Archive for 2007
Social Media Marketing is relatively a new concept to the world, and lots of marketing professionals are finding it difficult to convince their top management about the importance of Social Media Marketing.
I stumbled upon with this masterpiece by randfish on seomoz.org. I think this is a “complete A-Z guide to Social Media Marketing” subject.
Hmmmm…. May be it’s a bit too exaggerated, but let’s say “A complete guidance for some one trying to understand the basics of Social Media Marketing”.
Read the article on SeoMoz.Org
But the question is about "how effective their email campaign was?"
Subject line: Merry Christmas. Win an iPod
Hmmmm.. Not bad. It does not rhyme or "go together" (Christmas & iPod?), but it did captured my attention. Nice job.
Dear Mr. [My Name],
As you know iAgora is about international mobility but there are many things we can't offer directly on the site. So we are going to expand our services with special offers from our international partners.
The first offer is an iPod Nano, so you can enjoy your international experiences even more! Read below to participate.
All the best,
The iAgora Team
Now, when I hear "Read below to participate", I "EXPECT" some more details about things like; what this competition is all about?, who can take part?, how the winners are selected?, am I eligible?, more and more questions. (If I am not interested, then there’s no problem at all. I will just delete it. Problem is, I’m interested in their deal!).
Now, the iAgora team has done all the hard part, of grabbing my attention and arousing my interest of “reading below”, I then scrolled down the email to see more details on "how to participate".
And this is what I had, when I "read below" (as they’v instructed me to do)
Travel the World with your iPod Nano
Enjoy your favourite music and carry bits of home with you anywhere you are.
The ideal companion for your international adventures.
Funny, isn’t it?
Remember, they said "Read below to participate". And when I "read below", what I see is what I have to do, IF I DON"T WANT TO PARTICIPATE.
There's no any other link on the email, to read "more details about the competition". The one and only link posted on the mail is for "unsubscribing". There's no even a link to the official home page of iAgora.com
I followed that "one and only link" in hope of finding some information about the deal. And this is what I found. Again, the only thing that I could do on their website is "unsubscribing" from their mailing list!
Where's the most important part of an email marketing campaign? Call to action. Is iAgora's desired response for this email campaign is "unsubscribing”? Where are the information you promised me? You said, "Read below to participate"!
If what they are after is encouraging me to unsubscribe, this is a good example of a successful email marketing campaign.
Key learning points
If you make a promise to your reader, in an email marketing message, never forget to deliver what you've promised. Worst thing that you can do is, promising one thing and delivering completely the opposite side (as iAgora did here. Promise information on how to participate and delivering, what you have to do if you don't want to participate).
Use your message positively. Don't show your reader the way for negative responses (Like unsubscribing). Remember you pay a lot of money, to your email-marketing agency, to do all these stuff. You pay that, to get a positive reaction from the receivers. Not, to invite them for unsubscribing from your mailing list.
The hard part is to get your reader to click on a link in your mail. But, after doing that hard part, if the only option you reader is having is the “unsubscribe” button, then you have done something seriously wrong.
When first introduced, people feared of registering with social media sites, and exposing their personal information online. Lot of these people feared about the privacy of sensitive personal information. Only a handful of people wanted to test the waters. In theory, they are called the innovators. The geeks with low perceived risks of testing new things. Typically right brained.
Yet, there was another segment of users who wanted to register with these sites, but didn’t want to reveal their identity. It resulted in another big debate on "Is anonymity good for the web or not?"
However, today the user-generated internet is really taking off fast. People are willingly coming out and joining these sites without any fears. Still there are many concerns towards privacy issues, but the enthusiasm is higher than what it used to be in the beginning.
We can clearly see that 2007 was a real exponential point for social media sites. It was truly the year of "Change agents". One year back, there were too many people arguing that social networks are just a fad, and web 2.0 is yet another catch word. But, we come to the end of 2007, as the year which marked the most significant changes in internet. Seven out of top ten websites on Alexa rankings were social media sites, during last 3 months. But, in 2006 search engines dominated this top 10 list, with very little room for social media sites. According to this eMarketer predictions, next 4 years going to be the years for the Pragmatists. And, then we'll reach a point where the sustainability becomes an issue! 4 years ago, no one talked about web 2.0 or social media boom. Who knows what’s next in line, to replace these words?
Social Media Future Bright, Challenging
Our group, opted for “arguing in favor of Non-state Universities in Sri Lanka”. Personally, I believe we did a decent job with the presentation, and hopefully the nights I spent sleepless, in preparation for the presentation would pay off.
But more than that, what’s important is the lessons we gathered by this interactive class room activity. Dr. Uditha Liyanage is our course instructor for this subject, and there were many good points made by him, about making effective oral presentations.
One key learning from the whole exercise for me, is the lesson about "Core point, and supportive points". Many of us don’t understand the difference between making a PowerPoint presentation, and writing an article on Microsoft Word. Why Microsoft wanted these two applications as two separate things, is because of an obvious reason!
In fact, most of the time what we do is writing an “article” into a PowerPoint show, and lable it as a “presentation”.
But, if you are trying to create an effective presentation, using PowerPoint, the rule number one is to “keep only the essence”. And that essence should support the core point that you are going to convince. By doing so, you can keep the audiance always active and engaged. But on the other hand, if you stuff in too many inoformation to your presentation slides, it will lead to clutter, and ultimately leading your audiance, for a small nap.
Why do you want to make a presentation? Because, you want to convince your target audience, with your core message, by making use of powerful communication tactics including tone of voice, visual aids, and other Para-verbal communication. On the other hand, if you want to make a detailed explanation to your target audience, what you can do is writing an article, containing all the details. But, most of us do it wrong, by stuffing too much of information into PowerPoint slides, and making the PPS an “article” itself!
Once again, the key learning point! PowerPoints should not be cluttered, and it should contain “Only” the things that really support your core point of the presentation. If you think otherwise, please use Microsoft word instead. PowrPoint is not for you.
(Photo credit: marketingmotivator.net)
"Anti-advirus software". Imagine, what some one can do to your Google
advertising campaign, if they can hijack your ads on the targeted sites?
Fearful, isn't it?
Most of us, are suffering from this evil syndrome called “Procrastination” in our day to day life. It refers to the practice of always delaying what should have been ideally done now. And the victims have more than one reason to justify their decision of delaying,. “I don’t have time” is the most common reason. If there’s something to be done now, the right time for that is “now”. If you delay it even a one second, you are under the influence of Procrastination Syndrome.
I have met many people in my life, who always keep saying things like “Who got time to do all these things?” “I don’t have time” “Oh! You got extra time to chit chat with your friends on Messenger, but I’ve got work to do”
But, actually you’ll realize, at the end of the day those people haven’t completed a single thing, that they are suppose to do within the day. They come up with excuses “Because of task X, I had to delay task Y”. Then you have to ask “So, why haven’t you finished the task X?”
The reality is, those people affected by procrastination keep delaying everything, giving one reason after another. At the end of the day, they have not been able to finish at least a thing, which they are supposed to finish. But, all day alone, they have been shouting to others “I’m busy! I don’t have time!”
Study them carefully. These are the sad victims of Procrastination Syndrome. I used to be a one. But now I’m recovering, slowly but steadily!! But, I know, I have a long way to reach "full recovery".
How many times you have started planning your day, with a “to do” list posted on your desk? How many times, you were advised by some time management expert, to maintain a planning diary?
If you are like me, I’m sure you would have received such advises once every two months or so, and tried such tactics to better plan the days work.
But, very few people actually end up in adopting it as a routine practice. Why? Because, for some reason, regardless of how organized we are with our “to do” list for the day, we fail to do most of the things written on that list, at least within a week from the originally planned date. Sometimes, we do better when we have no plans at all.
I think, the problem here is with a small psychological thing which goes with this whole concept of “plans”. When we “plan” something, unknowingly to us, our mind start to take the things we planned for granted. “Ah ha! It’s in my plans. I’ll do it”.
Planning is important. But it’s not important or even useful, as long as it stays as a mere piece of paper (Or a PDF document, for that matter).
But more than the plan itself, the execution of the plan is more important. In management, and in life, people give higher emphasis on plans, than to the execution of those plans. In fact, some people wrongly assume “Management is all about Plans”. Some companies hire “Managers” to create “Plans”. They enjoy, putting up MS Word documents and MS Excel sheets, full of “plans” and then formatting it with different font types, and sometimes with different colors!
In many of our companies, we have plans for almost everything! A plan for next years sales, a plan for employee motivation, a plan for a corporate social responsibility project, a disaster recovery plan (Well you can’t execute it anyway, until you face a disaster), a 5 S plan, a plan for customer acquisition, a plan for change requests, What a waste of papers!!! (Hard Drive space!!!)
Sometimes, plans can be interpreted as “Documented Procrastination”.
So, what’s actually wrong with Plans?
When some one gets heavily focused on plans, he tends to visualize those plans in action, inside his own mind. This state of the mind, will create a self satisfaction in the mind of the planner that “Ah! I have already planned it. I’m a better organized person now” or “Our Company has a plan for that!” That self satisfaction will deteriorate the urgency of putting the plan into action, at the right time. Every time he thinks of the plan; he will say to himself “Oh It’s in the plan. I will not forget it. Will do it later”.
This is where people get it wrong most of the time. Most people tend to think, when put into a plan “it’s done”. But it’s not. You have to make sure it for yourself that it’s actually “finished”. Otherwise, that thing will hang on your desk, in those sticky note pad things, for ever and forever.
But in contrast, if you start putting more weight on the execution part, you are always under pressure to put the plan into action.
Next time when you make a “to do” list, say to yourself that “It’s not a 'DONE' list, until I finish it off my self”. And all the time, include your method of how you going to do it within the day. Not just a couple of words to remind you what to do.
For example instead of writing “XYZ Ltd Invoice” in your to do list, for reminding you about a follow up with your accounts department on settling an invoice of a supplier, write down it as “Call John Doe and remind about XYZ Ltd invoice”. In this case, you know exactly what to do with “XYZ Ltd Invoice”, rather than noting the supplier’s name as a clue.
Two Minutes Theory
A good approach to tackle this problem is the “Two minutes theory”. If the thing that is pending to be done, takes less than 2 minutes to finish, do it now. Don’t delay it even a one second.
It may be an important telephone call to a client, replying to a mail from your boss, replying to a mail from a customer, a follow up call with one of your colleagues from another department, sending a fax to a supplier, checking a quotation and approving it, settling your phone bill through internet banking, doing a Google search about something your kid asked you last night and you promised to teach him/her it tonight; so on and so forth!
There are whole lot of official and personal matters, listed in your “to do” list, which can be finished off within 2 minutes. If you start cleaning those things off, that’s your first step towards fighting procrastination. When you finish those things off, you might be surprised how much extra time you have to do the rest of the work.
Now. Never say again “I don’t have time to do all these stuff!”. We all are born with 24 hours allocation per day. So there’s no reason why Bill Gates can do better than you, in time management.
"Procrastination is 'the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.' "- Wayne Dyer
Want to learn more about Procrastination Syndrome?
Today, I just completed reading all the recommended reading materials for the topic “Left brain and right brain thinking”, and it was simply amazing to understand how our brain works.
As in theory, our right brain provokes our creativity and imagination, while the left brain push us to be “more rational and organized”. Naturally, people tend to be either right brain dominant or left brain dominant. Our left brain, will always try to intervene with the right brain, asking logical questions like “why so?”, and trying to rationalize everything. On the other hand, our right brain always try to break the limits, by asking “Why not?”.
If a person’s left brain manages to override his right brain in majority of the cases, we call him as a “Left brain dominated person”. The same thing apply for the other half of the brain.
Left brain dominated people are often, more logical and rational in decision making. They seek sequences in everything. They want proof to believe in anything they come across. On the other hand, the right brain dominated people are more intuitive. They follow their natural instinct, more than the logic and rationality.
In most cases, the two halves of the brain work in harmony, when a person needs to solve a problem. The left brain analyze the things that a person see and experience in and around the environment. Suddenly, his right brain start noticing a “flash connection” between two logically unrelated concepts. This “flash connection”, what we call as the “idea generation” is very important in solving a problem.
This can be the starting point of a new business idea, a new product innovation, an award winning advertisement, a story for a blockbuster movie, or a hit song selling all over the world.
Once the idea generation part is done by the right brain, then again your left brain takes control of the idea, to evaluate it’s feasibility. Your left brain starts questioning the rationality, logic and feasibility of the new idea that generated by the right brain.
Ever wondered why some of those people in your company, who always asks too many annoying questions about your brilliant new idea? Well. Now you know the answer. Their left brain is dominant over their right brain. And if you think thoroughly, they are wither from the accounts department, or from a department which involves a highly structured work envirnment (Quality control, production, corporate planning etc).
You cannot argue that, one half of the brain is better than the other. We need the strengths of both halves of the brain, depending on the situation where it requires. Of course, you cannot work in your right brain, when you are doing the annual accounts for your company, or evaluating a partnership proposal by another company. At the same time, you cannot let your left brain to dominate, when you try to come up with the next brilliant marketing idea to lift the sales up by 20% for your company.
The things that I've learned so far about the split brain theory suggest me that, right brained people are the one’s who can make a difference in the world. A developing country like Sri Lanka, needs more right brain thinkers, to come up with new ideas to solve the problems of the country.
Lack of right brain dominated people is reflected in the performance of our country in sports (other than Cricket), arts, and entrepreneurship. How many world class athletes have we produced after our independence? I would say none, while some people may mention the name of Susanthika Jayasinghe. But, only Sri Lankans know about her, so she’s no “world class”. ( It’s true that you don’t have to come first, to win in Olympics. But you have to come first, to be remembered by others, in any game).
How many world class artists have we produced? How many world class movies? How many world class entrepreneurs do we have? Answer is “very few” if not, “not at all”.
But, think on the other hand “how many world class medical professionals have we produced, how many world class accountants, lawyers, administrators have we produced?” the answer is “a lot”. Because, you go to any country, and you’ll find a hell of a lot of Sri Lankan doctors, lawyers, accountants working in those countries. (Well…. Relative to our population, it’s a lot. But not as large as Indians)
My left brain ask the question “Why?”.
I think, this comes from our education system, and our traditional education system is designed to produce “doctors, engineers, and lawyers” but not “athletes, artists or entrepreneurs”. From the grade one, our education system discourages the right brain activities of the students, (By having a well structured class room) and slowly and steadily they are cornered towards a one side of the brain. They are forced to learn things that they are not really born for. And there’s no proper technique used, to identify the proper orientation of a student’s brain, and direct him to a field where more suites him. Without understanding this, our education system push all the students towards the competition for becoming a doctor, engineer or a lawyer, but according to the natural principles, only the one’s who designed to be in those professions, will win this competition. Then, our education system throws the rest to the society as “failures” (In GCE A/L), and the society gives them the lable “moron”.
But, if properly executed, our education system can change these “morons” into world class athletes, or world class artists, or world class entrepreneurs. The problem with this country is not the seeds. It’s the soil!
But the day is not so longer far away, that you can read your favorite newspaper or magazine on the go, and get the latest updates every few minutes.
Amazon.com, the world's largest book retailer announced the launch of their latest product "Kindle", the Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device.
In fact, it's not the first of it's kind, but a slightly improved version of the Sony's Reader, the e-book reader. Initially, with the Amazon Kindle you will be able to access over 80,000 e-books from Amazon store, and straight away buy, download and read them on your Kindle.
From the information I have gathered, here are some key attractive features of the product.
On Amazon.com home page, they've featured a letter to the customers announcing the launch of the product (Signed by the founder CEO Jeff Bezos)in the same look and feel of this new e-paper solution. In fact, it was a PNG image and reading it on my laptop gave me the same impression, as I was reading a paper printed book.
They call this electronic paper. You will not get the usual glare you see when reading something on a computer screen. Looking at the Kindle's screen will make you feel, like looking at a page of your favorite high school textbook. James Patterson, author of You've Been Warned says "I think people are going to be very, very surprised and delighted. This is a lot easier to read than a lot of books are these days."
No Connection needed
No connecting to the internet through any wired or wireless network. It operates on it's own network, connected through a 3G mobile network.
Shop directly at Amazon's Kindle store
You can shop for any book, directly via this device and buy it, download it and save it to your library.
You can easily search for any term, and Kindle will find every instance across your Kindle library where that word appeared. How many times you wasted hours for finding a paragraph you lightly remembered on "some ones" book?
Bookmarks and Annotation
By using the keyboard, you can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes, highlight and clip key passages, and bookmark pages for future use. You'll never need to bookmark your last place in the book, because Kindle remembers for you and always opens to the last page you read.
Wireless Access to Wikipedia
Adjustable Text Size
Above all, this device will enable you to store all your favorite news papers and magazines in e-format. For me, it's a headache to manage my book shelf, with every month I add couple of new books or mags into it. And, that same hassle kept me "reading less". With a device like this, I'm sure I will become a more "reading person".
Oh I almost forgot about the blogs! You can read your favorite blogs on Kindle, and you will never miss an update from boingboing or slashdot anymore.
How will this affect the world we live?
This will definitely affect the definition of "publishing industry". For decades, we were waiting for the real e-paper solution that we were promised in the sci-fi movies. Some people thought, PDF and E-Fax going to be "it". But, not at all! Kindle and Son'y reader has redefined the word "e-paper" and it's much more closer to the thing that we were promised in the sci-fi movies. A "publisher" is not anymore going to be a "person who take contracts to print books".
Secondly, this will change the way people read, and how much people read. With the popularity of audiovisual media like TV and mobile phones, in recent decades people spent less time on reading the old fashioned "print media". Who wants to read the same news you watched on TV?. But, this initiative will enable the newspaper publishers, to update their papers in regular intervals, and by doing so bringing back the people around them.
And for people like me, who doesn't have enough space at home to store a large collection of books, this is going to be a sweet news. You can store may be 25,000 books in a space of 7.5" x 5.3" x 0.7"
Another field that will get affected by this is education. Especially in the higher education level, where you have to read, research, add notes, extract from, a huge number of books, this is going to be a really helpful device. Institutions like universities and colleges, can make their students compulsory to carry an e-book, and the weekly lecture notes are delivered directly to their books. Who wants to be in the classroom?
And last but not the least! The marketers will look at this as another good platform to be in touch with their customers. People thought, when internet was introduced "Oh! Thank god, I can now get rid of those crappy advertisers on TV". But, it was never happened that way. Marketer found their way out, how to reach their customers (of course with less interruption) through the internet.
Here are some links you can read further, to get mixed opinion about the Amazon’s Kindle
Kindle, at the moment is available in the US market. The connectivity is powered by a new technology Whispernet™ and connected though the telecommunication giant, Sprint Nextel. Not too sure about how the Amazon’s expansion plans going to work. It may take few years even, to come to Sri Lanka. But we have local companies boasting about “Future Today” and “Latest in 3G technology”. I hope, this is a great opportunity for companies like Dialog, Mobitel and Airtel to prove themselves. To prove that they are really in the business!
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Unfortunately, the sign up process was little too confusing to me and as a result my account was held restricted by PayPal. I lost my interest to resolve all their requirements, cuz I didn't have any urgent transactions to do with PayPal. Last week, I had some time to re-visit my PayPal account and, resolve the problems they have listed. Entering the 4-digit credit card code, and uploading a billing proof.
Today, I was informed that they have released my account for business! So far, we only can use PayPal to send money. They haven't still enabled the receive money option to Sri Lanka. What we can do is, transferring a balance to the PayPal account through your credit card, and then use PayPal when buying something online. That "something" can be an item you won on an eBay auction.
What benefits this gives to you, when in any case you can straight away use your credit card on the site where you are purchasing?
I asked this same question from me. Thing is, here you have to "trust" only one website, for your credit card security when you purchase something online. If you trust PayPal, that they will not mess up with your credit card security, then you can live in peace after making a purchase online. Because, your credit card details is only known to PayPal, and you can buy stuff on any number of sites you wish, but still none of those sites will request you to enter your credit card details.
Still, I haven't used my PayPal account to buy something online. I will do so soon, when I need to order a book or a DVD next time.
Overall, I see this as a good sign that Sri Lanka is gathering the basic infrastructure it needed to have, to form a steady "online economy". I am skeptical about how the Central Bank of Sri Lanka's reaction going to be on this. They look at "paying on the internet" in a very pessimistic angle, thanks to the pyramid scammers who spoiled the ecommerce industry in Sri Lanka, at the outset. Even as at now, CBSL has an upper limit restriction of Rs.100,000/- for paying by credit card, on the internet.
I took this photo, on my way to Colombo, after spending a week in Matara.
We are said to be in the information age, and in this era, a man without a personal web page is virtually like a "homeless" person in the past century.
So, here I am, building my own home in the cyberspace!
First, I must confess that I'm an amateur to blogging and writing. But I am not an amateur to blogs and social media. As a crucial area in my day-to-day job role, I have studied the concept of blogs and blogging in depth, and was constantly in touch with the latest industry trends in the field.
The main reason kept me delaying starting this site sooner than this was mainly, the lack of time to dedicate on it. It is not that I have more time to spare now days, but there should be some point of start to anything. Moreover, with the facility of blogging directly via mobile phones and email, finding time won’t be a much difficult task as it used to be few years ago. In time to come, most posts on this site will turn out to be posted directly via my mobile phone.
Time management wise, things are worse than ever for me. Very soon, I will start on a MBA at PIM, so it’s going to consume a large portion of my time in next 2 years to come.
And, the fact that I started the MBA is another motivating factor behind this site. This blog will serve as a great platform for me to network with other people who are in the same field of studies as me, and a good media for me to publish my own work within the MBA program.
So far on this site, it all looks like talking to myself alone. Therefore I put the title of the blog as “Talking to myself”, till I come up with a proper title :-)