Saturday, May 14, 2011

Think Insights – Google Tools for Marketers and Researchers

Jenny Liu, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Google in his blog of 11 May wrote:

"It’s one of our guiding principles that data beats opinion. With that in mind, our marketing team has put a lot of effort into posing interesting questions—How do new mothers use the Internet? When do people really start their holiday shopping? What trends typify today’s Hispanic web user?—and answering them with concrete information to help marketers make better informed decisions".

Google is making the difference! The comapny has developed an excellent tool “Think Insights website”. This tool will represent a wide variety of content. Google will use its knowledge and insights into internet marketing trends. The company has put substantial efforts in understanding its users which is helping Google improve how web users are embracing new media platforms and how marketers are adapting to technology’s dynamic landscape.

The availibity of key data will facilitate marketers in developing their marketing stratefy and also improve the market for Google AdWords.

Google is keeping at the top of demand driven marketing strategy.

Largest Technology Buyout – Microsoft Purchases Skype!

Growth in the technology sector is becoming major threat to industry giants. Recent $8.5 billion Skype buyout deal with Microsoft is one example of how industry giants are trying to do things to keep up with the faster growing technology companies.

On 9th May, this largest buyout agreement was finalized. This acquisition will help Microsoft enter in business lines such as calling to play, catch-up in mobile and web advertising.
Microsoft realizes that the market for online advertising and mobile software is growing with crazy pace and this biggest Internet takeover in the recent history, will also bring Microsoft in direct competition with Google in online advertising and Apple Inc. in mobile software.

The plan to connect Skype’s 170 million active users, to Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail, Xbox game console, Windows mobile phones and corporate-phone software will truly shake the technology market place!

Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. The founders sold the company for $2.6 billion in 2005 to San Jose, California-based EBay Inc., which in turn sold off most of its stake four years later. Current investors include EBay, Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.

We need to watch how Google takes this deal in the near future!

Effective Communication - the Science of Change Management

We like to live in our comfort zone and as intelligent specie generally resist change, particularly in the corporate world. Often people do not realize the cost of their rigidity in changing their behaviors.

How many times did you experience people gossiping in the corridors about a particular process or procedure introduced in your organization in which management had spent precious time and money? Initial reactions are curiosity, fear, anxiety that result in reluctance in adapting things that are aimed at improving the efficiency and brining transparency in an organization.

Many times, the key reason for resistance to change is lack of communication between the change implementers and staff. Senior management often leaves the process to an implementing team, resulting a communication gap between the top management and the rest. Certainly causing frictions!

Yes Change Management is a science many senior managers still find tough to deal with.

There are two essentials to follow for managing change:
1. Open and two way communication
2. Creating buy-in by describing benefits

I read an excellent piece from Garrison Wynn

"Communication skills are the foundation of team work, allowing us to transfer a message of support and hope so we believe as a group that solutions are possible. The key to being able to communicate and benefit from each other is to truly see you own value. That will allow you to see it more clearly in others."

Technically speaking, when we communicate, we try to influence other’s thoughts, hence this should be a carefully crafted process and thoughtful selection of words is necessary and often realizing the pain of not changing helps in behavioral acceptability towards change.

Entrepreneurship is Beyond Money Management

A number of new businesses sprung up in the time of recession. After failure to find a suitable job, most people try to enter into entrepreneurship career. But due to unstable economic conditions and lack of their abilities to face the entrepreneurship challenges, some succeed, some not.

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki has written a new book “Unfair Advantage” in which he describes that unemployed people enjoy an unfair advantage of becoming an entrepreneur. According to Robert, “age is not a bar in becoming self-employed”. For example, he says that “It might be easy to lease a luxury car and offer limo service”.

Robert says that “The ability to sell is an important skill of any entrepreneur and the key job of an entrepreneur is to raise money.”

And he advices entrepreneurs to learn:

1. to Sell,
2. to invest via market trends, and
3. to invest in real estate trends.

In my view, this theory can be challenged. There is no doubt when economy dives and companies start showing people doors, a larger number of individuals try to start their own businesses. But at the same time, cash is scarce and products and services are competing for less money. This cut throat competition makes survival for new business a major challenge.

My argument is that “Basics of Entrepreneurship” go beyond selling and investing. Entrepreneurship needs much more holistic approach and skill-set, idea and idea implementation strategy is evenly important. After all investments will be made when access cash is available!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why would I buy an Apple (iPOD, iPhone or iPad)?

The simple answer is “iPad is IN”.

The concept of different strategies for business machines and consumer hardware is now history. New technologies have changed the way marketing was done to businesses and to individuals.

The most significant change in the way such products are positioned it the marketplace came from iPhone. Despite the fact that most tec people originally categorized iPhone as a consumer product, it became extremely liked gadget in the corporate world as well.

Unique positioning done by Apple is now helping the company to tap into equal business opportunities in both market segments. This strategy is likely to outrun Apple’s competitors HP that is bringing out HP Slate.

The key to this unique positioning by Apple is by making a consumer focused product and transforming it for into a corporate gadget by adding business functionalities.
This approach provided Apple a strategic place in the young consumers market. For example youth can graduate from iPod Touch to iPhone at a later date and to tablet devices. Having said that, the challenge for Apple is to satisfy its consumers that are unable to use third party applications.

My view is that Apple builds customer loyalty right from the youth hood just like Wal-Mart that trains its future customers by giving them small trolleys for shopping at Wal-Mart stores.

What is McDonald’s Line of Business?

Starting his career as a Red Cross ambulance driver, how did Ray Korc became the owner of McDonald’s Restaurant chain? Ray had a vision:

“Serve burgers, buns, fries and beverages that tasted just the same in Alaska as they did in Alabama”

This could only be done through creating flaw less processes and effective supply chain, and today, McDonald’s restaurant system is known for consistency in taste due to uniform methods of preparation.

I read an interesting quote from him:

“If I had a brick for every time I’ve repeated the phrase Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value, I think I’d probably be able to bridge the Atlantic Ocean with them.”

Today McDonald's is one of the largest restaurant chains in the world.
But if I ask you “What is McDonald’s Actual line of business? I am sure almost 100% will respond: “RESTAURANT BUSINESS or Selling Hamburgers”.

McDonald’s line of business is “REAL ESTATE”. Surprised!

McDonald’s is known for acquiring properties for its restaurants at the most attractive intersections. Not only in the US, but around the globe, all McDonald’s restaurants are either located at busy intersections or in malls full of customers. These properties have made this company the single largest owner of real estate in the world.

Interestingly, the company is now entered in China in a big way. Let’s see how this fast emerging market takes its business to new heights. That's what we call a futuristic strategy for business development.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Untapped Facebook Opportunity in Pakistan

Over the last few days I have been asking my contacts if they are using Facebook as a tool for business networking or business promotion. Despite the fact that Pakistanis are one of the largest Facebook community, but the response to my question is mostly NO!

For older generation, perhaps Facebook is too technical and they generally do not feel comfortable in exploring the opportunities, but surprisingly, the younger generation also marginally uses it as an opportunity tool!

I was reading an article in San Francisco Chronicle that quotes a study conducted by PEW Research Center in the US suggesting that:

“up to 8 percent of the top news sites' traffic now comes from Facebook, which is also one of the top destinations after a visitor leaves a news site, an indication that people are using the Facebook Share button embedded in news stories.”


“CNN, had 5.84 percent of its departing visitors heading to Facebook and 7.05 percent coming from the social network. SFGate saw 3.82 percent of its traffic going to Facebook and 5.74 percent coming the other way”.

These are some astonishing numbers. I am wondering how many business in Pakistan are actually using social media as a Business TOOL? I guess, most businesses are still living in stone age and hence provide supper opportunities for social media experts.

Tweets by Celebrities on Mother’s Day

Tweeting has become an “In” thing. Perhaps this is the reason that on this mother’s day in addition to cakes, chocolates and flowers for mothers, a number of celebrities also sent their love and gratitude via Tweeter.

For example:

Vivek Oberoi wrote: For ur love, guidance, wisdom and strength...Love you maa!

Actress Bipasha Basu, tweeted: "My Mother! Superwoman! Paying respect to the most selfless person in our lives, Mothers! Everyday not just today."

Neil Patrick Harris of How I Met Your Mother “Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! I’m very lucky to have a mom I respect and love”.

Sarlet Kourtney Kardashian tweeted: “Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing mother’s!! Life would not be possible without you! Enjoy your day,”

Actress Dia Mirza wrote; “Every time I think of all that my mother is and does I wonder if I''ll ever make a mother as good as her... My Mommy is the best,"

Lara Dutta tweeted: “To mine, and all the mommies in the world, may today and all your days be filled with unconditional love!, actress-producer Lara Dutta said.

Ex-Australian spinner Shane Warne- “Happy mothers day to all the mums out there-you guys have the toughest job in the world. Hope you get spoilt-to my mum-your the best !!!!!!”

Sania Mirza Malik- “Happy Mother's day to all the wonderful and fabulous mothers in the world..the world is nothing without you all:)”

Well done celebrities, you found time to at least tweet for your moms!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tips on Finding a Dream Job

So after my blog “Be an Entrepreneur - Do not suppress your career potential!” I received emails from readers suggesting “there are people out there interested in a job career, I should write for them as well!

So I asked myself, what is a dream job?

1. Comes with loads of money?
2. Provides career growth opportunity?
3. Less volatile?
4. Or all three?

Anyone with very basic intelligence would say yes, ALL THREE. I do not think one should not ask for the best, however, without self diagnostic it is not possible to expect all that falling into your lap!

Market forces together with your education, experience, will to accept challenges and your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that helps you stand out in competition determines what will be your career opportunities.

I highly recommend James Caan’s book “Get the Job You Really Want”. James was born in Pakistan in 1960. Migrated to UK where he changed his identity. He graduated from Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, and known for building and selling businesses. He made his fortune in recruitment business “Humana International” with 147 offices in 30 countries.

His book not only addresses the challenges for experienced job seekers, but also provides tools for new market entrants.

Caan says: “It is possible to have the job of your dreams. Together we are going to set about getting you there..”

Enjoy reading and get your dream job.

Mothers Day Special “Mompreneurs - a very happy mother’s day!”

Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May is a well-established tradition going back to Ann Jarvis of Philadelphia in 1907. With her strong determination, Ann dedicated her life to fulfill her mother’s dream of the recognition of day for honoring mothers.

Mothers are special, absolutely! They carry a baby for 9 months, day-night, work or rest, rain of snow. Go through birth pains, feeds, loves, cares, guides. No doubt, God has combined all His loving qualities only in one person “Mother”.

With ever changing dynamics of business, raising a family for working mothers has been a challenge. The term used for Mom Entrepreneurs is “Mompreneur”. Cool, isn’t it?

There is no doubt that striking a balanced life is perhaps the biggest struggle for a Mompreneur. Writer Julie Lenzer Kirk in her book “The PartnerpReneur Edge” suggests that being a mom makes a better businesswoman and how parenting teaches helps building a successful business.

In my view mothers are:

Better planner
Have people’s qualities
Understand money
Pushy and

Keep it up moms, a very happy mother’s day to Momopreneurs around the globe!