Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Social Marketing

Water: Use It Wisely......... 

Let us begin with an extremely basic question:
How do you prompt change?

The answer that might click would be “through fear”, “Sensationalism” or a just “say NO approach”. True, it may involve some aspect of these elements, but a truly successful social marketing campaign is more likely to result from a thorough understanding of your target audience; knowing their motivations and barriers; and a sensible, clearly defined call to action that conveys obvious benefits.
Social marketing is a process that applies marketing principles and techniques to create, communicate and deliver value in order to influence target audience’s behavior that benefits society as well as the target audience. (P.Kotler, N.R.Lee, U& M.Rothschild, personal communication, September 19, 2006).
Take the issue of water conservation. In Arizona, most folks know that water is a precious commodity, but when the city of Mesa committed itself to creating and publicizing a solid conservation campaign, it was imperative that the message be delivered in a way that would not only compel viewers to conserve water but would give them the tools to do so. It wasn’t about preaching. It had to truly motivate change.

“Water-Use It Wisely” was the catalyst for change. Created in 1999 by Park&Co, a Phoenix based marketing agency, the campaign has become North America’s most comprehensive water conservation program, with over 350 private and public partners, including corporate sponsors as Lowe’s and Home Depot and outreach efforts through the EPA and USAID.

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
A 2004 survey conducted by the Behavior Research Center asked respondents about their awareness and recall of the campaign message, their behaviors regarding water conservation, and overall attitudes about the issue since the launch of the campaign. The findings were as follows:

    8 out of 10 metro-Phoenix residents surveyed recalled the “Water-Use It Wisely” slogan.
    51% recalled the slogan “There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.”
    63% indicated they had seen, heard, or read information about water-saving tips at home.

Why it worked?
The proven success of “Water-Use it Wisely” is based on two major principles of social marketing:

    Identify the motivators and barriers of your target audience
    Design a campaign to highlight these motivators and overcome the barriers.
In other words, the benefits from doing (or not doing) the intended behavior must outweigh the costs in order to motivate and sustain change. Additionally, the behavior must be tangible and easy to do in everyday life.
For example: “Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save up to 80 gallons of water” or “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute.”
These are just a few of the water-saving devices highlighted throughout the campaign that gave viewers clear calls to action that they could easily do.

Doug McKenzie-Mohr, the venerable ‘guru’ of social marketing, frequently expounds on these principles and illustrates in his book- “Fostering Sustainable Behavior”, that there are three reasons why people won’t change a behavior:

·         They don’t know about the problem and/or how to change their behavior.
·         They perceive the behavior change as too difficult.
·         They believe there is greater benefit from their current behavior than the new behavior.

Steps to Successful Social Marketing- understanding through research

Authors Philip Kolter, Ned Roberto, and Nancy Lee outline in their book: “Social Marketing, Improving the Quality of Life”- twelve elements to a successful social marketing campaign.

1) Take Advantage of What is Known
The Water - Use It Wisely campaign is the product of three independent studies by Mesa, Phoenix and the Arizona Municipal Water Users’ Association. Each study revealed a consistent and compelling finding: Citizens were saying, “Don’t tell us to save water. Show us how to save.” This was the “Ah ha!” moment that helped us arrive at the creative foundation of the campaign. 

2) Promote a Single, Doable Behavior, and Explain in Simple, Clear Terms
Once target markets are identified, it is imperative to communicate a clear, tangible call to action. The campaign for highlighting the water-saving device described the behavior marketers wanted their customers to adopt, and stressed its benefits, for example, “The next time you replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color, and save up to 550 gallons each year.”

3) Use a Tangible Object or Service to Support the Target Behavior
The research clearly indicated that it’s not enough to just tell people to save water, it has to be shown to them how. That’s why all 100+ water saving tips have a tangible object associated with them, as a toothbrush or a wrench. The toothbrush serves as a prompt of shift in behavior by turning off the water while you brush your teeth, wherein the wrench serves as a tangible tool that can be used to fix a leaky pipe. These visual prompts help the consumer to better interact and identify with water conservation, and in turn, promote the desired behaviors that ultimately lead to the benefits associated with conserving water.

4) Understand and Address Perceived Costs and Benefits

A crucial component of the WUIW campaign was the information received through surveys regarding initial perceptions of costs and benefits with water conservation. It was these perceived costs and benefits around which the campaign was created and directed.

5) Make Access to your Message Easy

Successful social marketing campaigns provide target audiences with easy ways to sign up or take action. With Water - Use It Wisely, we call this “Omnipresence on a Budget.” We strove to have our message everywhere so that it was convenient to interact with, simple to understand, and easy to put into practice. The logo itself is a call-to-action, making the message and the resulting behaviors very accessible.

6) Develop Attention-Getting & Motivational Messages
The campaign creative featured bright, eye-catching colors with simple icons such as a watering can or wall clock to illustrate the specific water-saving devices or tips. The creativity stressed the ease at which anyone can conserve water day to day.

7) Use Appropriate Media & Create Audience Participation
The WUIW campaign used tent cards at restaurants reminding patrons that water would be served only when requested. Additionally, the campaign was promoted in several ways including: on water bills and newsletter inserts, on movie theatre slides, on airport signs, and on municipal trucks, among others.

8) Provide Response Mechanisms that Encourage Recommended Behavior
One of the best ways to demonstrate to your target market that they are making a difference by adopting the desired behavior is by showing tangible results, either on a cost or statistical basis. Billing envelopes and utility newsletters are great places to reinforce the message and the brand. With WUIW, showing consumers declines in their water consumption along with the related water savings is an undeniable and consistent way to prove the benefits of their behavior change. It is also an ideal way to continue promoting the water conservation message over time. The WUIW campaign has continued to use water bills and newsletters for these purposes.

Blog from:
Saurabh Kumar

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tissue Pack Marketing

I came across the word Tissue-Pack marketing by chance and I too, like many others I suppose, presumed it to do something with marketing of tissue packs.  I wasn’t entirely wrong with the notion as it did involve the product tissue pack in its proceedings. Just that, rather than marketing ‘OF’ the tissue pack it is the marketing ‘WITH’ the tissue pack. Tissue pack marketing is an innovative marketing method that has, in much subtler terms, been a phenomenon in its originating point Japan. It is a Guerilla Marketing Format in which Companies use small USE and THROW Tissue paper packs to move as advertisement copies directly into consumers’ hand. Thus we could even term it as advertising tissue pack.

Tissue pack marketing is an alternate to the Flyer (pamphlet) marketing. Just that it has done better than pamphlets .Probably it might be due to the functional aspect that a tissue paper brings into the marketing tool. Any consumer who is offered a tissue pack would have lesser chances to decline the same and once there is an advertisement on the same, the marketer has successfully placed the Ad in the consumer’s hand. According to a study, a large number of consumers accept free tissues with also a hope to find a coupon or a trial pack enclosed with it. All of these lead to a better probability that the consumer have a look on the Ad and consequentially better retainment of the same as they are consistently exposed to it.

According to study conducted by Marsh research in Japan, 76% respondents of over 100,000 said that they accept free tissue packs. Same study revealed that over 50% did atleast take a glance on the pack.

The history of Tissue pack marketing can been traced to late 1960 when Hiroshi Mori devised a better way to replace box of matchsticks, which was then the most used marketing freebie, with his tissue paper  as he felt the  latter had a better and wider appeal. He even developed the machinery to fold and package tissues into easy-to-carry, pocket-size packs.

Today Tissue pack marketing is gaining its momentum on a global scale. Pocket tissue advertising was introduced in Montreal and Ontario, Canada in the year of 2000.In the United States, a subsidiary of the Japanese trading company Itochu, AdPack USA, introduced tissue-pack marketing in New York in 2005, and now offers it throughout the country. In 2012, the tissue marketing company Adtishoo launched operations in the United Kingdom

In India, least to my observation, the usage of advertisement on tissue papers is only confined to restaurants where the respective restaurants have their name printed on individual tissue leaf. Though it does bring a functional angle that a tissue pack does, it fails on the note that its life is very limited compared to a tissue pack which would be in vicinity of the customer till he completely consumes the tissue leafs. Thus in India, tissue pack marketing does have a huge scope to be adopted.

Contributed By                
Varun Vipin
MBA FT 2012-14

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was in the TV room of my hostel watching cricket. Waiting eagerly for Sachin to complete his 49th century and just when we thought nothing could go wrong he lost his wicket. The room fell silent. The milieu resembled that of a graveyard and everybody started expressing their disdain. As soon as Sachin began his long walk towards the pavilion he was replaced by a much jovial Version of him selling insurance and cement, stressing on its dependability. It was ironic and funny at the same time. It was followed by several other advertisements making tall claims. They were all very neatly done, attention grabbing, entertaining, funny, excessive and larger than life. In short effective.
We marveled at their creativity. It was a perfect setting for a long and interesting discussion among the budding management students that we were. While many appreciated the advertisement there were some who criticized it. They carefully dissected the whole plot and educated others on how advertisers and marketers manipulate our psychological needs and play with our emotions. The room overflowed with management jargons in no time. Terms like product mix, POD, POP, marketing mix and communication channels started floating in the air. The conversation evolved into a heated debate and both parties countered other’s argument. Some one questioned fair and lovely’s fairness cream ad’s ethical rationale; others quoted examples like Axe deo-spray, nimarose soap and what not. The argument leapt from psychological exploitation, Unethical practices, irritable, irrational pricing to being informative, creative and scientific.
Although the debate wasn’t conclusive there was a general agreement that at least some advertisements are exaggerated and even misleading. The history of marketing and advertising as a tool of marketing is filled with such examples and the line between advertisement and entertainment are becoming nonexistent. Perhaps the Most common unethical practices include guerilla marketing, stealth or ambush marketing. For example- the Sony-Ericsson company invented a new cellular phone with a built in camera. They hired a group of actors to walk around Times Square in New York City posing as tourist acting as newlywed couples on a honeymoon. They would go up to strangers and ask them to take their picture as a part of Sony’s stealth marketing practice.
The Internet is one big place that seems to have the most of this kind of advertising hosting misleading ads about how to make millions. Even Wikipedia popularly known as people’s encyclopedia has been used to create misleading articles and has generated the need for corrective applications like wiki-scanners.
The sprite-mountain dew feud and pepsi-coke war are perhaps the most memorable instances. Advertising isn't just about the things we buy. It's about how we feel about things, including ourselves. That's what makes it interesting but as it seems in the grand scheme of things marketers fighting for every inch of ad-space and consumer attention in order to fulfill the soul purpose of maximizing return on investment have chosen to overlook minor things like ethics.
From using children for advertising to making people practice self medication they have used every Trick in the book to sell their products.
In more ways than imaginable the work of a marketer commands more responsibility than what is observed. In an attempt to lure the customer one has to make sure that one does not dupe those who offer themselves to our advice and judgment.
On the part of the consumer, as the famous advertisement issued by the ministry of consumer affairs says ‘jago grahak jago’. It is perhaps time that the consumer takes a heads up and uses all the tools at his disposal like the consumer court and referring dedicated media to make an educated decision about his purchase. It is time that he literally imbibes the following words – ‘dikhavo pe na jao ,apni akal ladao ‘ ( sprite tagline).
Contributed by
Gaurav Dhama
FT 2010-2012, Section A

Monday, October 18, 2010


Social networking sites on the Internet are now regarded as one of the most important tools of communication. People have recognized social networking as the fastest and most trusted means of spreading news and making people aware of the facts and information. People have begun joining networking groups even as a status symbol. Being on a networking site is now considered as one of the best ways to get recognized. Being part of an online social network helps people to stay connected with their friends and families, and also to develop business links.

Companies recognized the marketing opportunity offered by social networking sites, and saw a huge potential for creating brand awareness, promoting their products, buying and selling products/services and also for developing business networks. A new marketing concept-Viral Marketing- has provided momentum for creating awareness about brands and products.

Many companies have embraced social media formats as part of their integrated marketing and communication strategies. This involves creating an online message that is entertaining and interesting enough to pass it on to others, thereby spreading the message across web like virus, at no incremental cost to advertiser. Viral marketing basically creates a word-of-mouth referral by using existing customers and contacts. The message is passed around and passed around repeatedly creating an exponential reach for the Company. People like to talk about their involvement with products and services for a variety of reasons. These include prestige and status that may arise through ownership, or an inclination to share their purchase experiences in order to help others. Viral promotions may take the form of Video Clips, interactive flash games, e-books, brand-able software, images or even text messages.

Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall multiplier effect would be quite phenomenal and also the message would travel very quickly. This means that each person one reaches, one is also reaching a group of his /her friends as well. Then those friends tell other friends, leading to rapid increase in reaching down the line, which is in some way similar to what happens in many network marketing companies.

Few Examples:-

In 2007, Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate launched a viral marketing campaign, which was much popularized on YouTube. During same year, World Wrestling Entertainment promoted the return of wrestler, Chris Jericho, with 15 a viral marketing campaign using 15-second cryptic binary video.

Recently Pepsi astonished the advertising industry by its move to ignore Super Bowl football matches and instead focus on Social Media. Pepsi, in an effort to leverage on social media, opted for the “Pepsi Refresh Project” which was rolled out in January 2010, to fund refreshing ideas that could change the world. Numerous individuals and organization visit the “Refresh Project” website via several social media platforms, and submit ideas for projects that could refresh their community. The next process involves public voting. The amount of money ($20 mn) saved by not advertising through Super Bowl is being diverted to supporting various selected projects every month ranging from $5000 to $250000 per project. Apart from serving as a promotional tool, social networking sites can also provide a platform to conduct product surveys, undertake research, build the brand, manage one’s online reputation, engage employees t know each other better, and recruit potential candidates for the company.

Contributed by

Manpreet Singh Nagi

FT 2010-2012 Section C

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nexus over the Net!

A couple of months back, Google announced discontinuation of online sales for Nexus1.
A couple of years ago, DELL did something similar for its laptop, though Dell did not stop online sales of its Laptops, it moved into a kiosk model in which customers could visit a kiosk, have a look and feel of the laptop they are interested in buying and then make the final choice.
Dell with its unique selling and distribution channels, was enjoying the second position in the market for a very long time (first being HP with 18% market share), but after the economic meltdown of 2009, as people started looking for cheaper products, Acer- a company based out of Taiwan had a 30% increase in sales making it the number two player in market with a 13% Market share.
Dell lost its USP (Unique Selling Preposition) of low price for high quality products. As more big players emerged, Dell found it difficult to maintain the unique bargaining power with the suppliers.
A zero inventory for Dell adds pressure to the suppliers as they are not certain of the sales volume. As a supplier, you would have less bargaining power if you have a fixed order than to have serve a customer with a JIT (Just In Time) Inventory system. As a result, Dell lost its competitive advantage.
Very soon, Acer with similar quality as that of Dell (most of the internal components are made by other manufacturer’s, example: Intel for processors, Nvidia for graphics etc) gave stiff price war to Dell.
Secondly, as the buyer is exploited by choice, he does not see sense in waiting for about a week for the product to be shipped. Acer is available at retail outlets and a buyer can always negotiate a deal with the local seller and also ask for ad-on gifts such as back-pack, pen-drive etc.
Let us have a look at Nexus One
Google's decision to discontinue direct sales, which comes less than six months after launching the online store, is fairly striking.
There is nothing wrong with the product (it has received a higher rating than the IPhone and the Motorola Droid by all tech forum and I have myself used the IPhone, Droid and the Nexus1) , there is enough publicity done, the price is very competitive, it has HTC and Google brand associated with it, but still the product isn’t selling.
Now, if we combine (have a nexus) of the issue faced by Dell and Google, we can see that there seems to be a change in which internet markets are going to operate in the future.
It seems, the shift would very soon be from B2C (Business to Consumer) to a more B2B (Business to Business) model.
Today, the consumer wants to have a touch and feel of the product before making a purchase decision. Internet and online sites are mostly used for doing a product research and comparing between different products, but the final purchase decision is made only after the “demo” is done.
As in the Dell case, the kiosks do not sell the laptop (they accept payment, but the order is still placed online), still, the consumer can have a look and feel of what he is buying, this avoids an uncertainty, thus removing the psychic price that the consumer might have to pay.
In the case of Nexus1, the consumer is not sure how the product is going to look and feel, even the most interactive website cannot replicate the look and feel of the product completely.
Internet market for B2C is promising if the companies are ready to re-innovate the business model and provide additional flexibility to the consumer.
For example, is a portal which enables consumers to order two shoes at a time in case the customer is not sure about the size, pay cash on delivery and when the shoe is returned, they reimburse the full amount of the shoe along with the shipping charges incurred by the customer.
Another example could be of companies into online gifting solutions, customers do not require the feel element while purchase from FernsNpetals (, they would look for prompt delivery and payment security.
In case of B2B markets, since the goods sold are either raw-materials or have an option of being customized as per the buyers requirements, the need for touch and feel for the product is not strong, moreover, in such markets, it is feasible for the seller to send a sample to the buyer as the magnitude of order is generally big enough to cost the free-sample cost to each buyer.
So, we see that B2C channels are not very promising as the customer’s buying decision is based on the look and feel of the product.B2B and C2C (consumer to consumer) seem to be more sustainable business models over the internet.
Companies must remember that no matter how good your product is, you can’t see it unless the consumer wants to buy it.
“The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.” -David Ogilvy.

Contributed by:
Sanket Agrawal

Friday, November 27, 2009

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are similar in many ways. Each online marketing discipline requires a strong understanding of purpose and functionality. The practice of SEO requires a basic knowledge of search engines and how they work at their core. SEM requires an understanding of online marketing and advertising. SEO can be boiled down to this - where your site is ranked on major search engines is a direct result of your understanding and application of best practices in the area of SEO. Search engine marketing is based on an understanding of online ad campaigns that are implemented on advertising networks. The largest online ad network is Google followed by Yahoo! and MSN. These ad networks basically work the same way. You open an ad account, place an online ad and when users search for terms related to your ad, the advertisement displays. When someone clicks on your ad, you pay a fee.

SEO is different than SEM because it is based on natural search results versus paid results. Search engine optimization techniques can be better categorized as ‘On Page Optimization’ and ‘Off Page Optimization’.
On page optimization directs you on how to design your web page in an effort to improve ranking and search ability. In other words on page optimization is closely tied to web site design and Off page is more associated with factors outside your website itself.
The purpose of SEO is to generate natural traffic to your website. After a browser completes a search on Google or other major search engine, the resulting list is based on each search engine’s algorithm. When users click on these results you do not pay. Search engine marketing differs in that you pay when users take an action. The amount you pay varies on the competitiveness of your keywords and the position in which you want your ad to display.

The difference between Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be simply put in this way: one is the foundation and the other is the bricks upon the foundation. Without the foundation of a solidly-implemented SEO on your website, the house (or your website) in this case, cannot adequately support the marketing efforts put forth in your marketing plans.
Think of your website as a building. Solid SEO would be the base or foundation that supports the site. It could possibly consist of bricks, mortar, cement, and stone. In this case, bricks could be functional, relevant and user-friendly navigation. Mortar could be properly placed tags, headers, and proper page renaming. The cement or the glue that holds it all together is the adequately researched, reviewed and analyzed usage of keywords and phrases which are relevant to your website, your message, your products and your marketing goals. Also, SEO as a general rule is a one-time deal. The marketing efforts must be maintained, and can be built upon layer after layer. The blueprint for the SEM can change month to month, or daily even, according to the marketing budget, the goals, objectives, and the time spent on marketing the site across the entire World Wide Web.

SEM can be thought of as the trusses or the supports that begin to erect the building to new heights. They are firmly attached to the foundation, yet separate entities. The marketing efforts are what will promote your fully optimized site, allowing potential visitors more opportunities to arrive on your optimized site through a variety of sources. SEM, on the other hand, is a continuously on-going process. Even once your SEM efforts help bring your website to a number one ranking for a particular search term, the effort must be continued in order to maintain the ranking.
There is always someone on your site's tail, working hard to take over your coveted ranked spot on any of the major search engines. So, in order to succeed, ensure that you have a solid SEO backing your online efforts and a champion SEM plan to beat the competition.
Happy Searching!

Contributed By:
Rohan Naik

Monday, August 24, 2009

Giving Teenage look to Mothers

Incidentally my elder sister, with whom I have very good ( read not good) relationship, never grew older than 16 years although my age crossed the mark of 22 this year.

Well recently I went through the ad of Santoor soap, a brand of Wipro Consumer Care And Lighting (WCCL), FMCG unit of one of the largest IT player of India. Well it is really very interesting that in this age of cut throat competition with so much emphasis on new age of marketing , how come a brand which didn’t change its outlook managed to survive. Perhaps there is something more related to this other than just strong branding. According to Economic times, total market share of Santoor is 7.5%. This is third largest in India. Also with 15.1% market share it is largest brand in south India. So what exactly made this happen? Santoor was launched in 1985 as a normal soap with an advertisement of a mother with her small daughter whereas, the other brands advertised themselves as beauty soaps in their campaign. But still the soap not only exists in the market but also has shown a great deal of growth as the growth rate has been the highest in the past quarter. Well the answer lies in the question only!

The position of the brand was as being a normal soap made of sandal and turmeric. Thus, giving the name Santoor (not extracted from music instrument as widely believed) helped in growth. Well initial times did not show any positive sign of growth when it was launched. It was only after the launch of campaign ‘For Younger Looking Skin’ that this soap gained the pace. This campaign was launched with ad showing a mother with five year old daughter, a high contrast from traditional trend with protagonist where a teenager is shown, thus positioning it far from different brand which only used to concentrate on beautiful and great skin. This gave a unique image to the soap and also used the weakest point of women’s, young look (well probably as you can never guess what they think exactly). Also as the soap was normal and nothing was special added to it, the soap is good for any type of skin, not creating allergies and any other disease helped the cause of the marketing as every customer was satisfied with it.

The brand periodically changed the role of mother from normal housewife to fitness cautious mother to working woman to modern housewife which now stand the queues for bills. All these ads evolved with changing role of the woman of middle class family in India. This factor helped the soap to connect with the masses.

However, in recent times it also used Saif Ali Khan for its branding thus , adding the male factor to the soap, a new dimension. Whether this strategy will pay off or not is yet to be seen. Anyways hats off to WCCL and their marketing strategy which was very simple but yet very effective. To capture the imagination of mass with product, this was definitely not the strong point of the company; still they managed to fight with FMCG brands of India with their unique attributes. Thus, it can be concluded that essence of brand positioning has a sustainable advantage and gives consumers a compelling reasons why they should buy it .

After all, ‘Iski twacha se to iski umra ka pata hi nahi lagta’.

Contributed By: Nitesh Singhal

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