Archive for category Consumer Behavior

Creating Single Vision of a customer – The Digital DNA

We talk about unified platform, data driven marketing, big data and so on, unfortunately, when we look at feasibility of such practices among brands, its far-fetched reality and just a board room discussion. Just the way we have clutter in customer segment so is the IT platforms in many of the organization, which are a sheer tick mark in terms of investments or legacies which have not been reviewed with changing trends, but not seen from one vision point of view.

For example, today if we have to perceive the persona of a customer from the company’s prospective, he would be seen through different filters such as CRM, Loyalty, Social Analytic, web analytic, BI tools drawing different persona of the same customer instead of building one customer persona, resulting in irrelevant & multiple campaigns, promotions targeting the same customers, most of the time irrelevant and not hitting the ROI mark.

The crux is customer centricity, not in terms of a single department, but in terms of the entire company looking at it. A persona is a result of collation of various signals from different sources; offline & online modes. It is matter of drawing a strategic view to draw those visions, because they translate the investment pattern into technologies which help you to optimize, predict and monetize in terms of understanding the right behavior, customer segment, place to target and offer.

Just as time & tide waits for none, so is the customer today, it doesn’t take time to become irrelevant to them, with irrelevant messages which flows in from various sources where he/she are in at the time of display. For instance, the FB ads or any other form of displays, excepting contextual mapping, how many time do you even look at it, forget click “know more”, the answer is majority of you ignore or don’t even see it.

The digital DNA, is just not building websites and creating brand presence across various online vehicle, it is more to understand your customers by delivering the right content at right time. The time has come where in your brand should deliver the experience by making the customer feel  special, through knowing or predicting who he/she needs and innovating your offering to them.

Industrialization brought in masses with economy in scale whereas digitization is going to bring in personalization with understanding customer behavioral signals. As said by Marcel Proust “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes”. Implementing the right unified platform which integrates applications of business technology & Information technology holds the key of success. The digital empowerment today is going to fade data silos in organization, in a vision of building one single customer persona.



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Subliminal Moment of Truth – Redefining engagement with captive minds through Mobile technology

An Empty mind is marketer’s paradise, is so true, ultimately every modern marketing strategy today while being written is on the shifts seen in consumer behavior cycle starting from  impulses through desire to demand, and what is phenomenal, is that, such basis have always brought in solutions which become the part of a business paradigm. Let’s see, how some of them have revolutionized marketing strategies; Moment of Truths by P&G, which talked on showcasing the product (first moment of truth) went on the bring in the visual merchandising & packaging as one of the prime component of retail strategy; followed by experiences on consumption (Second Moment of Truth) to become feedback for product improvement & innovation, testimonials for the artifacts to encourage prospects in the process of being lead. Then came the era of searches, as the searches started growing in prominence, the resonance was reflected  in Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, theory on searches, solutions are quite evident in terms of presence in terms websites, audio-visual aids on various platforms, ad words, usage of keywords with what the prospects search, to reflect in the top search ranking.

In all the paradigm mentioned above, we see reflection of the buying behavior, what comes more appealing is that engaging customer at the right time, right place & with right messaging, no doubt the phrase of ‘rights’ looks so simple but it isn’t. We have been seeing through the Great social Media revolution, which is now been used by every business to engage their prospects, but it’s still not clear on time & place. The right time, in many cases are engaging an empty mind or idle mind of an individual, and direct them to what you want. As a marketing professional, when we question on our efforts being enough on engaging our prospects, down some where answer is,’ no’.

Thanks, to the all-round development in technology in past 5 years, what is seen, the opportunity in engaging people are growing through the horizon. Smarter, lighter & customer centric application have enabled the growth in dependence on personal devices, to an extent that today you have avenues to reach your prospect, through them. You just need to be smarter and have customer centric attitude in you.

Empty mind or in other words captive minds are huge potential today, if I would have to talk on the same couple of years back, people would have stared at my thoughts, but today, it isn’t the scenario. Have you actually seen how an ideal individual spends his day, lets look at the balanced media diet, courtesy Steven Leckart in Wired Magazine issue 17.08  shows an illustration of time spent by individual on various sources of entertainment like starting from Television, social media, micro blogging, gaming and so on.

What comes across is that, smart devices are becoming more and more prominence in an individual’s life and in some cases they accompany the individual with the source of entertainment, the relation of smart devices with sources of entertainment is of symbiotic nature. Hence, it is very important for any brand today to be present to capitalize on the empty mind or idle mind, and have mobility options in their strategy. The challenge here is if you could engage that state of mind creating an impact on the subconscious mind, you have An Empty mind, which is marketer’s paradise.

With this, I am tabling across, today, a paradigm of engaging, captive minds or idle minds or an empty mind, which is the Subliminal moment of truth, in other words, it is engagement of that state of mind, where an individual has nothing scheduled and looking for sources, any activity involved in engaging that state would result in greater engagement with the brand, leading to other Moment of truth mention above. Subliminal Moment of Truth, brings in relevance of integrated messaging through various modes & Mobility Components (Smart Devices), in some form or other in terms of applications, mobile advertisements, campaigns which goes in your marketing strategy to engage prospects. Hence, it is very important for any brand, to have their mobile strategy in place, to engage such idle minds. To give you an example, Click on the link An Empty Mind is Marketer’s Paradise – Leveraging Airports To Enhance the Customer Base, is an perspective to engage people using an interactive mobile app, which would lead to Moment of Truth, and more over creates a deeper impression in the mind, which goes to become talked topic. Check the video which stress on the growing dependence on mobile devices.

Thanks to company like Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft who have been continuously innovating and emerging thought leaders in the mobility, their every release sets a new paradigm for marketers to engage with their prospects. Subliminal Moment of truth, gains more momentum when you check the statistics of the usage of mobile in one of interesting info-graphics shared by Sarah Kessler in an article in on Mobile Marketing,  indicates the internet usage on mobile would overtake desktop by 2014, Mobile tags provide more product information like comparison shopping offers than traditional barcodes, 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices which watching TV (Opportunity for marketers to engage), 29% of mobile users are open to scanning a mobile tag (interesting applications could increase brand engagement), 91% of mobile internet access to socialize (integrated approach with digital media could have a far reaching effects). Interestingly to note  how people use their mobile phones; 61% for gaming, 55% for weather, 50% for maps/ search, 49% for social networking, 42% for music, 36% for news, 33% for entertainment, 25% for dining and 21% for videos. Aren’t these statistic enough to show how the paradigm of Subliminal Moment of Truth i.e engaging empty or idle mind through mobile application is possible. In fact, if you don’t have the mobile strategy for your product you have missed on something.

You Could reach me on or connect with me on  linkedin

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3 Key Components In The Making Of B2B Marketing Strategy; Influencers, Perception & Value Prop

Over the past few weeks, I have been researching on to the B2B space, which happens to be complex and marketing is slowly taking prominence over the traditional approach. Prospects in these spaces predominantly are becoming more & more informed and are more risk averse then before.  Digital Media has shown its impact on to it and the marketers have started capitalizing on to Modern Marketing strategies to mature the leads from awareness followed with engagement, to be in the prospect’s minds and to evade the risk of not being in the short listing process.

There are three main categories which underline strategy in the B2B space; Influence-rs, Perceptions & Value Proposition, which help marketers to take their product into the target market. Each of the components is symbiotic to the other; hence the strength of the strategy is defined on an optimized rational equation, rather than just based on observation. All this derived from the impact of technology advancements happening, which are not sequential rather all round, turning more& more user models into user centric, predictive, smarter & mobility based values changing the consumer decision-making behavior.  To top it predictive analysis have strengthened companies today to build their decisions based on rational thought process to counter economic scenarios.

Influence-rs – These are the stakeholders or gatekeepers, involved while deciding on B2B products. In certain cases they even show greater prominence while decision has been taken, hence your strategy would be incomplete without them. They could be anybody from Analyst, Trade bodies, Go-To-Market components, ISVs, system Integrators, Consultants, Advisers, internal employees and so on. Identifying the right one is a challenge, and the tip is that every product category shows a particular type of behavior and following it would help to recognize them. Hence, Messaging, Segmentation, Targeting & identifying the right kind of strategy is the key here. The best what works in terms of influence-rs is engagement tactic through building communities of like-minded people and identifying what Go-To-Market suits to the recognized community.

Perceptions – These are those notional value sets which go to define the brand equity of the B2B marketer in the minds of the customer. Usually, this is the one which is most ignored and classified as the cost items. They are tricky though when you are venturing into vast product portfolios catering various segments of verticals & horizontals. In some case, where you have already foray into the defined segment like services and you are venturing into products portfolio, they become even more challenging as you have a preset conceived values in the minds of the customers. In these cases, it’s very critical for any B2B brand to optimally play using digital media and various thought leadership forum to demonstrate the innovation capabilities and domain expertise in area being ventured. Identifying the key product experts in the company as the face of your product works well (apart from the Company leadership team), building attractive artifacts, being present in the industry leadership forums which is looked upon, makes a promising appeal to gather perceptions about your products.  In today’s world, Zero Moment Of Truth by Google holds weight and edge in the digital era, complemented with tradition methodology.

Value Proposition – These are beneficial values which a B2B consumer is going to get. The smarter strategy would be to be consumer centric, understand the industry requirement, visionary features and values what your consumers are talking about and address those pain area. If you are able to bridge in the gap between the requirements and being developed, the value proposition has been well said. Nevertheless, it is not the case always; hence the marketers would have to work through their guts to bring out the Product Positioning through various competitive intelligence, Market analysis in terms of revenue band that the segment holds for the players, and characteristics of the band to devise unique selling proposition to position for their product against the need of target audience. Value Proposition plays a critical role while devising the B2B strategy.

Trade Tips

Once the components are defined, it would make more sense if the products could be encompassed as a business theory, in terms of answering a business problem. Business theories or Modern Marketing strategies hold loads of power in defining your products & solutions being developed, as they become synonymous or law of the land to the business problem, hence the prospects would be able to relate it with their scenarios and buy in for your product. The advantage of these business theories are that, they have the strength to lead the product life cycle road maps as they are outcomes from what industry wants and addresses pain areas. The Good leading example is the Modern Marketing strategy defined by Google for its searches, Zero Moment Of Truth.  The rationale behind the theory enables marketer to perceive their business problem, which inherently brings in the Buy–In for all the Google Search related products.

You Could reach me on or connect with me on  linkedin

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Gaming,the Biggest Social Engagement Model, could be the Lab for Consumer Behavior

Have you ever seen the social gamer playing through the farm ville, god! That is more than an addiction which I have been through. You scratch your head and heart if you are not able to harvest at the right time, strategize the crops which yield more level scores and the most awesome thing, use a calculator to find out the profit margin out of every harvest. The best out of the entire activity is we are captive, focused and more over show a behavioral trend, which could be related or grouped to categorical insight, which means, without my knowledge, but based on my impulse and reaction during the involvement. What do you think this could lead to; Consumer Gaming Intelligence.

Let’s counter the statistics 1,739,025, followers on the Facebook for Zynga alone, which also is a game changer in the social gaming experience. Any methodology parameter we bring in for the evaluation, they stand at par, engagement model, user experience, tactics and more over the consistency, which keeps the eyeball and the grey matter glued, tingling the stimuli to visit the site more than just once. May be for more statistic we could ask Zynga, including this in this section, would be more of a marketing pitch than trying to drive a point. The insights coming out through the game would be a good inference to a Consumer Gaming intelligence, which is waiting for us to study Consumer Behavior.

Gaming Behavioral Laboratory– Let’s see how we could adopt, when put more science into the technique, gaming studio could be developed which acts as a behavioral lab to draw inferences which are corollary of the shopper behavior. What would make a difference to boast the precision is introducing strategic scenarios, like the real life shopping environment which would allow the excitement among the players and keep the momentum up through their visits and post visits. These scenarios help to gather the behavioral trends in the consumers. Their logic, could interpret decision inputs, expectations and wish list they have, more over how they react in a scenario could give a good input for the strategy formulation.

I don’t say this answer the questions, could we predict consumer behavior, but we could start drawing parallels, which could help us in drawing the behavioral trends. This would bring in more science and to top of all, gaming is the best engagement model in the social media, apart from the done to death contest.

Engagement model Every marketing subject matter expert tests his grey matter to the fullest when it comes to engagement consistency, which is still a Pandora’s Box waiting to be unearthed. There is no science which suggests this should be the tactic for engagement and substantiate through web analytics, which shows spike and plateau. But gaming is one of the applications which increase the visitor frequency on to the site, the beauty is, on the spirit of the game and its level, networks you to people who have one thing common that is gaming. Isn’t that interest for you and your brand to make it a purely global phenomenon, through the social media.

Just having a page or a group wouldn’t make a difference, in your Social Media Strategy, translating your position statement through related applications and games would spike your engagement, and more so we would be able to crack what is called “Consumer Gaming Intelligence”, so what are you waiting for…

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What is your retail footprint strategy going to be?

The retail industry today have grown up the growth matrix, fairly well, categorizing themselves in two broad buckets of the BCG Model (Boston consulting Group) i.e. cash cow and dogs. The once who were in the quadrants of Niche and Visionaries moved into the state of leaders today, reaped through the benefits of the first mover advantage  and expanding themselves in leaps and bounds.

The changing market dynamics also went in their favors, both in terms of the consumption pattern and disposable income. While some argue that recession depleted the disposable income with compromising consumption pattern, some used this in their sides, through negotiation on the rentals and various input costs into long term contracts, which marked up their margin, boasting the profitability of the retail outlet. This not only helped visionaries and niche player to increase their presence in terms of square feet but also made them venture into new formats, as a part of the expansion drive.

When we look at the Tier one cities today there is a burst in the retail format, every suburb today would boast on minimum of two formats and when cumulated to the city, we would question on the footprints. This has shown growth in the capacity matching demands of different consumption pattern, in developing the formats from creating landmarks to multi brand outlets to niche to entertainment destination, in addressing wide spectrum. These trends are leading every retailer today to an edge, where they would like to boast on the footprints, and get maximum eyeballs for their advertisers.

Shopper AmbassadorBlend Emotions to create association– The crux is not to bring in an USP for the format to draw the attention, but to bring in an attribute of association in the eyes of the consumers, a sense of they being brand ambassador, would make a difference. The most commonly adopted technique, which is done to death, is having a road show or promotional events in the common arena of the space, which ends up as a nuisance for the shopper. These would have to go beyond just the in store entertainment to level where in the shopper feels comfortable and binds a sense of association with the store. The best example to this would be having a CSR touch, where we go beyond the collection drive; have few volunteers from the shoppers to the sponsored NGO or activities where shopper are involved with the beneficiaries directly.


Bring in more of a personal touch for the shopper when he is in the retail outlet. Usually we see a consumer once he enters the arena feels lost, reasons could be, one he doesn’t find what he is looking and two, nobody to guide him. In both these case a retailer would answer that they have people around, but most of the time these people are not themselves aware on the assortments.

  • What would be required are customer engagement people who smartly interact with the customer, when they enter and depart, this gives such a nice feeling about the store.
  • If it is a chain, there should be uniformity in store design, service levels and customer engagement; usually these are negated by the retailers. This brings in a lot of difference in the customer experience.

This would help them not only to gain the confidence but would bring in a new wave of associating with the consumers.

The community driver –Focal to your retail format- The trend usually followed in the retailing is more of a push formula, which is driven by the marketing calendar and sales figures. This paradigm shift needs to happen from the push to pull, which has a farfetched impact in creating a strong loyalty. The retail brand today just can’t fill it’s appetite of footprints through Multi-Brand and Multi-category, which would be a very short termed strategy, to be a winner in the long term they would have to gain confidence of the consumers, through a community with the focal point of its brand.

This would mean going beyond the normal way of associating with the consumer to create a platform, where in consumer would interact with the brand, network with fellow shoppers, and express their taste creating an ecosystem which is conducive for both retailer and shopper. This would create a strong bonding and also lead to process improvisation and build a shopper friendly retail. The entire essence is to bring in prominence for the shopper. The platform would be a face to the outlet and channel of communication, the loyalty program could revolve around this platform. The other benefit which could come out is that retail being the focal point shoppers might use it as a medium to network and meet their fellow shoppers at the outlet.

The Influencers- spokesperson among the shoppers -This would open a new Pandora box in the footprint strategy, where influencers among the shoppers could be identified who could help in promotions and are the spokesperson in their network of social networking site which is like hitting the gold mine and has greater precision than the advertising. The methodology would help in creating spokesperson to influence their community and to comprehend the fact is the way today we are closely hooked to social networking site, to share, hear and review. The challenge here would be how creative we could become to efficiently drive our messaging through and fro with these guys in the most subtle manner, keeping the focal point around the retail and outlet as a vehicle to meet physically.

Localization – bringing the local flavor into the city>suburb>locality strategy- The retail industry would have to go through more refinement then what we are seeing now. The science has just started and it would need more and more people to jump in to reform it. The methodology, as pointed out earlier in this paper, which is followed as a trend today is generic where in the drive comes from the retail marketing calendar, which is more of a push then a pull. This would have to be reversed to create the need what we are looking. No doubt today all format of the same flagship operates in the same way across the nationwide presence, which negates the regional flavor in terms of fads, styles and taste. If these would have to change, then every retail flagship would have to treat each of their city and its suburb stores as SBU. Bringing in the region based flavors & preference, which should also reflect in their merchandise apart from promotions and advertisement. Stressing on market research, customer segmentation, buying pattern & consumption study in relation to the growing disposable income with type of viewership in terms of entertainment options, which translates into types of category could be brought in the subtle way which might become the prime consumption pattern in the future. To give an example, a retail format could strategies their merchandise into different buckets such as fads, local flavors, looked upon merchandise, promotional stuff and so on. In turn we would see a dramatic shift in the loyalties among the consumers. Also it would make a lot of sense to have a regional partner while running the store, in a hybrid franchise model, which would change the industry looks and also would improve the supply chain.

Customer Engagement Model is the key in retaining the customers, which many retailers fail to understand and end up in push formula, but increasing competition in format, retailers would have to think on their Retail Footprint Strategy.

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