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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Internet Audience in India can't be ignored

In a Panel discussion under Campaign India at Bombay, leading marketers, media and agency heads discussed the internet as the medium of marketing, when the economic slowdown is squeezing the marketing budgets.

The interesting things to take note were that financial services, travel, and FMCG sectors are already using the digital marketing. The digital marketing has been a great hit with these sectors and they will increase the spend.

The internet medium provides a measurable and action oriented performance and accountability for the marketing investment. It also provides a deeper engagement with the consumers.

Automobile sector is shifting to digital media from the traditional mass media.

The panelists noted that the target specific data is still not available in India and the performance is being captured at the campaign level.

For more details on the panel discussion, please visit URL

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Use Email and Mobile Marketing to increase Customer Loyalty

It is increasingly becoming a necessity to keep customers informed on your business to gain their loyalty for repeat business and recommendations, in the face of current economy. While there are traditional mediums for marketing the business in local newspapers, magazines, billboards, television or radio spots, these mediums are very expensive costing several lakhs of Rupees every month or year.

There are online tools like email and mobile communication mediums that provide cost effective media for marketing campaigns, from limited-time specials, new product or service offerings, coupons, birthday or anniversary offers, seasonal items, newsletters, customer surveys and special or discounted pricing to entice customers to return. It is also a conduit for data collection - the more information a company has about its customer base, the more clearly it will understand its client demographics, purchase behaviors and shopping habits. In turn, the company can utilize the knowledge to market more effectively in the future.

Email and Mobile marketing can provide excellent benefits to business.

1. It Increases customer loyalty: E-mail marketing can grow brand awareness, strengthen customer relationships and encourage trust.

2. It Saves money: E-mail marketing eliminates the costs associated with traditional direct mail—such as printing and postage—and costs significantly less than other forms of traditional advertising.

3. It Improves customer contact: Since e-mail marketing is turn-key, a business owner can send messages and updates to customers more frequently.

4. It Provides trackable results: The number of individuals who open and read the e-mail, and the number of e-mails forwarded, are only a few examples of what statistics can be tracked.

5. It Offers targeted content: Businesses are able to segment their database to provide specific clients with targeted messages based on their tracked results.

6. It Generates action: E-mail promotions and offers generate immediate action, whether through sales, click-throughs, inquiries, registrations, etc.

Some tech-savvy business owners elect to do email or mobile marketing on their own, however, there are many firms that specialize in email and mobile marketing as well. The benefit to outsourcing your campaign is that companies specializing in email and mobile marketing are able to provide superior technology (such as a custom graphic design and detailed tracking results) and better results. Simply stated, if an individual uses their own mail engine or a mobile gateway to deploy an email or mobile campaign, they can encounter problems with deliverability, tracking, creativity and design capability.

With an email or mobile marketing specialty firm, you are assured that:

Your emails and SMS messages are delivered. What is the sense in sending out an email or SMS campaign if it does not reach the end-user? With spam continuing to rise, specialty e-mail marketing firms provide advanced deliverability tools to ensure that an e-mail campaign has high deliverability rates and is less likely to be categorized as spam or junk mail. In addition, e-mail marketing companies have relationships with various mail engines (such as AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, MSN, Comcast, etc.) to help get your message to an inbox. Also your providers works with mobile gateway providers and telecom operators to ensure that the SMS messages are received by the mobile phones.

Your mailing list is segmented. E-mail marketing specialty firms have the ability to segment a list based on the information you provide, whether it’s the date of a client’s last visit, his/her birthday, etc. This function is critical because it allows you to target specific segments of your list, which enhances the likelihood of a return.

* Your e-mails are custom-designed. E-mail marketing firms can design a template that is creative and appeals to the look and feel of your salon. It is important to provide a consistent image to clients.

* Your campaign is automated. Each e-mail provides the end-user with an opportunity to unsubscribe automatically—requiring little to no maintenance for you. Moreover, new clients will be automatically included on the master e-mail list.

* Your e-mails are tracked. E-mail marketing firms provide comprehensive tracking reports, including details such as who is opening the e-mail, what is being clicked, who is unsubscribing, who is subscribing and more. Tracking is critical because it gathers data that will help pinpoint which campaigns and promotions are most effective.

If you do decide to hire a firm to take care of your e-mail marketing needs, be aware that there are two types of companies available—full-service and DIY. A full-service firm handles all aspects of an e-mail campaign from custom design to list management to detailed tracking reports. The DIY model gives you, the salon owner, more control because you are in charge of choosing from among the e-mail template designs provided by the company as well as maintaining your own client lists. Of course, there are benefits to both models and it is suggested that a business owner finds the company that is best suited for his or her specific salon needs.

Aghreni is a full service provider of email and mobile marketing software, solutions and services to Indian business.

Top Ten Mobile Marketing Predictions for 2009

On ZdNet, Mark Brill posted a blog about the future of Mobile Marketing. He predicts top 10 trends in mobile marketing for 2009.

Asian Countries like India and China are leading the world in adoption of mobile phones. The next revolution after internet adoption in the world, is the adoption of cell phones. Emerging economies of India, China, Brazil and Russia provide the biggest opportunities for marketers using mobile as the next medium of targeting consumers.

1. SMS will continue to grow both for alerts and short message marketing.

2. Bluetooth Marketing will grow for proximity marketing in malls or busy shopping areas.

3. More QR (Quick Recognition) of bar codes through cell phones

4. MMS will grow, through the use of rich marketing content through pictures and video advertisements.

5. Mobile couponing and Ticketing will increase

6. Location based services with SMS will take off

7. Mobile internet overtakes PC based internet use, with the availability of faster speeds through 3G services

8. Mobile Payments will take off

9. Mobile security will become an important issue

10. Targeted and Niche Advertising will grow.

Aghreni is a customer centric ROI driven provider of email and mobile marketing software, solutions and services.