Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

« September 2012 | Main | November 2012 »

October 24, 2012

How to Sell Your Boss on Social Media


On the train from Boston to New York, my siesta was interrupted by a passenger's boisterous dialogue set on mobile phone speaker. "It will increase revenue -NO!", "our brand visibility will go up--NO! ", and "our competition is doing it--No!" Doesn't this sound so familiar? In my previous blog, "Why businesses are afraid of social media?" I described several reasons behind such resistance. Here are a few suggestions on how to get them on board with social media:

Study your boss
Understand your boss's demographic, behavior patterns, approach-- vision and mission for the business. Is your boss a marketing or sales person? Operations? Finance? If your boss has a sales and marketing background, emphasize how social media is playing an impetrative role in marketing research to reveal hidden consumer preferences and unmet needs. Describe how markets can track and act on emerging consumer trends in real-time. If your boss came from a finance background, demonstrate how social media is saving money while delivering value in customer service or product marketing or communicating with customers.

Make the connection
Understand your boss's goal for the business then illustrate how social media will help to achieve them. Sketch out a well-defined and structured pitch. Set a time and agenda on his calendar. Align your pitch with your boss's organizational goals-- whether they're cost reduction, sales growth, market expansion etc. Always match their language to your message-- be it Facebook strategy or launching an online community forum or real time customer support on twitter.

Articulate the benefits not features
Don't sell the features of social media, explain the benefits and return on investments. Demonstrate how a marketing campaign's success can be measured by number of followers, fans, shares, likes, and / or additional increased website visitors it generates.
In short, relate these to increased sales and leads and revenue 

Apply Pareto's Principle -the 80/20 Rule
Talk only 20% of the time and have your BOSS talk 80% of the time. How do you do this? Simple, ask questions about current challenges. Does your boss wants to enhance customer service operations? Where does the boss see the business in three years? How does the boss see the plan ongoing about the change?  Through this, you will learn more about your boss's key focus areas and also optimize the engagement and buy-in.

Ask. Believe. Receive.
At the end; don't be afraid to ask-- "what's the next course of action?" If you feel that your boss will not approve based on a single meeting, don' shy away.  Suggest the next step: provide options to choose between action and further study. For example, you might say, "We could study this more, maybe involve our agency/team members in the discussion, or we could test a few ideas what's your preference?"

If your boss is still reluctant to jump on the social media bandwagon, give him/her some time. Compile your facts. Forward them my blogs posts. Show them some success stories from your industry and soon your boss will see why developing a social media presence is a good business strategy. I would love to hear your experiences. Please, let me know what has worked for you.

October 18, 2012

How Do I Expect My Newspaper to Ensure My Loyalty?


"We missed you..." read the SMS I received from my bank. No, they did not miss me at the branch where I maintain my account, but on their online channel. "Wow! Here is someone who values my loyalty. I wonder if the folks in media are equally sensitive about the loyalty of their consumers?"

Each time I consume traditional media, I leave marks behind, but I don't always get a "miss you" message from the owners.  Then again, why would I hold terrestrial radio, television channel or newspapers responsible?  I don't login to them... How would they even know that I was there given the absence of a LOGIN?

The point is they do know I was there, because even without a login, I do leave marks behind.

For example, my newspaper gets delivered to my doorstep every morning. Instead of a paper copy, I can also browse its online version without ever logging in to the site. How will the publisher know that I have been consuming their content?

The answer is not as complex as it might appear. There is still a way for them to figure out I was there. The newspaper carries a weekly business quiz. Readers can submit entries by registering their responses online, provide their name/address/phone/e-mail, click the submit button, and voila they have left their mark!

Although I am one of potentially thousands of others who have periodically interacted with the publication over time, it's safe to say that none of us have been ever "missed" by the publisher. At the same time, one can argue why it matters as long as the readership surveys corroborate a healthy readership.

Yes, I agree, I do not expect the owner/editor, to interact with every reader one-on-one simply because we participate in a weekly quiz!

But, what if I have moved out of the publication's market area, will they even know?  My paper is delivered by a distributor.  It's likely that the publisher doesn't have my or other readers' home or email addresses or phone numbers. What if together we represent a critical mass that shows up in the readership survey numbers, how can the loss be arrested?  Two options come to mind.

The first option is a marketing blitz to acquire new and possibly lost readers.  The second would be to increase the number of touch points from a single channel (print) to multiple channels such as online and mobile.

It's likely that most publishers would agree that option two is a necessity in today's connected world, whereas the same group might view option one, a marketing blitzk, as being too expensive.  However, such an approach could be downsized given an ongoing effort to engage with both current and past readers, i.e., those who moved away.   Remember, they left their marks!

I would be happy to receive a miss you note from my newspaper publisher reminding me about the upcoming weekly quiz, its theme, and how I can catch up on the past editions.  I might even be more responsive to an invitation to submit quiz questions that might be featured in future editions along with my name and photo.

Similarly, there might be readers who once wrote regularly to the editor, commented on the news stories on the site, or actively participated on the social media presence of the publication, but have since stopped. They might enjoy receiving miss you notes from the publication in which they once invested their time.

Given that the former readers left their marks behind, such an outreach effort is certainly doable. Data aggregation and analysis tools make it possible to organize and take advantage of customer "marks" regardless of the medium or media used.  Unified dashboards enable media marketers to track valuable key performance indicators.

In spite of the widespread availability of these and similar customer tracking and interaction tools, however, I still await that miss you note from my newspaper publisher.  I have stopped responding to the quiz and have placed a bet with myself that they don't care a dime about my participation. Let's see who wins! On whom you'll place your bet?


October 9, 2012

Say NO to QR Codes

I've got some very direct advice for anyone who is tempted to get involved in the world of QR codes. Don't do it.
It is quite simply a technology looking for a problem. They were origionally designed by Toyota technicians to help out in tracking cars in their factories. Its clever technology and can be explained to non-technical types as a 2D barcode that delivers signficantly more information, faster than the ones we're used to. The question I've put to people who said this to me is 'so what and who cares?'. I've yet to get a satisfactory answer.
With the ubiquity of mobile phones and particularly their cameras it became possible, for the first time, to deploy QR codes directly to the public. The phone acted as a scanner and the QR codes were cheap and very accurate to read. All that was needed was a problem that needed this as solution. Looking at the Wikipedia entry for QR reveals a paucity of applications.
That being said there are lessons to be learned from QR initiatives.
This is not really much to do with QR per se but could help us resist the seductive idea of a technology and focus more on the business value its application and deployment may bring. In the spirit of outside thinking I noticed a new startup, Doxo. They use QR to store documents in a way that hasn't been thought of before. I wish them well but there is nothing about their proposition that fundamentally changes the way I'd manage my documents and it certainly isn't worth the bother of getting a QR scanning/photo app loaded onto my already sluggish phone.
There are quite a lot of details about why the system is good, so many that its almost impossible to absorb.
One of the features is to use QR codes to be sent to customers of utlitity companies who can then scan the code, link to the online bill and then automagically add the bill into their digital file system. As an aspirate technogeek I can appreciate that taking bills from one system (e.g. phone provider) into my own (doxo) would enable me to see all my bills in one place. One day this may well happen but I'm sure that it won't be called doxo.
Here's why. It is far from clear that I need to use Doxo. There are vey many reasons but none is compelling in its own right. 'Remove paper clutter'? Ok fine but I don't believe it and in any case there are QR codes involved.
Another feature they offer is the ability to quickly pay the QR linked bill in question using my mobile payment feature on my phone. Setting aside the questionable desire to 'pay my bills more quickly' lets consider the financial services aspect. The bill comes from a supplier of services who has signed up to the QR system (a pretty small percentage I imagine) and this can be paid for by a range of mobile based payment services (a small but growing percentage of users). The net effect is that the venn diagram intersection is too small to be interesting. There will be no paradigm shift in this space as too many variables need to align before we hit the tipping point.
So far, so negative. I have a positive message but in fact its really a warning. If you are going to talk to clients about how to deliver services that their customers will love then:
  1. Make sure that the technology is likely to have widespread adoption
  2. Make sure that your client is thinking about the customer directly and not in some abstract form or about some dimensional technology. Customers don't wake up thinking they want to pay bills more effectively.

Finally if you are not sure about what your customer wants then you should ask. If you are not sure about a technology then do some research.