My session at B-school on GTM (Go-To-Market)

A few days ago, I was invited to take a session on GTM (Go-To-Market) at a B-school. It was great to go back to a B-school after so many years, and more so to share knowledge and insights based on my experiences. I wondered what I should cover in this session. After much consideration and deliberation, I decided to cover the subject from a practitioner point of view, covering specifically what I wished I had known about GTM before I did the GTM for several platforms / solutions / services.

My presentation for the session is here.

It was well recieved, and was great to interact and engage with some bright young minds and hear their ideas on the subject.

Some feedback from the session is below:

Wonderful session on Go-to-Market. Great insights and exercises. One of the brightest minds I saw.

Excellent session, extremely interactive with superb caselets. Will be looking forward to another session

The session was great and interactive. It gave us an understanding about GTM strategies with real-life examples

“It was a very different session from our daily sessions and I really enjoyed. Full of insights and examples ; and the choice of topic was extremely important for us.”

“Very interactive and information. Practical examples were very good”

“Engaging, informative and practical examples – very good”

“Engaging exercises and clarity of thought”

“Something that the institute has been missing so far – Highlight engaging informative and of course an excellent speaker”

“Refreshing activities for expanding our thoughts on marketing”

“Implications of what we have covered in text books”

“Very interactive session”

All this feedback is a good catalyst to continue engaging with B-schools !

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | Parentous | The Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront  

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | #PowerWomenAtWork – the drivers of change
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
“Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Bhasha Shakti (Mar 2016), Surge , IAMAI (Feb2016),  TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

CareerHacks for Women | What skills are key at what phase of growth?

Last week, I posted about my session at Intel on “Career Investment which are important for women at work. I had highlighted 9 areas of importance.

One of the senior leaders in the audiences asked an interesting question.

She said “9 is too much for anyone to do at any point. Can you highlight top 3-4 skills for women at different phases of growth“.

My response to this question is in the infographic below.

CareerHacks

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomenNasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | Parentous | The Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront  

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | #PowerWomenAtWork – the drivers of change
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
“Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Bhasha Shakti (Mar 2016),Surge (Feb 2016), IAMAI (Jan 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

“Looks & Cooks to Voices, Choices & Joys” | 29 power voices. 8 questions | A Women’s Day Special Series

WD-Summary-Last

Below is a curated list of links to access the individual posts:

Education – includes Chetna Mehrotra, Prof. D.V.R.Seshadri, Bharti Dekhate

Aspiration – includes Kavi Arasu, Tara Sharma Saluja, Gurprriet Siingh

Career Choices – includes Kiran Manral, Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Mansi Zaveri

Health & Wellness – includes Yashodhara Lal, Bharti Dekhate, Veechi Shahi

Marriage – includes Seema Raghunath, Shanta Vallury

Money Matters – includes Monica Jasuja, Monika Halan, Rachna Monga, Kripa Krishnamoorthy

Networks – includes Ansoo Gupta, Tanvi Gautam, Deepali Naair, Ruchita Dar Shah, Nita Kapoor

Skills – includes Meera Sanyal, Sandy Carter, Shalini Kamath,Manisha Lath Gupta, Rachna Kumar

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Surge (Feb 2016), IAMAI (Jan 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

What skills can fuel HER career path? | Part of series “Looks & Cooks to Voices, Choices & Joys”

WD-Skills-New

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Surge (Feb 2016), IAMAI (Jan 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

The Power of Networks | Part of series “Looks & Cooks to Voices, Choices & Joys”

WD-Networks-New

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Surge (Feb 2016), IAMAI (Jan 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

Importance of Education in HER life | Part of series “Looks & Cooks to Voices, Choices & Joys”

Ed-Education-FInal

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Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers |  TheNextWomen | Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Quoted in “Open letter to women looking for job
Quoted in “The best advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Surge (Feb 2016), IAMAI (Jan 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit (2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)

What are the must-have skills for B-school students?

A few days ago, I was an invited guest for a tweetchat with B-school students from all over India. One question which was particularly interesting during this interaction was “What are the must-have skills for B-school pass-outs?

In this post, I am sharing my views based on my experiences, interactions with B-school students and basic expectations from any professional enterprise.

1) Be a Google Power user

A few years ago, I was officially mentoring a fresh B-school graduate and asked him to get some information on a newly passed financial regulation from the public domain. 1 hour passed – no response.. 2 hours passed – no response.. The whole day passed – no response.. The next day when I quizzed him on what he had gathered, here’s what he said “I Googled and Googled the whole day, but could not get any information“. Honestly, that was the last response I expected. So I asked him to open Google and type the keywords which he did.. The answer we were looking for was listed right at the top on Google search. Google did its job (like it always does).. Now you can guess who wasn’t doing their job?

Here’s the thing – Any B-school student should know how to use Google – to get data, information, visuals, news, research insights, people profiles, etc. etc.. You should know how to use to power of Google to do your everyday work.

2) Fantastic analytical skills

When I was a student at IIM Bangalore, in my innocence and curiosity as a student I asked my Strategy professor “What is the biggest benefit of doing an MBA program?” He said something which I will always remember “An MBA program opens your mind to different ways of thinking“. Looking back, I can say he was 100% right. Most importantly the rigor of any good B-school program gets one to think analytically – under any circumstance. And that analytical mind-set comes naturally to some, but to many it is a skill that needs to be nurtured and most B-schools lay a solid foundation for analytical thinking (which included problem solving). The reality of most enterprises is that there are all kinds of problems which exist – technology, product, process, people, customer experience, design, architecture, user experience, customer expectation management, etc. And one’s ability to truly understand and solve a problem usually makes all the difference So any career choice you make, the expectation from you is that you will be able to think analytically..

3) Effective communication skills (both oral and written)

Clarity, Correctness and Confidence are the most important 3C’s of effective communication. For clarity in expression, the only pre-requisite is clarity in thought. For correctness, one needs knowledge or access to knowledge (data / information / insights, etc.) to state his / her point of view. Confidence is a function of individual personlity and experience – which comes with time and practice. But there is a start somewhere, and for many B-school students the beginning is in B-school. So it is important to hone your communication skills (both oral and written) as that is a key exqwpectation from any corporate role.

4) Have Knowledge on the areas / topics of study / specialization

So if you are an Marketing major by education you should “know” what you learned by virtue of your degree. After all, if the threshold qualification for the job is of a B-school Marketer, then you should at least demonstrate that you have the marketing knowledge and background to qualify for the job. So this will be reflected in the way you participate and understand ‘marketing talk’.. and your competency to complete any marketing related tasks.

 5) Be Willing to learn

Learning is a continuous journey, and those who show that they are willing to learn – be it new technologies, domains, processes and ways of working are the one’s who end up with more opportunities, challenging work assignments and diverse projects as a part of their career portfolio. This is absolutely true for anyone, but even more for B-school pass-out students since they come with the a plethora of knowledge and diverse experiences which can be leveraged in any work environment

(6) Be Open to work

Again, you should be open to take up work assigned to you – at least in the initial few years of your career. Every single assignment adds to your own understanding of the business, and as you grow – you will appreciate how understanding different facets is so critical in your career growth. As long as you get to do “real work”, and are contributing towards the success of your team – you should be willing to do work.

(7) Be professional

Make an effort to understand the company policy and corporate culture – Be it in work hours, employee perks work attire, etc. Be professional in your interactions with colleagues and managers. Most importantly, draw the line between your personal life and professional life – It makes a lot of difference in how other perceive you!

 Helped you? Share it with anyone in your network who might benefit from reading this..

As I sign-off, I am sharing some links / references which might help any B-school student who is starting their career…

Important lessons to learn early in your career

Address to young graduates joining the workforce

Importance of mentors

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Interviews and Significant Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
Featured in | 2015 101 Inspiring Women aka Rockstars
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Columnist / Byline In : 
EconomicTimes | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo | Finextra | Inc42 | Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen | Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople |  PaulWriter |  WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

B2B Lead Generation | 4 Things which make all the difference…

B2B (Business 2 Business) Lead Generation is the process of capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline. It is generally time-consuming, a lot of back-end operational work and needs perseverance in the long run. It is necessary, but not so nice to do! Which is why I find that most marketing / sales people often tend to miss out on some basic steps / activities which can make all the difference in building a robust sales pipeline and conversion. In this post, I am going to share 4 key points which I believe make all the difference in the B2B Lead Generation process:

Know Your Customer

As basic as it sounds, too many business development professionals who are tasked with lead generation activities don’t prepare enough before a customer meeting. They don’t make a genuine attempt (in terms of time and efforts) in learning about their customer. They assume a lot. They think they know, but in reality they don’t.

As a rule of thumb | Before any customer meeting, one should strive to know more about:

  • Profile of the company – with details and insights on the company history, growth, evolution, priorities, technology landscape, business model, leadership, geography presence, revenue, profitability, etc. Whatever is available in the public domain, needs to be read. And if there is a way to learn more from someone associated with the company (like a supplier, partner, employee, analyst, etc.), it would be worthwhile to attempt to know more
  • Individual Profiles – Details on the individuals you are meeting prior to a meeting. A little knowledge on their background, interests and causes they are associated with helps in building a personal rapport when you meet / talk in person. With the power of social media, there is lots one can gather about an individual even before connecting one-o-one.

 Lead Qualification

‘Lead Qualification’ is simply about doing the required due-diligence with the customer / trusted intermediary on whether there exists a business opportunity or not. The most effective lead generation is when you can bring every single “lead” from the “Top of the funnel” (TOFU) moves to the “Middle of the funnel” to the “Bottom of the funnel” (BOFU). And for that, early lead qualification makes all the difference. “Full funnel Optimization” is indeed the dream of most sales professionals, albeit tough to achieve.

In my experience, at the ground level – It really all depends on what you are measured on. For e.g.: If you are measured on the number of leads you generate, then the priority would simply on generating maximum leads. If you are measured for % conversion at every stage of the funnel, then you will put in more efforts on ‘lead qualification’ to ensure that the probability of lead conversion is higher.

 Lead Nurturing

‘Lead nurturing” is the art and craft of staying connected and engaging in meaningful dialog and interactions with a potential customer. There is a science and skill to it. The below picture says it all!

Lead Tracking

Last but not least, if you don’t track or measure it – the chances of it getting done are lower. So the key is to define a periodic frequeny in which the leads will be reviewed by all key stakeholders. And agree on specific action plan with timelines (if follow-ups are required!). If a lead is out of sight, then it goes out of mind – both your mind and the prospect’s mind!

So what do you think is the most important step for effective B2B lead generation? Leave a comment to let me know…

A version first appeared on LinkedIn

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Columnist / Byline In : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo | Finextra | Inc42 |  Business2Community |ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom |  SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

7 Digital Marketing FAQ’s from Entrepreneurs; Answered!

First published on INC42

Did you know that in the first quarter of 2015, Indian start-ups have raised $1.7 Bn from investors? Almost every other day a new start-up idea is funded. Click here to check the list of all funding and investments which happened in 2015. The sheer numbers, the ideas and innovations will blow your mind away! Interestingly, as I read through this list, I recognized that they were all pointed solutions to a specific customer need / problem area and as relevant to the Indian market. No dearth of problems, and no dearth of solutions!

The big question is who is investing in these ideas? Interestingly, I’ve read news of large Indian companies investing in start-ups. From Wipro which has ear-marked 100 Mn$ invest in start-ups to Infosys which has set aside 250Mn$ for start-up investments to Mr.Ratan Tata who is funding start-ups – It appears that Indian enterprises and business leaders are investing in start-ups. Whether it is purely a financial investment or a business decision to diversify the business portfolio or to be a part of the next big innovation – I can’t say for sure!

Not to mention, high net-worth individuals are also funding start-ups. From Bollywood celebrities (like Amitabh Bachchan’s investment in JustDial which grew 10K% times in value to Karisma Kapoor’s investment in BabyOyethere are umpteen examples of Bollywood stars who have invested in new start-ups. Even the premier management institutes like IIM’s (Indian Institute of Management) run contest to identify and fund new business ideas, and also provide mentorship and guidance for start-ups. Not to mention, that there are ample startup accelerators in India

See, here’s the thing | The Indian start-up community has never been more vibrant – with cool innovative ideas, big dreams, willingness to tread the uncharted waters and a thirst to be part the next BIG thing!

I can see flavors of this in my own personal and professional network. The number of entrepreneurs, mom-preneurs, ideapreneurs, intrapraneurs has increased significantly in the last 2-3 years. Since many of them know me personally, and know my experience / expertise in digital marketing – they ask me basic / complex questions. However if I look back – I see that 7 questions have been repeatedly asked by all of them – irrespective of age, business, industry, size / scale of operations.

In this post, I am answering those 7 questions for the benefit of any startup based on my experiences.

Question 1: Should I have a digital marketing strategy?

Answer : This depends completely on your overall marketing objectives, which should be directly linked to business objectives. Once you are convinced that digital marketing is indeed an important element of your overall marketing plan, spend time to understand how digital marketing works. This is the most important step for a fair chance of success. Go for formal (paid) learning programs or enroll for a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). Attend webinars from experts on the topic.

Most importantly, be clear on how you will measure the ROI (Return on Investment) and success of your digital marketing initiatives.

Question 2 : What is the boundary between online, digital and social?

For ease of understanding, I have depicted it in the visual below:

OnlineOffline

Online Marketing examples include web-sites, blogs, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), online ads, e-mail marketing, blogs, twitter, online Press Release (PR), etc.

Social Media Marketing examples include leveraging social media platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn for your marketing and promotional activities

Offline Marketing examples include print ads, Press Release, Direct Mail, Telemarketing, etc.

Real-world Social Marketing refers to marketing through ‘real-world’ social interactions and conversations at events, word-of-mouth publicity, etc.

Question 3 : Digital / Social Media Marketing – What first and What second? Why?

Answer : It depends on your business, and your understanding of social and digital. I know of companies whose digital strategy drove their social media marketing strategies, and I know of companies whose social media strategy drove their digital initiatives. Suffice to say, the digital world and social world are closely coupled and if you do one, you (or / and the ecosystem you’re a part of – like partners, customers, community, suppliers) also make inroads into the other. In most cases, Social Media Marketing is typically a sub-set of Digital Marketing.

Question 4 : I hear a lot about ‘Content Marketing’. Should I even go there?

First, understand what is content, or more specifically what it ‘digital content’? It includes E-mail, digital notes, Website / Landing page, Presentations, Videos / Infomercials, Blogs, Whitepaper, Flyers, Infographics, Corporate Communication, Tweets, Case Studies / Testimonials, eBook, Books, Survey, Research Reports, Interviews / Q&A (Question and Answers), Press Release (PR), Status Updates (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+), Audio content / Podcasts, etc.

Content Marketing is leveraging the power of content to achieve whatever marketing objectives you set out with. These objectives can range from Brand Awareness to Lead generation to User / Customer engagement to Sales to Lead Nurturing to Social Advocacy to Professional Networking.

If you believe that content marketing can help you achieve your overall marketing objectives, go for it. Else, you might consider putting that time and money into something else.

The most important thing to understand about content marketing is that it takes time and focused efforts to yield results, and that it is an evolving journey. As your business grows and evolves, so will your content marketing strategy. If you don’t have a long term commitment and plan, you are better off not doing content marketing.

Question 4: Which social channels should I use? FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ?

Answer: The choice of which social channels to use depends completely on your social media objectives and where your customers are. First, define who your customers are and their ‘customer personas’; and use the power of tools and technology to gather data and insights around which social channels they frequent. Don’t do Social because everyone is doing social and because it is the new buzzword. Do it because you believe it will add value to your business and marketing; and enable you to achieve your business objectives.

Question 6 : How exactly does Social Media work?

Answer: Based on the Karmic ways of the universe and life. Simply put, you get back what you give

Question 7 : Can any marketer do digital marketing? What are the key skills for success in digital marketing?

Answer :

Yes and No. Yes because anyone can learn digital marketing, if you are already a marketing professional it is easier. However, No because assuming that anyone with knowledge / experience in traditional marketing will be able to effectively do ‘digital marketing’ is a myth.

Broadly, I’d think below skills are of paramount importance for digital marketing

  • Storytelling
  • Visual Design
  • Creativity
  • Sharing as part of your DNA
  • Excellent articulation skills (especially written)
  • Understanding and usage of tools and technology – for digital marketing
  • Thirst for learning
  • Genuine love for the written word
  • Balanced and controlled (in thoughts and emotions) – because what you say or do in social media can make or break your brand value

Digital Marketing is an evolving and exciting space; and will continue to evolve. Everyone is learning, so be open to learning, failing and course-correction. That is the only way to succeed. A conscious and consistent effort to be clued and glued into the latest and greatest is critical to succeed.

Did I miss any question? Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to respond.

Suggested Readings

Marketing Cheat-sheet | Blue-print from OBJECTIVES to PLAN

Essential Skills for the new age marketer

[FREE] Blogging Topics to last your business for 1 year

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Got cash? Invest in a start-up

Did you know that in the first quarter of 2015, Indian start-ups have raised $1.7 Bn from investors? Almost every other day a new start-up idea is funded. Click here to check the list of all funding and investments which happened in 2015. The sheer numbers, the ideas and innovations will blow your mind away! Interestingly, as I read through this list, I recognized that they were all pointed solutions to a specific customer need / problem area and as relevant to the Indian market. Pretty cool!

Several weeks ago I came across another interesting article which highlighted that Top global banks have ear-marked 100Mn$ each to invest in start-ups. The article piqued my interest simply because a bank is in the business of protecting and compounding its own money and the money of its customers. To meet its business objectives, most banks invest in diverse financial instruments to manage their risks and to ensure that they meet their financial obligations. So it seemed interesting when a bank itself was putting its money in a start-up! – not as a loan, but as an investor. That really was an indication of something more significant.

Interestingly I’ve also read news of Indian companies investing in start-ups. From Wipro which has ear-marked 100 Mn$ invest in start-ups to Infosys which has set aside 250Mn$ for start-up investments to Mr.Ratan Tata who is funding start-ups – It appears that even Indian IT companies and CXO’s / business leaders are investing in start-ups. Whether it is purely a financial investment or a business decision to diversify the business portfolio or to be a part of the next big innovation – I can’t say for sure!

Also not to mention, high net-worth individuals are also funding start-ups. From Bollywood celebrities (like Amitabh Bachchan’s investment in JustDial which grew 10K% times in value to Karisma Kapoor’s investment in BabyOyethere are umpteen examples of Bollywood stars who have invested in new start-ups.

It appears that investing in start-ups is soon emerging to be a serious investment option – from banks to corporates to (groups of) individual investors. By simple logic, if you have cash and have already made investments in real-estate, shares, other financial instruments, gold and possibly your own enterprise too, what can you do with any residual cash that you have? Invest in a start-up stands out as a good option – given that India is now a fertile ground for ideas and innovation, and being an entrepreneur is cool!

On the other hand, ever since I have been active on LinkedIn over the past few months, I’ve observed a lot individuals in my professional networks have updated their profile to read as “VC [Venture Capitalist] / Mentor to Start-ups”.

So two things emerge strongly. One, the start-up industry has never been more vibrant – with ideas, big dreams, willingness to tread the uncharted waters early in life, a quest to be part the next BIG things. Two, everyone is keen to be an investor in start-ups. So even if you don’t have the next big idea or experience or inclination to start your own venture, you can play a part in the start-up community by funding them! After all, money power speaks many languages… Right?

So what is the new age mantra for those who have some extra cash? | Invest in a start-up.

What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know

First published on LinkedIn

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in :  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred | Marketo|  FinextraInc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers | TheNextWomen |NasscomPaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMattersYoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

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