Decoding Marketing Strategy of Teslaquila

Have you ever tasted tequila? Probably. You might be a fan or not. But have you heard about Teslaquila? Or are you normal? Mathematically, it’s nothing but Tesla + Tequila = Teslaquila. Yes, Elon Musk’s Tesla. The guy who made himself the real-life Tony Stark. Wait, he made himself the Iron Man? His company has recently started rolling out tequila in cool and glamorous Tesla shaped bottles for real.

Going deeper into Elon and his next-gen product ideas taught me more than I anticipated. One word. GENIUS. There were and are many such marketing geniuses. Marketing is a pretty broad topic, nonetheless. And people like Elon have used that to their advantage. Read on to know-how.

For example, Tesla is known for making cars. Electric to be specific. From electric cars to a posh sounding tequila bottle? It’s a very vague transition. But guess what? People are buying it (what do you mean it’s for the Instagram story?). People are checking it. People are talking about it. People are even writing articles about it. This is all about advertising. Nah, not the Tequila. Elon advertised himself. His ambitions. His god-like public image. Everything is a result of genius marketing. This can be further classified as a marketing strategy, marketing technology, branding and what not! Even if Teslaquila is just a small batch made, it has been receiving more attention lately. Studying about this ‘phenomenon’ gave many insights into how creative and strategic marketing can be.

 In any business, the fundamental thing is to sell products. That’s how you make money. But whom to sell? And how to sell? Well, there are various marketing devices that have to be put into use here. These can range from raw marketing, branding, advertising, strategies, and so on. By incorporating the right devices at the right time, one can sell anything.

First of all, have a look at the following established definitions of marketing strategy.

The marketing strategy lays out target markets and the value proposition that will be offered based on an analysis of the best market opportunities.

Philip Kotler & Kevin Keller, Marketing Management, Pearson, 14th Edition

Essentially a formula for how a business is going to compete, what its goals should be and what policies will be needed to carry out these goals.

Michael Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, NY, Free Press, 1980

One thing we can infer from the above paragraph is that marketing is nothing but a carefully planned promotional strategy of the product. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. From Elon Musk’s Teslaquila (as discussed above phew!) to Jezz Bezos and Mukesh Ambani’s Jio, marketing strategy played an instrumental role in the success of every venture in the world. How would the world know about your amazing products and services? Marketing, coupled with the appropriate strategy. It’s as simple. In marketing and promoting your product, the sky’s the limit for creativity. Such examples are found throughout history because it’s so important.

The way you advocate the implementation of various marketing strategies decides how well people would respond to your product and how well you can reach out to people.

How to do this is a good question. For instance, we are right now in a global pandemic. Things seem to be catching up to pre-covid era, but slowly and steadily.

 Think of a strategy to directly reach out to consumers in their homes. Not all are hating the WFH facility. Many even embrace it. Hence it can be predicted that they intend to permanently adopt much of their pandemic-friendly behaviour such as online shopping, home fitness and streaming video shows and pretty much many things. Also, it’s more cost-efficient to use online marketing projects. It may also be a win-win. Reaching out is not a problem in this case. Advertising might become trickier. Fresh, entertaining and engaging ad experiences can be a welcome break in consumers’ well-worn and homebound routines. This has increased chances of the consumer checking the product to break their monotonic routines, for a change.

But consumers are becoming increasingly conscious, socially, financially and politically than any point in history. Hence, understanding consumers’ psychology has become more important than ever. It’s undeniable that the pandemic has drastically changed our spending patterns. When to use above the line and when to use advertorials and such questions need to be considered.

Primarily, measuring the market using PORTER 5 techniques should be reviewed again. For any scenario, there are four methods: Market penetration, market development, product service development and diversification.

Marketing Analytics: Strategic Models and Metrics by Stephan Sorger and Marketing Measurement Strategy MOOC by UC Berkely.
Porter's 5 forces
Porter’s Five Forces

 But in what magnitude these have to be implemented depends on the situation. Throughout the digital age, businesses have amassed massive paper trails on their websites and social media accounts. With a small amount of work, consumers can easily go through a company’s services, feedback to see which are offering lip service and which ones genuinely care about them. Any inauthentic or inaccurate statements about the commitment to consumer satisfaction can quickly be debunked, ridiculed, and shared virally across the internet.

Hence, care has to be taken. Data capture is easy in this pandemic era when people have time. So, B2C advertising can be implemented. Does the 80 – 20 rule i.e. 80% of the products are purchased by 20% of the consumers,  works here? Time will tell.

In some times, out of the box strategies give the best results. Remember the Tesla Cybertruck incident (another marketing stunt, same as Teslaquila). The glass advertised as bulletproof cracked on live TV testing. How could this be?

Tesla Cybertruck glass incident

Well, this was premeditated. That failure was a pretty good way to create a sensation and get to the news. This was a marketing strategy, time, and tested.

Elizabeth Holmes founded the health company Theranos and she is on the Forbes list of most disappointing leaders. Yes, you read it right. ‘Disappointing’. Her branding and marketing levels were so good that the once richest man in the world Carlos Slim Helu partnered with her now-defunct blood-testing company. But finally, everything came to an end. Her fame, the company, everything crashed. The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos’s technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Theranos and Holmes were charged with massive fraud, and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centres. Her business model was that blood tests could be conducted using just pin pricking a finger and proprietary technology to even detect cancer and cholesterol. This was all covered up by her marketing strategy.

She had her persona with her like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, which served as the prime marketing tool. Outbound marketing, darkest marketing all these played little role in this case.

This tells how important it is to reallocate budget towards different marketing strategies at different times. The pandemic situation is one such time when the marketing budget should be reallocated instead of cutting it down. This is a recession time, let’s cut down marketing and advertising budget and use it for something else! Well, this is wrong. Just because it’s easier to cut this down doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. We can learn more from Teslaquila!

Firms that maintain their marketing spend while reallocating it to suit the context – be it in product developing, advertising and communication, or pricing – typically fare better than firms that cut their marketing investment.

Harvard Business Review 14/08/2020

About the author:

Sathvik Boorgu is an MBA student from IIM Indore.
She was one of the participants of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- I, Marketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

Importance of Personalization in Marketing

“Personalization happens when a marketer or salesperson can take a piece of content and make it more useful for a specific prospect or customer.”

– John Jantsch

Had we ever wondered if most of the well-known retail stores we visit would have a virtual platform for us to shop from wherever and whenever we liked? Or the fact that we wouldn’t have to step a foot outside the comfort of our homes to buy grocery? Most of us would answer with a solid ‘No.’ Innovations are introduced from time to time, keeping in mind the linchpins of any business; the consumers! With the introduction of technology and Digital marketing came a unique concept of Personalized Marketing. And it focused only on serving the content of relevance and value to these linchpins.

Today, in a world of silent races, businesses want to outwit their competitors so their product can rule the market. But it surely isn’t enough if the public only just likes the virtual representation of the product. The consumer needs to physically opt for the product and connect to it. The message of your marketing campaign cannot connect to each and every individual because our perspectives and opinions differ from that of one another. So, if one wishes to convert their viewers into customers, targeting them individually is what needs to be done here. Because don’t we all love it when our inevitable needs and wants are catered to keeping in mind our taste and preferences?

Be it online or offline marketing, companies seek to establish a one-on-one relationship with their existing and prospect customers, giving them an edge over the marketing strategies adopted by rivals. From your content to your products, customers are looking for a personalized experience that befits them and checks all their condition boxes. Remember, the customer always looks for exclusiveness.

Don’t we all hate it when we are asked to pay for something that we never even intended to use or actually used in the first place? When we talk about our cable television, earlier there was no option but pay for all the channels and we never even tuned into most of these channels. But now, we have the liberty to choose and pay for channels of our choice. Companies also offer us packages that are custom made depending on our preferences. By doing this, companies are creating an environment for their customers where they feel valued and providing a service worth every penny a customer pays.

Customers are always seeking to come across a differentiated buying experience. By indulging customers in personalized experiences with the help of data analysis, smart segmentation and digital technology, brands are building a one-on-one relationship with their buyers. With individualized emails assisting to the needs of a certain group of choices alike, customization in products and services, custom videos by social media for birthdays and memories, these brands can communicate with their customers and provide them with a finer experience. Thus, increasing customer engagement and shooting sales revenue.

A brand website can enhance a customer’s experience and introduce a window shopper to its hospitality by collecting personal information from them like their birthdays and offering one-time discounts, more or less on their first purchase or their birthday months. For example, when Starbucks offers free upgrades on drink to the customer on the purchase of a Starbucks card. Thereby converting these visitors into buyers.

In a time where E-Commerce is taking all the limelight and wanting to increase website traffic, personalization has become all the more important. With changing times, we have all in one way or another shifted to online shopping. Based on our purchase history and buying preferences, we often receive messages like ‘Here are some handpicked items we thought you might like.’ And when we actually visit the options, it might shock us to see how relevant it is to our taste!

The OTT platforms have also managed to increase their share of views by indulging viewers with popping notifications of the recommendation of movies and series or with their ‘Top Picks for’ segment. Customers are always looking to satisfy that craving of extra attention. Market captivation of these platforms begins here.

Though personalization has already spread its wings about the upcoming trends in marketing, it has a long way to fully be effective. Companies are either underequipped or haven’t found a way to incorporate personalization in their marketing campaigns. As rightly quoted by Niels Bohr “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Companies should invest in the development of personalization supporting technologies that would be a suitable participant for their marketing campaign to begin early for shooting profits in the future. With AI taking over all the industries like blazing fire, it has its impact on marketing as well. AI-based personalization can help leave a good impression in the minds of the customers by bifurcating data from multiple channels and coming to an outcome that serves an individual consumer. AI can enable them to virtually try on an outfit on themselves and even give them a glimpse of how well that shade of lipstick would suit them without having to physically put them on. This makes online shopping a discrete experience for buyers. It is all about offering a fulfilling experience to your consumer and escalating your sales. Like, when Lenskart came up with its virtual try-on, customers were thrilled to experiment these glasses on their 3D images by clicking selfies. With this innovation, Lenskart became one of the most prominent brands for glasses.

Although asking for personal details like demographics, location, etcetera from the consumer helps the marketer build a database and use the collective information to deliver tailored content explicitly for a consumer, it also gives the consumer a sense of fear to provide this fragile information. But once the brand becomes successful in winning a customer’s trust, the visitor who was earlier hesitant to indulge in an experience with a label now becomes a loyal and a frequent buyer of the brand. And that trust of one customer, adds a few more loyal ones to your basket. With personalization, it is also easy to manipulate a customer’s psychology and make some quick gains. But instead of earning more, you might on the contrary end up losing prospective customers as no one enjoys buying from a brand with negative reviews.

Anybody can make a product, promote it and sell it. But are we merely looking to do just that? The customer looks for brands that can take care of their Wishlist in tune with their preference. The customer always remembers the service provided by the brand. If a customer has a pleasant experience starting from searching for a product to its delivery, they are sure to come back to the brand for their future purchases. The ultimate goal should be of building a relationship with the customers and gaining their trust. 

Personalization is not only a current marketing trend; it is the future as the gravity of delivering value to the customer can never go out of fashion. Also, feeling connected is the need of the hour in this era of incalculable spam mails rusting in your inbox and the constant flashing ads that pop up out of nowhere. And personalization is what makes your brand’s marketing campaign stand out in the crowd, like a full-bloomed lotus in a water garden.


About the author:

Rithika Rao is an MBA student from VES B-School.
She was one of the participants of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- I, Marketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

How can Snapchat help a small business grow?

One has to be a step ahead of his/her competitors to survive. And must be very clear on any given opportunity that will help skim the business to the next level. One such important point is to ensure that you are up to date with the changing technology and adapting to the innovations. One such example is Snapchat. It is a one to one and group messaging app for sending photos, videos and text messages that disappear in seconds. It has many features such as stories, memories, and different stickers to portray your messages in a more creative manner.

Marketing your business on Snapchat is not for everyone’s business. It is important to have a proper strategy and commitment towards creating unique content to become noticeable. It’s not a normal social media application, its more personalised and has more quirky content creation which has its own personality. In recent years, Snapchat has seen an increase in popularity, with user interest and interaction being strong enough to grab business attention.

Why market your company on Snapchat?

Not many people are comfortable with the app, so there is less competition and that makes it more likely to stand out. There is no algorithm that hides your posts and if a user adds a story, it can be easily seen that you have added a story and play it. Also, there are no ads and no extra links to drive away from traffic and from viewing and interacting with the content.

Snapchat screenshots

Snapchat user base bends to the younger age group i.e. 71% of all users are under the age of 34-years old. So, if that’s the age group you are focusing on then this is the best app to be at to market your products. This also means that the type of content your young audience needs must be carefully considered.

In order to remain effective with Snapchat, you would need to have a marketing plan in place. And since Snapchat is a channel so new from what we’re used to as advertisers, the marketing approach is going to be at least a bit different from what you’re likely to be doing for other channels.

How do marketers promote their content?

  • Behind the Scenes – Also known as BTS, people prefer the authentic and raw look of the product. BTS tours and sneak peeks helps the audience to feel connected and be a part of the experience.
  • Takeovers – Employee takeovers help people get to know their co-workers and see what life is like in your corporation. It’s a great way to highlight your culture, your teammates’ interests, and get creative and innovative content that is beyond your office and products’ field.
  • User-Generated Campaigns – The exposure of your account can be amplified by curating snaps featuring your audience. Ask your users, audience on other media platforms, and Snapchat friends to send you Snaps that you can use on a particular strategy in an early feature. To allow extra interest and submissions, you could also tie this to a giveaway.
  • Games – A game can be a fun way to get your audience on Snapchat to connect with you, either from the chat feature or by asking your audience to send you Snaps. That day you might even feature them in your post.

As you share your memories, create amazing experiences and begin to analyze your target audience, this platform gives the potential for immense growth. If you’re considering Snapchat marketing for your business, make sure you read about the campaigns mentioned below.

Case Study: Cisco’s Snapchat Series

Hardware maker Cisco does not seem like a good fit for Snapchat at first sight. However, in its “Day in the Life of an Account Manager” series, Cisco found a way to make its “boring” industry enjoyable by chronicling the day-to-day activities, meetings and workload of an account manager. The series covers one of Cisco’s account managers’ regular workloads, humanising a B2B brand better known for its networking hardware. It’s entertaining and exciting enough to draw Cisco’s tech-savvy audience, as the series blends the mundane with entertainment.

Snapchat stories

Did it work?

Well, the essential meaning of Cisco’s Snapchat campaign is that by focusing attention on the individual side of the business, even the most “boring” brands will create content that is enjoyable, entertaining and intriguing.

Case Study: Gatorade Super Bowl Dunk Lens

Gatorade gained a massive amount of popularity during Super Bowl 50 by developing a personalised sponsored Snapchat lens designed towards fans of American football. As the business called it, #GatoradeDunk allows users to simulate being “dunked” with Gatorade, much like the coach of a victorious American football team. In a commercial starring Serena Williams — one of the company’s endorsed athletes, Gatorade advertised the lens.

The lens was immensely famous. It was watched more than 100 million times throughout the Super Bowl weekend. The overall view count had climbed to over 165 million by the end of the campaign.

Was it a success?

The initiative demonstrated football fans with a positive, engaging way to participate in the excitement and feel a stronger connection to the game and their team. In fact, the Gatorade promotion was such a hit that it was brought back in an improved version by the sports drink brand for 2017, encouraging consumers (or at least supporters of the winning team) to dunk themselves to celebrate the victory.

Snapchat is a unique type. It is one of the first platforms for both the consumer and the marketer to successfully gamify ads and make it enjoyable. Snapchat is on track to become one of the world’s most dominant outlets in the coming years with its youthful audience and wide scope. It’s really in its infancy, and on the platform, it’s much easier to get heard. In reality, a study found that when consumers see the Snapchat Story of a company, they watch it 88% of the time in its entirety.

All this suggests that it’s a perfect time to start promoting the company and creating a reputation through Snaps and Stories. Snapchat has made a few hits in recent years, between celebrities throwing a few hits that impact use and Instagram and Facebook story throwing a few more. Despite this, the app has managed to succeed on all things considered and still has a loyal user base.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, deciding on the type of Snapchat marketing to use depends to a large extent on:

  • The needs of businesses,
  • The type of conversions they are finding, and
  • They’re looking to set up the user journey.

On the whole, the website has proven that it is worth taking care of the brands. Like every other advertisement medium, there is a need for bid strategizing and ad quality monitoring, aside from relying exclusively on innovative communication. So, if you haven’t found Snapchat to be your company, well, it seems like a good time to try! And, happily, it is not as difficult to learn Snapchat as you would imagine.


About the author:

Yashna Bhagchandani is an MBA student from VES B-School.
She was one of the participants of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- I, Marketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

User-Centric Growth Marketing

I had a great time working in a fast-growing startup that Google had chosen (with only 5 others from India) for its accelerator program. Acting as the Product Manager for the company’s very interesting AI product, I had plenty of opportunities to explore the real startup environment out there, and in turn, discover my inner strengths. The practical exposure made me aware of numerous challenges a startup faces during its initial days, so I was already eager to enhance my learnings which are tailor suited for startup model of business. My mentors in the company told me about the subject of ‘Growth Marketing’ which is tailor suited for startup model of business. So, I started hunting for a good online course on the subject. Fortunately, I came across the CXL Institute’s website. The institute offered a plethora of courses taught by excellent minds of the field. I took no time in getting myself enrolled in offered courses. What follows next is the review of my learnings about Growth Marketing over the last week.

Traditional Marketing Vs. Growth Marketing

Lessons start with outlining major differences between Traditional Marketing and Growth Marketing. While Traditional Marketing focusses on top of funnel i.e. Awareness and Acquisition. Growth marketing focusses on the entire funnel and is primarily driven by experimentation. This experimentation is preceded by the understanding of what exactly is a customer benefit and is it same for everyone. For instance, if there’s a product which has minimal features in its product category, and additionally priced low – even lower than it should for even these basic features, then can we be sure that the product’s going to be top-selling? No. Depending on several facts, all the customers who value convenience would never go with the product. So, the assumption that the company can just increase market share if it can reduce price is far from right, and effective marketing would involve hitting the right balance between the Price-value and Convenience-value.

Such a balance can be achieved by running consistent experiments and rapidly learning from them. Hypothesis testing is the most popular method and based on the result of the initial hypothesis, subsequent hypotheses can be framed and tested. Similarly, such tests can be executed through multiple marketing channels like Email Marketing, SEO etc. and the corresponding results of this test can help in identifying the best message to be sent across the chosen consumer cohort and media. Then the final layer testing would mean custom tailoring messages based on consumer reactions in the previous step. Only performing the initial tests can give up to 10-20% conversion improvements while experimenting up to the final layer can improve conversion by 40-50%. 

Experiments are always the best way to understand consumers, and even if we fail, we learn. The subsequent lessons taught me about Growth Hacking which is very similar to Lean Startup methodology. We built a minimum viable marketing campaign, tested them and improved them from the learnings. The key is not to find the perfect solution but fast solutions. Obviously, it’s not targeted to find that one solution that can solve all our problems but which would be effective in solving the problem at hand immediately. 

Individual Goals

While these concepts covered essential things for organizations as a whole, the next few lessons talked about individual goals which every person aspiring to become an effective marketeer should pursue i.e.

a) Channel level expertise

b) Analytical Capability

c) Project Management/ Leadership skills

Each marketeer should have a basic command over all the 3 and be expert in at least one of them based on an individual’s long-term perspective. However, the gate is not closed for the ones who aren’t expert in any of these. Further lessons told about the other essential elements which recruiters look for in candidates aspiring for an executive-level job in marketing which included most importantly one’s willingness to learn and ability to demonstrate this willingness. This can significantly aid the recruiter in over-looking the expertise factor. It is needed from each marketeer that he/she is obsessed with being productive and effective.

The subsequent course emphasized the importance of building a growth process for a company. It refers to outlining the trajectory map the company plans to follow and thus requires that the company is specific about every goal it’s trying to achieve within each period (this can be quarterly, semi-annually or annually) the process of which first starts with deciding if it needs user growth or revenue growth. And once it’s done, the company can apply the Pirate Metrics, or AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue and Referral) framework to set stepwise goals.

Channel Identification

Next step is to identify channels most suitable to the goal- Push marketing, Content marketing, Growth marketing, SEO, SEM etc. Meanwhile, it should be able to determine the most accurate consumer journey which eventually becomes very crucial. Being able to create an optimal buying experience and after-feel of product purchase can produce long term results, and such exercise should be performed not only by entry-level managers but by the ones up in the hierarchy too. Because consumers consist of different personas, characteristics and context, personalized communications can be tailor-made only if we are close to the right consumer journey.

Growth Marketing Models & Planning Objectives

Final steps include defining our growth model and planning quarterly objectives. Starting with exploring the data through the lens of the consumer journey, hunting for funnels with highest potentials and prioritizing the most important things, the company must identify the biggest pain-points which can make up for the areas of opportunity. One thing which is very important while setting goals is that these shouldn’t be either easily achievable or very tough, but ones which push people beyond their limits but possible to achieve.

Team level quarterly goals and company level quarterly goals should be aligned but at the same time be distinct enough where different expertise within the company can be fully leveraged. One common question that comes to mind is how to set priorities. This is done by projecting the impact of each of the proposed plan (with the help of records), how much cost is going to get into implementing the project (both in terms of money and efforts) and the expected duration of project completion. Choosing the right experiments, and experimenting faster is the key. Both of these goals can be met by targeting the automation of the routine processes, which the course lessons emphasized heavily as a ‘must’ in this fiercely competitive business environment.

Consumer’s Want Vs. Need

The Digital revolution has changed the world in many ways, and there is huge information to exploit and numerous possibilities to explore. A company should answer first why a consumer would NEED its product rather than want it, when is the right time to pitch to them and what is the right message. And to do that, user surveys play a crucial part if executed properly. These surveys should be short, not open-ended unless extremely necessary and ask just one or two questions. Well, it may at first seem difficult to understand but ones the company can answer what exactly are they offering and what is need for it, it’s not a tough task to bring down the number of questions to one or two.

Needs Vs. Wants

One very interesting insight I got from the growth marketing course was that not every time disclosing an incentive before asking consumers to respond can motivate people. Revealing the incentive after completing the survey increases the value of the incentive and it triggers reciprocity in the responder’s mind which can help in getting more responses through the responder’s referrals. When setting options for the survey, one should try to combine similar responses so that each option is different than the other.


About the author:

Ashwani Kumar is an MBA student from IIM Indore.
He was one of the participants of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- I, Marketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

Smart Marketing in Difficult Times of Covid-19

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel immensely grateful to have gotten through this tough year 2020. A lot has happened, All of us have been affected in some way or the other. So we all did find some or the other way to cope up with the changing scenarios in general and marketing as well. 

Upgrading ourselves

The same thing has been seen across businesses since lockdown was imposed and the world came to an almost standstill. Thus, it became the need of the hour to upgrade ourselves from the conventional modes of reaching out to the public if not done already. This is also important because people started to use their phones and laptops almost every hour of the day. Earlier we used our phones once in a while to socialise with our friends. But, now from studies to coping up with boredom and everything else that is necessary is on our mobile phones.

With that being said, a lot of uprising startups and businesses found the opportunity to reach out to the audience at almost no cost. Since most of us dwell a lot on social media these days be it a casual platform (specifically talking about social media but the thought can be extended to websites, YouTube channels etc.) like Instagram or a professional platform like LinkedIn when there are so many products and services out there the choices for the customers are increasing every single day. Now if you think something like a “Clickbait” or using other black hat tricks could help you get sales sorry to disappoint you.

Understanding Digital Marketing and Clickbait

Clickbait might get your target customer on your page or profile for a while but if his/her expectations are not met. They will leave and probably never come back because now for them you are topping their SPAM list. However, if you act smart and put out the value proposition about your product you might not have a chance of direct sales. But, they will keep coming back to see what’s in your store for them and then there is a good chance to convert sales and make them your regular customers.

Now, this has been done in multiple ways.

For eg, 

  1. Spread positivity: People have been facing more challenges than ever every day as a brand as and when you get to connect with your audience you must spread a word of positivity. Only if you post meaningful content which helps your audience to resonate better with your brand will help you grab all the meaningful attention you need. Maybe share with them some common incidents which they can relate to and possibly realise they’re not alone in this and most importantly you care for them.
  2. Memes: Well it’s 2020 we all are bored sitting indoors now who doesn’t like to have good laugh once in a while. If your content creation team could produce a couple of memes you can have a good number of leads generated and a great re-call.
  3. Giving back: 2020 by nature has only taken everything away from us, now the brands have pretty good opportunity to connect with their audience and give back to the community. There has been such a struggle going on since day one and if you can touch your customers with the right intent you’re the king.  You could give away any possible freebie that could also act as the sample of your quality and thus could propagate the word of mouth marketing.

The Game of Ads

If I were to extend this discussion beyond the scope of present digital marketing places like social media, websites, writing a blog to promote and grow your brand, or maybe have a YouTube channel where you directly interact with your audience and maybe talk about how your product or service can provide the solution to a certain problem they might be facing currently. 

But I see some businesses are taking it to the next level by running ‘ads’ in the video games. And this happens as if you watch an ad for 30 sec or so you will be given ‘game credits’. Now there are two sides of it, if you put out an ad for another game in some popular game application there is a chance that person will be interested to try out a new game, but the other one is recklessly running ads in-game which again doesn’t make any sense.

For eg. last night I came across an ‘insurance ad’ while I was playing a football video game. To me, this seems pretty pointless and less optimized. I’m here to play a game and blow off steam. Moreover, I’m still a student like most of the people playing the game and perhaps our family members are calling shots about which insurance company to trust, so what good will it do to your brand to constantly spam me with your ads. Perhaps, if the ad provided me with some insight about why insurance is essential. It is absolutely important for us to invest in an insurance plan and later told about how their company provides top-notch services. Maybe, they would still stand a chance to convert some young people to take their insurance plans. But, you see how one can be smart about putting the brand out there.

Building a Brand

Let’s talk about the importance of branding, and branding smartly and not in a forced, less organic or corny ways. We simply can’t ignore discussing one of the smartest strategy ever made by a leading sports goods manufacturing company called ‘Nike’. The marketing theory of Nike is to honour great athletes.

Let me elaborate, pick out any Nike ad. They always have the top class athlete using their product and the idea is ‘Nike is a brand that champions trust’. So, every time you walk into a Nike store or you make a purchase you feel the same way. You feel that you have invested in good sports equipment that will help you reach your peak performance. Now, that they have gained your trust for every commodity be it – sneakers, T-shirt, shorts or anything they put their ‘swoosh’ on, they get to charge you a premium price. Think about it!

The first poster shows sneakers inspired by Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players in the history of basketball. The second one is about Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the finest football player who happens to have a lifetime contract with Nike.

Summary

People have shifted from listening to the radio and watching television to being stuck on their mobile phones and laptops 24×7. Hence we need to make ourselves visible where our customers are. Thus it is super essential for us to build a digital presence. Running ads is an important component of digital marketing but it’s not the only part. Moreover, if done without setting specific goals and recklessly, ads can do more harm than good. Customers love to understand the value your business provides. So focusing on the value component instead of constantly spamming them with the ads is a much better idea. Lastly, people need to recognise your product in a pool of variety of products. Thus, it becomes necessary to build your own unique identity which your customers can easily identify and to relate with.


About the author:

Jatin Gupta is an MBA student from Thapar University.
He was a participant of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- IMarketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

What Branding is Doing in COVID-19 Era?

In Jeff Bezos’ words, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

Branding during Covid

Creating a brand for your company is really important as it will help you to get better recognition in the eyes of the customers as compared to non-branded products and it holds true for any kind of product whether they are the food joints such as McDonald’s or KFC, perfumes like Calvin Klein or Skinn by Titan, clothing brands like Forever New or Tommy Hilfiger or mineral water like Bisleri or Kinley, we just for a moment stop thinking about the price when it comes to consumption of these kinds of products.

This is what branding does for a company, making people realize the superiority of your product as compared to the competitors. Not only this, efficient branding will lead to value creation for the company which leads to customer loyalty and further, it becomes easier for the company to attract new customers.

The Branding Process

Now, if we talk about the branding process, it is not a task for the faint-hearted. The brand manager has to be very cautious and precise when it comes to creating an appropriate brand for the product.

The first step in the branding process is research. In the research phase, the brand manager conducts a lot of field research, gathering relevant information about the business, target audience and/or competitors and try to align all of the information with the company’s vision. After the thorough research, the next step is to develop a branding strategy which includes putting all the research in action so that the brand should cover all the aspects of the business, fulfilling the customer needs and making a brand combative enough to brawl with the competitors’ products.

What is a brand without its very own name and logo?

So, the next step in the branding process is to develop a brand design. Brand design in simple words means the name, logo and/or combination of symbols which is given to your brand so that to differentiate it amongst the plethora of products that are already existing in the market.

The brand design must be unique and special in its own way so that it attracts the customers the very first time they come in contact with the product and it got stuck in their minds forever.

The most crucial step in the process is the implementation of the designed brand. In this stage, your brand is finally rolling-out in front of the public so it is really crucial to select the right channel of communication to advertise your brand so that it comes in the eyes of the target audience. This phase is really tricky as customers can either adapt your product instantly or they will take several months to start building their trust as it all depends on the circumstances in which the product is being launched. The brand managers go through these four steps to establish a successful brand.

Branding during COVID-19

The real question now arises, is this process really going to be effective during this COVID- 19 pandemic?

The whole nation went into lockdown at the end of March and it’s almost the end of 2020 now, still, the situation doesn’t seem to get better anytime soon. Even though the country is witnessing some phases of unlocking, the companies are cautioned about the steps they are taking when it comes to making certain decisions about their products such as pricing during the pandemic, communication with the consumers, advertisement, after-sales services, so on and so forth.

Maintaining the relationship with existing customers is getting difficult and hence some of the organizations are surely facing a slowdown in their business.

If we talk about branding, during COVID-19, branding has become more creative and has tried to maintain the already prevailing trust among the existing customers if not attracting the new ones.

Given the fact that the whole of the nation is experiencing social distancing, the brand manager has to develop a branding strategy in such a way that it won’t hinder the social distancing norms of any of the party as in normal situations, the manager would have had some face to face interactions with the customers, getting to know the needs and wants of the market through the conversation but all this is obviously not feasible in this current scenario. So, in such a situation, the brand manager’s saviour is being played by social media.

Many companies used social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter as the centre of attraction for interacting with their customers so that they won’t lose contact with them. Some of the brands put their creative best foot forward during COVID-19 when it came to engaging their customers and guiding them about the dos and don’ts during this pandemic.

For instance, Nike came up with a campaign “Play for the World” asking people not to go outside rather, stay fit by playing inside.

Another such brand is Facebook which launched a lot of advertisements showing how the general public helped the street vendors to make some money during lockdown festivals under “More Together” campaign.

The companies used a very smart way to attract the customers by not really advertising their product but by spreading awareness in such a way that when people will see the advertisement, they automatically got inclined towards the brand. Apart from spreading awareness, companies used social media to educate the customers about the changes in the operations, how the things are going to be done from now on and the mode through which the services are going to be provided to them.

If we talk about the food giant, McDonald’s, they advertised very effectively by showing the customers all the preventive measures they are taking while preparing the food. It really helped them to maintain trust among its customers and didn’t face much of the hardships when the food joints reopened as people started coming and consuming the food items without any tension.

Another thing that the brand manager has to ensure is that communication should be empathetic. The customers are already frustrated by being in their homes for months and if the brands will start getting anxious, it is only going to irritate the customers. So, every action that the company is planning to take, should be to help the customers during these tough times. The brand must show that it truly cares about its customers and that how much they value them.

The COVID – 19 pandemic had put many things on halt but the things that didn’t stop for a moment includes the company’s constant efforts to provides its customers with all the necessities and comforts that they require.

Many of the superstores such as Big Bazaar, More, Easy Day who didn’t have the home delivery service before, started it during the lockdown so that the customers don’t have to go outside their homes to get the basic items.

Conclusion

The companies have been able to efficiently create an impact for themselves during this COVID-19 pandemic era by going beyond limits in terms of digitization and the high chances are that it’s going to increase manifold once this coronavirus situation will be over. This has given rise to many technological advancements in India and the companies are focusing more and more on using social media and digitization in their favour.

But the companies have to be very careful while using such platforms as one wrong step can prove to be detrimental for the company as it takes years to build trust but a minute to lose it. The company should not in any case provide customers with fake information of any kind and should not sound opportunistic. Their primary purpose must be to educate their customers and hence make them aware. The company should focus on creating brand value but not on the cost of harming their reputation.


About the author:

Anamika Malik is an MBA student from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon. She is the second prize winner of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- IMarketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

Adapting Marketing To Consumer Perception

In July 2020, Hindustan Unilever renamed its ‘Fair and Lovely’ fairness cream as ‘Glow and Lovely’ in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Many people felt that ‘Fair and Lovely’ promoted negative stereotypes about darker skin tones and was idealizing the idea of ‘fair’ skin. As a result, it was renamed as such to enhance inclusivity and diversity in beauty. But here, one main thing is to be considered.

Fair & Lovely name change to Glow and Lovely


How did Fair and Lovely work for so long?

The advertisements of many companies about these cosmetics have mostly been inherently racist. And it’s not that we, the customers, didn’t know that. HUL earns about ₹ 4100 crores in annual sales from Fair and Lovely. Think about that. We have been giving such a massive amount of money to a company that puts out advertisements saying dark skin is bad, even if it is implicit.

But Why?

Dr Anthony Greenwald, a renowned social psychologist, invented a test called the
Implicit Association Test (IAT).

The IAT measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g., black people, gay people) and evaluations (e.g., good, bad) or between the concepts and stereotypes (e.g., athletic, clumsy).

For example, in the Harvard Race IAT, the test will look something like this:

Implicit Association Test (IAT) example

The central part will consist of black/white faces or good/bad adjectives and, accordingly, we will have to press the ‘E’ or ‘I’ key on the keyboard. For the second picture, in the next round, the first column will be “Good or Black people” and the second column will be “Bad or White people”. The same procedure, i.e., pressing ‘E’ or ‘I’ according to the thing shown on the central part has to be followed.

For a more detailed explanation, please visit www.implicit.harvard.edu.

The main concept is this: When two closely related items are in the same column, making a selection is easier; therefore, we press the key faster. This works vice versa when the two items are not closely related, so we take a longer time to press the key. The IAT measures people’s implicit attitudes and beliefs, although they may be unwilling or unable to report these attitudes.

The results of this test are very interesting. More than 80 per cent of all the people who have taken the test are shown to be having pro-white associations, meaning they take a long time when they are required to pair the good adjectives with the ‘Black’ category then when they have to pair the bad adjectives with the ‘Black’ category.

What are the implications of this? Are the majority of the people in the world racist?

Actually, no. What this shows is that, although consciously we may believe that we treat all people as equal, unconsciously, through our experiences in life and the behaviour of the world around us, we tend to somewhat have an implicit bias regarding race, thereby associating positive things more with white people than black people, and vice versa for negative things.

Now, this gives a very good explanation as to why HUL’s Fair and Lovely advertisements were being believed, and Fair and Lovely’s sales were booming till now. People have been implicitly supporting Fair and Lovely’s indirect racism without themselves knowing it.

HUL, irrespective of whether it knew about the IAT or not, successfully used the principles of the Race IAT to market Fair and Lovely to the consumers, earning crores of rupees in the process. I will come to the ethics part of this later in this article, but marketing the product using the consumers’ subconscious behaviour is a really impressive feat, given that predicting human behaviour is pretty unpredictable.

Louis Cheskin, a famous psychologist and a pioneer in marketing, observed that customers’ perception of products was influenced a lot by the aesthetic design of the
products. He coined a term for this called “Sensation Transference”. It refers to the unconscious assessment that people make about a product based on how the product looks, and not about the actual item itself. When we fall for stuff that comes in meretricious boxes, or when we buy expensive products with cool packaging designs, these are all examples of sensation transference at work. For example, in one study, using the soft drink 7Up, Cheskin varied the colour of the can of 7Up and tested consumers’ reactions for each variation. Cheskin found that when 15% more yellow colour was added to the green on the package, people reported that the taste had a lot more lemon flavour!

Sensation transference example

In the past, with regard to dairy products, butter was preferred to margarine by many consumers. But by conducting many experiments, Cheskin found that by colouring the white margarine with yellow and packaging it in foil, people couldn’t discern that much difference in taste. Also, the foil packaging resulted in consumers perceiving it as higher quality. Thereby sales of margarine increased a lot due to these changes!

Astonishing, isn’t it? The effect that colour and packaging design has on consumers’ perception while buying or using the product. This reveals that consumers buy for the product experience, i.e., the product and the looks combined, and also that both the product as well as the product design influence the consumer. Of course, this may be clear intuitively to us, but what matters here is the way it influenced the consumer into thinking something by engaging his or her subconscious thoughts.

Coming to the present scenario, the digital marketing space has grown leaps and bounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a huge trend of data-driven analytics focussed on optimizing digital marketing by engaging customers to the highest level possible. The problem with this approach is that bombardment and ubiquity of ads in the digital space do not equal higher sales. What I see, as a consumer, is nothing but heavily cluttered digital channels, information being thrown at me in every direction, so basically, engagement or stimulation overload is occurring a lot, so in the end, I get irritated due to this and don’t buy anything.

Maybe it is time we see the consumer aspect of digital marketing and adopt a holistic approach towards digital marketing, where instead of cluttered, poorly executed efforts, a memorable digital experience is offered to the consumer. Drawing from the previous studies, the key here would be to find the emotional need, i.e, the marketer should be able to connect with the consumer. The customer, when seeing the product, should be able to identify a positive experience or association with it.

For example, why are pickles sold in glass containers? In the past, glass containers weren’t used. But then it was found that when people saw the pickles in glass containers, they had a subconscious reaction along the lines of, “Oh, my grandmother used to make pickles like these and store them in glass bottles on the shelf”, and then they would buy it. The feeling of reminiscence here acted as a strong catalyst for the consumers to buy the product.

So the ability of the digital advertisement to connect with the consumer and to evoke a positive emotional feeling in the consumer, which in turn will subconsciously drive his behaviour towards buying the product is key to the success of digital marketing.

A great example of this is how the OnePlus Nord was marketed. OnePlus gave its loyal group of followers a four-part, behind-the-scenes look at how it pieced together the OnePlus Nord. Also, Nord’s page on Amazon had a beautiful design. It had a catalogue and a fixture that divulged Nord’s features one by one. The AR (Augmented Reality) launch was the cherry on the cake. The launch was something new, exciting, and dazzling, one which was offered at a very nominal rate. All these things made OnePlus Nord a marketing masterpiece.

Coming to the ethics part, is subconscious marketing manipulative?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
My stance would be this: As long as it doesn’t have an adverse effect on the consumer and the manipulation is within some sort of limit, it would be fine. You might ask me, how would you define the limit? Or for that matter, what would be classified as adverse? There is no fixed answer for the ethics issue, and the debate shall go on. I would only say that both the marketers and the consumers need to be aware and ensure that they are making responsible decisions.

Consumer manipulation

I will conclude with an interesting experiment.
Dear reader, what is your favourite chocolate? Or your favourite dessert?
Answer any one of them according to your wish. So now, why is that this particular item is your favourite? Because it tastes good? Or any other generic answer, it’s fine. Now if I were to ask you since it is your favourite and you like it so much, tell me why do you like it, by specifically explaining its appearance (colour, intensity, shine, etc.), texture (firmness, denseness, etc.), aromatics or flavour (minty, fruity, sweet, etc.), and chemical-feeling factors (astringent, cooling, etc.)? Would you be able to? Think about this.
There is a very valuable insight that can be gained from this experiment, which explains how consumers make their choices and whether these choices are based on rational analysis or intuition. Ponder deeply, and I assure you, the answer will immensely help in doing marketing better.

REFERENCES:

  1. Blink, The Power of Thinking without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. www.implicit.harvard.edu
  3. nvision-that.com
  4. cxl.com
  5. www.campaignindia.in

About the author:

S Suudharshan Vaidhya is an MBA student from IIM Indore.
He is the winner of Optimization – an article writing competition organised jointly by Mercur- I, Marketing club of IIM Indore and Marketing Lake.

58 Digital Marketing Certifications that can get you shortlisted

When it comes to digital marketing, it is necessary to keep learning new skills, and this is the reason there are so many digital marketing certifications out there.

In this fast-growing world, digital marketing trends keep on changing, and this is why digital agencies and companies now look for candidates who are up to date with the latest trends, tactics, and skills.

To step your foot into the digital marketing world, you need to have relevant skills on your resume, and this is where digital marketing certifications come in the picture. 

Digital marketing certifications strengthens the profile and increase the chance to get hired in reputable organizations.

As we mentioned above, there are so many certifications available on the internet that it makes it very difficult to choose which one is the best for you.

But don’t worry, we got your back.

Digital marketing certification

Here is a list of 58 best digital marketing certifications that will sharpen your skills:

Google AdWords Certification

To start your digital marketing career, you need to become familiar with Google tools.

Advertising on Google helps you in generating quicker ROI for your business, and this why a Google Ad campaign can make or break a marketing plan.

The Google AdWord Certification is a professional certificate for people who want to demonstrate their knowledge of Google AdWords. The validity of the certificate is for one year.

To pass the program and become Google AdwWord Certified, you are tested on your basic and advanced knowledge of Google Ads.

Your concepts on online advertising, campaign setup, execution, management, measurement, and optimization should be clear.

You need to score above 80% to pass the Google Ads fundamental exam.

To Get Started: Create an account on a Google Analytics Academy.

Google AdWords Certification

Cost: Free

HootSuite Social Marketing Certification

Nowadays, employers are seeking candidates that are willing to continuously learn about the growing platform and committed to staying a step ahead.

Hootsuite is a popular social media management platform that also offers courses and certifications for people who want to grow and improve their skills.

Hootsuite offers courses and certifications ranging from intermediary level to advanced level as per the need and requirement of the candidate.

Their Social Media training courses, in particular, helps you to test your ability as a social media marketer as well as your knowledge of social media marketing.

To earn the social media marketing certification, candidates need to pass an online exam that consists of 60 questions.

To Get Started: Visit Hootsuite Academy

HootSuite Social Marketing Certification

Cost: There are various certifications available. some of them are listed below-

Google Analytics IQ Certification

Google Analytics is one of the tools that marketers use to measure the growth of website traffic, and learning about it is an essential part of digital marketing.

This is one of the digital marketing certifications that has become very crucial in today’s era considering the amount of data organisations process on a daily basis.

Google Analytics Certification helps you to become more proficient in utilizing google analytics at your work. To attain the certification, the candidate has to pass the final assessment that contains 60 questions. If you fail the exam, you can re-take it in seven days.

To prepare for the exam, set up an academy for Ads account and go through Google Analytics for Beginners and Advanced Google Analytics courses.

To Get Started: Create a Google Analytics Academy profile.

Google Analytics IQ Certification

Cost: Free

HubSpot Content Marketing Certification

In the digital world, everything revolves around the content. If your content is good, your product will be a superhit.

 After all, it is rightly said, “Content Is King.”

Today recruiters look for candidates who have good communications and writing skills. Therefore, it is a good idea to add HubSpot content Marketing Certification to your resume.

The HubSpot Content Marketing Certification covers 12 separate categories that make the program perfect for aspiring content marketers who want to sharpen their skills.

To Get Started: Visit HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Course

HubSpot Content Marketing Certification

Cost: Free

Facebook BluePrint Certification

Facebook has 2.5 Billion users, which makes Facebook advertising an effective way for your organization to reach a maximum audience.

Almost every business uses Facebook to scale up their online presence and services.

You can earn a reputable designation in leading digital organizations by enrolling in BluePrint Certification by Facebook.

The program offers nine certifications:

To Get Started: Visit Facebook BluePrint Certification

Facebook BluePrint Certification

Cost: $150 for each exam (may differ based on your country)

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

Another one from folks over at HubSpot is Inbound Marketing Certification. This is one of the digital marketing certifications that cover methods on how to draw visitors and retain them in the long run.

The certification helps in providing insights on how to increase web traffic, boost brand value over the internet, and provide exceptional services as an online customer service representative.

The certification contains 11 classes that cover lessons on content creation, social promotion, converting and nurturing leads, and much more.

To Get Started: Go to HubSpot Academy and visit HubSpot inbound certification course page.

Cost: Free

YouTube Certification

Youtube is the largest search engine in the world after Google. To get certified from a platform like that is a big deal.

Hundred hours of video are uploaded every minute on youtube, and it processes more than 3 billion searches a month.

80% of marketers prefer visual assets in their social media marketing because videos have become a preferred content medium. Therefore it is crucial to have a well-defined video content strategy.

The Certified Program is committed to educating all creators and users on the platform, and the certification is valid for one and a half years (18 months) from the date you pass your certification.

To Get Started: Visit YouTube

Cost: Free

LinkedIn Learning- Content Marketing Course

LinkedIn Learning offers various courses, but their content marketing foundation certification is one of the best you can find.

This course is mainly suited for beginners in content marketing.

If you have zero knowledge about content marketing, this is the course you should be looking for.

It covers the following topics-

  • Defining Content Marketing
  • Creating a Foundation for Content Marketing
  • Creating Your Content Plan
  • Creating Your Content
  • Promoting Your Content
  • Measuring Your Content

To Get Started: Visit LinkedIn Content Marketing Course.

LinkedIn Learning- Content Marketing Course

Cost: Free

Udemy

Udemy is one of the biggest online learning platforms that provide courses of subjects covering all areas of marketing from Email Marketing to SEO to Google Ads.

Udemy offers a complete course of digital marketing that consists of 12 courses.

Topics-

  • Market Research
  • WordPress Setup
  • SEO
  • SEO Writing
  • YouTube Marketing
  • Google Ads
  • LinkedIn Marketing
  • App Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Facebook Ads

The complete digital marketing course helps you to learn all about digital marketing. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge to start this course.

You can find various courses on Udemy, choose as per your requirement and need.

To Get Started: Visit Udemy.

Udemy

Cost: $199

SEMrush Academy

The SEMrush Academy offers courses on both basic and advanced levels.

Their main focus is on courses on how to run SEMrush, but they also have courses that cover general concepts like SEO fundamentals, PPC fundamentals, technical SEO, and social media marketing.

Some of the courses covered by them are-

  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • PPC
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing

The courses are also available in Spanish and are taught by professionals.

This course will help in running successful digital marketing campaigns.

To Get Started: Visit SEMrush Academy

SEMrush Academy

Cost: Free

Simplilearn Digital Marketing Specialist

The digital marketing course offered by Simplilearn offers walkthroughs of more than 40 digital marketing tools this will help you to get a good idea about which tool to use for your digital marketing campaign.

It provides a beginners course which includes the following topic-

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Pay-Per-Click (Facebook and Google Ads)
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Web Analytics
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing and Mobile Marketing

This course also prepares you to get certified for Google Ads, Facebook, Google Analytics, and Youtube.

To Get Started: Visit Simplilearn

Simplilearn Digital Marketing Specialist

Cost: $1499

ClickMinded- Email Marketing Course

ClickMinded Email Marketing Course is said to be taken by industry experts who maintain email marketing strategies for big companies.

The course is taught by Lucas Chevillard who is an email strategist for Airbnb.

The course is designed for both intermediate and expert learners and includes both high-level strategies and specific tactical walkthrough.

This course will definitely help you to grow in your career and get you a promotion.

To Get  Started: Visit ClickMinded

ClickMinded

Cost: $497

Skillshare – Affiliate Marketing Course

Skillshare offers various courses, but their Affiliate Marketing course is one of the best certifications out there.

If you are determined to get your first sale through affiliate marketing, this is the best course for you.

The affiliate marketing course provides over 50 classes and is available in three difficulty levels- beginner, intermediate, and advanced. They teach you tried and tested strategies through the course so that you can have an edge over others.

The platform provides you plenty of assignments to practice the concepts taught in the class.

This course will give a lot of practical knowledge because it uses examples from the real world, and you’ll be able to apply them to your work.

To Get Started: Visit Skillshare Affiliate Marketing Course

Skillshare- Affiliate Marketing Course

Cost: Free

Adobe – Email Marketing Course

Everybody knows about Adobe, it is an American multinational computer software company. You may also have used many of its software.

Adobe with its solution partner program offers digital marketing certifications for various subjects and categories which helps you to solve the most critical problems with the right skills.

Adobe offers these courses through both, on-demand digital classroom and instructor-led sessions.

Certifications:

Email Marketing

Adobe Analytics

Adobe Campaign

Adobe Advertising Cloud

To Get Started: Visit Adobe Digital Learning Services and sign up

Adobe Certifications

Cost: $65

Microsoft – Advertising Certification

As you, all know Microsoft is an American Technology Company, but to your surprise, Microsoft also provides online courses and offers digital certifications.

Imagine how much it would help you in your career to be Microsoft Certified. The brand will reflect a lot in your resume and will help you in having an edge over other candidates.

Microsoft provides an Advertising certification that helps you drive your business forward as a Microsoft Certified professional.

You just have to take the free course and prepare for the exam. After the completion of the course, you have to appear for the exam.

To pass the exam you need to score more than 80% marks

To Get Started: Visit Microsoft Ads Training

Microsoft Certification

Cost: Free

Google– Content Marketing Course

Google offers a content marketing course by the name “Promote a business with content”.

With the help of this course, you will learn how to promote your business by using content as your power.

The course is for beginners i.e it is for people who do not have any knowledge regarding content writing and marketing.

 The course consists of 4 modules with features like video tutorials, easy to implement tips, end of topic assessments, and unlimited access.

Modules Include:

  • Get noticed with social media
  • Deep dive into social media
  • Make the most of video
  • Get started with Content Marketing

To Get Started: Sign up to Promote a business with content marketing course.

Cost: Free

LinkedIn Learning Affiliate Marketing Course

If you have any online property such as a website, blog, etc you can earn through affiliate marketing.

LinkedIn learning through its affiliate marketing foundation course helps you to explore the basic principles of this powerful technique, explaining how to create a successful affiliate marketing business.

The course consists of 4 modules and it covers the skill of market strategy and affiliate marketing.

Modules Include:

  • The basic of affiliate marketing
  • Brand building as an affiliate marketer
  • Applying for affiliate programs
  • Building your affiliate marketing strategy

To Get Started: Sign up for Affiliate Marketing Foundation Course

Cost: $20

WordStream – PPC Course

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a complicated topic. Therefore there is a need for a proper and organized framework of PPC courses to teach you the basic and advance PPC strategies.

Thus, WordStream came up with PPC University Course.

PPC University is a free PPC Marketing course to help you learn PPC.

The PPC U training course gets divided into 3 PPC courses:

  • Beginners- PPC 101
  • intermediaries- PPC 102
  • Advance- Advanced PPC

PPC University also includes a PPC course module on social advertising that will teach you about social media marketing, Facebook Ad Campaign optimization, Facebook Ad Creation, and more.

To Get Started: Sign up for PPC University Course

WordStream - PPC Course

Cost: Free

Conclusion

You must be wondering why you should invest your time in these certifications rather than doing an actual job and gaining experience.

A simple answer to this is these courses will help you in finding employment in top companies and give you an edge over other candidates. If you are already employed, these certifications will help you with your promotion.

To help you with your career, we came up with this list of top certifications. Choose according to your needs and excel.

And always keep in mind, Opportunity Will Come to Those Who are Qualified.

. . .

Published by:
Ayush Verma
Ayush Verma is currently a digital marketing intern at Marketing Lake and pursuing his undergraduate degree from Dr D Y Patil Global Business School And Research Centre, Pune. He is highly motivated to improve his skills and grow professionally.

GE McKinsey Matrix- The Ultimate Guide

The GE McKinsey Matrix, also known as the McKinsey Nine Box Matrix: is a strategic tool used for business portfolio analysis that provides a structured way to evaluate business units on the attractiveness of the market involved and the strength of the firm’s position in that market.

The GE matrix was developed in the 1970s by McKinsey and Company consultancy group.

Many people ask the question: “GE matrix consists of how many cells?”

Well, as you know it is known as Mckinsey Nine Box Matrix as it has a nine-cell grid that measures business unit strength against industry attractiveness.

The GE McKinsey Matrix comprises two axes. 

The Y-axis represents the attractiveness of the market, whereas the x-axis represents the competitiveness and competence of the business unit. 

Both the axes get classified into three categories (High, Medium, Low), consequently creating nine cells.

You can learn more about the nine cells by clicking on this link.

Factors Affecting Market Attractiveness:

  • Size of the market
  • Market growth rate
  • Market profitability
  • Level of competition
  • Demand Variability
  • Market segmentation
  • Industry structure

Factors Affecting Competitive Strength:

  • Total market share
  • Production capacity
  • Relative brand strength
  • Management strength
  • Cost structure compared to competitors
  • Level of product differentiation
  • Production flexibility

Why do businesses use GE McKinsey Matrix?

The scarcity of resources is a big problem in the business world. With limited resources but many opportunities for using them, businesses got to choose a way to use their cash best.

It makes it very hard for a business to decide on which products the company should invest in but, after the development of GE McKinsey Matrix, it is no longer a headache.

GE McKinsey Matrix strategies:

The GE McKinsey matrix consists of three main strategies.

  • Grow: In this category, the business units have high market attractiveness and high business unit strength. Therefore, corporates prefer to invest in these business units to generate high returns in the long run.
  • Hold/Selectivity: In this category, the position of business units fall, and their future growth is unclear. Therefore, you hold the business as it is. It happens because there is a high competition that makes it hard for the business to catch up. Thus, in this case, you wait and see whether the business gains importance in the market or not.
  • Harvest/Divest: In this category, the business unit becomes unattractive and weak. Therefore, you sell or liquidate the business. 

How to use the tool:

  •  Determine the industry attractiveness of each business unit

 It includes the following steps:

  1. List down factors
  2. Allocate weights
  3. Provide a rating to the factors
  4. Determine the final score
  • Determine the competitive strength of each business unit

Step 2 is the same as Step 1. Only this time, the competitive strength of a business unit is evaluated.          

  1. Factors list
  2. Weight allocation
  3. Factors rating
  4. Total score calculation
  • Plot the information on the GE McKinsey Matrix

The next step is to position the score of industry attractiveness and competitive strength on the matrix. A circle should represent each business unit, and it should indicate the market size of each business unit as compared to other business units.

  • Analyze the information

The next step is to analyze the information. An organization can adopt three investment strategies for each business unit.

They are:

  1. Grow or Invest areas
  2. Income or Selectivity areas
  3. Harvest or Divest areas
  • Projection of the future potential of each business unit

After the analysis of the matrix, a company can see the current industry attractiveness and competitive strength of each business unit but doesn’t predict the future potential.

To have a projection of the future, the company should consult with industry analysts to determine whether the industry attractiveness will grow, stay the same, or decrease in the future.

  • Prioritize investments

The last step is to decide where to invest the companies money.

GE McKinsey Matrix makes this step easier by evaluating the business units and identifying the best ones to invest.

A practical example of GE McKinsey Matrix

Divest or Harvest Strategy by Microsoft in Zune mp3 player-

In 2006, Microsoft launched its mp3 player named Zune. It gained a lot of attention, and Microsoft made a lot of profit through it. But a year later, Apple launched the iPhone, and mp3 players started escaping from the market. It resulted in a massive decline in the demand for mp3 players like Zune.

To get rid of the loss caused by this, Microsoft discontinued its mp3 player brand Zune in 2008.

Conclusion

Many businesses have various strategic business units (SBUs), all competing for investment. Therefore it makes it very hard for an organization to decide where to invest its limited resources. 

The GE Mckinsey Matrix model is useful for analyzing your business units against multiple factors and provides a structured means to helps organizations understand where to make investments.

The model helps in determining the current situation of the business, as well as future positions of the business.

Thus this information is used as an input for making investment decisions.

You can also check our article on Millennial Marketing by clicking on this link.

. . .

Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma is currently a digital marketing intern at Marketing Lake and pursuing his undergraduate degree from Dr D Y Patil Global Business School And Research Centre, Pune. He is highly motivated to improve his skills and grow professionally.

3 unique ways to nail your Creative Packaging game!

Creative packaging idea

A product with a creative packaging is enough to grab the attention of a customer.

Yes, we get it. The quality of the product matters the most.

But as you all know, there are a lot of different brands making similar products.

So, have you ever realized what makes a product different?

You guessed it right.

Packaging

You might have heard of the saying,  “First Impression Is The Last Impression.”

The same is the case with packaging.

The packaging will be every customer’s first impression of your product. It is what compels a customer to buy a product.

Creative packaging works as a marketing tool as it tells the story of the brand to its customers and also as a silent salesperson.

It also creates brand recognition. If a product has a unique packaging cover, consumers always recognize it.

Now, think of different ways of creative product packaging.

Difficult Task?

No worries, we got you covered.

Here are some creative packaging tips to keep in mind:-

  • Sustainable Approach

With pollution emerging as a top threat to the ecosystem, you would not want to use non-biodegradable and non-recyclable materials and pollute the environment.

According to a study, by 2025, there could be 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish in the ocean.

When you use sustainable material for the packaging of your product, it gives a positive message about your brand to the consumers.

After all, consumers want to feel good about their purchases.

Replace plastic material with the paper.

The world recycles over 90% of paper, whereas only 30% of plastic.

A great example of this is Amazon.

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is making maximum use of paper packaging for carrying out its shipment process.

Through its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative, the company is trying to use the materials that are 100% recyclable.

Frustration free creative packaging comparison pic
Frustration free packaging

This type of packaging also eliminates the need for an additional shipping box.

  • Adding Functionality into the Design.

Customers like packaging that’s functional.

The main reason behind it is that it adds value to the product.

Mcdonald’s, the American fast-food giant’s transports packaging in over 100 countries and uses paper over plastic.

In 2015, Mcdonald’s thought of a creative paper packaging design and launched a bag-tray packaging, which could turn into a tray.

McDonald's creative packaging
Mcdonald’s creative packing

Creative paper packaging, isn’t it?

These innovative and creative ideas help a brand to stand out and have a competitive age over its competitors.

The bag-tray packaging is a prime example of how to integrate some functionality into your packaging design.

  • Personalized Packaging

Personalized packaging makes it convenient for customers to purchase because the packaging reflects the values represented by the brand and the product.

In the age of the digital world, personalized marketing is an essential element for marketing since it draws a lot of attention to the product and the brand.

The best example one could get about personalized packaging is Coca-Cola.

Coca-cola personalised bottles
Coca-cola personalised bottles

What started with Coca-Cola is now an industry trend.

There is not a single human being on planet earth who has not heard of Coca-Cola.

I know it’s a little exaggerated

But given the fact that it is the most recognized word in the world after ok, it has to be the best brand.

What if I say you can have your name written on the package of their product?

You would go insane.

But this is what they did with their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

The campaign gained a lot of attention, and the consumers began seeking out coke bottles and cans with their names on them.

As a result, sales of the company started increasing by 0.4% year-over-year.

You can also check Tsutsumi: the best Japanese art of packaging here.

Conclusion

If you are running a business, creativity is the answer to all your problems.

Likewise, creative packaging solutions can have a positive effect on a product’s and business’s marketing campaign and can also cut the shipping cost.

The most important thing is to keep your brand’s true identity and values in mind while making a creative package.

Then comes the selection of the material of the package.

Materials like chlorinated plastics pollute the environment.

Therefore, always use eco-friendly materials for the packaging of your product, materials that can be recycled.

After all, the Earth is what we have in common.

. . .

vicky pic

Vicky Kumar Sen
Vicky Kumar Sen is currently a senior digital marketing intern at Marketing Lake and pursuing PGDM from Dr D Y Patil B-School, Pune. He is very enthusiastic to become a professional digital marketer.

ayush pic

Ayush Verma
Ayush Verma is currently a digital marketing intern at Marketing Lake and pursuing his undergraduate degree from Dr D Y Patil Global Business School And Research Centre, Pune. He is highly motivated to improve his skills and grow professionally.