Tag Archives: Social Media

A good definition of social media

I recently read the article by Tim O’Reilly, which described social media. It is worthwhile to reiterate the definition of social media from the article – Social media is the modern digital enterprise that allows people to consume what they want, when they want and largely on the recommendations of friends and other non-professional influencers.

Plain and simple, it is about people.

Indian IT industry – growth areas and missing piece

The India Union budget of 2011 was recently presented by Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and India Inc. has largely hailed it. The Indian economy is on the rebound and the IT industry; the firebrand of modern technological India will experience substantial growth in near future. There is a talent war in the industry and every IT company worth its name is doing everything possible to hook up good talent that will set the company apart in the highly competitive global IT market place.

Leaders of the IT industry seem to agree on one point as regards to the overall changes taking place in the Indian IT industry: that the Indian IT industry is at an inflection point.

To take on the new challenges offered by the tectonic shift in how IT manages business in general, the Indian IT majors seem to have plans in place, although each one’s different from the other. Some companies are investing in developing new service models, some in developing new product offering, creating new technology platforms and some reorganizing their internal company structure. For instance, Cognizant has invested in creating a Cognizant 2.0 platform and Wipro has recently made structural changes to its management. Some players are also expanding in sectors other than there core strength such as healthcare and hospitality, besides strengthening their presence in the tradition banking, financial services and insurance.

Having said that, it is also worth taking note that there are three opportunity areas around which the entire growth plan of the India IT sector has been centred i.e. mobile, social media and cloud computing. But there is a missing piece, a fourth thing that Indian IT companies ought to think of, if there were to take their clout in the global IT scenario to the next level. Before I elaborate on that, let us take a quick look at the three areas of focus.

Mobile Computing

Mobile doesn’t only mean cell phones and smart phones, but other mobile computing devices such as tablets, slates, e-readers etc. This space is proliferating. In addition to the existing leading brands such as iPhones, Blackberry, Nokia, Samsung, etc. the space is getting innovation challenges from operating system makers such as Google’s Android. Not to mention the smart apps which seem to be hot selling products on the applications’ market-place. Mobile games are attaining new dimensions and there all companies seem to want the share of the pie, from tiny tech star-ups in Bangalore to Japanese gaming giants.

A different set of mobile devices that hasn’t caught the attention of the mainstream media is smart healthcare devices. Microsoft is also developing softwares (Ex. Microsoft HealthVault) that run on or integrate with such devices.

Mobile computing is in and the IT companies will have to have products/services around mobile computing.

Social Media

Here’s the fun and equally challenging part! There is abundant literature on the web around this subject and within this blog post, I don’t have much to add. But some of the commonly faced challenges are around control, measurement, and monetization. Even after having so much content around the topic, companies are grappling with getting social media right.

I will be putting up some presentations and frameworks shortly to take a dig at grasping the entire picture. Social media is huge and there are many types of software trying to support the social media ecosystem. These software ranges from content dissemination, to content filtering, to large enterprise level analytics systems such as Google Analytics, Radian6, Webtrends, Omniture etc.

Going forward, companies who understand social media better than others, who develop capabilities to handle enterprise level social media marketing efforts, monitor-measure-optimize them and link them to revenue and ROI, will have the edge.

Cloud Computing

Famous New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, in his classic book “The World is Flat”, mentions 10 flatteners that shaped the global economy in the past 15 years or so.

I would insist that Cloud Computing is also a flattener. Cloud computing removes all the capital investment barriers by eliminating the huge costs for installing IT infrastructure for small and medium business, levels the playing field by changing the costing model to a utility based one and making scalability a matter of hours than a matter of corporate level broad meetings. Large global IT conglomerate including Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc. have invested in the technology.

Needless to say, Indian IT companies that develop expertise around enabling cloud applications for small and medium enterprises, establish smart and dynamic workforce around cloud implementations and reduce costs by rapidly progressing along the learning curves, will win in the long run.

Companies that have capabilities in one of more areas from the above, or ideally all the three will thrive in the market.

Indian IT industry - Growth areas

Indian IT industry - Growth areas

There is a fourth thing without which, any advance in the above by any IT company in India, however big and technologically capable, will not succeed. And that is “Digital Marketing”.

Digital Marketing

The Indian IT sector will not succeed if it doesn’t market itself brilliantly well.

Why did I mention only digital here? Because in the coming years, there will be no marketing without digital marketing. All marketing will have a strong digital component; at least as far the IT industry is concerned. In any case, we don’t know of many Indian IT companies that succeeded by doing TV commercials.

Good digital marketing doesn’t limit itself to only to good product demos and classy looking PowerPoint presentations. It encompasses all that and goes well beyond enchanting Prezis, engaging webinars, case studies, blogs, white papers, social media apps, industry events, framework, research papers etc. The secret lies in articulation. The Indian IT industry needs market managers who can articulate well, irrespective of the format.

Another valuable skill these marketing managers should have is knowledge of international marketing, global business management expertise and exposure to diverse cultures. An international business MBA would come in handy. Articulation should also be augmented by meaningful conversation, engagement, enchantment and long term relationship building ability. Indian IT managers should be able to talk as comfortably about Charlie Sheen’s last quote and US healthcare policy as about their outsourcing expertise coding strength.  They should know as much about Groupon and Angry Birds as they know about backwaters of Kerala or the Mysore Palace. This new marketers should be as expert bloggers about new ideas in marketing as they are experts in nitty-gritties of Cricket.

Essentially, this new marketing breed should be a tribe of true digital citizens of the millennial generation.

Have any thoughts? Please comment on this post. I would love to hear from you.

Customer Engagement and Customer Evangelism

The idea of being social is central to human existence. Social nature of human society (Etymology – derived from “social”) has played an instrumental role in the development of our civilization and with the advent of digital media, we are finding remarkable new ways of communicating, collaborating and creating wonders

Companies and businesses have made a shift in their thinking about the role of social media over the years. Companies now recognize that social media no longer plays a supplementary role in building their brand; it rather plays a strategic role. Anything companies do, they should chart out the implications of their action in social media sphere. A great example of this can be found from this video by David Meerman Scott about Dave Carroll’s experience with United Airlines. 

Businesses are now leveraging the power of the social media to engage customers. But what is the real aim of engaging customers through social media? The best marketing strategy for any business is marketing through customers. When customers talk about products or services and bring in more customers, all marketers have to do is to find more such customers. There is a subtle line between word of mouth marketing and customer evangelism. The only ROI worth chasing from social media is the ROI from customer evangelism. Ironically, it is the most difficult to measure. Or is it? 

The most obvious inference to derive from this is that the aim of all social media efforts of a company should be to produce or create customer evangelism i.e. passionate advocacy of products and services by customers. This is illustrated by the following diagram (Yes, © Copyright here, I developed this!) 

Customer engagement and customer evangelism,

Developed by Tanmay Saraykar


When a company relies on web content for establishing its brand, I call it content evangelism. Read more on Content Evangelism, Tribes and Future of Internet Marketing, here. 

Sound pretty simple, isn’t it? What is more difficult to achieve is making this as a single goal of all customer service activities, spread across departments and at all levels of the organization. 

The idea is to align the entire social media enterprise of the company to a single idea, i.e. engaging customers in ways that lead to customer evangelism. 

The question then is how to go about engagement and evangelism? I will address that in my next post. Keep watching! 

The concept of “Content Evangelism”, Tribes and Future of Internet Marketing

The future of internet marketing will be shaped by tribes practicing content evangelism. Not sure? Here’s my dig at it.

Internet marketing or web marketing (or online marketing, whatever you choose to call it) has come a long way since its inception during the dotcom era. New web technologies are being developed around internet marketing or as a result of internet marketing that range from advanced and complex search engine algorithms to all type of digital media, such as banner and text ads, interactive flash ads, surface computing interfaces, all the Web 2.0 technologies, smart phone applications, mobile PPC ads, e-books, video sharing network ads etc. Additionally around internet marketing, technological ecosystems have also evolved for instance; ad exchanges, search and content networks, web development platforms, cloud applications, digital agencies and their suppliers, email marketing companies, rich content creation and sharing platforms, video creation and sharing technologies, application market places etc.

When these ideas invaded the smart phone or the mobile world, we started calling it “Digital Marketing”.

Internet marketers are constantly making attempts to grasp the whole scenario and create a comprehensive internet marketing plan (more often in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, the most indefensible thing in our era) and even providing consulting services around this idea.  They make forecasts, allocate budgets, make and interpret reports, develop new frameworks (this one’s mine), measure and monitor ROI and engage customers through various social media marketing activities.

All these activities create a ton of data and customers often find themselves spending more effort in blocking data than consuming it. Some technologies such as RSS, feeds, subscriptions have made this easier.

This is all good and internet marketing as a strategic business function will hardly cease to evolve, but what is more important is to establish a guiding principle or an ideology that will direct all the digital marketing activities at a subtler level and help take critical decisions. I would like to call this principle as “Content Evangelism”. Let’s explore this idea briefly.

The literal meaning of “Evangelism” is zealous preaching and advocacy of the gospel. Thus content evangelism would mean creating and marketing content that customers find worth sharing zealously. The emphasis here is not just sharing but sharing passionately. Here marketers need to appeal not just the superfluous, fun loving and frolicking side of the consumer, but to the internal belief system of his mind. In this case, marketers don’t just want the consumer to casually post a link on Facebook whenever he has time, but they want the consumer to keep it in mind permanently and especially take out time to passionately advocate it to his network. Undoubtedly, this is difficult.

The idea of creating shareable content is not new, but the aligning the entire digital marketing enterprise at corporate level with the ideology of content evangelism is perhaps hitherto unexplored. The efforts then don’t limit themselves to merely creating remarkable content but also to make it’s sharing easy and more importantly value adding. The values are emotional, inspirational, motivational, expressive and social. They appeal to the belief system of the consumer and not just his free time.

Whatever we share reflects out personality. Offering to consumers, content that enhances their social image is nothing less than empowering. Zeal in sharing is then part of the package.

Of course, different ideas appeal to different people and more effort in future will be required to find those people and gather them around an idea. Thus “Tribes” are formed. Here’s some more information on Tribes from Seth Godin .

Essential element of communication within a tribe is content evangelism i.e. people passionate about one idea , zealously share content around that idea and the expansion of idea is inclusive and permanent. Successful internet marketing attempts of the future will depend on the idea of content evangelism by tribes and will be largely independent of how much marketing dollars have been spent on PPC ad campaigns.

Here is one extraordinary and truly remarkable piece of content that appeal thoroughly to my belief system…the Airtel Express Yourself Ad.

I am an evangelist of this content. I belong to the globalization tribe. I am an internet marketer.