I was researching digital marketing and social media concepts on my birthday. And I could not stop myself doing some analysis on all the greetings that I received. I plotted 200+ greetings that I got via various channels on “Personalization” and “Convenience” axis.
“Personalization” reflects how much personalization is possible via a given channel. It is not about you but about the ability and common usage of a given channel.
“Convenience” reflects convenience of people to use a given channel to send greetings. I received a large number of greetings on Facebook and hence the convenience factor is high for this channel. It is clear that new social media channels provides high degree of convenience and allow us to use special occasions to be in frequent touch.
I should clarify – it is the channel that does not allow personalization. And not the people. Over a phone, you will talk more. Over a facebook greeting, you will be short. This is how I do. I write short messages on Facebook or whatsapp for greetings and find it very convenient to wish my friends.
To all my friends, once again thank you for your wonderful wishes.
Overlaying custom information or crowd sourced information where a location based decision has to be made is very interesting. I recently did an entry on eRealtor market in India and I feel the real estate websites can make use of such maps in different ways. The possibilities are many and can help provide differentiation.
Where else such a map can be used? What other location based searches that you do? Can this be used for hotel bookings and travel planning websites where customers can share their experiences? Imagine a map where you can clearly identify which is a good location to stay and which is not. Now zoom out at state or country level and you know which is a good place to make travel plans etc.
I want to sum this up with three points –
1. Only 15% of customers trust posts by companies.
2. A post by employees has human touch. A company gives a sense of non-personal monolithic entity with no emotions.
3. Employees provide a superior and low cost channel to reach out to folks that aren’t your customer yet.
Earlier this year I did a blog post on wearable device market and also created a snapshot diagram of some popular wearable devices. Since then the market has exploded and now there are over 100s of wearable devices out there.
Now, let us look at what consumers are buying. Here is the distribution according to this report –
source – Techcrunch
The growth in the number of companies and wearables that have come up recently and the above data shows an increasing interest from consumers around wearables.
I am also interested in knowing about the frequency of usage of these devices as well any drop-off rate after a period of usage. I believe that to provide the next set of challenges and opportunities for new and existing companies to solve!
Earlier this year I did a blog post on wearable device market and also created a snapshot diagram of some popular wearable devices. Since then the market has exploded and now there are over 100s of wearable devices out there. Sometimes it is difficult to keep pace with all the new devices that are coming up but there is lot of buzz in the market with Apple launching its maiden watch.
Why will I use a smart watch?
Let us first compare a smart watch with a smart phone – since it is in some way a step-down version of phone in terms of size and features. Today, consuming information on phone is a 5-step process –
1. Take out the phone from pocket
2. Activate the phone
3. Press the unlock button
4. Type in your security code
5. Open the relevant application
If you are looking for extremely quick information consumption, these steps on phone get in the way. This is where I feel lies the most critical utility of smart watches. Smart watches will serve as extremely rapid information consumption devices.
And that will be my most common use case. I will use it for notification services, calendar services and any other information that I want to consume rapidly – faster than I can do today with phone.
I have frequent need to locate my keys, wallet and my phone. Yes, I do. I expect my watch to act as a locator. And there are already watches like Filip that help locate your kids. I am not a fitness enthusiast but I can understand how smart watches can help with health tracking and provide rapid information about your health data.
I expect future smart watch applications to provide applications based on user profile and certain set of rapid information consumption. A traveler profile – using weather, appointment, flight status notifications or a busy executive profile or a fitness profile. All of them consuming relevant information in the quickest possible way.
The Indian reality market has seen huge explosion in the last decade. In response, there are several players who have emerged in the eRealtor sector providing online assistance and brokerage that can help you buy, sell or rent homes of different shapes and proportions. Some of the notable ones are –
As a core function, all the eRealtors provide services such as map based listing, filtering features, mobile support, verified listing, site photographs, information about nearby locality etc. For a consumer, it is difficult to select any one of them based on features alone – since there is some uniformity about the hygiene features that everyone provides.
Which one are preferred by customers?
I did research on traffic share and technology used by the eRealtor companies and the analysis point to a certain usage and search pattern but I feel it is finally the overall experience of doing business and service that makes customer stick to some eRealtors compared to others. Secondly, marketing plays a very important role in driving traffic in a multi-player market that offer little perceived differentiation. Some of the players like 99acres and Magicbricks are big on marketing and receives top traffic in this sector.
Lastly, company that gets attention from consumer is the one that establishes leader status in a niche position. For example Housing.com with its map-based innovative search got much media attention that helped them get significant traction from new customers.
I will publish the research matrix in one of my next blogs.
Life was simple when cable television and mobile started prepaid model. All you have to do is to decide the right recharge amount to continue to use the service, go online and recharge. The only additional complexity was selecting the call rate for different recharge option in case of prepaid mobile.
It ain’t simple any longer. I was recently trying to recharge my cable television account and I was shown a variety of coupons that I can get *free*. And then you have services like paytm and freecharge that formalizes this business model.
While the idea of using coupons to market and get customer is great, there are few problems with this approach.
1. A simple recharge option has to go through a complex decision making process. The reason I am online is not to shop but to recharge the account. The decision making and hence the transaction is slowed down because there are just too many coupons to chose from.
2. Feeling of losing out on something. There will be a tendency to perhaps check all the coupons to avoid the fear of losing out on something free. After navigating to the third page, it is easy to forget that you logged in to recharge your prepaid account and not shopping.
3. Most options are not useful. At least that’s how they appeal to me. Maybe I was not looking to shop but to recharge or maybe I do not have need to use any of the options in near future.
What can be done
The current model needs to be flipped. When I am shopping, show me the option to recharge and not the other way round. The money for this recharge can still come from the mobile or cable provider. The benefit with this approach is that it will give me a sense of instant discount or benefit on the purchases that I am making. The coupons are suddenly useful. While I may accumulate more in my prepaid account but there is almost a certainty of using the extra recharge sooner or later.
Anyone who is using cable TV services from Tata Sky is familiar with this screen. When it rains, you lose the signal. In the world of internet connectivity of 4G and beyond, this is just unacceptable.
So why people are still hooked to cable services in India? Its cheaper. Monthly subscription is INR 500 ( < $10) with almost unlimited channels. The other one being low penetration of internet bandwidth and on-demand options.
However in a country like US, 7 in 10 TV households have a DVR, subscribe to Netflix, or use Video-on-demand (VOD) from a cable or telco provider, per new data from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), with about 1 in 10 using all three services. 61% of all cable subscribers have used VOD — compared to 43% in 2008, and 10% in 2004.
I consider areas where customers continue to use product and services despite poor quality of service as having the highest potential for disruptive opportunities.
I do not have current data on cable and VOD viewership in India but with services of existing cable service provides, on demand TV adoption for on demand TV can only accelerate.
I recently had long meetings involving several hours of technology and market research. Needless to say those meetings were tiring. There is so much of information that is available that it is almost impossible to comprehend every bit of it. All I wanted was an easy way to collect and digest information faster and in a less tiring way.
This is when my I jokingly started discussing about if there is a way we can inject all relevant information directly into our brain – perhaps by taking an “information” injection!
I see many folks, smart people that I meet suffering from this problem of “information-overload”. There are times when as many as 25-50 browser windows are open on the folks’ machine. I always ask, “When do you have time to read all of this”. And most of them admit that when the browser windows crash, they rarely open that link again. Opening several windows only build pressure – pressure of reading rather than understanding and building knowledge.
But this has to change in future. Today, we are physically limited by our senses (eyes, ear) to consume more information. It is like the current system is built on USB 1.0 data transfer speed and while we need USB 3.0 or beyond speeds.
Interestingly, I just watched a TED video from Nicholas Negroponte talking about a pill that we can take in future to ingest information. I can’t agree more having discussed about the same idea when faced with the challenge of consuming information rapidly. I feel more and more people are running into this issue and someone somewhere will take up this as an opportunity to find a solution.
How are you solving the challenge of information overload today?
In the last article, I provided a very short explanation on the Internet of Things. So, what problems does IoT solve? Some of the areas where the IoT is making progress are
1. Healthcare - Patient monitoring and home care systems
2. Smart grids - Utilities in general but more specifically efficient energy consumption
3. Industrial Internet - Efficient maintenance and energy conservation
4. Transportation - Smart logistics
5. Consumer wearables - Fitness, consumer engagement etc
There are many verticals where companies are beginning to experiment with IoT related technologies and I will be writing about what specific problem IoT is solving and how it is providing value and monetization opportunities.