Monday, April 01, 2013


The Elevator Pictch, the VC and Hot Late Night TV slots


The Elevator Pitch

By Harish Bijoor

Q: I am a start-up and have been told to make an elevator pitch. The VC has little time. What is the essence of an elevator pitch?
-Gubbi Sathish, Jamshedpur

A: Gubbi, let me say it crisply, in an elevator-pitch manner of writing.

An elevator pitch must pack a lot in little time. It must have the compelling consumer- need argument for a start. It must review and indicate what it will replace as habit. It should speak loud on the score of irreplacability and longevity of idea and concept. And finally it must have its profit argument in place.

Happy pitching.

Q: Is the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) the biggest enemy of marketing? Are we not wasting money on television advertising without knowing what is going where, and what is being zapped?
-Shekhar Khanna, Mumbai

A: Shekhar, most certainly yes. But this trend has been scented in the top niche of the viewing masses. The rest of the masses of viewership still remain profitable, and still want to watch advertising without zapping it.

Apart from DVR's proliferation of channels and the ubiquitous remote handset has caused for a generation of viewers that is promiscuous in its channel use. Boredom is worn on the sleeve, and zapping out of channels due to advertising ennui is a habit today. The person with the remote is normally the youngest one in the house as well, and the young are even more impatient than the old.

The young is what I call the I-Gen: the Impatient Generation. This generation's patience levels can be best amplified in all of 140-characters. Advertisers on television get the raw end of the stick when viewership is mixed, with family audiences that have the young and impatient viewer amidst it as well. Patience thrives better among solus older audiences.
The flip side of it says that if we make our advertising compelling and something that has something for everyone to watch and enjoy as well, this will not happen. At least not as much.

Q: Could you list out a set of things I must look out for when I pick a brand ambassador?
-Varun Mishra, Rohtak
A: Varun, brand ambassadors represent your brand and everything it stands for. Therefore, when picking a brand ambassador, pick with care. Show as much care as you do when you pick vegetables and fruits at the local market. If you still do that today.

See the ambassador, touch the ambassador, feel the ambassador, smell the ambassador and taste the ambassador. Not physically of course, but metaphorically for sure. All from your consumer perspective. Look for consumer fit as a compelling attribute. Not whom your girlfriend or wife likes, but whom your consumer group emotes with.

And do this not with your eyes alone, but see it through the eyes of your consumer always. Don't get excited by the fact that you have picked a celebrity of status and mass appeal. Go by what is required by your brand, and go with what the brand ambassador represents to your target segment consumer.

Brand ambassadors need to have stature, support of the consumer base your brand appeals to, aura to hold the audience interest and credibility to ensure repeat usage and purchase and more.

Q: The late-night slot on television is getting to look more and more exciting. It is getting hotter still with direct marketing companies going for the kill. How did it come by? Where is this going?
-Alok Bhaduria, Kolkata.

A: Alok, the genesis of this slot is in the business plan of the direct marketing company. Companies that had products that would not otherwise sell without a deep insight into the ability of the oblique product to deliver, such as exercise equipment, tummy trimmers, nose-hair trimmers and certainly aphrodisiacs and bust and butt-enhancers alike, sought out television slots. Channels were only too glad to offer slots that had just no takers otherwise. This was therefore a win-win situation for both the direct marketing company and the channel.

I do believe we will see a lot more of these around. There will be a polarization of players. At one end you will have global players with superior products and at another we will have the local players with inferior street-side products. You will have high-end under-eye wrinkle remover gels rubbing shoulders with Rudraksh beads from the Himalayas. And then, in will step regulation. Regulation that will want restraint. Alok, till then, enjoy the experience.

Q: How important do you rate branding in India? Have we arrived?
-Priya Ganpule, Mumbai

A: Priya, India is emerging to be a brand conscious country. From a generation that grew up with commodities in every sphere, today's Indian, particularly the urban Indian, is a brand-besotted animal. At times this besotted-ness is not even acknowledged. Instead, brands have become a part of the subliminal DNA of consumption today. Young adults in particular are totally wound up by brands. Brands turn them on, equally as brands that do not perform turn them off. Brands have become part of the social economy we live and thrive in today.

Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Labels: , , , , , ,


M-Commerce and Samsung

Move over. M-Commerce is here

By Harish Bijoor

Q: What’s this buzz about M-commerce now? Do you see it growing?
-Partha Venkatesh, Vijayawada

A: Partha, M-commerce is the new e-commerce. I am a strong believer in M-commerce and its many platforms of possibilities. This firm belief is however for the tenure that starts 30 months from now. I have been speaking about this for the past two years at fora after fora.

My logic is a simple one. As of today we have a total physical market audience of 1.2 Billion in India. Of this, the virtual market audience today which uses Internet is a total 148 million. Of this, broadband use is a smaller subset.

Let's move to the mobile space then. Here, we are talking a total of 937 million connections. Of this, lets remove duplication numbers in the same common hand to be 180 million. In that case we have unique connections with 757 million people in India. This is a large audience for M-commerce. This number is growing at 8- 9 million per month, The future is therefore bright for commerce that moves on the mobile phone and commerce that can get facilitated on the mobile hand-held device market at large.

Add to this logic point the fact that cheaper than mobile hand-sets’ h devices are slated to make an entry later than sooner over these next 30 months. Aakash is one such. This will make the market possibility boom. M-commerce is therefore an idea whose time will come.
The mobile phone is a 24 X 7 on media. It is closer to all of us than our spouses are. It sits closer to our heart than our spouses do. Physically at least. It is ubiquitous. And best of all it does not fight with you. Not yet. M-commerce is certainly the future. Sadly a slightly more distant future than what M-commerce oriented companies will have you and want you to believe.

Q: Are Below-the-line spends growing in recent quarters, as compared to Above-the-line spends? If so, why?

-Pratima Moorthy, Mumbai

A: Prathima, bang on. This is absolutely what is happening in many categories. The lead categoreis in this trend are really the consumer durables, cosmetics, and the motorized two-wheeler segment. 
The fact remains that times are tough. Growth has plateaued at large. The macro numbers are not looking exciting. We are a sales economy spoilt by a 8.5 per cent GDP growth rate mindset, and as a marketing economy, we have believed in spending ahead of the curve in the years gone by. Not anymore. There is a change in mindset among marketers. There is a clear and perceptible shift of budgets from ATL to BTL.

In many ways, if ATL represents theme, and the ability to build brand image, BTL represents sales and the ability to build immediate revenue requirements. In tough times, cash flow is an immediate imperative. Cash flow is like blood flow in the human body. If there is a slowdown or cessation, the body at large suffers. Marketers today understand it better than in any time-period gone by. Marketers are pitting their big bucks on BTL. Money is certainly moving from theme to scheme.
I see this tendency starting first with the big ones who advertise the most. This tendency is yet to bite the smaller players in the market, but expect it to happen.

Q: Samsung seems to have come in from nowhere, but it is certainly capturing the imagination of consumers in the space of televisions, durables and mobile phones. How did they do it?
-Parag Arora, New Delhi

A: Parag, today is the day and age of convergence. Add to it the fact that the consumer is looking for technology that is human friendly, technology that is seamless in its delivery, technology that makes lives happen, and technology that is not a part of the "bells and whistles" fraternity of products, but technology that touches lives every day with meaning. Samsung has been successful in offering this, a little ahead of the curve. A few months ahead of the consumer actually articulating this need and want and desire. In fact Samsung has been the expert at delivering not only need and want, but desire and aspiration as well.
Ahead of the consumer articulating its need. That's the Samsung winning formula according to me.

Add to it the fact that Samsung is ubiquitous in its presence across segments. This is a big plus in a market like India. Samsung further dominates across categories. I think Samsung is the only company in this space that has also occupied every screen of our imagination. The company is in large format projections systems, in television sets, in desktops, in laptops, and in mobile phones. These are the many screens that hold relevance to our lives today. Samsung is therefore the only multi-screen entity in the country. Also, this screen is bound to find its way into durables of every kind as well. Onto refrigerators with a screen, onto washing machines with screens and more! Samsung is yours and mine, every-screen company!

I think they have played the Indian market well, and therefore they deserve the space they occupy. Consumers are very fair to companies that are fair to them.

Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Labels: , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?