I am melting my iceberg…..

näkemiin N. Hello C.

näkemiin N.   Hello C.  


Google Music Search launches in India

I had earlier blogged about Google’s music search in China and how it is trying to combat Baidu in the country. A summary of the post would be something like this:

  • Baidu is the music search leader in China, linking to pirated content
  • China is the testing ground for Google for an emerging business model, offering legal & free music to consumers.
  • Google Music Search in China will get consumers to shift from Baidu with the promise of high quality audio,and analytics that will help consumers select music basis their mood.

Google has now launched Music Search in India on Friday, 22nd Oct 2010.

Yours Truly has been part of fair amount of consumer research in terms of  consumer behaviour in relation to music, and in particular, online music download behaviour. This was  my day job, not so long back.

Like China, youth in India are not particularly hassled about pirated music, as long as it is free. There are two operative words in the Indian youth’s mind as far as music is concerned: “FREE” & “LATEST VARIETY”.

Google India music search has tackled the first one through a smart tie-up with in.com.saavn.com, and SaReGaMa. The display ads, in all probability, subsidise the FREE offering.

But Google India music search is currently limited to Hindi (Bollywood) music only. What happens to the digital savvy youngsters,from lets say, Down South, for whom Hindi music is still the second choice? Do they come on Google India music search for Hindi, then to Ragaa for their regional content, and then to some other streaming site for international music? Not the most convenient way, I think.

However, within the Bollywood space, Google has got the formula right. Free content, wide variety within the Bollywood genre,and no pirated content. Win-win for all partners in the ecosystem, as well as the consumer.

Some unanswered questions that I am yet to find answers:

  • Is Google paying the labels for content? On what basis? Number of streams?
  • Is the display banner revenue shared with the labels as well?
  • Any other monetisation model in place for Google’s India music search?
  • How will this impact music download biz models like Nokia’s Ovi Music Unlimited & Hungama’s music service?

These are a few of my favourite tweets….

@gagupta's tweetcloud

  • 12th March 2010: Youtube ad? On front page TOI? Is this a tribute to the power of Print reach in India?
  • 17th April 2010: Note to myself in 2007 on BoP concept. Summarises thoughts of CK Prahalad & Karnani. RIP CK Prahalad http://bit.ly/bGoRMA
  • 27th April 2010: What is Social Currency? Deconstructing Social Currency – PSFK http://bit.ly/ca8SIl
  • 24th June 2010: Must read brilliant write-up. Nicolas Mahut and John Isner at Wimbledon: two bareknuckle pugilists http://bit.ly/9LuUQV
  • 8th July 2010: That Octopus is Bong. His last name is Paul. What he thinks today, happens tomorrow. He stays in a tank and has a swollen head
  • 2nd Aug 2010: The Innovators Dilemma is my first ever paid ebook download from Amazon.

Volkswagen’s “disruptive” innovation for Vento?

Sure it is disruptive, but is it strategic? How well does it fit into the car launch Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) plan? I had these questions in mind when I saw the VW innovation in TOI on 27th September 2010. My reaction was “where is is this noise coming from, and how can I shut it off?”. I am crossposting the following from Jessie Paul’s blog.  Could’nt agree with it more. Master Planner Stephen King suggested that it is important to identify the desired consumer response before you build the stimulus. Wonder if VW ignored that axiom? Do take a look at the comments in the original blogpost.

Quoting Jessie Paul:

“Today’s Times of India carries an ad for Volkswagen Vento on the back page.  The innovation is that it has a little black box which when the paper is opened bursts into a sales spiel.  (If you haven’t yet seen it, there’s a video of it at the end of this blog, courtesy @tsuvik).

The online world is buzzing about it, so I will add just 5 quick points to it.

1. If the goal was to generate buzz, the ad is successful. Just type in Volkswagen on Socialmention.com and you will see the amount of online conversation about the ad

2. The sales spiel isn’t easy to understand and is rather boring and stodgy.  It also doesn’t have a stop button, so you end up having to either close the ad or break the box depending on your irritation threshold.

3. Using audio as a means to differentiate was good thinking.  But the execution is weak because it doesn’t add value to the experience.  For example, if the audio was a recording of the car’s powerful acceleration or even the toot of its horn, it might be more appealing and relevant.  It would also have a longer shelf-life as at least the kids would keep it to play with.  The absence of branding on the black box was also an opportunity lost.

4. The ad has no call-to-action which could lead to conversions.  On reading the ad your biggest desire is to shut the noise of the non-stop sales pitch.  There’s no special number to call or sms to get a test drive – just the usual dealer panel stuck on to the bottom of the ad.  A visit to the website (which gets a perfunctory mention on the top right of the ad) also disappoints – the Vento is treated as just another car in the VW stable with no special launch landing page.

5. The biggest concern with this blockbuster (easily in the multiple crores) ad is that it seems to be standalone, and not part of an overall campaign with online, outdoor, email etc to drive sales.

In conclusion, the ad has generated a lot of buzz but not much of it is going to convert to honey for the company.”

Wake me up when September ends….

….turns out I over delivered on the Green Day track!

Umm, what has happened between February 2010, when I last blogged, and August 2010?

  • Volkswagen did a couple of non TV media disruptions to launch its cars
  • IPL Season 3 went by, and Vodafone  could not repeat the zoozoo success
  • Google Buzz (and some other Google products) tanked

And why did I not update my blog? Twitter is to blame. Its so convenient to micro blog, after all.

But I am back, and hopefully, for good.

Reconfirmation: Print is dying. Long live Print.

Sometime in January this year, I had crossposted a Campaign India blog entry on “the next decade in media for India”.

For print media, my summary of the original post was as follows ” You no longer need brains to predict that print will continue its loss to TV & digital. Agree with Anant when he says cover price of Rs 10 for certain newspapers will not be uncommon eg Times of India Crest. Crest is also early validation that newspapers will move away from reporting (24 hrs delay) and focus more on features. Special interest magazines will continue to grow at the cost of general magazines. Do I see myself not reading Outlook Traveller? Not likely. What about Outlook Weekly? I already read it online,there is nothing that I want to “retain”, unlike Outlook Traveller.

Graydon Carter, the much celebrated editor of Vanity Fair, echoes similar views (albeit in an American context) when he says news on the print medium is DEAD. But niche content, respected opinion leaders (like Vanity Fair) will continue to flourish. You can read his views in detail here.

Essentially the same takeaway “Outlook Weekly newsmagazine is dead, but Outlook Traveller is not”.

Internet Company as a Conversation Company

I have earlier talked about Bought Earned Own (BEO) media. It is widely believed that Nokia was amongst the first marketers that started practicing BEO media principle. This presentation is by Arto Joensuu, Head of Digital Marketing at Nokia. The deck focuses on how the conventional sales funnel is no longer relevant in this age, where conversation is the new conversion.

Slide 30 in the deck is of particular interest. The BEO media is seen through a new lens:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) aka Own media
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) aka Bought media
  • Social media optimization (SMO) aka Earned media

And brands need to optimize within this space.

What I also found interesting is the comparision of “Yesterday’s Search” (Google) with “Today’s Search” (where search engines are just a slice in the pie). I was recently looking to buy a compact car, and I used Facebook & Twitter, in addition to Google, to find more about the car. While Google gave me “information & data”, FB & twitter gave me people’s views about the car. And those PoV were important for me to take a call. These PoV are essentially conversations, and the conversation helps in the conversion.

So is “Conversation is the conversion” the one line  requiem for traditional funnel?