Stop picking on the new kid

11 Jul

Reproduced from Aditya’s blog

I hate it wen people ask me for ROI on social media. I always ask them this, “If I put up a 25 fuckin’ feet banner with strobing lights and loud music coming out of it on Marine Drive for one month, can you tell me the EXACT ROI it gives me?”

That usually does the trick to shut most of them up. Some of them go ahead to explain things like X no. of views and footfalls. And that X is an elusive number you know. No one knows for sure what it is. They just know it’s a lot and it’s more than the no. X from a banner in the middle of the sea! Even this definition is wrong, if you go by the book. ROI is defined as Y amount of money you get back after investing X amount. Not footfalls. Not hits. Not conversations. Hard cash…

Brand managers usually calculate (if some MBA honcho is reading this, please correct me if I am wrong) ROI from different mediums using the no. of users reached. And there in lies the problem. If I reach X no. of users via TV and same X no. of users via Radio, which one  is more influential and will give me more ROI? No one fucking knows. Sure, you can make up some metrics by giving weighted values to each medium i.e. TV carries 2x times more influencing power than Radio and hence will give more ROI (this magic no. 2x either is made out of thin air or via some kinda market research). But lemme make one thing very clear. This is all qualitative.

You need more proof? Take TV for example. TRP’s are calculated by INTAM (Indian Television Audience Measurement), which is the only electronic rating agency functioning in India. And they install something called People Meters in sample TV homes to measure their viewing habits and then extrapolate it to the whole of India. Someone once told me that they install around 5,000 Meters i.e. 5,000 for a total of 63,000,000 total sets in India! Source

Also, check out this article from Amber Naslund which brings up this interesting research:

Number of web pages Google finds for the following phrases:

“direct mail ROI” – 131,000
“email ROI” 55,900
“radio ROI” – 33,200
“TV ROI” – 12,600 (television roi is just 291)
“magazine ROI” – 3,150
“newspaper ROI” – 210
“billboard ROI” – 85

“social media ROI” – 796,000

We suddenly care an awful lot about measuring this new stuff when we haven’t demonstrated nearly the same urgency around measuring the rest of our work (or at least we haven’t been nearly as vocal about it).

Peace out. I rest my case.


Assorted, flavored or plain?

9 May

I won’t be surprised if I start seeing cutesy ‘Facebook fan’ packages showing up in digital gurus’ services offering a variety in kinds of fans: assorted, flavored or plain?  I say this with a venom-flavored tone because it doesn’t fail to annoy me when I hear digital experts selling Facebook fans by the dozen.

My discomfort on this Sunday night springs from a conversation with a friend who was recently exposed to such verbal martyrdom in the form of gyaan from a digital guru. The guru pitched his offerings in the form of selling fans at a price: the price of Rs.15/fan to Rs.25/fan. The client conveniently bought into the lovely offering with a sparkle in his eyes. Brand managers love the game of numbers, even when irrelevant and pseudo and Marketers love saving self ass. Hence, deliver.

Here are my two cents (besides the hundred dollar bill I threw at you above!):

1. Fans are not vegetables. Fans are real people. And you really do owe them a lot more than a coupon or two.

2. Don’t measure the success of your Facebook Fan page through the number of fans. In fact, dont’ measure Facebook fan page through the lens of success but look at it through sustenance. Ask the right questions and save yourself from falling in the trap of ‘pay per fan’. Build a good brand, fans will follow. Give engaging content, fans will talk. And whatever you do, think long term.

3. It is not easy and definitely not cheaper than TV. If your excuse for doing this is to let your boss know that you implemented a ‘new media idea’ and saved some money, then pinch yourself bud, you DO NOT want to show off your ability to cheat by paying for 10,000 fans.

4. Who are these fans? Are they the guys you really want? Are the conversations the right kind of conversations? Are you movtivating the people who ‘like’ your page to do something more than just buy your product?

5. Get out of the TRP mindset.

The disgruntled me should stop talking. We want you to do this. If you know anyone who is affected by the ‘Facebook fan page is the greatest thing since slice bread and I must buy fans’ disease, bring them here. Or ask them to talk to Aditya and me. We’d love to help hit the ‘Restart’ button.

Have a fantastic ‘digitally cheat-free’ week ahead!

Digital vs. Social

30 Apr

We want to keep this one short. And make sure the message sinks in.

There is no difference between digital and social media. Digital is a platform and social is a strategy.

Geddit? Not very deep, is it?

Dr. Social Media Marketing Douchebag or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet

30 Apr

Ok. So there I was. Proud entrepreneur dude. Just returned home. The dude who owns his own internet company. The most eligible bachelor in the small town of Rewari … I was home to bask in all my glory!

Ladies of Rewari .. one at a time please!

But then the inevitable happened. My dad told me this:

I know a guy .. who knows another guy .. who knows this guy .. You should meet this guy. He is a social media guru.

WTF. And my pride came crashing at my proud puffy-with-pride feet. I know my dad was asking me – “Son, are you a guru yet or not?”

No really. A guru! But it got me thinking! Haven’t I heard this one before? Haven’t we all heard this before? But over the months we have learned to recognise the gurus from the true thought leaders. The douchebags from the enthusiasts. Before we go ahead, it’s time you look at this video:

And now here’s a quick tutorial me and Manasi made on how to recognise your classic example of a Social Media Douchebag:

  • He proclaims his douchebaggery by using words like Social Media Expert, Social Media Guru, Social Media Rockstar, Social Media Maven and Social Media Evangelist. Trust us, if you see these phrases .. run. Run faster than Lola Ever Ran!
  • He actually behaves like a celebrity. Expecting to be invited to every event and every tweetup. Wake up dude! On the internet, this monkey sniffing his own butt is a bigger celebrity than you.
  • He has no idea what he / she is selling and will layer it with words like ‘social currency’ ‘engagement economy‘ and ‘conversation strategy’
  • If you ask him what ROI on Social Media is; the reply is  ‘Return On Influence’ and ‘Return on Engagement’
  • If you ask him her what’s wrong with your brand he will tell you that you need to ‘evangelise your evangelists’ and ‘monetise your Facebook page’
  • He will promise to get you 50,000 fans and 10,000 followers per month (this one’s a side-effect of the epidemic called Social Media Marketing which is running rampant right now)

And hi, if you are reading this and you satisfy more than one of the above conditions, then:

And if you are still in doubt, then read this website like you would have read your Playboy magazine.

Amen to the internet fairy.

Digital equals Advertising Agencies’ protein shake?

11 Apr

We want you to picture this:

A man. Black and white thick-striped suit. A big-shiny-loud microphone announcing his new bonus service that guarantees 10% increase in glitters. for 10% of current costs. What would you do, sir? What would I do? I’d grab the offer right away and start selling it for twice the price to my clients. Bingo.

Now put this in place with the current advertising scenario. Fits, doesn’t it? Everyone’s running behind the big shiny thing. And everyone’s hypnotized by the cheapness (?) of digital media. Now we want you to picture this conversation:

The Mashable certified Marketing Manager:

We need to do social media marketing. That’s the new shiz boss! We can create a Facebook fan page, a tweeting  handle and even a viral YouTube video.

Boss looks at the intern who has seen all LOLcat YouTube videos (yes, all):

I have no idea what a ‘viral’ is .. But sounds swanky! How many can we get?

The Mashable certified Marketing Manager:

We’ll get back to you on this one. But we can make sure you will get lots of fans and lots of twitters and definitely lots of virals!

Boss raises eyebrow:

What if someone writes something bad about us in social media? How can we control the negative talk? I don’t want to get screwed like Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi.

The Mashable certified Marketing Manager:

Don’t worry about that, we will totally forget the concept called feedback from customers and our intern will delete any negative post about you


Good. Let’s do it before end of this financial year. I want to make sure this happens before my appraisal.

And they all live happily ever after.

We have read so many articles about the social-woshal and the digital-shigital of media, we’ve heard the gurus preach it, we’ve talked about it with our pee buddies in the agency and we know that The Times They Are A Changin’ …

It is quite evident that digital outreach has become Advertising agencies’ readily available bonus card. Everyone’s using the term ‘digital’ loosely and confusing digital with ideas. What we have forgotten along the way is that an idea is a thought, a story, innovation. And digital is a channel for translation or manifestation of that idea.

And yes, no body is a digital guru. Yet.

And please please, let’s not sell digital communications on the basis of pay-per-tweet, pay-per-fan OR pay-per-every-nice-thing-consumer-says-about-your-product. We are using the wrong measuring cup.

Amen to the internet fairy.