Working with Boutique & Cult Brands

Boutique or cult brands are typified by a distinct, differentiated brand personality that is amplified in a consistent, powerful brand voice. They are usually passionately built by their founders with painstaking attention to every aspect of the brand. In fact, such highly differentiated brands often struggle to find the right marketing partner who ‘get them’.


Meet The Quad! 
The Quad, a Chennai-based fitness brand that offers a unique outdoor workout experience, is a classic example of such a boutique brand.

With a consistent, definitive and inimitable brand voice, backed by carefully cultivated authenticity and credibility, The Quad has earned itself a loyal following – both online and offline – encompassing not just their customers, but also many others who follow them for fitness inspiration and credible advice. Maintaining a tightly woven content narrative spanning the most relevant aspects of fitness, nutrition, sustainable health / lifestyle choices and even sleep – the brand has stood out for what it says and how it says it, despite a lot of content being available out there.

When the Quad approached Inception seeking support to launch their client privilege program, The Quad Card, we jumped at it!
Identifying the right partners for The Quad Card whose values aligned with the brand values of The Quad, creating the partnership opportunities that inspire usage, directing the visual and content strategy with language, messaging and tone that is a natural extension of The Quad’s brand persona and all the while ensuring a tight alignment with the brand philosophy – the entire project was dotted with moments of challenge and opportunity – the kind of moments that a marketer savors.

The tagline “Exercise your privilege!” and positioning the card as a means for the clients to take “Fitness beyond their workout” resonated with The Quad’s philosophy of an active lifestyle that involves making the right choices of workout and nutrition, every time, every day, in class or outside. For the design of the kit itself, we took the minimalist approach in the brand colors, working with Nirupama as our design collaborator.

For a marketer, it is always about the journey and not the end product. The journey that we had with The Quad reinforced our belief that marketing is not simply about pumping money to sell your idea, but an opportunity to inspire people to want to belong to your idea. And that’s why certain brands just rock! A big thank you to The Quad for trusting us with their idea!

Inception regularly works with several boutique brands as a marketing partner for turnkey solutions, brand interventions and consulting. Please write to us at inception@inception.net.in if you would like to have a conversation on this (or anything else!)


A blog by Aarthi Srinath, Partner, and Nandhitha Hariharan, Assistant Manager Projects, at Inception Business Services.

About the Authors:
Aarthi is a Marketing & Management professional with over 14 years of experience in marketing technology, consulting and business development. She has helped Fortune 500 companies and vibrant start-ups formulate and execute their marketing plan. Her passions outside work include cycling, cooking and travel – she is the fastest amateur woman cyclist in Chennai!

Nandhitha contributes campaign ideas, social media support and brand content to the client brands she works with. Her love for writing now finds an additional expression on the Inception blog. 


Digital Marketing – The Garmin for Marketers

 

 

Imagine you’re driving in a new city and there is no GPS, Google maps or Garmin. All you have is a plain old roadmap! So, how does the drive go? Seems old school in this day and age right?

We draw the same parallel between traditional media marketing and digital marketing, where the digital genre combines the power of knowledge, technology and data to give marketers a superhuman edge. Just as the GPS keeps guiding you through your drive, digital marketing can provide the marketer and the brand relevant data through the entire marketing and sales conversion process.

Here is our list of tried and tested strategies within digital marketing for better tracking, real-time tweaks and greater results!

1. Target the Right Audience

Translating the WHO (is your buyer) from your brand positioning into a target audience within digital platform is the most most important first step. Who is seeing/consuming the brand’s content?

Who should be? Like dropping a pin on a digital map, targeting your messages to the right audience is the easiest way to get your brand communication to the right people.

USING FILTERS FOR DEMOGRAPHICS, DIGITAL BEHAVIOURS AND PROXY INTERESTS, IT IS EASIER TO ZONE IN ON THE RIGHT TARGET GROUP IN THE DIGITAL WORLD.

A test case was when one of our clients ran an online sale for high-end fitness equipment. As their digital marketing partner, our goal was to generate high quality traffic to the website. Here is how we went about the targeting to deliver results: Buyer-persona driven content, precision targeting through carefully chosen audience sets based on demographics and interests, pixel tracking of website audience thru web beacons to re-market on Facebook and look-alike audience sets to further increase the reach; these were the tools from our digital marketing kit that helped us deliver a multi-fold increase in relevant website visitors. The client received a significant number of leads in the form of queries, add to carts, interest submission and many complete purchases.

2. Lead Nurturing – Dynamic, Digital

When the precisely targeted buyer ultimately reaches the brand website, the conversion to a customer may not happen the first time itself. It it important to understand this online browsing / buying behaviour for a category. In many instances, a person stays in the lead stage, with online research and multiple visits before making certain kinds of purchases. This is a key to achieving desired conversion levels.

THE BUYER MOST OFTEN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN THROUGH THE LEAD NURTURING PROCESS, BY SHARING REGULAR AND MEANINGFUL INFORMATION AND BY ENGAGING IN TIMELY CONVERSATIONS TO STEADILY BUILD HIS INTEREST IN THE BRAND. THIS WILL EVENTUALLY CONVERT HIM FROM A LEAD TO A CUSTOMER.

The first step to nurture leads is to collect authentic information that will allow the brand to stay in touch with the lead. Landing pages on websites and lead gen forms on social media are great ways to collect lead information. Does marketing end when you have collected the prospective leads? No! In fact, the fun of digital marketing starts right now!

Using the information that is collected, lead nurturing programs are carried out. These typically involve emailer-led drip marketing campaigns that serve content targeted to the buyer journey. The dynamic element comes in when using marketing automation or even segmented email activities – what this means is that depending on whether the lead is in the ‘awareness,’ ,‘evaluation’, or ‘purchase’ stage of the buying journey, emailer campaigns are created to share white-papers, tip sheets, webinar, demo video, free trial, coupons etc.

In the case of the fitness client, if a customer who visited the fitness equipment website went until the purchase stage of a particular equipment but did not go through with it for some reason, we nurtured the lead by sharing video tips on the benefits of the equipment he visited, re-marketed to the lead on social media and showed more products, share more brand information and so on. This is the power of integrating technology and data for a targeted lead engagement.

3. Engaging with the Customer

Two-way conversations with customers humanize the brand and help create a personal connect, apart from making the brand memorable for the customer through speedy responses or resolutions of issues.

Online chat support on websites are very useful to understand customer mindset during the online shopping experience. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are now extensively used as customer support media for instant resolution of queries and problems.

THERE ARE NOW MORE POWERFUL WAYS OF CREATING CONVERSATIONS WITH THE LEAD OR CUSTOMER THAT DID NOT EXIST IN THE PRE-DIGITAL ERA.

 

4. Personalized Communication

A one-size fits all approach is never the best. Digital marketing allows easy customization of communication to different audiences and buyer personas at the click of a button. Segmented emailers, targeted ad sets, sponsored messages, automated web-hooks are all ways in which the communication is personalized based on actions taken by the lead.

AUTOMATED MAILS CAN HELP REMIND POTENTIAL BUYERS OF ABANDONED CARTS, SEND A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE AFTER AN ONLINE PURCHASE, OR EVEN CROSS SELL BY REMARKETING ACCESSORIES FOR A PURCHASE, OR ENABLE AN IMMEDIATE CONNECT WHEN THE ONLINE PAYMENT FAILS.

These are proven techniques used by brands to increase online conversions.

 

4. Measure, Monitor and Modify

In many cases, the reason for failure of a marketing campaign is not that the campaigns lack creativity, quality materials or qualified personnel but because of their failure to monitor the factors contributing to the success and performance of their digital marketing campaign.

The key parameters that are typically monitored in a digital marketing campaign are:

Check Targeting: Are the marketing messages reaching the right target audience – Lack of focus in targeting – too broad an approach in an attempt to get as much mileage – usually ends up in a stream of low-quality leads that don’t convert. Facebook Insights gives quality information on social media presence traffic, which will enable brands to understand where most of the engagement comes from – demographics (gender, age, location etc) – and thus focus marketing campaigns to cater to these demographics.

Check Traffic Sources: Where is the traffic to the website coming from – Understanding the sources of traffic will help the digital marketer focus on the right campaigns to exploit the opportunity. Sources of traffic are usually emailers, social media, search engine and online ads.

Check Browsing Data: What content do the visitors find interesting – By analysing parameters such as the average stay per website visit and the visitor behaviour on the site, marketers can derive insights into the kind of content that interests the leads and appropriately modify the content strategy. Google Analytics is one such tool for such website. Marketing automation solutions or Inbound marketing systems like Acton and Hubspot also provide such tools. Emailer platforms such as Mailchimp and Benchmark also offer A/B testing options to test out different parameters that affect CTR such as type of content, subject line, delivery time etc.

Check Conversion Rates: What is the conversion rate – converting traffic – from emailer, ads, social media, search engine – into sales. This is at the core of all digital marketing efforts. By embedding pixel codes and UTM tracking URLs in the relevant website pages, the digital marketer can not only capture the conversion information but also break this down further into segmentation of leads, sources of the leads, where the lead dropped off, inferences on the products, content and a lot more. Google Analytics and Hubspot are popular tools used to monitor this inbound lead effectiveness.

Summing up: Just like how the modern day GPS has made driving a pleasurable, predictable experience, digital marketing makes marketing efforts of a brand efficient and effective.

You would now agree that:

Digital marketing helps increase ROI – The primary tool used in digital marketing is content. With all the content that is generated and repurposed across multiple platforms in a segmented way, digital marketing offers increased brand awareness at a fraction of the cost of traditional media, reducing expenses on marketing, advertising and sales.

Digital marketing improves efficiency – With all the targeting and monitoring, the quality of leads generated is relatively higher than other media, resulting in lesser wastage of sales effort since greater conversion tracking helps focus on most relevant audiences and leads, allowing for better conversion rates.

Marketing without data is akin to driving with your eyes closed! Using digital marketing, you can make your brand’s journey easier by smartly navigating at each step. So what is stopping you from making the best use of these resources that are literally just a click away?

Inception has worked with many B2B and B2C clients in driving their digital marketing initiatives. Please write to us at inception@inception.net.in if you would like to have a conversation on this (or anything else!)

 


A practitioner’s view by Aarthi Srinath, Partner at Inception Business Services

About the Author – A Marketing & Management professional with over 14 years of experience in marketing technology, consulting and business development. She has helped Fortune 500 companies and vibrant start-ups formulate and execute their marketing plan. Her passions outside work include cycling, cooking and travel – she is the fastest amateur woman cyclist in Chennai!


The Power of the Personal Brand or How a Personal Brand can help You and your Business

Today, or rather last night, my state lost a dynamic leader – Selvi Dr. J Jayalalithaa, fondly referred to as Amma. This post is not a political tribute or even a personal eulogy to a tough stateswoman.  In her passing however, and in replaying the most remarkable aspects of her public persona, I was reminded of the incredible power of the personal brand.

Pic Courtesy: Pravakta.com

Pic Courtesy: Pravakta.com

In the world of politics and public service, this power is visible and potent. From Gandhi who became Mahatma to Jayalalithaa who became Amma, there is a story of a carefully thought out brand building effort by highly intelligent leaders, who knew their work would warrant the leverage of a powerful personal brand. This has rich insights for us in the world of brands and marketing.

Whenever we work with a B2B brand, we look for ways to create visible experts, especially when it could be a key factor influencing growth. Even in the case of corporate brands and consumer businesses, we often sense opportunity for key individuals to become visible experts or thought leaders. I have personally seen a fair bit of resistance from the key individuals involved for a variety of rational and irrational reasons. Primarily, this would mean they think of themselves as a personal brand – that is not a very easy thing for most people. Many of us prefer being invisible, some kind of potent force that propels our businesses forward, unseen or unnoticed for the most part. We crave recognition but within our comfort zone. Even the credible experts, who have built in-depth domain knowledge, even those who have a lot to share and contribute in their domain, typically resist the idea of themselves as a personal brand. As a marketer, we know, that even in B2B businesses, people buy from people and putting forth a clear personal brand can make that interaction smoother in many ways. (Ofcourse, if one has nothing significant to say or a vision on how to make a difference, merely looking to create a personal brand is pointless.) However, for those driven by a sense of purpose, who have evolved as a professional with passion and perseverance, at some point, it is worth pausing to evaluate what is your personal brand and what can it achieve for you. Here’s a quick sell job on why you should consider crafting your personal brand. 

Richard Branson - Thought Leader & LInkedIn Influencer

1.       Creating your Personal Brand necessitates becoming vocal or expressing a view point. This if done well, is a clutter buster and can get you attention you deserve. If you have a professional network, contribute there. If there is an ‘adda’ where your business network meets up at, participate there. If your company has a blog, write for it (If you don’t have a blog, please be the one to start one!). If you can stomach being active on social media, start tweeting and/or publishing on LinkedIn. (notice how I am letting you think this is even a choice in this day and age ;))

2.       Developing your Personal Brand warrants a fair bit of consistency in actions, behaviours and reactions. Consistency doesn’t mean predictability though or being boring. Given the various demands on our time and the variety of situations we have to deal with, a strong personal brand can pre-empt how you would do so, saving you time and also amplifying your stance clearly to the other person. We become what we consistently do. 

3.       Working on a Personal Brand can also help you set a higher standard for yourself – this can only mean positive repercussions for your work and professional reputation. Sometimes you take that lousy deal, or you compromise despite your first instinct. In such instances, your Personal Brand can become the gold standard against which you evaluate such decisions.

4.       Maintaining a Personal Brand involves a conscious investment in yourself – your learning, your growth, your evolution as a professional. In addition to the direct benefits, it is bound to get you noticed and provide some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for how you want to grow.

5.       In many instances, projecting a Personal Brand involves a visual identity that sets you apart. Think Steve Jobs’ turtleneck pullovers or Usha Uthup’s silk sari and bindi or Simi Garewal’s vision in white, Amma’s cape & sari avatar and ofcourse Bapu’s dhoti and dandi. While in corporate life, such stark visual identities may seem unwarranted, do pause and reflect on the image you wish to portray. I am no image consultant, but I leave you with a powerful thought that someone told me. Dress for success and right now, start dressing for the ultimate role or person you want to be. If not in attire, find that one individual element that will make you more distinctive.

Steve Jobs in his final avatar had a distinct Personal Brand

Steve Jobs – a Personal Brand as iconic as Apple

There are many examples of people who have reinvented themselves and come back from failures, riding on a new and refreshed avatar or Personal Brand. The more visible high profile examples in media, entertainment (Lady Gaga, Madonna), politics (Amma, Modi), Corporate honchos (Richard Branson, Steve Jobs) are easier to spot. But I also know of several business owners / entrepreneurs at a local level who have achieved a higher level of visibility & success for their business by building & leveraging a credible Personal Brand.

It is therefore, never too early or too late to work on your Personal Brand. If you already have achieved some success in this, or know someone you admire for doing so, please do share it here. It would definitely make for some more interesting anecdotal evidence to validate what I am trying to say !


A Blog by – Pavithra Charan Sankarakrishnan

About the Author – A Marketing & Management professional with a keen interest in people and passion for ideas, Pavithra moved from being a Banker & Wealth Management professional to entrepreneur. Working with start ups, Brand management, Customer engagement, Content creation are among areas of work that most excite her. She loves music across multiple genres incl Carnatic music & Classic rock. She enjoys reading, movies and travel.

 


Leveraging Brand Platforms & Associations for your Brand Communication

Ever noticed the brand of laptop or smart phone someone uses and extended the brand image in your perception of the person? Maybe seen someone wear or carry a specific brand of shoes or bag and instinctively associated brand traits with the person? If you have never, well…you are clearly an exception!

One of the most painstaking tasks achieved by great brands is creating a strong and unique brand persona that their target audience can relate to, perhaps even personally associate with. 

Exploring your brand associations can also help trigger interesting collaborations that could enhance your reach and give you access to new, relevant audiences. And not without good reason. Clearly, achieving a strong brand association is pragmatic and extremely useful, the kind that leads to direct or indirect marketing outcomes. In this era of social media and virtual connections, brands have come to rely even more on brand associations to achieve traction in customer engagement, as this opens up avenues apart from traditional advertising to put your brand out there.

product placement example - Apple Laptops in the movies

Freeze frame from the movie The Intern starring Anne Hathaway & her MacBook !

Some iconic brands have leveraged strong brand associations by exploring new ways for intelligent product placement. Think about Apple’s iconic MacBook laptops and the countless scenes in movies, where seeing a character use one tells you a bit about them already. While we don’t factually know if that is the outcome of targeted product placement by the brand or simply the power of its brand persona ensuring movie makers pick the brand for such scenes, brands with lesser iconic value can also achieve similar results with targeted placements. 

Closer home, the example of Palam Silks partnering with Red Chillies Entertainments for the movie, Chennai Express comes to mind. Having a lead character (Deepika Padukone) wear distinctive half-sarees and sarees in the movie and during promos for the film, augmenting that with the brand’s own marketing of the association with events and advertisements, ensured that Palam Silks achieved an instant mental connect with many young women, at least with reference to what is modern style applied to the traditional sari. The collection featured in the movie literally flew off the shelves. While movie pundits were analysing the box office stats, the brand had their cash registers ringing merrily at their stores for long after the movie was released.

Exploring your brand associations can also help trigger interesting collaborations that could enhance your reach and give you access to new, relevant audiences. 

For instance, let us consider the collaboration of Tinder and Zomato. Dating and dining do certainly go well together. This synergy is even more pronounced on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, when a romantic dinner with your Valentine is top of most people’s minds. Leveraging this association that pre-exists in people’s minds, a joint campaign, Tinderlicious, was kicked off. It achieved tremendous success, simply proving how a genuine customer insight and right connect can be translated into marketing that works.

Brand Platform: Mtv Coke Studio

A snapshot from an episode on Mtv Coke Studio!

If such associations seem opportunistic and short lived, brands wanting a more enduring connect with their audiences can explore brand platforms. Brand platforms are an excellent way for brands to express their persona and create non-transactional references for people to ‘be-friend’ the brand. One of our favorite examples if the MTV Coke Studio – a brand platform that leverages the happiness of music to connect to the brand theme of key sponsor of the platform – Coca-Cola (Coke). Read our 2015 case study on this here

Most marketplaces for products and services are crowded. Exploring brand associations and platforms could be a very interesting way to bust the clutter and establish a direct connect with your desired target audience. Like most great marketing campaigns, this is usually a culmination of inspiration and perspiration. There is no clear formula or secret sauce. However, our experience reveals that it is possible to strike gold when the approach this right. Structured deconstruction of your brand and what it could potentially mean to different customer groups, married with a creative exploration of the values and traits your brand embraces. This dual approach should help you identify the right tracks for your brand association or platform.

-Authored by Nandhitha

with inputs from Snehaa and Pavithra Charan

Nandhitha is Asst.Manager Projects at Inception and contributes campaign ideas, social media support and brand content to the client brands she works with. Her love for writing now finds an additional expression on the Inception blog. 

Snehaa is Asst.Manager Projects at Inception and brings the marketing plans of her client brands to life. Her curiosity to learn more about the thinking behind brands is often translated into meaningful insights that work their way into the Inception blog. 

Pavithra is Founder & Partner at Inception Business Services. Being a marketer involves continuous learning and ongoing conversations and these are what keep her motivated to read more and also to try and write more. 


From my iPad – apps that make life easier for Marketers-on-the-go

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For most of us who run businesses and also serve client interfacing roles in our organisations, most of our days are punctuated by meetings, commuting to and from meetings and every now and then travel. For me, meetings – with clients, prospects, partner agencies, vendors and of course my fellow marketers at Inception – take up a significant portion of my work days. As a marketer who is often on-the-go, I have come to rely on my iPad for getting work done. Here’s a pick of my favourite apps from my Work folder on my tablet. If you use some of them already, I would love to know your experience. If you haven’t tried these yet, you may want to head to AppStore (or Android marketplace) once you read this. 🙂


1. FB Pages: Given that a fair portion of Inception’s work is related to social media, not surprisingly, I seem to have admin access for over a dozen client / brand pages. FB Pages app is what I swear by: to review posts, schedule on the go, and even check insights related to our recent work on the page. It is useful even for loading FB ads to boost posts and promote content, although Facebook now also has an Adverts Manager app that I am yet to try.


2. Twitter: Tweeting and retweeting, and catching up on tweets for info are great ways to utilise time in the car, even on short rides (assuming you are not driving ofcourse!). The twitter app allows you to load multiple accounts and toggle between them, making it easier to stay abreast of Twitter activity and also participate actively.


3. Canva: Marketers at Inception use Canva for a lot of social media creatives and posters. I love using the Canva app as the iPad’s touch interface opens up a whole new way of interacting with the tool to create visuals. It is simply so easy and intuitive that I now prefer using Canva app rather than desktop version most of the time!

4. MailChimp: Quite a few of our client email activity is still run on Mailchimp. The app is a bit recent I think. While it doesn’t yet support creating campaigns, for my work the current app features are sufficient – mainly to approve email campaigns and review campaign reports. Ofcourse, if you are the kind who patiently waits for the scheduled report to be emailed in to you, you may not really need this app. But I love peeking in to check real time data on how emailers are faring at multiple points after a campaign has gone out and this app ensures I don’t bug my team mates for constant updates!


5. LinkedIn: As a marketer and a business owner, I get frequent pings on LinkedIn and I also love connecting with people in my professional network. Like Twitter, I also find LinkedIn a great source for knowledge articles, perspectives on management ideas/concepts and a whole lot more. To ensure I don’t miss too much, I use the LinkedIn app. That way, I have cut my response time to LinkedIn activity to less than 24 hours.


6. Asana: For projects and task tracking and team collaboration, we at Inception use Asana, which I consider the 8th man-made wonder in the world. 🙂 The App is just a mighty useful tool, making it easier to create tasks and assign them soon after client meetings or even to get my task list for the day up even before I get to office. This is the coolest way to monitor deliverables – a way to ensure no balls are dropped and no deadlines are missed even though you are on the go.

7. Whatsapp: Well, this one is just on my phone, but it occupies nearly equal status to email today. Pings from cousin groups, alumni networks and cycling friends notwithstanding, I have numerous workgroups, some internal to our specific project teams and some including clients. The amount of work that now gets done via Whatsapp is phenomenal. From content drafts and visual approvals to quick feedback, Whatsapp has become an integral part of staying connected at work. Even during international travel, a data connection and/or wifi access ensures that a lot of work is done via Whatsapp – which sometime replaces email and sometimes eliminates phonecalls.

These are just a few of my favourite apps that make my work day a lot more productive (and have helped me stop carrying my MacBook around everywhere!). There are several more out there. Ping me to tell me which ones have helped you the most. I still have space left on my iPad! 🙂

Pavithra Charan
Founder & Director
Inception Business Services

5 Hacks to Improve ROI on Facebook Spends

For businesses that have invested in social media, there is a strong need to understand and improve the return on investment (ROI). As marketers, we spend a fair bit of time on this subject and we believe that ROI is an important aspect while making decisions about incremental spends on social media. While ROI considerations differ for every business- based on business stage, specific linked sales goals, current phase of digital marketing and stage of social media adoption, here are some quick hacks that can boost your ROI from Facebook, still the largest social media platform used by brands. This list is broadly based on our experience across multiple client brands,both B2B and B2C.

95-8-percent

 

Did you know ? Facebook is looked upon as the most popular social network with over 1.65 billion monthly active users. According to a study, 95.8% marketers believe that Facebook provides the best ROI when compared to other social media networks.

 

 

Brands that are very active on Facebook (FB) usually do one or both of following:

  1. Managing and posting content via a brand page
  2. Using Facebook as an ads platform to generate traffic to a variety of chosen brand destinations online

Ad spends on Facebook also therefore fall under two broad heads:

  1. Page fan or likes related spends and Page content boosting ( to improve visibility among existing and potential fans)
  2. Ads with links to the page, brand website or any other link (including apps)

When brands do either or both of above, it is critical to have a knowledgeable team look at both your page insights and your adverts manager dashboard to track specific metrics and recommend tweaks that will help improve outcomes.. Here are FIVE hacks that will get you higher value for your investment of time and money on Facebook.

1.Cost Per Click: Generally, FB ads for brand awareness and reach run on CPM or cost per 1000 impressions. However, while advertising with specific ROI goals such as increased traffic to your site, or for a product on sale via e-commerce, we recommend switching to CPC or cost per click. By paying only for those who click your ad, you also get FB to start optimising your ads and showing it to people (from within your defined audience) who are more likely to click. To track your CPC, your dashboard will show a number which is calculated by dividing the amount you spent on the ad by all clicks the ad has received. The lower the CPC for your ad, the better the ROI, since the ad had more people responding to your Call to Action (CTA). To know the average CPC for your industry see below.

fbroi2. Pixel Codes: When you load FB ads that send audience outside social media to your website or online store or app on a marketplace, wouldn’t it be great to know what actions people take there on? Pixel codes are simply code that act as bridges – connecting your clicks on FB with your website traffic data. FB helps generate different kinds of pixel code which you need to embed into specific pages on your destination site. Once this is done, when people click your FB Ad, along with FB ad performance you get to know what that translated to at the click destination. Pixel codes can help track lead collection, subscriptions online, addition to shopping cart and more. With this information, a marketer can track ROI better from ads and also make tweaks during a campaign to improve the conversions..

creating pixel

How to: When you create a Facebook ad leading to a specific link, you select the Pixel code that you wish to track and Facebook automatically identifies it. So when a user visits the page, it triggers the pixel and counts it as a “conversion”. For example if your company provides a specific service, you can place a conversion pixel in your Facebook ad that links to the specific service page on your website and tracks the leads generated.

 

3.UTM Codes: Is Facebook giving you the necessary traffic to your website? How much is it contributing to your sales? What are you other sources of traffic? With UTM codes, these questions can be answered. UTM codes are small bits of text that are added to the end of your URL to help you track the details and performance of a specific link. An example of UTM codes is highlighted in the URL below:

http://www.inception.net.in/5-ways-to-improve-roi?utm_campaign=ibsblog &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

UTM codes are very helpful in tracking the source of each link, (Facebook, email, web etc.,) and the specific campaign that triggered the click. If Facebook is your primary marketing channel, you will most likely be creating multiple ad campaigns. If each ad campaign has a different landing page/link, with the help of UTMs you can help analyze which campaign performed better by creating customized UTM codes.

You could use Google’s URL builder to create UTM codes. Each UTM code will have the following parameters: source, medium, content (optional) and campaign. It is imperative to provide relevant UTM code names for better tracking. Google analytics is one of the popular tools that helps track these UTM code links and their performance. It allows you to track conversions and helps better understand how each platform and ad campaign performs amongst the different audiences.

UTMs can be used to track conversions across multiple platforms, giving you a more holistic picture of digital marketing performances and also allowing you to make changes to live campaigns in order to improve results.

4.Custom Audience: Ever wondered if your real customers are at all engaging with your brand on social media? Well if you did, FB heard your thoughts and launched this cool option a while ago. If you have email subscriber lists or genuine own customer lists, you may find that advertising your page or content to them via Facebook is a fairly effective way to get quick conversions. In many instances, we find existing customers triggered to make purchases when they see an ad on Facebook. For many brands, this option also helps increase the intersection of social media fans and real customers, thereby greatly enhancing ROI on FB spends.

5.Re-marketing: Re-marketing is a tactic that allows businesses to advertise to people who have visited their website and shown interest in a product or service. For example, if you have a visitor to your website who has seen a certain product, you can show that product to that visitor through a Facebook ad when they visit Facebook the next time.

While creating a Facebook ad for re-marketing purpose, you can create a custom audience based on the specific link that they have already visited by selecting “people who have visited my website” in your ad creation process. The conversion of re-marketing ads (like other regular FB ads) are tracked using pixel codes (mentioned in point 1). Re-marketing is said to be more effective since it targets people who have already expressed their interest in a particular product or service. The conversions of people with abandoned carts and incomplete shopping visits due to re-marketing ads is impressive enough that w recommend this to all brands with e-commerce goals.

Hope these hacks give your FB spends a bigger ROI boost. We’d love to respond to specific questions or learn more from your experience. Share your comment here or email us at inception@inception.net.in

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5 Key Email Metrics You Need to Start Tracking

Email Marketing-

1. Open Rate

Open rate is an indication of how many people in your target audience thinks your email is worth their attention. Simply put, it is the number of people who opened your email.

When seen in comparison to past email campaigns, this metric is a great way to understand what subject lines, email topics, days of the mail, time of the email are working well with your audience.

 2. Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR is an important measure of your target audience engagement – it answers the question ‘Can your email nudge your target audience to take action?’

CTR = Number of Unique Users who click on links in your email / Total Number of Users who viewed your email

CTR depends on many parameters including the subject line, calls to action, attractive copy, link positioning, time of day, email length etc. B2C newsletters tend to have lower CTR, around 2-3%, while for B2B it is around 5%. Transactional emails have higher click-through rates than non-transactional ones – 9.2% and 3.2%, respectively.

3. Email Conversion Rate (ECR)

ECR measures the percentage of your target audience who clicked on your link and completed a desired action, such as filling out a form, downloading a report or buying a product. The success of this metric is directly linked to the call-to-action in your email, which in turn is linked to the overall goals of your email. Hence, this becomes a measure of the extent to which your marketing goal is being achieved.

4. Bounce Rate:

It is the percentage of your total emails that could not be delivered successfully. They are of 2 types: Soft bounces (mail undelivered because of a temporary problem such as full inbox or problems in the recipient’s server) & Hard bounces (mail undelivered due to invalid ids). Ideally, the bounce rate should be kept below 10%. A high bounce rate could lead to you getting blacklisted by your email provider.

5. List Growth Rate:

This is the rate at which your email subscriber / recipient list is growing. Growing your list is crucial to increase reach and expand the target audience. Research shows that there is a natural decay of your email marketing list, and it expires by about 22.5% every year – which makes it more important than ever to pay attention to growing your subscriber list and keeping it at a healthy size.

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Written by:

Ramya Rajaraman – Ramya is a Project Director at IBS, in-charge of managing some of our key client accounts. She also spearheads IBS’ marketing & communications initiatives

Shruti Sundararaman – Shruti works as a project manager at Inception driving marketing campaigns for clients across various sectors.



Social Media for Brands – How do you decide

Marketing online might conjure up images of building a presence across multiple platforms. With everyone and their neighbour getting online, there is a lot of emphasis on finding a way to stand out in the crowd. But, this shouldn’t be the sole factor in motivating a brand to build its presence on every imaginable social media platform. A digital presence for the sake of it comes across to the recipients of the branding information on these platforms, as being a product of disinterested effort on part of the brand itself. This might wind up being counter-productive to the brand image.

So how do you decide what social media platform works best for your brand? Here’s a bit of an insight into some of the factors that will help you assess that.

Which-One-is-For-You-3_blog dot storeya dot com

How I met my Customer

The use of social media shouldn’t just be about making a statement or building a presence, but should be about turning all that online activity into offline tangibles. The foremost point to remember is the demographic your brand talks to – for instance, a brand that looks at building rapport with middle school students won’t do well to chat up on Linked In, which typically works for a working population. Remember who your end customer is, and who you want to include in that fold. Build your presence on the most appropriate social media platform.

C.O.M.P.E.T.I.T.I.O.N

When it comes to social media, your competition is actually a good guide map. Take a moment to see what spaces your competitors are occupying in building that rapport with their client base. Figure out why they chose that – and how you can up your ante on the same platform with a redefined and streamlined approach. What helps, in most instances, is to keep your ear to the ground and catch the trends in social media brand leveraging, to figure out what the best way to do it is.

Breaking Even

While social media is indeed free to use, it also comes with a limitation – in that free social media allows you the bandwidth of a limited audience. This is where advertising and pay-per-click or boosting posts come into play. Does your brand have the monetary bandwidth to afford a few extra bucks? Are they able, willing and inclined to give it a shot? This can guide your decision in going with an appropriate forum, as well.

Whose Brand is it Anyway?

There is a sense of logic in approaching brand marketing transitions from offline media to online media, and within online media channels, too. A brand that has built itself offline might be able to migrate some of that goodwill online – but the key is to tap into the demographic online, that may be able to access and engage with the brand on the same level. In a day and age where the digital age of a user differs from their real age, the challenge is to sustain interest on a social media platform.

The Office

One of the prerequisites in deciding on the number of social media platforms your brand gets onto is to figure out the number of staff available to dedicate time and effort to the maintenance of these platforms. Spreading yourself too thin across multiple social media platforms doesn’t do you any good – what winds up happening is repetitive communication, or unclear communication that doesn’t suit the platform that’s being used.

Image courtesy – blog.storeya.com


Case Study: MakeMyTrip – Empowering the Indian Traveller

What’s the campaign all about?

MakeMyTrip.com is the pioneer that kicked off the online travel revolution in India by allowing users to book tickets on flights and to arrange for hotels and accommodation across the world. The Indian travel industry found a revolutionary addition in the form of convenience in planning and arranging for trips within India and beyond with the arrival of MakeMyTrip. MakeMyTrip.com made its India debut in September 2005 with its Lowest Airfare Guarantee and soon diversified its online travel offerings to include domestic and international holidays. Targeted at the small business and leisure travellers, it became a name recognised duly with values of reliability and transparency in its operations.

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MakeMyTrip was clearly one of earliest players in the world of business to have taken social media and content driven marketing as seriously as traditional marketing, at a time when companies were apprehensive about venturing into the online space for their marketing needs. With the single objective of empowering the traveller, their marketing strategy effectively uses their social media platforms integrating the content and campaigns in a way that complemented each other.

What was their marketing approach on Social media?

Make my trip’s social media marketing approach, involved campaigns across key social media platforms with strong emphasis on customised content for each of the platforms encouraging customer engagement. With strong presence across the key social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube and customised content that users can benefit, MakeMyTrip empowered the traveller allowing them build and incorporate their own travel itineraries. While the tone of communication has remained consistent, the mode of delivery of the content is tailored to suit each platform.

On Facebook, MakeMyTrip has used a varying approach to drive constant engagement through sharing, commenting and likes. Their content strategy across Facebook and Twitter involved a balanced mix – ranging from posts that promoted their offers, to thematic travelogues, travel tips and trivia catering to a wide demographic of small business and leisure travellers. By efficiently using hashtags such as #Luxury Travels, #Nature Trips, #Adventure Trips, #ManMade wonders and #Relaxing Holidays, every content piece had a clear Call to Action. MakeMyTrip also had a virtual travel support desk available for travellers with nuggets of information specific for travellers.
Through tweet chats and the timely content appealing to a large cross section of their audience, their hashtag #MakeMyTrip made it to a list of national level trends across multiple campaigns.

MakeMyTrip is also one of the few brands to have successfully leveraged its presence on Pinterest. With over thirty boards and counting, they cover a range of categories such as Best Travel Destinations, Food and Drink, Beaches, Festivals, Unique Places, Museums and Art on the one hand, and a whole range of picturesque locations titled with the name of specific destinations such as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Hong Kong and the like.

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Makemytrip’s YouTube channel is a hub for their Television commercials, and videos that cover everything from exotic travel destinations, hotels and travel tips. With targeted YouTube promotions the brand has over 5000 subscribers and 400,000 views for its videos.

Differentiators that worked:
• Empowering the traveller to customise their travel end-to-end providing them wide variety of options both within India and internationally in simple and effective fashion

• Innovative campaigns such as Hamne Toda Vaada Toh Pay Only Aadha where customers could claim half refund if they were unhappy and #ThanksFor10k where all the users who added up to 10,000 followers on Twitter were thanked – increased brand recognition and highlighted the quality of their products and services

 

makemytrip image3What worked in MakeMyTrip’s social marketing campaign?

360 Degree Approach: An integrated 360 degree approach to social media marketing is the key highlight of MakeMyTrip’s online marketing strategy. A category of business that’s rich in emotion and excitement, MakeMyTrip leveraged this through highly engaging and customised content that is well crafted to suit the different social media platforms. Spread across a range of themes, concepts and ideas, suited to the interests of different demographic groups, their campaigns presented suitably across the platforms – verbose and visually strong on Facebook, to the point and crisp on Twitter, and pictorial, on Pinterest, and engaging on YouTube.

Call to Action: While their campaigns focused on different themes, there was a clear focus to anchor the marketing efforts to sales conversions through effective call to action. For example, a traveller might be on their portal or on their Facebook page, and may see a bunch of posts on ideal travel destinations: the underlying notion is to equip him with the right information so he may choose to travel where he wants. The call to action takes him straight back to the portal, where he is free to book his trip as he pleases.

Customer Service: Customer centricity being one of their core values, MakeMyTrip translated this into the online space as well. They used the social media effectively for customer service by providing responses to queries from customers tackling issues, guiding them, or simply providing required information. One look at MakeMyTrip on social media shows that they are not afraid of criticism – they don’t even delete negative feedback, and take a very reassuring tone.

Make my trip infographic

What are the key take-aways from MakeMyTrip’s campaigns?

• What we believe worked very well overall was an integrated 360 degree approach to social media that focussed in not only creating awareness about the brand, their products and services, but a compelling content strategy across platforms that contributed to building their business itself. By capturing the customer’s attention irrespective of whichever platform they are in, and empowering them with engaging content, they hit the bull’s eye.

• What’s critical for a business like MakeMyTrip is not just about making the sale but in the providing an overall positive customer experience. While social media is often looked upon as something that is devoid of personal connect, MakeMyTrip has effectively used for managing existing customer relationships by delivering outstanding service through these platforms.

Written by: Kirthi Jayakumar

Research team: Keerthi Ramesh | Ramya Rajaraman