Archives For Ideas

In India, we have had our green and white revolutions. We are having our high-tech revolution. They are also trying for a tiger-striped revolution.

I think it is time for India to have a marketing revolution. As I make this statement, I acknowledge that, as a country, we have some great companies, products and services. We are also known for great  creatives and campaigns. But I am not referring to the few who are successful or to a particular function within marketing but to the general attitude towards marketing (and how that can apply to our everyday, sometimes personal, life).

The reasons why I think we need a marketing revolution are plenty and just to list a few:

  • Everybody seems to be doing the tried and tested. Nothing new!
  • Involvement (at different levels) seems to be at an all-time low.
  • Poorly executed marketing strategies (not just flyers, but the whole works sometimes)

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Diwali-Crackers-Store-DisplayOct 17 is going to be a big day in India. The festival of lights, Diwali or Deepavali is going to be celebrated.

(Note: Diwali is not India’s Independence day. Our Independence Day falls on August 15th.)

Diwali is an important festival for the Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. But it is a festival that is celebrated by the entire country. In places like Bombay (Mumbai), where I grew up, everyone joined in. Buildings were lined with diyas (oil-fueled-tiny-clay lamps), children got together to have fun with fireworks, sweets were distributed among friends and relatives. It is generally a fun time and schools and offices had holidays.

But over the years, I have grown weary of the firecrackers. They are the noise-making fireworks. Just a lot of noise. In fact, I remember last year, Chennai sounded like a city at war around Diwali.

The picture above is taken at a store in Chennai and those are fireworks on sale. If you enlarge the image, you will see how creative firework companies get when naming their products. There’s actually a box that is called “Dog Fight” in there. I definitely don’t want to hear how that sounds!

And since these fireworks are burst on the road, they make a mess of the place, with burnt paper and whatever stuff is used to make these pollutants.

austin-4-july-fireworks

July 4th Fireworks Display in Austin, Texas (2008)

To solve this problem (I am not sure how many see it as a problem in India), I would recommend the system I have seen in the US. (Again, I am not sure if this is a prescribed system there..but I think it would work.) A common place where people could gather and watch a stunning fireworks display. The fire power could either be pooled in together and arranged as a major fireworks display (like the 4th of July celebration) or we could have smaller groups spread across the city doing the same thing.

Of course, this would bring questions about pollution and related issues like RSPM (respirable suspended particulate matter). But that is something the government can look into and I hope they do.

Request: If you are going to burst firecrackers this year, the least you can do is clean up the mess you make, the morning after. Thank you.

Can we try make this year’s Diwali a real festival of lights and not noise? What do you think?

For most businesses, the first mindset is ‘how do I make money out of this?’. It is never – ‘What can I provide to the customer?’ ‘What is the value add that the customer gets?’ I am not saying that we should not look at the viability of our business models but in the process of doing this, we often lose focus of the important – the customer.

When we design the UI or create a website or train the customer support team, do we really do it keeping the customer in mind? ‘How is the user going to interact with my website?’ ‘How should my support team interact with my customers?’ If you believe in processes, are those actually helping your customers or are they just helping you track what your employees are doing?

Seth Godin has a post about how retail stores arrange first by brand, then type, then style and then size. It would be so much easier if they would arrange by type first and then by brand or even type and size first and then by brand. It is quite an obvious way of doing it but I have never seen any retail store do it, except for bookstores. It would be a disaster if they had put all the McGrawHill books together and then separated them by topic.

It is so sad to see stores display the sign “Customers are our greatest asset” but don’t have a system in place to take care of that asset.

It can be called “multi search in one”. But it really isn’t. Sputtr.com is a new search website that helps you search across 36 (as of today) different websites and search engines.

Sputtr Search Engine

Simple layout. A text box and a whole lot of buttons underneath. Each button corresponds to a website that you can search. It is quite simple and easy to understand. The last button lets you suggest a website to the Sputtr team to add to their list of sites.

They also have international sites – 7 of them now, including Chinese, Italian, German, Spanish, French and even UK English.

I love the idea. But the issue I am finding now is that I have to keep using the back button in the browser to search with any other search engine and that’s quite a pain. Even the “right click and open in new tab/window” won’t work. It would have been great if they have a “framed” version too. A toolbar with all these options would be a thriller.

But yes, if you like specialised search and don’t always rely on Google for everything, this may make a lot of sense, especially as your browser start page. You have all the options on that page.

Wishing good luck to the Sputtr team!

Have you tried something new recently? In the last six months, I tried the following:

  • learning the guitar
  • design and host a website
  • getting more organised (I started keeping a diary)
  • start a new blog :)

I must admit that I have not been successful in most of the above. But the joy of trying something new is wonderful. And the pleasure of completing it is even better. It keeps me refreshed without having to think of my (official) job all the time!

You should try something new too. Weekends are a wonderful time to do that. It leaves you fresh for the new week ahead. Some of the other things that come to my mind are:

  • read a new book
  • organize your drawer
  • backup the data on your computer
  • learn a new skill or a language

Don’t let the weekend pass you by. Share your ideas here.