Category Archives: LinkedIn

LinkedIn TECHconnect Bangalore 2015 – Focus on Relevance Marketing

Six months later it was yet again thought provoking event at Ritz Carlton, Bangalore on 22nd Sept’15. Earlier in Feb’15 I attended Paul Writer’s IT Marketing Summit and this time, the occasion was LinkedIn TECHconnect event where technology marketers gathered under one roof to discuss the various aspects about marketing in technology driven ecosystem. Even above the traditional objectives of attending event like networking, this event definitely left many of us ponder upon few thoughts and I am sure some of us would implement the learning in our respective roles and help our organizations succeed. Like always I will try to capture most of the learning here that I could grasp from yesterday’s event in the interest of the larger audience and I hope it will seed few thoughts in many others.

The major underlying takeaway for technology marketers in the house was to focus on ‘Relevance Marketing’, ‘Broaden You Horizon beyond ITDMs’, ‘Consider viewpoints of end-users’ and  few more. Let me take you through session-wise key points.

The evening began with a session by Russell Glass, who focused on Relevance Marketing and highlighted five trends that were driving technology marketing (in my view could be extended for non-technology marketing also!). He kept quoting Amazon, Flipkart, Airbnb, Uber for the seamless and satisfactory experience that these brands provide to their customers across geographies. He highlighted the complex buying behavior of B2B buyers and termed it as ‘random walk in a maze’, where B2B buyers source information from various touchpoints before arriving at a decision. His key urge to technology marketers was to think about the question – ‘How do I create “relevant experience” at scale?’ Its actually a great question that marketers need to answer if they wish to succeed. The key five trends that he highlighted were:

1. Relevance in mobile has become a reality

2. Data should be relevant with better content and experience

3. Focus on nurturing opportunities through technology

4. Technology is helping us predict better and hence unlock our valuable customers

5. Leverage the fusion of advertising and marketing technologies

Panel Discussion – 1

Russell’s session was followed up with a panel discussion on Disruption – Insights from the Cutting Edge of Marketing. The panel members consisted or four marketers who leveraged technology to disrupt the consumer behavior – Kashyap Dalal, Sanjiv Singhal, Vineet Sehgal and Adhil Shetty. The panelists had following suggestions for the audience:

1. Disruption should be embedded in the culture of an organization

2. Even in their successful times, an organization should continue to innovate

3. Organizations should look beyond their own business to derive inspiration for disruption

4. An effective combination of traditional marketing and technology pays well in the path of disruption

5. Disruption could be created with a contextual content that would result in long term business

6. At times even basic hygience marketing that improves customer experience (that has been ignored by your competitors) can result into a disruption

7. In this technology driven economy focus is more on product marketing

Panel Discussion – 2

The second panel of the day took a deep dive at today’s empowered technology buying process. The eminent panelists were – Kelly Kyer, Vasantha Kumar, Sudharsan R. and Srihari Gopinath. Kelly, set the stage for discussion of this panel by sharing findings from a survey that LinkedIn conducted amongst 3800+ technology decision makers. The key findings of the survey were:

1. 4+ functions were involved at each stage of the buying process. Some of the support functions like finance and accounting, support, sales, business development, marketing and purchase were also involved in the buying process

2. 2 to 4 pieces of content was consumed by decision makers at each stage

3. 51% decision makers consulted end-users

4. 25% respondents shortlisted a new vendor, which reflects that organizations should focus on retention

5. 78% buyers require education to sustain or make a change in the post-purchase engagement situation

The panelists later shared their inputs on how technology buying process was changing. The key takeaways were:

1. Marketers should go through a buying journey and help buyers in their process

2. Marketers should move from data analysis to predictive analytics and further on to one-to-one marketing.

3. Marketers should focus on non-ITDMs and end-users

4. Post purchase market is a huge opportunity and marketers should look forward to educate buyers in that stage

5. Sales process is no more like a funnel, it’s more like a ping-pong game

After two panel discussions, Ahmad Abdullah shared his insights on how marketers could leverage LinkedIn to build persona of their buyers. He educated audience with some basic steps (that are often ignored by marketers!) on knowing target audience, building relationships with them and engaging with them with relevant content.

The final session of the evening was on ‘Selling in a Social World’. Apurva Chamaria shared his personal experience, insights and advice for marketers on how to leverage social selling. The key insights shared by Apurva were,

1. Social Selling is a oxymoron. Selling always has been social

2. Listening is the new prospecting! Listen well using social channels and reach buyers at the right time

3. Sales professionals who use social media for selling are 3X more likely to crush their yearly sales quote

4. ABC of selling – Always be connecting!

5. Advice for marketeers: Start small. Define KPIs. Handle change management well

6. Sales Management Process – 3Vs Value, Volume, Velocity, 2Es Efficiency and Effectiveness

7. Gamification of Social Selling process can help sales leaders excite about this phenomenon

That summed up the truly thought provoking evening. Full credit to LinkedIn for selecting great panelists and speakers. Moreover, their team did a great job in managing time and ensuring audience had enough time for networking too!

Last, but not the least one would always cherish this beautiful gift from LinkedIn for all event attendees!

LinkedIn TECHconnect

LinkedIn MTV ‘Get A Job’ Campaign

As usual while browsing through my Twitter timeline, I came across a tweet by Intel India about some internship position. The hashtag, #GetAJob drew my attention and the curiosity within me went after researching what it was. It might be that I am the last person on the Earth to know about this campaign. In that case, just feel free to stop reading this blogpost and move on! Else, just keep reading and get to know what I experienced and think about this campaign.

I landed upon a campaign website and was spell-bound to know that LinkedIn and MTV have joined hands together to provide a ‘cool summer internship’. Now, that sounded unusual as how can a music / entertainment company join with a professional networking website to run such an intern-hunt. So, this further fuelled the curiosity. And, I finally got to know that both these diverse but leaders in their industry have come together and involved 10 other organizations for this campaign. The branding and other technical details which I will discuss below clearly indicated that the campaign was a brainchild of LinkedIn and their objectives were either all or some of these – 1) Increase penetration of LinkedIn in India, 2) Make youngsters realize the importance of LinkedIn as part of their career ladder, 3) Drive awareness about cool new jobs that are available and that are getting created day-in and day-out by top brands and 4) Set a sound case study on social recruitment in a country (India) where still resumes / CVs rule the hiring manager’s desk etc. I would be eager to know from LinkedIn / MTV team if I missed any of the objectives.

Campaign website

Campaign website

The campaign website is very attractive and clearly lists the 12 internship positions that are available in diverse organizations like Pepsi (Platform Marketing Intern), Reliance (Social Media Intern), Rolling Stone (Editorial Intern), Tata Consultancy Services (Enterprise Game Design Intern), Flipkart (Management Trainee), Mercedes-Benz (Security Analyst Intern), Intel (Circuit Design Intern), Loreal (Brand Marketing Intern), LinkedIn (Product Marketing Intern), Universal Music (Digital Media Intern), MTV (Show Production Intern) and Grey Group (Copywriting Intern). Virtually the campaign has touched upon all industries that would be of keen interest to youngsters of 2015! A very convincing campaign video was also made available on the website.

Eligibility

18 year old candidates with Indian citizenship (read: campaign was restricted only for Indian audience) were required to be enrolled for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

Application Procedure

How to Apply?

Here came the trick! Candidates were required to apply only through their LinkedIn profile. If the candidates didn’t have a LinkedIn profile, they were asked to create one and then apply. A user-friendly guidance video with to-do list for candidates to create their LinkedIn profile was made available.

LinkedIn MTV Get A Job selection procedure

What happens Next?

The shortlisted applicants would be asked to send a short video highlighting why they are best suited for the job. This would be followed by Group Discussion / Skill Test for top five applicants and finally interview by hiring manager for final 2. Eventually one applicant would manage to get the dream internship.

My views:

1) This campaign would help LinkedIn establish the fact that their platform is crucial for today’s employment scenario. I think this would also ease the efforts of LinkedIn to come closer to the Indian corporate fraternity. LinkedIn would use this campaign as a leverage to touch base with few other organizations who haven’t tried LinkedIn’s products so far.

2) This would be a one more stepping stone for social recruitment space in the country, hence forcing hiring managers to think seriously about this space for their hiring needs

3) I struggled to a large extent and yet didn’t manage to find the timelines for the campaign. There was no end date for the applications to be submitted or some tentative dates for the next rounds. However, it is clearly mentioned that the internship could be for four months and would be between April and July.

4) Though it would have an intentional strategy, I feel both LinkedIn and MTV should have made explicit for this courtship which to my mind looks confusing. On the first sight I felt as if the campaign is for MTV and LinkedIn is sponsoring it. But, once I browsed through the website it was clear that many other brands have joined for this cause. The association of MTV still remains a mystery to me at least!

5) Some element of gamification for each of the roles on this campaign website itself would have further increased engagement scope for the applicants and would have driven word of mouth (through social sharing) much faster and wider. Moreover, this gamification step in itself could have acted as an intermediary step for evaluation.

Overall, I felt this was a great initiative specially targeted towards the youth!

Digital Campaign Review: Raymond #MenInJackets

LinkedIn, the professional networking platform has made news on various fronts both at India and global level. Like any other social networking platform, LinkedIn too has various revenue generation streams from business marketing and recruitment marketing perspectives. Some advertisement opportunities are very specific to B2B businesses while some properties are very relevant for organizations to build their employer brand. Apart from these two broad types of paid opportunities, there is a display banner property on the home page of LinkedIn (you would have seen a small square on right hand side panel). Generally, every time you refresh the home page of LinkedIn you will end up seeing a different ad. Most of these ads when run by B2B organizations, they carry a call to action where the user is redirected to some internal page of LinkedIn – be it company page or careers section etc. However, these ads if you would have noticed some B2C brands that tend to target ‘professionals’ have tried to leverage this property and have primarily taken the user out of LinkedIn ecosystem to their own website for various purposes.

Yesterday, while browsing LinkedIn one such ad of Raymond caught my attention and I clicked on it (I missed taking snapshot of that ad). Not to my surprise, I landed up on the Raymond Select website. The website had amazing welcome page with a clear and crisp copy explaining users why and what he/she is supposed to do on this website.

Raymond_homepaeg

I could enter this website only after logging in through my LinkedIn account, which I believe was a very simple call to action and an intelligent one, as brand would be capturing all user data in the back-end to analyze if they ended up having the right target audience go through this experience. Raymond could use all those intelligence for their future campaigns.

Once I entered the website (after log in) I was subjected to posed five questions.These questions were presented in a very visually appealing manner and I had to just select one correct answer and move ahead to answer the next one.

Raymond_Question1

Raymond_Question3

Raymond_Question4

Raymond_Question5

The best part of this question repository was that the set of questions changed every time you tried to attempt this game. I tried playing it thrice with the intuition that set of questions will change in the next iteration and they did! Here are few questions that I came across over my three attempts.

Once I completed the game, the application provided my score and it gave me an opportunity to share about my experience on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with the campaign hashtag – #MenInJackets.

Raymond_Question6

Also, the correct answers for all five questions were revealed to me.

Raymond_Correct Answers

Major attractions of the campaign:

  • Targeting the right audience (professionals who can afford to buy Raymond range of clothes), on right platform (LinkedIn), with the right proposition (get your professional image clicked for free from a professional photographer)
  • Clutter free website with crisp copy on each page
  • Questions presented in a visually appealing manner
  • Raymond

Where Raymond could have done better:

  • I couldn’t find remarketing tags on the website. I think after driving huge traffic from LinkedIn at a premium rate (CPCs and CTRs are very premium on LinkedIn) it would have been efficient for Raymond to create a remarketing list and chase those users with next piece of content to engage with them.
  • Raymond has a decent presence on Facebook, Google Plus, and Pinterest. However, I think they could have leveraged a lot on this campaign by creating a presence on Twitter, specially as there are many conversations on the platform around the hashtag – #MenInJackets
  • This was an awesome opportunity for brand to conduct in depth listening exercise and get into engagement mode with the target audience, which I see is completely missing
  • Raymond succeeded well in creating an engaging proposition, but I fail to understand how they missed the bus of engaging their audience in real time

Raymond_Message Sharing

Overall, I loved this simple concept which was very well executed and rightly targeted on the relevant platform.

Why it is important to avoid the trap of blindly following the data?

Data has always been crucial for any management decision. However, in the last few years, data analytics has taken center stage in decision making with various tools and software available for data analytics. Various research and data analytics firms like Gartner, Forrester have flourished on the basis of data. They collect and analyze data to prepare impressive reports that are put for sale at hefty prices.

As a student of statistics, I read that don’t rely on data blindly as data can be misleading. It is the analytical mind when applied to data that matters. Only then can it convert to valuable information and applicable knowledge. However, recently after reading one such data analysis report from one of the reputed internet marketing company, I was forced to think how these companies use the data for arriving at deceiving results and if the brands follow their tips (yes, they gave certain tips), then wouldn’t they be wasting their efforts and resources.

The report in discussion is 62 social media tips from around the world by Hubspot. When I saw it, I was naturally inclined to read it but, sooner jumped to the tips for Indian brands willing to optimize on their social media efforts. The report indicated that the top social networking websites in India are Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut in that order. Now, this information was a shocker to me as Orkut was the first social networking website to which Indian Internet users were exposed to. But, a bigger shock was awaiting for me when I read that the report suggested the brands in India to focus on Facebook and Orkut.  We all are aware that Orkut is a dead bet and Google has come up with another Social networking site GooglePlus already. The active Orkut users are very less and declining every day. The report had completely ignored Twitter. I researched a little more on Internet and found that in active user numbers, Twitter is the third in rank. In fact no report was talking about Orkut. In a report by SAP India, where data was derived from examining the social web for the period Feb 2011 to Feb 2012, Twitter was ranked first for buzz with great margins from second social networking website Facebook.

Clearly there is a stark difference in the suggested focus for brands, between various research and data analytics agencies. I sent a tweet to Hubspot not to suggest such deceiving tips to the brands.

However, they did not reply to it and they are one of the renowned internet marketing companies of the World, dealing in most sophisticated tools for social media marketing.

There are two simple takeaways- for the analytics companies, and the brands.

In the days of automated analysis tools, still it is the human brain which gives meaning to the data, so data analytics companies should use that in order to bring out the analysis reports which are useful for the user and hence for them in long run.

If a brand just follows the analytics reports from these so-called great analytics companies, they will end up wasting their resources and losing on the business. Therefore brands need to open their eyes and see whether the past reports and forecasts of these big companies have given the desired results or not. If not, then they should not rely on such companies for taking small to big business decisions.

How should brands effectively leverage LinkedIn?

When it comes to building a community around a brand, the most obvious channel that comes to the mind of a marketing manager is Facebook, obviously due to its sheer size and popularity. This might be a perfect choice for a B2C brand. However, according to me for a B2B brand it would be more beneficial to have a strong presence on LinkedIn, where the decision makers are flocking around. LinkedIn is a professional network where not only brands can build their presence using Company Pages feature, but key decision makers of a brand can network, discuss and build relationships with decision makers of their customers, suppliers and other affiliates.

The different features of LinkedIn like Company Pages, LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Answers, LinkedIn Jobs can be effectively leveraged by brands to nurture a valuable community. I recently blogged about the same on Social Samosa. The blogpost highlights following topics:

  • Should brands create a LinkedIn profile or a LinkedIn company page?
  • How does a Company Page look like?
  • How to build followers on your Company Page?
  • What should be the content strategy for the Company Page?
  • Is Company Page the only way for brands to build community?

If you have come across any impressive Company Page on LinkedIn, share the link here in comment section.