He Answers
Vineet Mathur
Founder Director, Shri Vinayak Online Consultants Pvt Ltd.
With more than 20 years of experience in Internet media management & IT Sales, an MBA in Marketing and Post graduate in Computer Applications from BITS Pilani, Vineet has been an entrepreneur since 2001 & has served as a consulting Executive Vice President with UTV New Media Ltd.
Her Questions
Anita Nayyar
CEO Havas Media India & South Asia
Anita Nayyar has witnessed various transitions in media for the last 25 years and therefore she maintains a firm footing in the same field. Her expertise lies in the area of Sports, entertainment, digital and OOH.
Anita Nayyar : We hear digital marketing is the 'next' big thing and we are hearing it for last 8 years. Any idea when we will reach the 'next' level?
Vineet Mathur: A Most Difficult Question-a Zillion Dollar Question!!!!!!!!!

Blake Ross, founder of Firefox, often says that “the next big thing is what will make the last big thing USABLE.”

If I couple that statement with Tom Peters’ statement that “the women’s market is Opportunity 1,” what I infer is that one of the next BIG THINGS will be “how to use the Internet to better serve women.”

Notice how few women use LinkedIn. How can it be more, well, Oprah-like? Or how can the Internet develop applications that truly serve women?

But above and beyond market specificity, I would also bet that the next big thing will be ubiquitous applications that enable people to empower themselves through the precise and personalized acquisition of relevant knowledge, especially for professional development purposes.

Indeed, with the rise of China and India in the economic sphere and the entrance of three billion new workers into the global workforce, everybody will be scrambling for convenient, customized professional empowerment and advancement.

Convergence of Access Internet Anywhere on Cross-Platform/Devices (Wimax, 3G+) has some interesting applications.

Personalized and Localized (to GPS accuracy) Content (Facebook/MySpace, becomes “MyNeighborhood Right Now”)

Niche Web2.0 Communities based on a common Profile-Login (Facebook/twitter/MySpace becomes MyPeopleWhoseNameIsVineetAndLikesFishing.com). You create a profile somewhere, and you can log into any of these random communities without having to re-create profile (create the same content over) again. Portable-Profiles.

Green Tech. From Carbon counting debit economy (spend Dollars and Carbon Points) to hybrid energy sources.

(I have answered part of this question in the next query where I talk about the timelines to reach critical mass for the emerging digital trends.)

Anita Nayyar : The shift from paid media to earned media - is it ironical? And will it experience some tectonic shifts in the media?
Vineet Mathur: The terms "earned, owned and paid (aka bought) media" have become very popular in the interactive marketing space today. In fact, taken together they can be applied as a simple way for interactive marketers to categorize and ultimately prioritize all of the media options they have today. Nokia was an early pioneer in this space. They now categorize all of their global interactive media as earned, owned or bought. Many agencies also use the model to help develop digital strategies.

Recognize that earned media is a result of brand behavior. "Earned media" is an old PR term that essentially meant getting your brand into free media rather than having to pay for it through advertising. However the term has evolved into the transparent and permanent word-of-mouth that is being created through social media. You need to learn how to listen and respond to both the good (positive organic) and bad (spurned) as well as consider when to try and stimulate earned media through word-of-mouth marketing. It has become critical for all organizations to realize a term called-ORM-Online Reputation Management. There are specialized software tools that scan the entire digital space to give mentions/buzz about the brand/product & basis this information (positive, negative, and neutral), the agency can decide the right course of action.

Your paid media is not dead, but it is evolving into a catalyst. Many people are predicting the end of paid media (aka advertising). However, that prediction may be premature as no other type of media can guarantee the immediacy and scale that paid media can. However, paid media is shifting away from the foundation and evolving into a catalyst that is needed at key periods to drive more engagement.
Anita Nayyar : You would have been a brand marketer - what would have been your ideal media mix? Offline-online-mobile what?
Vineet Mathur: The typical Brand Strategy will include the deployment of various types of interactive media via website, blog, press releases, paid advertisements, sponsorships, Web 2.0 platforms, mobile website and social media accounts.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining the best media-mix for your organization, or to know precisely how to allocate resources for the best ROI. If you tried to measure everything, you wouldn’t have the money to do anything. You have to focus on the media that matter. Of course, the media that matter is different for every company and, even more challenging, different for each initiative within the said company. I would recommend taking the following 4 steps to come up with your equation that can be used & adapted for all media relations initiatives:

a) Deliberate information: This part of the planning phase focuses on gathering all information that is currently available in the context of your organizations’ media tracking & analysis capabilities. What is the media universe in which your organization orbits? Who are your target audiences, and what media speaks directly to them? During this process of gathering intelligence & digesting it, it’s critical that you do so in the context of a specific campaign or objective, as thinking too broadly can create unnecessary complications.

b) Set media targets: Based on the findings of your research, you can identify the best media targets, always keeping in mind that the end user of your message will be the people who read the media you pitch. Draw a grid with 6 squares & label each one according to media type: newspapers/magazines, trade publications, broadcast, online publications, blogs & social media sites, mobile marketing. Then according to which media reaches your TA most effectively prioritize resource allocation by weighing how much time and money you plan to put in each category. Come up with a scale/points system for the grid.

c) Execute: Conduct the outreach to the media you identified. Remember to customize pitches for each type of media-print journalists have very different preferences than bloggers.

d) Measure & evaluate: This is the step that brings the process full-circle & gives you ammunition to take to the C-Suite to prove the ROI. Analyze media analysis as: audited circulation/audience (info that is available online), tone (positive, neutral, negative), & placement.

So in essence start with the basics always: ORM-Online Reputation Management to assess brand/company info, moving to a strong strategy on what media will support the cause & then execute the media. ORM is a great tool to measure & monitor everything you would do across media & gives you a rate/benchmark of success. Often ORM cuts across & moves to Social Media Marketing as once you have been speaking to all the people talking about your brand through ORM, you can move them all to a Social Media platform to sit & discuss about your brand & keep creating sticky content for them to come again & again.
Anita Nayyar : All hype about social media especially Twitter. Do you think twitter is a social barometer or a real marketing avenue?
Vineet Mathur: Social media is a hot topic and there is a high element of hype. Marketing companies and brands are working out how to implement all the different platforms and are experimenting with different strategies and tactics.

Facebook is being used to promote content, run competitions and listen and engage with customers.

Twitter is treated with disdain by most of the uninitiated but others are using it for sales promotions and customer service to good effect and bloggers are using it for content promotion.

Brands are using social media monitoring suites, tools and apps for monitoring buzz about their brands so as to quickly answer and respond when sentiment goes pear shaped. (If you write something negative about a brand on your blog and tweet it don't be surprised if you get a tweet or blog comment in response.

YouTube was just about personal videos, now it is about video blogging and is applied to websites and blogs in creative ways for companies and brands that was never part of the plans when the platform was initially established.

So what are the years to mainstream adoption for the hottest trending and social media technologies?

(In answer partly to question no. 1 above as well) " Corporate blogging - 2 to 5 years and on the slope of enlightenment
" Microblogging (Twitter) - 2 to 5 years but on the downside of the peak of inflated expectations and is experiencing the inevitable disillusionment around 'channel pollution', but is starting to earn its place alongside other channels such as email, blogging and wikis.
" Online Video (YouTube and others) - 2 to 5 years and in the peak of inflated expectations
" Social software suites - 2 to 5 years.
" Wikis - 2 to 5 years and in the slope of enlightenment

" E-Book readers - 2 to 5 years but in the 'Peak of Inflated Expectations'
The challenge for companies is timing their decisions to ensure that they are not too soon or too late. Maybe it is better to be a little too early rather than too late before your competitors have the jump on you.

Specifically to answer the query on Twitter, it is still one of the hottest Social Media platforms to be connected on, even as its growth begins to slow.

Twitter usage exploded in 2009. US site traffic, which is only a partial barometer of how many people used the service, grew from a few million unique monthly visitors in early 2009 to over 20 million by June. Traffic has since reached a plateau, but other usage metrics continue to show high levels of engagement in 2010. At its first developers' conference in April 2010, Twitter reported it had nearly 106 million registered accounts worldwide, with just under 40% coming from inside the US.

It's too early to tell, but the idea of enabling people to communicate in a short and simple way that can be broadcasted to the world is not going to grow tired any time soon. Marketers tend to focus too much on the tool or delivery mechanism over the ramifications of what the platform does to change media and the society it serves. These are amazing times, and Twitter is one of the amazing platforms that allow us to stay connected and share information (from the fascinating to the banal) in near real-time.
Anita Nayyar : Do you think customization of information is what is driving digital media?
Vineet Mathur: Yes, though I would phrase it slightly differently: The evolution of computing is driving the growth in emerging digital media.

When I say computing, I'm not talking about computers but the creation, processing, storage of information and communication. It's also the ability to connect people, machines and computers. These two things have been big movements that have accelerated over the last couple of decades.

More people have access to the essence of computing and the essence of communications at a very low cost.

The ability to create, process, store content and information and then use it to connect with others has lead to great improvement in terms of costs so that a lot more people can do these things.

Now, your average 54-year-old baby boomer can actually do things like program without technical capability. Today's tools also enable all types of people to capture video and put it on YouTube and become publishers.

The big trend in digital marketing is consumer adoption of a whole host of technologies, both in computing and communications that have drastically changed how consumers relate to businesses and to each other.

As a result, while we spend a lot of time talking about business-to-consumer marketing and business-to-business marketing, we are seeing, I think, the emergence of the age of consumer-to-consumer marketing and consumer-to-business marketing.
In conversation with

Vineet Mathur

Anita Nayyar

Rahul Marwaha

Shruti Kapoor

R.P. Singh

Gopa Kumar

Sandeep Singh

Rajiv Dubey

Yuzdi Badhniwalla

Nilesh Chhabria

Vishal Chinchankar

Shantanu Sirohi

Unny Radhakrishnan

Sudhir MD

Madan Sanglikar

Uma Sivakumar

Beerajaah Sswain

Raja Sanyal

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