Life Trends: Multitasking, Monotasking, Mobility, and Tracking

Lately I have been forcing myself to use my mobile for content creation purposes. It has been a very revealing exercise. Whereas the mobile interface presents many challenges – small screen, smaller keyboard, limited processing power – it revealed many opportunities.

Multitasking vs Monotasking

From a user perspective it allows focus. Our fast past lives and the need for increased productivity has led us to become to become champions at multitasking. But is this really better? The small screen and the inconvenient switching between screens limits distractions.

From a business perspective, presenting a single great user experience and offer makes the process of conversion easier. It removes the clutter and makes decisions easy.

Mobility and Tracking

As a digital marketer I am always checking analytics on the go – I want to know how my campaigns are doing. This behavior is true for many functions – accounting, finance, marketing, operations. We all have those KPIs we track and monitor, and the smartphone provides the ideal place to do so. In fact, I see a future where personal tracking will be king – from tracking your personal self through wearable technology, to tracking your professional life through analytic tools.

I wonder about experience others have had with these multitasking and tracking.

When to Outsource?

In the ever globalized world and it’s competitive pressures, outsourcing leads to lower costs and improved margins.  But, outsourcing has recently become a “dirty” word in the world of business. Many businesses shy away from the thought, especially when China, India or Pakistan are involved. Everything from lack of quality and control to loss of jobs is discussed. But if outsourcing is really so dirty then how should you and your company approach the issue?

Two guiding principles should be used when deciding to outsource any activity:

Is the function critical in differentiating the product or service we deliver?

If the function or activity outsourced is critical to the differentiation the company offers, then do not outsource. For example, if your companies’ differentiation is based around providing the best customer experience, then should you really be outsourcing your inbound calls to a call center? It might drive costs down, but it limits your control over the quality of the staff hired and their training – the people who will be interacting with your customers.

How much benefit is outsourcing going to provide in the long run?

On the other hand if the activity is not part of the product or service you deliver, then outsourcing would be a good option. Many companies thus outsource their advertising. The question is then, why does Coca-Cola outsource it’s advertising – a key component of its brand? It does so because outsourcing the creative to multiple agencies allows for a spectrum of ideas. This allows for tremendous savings in the long run – what would be the cost of keeping all the creatives on Coca-Colas payroll? What would be the added costs of benefits? What would be costs of hiring or firing those creatives?

But notice how Coca-Cola is always able keep control over the creative through brand management best practices, regular follow-ups and creative guidelines. At the end of the day the final “go or no-go” rests with Coca-Cola – their core differentiator, their brand is protected.

As a final thought, it is important to keep in mind that any decision should be guided by your industry and your overall strategy.

Looking for a Great StartUp Name? Here is a Quick Guide!

Looking for a good name for a startup can be a challenge. And just when you find the perfect name for your startup, you discover that the domain name is not available. Here is a quick guide to help you discover great startup name ideas.

Step 1: Create a Keyword List

The first step is to make a keyword list from benefits, core features, and concepts. Your market research and competitive landscape are a great place to start. Another place to look is the benefit offered by your service and the category you operate in. Make this list as expansive as possible by looking at synonyms and words from other languages.

Step 2: Do a First Check

The second step is to have a quick go at checking which if any are available for various TLDs. Apart from the “.com”, some other great TLDs to look at are:

–          Cool TLDs: “.me”, ”.us”, “.io”

–          Country specific TLDs: “.ca”, “.pk”

–          And the new industry specific TLDs: “.solar”, “.coffee”

Step 3: Mix Two Words

If you don’t find any site name that meets your fancy, try mixing and matching words to come up with a new name. My favorite tool to do this is dotomator.com. The site you to quickly create and text availability of work combinations.

Steps 4: Misspell

If you still have don’t find the name you are looking for, or have a name in mind, but the domain is already taken, try using different spellings. I use panabee.com for this purpose – it usually gives a few good options by playing around with the spellings.

Happy name hunting!

Startup Strategy: No 1 or No 2

Jack Welch believed that Strategy was not a lengthy action plan but rather the evolution of a central idea through continually changing circumstances. In his initial years his central idea was to be “No 1 or No 2″ or “fix, sell or close.” Although the strategy sounds simple, it carries great depth with it and that is why it worked.

Strategy and Competitive Advantage

For a start the strategy is grounded in the principles of good basic economics – the theory of competitive advantage. Throughout his years at GE, Jack Welch sold or closed assets in markets where he was not or could not be number 1 or number 2. Similarly, he brought in assets from external sources where he wanted to reach the top position. This meant that he built “competitive advantage” over time against other companies through accumulation of efficient, performing resources. He maximized the overall sum produced by allowing economies of scale to exist.

The strategy also worked because Jack Welsh was smart enough to know which businesses to stay in and which business to leave – where there was growth and where the competitive forces had made differentiation hard and driven margins and share of market down.

Strategy and Your Startup

The question then is how does a start-up achieve this position with limited resources?

The answer to this question may lie with a lean structure able to adapt quickly to changing customer tastes and having a unique value proposition so that you compete in a space where you can be No 1 or No 2.

Some Cool Plugins to Get Your Site Started Building Your Site On WordPress

I am still building Converseit, but I wanted to share some of my learnings from setting up and creating Converseit with my audience. Each week I will be setting some objectives, performing some tasks, and sharing the results with you – to me this is another way of providing ownership of Converseit to my audience.

For this week the objective was to have plugins for comments, social media, and SEO. For a digital marketer these are part and parcel of the trade – it is imperative to set these up properly and test them. Here are some plugins I used:

Comments for Great Social Engagement

I first discovered Disqus, a nifty plugin for social comments, when I posted content on venturebeat. I instantly loved it. Disqus allows you to connect with your audience beyond just your own page or website and understand who they are as people. You can leverage this plugin to understand the customer’s pain points and speak with the customer’s voice.

SEO Optimization for Search Engines

For SEO I used a simple plugin called FV Simpler SEO Options. With SEO moving from optimized keywords to natural content, the focus is to write on topic while enabling SEO elements other than the content. FV Simpler SEO creates a interface and checklist to ensure the SEO elements other than content have been done properly.

Sharing tools For Virality

Creating easy to share is critical to be successful as a digital marketer. There are a plethora of social media sharing plugins out there, and there is little to differentiate. As a marketer, looks are as important as message. Therefore, selecting a good looking sharing plugin is critical. I went with Shareholic. Shareholic not only allows ease of sharing across multiple platforms, it also has an analytics engine to help you track the reach of your content.

Keep in mind not to install too many plugins – be selective! The wordpress theme can easily be overloaded with plugin and loading speeds can be affected.

Hello Digital Marketers and Entrepreneurs

This is my new blog where I will answer your questions about new products, digital marketing and startups.
I would be thrilled to get your feedback and try to answer any specific questions you have. I will also be using this blog to capture information through surveys and test product ideas. Your participation is necessary in helping me make these activities successful.

So let me start by telling you about myself:

With experience in business, technology, and innovation, I have developed a knack for designing strategy based on data – data about the customer, competitive forces, technology trends, and new exciting business models. During the course of my career, I have worked in a broad set of industries, ranging from aviation and transportation, to renewable energy and IT. But a focus on satisfy customers by providing real value to them has led me to work in product management and marketing.

To enhance my experience, I have also completed formal education from the best programs in entrepreneurship, business, and technology. Formal education has led me across the globe – with connections from Canada and Europe to Far East and the Sub-Continent. This has allowed me to see both strategy and tactical implementation from a multicultural and global view.

I hope this breadth of experience can help you be successful. Happy reading.