Monday, August 30, 2010

Is social media still an option for businesses?

Today I'n not writing an article as I'll let the video below do the job...

Do you think that Social Media is an option for Businesses today? Well think about the internet, do you think business have an option whether to have a presence there? The same can be said for social media...the number of users there is not small at all, so it might be worth a try.

Have a look at this video and then let me know what you think...

For those who cannot access Youtube, you can access the video from the following free proxy site:-

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is your website customer focused?

Recently I finished working on a couple of website and while analysing the different competitor website before undertaking each and every job, I noticed a stunning fact...some companies still haven't realised that the world does not revolve around them! Some sites are simply egocentric - they are more interested in telling people what they do, who their people are, what achievements they made etc etc, rather then serving their customer needs..i.e. solving customer problems.

The fact is that it is already difficult to attract visitors to your site, and probably when you do manage to attract them the average visitor has an attention span measured in seconds, and he scans the web instead of reading every word. Hence an egocentric website simply turns people off.

A well thought website on the other hand, doesn’t leave a visitor stranded, searching for the customer benefits of the company’s products or services. It is customer driven, provides clear benefit statements and is designed using an outside in perspective. Just think of the reasons your visitors go to your website and your goal should be to help them achieve their goal as effortlessly as possible.

Let's take a fictitious example to illustrate this:

We’re visiting a florist website. Their target market? Flower buyers for special occasions.

The homepage leads off with:

"Since 1975, ABC Florist has delivered flowers to more than 500,000 persons worldwide. What distinguishes us from competition? State-of-the-art technology – including the latest in flower growth and monitoring devices – along with six sigma processes to ensure the highest quality."

How does this sound to you? Where do you, as a customer fit in?

While prospects and customers care a lot about the companies they deal with, they care first and foremost about their own needs. In this instance: “How will ABC Florist help me?”

Here’s another version of the homepage into:

“Whether you are looking for Red, Blue, White or any other color matched flowers, there no need to look further as no other company offers a wider selection, faster delivery or more customer-friendly service than ABC Florist.

Independent surveys show that ABC Florist is the most reliable when it comes to product delivery and we're working to continue improving...

ABC Florists stands for Great selection, Fast delivery, Friendly service...there's no other match.

This time, the homepage speaks to customer and how the company can help them. In this case I still refered to the fact that ABC Florist has the best delivery and the widest variety, but I did so in the terms of the benefits this will bring to the customer...Best selection gives the user more choice and best delivery ensures that the flowers arrive fresh and when the customer needs them.

This is simple identify the customer needs and provide a product or service that meets that need...In this case the website in an extension of the company products and hence must make sure that this too meet customer needs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tesco launches new initiative

In the race to keep its market share, Tesco is constantly trying to find new ways how to increase sales. The the initiative that the retailer unveiled will allow customers to order groceries online then pick them up without having to leave their cars...they just drive through give their name and order number and will be able to pick up the groceries.

The trial is to launch at the Tesco Extra store in Baldock, Hertfordshire, and will be promoted with leaflets distributed in-store and via online deliveries locally. Tesco hopes that this initiative will boost its online shopping, which to date generates sales of about £2.1bn and profits of £136m. This service, if it picks up, will also decrease the delivery costs and increase the potential profits of this service.

Who is expected to use this service mostly? The supermarket expects the service to be used by busy mothers, as well as young professionals who cannot commit to waiting at home for delivery. The need flexibility but at the same time cannot afford the time to shop instore. Customers will be able to order their shopping via, choose the 'click and collect' option and book a two-hour collection slot.

Unfortunately the service is not provided free of charge, which might affect the success of the project. A flat fee of £2 will be added to the bill. However the £2 could still be worth it for time pressed people.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Will people be willing to pay for online access to newspapers?

Does it pay to offer news services online for a charge? This question has been asked by most of the newspapers that offer free content online but very few of them dared to test whether this would work. Surprisingly News International, publisher of the Times decided to take the challenge and start to charge for what it considers a quality newspaper.

Comparative results were recently issued by ComScore and it shows that in May, the free-to-access website attracted 2.79 million unique users in the UK, a slight increase on the level of the previous three months. News International launched its separate and websites on 25 May. It made registration compulsory and began redirecting users from the old site on 15 June and started charging for access to both sites on 2 July.

From figures released by ComScore, the combined number of unique visitors to the two new sites (pay sites) has fallen to 1.61 million in July, from 2.22 million in June, and 2.79 million in May. This had an effect on the average number of minutes each user spent on the site which was 7.6 in May, 5.8 in June and 4 in July. Also page views have dropped from 29 million in May to 20 million in June and 9 million in July.

To try to attract users to their pay sites, News International has run an introductory offer offering subscribers 30 days' access for £1. Its normal pricing is £1 for a day's access to The Times and The Sunday Times and £2 for a week, while subscribers to each newspaper get free access to the related website.

No indications have yet emerged from the company as to how many people have subscribed or how much revenue subscriptions have generated.

Will such strategy be effective? Will have to reduce the cost of advertising due to the drop in visitor figures; and if so, will the revenue generated from subscriptions offset the difference? Few people tend to be willing to pay for what other competitors offer for free especially for something as intangible as online access to a newspaper...will News International rethink its strategy to move back again to a free version?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mining giant BHP makes huge offer for Fertiliser giant

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, the world largest fertilizer producer, on Tuesday has rejected a takeover bid of around $39 billion from BHP Billiton. The bid which is reported to have been made, was for $130 per Potash share, which represents a 20% premium on the share price of last week. The offer is believed to have for cash.

According to the Financial Times, the BHP's offer was rejected on the basis that is was grossly inadequate as it undervalues the company. Potash vowed that it will remain independent as it is believed that it has the right to use a poison pill, that will enable shareholder of the target company (in this case Potash) to acquire additional shares in the company after the takeover for a very discounted price. Such right would make the takeover less attractive as increases the price the acquirer has to pay (or suffers dilution).

Potash refused the bid on the belief that the fertilizer industry is just coming out of the recession and hence it is greatly undervalued. It is believed that PotashCorp shareholders could benefit from the current and potential value of the company as Potash is well geared to take advantage of the upturn. The industry is geared to become more consolidated as the further companies in different countries such as Russia and Canada seek to buy competitors to strengthen their market position.

Today BHP announced that it will take the bid to another level as it said it will take the offer directly to shareholders and hence become hostile...let's see how this huge proposed takeover will eventually end

Peperami will launch first crowed sourced advert

Peperami have launched their crowed sourced advert after they ended their relationship with media agency Lowe which has lasted 15 years. The ad which can be seen below, features Animal, the brand's famous character, who speaks to the viewer about a day spent with his offspring, mini mischievous versions of himself.

The strapline reads "Peperami Nibblers. It's little bits of an animal", referencing the established Peperami strapline "It's a bit of an animal". The ad will first air on ITV1 during 'Coronation Street' on 23 August, with media planned and bought by Mindshare.

The idea for the advert was conceived and scripted by Rowland Davies, an ex-creative director from Munich. Davies entered a competition together with Kevin Baldwin, a copywriter from London, who came up with a press treatment. The team was crowned winner from 1,185 entries to a competition with a $10,000 prize handled by crowdsourcing specialist Idea Bounty.

Peperami managing director, says that Peperami is a brand which is bold enough to experiment with new ideas and advertising techniques in an increasingly consumer-driven world. However this could be a very dangerous idea as sometime entries might be of the level of an ex Munich director and the company might have ended losing time searching for a crowed sourced advert and having still to go back to an agency for the idea development of the advert.

What do you think about this technique?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Android crowned winner

Figures published by Gartner (tech analysts) reveal very ineresting figures. Although the finnish company Nokia has sold more handsets in the second quarter of 2010 then the same period last year, its share of the market has slipped from 51% to 41%.

But you might say, is this possible giventhe hype around the iPhone? Apple's share of the smartphone market increased only by 1.2% points, up to 14.2% for the quarter, which includes the first few days of iPhone 4 sales in the US. In this regard, Apple has claimed that iPhone 4 has been the most successful launch in its history. Gartner's figures show that 8.7 million iPhones sold for the period, but this includes the older iPhone 3G and 3GS, and it forecasts strong sales throughout the second half of the year.

The winner for of this battle was not an individual headset but the Android operating system, which is being used by manufacturers including Samsung and HTC to run smartphones. These have overtaken the number of phones running on Apple's iOS and have increase their market share from 1.8% last year to 17.2% this year.

This success is being attributed to the branding strategy adopted by Anroid and the non-exclusive strategy that enables the system to be used across many communication service providers. This availability to so many device manufacturers, is making the operating system more attractive to use in the latest generation of mobile phones.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Loaded Magazine Launches Energy Drink

British men's magazine Loaded ( is trying a new diversification strategy to try to boost it's revenue streams. After going into affiliate marketing by promoting Paddy Power and PKR amongst others, it has now unveiled its own branded energy shot drink product.

The magazine, owned by major publisher IPC, will launch a stamina shot, which the company claims it could help it's consumers boost their sexual performance. The drink which has been produced by Podium Brands will be available in a 60ml bottle. The company is hoping that Loaded energy drink will tap into a growing trend towards smaller, more functional energy products.

"It has been launched at a time when new research shows that energy drink consumers are making a switch from standard-sized energy drinks to energy shots and are keen to explore functional benefits other than pure energy," the magazine said.

Will IPC succeed in this brand extension? Will it manage to take a share of from existing energy drink power houses such as Coca Cola and Red Bull? Given that the Loaded readership has been decreasing year on year, the prospects are not so good as their readily available market is shrinking...they must invest in capturing new markets, but will people like to been seen with a loaded energy drink and associated with the magazine...let's wait and see