Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The 7th Generation of Marketing

First came the Handbills, then Newspaper, Yellow Pages, Telemarketing, Direct Mails, E-mails. All of them are now history. Welcome to the 7th Generation of marketing - Social Media Marketing, the new method that has left all who followed traditional marketing procedures in thinking, which has made advertisers and marketers start building up ideas to build their own image in the upcoming decade.

So now what is Social Media Marketing that you hear each and every one talking about! What is it that even the people who used traditional methods to promote themselves are thinking and wanting to use? Social Media Marketing is no software that helps you to make others notice you and your business. It is a simple marketing procedure in which the social networking sites, the professional networking sites, the Web 2.0 platform is used in a vast way to promote one's business not only locally but globally.

Those years have gone away when one used to think twice before joining Facebook, when Facebook meant wasting time, chit-chatting with lost buddies and when Twitter was a place where only celebrities gather in to talk about their lives! No more, social networking sites and professional networking sites like LinkedIn has become a part of our everyday life where you and me not only sit to talk to our school friends but promote our business, our work in a more personal way because it is the only place where you get the two-way communications, where you can communicate to the top business houses and even the local and global customers and get back their feedbacks for better improvement in your work.

Now lets talk about the traditional methods of marketing and their position in the 2011-2020 decade.

1. Handbills - You do remember the one page handbills! They are yet to go into extinction! Yet they are of very less value when it comes to promoting your business. Imagine you yourself as a customer and someone standing at the side of the road hands over to you a very light, tissue paper sort of bill. What is that you do? If you are damn busy then you instantly throw it away! Yes right. Even if you are not busy, the very look of the bill makes you throw it away. Now for those who has little time to glance in or for those handbills which are coloured or attractive. You glance at it once and throw it away! Even if it is domino's! Reason? Too many writing and picture clustered together and presented in one page. We are such human beings who love going for things which are neat and clean even if we are untidy! So even those goes into the street! At the end what happens is your streets are getting dirty, the paper is being used in a wrong way (eco-friendly issues that our Minister loves shouting about) and last of all your hard-earned precious money and time is going nowhere!

2. Newspapers - I love newspapers, yes just simply love them. For two reasons, one I get to see nice pictures and secondly I get the timing of the shows of different channels. Many other people has many other reasons for loving the newspaper, some may say for the detail news story they supply, some may say its a habit of reading the newspaper every morning or some may have no reason whatsoever still they do. Have you ever heard anyone say for a continuous period of time - I read newspaper coz I get to see lovely advertisements or I get to see the latest auto sales or I see for the matrimonial's? C'mon you see them for certain period of time! Your advertisement will only be noticed when you are TATA or Airtel or when you have a nice advertiser with great concepts and visualizing capability to attract the readers. But at the cost of huge some of money and that too for a short period of time. You can't afford to go on giving advertisement for a decade long unless your company is worth a BILLION! What happens is your company is promoted like the end-of-season sale advertisements. So is it worth all the money?

3. Yellow Pages - Let me get short about this Yellow Pages book. Its huge like an encyclopedia, its put up in the most ugliest way, its not updated, its useless! That's why GOOGLE is far more famous than TATA YELLOW PAGES.

4. Telemarketing - "Good afternoon sir, I am calling from your favourite bank. You are one of our most valued customer. That's why we have an offer for you which is you get a International Debit Card free". How many times have you got calls like this and that too in the afternoon, when a typical bong like me would like to waste sleeping than attending calls! Even those of "Ayi suniya and banaye apna Caller-tune - Sheila ki Jawani"! Yes right. Those marketing calls and those poor young folks who get to hear beautiful abuses for calling non-stop, for which they even get PAID! But does it help in promotion? Yes it surely does but in a negative way! What happens is the customer will never use your product and curse thousand times, more than he/she says good about it. So think twice before using them.

5. Direct Mails - I don't remember when was the last time I received a mail from any company about any of their products or even promoting their newest stuff. I guess the days of receiving direct mails and making your mail box full of promotional mails are gone. So its no use talking about them. And even if you receive one, I suppose you just leave them on your table and move on with the day's work.

6. E-mails - There are at least two e-mail I get from the numerous offers that companies has to give me every hour. What I usually do is move them to the spam folder. Be it the viagra seller or the airline offers and even the railway(yes they are not far behind). These mail has turned into more of spam mails than promotional stuff. Even those bulk mails from your near and dear ones end up in the TRASH folder. So if you have full intention of ending up as a spam sender then go ahead, make yourself comfortable.

Now lets discuss about the 7th method or Generation as I like saying - Social Media. Its the beginning of a new decade and in the last quarter of the last decade I have seen at least ten different Social Media marketing house come up and old companies who used to work on SEO marketing change their base to Social Media marketing slowly. Many of us find this social media hard to tackle however even without using it. No one is asking you to jump into all the sites that you hear about every now and then. Take one step at a time. One site at a time. Even if you start with one I am damn sure you will get huge feedback than the time you have applied on marketing. 

Start with a site like Twitter. This 2006 launched site is all dedicated to marketing you and yourself in 140 words. Yes so the 140days that you might have thought of spending behind publishing a advertisement on the paper is completely useless. Just think how much time you spend in reaching a 500,000+ people and how much money also you spend. Now there are certain ways to use them. You can learn them when you start using them. It isn't so hard.

The best thing about this 7th generation of marketing is that you can not only build a reputation locally but globally or nationally if you want to restrict your business. So one day your restaurant in the most neglected corner of the city may attend customers from other cities too. 

However set some guidelines. Like decide on the audience you want to reach, the no of audience feedbacks you want to receive. You can also work on the improving your business through suggestions received through this social media world. Now when you build yourself a little more you can proceed to sites like LinkedIn or Plaxo which gives an opportunity to build professionally.

At the end of the day you build your business and reputation all free of cost. All you need is a computer(you can do with one computer only), an internet connection and few accounts in those sites.

Now if you are a big company without time you can ask your employee to do it or if you are a small firm just about to start, you yourself can do it. And if you want people who are expert in these field you can just take the help of these firms. For example a firm like Social121

However marketing doesn't only mean promoting your business like I have mentioned above. In the words of Gautam Ghosh marketing means product, price, place and promotions which all these social networking, professional networking, etc provides. So no need to worry and get started with the 7G of marketing and let you and your business do magnificently well this decade.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Is Bengal Politically Updated?

Every now and then Bengal appears in the national news television. The news is most of the time related to political unrest, protests, political processions, student politics, verbal arguments between top Bengal leaders and many more. To the eyes of fellow Indians, Bengal remains the state where politics is practised like a religion and politicians idolized like gods. However people in Bengal whose main topic of discussion has always been politics, even young teenagers, participate in politics either to attain power or vent their revenge or anger or hatred on one or the other political parties and their members.

Bengal has seen a rise in people's participation in politics in the last two years. This is mainly due to the revolutionary type of protests and uprising initiated and instigated by Mamata Banerjee, the present Central Railway Minister of India, whose party Trinumul Congress is the main opposition party in Bengal's Assembly. The Trinumul Congress' main objective is to shaken the 34 year old Communist Party's rule in Bengal and rule over the state. In this battle between TMC and the Left Front lead by CPI(M), Bengal has lost a huge no.of commercially valuable industrial projects like that of TATA Car Plant in Singur and the Chemical Hub in Nandigram.

One of the main reasons that politics is practised and preached by everyone in Bengal is to act against the CPI(M)'spoor performance in recent years, for destroying Bengal's reputation by joining hands with political parties so that people earn benefits by staying in good terms with one of the main parties of the state. Every event in Bengal is politically judged, starting from a natural death to a traffic jam in the heart of it's capital city, Kolkata.

The citizens of Bengal care less about it's state as much as it does about their own self and the power they hold till their death. They care much more about whether the political party they support becomes the ruling party in the upcoming Assembly elections rather than whether the ruling party is working for the betterment of the state and it's citizens. In this process the advancement of the state remains a question and with that the mentality of the people who hold themselves politically updated. Though outwardly the residents of Bengal show interest in the progress of state, deep inside and in action their contribution is nil. This way a bigger and better Bengal remains a question.