Marketing Idea No. 40 – Creating top charts to push sales and facilitate customer choice

Who can deny the power of NY Times best seller list?

The rise and fall of so many authors can be contributed to that short list. If books sounds obvious how about Billboard top chart? This music chart has been the overarching authority of defining the kings and paupers of music for decades. In short, if the song is in the Billboard chart then it must be good, hence downloadable.

It doesnt stop there. We consult IMDB for renting and buying movies. We check the box office numbers before deciding on which movie to check out in theaters. Our obsession with “Top Lists” stems from one simple premise that benefits both supply side and demand side – it helps us simplify our choices and gives us some much needed PR push.

With that established, i present a criminal situation of not having single, reliable top chart for any categories here in Bangladesh. Movies? No. Music? No. There are some so-called top charts here and there, found in magazines and papers. But they lack the prpoer sampling scope or the validity in technique and can never work like a proper “Top Chart”. And if asked, the cause of this absence will be attributed to difficulat mechanism.

The mechanism of creating such a chart is not that complicated. We just have to have a very transparent sales receipt reporting and acumulating system. With presence of  such value adding softwares, its an “up for grab” opportunity for any media house. In recent times we have seen plenty of newspapers and TV channels popping out here and there. In such a hyper-competitive scenario, introducing such “Top Charts” can be a fantastic differentiating point for media houses as well as increase its readership and TRP.

 But more importantly, we as customers will be greatly benefitted from this. With the number of categories, products and options increasing in geometric progression everyday – presence of such a filtering process that can tell us what is good and what is not good – is the just the thing required.    

Marketing idea no. 39 – Fire unappreciative customers

This might sound radical, to the point of nonsensical – but actually its very practical.

Resources like time, HR and money are limited. And where you spend those scarce resources can be a big strategic decision. What if you keep wasting those resources on a few sore apples in the bunch? What if most of your marketing resources are spent serving customers who, no matter what you do, are unappreciative of your business?

If such is the order, its time to leave those customers alone. You are much better off by advising your employees to focus on other customers, who are more appreciative. By focusing on those key customers, you will do much better utilization of your resources.

There are some negative word-of-mouth that you just cant control. You just have to learn to live with it. 

Marketing Idea No. 38 – Integrate your Brand into popular cultural vehicles – Music, Movies

This is quoted from

Torrential rains and the subsequent flooding in Mumbai on July 26 two years ago are images that will stay with Mumbaikars. A soon to be released movie, ‘July 26th at Barista’, will tell the story of that fateful night and depict panic across the city on July 26.

“On that fateful night, people took shelter at their nearest Barista. Several of our stores stayed open through the night providing safe havens for people who were stranded in the rain,” says Rini Dutta, V-P, marketing, Barista.

The movie highlights how brew masters went beyond their line of duty in helping people in any way they could. They dispensed coffee, water, milk, chocolate and shared whatever food was available at the outlets.

“Since it acknowledged that Barista stores stayed open through the night to help needy commuters, we decided to go ahead with the idea when the producers approached us,” says Dutta, explaining how the Barista brand name came to be placed in the movie.

A movie title with a brand name embedded in it isn’t unheard of, at least in Hollywood. In 1985, a movie called ‘The Coca Cola Kid’ was released in which a hotshot American marketing executive (played by Roberts) from the Coca-Cola company visits their Australian operations and tries to figure out why a tiny corner of Australia has so far resisted all of Coke’s products. The movie did a world of good to the brand and went on to become a hit.

“Surely, in-title and in-script placement are the way ahead from in-film placement. The story of people taking shelter at Barista outlets on that catastrophic night might be a real story, but it seems to be an innovative way to say we don’t just sell coffee, we are also good to our customers,” says a media analyst.

The brand maintains that there was no monetary exchange. “This shouldn’t be treated as in-film product placement. We haven’t received or paid any sum of money to be part of the movie. The movie in a way acknowledges and pays respect to the brew masters who went beyond the call of duty. It also communicates the fact that we as a brand always put our guests first, and it should be seen in that respect,” responds Dutta.

The movie has been shot extensively in a Barista store.

One segment of media planners believe that in-script placement involves a high degree of risk. Says Mona Jain, Executive V-P, ZenithOptimedia, “If the movie is successful, it will augur well for the brand, but if film bombs at the box-office, it will result in negative publicity.”

Also, this isn’t the first time such an idea has come up in India. Says Jain, “In-script placement isn’t a new idea in India. In the movie ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, arguably Perfetti was the reason for the tagline ‘Lage Raho’, and a few years back, Milind Soman was producing a movie with a popular TV brand in the title, but it didn’t materialise.”

Marketing idea no. 37 – Calcium Soft Drink for Women

This idea is contributed by Mohammad Jobaed Adnan

The most vital importance of calcium for women is its function in bone development. Young women (adolescents and young adults) need to make sure they get enough calcium, as they can achieve their peak bone mass just after this age. Adequate amounts of calcium will help their bones reach optimum bone density. This can help protect them from osteoporosis later in life. Mature women also need calcium to prevent break-down of bone.

There is also a growing body of research that suggests that calcium may prevent Premenstrual syndrome. Women usually take calcium tablets, capsule or syrup; when doctors only prescribe to them. They think that they need to take this because this is a medicine. But without any prescription they can get calcium if we can make calcium soft drink.

If we can come out with soft drinks which will give calcium to them, it would be a good solution for women’s health along with company’s bottomline.

Marketing Idea No. 35 – Globalization presents opportunities

When Pizza Hut has to fight McDonalds in Bangladesh, the pizza hotshot has every right to say, “Not Fair”. After all Pizza Hut is operating in Bangladesh. McDonalds is not. But that, in a nutshell, is the new era of competition for you. 

In the era of globalization, the definition of “competitors” needs a fresh look.  Gone are the days when people knew only a handful of brands, shopped in the neighbourly shops only after being informed about the brands in BTV. The new legion of customers watch global channels most of the time, know about the brands NOT available in the market and prepared to demand the quality of that unavailable product from the local manufactures.

In line with Web 2.0, we can call these new breed Customer 2.0. And this new found power they have is the inevitable side-effect of one global media.

This new reality presents some opportunities and threats.

1. Quality of our ads must improve. As customers are exposed to advertising from all over the world, they have the benchmark to compare. And comparing they do – sometimes crucify the local ads. The perceptions like – “Indian ads are fantastic and humorous”, “Pakistani ads use music a lot”, “Why we dont use brand ambassadors more like others” etc. are a regularity. To fight back, brands and agencies need to go the extra mile. The competition is not only local advertisements. Its officially global.

2. Marketing battle is fought in the mind of the customers, not in the market place. That is why it matters little if a certain moisturising soap that cleans as well as hydrates is not available in the market. Local customers will demand such quality from available soaps. And none learned the cruelty of such virtual competition than the telco operators in Bangladesh. Reliance with its 60 paisa STD rate, with ample support from other indian telco, has created an almost omnipresent perception that Indian rates are very low and Bangladeshi rates are higher.

The case in question raises two questions. One, Indian rates are not lower than Bangladeshi call rates, in fact the vice versa is true. Two, why should the rate of an Indian Telecom operator matter to a Bangladeshi customer?

Like i mentioned, the new era of competition has kicked in.

3. Clever companies can use this opportunity and buy their media accordingly. For example, a regional brand that markets in India as well as in Bangladesh may not need to heavily promote its brand through local channels at all. Rather, he can use that money entirely for BTL purpose to create ground level presence. In this regard, they sometimes dub the ads, which are originally in English, in Bengali.  Again, may not be the smartest use of media money, if the primary target audience is not entirely rural.

4. While fixing our target audience, how many of us consider the Non Resident Bengalis? Apparently, None. And thats a crime because, they are the most enthusiastic consumers of anything bengali.

One might raise the question, how can someone not living in Bangladesh be the market for my product. The answer is, this boundary is not a geographical boundary – but a boundary of thinking. While the popularity of local TV channels and the hit rate of the websites of local newspapers, shows a upward trend – creating awarness about your product among NRB is not a sweat.

Its a flat world out there. So lets put a hold to the limited thinking and start rolling. Otherwise, whats an opportunity now may very soon turn into a threat

Marketing Idea No. 34 – For whom do we make our advertisements?

Its an age old question that no one asks. When we create, whom do we keep in mind?

Hollywood producers got it dead right – they make the movie for the moviegoing audience. The result may well be a series of brainless, thoughtless 120 minute extravaganza that is furthest from reality and cinematic quality – but the box office numbers keep ringing up. Spiderman 3 and Pitrates of the Carribean is not the emblem of cinema at its best – but if thats what audience wants, thats what audience will get.

 But when it comes to arthouse films, the situation is different. These films, more often than not, are made by directors either for their own ego patting, or for a select group of movie buffs or plain and simply for “Authority who decides who will win awards”. This is also movie making – but the purpose and audience is different.

In terms of advertising – the situation only gets confusing. While ad agencies would love to say that they prepare advertisements for the customers – in reality they are making them to ensure awards or ensure client loyalty. Getting the product to sell is the furthest thing on their mind. On the other hand, Brand Managers prepare the ads to create an image for his brand as well as sell their products – entertaining customers is the last thing on their mind.

And that entails the perennial client – agency war, which somehow never gets solved.

The solution could be as simple as asking this question – why do customers hear, watch or read advertisements?

The answer is two-fold – 1. They are looking, subconsciously or consciously for solutions to their problems 2. They are looking to be informed and entertained.

Therefore, keeping these two perspectives in mind, we see that the glorious end of this client – agency battle is for one to understand the others point of view and to accept that both of them are at best 50% right. As point number 1 shows, customers would want to solve their problems by buying products – which is what every brand manager would argue about. But point number 2 states that customers also come to expect of quality ways to be informed – not just a mundane public announcement. And that is the secret desire of every creative director in the world.

For this to work – the blue corner somehow must co exist with the red corner. Together, they can create mind blowing advertisements that can sell.

Marketing Idea No. 33 – The Hottest Financial Asset – YOU

This idea is contributed by Abdul Mumit

How many times have you had that sinking feeling that you are selling yourself short to someone else – your girlfriend, wife, boss at office, devil! Well, this time, you would really be selling yourself, but for money. 

To aptly comprehend this notion, let us digress a bit to understand how companies raise capital from the stock market. Looking at it by and large, one economic agent (the company) borrows money from another agent (shareholders) to meet its current demands for liquidity. The investors extend the credit line as they expect to benefit from the company’s future cash flows.  

Now let us envisage a young, promising professional (hopefully you are one!), with a sound educational background and a bright, prosperous future ahead of him. He starts (or rather shoots off) off his career with a salary of TK 40,000 (higher than what I used to make) and expects his income to rise at an average rate of 10 % per annum over his 30-year career. A little bit of napkin calculation tells us that his expected life-time income stands at Tk 3.2 crores. Now he can aggregate a portion of this life-time income, chop it off into shares and sell it in the stock-market. Let’s assume that this individual agrees to pay out 10 % of his annual income (Tk 32 lacs) as dividend. Due to the higher volatility of this investment, the share price would adjust to make it a high return investment. In this manner, he can raise around Tk 1.5 crore from the stock-market to produce a yield of 20 %. The investors are happy because they earn a higher rate of interest (the higher rate of interest covers adequately for the ultimately defunct value of the shares). The young man is happy for obvious reasons (he is now young, well-educated, promising & rich-an irresistible combination).            

Surely in practice, development of such financial instruments would involve more careful deliberations. However, what I have tried to prove here is that, in principle, the idea is tenable.

Marketing Idea No. 32 – Horror / Thriller films or dramas should make a comeback

This idea is contributed by Mohammad Jobaed Adnan 

Its been official. Whatever youth in western countries do, we have a 1 year lead time to catch up and imitate.

Dont believe me? How about Rock music then. In the era of boy bands and soft pop, it seemed rock music was doomed forever. Then in the early part of this millenium, rock bands like Linking parks and Limp Bizkits broke through. And it became the “It” genre of music. At about the same time, the so called underground revolution took place in Bangladesh. And now these rock bands are actually selling more albums than some of the established bands of the 80s and 90s. Another catch up job well done.

The same trend can be told about the metrosexuality of men, influence of  Hip Hop, dj parties, and a lot lot more.

If so, Bangladesh is now a fertile ground for the thriller / horror genre of films / dramas to make a revolution. But so far, we have missed the bus. In western countries, horror has make a glorious come back. The counter cultural movement is welcoming this genre with open arms. Even in India you see the influence. Gone are the days when bittersweet melodramas are just about the only thing available in Indian cinema halls. Now they have some really cool thrilling stuffs as well.

If the trendwatching is done properly, some talented film maker in Bangladesh should grasp this opportunity with open arms and make a cool horror / thriller flick that can set up the whole scene. Who is it gonna be?

Marketing Idea No. 31 – Giving a burial services firm in Bangladesh

This idea is contributed by Rabeya Ahmed

When we want to pay our last respect to some loved one that passed away, the last thing we want to be bogged down with is the bugging details.

Wouldnt it be great if someone can arrange for the body to be washed and cleaned, arrange for the prayer service, collect the Kafon and other necessary items, prepare the body, arrange for burial services and then arrange all the program – Qulkhani, Chollisha?  Wouldnt it be great if someone can took that hassle from us so that we can mourn in peace?

In western countries we have funeral homes and services who takes care of all these things. But in our country, its still a vacant field. We have services company for all sorts of things – from AGM to picnic. But why not for something as important and inevitable as burial services? 

Its high time someone takes care of it.