Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome, the real era of Social Media Marketing

I have been spending quite some quality time on twitter and reading useful blogs of others. As I am writing, I am still continuously trying to figure out what may be the correct focus to direct this post.

Social media has always been a very skeptical form of marketing for alot of traditional marketeers as there is no clear ROI or statistics which can be provided as a base for business. Especially in the context of Asia, where almost everything must be "seen" or "touch" to "believe". However, this may all change with evolution of statistical tools on individual social networking platforms and most of all, the recent launch of Buzz Gain. If you need to get excited over something, then this must be it!

Currently in Beta stage (Free for limited period), Buzz Gain is a really simple web-based client that allows you to track over 100 social networking sites and search your keyword on blogs, microblogs etc. This allows a complete consolidation of data, including listening to all the important conversations about your product or business all in one site. Learn about who you should be tracking or following. And at the click of a button, analyze your demographics as graphs are created automatically to explain trends! Now you know WHO is looking and talking about you, WHO you should be talking to and WHAT are the results or outcome of the conversations. Finally a one-stop and affordable solution to all Social PR headaches.

Although I wouldn't say the program is perfect just yet. Afterall, it is still in beta launch. One of the biggest turnoff is its speed. The program would have been close to a wonder if it loaded up nicely and promptly too. The beta version may be showing signs of lagging and delayed information. More insights of analysis and information can also be developed, hopefully at a later point of time. But at the very least, if you have no idea where start on your social PR, now here's a useful assistant.

The service would probably have very large potential in Asia also, especially in China. With latest stats by Internet World Stats, China's internet population leads the world with approximately 253 million internet users end December 2008. And we are looking at a merely 19% penetration of its entire billion population. Imagine how much this service could potentially do for clients wanting to enter the dragon's gate? There are over 578 million internet users in Asia alone (versus 885 million in the rest of the world), where rising markets like India only has a 5.2% internet penetration currently. (Statistics are quoted from Internet World Stats) With the consumer market so saturated in Europe and America, brands and businesses are quick eyeing on the big piece of cake in the less-than developed far east.

However, Asia's consumer behavior and internet trends may differ with those from the West, with their own specialised and isolated platforms (such as in China). And these are usually quite contained within their own communities. Hence services such as BuzzGain will need to obtain a better and more thorough understanding of the system to efficiently get it right. Even as a fellow Chinese, I'm finding it tough to keep up with the lighting speed trends of the China market. Their growth is tremendous and they are quick in developing tools that match those of the West. Moreover, the web structure in the east is not as organized and there are alot of "noise" to filter before actual contents and conversations can be read and analyzed. Hence adequate time will need to be invested to study the market in detail.

In the meantime, I would like to give a pat on the shoulder of the BuzzGain team. If you haven't signed up for a demo, do so today. You'd be pleasantly surprised at the convenience it provides. And if you have a word to say to BuzzGain, feedback on how you think it could help you better, or just thank them for the wonderful innovation, give a BUZZ to @mukund on twitter. The fine man will be more than pleased to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The screwed banks.

No, I really don't mean to be rude, nor has this posting has anything directly involved with marketing either. I am simply personally fustrated with the OCBC bank of Singapore. I wouldn't say they have a bad service because the telephone operators have been rather patient with me. But I'm just wondering what's wrong inside?

The bank sent me a letter to inform me of some pending documents they need from me to facilitate a certain application. So, I walked in personally to a bank to verify the documents and submitted it on the spot, with the copy of the letter the bank sent me. The bank staff even took the letter from me as a reference. About 3 days later, I received an SMS on my phone to inform me the documents have been received and my application status will be informed via mail. So I assumed it is all in processing.

Just yesterday, I received ANOTHER letter to "remind" me to submit the "pending documents", WHICH I already did more than a week ago! (maybe 2 weeks) I was baffled. So I called the call centre for assistance. And they said they'll check. They called me back again today to tell me the relevant department has yet to receive my documents.

Hence, why did I recieve the text message? And why did I walk-in to the bank personally in the first place if it is redundant? And why would there be conflicting information from the same department in the same bank?

Did the recession drove the banks into turmoils and so the office is covered with flying papers everywhere? I don't know... but OCBC had better look into its internal process.

AND another comment to ALL banks... please save your papers. You could potentially cut ALOT of cost from that. Why keep sending reminder letters in this era of technology? Do consider practicing some form of environmental friendly policies.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Digital Presence

I had some time on my hands over the weekend to devote to my digital presence. And so I updated my linkedin, contributed to twitter religiously, finally updated myspace too (which I haven't done so for maybe years?) and I would say the results has been quite satisfactory for me in a mere 3 days.

Firstly, I doubled my twitter followers (which isn't alot but I would say are quality connections), did up a background for my twitter page so people can locate me easily. The active responses I post also mean I get to absorb alot more wealth of information as the tweets are updated almost every minute. Hence every minute I'm learning something new about the industry or in another part of the world.

Secondly, I decide to post the question on a possible internship with marketing experts over Linkedin. And I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality offers I manage to get. Although I don't have an abundance of replies but I have gathered enough offers to last me for the entire year if not two. Opportunities to take a few weeks off work to explore internship in Abu Dhabi, Poland, New York, Sydney etc are indeed very attractive. The next challenge is now trying to arrange my schedule at work to make it happen. Perhaps this could potentially spark off a new practice in the industry where frequent exchange as such may lead to an overall upgrade in the quality of marketing professionals. Afterall, exposure is extremely important in our line of job. However, employers may have to be alot more open-minded to the idea of this practice and that sharing does not mean divulging confidential information.

Finally, perhaps the major challenge I find that has to be tackled is actually blogging. It's extremely easy to blabble on and on without a focus for contents. But it is an art to be able to find an attractive angle and offering fresh and not recycled contents to readers. Fresh perspectives are usually the main attraction for returning visitors. But I have to admit it is easier said than done. As I'm honing my skills in convincing you, I hope you'll be patient and hang in there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was just thinking quite aloud today, if I have been doing enough learning and picking up enough new information? If I don't log on to my TweetDeck, I basically spend the day not absorbing much. But once the influx of thoughts from all the expertise I'm following starts flooding over, that's when the real information and education starts infiltrating. If you ain't on twitter yet, you better start doing so. I'm NOT joking. (Add me if you haven't)

Every marketing book I have at home is half-read. I probably should invest more time into digesting the wealth of knowledge. If I have a new year resolution this year, it should start just right from that. And so, I was also wondering if I'm interested to travel and mentor under marketing/branding experts for a couple of weeks, would anyone be willing to take me in, all self-paid? Probably someone would, if I seriously asked. After all, I don't have the luxury of taking a month leave off my work. At least not for now. But I do have the serious intention to explore. If anyone is reading this and don't mind offering me the opportunity, I would love to take it up!

Drawing up a brief blueprint of my future, deciding how I want it to be, what do I want to be and how do I reach it. Still in sketchy stage and all drawn with pencil in my mind. Hence erasable and editable.

Food for thought :

Friday, January 2, 2009

The strong waves of 2009

Happy New Year folks! It's 2nd January 2009. I have to start practicing writing the right date. I tend to waste too many cheques in the first month of every year.

Today didn't exactly start off on a fantastic note, when I had to give my intern a ticking as she was absolutely not paying attention to what she was doing. (it's only a minutes for goodness sake, and I had to make her change it 4 times!) But let's leave her to make the final changes for now.

Many people have told me, 2009 will come in a fiery big tsunami wave. It will sweep away anything that is in its way. The worse has yet to arrive, that's what I'm hearing. Our Prime Minister made his traditional New Year speech yesterday indicating a forecasted -2.0 growth for Singapore in 2009. The annual budget has been pushed forth to January, hoping policies will aid individuals and companies to tide these fiery storms earlier. It hasn't quite hit me directly yet, but from the look of it, it ain't going to give a warning when it strikes. I am not an economic expert and I can't tell you anything new from this post. Which I bet you haven't heard anything new for a long time from anyone else either, that is.

Despite the crisis, it definitely isn't the first time the human race has been hit hard. This can't be tougher to survive than the world wars nor the Great Depression back in the 30s. Somehow, human are rare creatures whom can find and create opportunities in all situations. Even animals find their own way into survival.

The future holds a future in itself. So let's anticipate an optimistic 2009 and may we brave the storms like warriors together!