Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Know Thy Customer


Know thy

Before you design your product, before you decide the price, before you understand market competition, before you source raw materials, before you hire people, before you formulate your business model, before you look inside your own offering, it is highly essential that you look outside and understand who is your customer?

The customer is that person who will buy your product (or service) just because your product is adding value in his life and is available at a price that he is ready to pay. The customer is a highly rational individual and to assume that he doesn’t know what he wants would be the biggest mistake that you can make. Therefore it is essential for you and your company to understand what adds value to your customer’s life and the price that he will be ready to pay for such a product or service.

These answers cannot be grasped sitting between the four walls of your workplace. You need to get out there, get your market research game on, and start talking to people. The biggest mistake that companies end up doing, in the name of market research, is asking a customer to react on offerings already designed or implemented by them. Let’s take an example – Let’s say you’re in the car manufacturing industry and you are considering adding some new features to your existing product and re-launching it.
If you ask your research group questions such as – Would you prefer new tail lamps on the Honda Prius? Or a more generic one - Would you like to see a new look of the Ford Mustang? Guess what the answer would always be – YES!

The customer would always be happy and excited to see more features added but will he pay for it? NO. The mistake here on the part of the marketers is that they already knew the answer that they were seeking from the questions that they were asking the customer. They just wanted to vet it through so called –“research”

The art of market research is to ask certain questions that allow your customer to talk and you to listen. Listening helps understand the customer and grasping insights. Therefore if you’re in the car manufacturing industry and are considering cosmetic changes on the existing offering, the question that you should be asking is – What do you think of the Honda Prius? And let him answer the question the way he wants. Your task is to assess from his answer, whether you should even consider such a change?

One more challenge you’ll face from such an approach is that - The customer doesn’t know exactly what they want. So he will never be specific about the exact features that he wants improvements on. It is your task to understand and define on the basis of his answers what offering can you provide them by looking inside your company – raw materials, costs, third-party services, employees, etc.

Market research can be done in various ways. Remember to do a mix of these six techniques:



The Data Detective
Build on existing work with (desk) research, secondary research reports and customer data you might already have provides a great foundation for getting started. Look also at data outside your industry and study analysis, opposites or adjacencies.
Difficulty level: 1







The Journalist
Talk to (potential) customer as an easy way to gain customer insights. It’s a well-established practice. However, customers might tell you one thing in an interview but differently in the real world.
Difficulty level: 2







The Anthropologist
Observe (potential) customers in the real world to get good insights into how they really behave. Study which jobs they focus on and how they get them done, note which pains upset them and which gains they aim to achieve.
Difficulty level: 3







The Impersonater
“Be your customer” and actively use products and services. Spend a day or more in your customer’s shoes. Draw from your experience as a (unsatisfied) customer. Difficulty level: 2




 


The Cocreator
Integrate customers into the process of value creation to learn with them. Work with customers to explore and develop new ideas.
Difficulty level: 5


 




The Scientist
Get customer to participate (knowing or unknowingly) in an experiment. Learn from the outcome.
Difficulty level: 4






To conclude I would say that customer segmentation should ideally precede value proposition. As long as a product or service offering is solving a need of a customer and the customer is ready to pay the price at which it is being offered, the marketing task is halfway performed!

Hope you enjoyed the read! Let me know what do you think?

Sid Bhargava

QwiQwiQ

Thursday, 29 September 2016

"Difference between branding and marketing?” explained!

“I think I have to say I have a hard time seeing the value of branding—all this marketing stuff is a cost I find hard to justify, not a driver of sales.”
What the?!
Does said prospect really believe branding and marketing are one-and-the-same? And does he truly believe that they are costs that are hard to justify?
They say you can lead a horse to water, but in his case I didn’t bother! Needless to say, said prospect is no longer a prospect. But for everyone else’s benefit, I’m going to explain the important difference between branding and marketing?
Why?
Because amongst smaller organisations and entrepreneurs, branding as a driver of business growth is one of the most misunderstood and under-utilised tools in their armoury.

To put it simply, marketing is a range of push tactics used to promote a product or service with one aim – to make sales. “Look over here, buy our product/service because it’s better than the competitors.” (An oversimplification I admit).
In no way is this branding.
  • Branding, by comparison, is no comparison. Branding should be explored, defined and designed before you think about your marketing. It is not about pushing, but pulling.
  • Branding is the clarification of what a particular product or service is, or is not. It is the expression of that product or service’s true value, and essence, communicated through characteristics and attributes.
  • If branding could be distilled to one core function, it would be to define and guide a product or service’s differentiation. This is the holy grail in business today and is the reason why getting your head around exactly what branding can do for your business is so important.
  • A well thought through brand will encourage purchases by supporting your marketing, but it does not rely on “buy me” sales messages. No, branding says “hey, this is what I am, this is what you can expect, this is my essence. And if you like me and agree with my ethics you might want to buy me, support me or tell your friends about me.”
  • Branding is about thinking strategically. Marketing is bringing your strategy to life through tactics. Marketing can help you grow, but it is your brand that you will be growing. The brand stays long after your marketing exercise. It’s the gut feeling prospects are left with, no matter if they did, or did not purchase.
  • Marketing and advertising may convince somebody to come to your Gym, but it is the brand experience that will determine if your new customer comes back again for another month of training.
  • The brand is the essence of what you stand for and deliver, and is made up of many things. Most important is the experience you deliver. Did the Gym sessions live up to the “fastest way to get fit” promise? Was the Gymnasium a breath of fresh air? Did the instructors really know their stuff?
  • Your marketing will find you buyers, but your brand has the power to create a tribe of loyal customers and advocates from those new customers.
  • No matter what business you’re in, it is everyone you employ, and every action they take, day-in and day-out, that will either build up, or help tear down your brand. Every answered call, every action, every advertisement and every email is an opportunity to build brand loyalty and drive sales.
Back to my prospect who believes, marketing and branding are a cost. To that I say;
“Marketing is a cost if it is a stab in the dark or an exercise in throwing as much mud as you can and hoping for some to stick. Conversely, if your marketing is well researched and thought through, it will result in sales and brand enhancement.
Good branding could be considered a cost because its ROI is not instant. It does, however, encourage customer loyalty, make your salesman’s job easier, and attract like-minded employees who are willing to work harder.”
Just as a business plan, adequate funding, great employees and a clear vision are important components if you want to build a successful business, so is branding.
It is an essential foundation for a strong and prosperous operation. Yes, it can be viewed as a cost just as great staff, experienced accountants and devoting precious time to innovate come at a cost. But what is more costly, having them, or not having them?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Australia's best fixie & retro bespoke urban bikes that have long lasting appeal and impressive performance charactistics.


I’ve travelled in all kind of public transport and in my cars and motorbikes but the most joyous ride is on the throne of a bike. When I say bike I mean that two-wheeler, all-metal, with both breaks on the bar handle and with the pedals to steer faster thingy. Yes a bicycle! Good guess!

Sure it’s not the fastest means of transport but it’s definitely the most awesome, breath taking, mind blowing, happiness spreading and heart pumping experience there is. And I’m not just saying this; there is scientific proof for this as well.

Geek mode ON! According to science, cycling can help to protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis. Riding a bicycle is healthy, fun and a low-impact form of exercise for all ages. Cycling is easy to fit into your daily routine by riding to shops, park, school or work.

That’s exactly what Brown Jersey is trying to do for us. They are creating this pocket full of joy to fit in everyone’s life one bicycle at a time. I came across them very recently while walking in Ultimo, Sydney, while I was jumping from one meeting to another. One cannot miss the amazing show room with these beautiful bright heavenly bikes staring at you from the large windows. My feet suddenly turned into 5 year old twins wanting to go inside the store and I, like every mother who loves their children, agreed.
Inside the store, I met the sales manager (who was also the mechanic for the bikes!) who showed me around and introduced me to all the bikes. I discovered that all the bikes were hand-made and 100% customizable. From the tires to the handlebars, the wheels to the breaks and the speeds to the saddle, everything could be customized as per your choice.

The bikes had beautifully carved black and brown leather saddles and handle-grips that I was eyeballing throughout the time I was there. These splendid bikes were amazingly engineered, structurally modern, observably premium and purposefully practical collectibles.



Realizing my daily commuting needs my heart shortlisted one for itself – The Islington! But I also realized that they had a bicycle for every person and every for purpose – whether it’s a casual park ride or an intense rush hour between meetings. One of these days I’ll walk into that store and buy one of these beauties.


Do check them out and I dare you not to fall in love with them!

QwiQwiQ Team

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

How Do You Manage and Lead Yourself and Others? Here are the 6 Steps!

Managing and leading oneself is a challenge for most and so is managing and leading others. In this day and age where people want to have instant results, managing and leading has become something that is difficult and a task usually design for top level CEO’s.
However, managing and leading yourself and others is actually for everyone. You can manage and lead yourself and achieve the specific results you need and want for yourself and your organization. It doesn’t matter if you are on the top or if you just joined a team, effective management is a concept that can create a difference in the way you do things and how you handle yourself and the people around you.
Step 1. Visualize and Set Your Ideal Week
Have you ever realized that the week just passed without achieving anything for yourself or your organization? That’s how most people lead their lives – just hoping for the best without taking control! It’s the same in leading yourself and your organization, you need to set what you want to happened that will help you control not only your time, but it can also manage yourself and your organization’s goals for the week. Sit down and think, whatd o I want to achieve this week? Write it down and set your weekly goals. You’ll be amazed at how it’s easier to managing lead yourself and your team. Remember that your time is valuable, and you can do more when you know what you need todo!
Step 2. Set a Metrics and Benchmark for Your Goals
So you’ve just written down what you need to achieve for the week,but how do you know you’ve done it right? Set a metrics to see if you are doing  it right and create a benchmark to set your standards. Yes, you’d like to increase your sales for the week, but how much and how will you do it? Where would you like to be at the end of the week? Achieving a goal is easier said than done, but what is the quality of your goal? Think of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. Do it well and do it right!
Step 3. Action Planning!
So you have created an ideal week and have set a metrics and benchmark for your goals, right? But how do you know if it works or not? Well,set an action planning meeting. It doesn’t matter if you are a sole entrepreneur or you a leading a company of 100, you need to know if you were able to reach your benchmark or what you need to do next to achieve your goals.It is always essential to evaluate what was in order to achieve the “what could be”.
Step 4. Take accountability.
Accountability is more than just taking responsibility for your actions and its consequences. Being accountable means taking ownership, and knowing your actions and how this lead to achieve the results you now have.When you take accountability, you take ownership of what has transpired and you will be able to know what your standards and expectations really are.
Step 5. Be Inspired and Inspire Others.
It’s the moments of magic that brings life into your life and your business. Unless you are inspired, it would be challenging to continue on with your goals. What inspires you? Spend quality time for that. Remember also to inspire others: be one of the reasons why they look forward to coming to work,be one of the reasons why they love what they do.
Step 6. Celebrate wins and losses.
It is easy to celebrate wins, but we will never move on from our losses unless we know how it really feels when we lose over something. Create big consequences for your wins and bigger consequences for your losses.
This 6 step system is a foolproof way of leading yourself and your team to excellence.We don’t need to complicate our lives to achieve what we want. We just need to know what we want and do what we need to achieve them. Watch this space for more!
Ref: "Article from Chris McCarney Dealztap.com"
Hope you enjoyed it.
Aloke.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Why Beautiful Website Design Matters


Why Beautiful Website Design Matters


As a digital marketing specialist, I look at a lot of websites each month; websites across all industries, all styles, simple ones, complex ones, and of course, stunningly beautiful award-winning websites.



I, much like everyone else, enjoy admiring beautiful things; be it a sleek website, a serene painting or a thought-provoking sculpture. But what separates websites from pure art is that websites often, if not always, have a commercial intent behind them. 

This is an important distinction to understand. When I’m assessing websites, I don’t base a website’s worth on my own emotional response to the website, but on the data uncovered from under the hood that tells me how well the website is performing for the business.
Some of the questions that go through while auditing websites are:
• Will the website be found by the target market and how exactly will they find it?
• Will the visitors be engaged and how will the metrics reflect this?
• Will the website increase conversions and what constitutes a conversion to the business?
• Does the website have a clear business purpose in the first place?

THE PROBLEM WITH AWARD-WINNING WEBSITES

I keep coming across websites that are visually stunning, but that have absolutely no thought put into the commercial intent of the website, not to mention ensuring that the website is friendly towards search engines, in effect, discoverable and readable. This essentially means that the website serves no purpose and the money and time spent on it is wasted.
From a business point-of-view, in the online environment a beautiful website is simply not enough and we should stop the proliferation of awarding websites that concentrate purely on the aesthetics. If it’s not discoverable by search engines, no matter how sleek, it doesn’t fulfil its core purpose and is therefore a failure, not a winner.

BEAUTIFUL WEB DESIGN ISN’T THE HOLY GRAIL

The digital space is brutal for website owners, with surfers having the attention span of a goldfish when navigating the online jungle; click here, search there, open in a new tab, view this video, all within seconds. Unlike painters and sculptors, web designers can’t rely on people to pause or stop in their tracks in awe when coming across their artwork.
In Order to determine what exactly constitutes successful web design, we should be looking at analytics, not base our judgments on subjective opinions.
Data scientist W. Edwards Deming put it quite nicely:
“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
To determine how well-designed a website really is, we should be looking at:
• Bounce rate
• Heatmaps
• Time on page
• Number of pages visited
• Customer journey and drop-off rates
• Exit rate
• Site speed
• Video views
• Outbound clicks
• Conversion rates
However, web design is merely one piece of a bigger puzzle.

WEB DESIGN AND SEARCH ENGINES CAN WORK TOGETHER

The modern search engines are sophisticated bundles of complex algorithms that look at over 200 signals when determining the purpose and value of a website. In fact, most of these signals are seeking to replicate human cognition, making them quite smart at evaluating websites from a holistic perspective.
There’s no need to decide between a well-designed and search engine optimised website; these are not mutually exclusive disciplines and never have been. Much like a human, a search engine that’s evaluating websites does also place value on visually pleasing design that engages audiences (as determined by engagement data in analytics).
But in addition to this, it would also focus on the signals that convey the intent of the website, as well as how easy it has been made for search engines to understand this purpose. This is something that current website awards don’t consider.

WHY DO YOU OWN A WEBSITE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Building a website based on the mantra of “making the Internet a little nicer” doesn’t compute with search engines that try to decipher what value the website offers to other people, not to mention business owners seeking to see a return-on-investment on their website.
The biggest secret search engines try to decipher about your website with the help of their bundles of complex algorithms is the purpose of the website. By first understanding yourself what you’re trying to achieve with your website, and then making it easy for search engines to understand this purpose, it will be much easier for the engines to pass on this information to people searching for your business or services online.
Hope you enjoyed it.
Aloke

Monday, 11 July 2016

7 Creative Ways to Increase Instagram Followers






Growing your social media following can be a long, tedious and time consuming process.
You post ten times a day, you engage with fans in the comments and hashtag your way to building a tribe.
You seem to put in a tonne of effort and see little or no results from it.
Instagram can be highly engaging but there is a right and a wrong way to increase followers on Instagram (and followers).
It is so important to create a community on Instagram and not just try to get as many followers as possible.  
The difference between followers and a community is quality.  In order to obtain quality new community members, it is a good idea to get creative…..
#1  Authorize the Facebook App to Connect your Instagram and Facebook Accounts
#2   Embed Instagram Pics into a Blog Post
#3  Add an Instagram Widget to your Website
#4  Don’t Forget the Power of Email
#5  Cross Pollinate on Periscope
#6  Share Images on Twitter using IFTTT
#7  Take Advantage of Instagram DMs

Bonus Tip:
Always ENGAGE!! Answer EVERY question and respond to comments.
Even though you might not choose to follow an account, you should always engage with those who show up on your post and give love 🙂
Let me know how you go with it!
Aloke.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The dos and don'ts of creating a strong digital marketing strategy



3 Winning pointers with social media 

1. Start by building a business presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 
As a rule, it’s best to keep this presence separate from your personal social media accounts. Once you’ve created a social media account, link it to your website
Google and other search engines will automatically raise your ranking if you connect your website with your other digital assets.
2. Invest in content marketing
Marketing today is at intense pitch: there are thousands of companies eyeing for a client’s dollar. Also known in the marketing trade as “thought leadership”, content marketing is a great way to influence potential clients by engaging them through compelling online content that is delivered through a social media platform. Whether it’s a blog, infographic or another interactive channel, expressing your views online can be a valuable way to capture some attention.
The trick is to find topics that are relevant. In this instance, initial meetings with potential clients could provide a treasure trove of topics for your content marketing. Done well, content marketing can start conversations with your clients where you’re educating and engaging them – it is a great way to build relationships. If you don’t know where to start, consider engaging a content marketing professional.
3. Build your audience
Social media gives you a great platform for reaching potential customers and collecting valuable data about them. For example, giving a client the opportunity to download a whitepaper or a market report free-of-charge, in exchange for their name and email address, helps you build your client database. You can then direct further campaigns towards these contacts.

Traps to avoid

1. Don’t rely solely on social
Don’t utilise social media alone. Depending on your audience, it will probably work best in conjunction with other more traditional marketing channels such as email marketing, advertising, public relations or sponsorships. Many studies show that email marketing still provides a greater ROI than social media activities. Therefore, if you rely on social media alone, you’re most likely missing out on some sales opportunities.
2. Don’t start and then stop
Social media relies on timely and consistent data and you need to be regularly positioning information across your platforms to stay relevant. If you do not invest time into keeping active on social media it can often fail to deliver any results at all. The more frequently you update content the better you’ll rank in online searches. If you post a blog once a week, for example, then maintain this frequency, and the results will start to follow.
Hope you enjoyed it.

Aloke.