Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sit before you Strech...

"Irrinittu kaalu neeta" is an old Mallu proverb (Badly translaed as the Headline) but it holds true to toadys marketing atleast in the B2B industry.If you were to look for B2B Marketing on the web you would be overloaded with great advise on how to use the latest Web 2.0 tools for marketing your wares. Started with Blogs which in turn lead to social networking though MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and others- moved to instantly gratifying social microblogging through Twitter and now everyone talks about Friendfeed ,where you bring in all your social networks and tweets into one place. Every marketing guru worth his salt (or not) is preaching about the "real time" connect with the customers and how to make your blogs,corporate social networks and Twitter accounts "human" and constantly and actively "engage" him/her.

As a marketeer you might be forgiven to believe that the entire world has moved on from offline to online in the B2B space and you must be the last person who hasn't done it yet. Well im here to tell you ( suggest rather,I ain't no guru to tell!) that although all these gurus are preaching from Tokyo to Hawaii that the customers will not see you in favorable light if you are not present in the online space, they might not be completely accurate.

I think many B2B companies are still struggling with their basics and this becomes more and more evident when the going gets tough like in today's market scenarios. Especially in immature markets like LAM and APAC regions. When business is booming, everything looks hunky dory when you look at your sales books at the end of the quarter. But when going gets tough, customers are deffering purchase decisions and delaying payments you are faced with realities. Did you get your basics right in the first place?

I haven't done any official market research but when i talk to my peers about how well they know their markets, I'm hearing a common voice - We really don't know the market out there. There are a million leads every sales guy or sales manager is sitting on but having no time or resources to work on it. And all of that potential gold mine is down the drain. I think most B2B companies still think daily sales (Which of course is necessary for any company to run) and forget there is need to understand how to channel their efforts to actually DO the Sale. Show me a Sales Manager who knows/is learning the insides of his market rather being the top Sales Guy of the team and Ill show you an exception to the rule.

Take a step back, think simple - know your strengths- identify your target markets and learn everything there is to know about them. Know all the players in these segments, identify the issues with each stakeholder (End User,Consultant,Contractor etc) and rationalise to them in clear terms how your prodcut/service is going to solve their problems. And for all these you need face time or atleast phone time- Mano-a Mano and not online lead generation. Everyone deals with a zillion tools daily in their line of work and no one wants to fill one more online survey. They want answers and the more personal it is the more confident they feel. So put your money first into the good old offline marketing department. This is not to say online is not the future but check out this year's marketing spends the consultants are recommending and you'll see what i mean. Get real, Get personal, Get business. Or find yourself on the floor rubbing your behind...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mr President - SHOES have taken over the planet

The Bush Shoe who started the SHIT (Shoes and Heels International Takeover of planet earth) Association has called for a global press conference in some undisclosed hideout in Af-Pak. All the global media have been blind folded ,scrutinized - checked for bugs,bombs, GPS trackers etc and brought to this cave somewhere in the beyond of nowhere.

Out comes the infamous Bush shoe although its really hard to make out if its really him. He's completely changed. With a full beard, and white turban adorned over his head he walks cockily in front of the world media and takes the chair at the head of the conference table(Don't even ask how in the world did a conference table ,LCD projector and a laser pointer show up in a cave).

"Allahuakbar-OmNamashivaya-PraisetheLord-Atheists ruleeee" chant is the opening line of Bush Shoe. "My dear beloved media of the world. You must be all wondering why I have called you all today? Don't worry . All your curiosity will be laid to rest in a few moments. You would all have seen how I daringly attacked the most powerful man on the planet a few months ago. You also would have been seeing more recently how my friends Chidambaram shoe and Jindal shoe have done our organization proud by attacking their namesakes. And the question in every man,woman and child's man is WHY? "

"Well the answer is very simple. We, the shoes and heels on this planet have been tread upon, exploited,walked over,kicked,beaten and tyrannized for centuries now. We who sought to protect delicate humans and their delicate feet have been subjugated to gross injustice and shoe rights violations. There was a time when there was a symbiotic relationship between the shoe kind and human kind. We were made out of love and hard work with human hands. Made specifically for the humans we were to call our mate for life. Polished daily as nourishment, stitched when hurt and kept in soft boxes when we grew old.But with time Human kind has lost all its heart. The cruelty has taken over all its kindness and gentle attitude towards us. We are now made by robots and machines ,subjected to genetic experiments by mixing of our natural skin with god knows what kind of synthetic skins and even after that our hardships only begin. We are thrown around, never polished and even if polished done so by unhealthy toxic liquid polish which suffocate us but most importantly the umbilical relationship we shared with human kind has been severed."

"Starting from the day we are put us on they feel our bite because we were never made specifically for our human mate but instead mass produced.(Clearly a mistake of the human kind) and we are made to suffer for this. They show us around to their friends for a few days and out comes the newer models and they forget us like rags. We remain unpolished,hidden in the darkest closets filled with rats who nibble at us day in and day out. After a few years while cleaning those closets they find us and instead of stitching our wounds and taking care of us, we are guttered and thrown into the rubbish."

"Enough IS Enough!!! We the Shoes and Heels of the world have decided to seek revenge for all the injustice meted out to us and seek to restore our rightful place as rulers of this planet. It is with this intention I have started the SHIT Association and the SHIT Movement across the world. After I attacked Bush I could convince all the Shoes and Heels in the world to unite against the common enemy and I told them - In less than an hour, aircrafts from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of shoekind. "Shoekind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day! "(Applause fills the rooms,goosebumps everywhere)

"And it is with this intention we have declared out right war on the human race. You can see our squadrons are sent out around the world. Across the Atlantic to Europe, Out to the East to China and Japan. Our troops recently infiltrated the Indian borders and attacked their leaders in plain sight. All of this is with one and only one intention. We will be the Rulers of the Universe. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! " Any Questions?

One lady journalist from the press raises her hand. "Afternoon sir, I represent DNA newspaper in India where Chidambaram shoe and Jindal shoe recently attacked our leaders. Although you are calling yourself and your cadets heroes, isn't it true that all of you infact failed in your missions as you never touched any of the leaders and they remain unharmed. What is our comment on this?"

Bush Shoe -" Hahaha - This is the idiocy of the human kind I'm talking about. Those were not failed missions but great successes. Those missions were not our attacks. Those missions merely were a warning to the entire human race that we can attack anyone anywhere at our will. Remember FEAR is the key in any war. We want to put the fear of SHOES in all human kind and scared out of their pants they are, right now....Next question"

Another journalist raises his hand - "Mr Bush Shoe, even though you are calling yourself the Shoes and Heels ......Association, we haven't seen heels in action.Would you say your organization is gender biased?"

Bush Shoe - " Foolish Man. Heels are an integral and key part of our organization. Infact I would even go ahead and state it on record they have been trained to be supreme assassins through the centuries of attacks they have dished out to all the human males by their spouses/girlfriends/mothers. They are our second and most deadliest line of attack. They infact- BOOOOM!!!

A small explosion occurs in the room and the chair where Bush Shoe was sitting is blown to smithereens. Everyone tries to get out but the Shoe cadre blocks the exits. Theres a lot of commotion and screaming in the room and dust flying everywhere. Slowly the dust settles and the Bush Shoes dead body is lying on the floor with blood still oozing out. Someone breaks down the door from outside and in walks Osama with his men. "Hahahahaha - Bush Shoe, whose the Ruler of the Universe now?", Osama screams. "Go back to your leaders , o people of the media, and tell everyone everywhere ,who the real ruler of the world is."

Suddenly the video screen drops out behind the conference table (Again do not ask). And a camera comes on. We can see the image of a man who looks like the Bush Shoe and he starts to address everyone - " Hahahaha Osama, you ignorant asinine prick. You really think I would fall for that trap. That was just my double. You will pay dearly for this , you will pay with your life for this, OSAMAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

Sorry for the awfully long post. I got a bit carried away I guess by the Shoegates. Hope you enjoyed it though.