Saturday, November 10, 2007

How media uses sensationalism for advantage

This week has been an extraordinary week. At NaviSite, the planned data center migration for customers of a recently acquired company named Alabanza got into unanticipated trouble and as a result thousands of end user web-sites came down. One technical issue led to another and despite round the clock efforts, many sites remained dark. Customers and their customers were obviously distressed.

So, while the focus have been on restoring services as soon as possible and be transparent, the media might have other priorities.

It became clear that in their short coverage of the story, the journalist’s mention of single line quotes without mention of the context or reference to the precise question resulted in sensational headlines that created its own line of stories. In the age of the web2.0 when people can easily link to stories and begin commenting through the blogs such sensationalism probably works to the publisher’s advantage. It generates more traffic to publisher sites along with page views and consumer engagement leading to monetization.

So, the challenge for marketers in the era of new media is how to remain focused on the cause of creating customer value while avoiding the unnecessary diversion by a few vocal ones who might have different goals. What’s your strategy?

Will get in to some solutions in my next post. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Core Characteristics of Web 2.0 Companies:

Nice Article from Tim O’Reilly on web 2.0 - must read! Here are the key principles that need discussion:

1. These companies provide services, not packaged software, with cost effective sclability

2. The companies only exert control over unique and hard to create data sources, but enrichment occurs as more people use them

3. Web 2.0 companies trust their users as co-developers

4. Web 2.0 companies harness collective intelligence

5. Thes companies leverage the long tail through customer self-service

6. Software above the level of a single device

7. Offers lightweight user interfaces, development models and business models.

Principle 1: Web 2.0 leverages customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head. Example - Doubleclick vs. Overture and Google

Principle 2: The value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage. Similarly a service automatically gets better the more people use it.
Many examples - Google vs. Netscape, Akamai vs. BizTorrent

Principle 3: Network effects from user contributions are the key to market dominance in the Web 2.0 era.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Value and Wisdom of the Crowd

Some nice entries from Kareem Mayan's Weblog.

1. "The value in media will be in companies that will grow audiences, not in companies that control content" - Vinod Khosla, Sun Founder/Venture Capitalist

2. "The best way to build a business is to help other people make money" - Rick Skrenta, Topix.Net

3. " A lot of our successes don't have anything to do with anything our executives thought were a good idea." - Sergey Brin, Google Founder

4. ""eBay has 150M customers, in the nicest terms, that's 150M people who have learned to trust strangers." Pierre Omidyar

5. ""We thought that anybody who came to a concert had equity. They took part in the creation of the music." - Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead

If web2.0 is about consumer empowerment, each of these need to be thought through carefully and fleshed out. More later.

Friday, January 26, 2007

ecommerce a channel or a segment

How would you position ecommerce in a multi-channel company selling to customers (both b2b and b2c) from their web-site and through one or more of the channels (retail stores, sales teams, telemarketing, resellers etc)? So, far I have known several companies where I found internal conflicts to the extent that it signifcantly hurts the sales, brand and customer satisfaction.

Why does is happen and what to do about it? What is the right way to think about it, and who has done it best? More later.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Few words on me

This blog is for sharing ideas with professionals who deal with interesting problems in marketing, strategy and operations - in traditional and new economy internet businesses. It is not intended to be a marketing page for my accomplishments. But here is some of that anyway so that you know who I am and what makes me qualified to have thought provoking discussions.

I have a proven track record of building on-line businesses within large companies:

· Built direct to customer ecommerce business unit for and led growth to $125 mm
· Launched eCommerce channel for Kinko’s and integrated with stores to reach web sales to $200 mm
· Conceptualized and launched two new on-line marketplace ventures each growing to >50 mm units
· Identified and delivered to clients $200 mm savings through deal negotiations & spend management

I have experience as a business lead, functional lead and a consultant:

· P&L Management experience of $100mm+ business unit
· Functional Lead in Marketing, Strategy, and Operations
· Management consulting and strategic services to a broad clientele

I offer expertise in key areas of strategy, marketing and operations:

· Strategy: Corporate Strategy, Functional Strategies of Markets/Product/Pricing/Channels/Sales
· Marketing: Marketing Mix, On-line/Off-line/Direct Marketing, Web-User Experience, Branding, Promotion
· Internet: e-Commerce, On-line Advertising, Search/Match, Social Networking, eMarketplace, eProcurement

I held several leadership positions in leading companies:

· VP & General Manager, eCommerce Channels, Monster.Com
· Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Standard Register
· Sr. Director, Product Management -eCommerce Integration, Kinko’s
· Strategy Management Consultant, Mitchell Madison Group
· Technology and Hi-Tech Marketing at Honeywell, EMRC

I offer intellectual prowess and advanced academic credentials:

· MBA, UCLA Anderson School of Management
· MS and M.Eng. University of California, Berkeley
· B.Tech, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

...and I am a:

· ‘Big Picture’ visionary yet ‘hands-on’ detail orientation
· Collaborative team player yet highly focused on results
· High energy, self-starter, life loving, ambitious, not intimidated