The Power of Customer Recommendation

  Last year, I decided, after a long while that it was time to invest in a good pair of sports shoes. They had to be light, supportive, springy and sturdy. To support my resolve to go to the gym every day and for my dance classes. For about a decade now, except for a house and a car, I have been buying everything online. This is to the credit of online shopping portals that have taken every step possible to make it a smooth and reliable option. To list a few of them: 1)      Pictures of the product from every angle featuring HD zoom 2)      Videos of users wearing, using the product 3)      Review videos from Youtube 4)      Verified customer reviews 5)      Facility to ask question to previous buyers and the seller 6)      Easy return and exchange, often ‘no questions asked’ 7)      Irresistible discounts So, despite my finicky needs, I preferred to shop online for these shoes. Also, in a new city, the internet provides a sense of continuity and familiarity. I started

Virtual influencers – through the audience's lens

(This article authored by me, first appeared in Campaign India) Click here to Read on Campaign India  Does the growing pull of virtual influencers point at a fadin g appeal in authenticity? Even as a lot of brands grapple with the mechanics of social media influencer marketing, the ecosystem is already undergoing a system update. We are now talking about digitally created virtual characters as influencers on social media. An invention of artists and tech companies, virtual influencers are being touted as the biggest thing since sliced bread. Or should I say, since the loudspeaker, in the context of marketing?    Virtual influencers eliminate the limitations of humans in social media marketing. Remember Charlie Chaplin’s ‘ Modern Times ’? The 1936 satirical comedy was a comment on the distress created by the efficiencies of the machine over manual labour. Approaching 2023, the relentless winds of modernity continue to sweep us off the ground. These digital characters with date of birth

Why I quit dating apps

I have been divorced since 2014. Why love continues to elude me is a different topic to explore but for now, I will focus on why I quit dating apps. I of course subscribe to the perhaps old-fashioned notion that the purpose of dating is to find love.  The reason I am writing this post is that the few success stories of people finding everlasting love are advertised so much that it makes all the rest of us flock to these apps as though the fact is not that the stories of scams, failures, disappointments, mental health breakdown far outweigh the success stories.  So, I think the rest of us need to voice our views just to try and bring a bit of a balance.  Let me begin with my credentials to speak on the subject. I have interacted with or dated to some degree over 11 people I met on dating apps between 2018 - 2021. Not a big data set, but not too tiny either. Placing below, what I learnt.  The first one is applicable to people who are 40 and over today and were 36 and over, four years ago

A third party cookie free future?

There has been a lot of press about how big tech companies are handling privacy & personalization. And now, Apple’s iOS 14.5 is launched along with the long-awaited privacy feature, App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Apple's ATT feature highlights who is tracking you on your iPhone and gives you the option to stop it. Here is their ad:   Here are some of the things I am considering: Will this end opaque data collection systems? Which was the main reason why you were hounded by real estate ads for months after looking online for a house to rent.   What this means for customers: Transparency. We know who can and cannot keep info about us because they do so with our permission.   What this means for advertisers: Greater reliance on first-party data. We need to create avenues for customers to see value in sharing their info with us. E.g if I am a biker, I would happily share my info with a company if I know it increases their chances of serving me with nuance

Digital marketing in the 2020s - what will stand out

Through the 2010s I kept gaping at the gap between the traditional marketing approach at the agencies I worked at and this seemingly separate, fascinating discipline called digital marketing.  I noticed how the rate at which this gap diminished was massively slower that the rate at which customer behavior was transforming.    The 2020s, I imagine will be the decade when this gap will completely vanish. The very definition of “mainstream advertising” is changing and more importantly being acknowledged as changed.  Today we refer to the two groups as traditional marketers/strategists and digital marketer/strategists. This split will disappear.    New digital advertising channels continue to impact how we reach out to our customers. Here are a few ways I think our industry will be impacted by digital marketing, and two things that will stay the same.    A few things that have changed:   1) The number and nature of customer touchpoints and the inter-connectedness of these touch points    2

The new normal - (yet) another perspective

My views on "the new normal" got published in Campaign India. Available to read  here   

Bespectacled confessions

Glasses have been a part of my face since I was 7. My mom meticulously wrote the multiplication tables from 1 to 10 on a big chart paper in bold colored sketch pens and pinned it up on the wall to help me memorize them. One time when she was making me read it from a bit of a distance, she discovered her sight was better than mine! That's how I got glasses at the age of 7. At that age, it is natural for anything that a kid owns to be subjected to accidents. My glasses got dropped, sat on and randomly picked up by my baby brother to experiment with - what would happen if he ..say..scraped it on the concrete floor of our back porch? Also, glasses were fragile back then. The lens were made of glass. I remember this because this one time, when I was the same age, while frolicking about, I came too close to the corner of the bed. The lens shattered while I was still wearing them. And I started to bleed on my face. My mother who witnessed this - her heart stopped for a moment because s