Category Archives: marketing concepts

Read on for our opinionated views on basic marketing concepts.

Monday Marketing Mashup: All About Google Hummingbird and SEO

Are you still wondering why everyone is talking about Hummingbird suddenly? Read on and these links will answer all your questions.

What is Hummingbird?

Google Hummingbird and SEOHummingbird is the name of Google’s new search algorithm. Google claims it will provide better search results. Hummingbird is one of the biggest updates ever to how Google interprets user’s search queries and how it evaluates indexed webpages for a better match. Search Engine Land has a nice FAQ post that will give you more details. If you prefer a more visual approach, try this infographic.

Why is this important?

Wired has a good explanation on the impact and importance of Hummingbird, and to give you a glimpse:

“The biggest improvements involve longer search queries. Rather than just examining each individual word in a search, Google is now examining the searcher’s query as a whole and processing the meaning behind it.”

What will be the impact of Hummingbird on my site’s SEO?

Exact details are yet unclear and Google likes to keep people guessing when it comes to search algorithams. But Don Dodds has given a good summary of what is known as of now.

“Site owners that rely on the provision of high-quality content, that steer clear of black hat techniques, and that look to build multiple traffic streams using a universal marketing approach are those that will enjoy better long term results.”

Not much has really changed if you are a small business and are relying on good content, social referrals and customer feedback. HubSpot summarizes important factors nicely in their post.

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Is Marketing for B2B Different from B2C?

Not much. Your marketing should be dictated by the preferences of your target customer segment anyway, and there is often less difference between marketing to small businesses and marketing to consumers than there is between marketing to small businesses and marketing to large businesses.

Is marketing less important for B2B?

One presumed difference between B2B and B2C is that B2B is driven more by sales and references, and B2C by advertising and marketing. But that difference is due more to the value of the product and the length of the sales cycle than to any inherent differences in marketing practice. For high-value products (like a large IT consulting contract), you have to hand-hold the customer through the process and (gently) nudging them towards the sale. Because a big amount of revenue hinges on every deal, there is a lot more resources spent on having each deal come through than it would if you were selling a SaaS product or an iPad app (even if they’re also business products).

But the differing value of products matters in B2C as well: if you’re selling apartments, reputation and word-of-mouth are critical: and you’d expect to have to nurture the customer and nudge her towards the sale.

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How to Pick Your Target Customer Segment

Over on Search Engine People, I explain how to pick a target customer segment that’s right for you. I answer questions like:

  • How do you start with a basic customer profile?
  • How should your target customer segment affect your marketing?
  • How do you learn enough about your audience to target your marketing better?

This post was inspired by several questions at recent workshops I’ve conducted, and I know this is a common challenge that all businesses have to deal with.

Read the post here, and tell me how you like it!

Presentation: Interpreting Marketing Data

On April 20th, we conducted the third and the last session of our marketing workshop for start-ups and small businesses in Pune.

We talked about how to interpret online marketing results and make better business decisions by understanding the impact of various marketing activities on your data. Looking at a single metric like site visits or Facebook likes could lead you to make wrong inferences, which we demonstrated with a small case study.

Here is the presentation from the workshop for those who could not attend.

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Presentation: Measuring Marketing Performance

On Saturday, we conducted the second of a three-session workshop on marketing for small-business owners for members of the Pune Open Coffee Club.

Unmana presenting at Marketing Measurement workshop for entrepreneurs

We talked about setting marketing objectives based on the business challenges you are facing, and how marketing can — and should! — help not only with getting the word out about your business, but nurturing your followers and leads till they become customers, and nurturing customers and encouraging them to stay with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had: and if you were there, thank you for being an active participant! And here’s the presentation.

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Weekend Reads for Better Marketing: All About Websites

The nuts and bolts of your websiteToday, we’re going to talk about your website and SEO and all that fun stuff (that makes you want to pull your hair out if you — like me — aren’t much of a techie). This is going to be rough, so fasten your seatbelts!

First: improve your website. This article has 16 tips you can start with. Is 16 too many? Here are the five things you absolutely should have in your website.

Second: are you using meta tags correctly? Do you have good descriptive tags for your content, that will help users understand what your site is about (and hopefully, push you higher up search results as well)?

If you blog, claim your authorship on Google. I don’t hang out much on Google Plus, but this is one reason why you should absolutely be using it if you’re a blogger.

If you need to move your domain, here’s how to go about it. As you know, we moved a month ago from BetterMarketing.in to Markitty.com. In this post on Search Engine People, I explain every step of how we did it with minimal impact to our site or search results.

And lastly, if you’re also using WordPress, avoid these five mistakes.

Presentation: Defining Your Marketing Strategy

On Saturday, Nilesh and I conducted the first of a three-part marketing workshop with Pune Open Coffee Club. The first session was on defining your marketing strategy.

If you missed the session, here’s the presentation.

Want to work on the exercises in the presentation? Get the template here.

Integrated Marketing Lessons from NH7 and Only Much Louder

Music in India has been mostly dominated by mainstream film music (Bollywood!) but in the last few years non-film music has acquired its own space and a lot of credit goes to Only Much Louder and NH7 for that. I’m impressed by how OML has created a powerful brand in NH7 through integrated marketing.

Personally, I am a big fan of NH7 and the NH7 Weekender music festival, so some level of  bias is expected :-). And on the other hand it also speaks to the effectiveness of their marketing and quality of their service and products — that is, music events. Let’s look at the website first.

First things first: The website

NH7-Website-Radio-At-The-Top

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Know Your Audience

This is the most important rule of content marketing marketing. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, how do you know what to say?

Every week, I hear from entrepreneurs who want to know how to reach their audience. Of course, the first question I ask in return is: “Who is your audience?”

You’d be surprised at how many falter while trying to answer this.

You define your target audience through a mix of primary research (asking your customers or friends who might become customers), secondary research (look online for details, especially at research reports — I find census reports particularly useful — and first person accounts such as on blogs and social media posts), and fit with your business (Who do you want to focus on? Whose problems are you solving the best?). Continue reading

An Introduction to Content Marketing

I call myself “the marketer who doesn’t like advertising.” Advertising is intrusive, and no longer necessary. Content marketing existed even before the internet, but the internet makes it easier to do business and make money merely by making it easier for people to find the goods and services they are looking for.

The content marketer has various tools in her arsenal: including social networking, link-building, social media, optimizing content for search engine visibility, and of course, the relatively old-school tools, email and websites. The savvy online marketer today uses these tools for what’s increasingly called inbound marketing: a less disruptive, more organic and arguably more ethical form of marketing.

But what is sometimes overlooked by modern marketers getting distracted by all the shiny new tools is the content itself. While it is true that there is more noise than there ever was and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get one’s message heard, the value of good content hasn’t — and will never — dissipitate.

So really, here’s your basic guide to content marketing: Continue reading

B2B and B2C: Is There a Difference?

I read this blog post about the difference between B2B and B2C.

But think about most B2B purchases. If we’re looking at buying a new rack of servers, or supply chain management software, where’s the fun in that? The only real emotion at play here is the risk of screwing up and being fired. Emotions in B2B purchases are heavily biased towards risk mitigation.

At first glance, this struck me as insightful, but later, I felt it was somewhat short-sighted. If you are an IT manager, wouldn’t buying the right servers make a difference to your job? I’d say you would be interested in the outcome beyond risk mitigation if you think that new rack of servers is going to make your work easier. If I, for instance, am looking at email marketing solutions for my company, I know what results I want from it, and how I expect it to make my work easier. I’m not a purchasing manager, I’m a marketing manager. And I’d go about this (arguably) as diligently as I would if I were buying an AC for my home. Risk mitigation is a factor in either case: I don’t want to buy a faulty AC and waste all that money (and the time I spent shopping for the AC and getting it installed). I don’t want to buy a subscription to an email marketing system that doesn’t work well and then have to explain my decision to my bosses.

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Why Be A Marketer?

It was when I was in b-school that I realized that marketing is the most important function in a business. Finance and human resources are important, but come later, once you have a business and people. Product development and operations seem more fundamental, but think about it: until you think of the customer, of who you’re making the product (or providing the service) for, you haven’t got much of a business. And that, that thinking of the person who’s going to pay you for doing what you do, and thinking of how you are going to get them to buy what you have to sell, how you make the product better so they want to buy it: that’s marketing.

And when you put it that way, it’s what you start doing before you set up a business and hire people; before you start working on that marvelous new software idea you have. It starts when you say, “Oh, this will be a great concept, and this product is going to help people do that.”

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