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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Marketing for Sustainability

Corporates are today focusing on economic, social and ecological responsibility and consumers on other hand are becoming more conscious of the natural environment .In order to address the concerns of the consumers, businesses are modifying their practices by promoting environmentally safe or beneficial products which has led to the emergence of green marketing .The green products are introduced that are less damaging to the environment. Thus, for the business world –wide ecological marketing and its applications in practice have become a competitive prerogative that guides the behavior of the entire organization. Green brands are that which offer significant eco-advantage over the incumbents and which appeal to those who are willing to make green a priority. Studies have found that 8-10 percent of people are up for dark green lifestyle like composing and micro-generation ; 20-40 percent of people are for light green changes e.g., smaller cars ,fewer flights and 60-80 percent of people are up for non-brainers ,such as turning down thermostats to save energy and at the same time heating bills.

Positioning a brand as “green brand” entails an active communication and differentiation of the brand from its competitors through its environmentally sound attributes. Ecologically sustainable products will not be commercially successful if green brand attributes are not successfully communicated. Green positioning strategies can be based on relevant environmental advantage of the product compared to competing conventional product and may be referred to as production process, product use and /or product elimination. Functional positioning strategies can aim to build brand association by delivering information on environmentally sound product attributes .However, in most of the cases the consumers will experience the functional benefits only in case of generalized environmentally sound consumer behavior but such strategies can easily be imitated as they assume rational buying decision and may reduce the flexibility of brand differentiation.

The green building movement, spearheaded by the Confederation of Indian industry (CII) - Godrej Green business Center, has gained tremendous impetus over the last few years. F Even the ongoing global financial crisis is unlikely to prove a deterrent to this growing green agenda, with clean technology being viewed as the vehicle of growth in 2009. In today’s scenario Indian companies have an array of green computing alternatives to choose from, with large IT vendors including Intel, EMC, IBM and Microsoft, offering more energy-efficient and environment-friendly products. Intel recently unleashed the Atom processor built for low-power mobile Internet devices, as well as its second-generation quad-core Xeon processor 5400 designed to offer greater energy efficiency and the multitasking performance necessary to maximize virtualization efforts.

Thus, as there is growing awareness among the consumers all over the world regarding protection of the environment in which they live, people do want to bequeath a clean earth to their offspring and the market needs to operate within a society in which sustainability is more than adopted as a public policy goals , but actively pursued through policy implementation.

Contributed by: Dr. Sapna Parashar

Monday, February 23, 2009


Neuromarketing is a decade old concept. It all gained importance in 2004 when a half-dozen scientists from the Baylor College of Medicine published a research paper on change in brand preference to cola brands by using a Siemens Allegra 3T functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) brain scanner. The study concluded that when exposed to Coke labels, soda drinkers who hadn't previously expressed much brand preference suddenly had affection for the Real Thing. The drinkers' noggins lit up like Christmas trees after they sipped the branded Coca-Cola. The results demonstrated that Pepsi should have half the market share, but in reality consumers are buying Coke for reasons related less to their taste preferences and more to their experience with the Coke brand. In other words, our brains confirm that the brand with the more effective marketing wins and can even fake out our taste buds. The field of neuromarketing is growing up. While large corporations employ neuromarketing firms to conduct costly fMRI studies, a new breed of marketing upstarts with neuromarketing expertise is promising smaller entrepreneurs the same kind of knowledge without the high costs of custom lab research.

But basically what exactly is neuromarketing? Well, it is the practice of using brain-wave product feedback to target goods and services to our subconscious appetites. Neuromarketing is the application of this huge amount of information that's available in the literature in terms of how people make decisions. Technically speaking a research study conducted explains the concept as : Consistent with neuroimaging evidence suggests that distinct circuits anticipates gain and loss, product preference activates the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), while excessive prices activates the insula and deactivates the mesial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) prior to the purchase decision. Activity from each of these regions independently predicted immediately subsequent purchases above and beyond self-report variables. These findings suggest that activation of distinct neural circuits related to anticipatory affect precedes and supports consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Christophe Morin in his book “ Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain” , says entrepreneurs can improve their products, services, marketing and advertising by learning six keys to neuromarketing : We are self centered, we crave contrasts, we are naturally lazy, we like stories, we are visual and emotion trumps reason. In future, marketing analysts will use neuromarketing to analyze consumer’s preference in an effective way. Personally asking question would involve a cognitive bias. This knowledge will help marketers create products and services designed more effectively and marketing campaigns focused more on the brain's response. Consumers’ reaction to the color of the packaging, various attractive shapes, the sound the box makes when shaken, or the idea that they will have something their co-consumers do not would be understood by the marketers through neuromarketing.

The main idea is that the decision is made and influenced by the subconscious part of the brain and by generally asking people about their preferences may only give us partial information about the factors actually influencing their purchasing behaviors. Also there are some things which consumers avoid to say when asked about their buying decisions due to emotions attached or the pride factor.However, this study is still in nascent stage and has a long way to go. Also the relevance of the initial results is not very convincing. Some analysts also fear the manipulative use of neuromarketing on children and marketing of harmful products. Every technology has positive and negative aspects. However, proper use of neuromarketing will help the marketers in making better decisions in the future and while integrating technology to increase the profits for organizations.

Contributed by: Abhishek Muley

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Private Labeling Key to Retailing

Private label products or services are typically those manufactured or provided by one company for offer under another company's brand. Private label are often positioned as lower cost alternatives to regional, national or international brands, although recently some private label brands have been positioned as "premium" brands to compete with existing "name" brands. In India, the largest retail chain today has around 300-400 stores. The share of private labels in any country depends on how consolidated the retail chains are. Developing a good quality brand has a high development and innovation cost attached to it. To be able to absorb such costs, Indian retail chains will need to scale up. Retail chains in developed nations on the other hand have around 3,000-5,000 stores each. So it will start with retailers reverse engineering manufacturers’ brands, and as organised retailers grow larger, their labels, too, will move up the value chain. The biggest change in the last decade or so has been the entry of premium private labels. They are no longer saying “buy us because we are cheap”, instead today, they are saying “buy us because we are the best”. By offering high quality products, many private labels have started charging more than regular manufacturers. Consumers globally are in agreement when it comes to Private Label quality and value for money, with a global average of 69 per cent agreeing that they were extremely good value for money and 62 per cent considering their quality to be at least as good as the big brands.

Different types of private labels are Store Brands which are on retailer's name and are very evident on the packaging. Store sub-brands are products where the retailer's name is low-key on the packaging. . Individual brands which is a name used in one category, this is only used to promote a "real" discount product line. Exclusive brands which is a name used in one category, but to promote "added value" products within the category. Distributor brands which are large wholesale grocers and foodservice purveyors often have private labels, for example the Parade brand of Federated Foodservice and the wide array of private brands of the large food service supplier. Copycat private labels brands owned by a retailer which use similar trade dress, i.e. packaging as a leading national brand. Private labels help in building exclusivity and differentiation, bring customer loyalty, better margin, better control in deliveries ,brand equity, freedom in pricing strategy and increasing bargaining power with both national brands and private label factories. However there are some cons like inventory risk, higher R&D expense ,higher marketing expense ,no markdown or return allowance from branded suppliers , if product fails, will create negative image and quality control, complex production & import issues.

Some private label strategies which are being followed by various promoters of private label companies fall in one of the following category: Generic –very promotional, very low margin some examples are Conway, Walgreen . Fast Value Fashion – knock-off brands, Zara and H &M . Premium Store Brands – Retailer’s own brand offers same or better quality at better price. Retailers believe private brands are their strategy to differentiate, to gain and maintain consumer loyalty, to achieve higher gross margin , to compete with national brands , to change mind set and realize that Private Labels are competing brands to stay focused on target audience . Future of private label include that it will continue to play an important part of the assortment to their growth strategy ,becoming national premium lifestyle brands: INC, Alfani, Arizona, UMM, Bare, Jealous 21, branching out to create specialty chain business: George apparel stores, Wal-Mart, UK, increasing depth of multi dimensional merchandising product mix (Tony Hawk mens, boys, footwear and etc) ,cannibalize weaker private label brands and deploying a multi-layer strategy in brand, price and quality. Private retailers will occupy 50 per cent of the market the world over. At 50 per cent, they begin to saturate. If they try to occupy more than this, then consumers feel that there aren’t enough choices. In countries such as Switzerland and the UK, private labels have reached this limit and these markets have saturated. But they will continue grow in the other countries till they reach the same level and this will happen very soon in India, too.

Contributed by: Hitesh Gaur

Your View About the New look of Marketing Saga Blog....