirls.com)
– Whisper (BeingGirl.co.in)

Famous Bollywood Stars
– Bipasha Basu (BipashaBasuNet.com)
– Aamir Khan (Aamirkhan.com)

Movies
– Yash Raj Films (Yashrajfilms.com)
– Rajshree Productions (Rajshri.com)

Beyond user generated content another interesting emerging media is “alternative lifestyle”, although a fad yet to catch up with India, but it’s kept some people very engaged. Gamers in particular spend a lot of time in virtual reality, gaming genre like MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) are driving this phenomenon. Website such as SecondLife are writing success stories of how company’s are utilizing the power of 3d social networking. Will it work, only time will tell.

The following graph sums up what is Emerging Media

Strategic Framework

Emerging media shares the power to author, ignore, filter and earn reputation both to an individual as well as to an organization. Chances are you are already on the bandwagon, incase you are not, your peers will get you on board soon.

Bring together two or more data sources to provide original perspectives.

References:

Pew Internet & American Life Project (Dec 05), McNair Ingenuity Research (Jun 06)
The State Of Blogging In India According To MSN India Visitors.
Future of Media 2006: Report, Future Exploration Network.

Most marketers have gifted Tazo’s with Chips, Jams, Health Drinks and you name the product for the kid and you’ll probably find a free tazo with it. And, then came BeyBlades!, well a total rockstar for kids, cartoon on TV and action you can have with your friends at your parent’s expense. Someone, is surely taking a pat on his/her back for the results.

But what about Adults/Teens(15+)/Geeks and people who’ll live beyond the realm of reality, dreamers and the folks! who’ll probably pop a mentos in their Areated Drink to replicate what they saw on the internet.

This is a really cool stuff I came across. LED Throwies for them. It is a simple concept exclusively for those who are into Graffiti…(Mumbai seems to be catching up on the craze).

LED Throwie Image

What all you need, bunch of colored LED’s (Rs 2 bux a piece), Button Batteries (Chinese one cost nething between Rs 5 – 20), Cello-Tape (You’ll have this at home) & Magnets (Rs 5-10 bux subject to quality). Just put the LED’s on the battery, tape it, add magnet, tape it again and just throw it at any metal object! The more you have the more fun you can have with it.

Learn thru a video on how to make a Throwie Here.

See, how beautiful you can make your surroundings with LED Throwies.

Does any one of you see an LED Throwie Diwali?

Original Concept by: Graffiti Research Lab