Archive for February, 2010

The “Big” Ticket Calling – DLF IPL

Two weeks ago I read an article on Marketing Myopia and deals with how a company narrowly defines its industry and fails to see a potential threat to its business which could eventually be the death knell. For example, Airtel is the big competition for music industry since they are minting more money on Hello Tunes than the turnover of large music albums, telepresence has given  airlines a run for their money, alarm clocks have been largely replaced by the “alarm” function on our mobiles and so on…about how the force that really destroys a business category doesn’t generally come from the “observable” competition space anymore.  Emphasizing that, more than ever now, companies & marketing managers need to keep their peripheral vision “on” all the time.

An interesting observation was made about IPL being the “new” competition to the media industry and how the IPL schedules are affecting the movie launch dates and the business of the multiplexes. Since the past one week, DLF IPL has launched an “open panga” with its mainstream advertising. What is more, unlike what one might expect they are not just going after the media industry, their ads very subtly target anything “entertainment” ranging from travel industry to media. They are proudly proclaiming that all other forms of entertainment are “passe” or “inferior at best” and “sabse bada” ticket is DLF IPL.

So, what do you think, is DLF IPL the “biggest ticket” of all times? Or are there better times to come? For one, they have their net cast wide and the up side only limited by their imagination.

PS: I wasn’t able to find a reference to this article as I had read it in yahoo groups thread – it is titled “Inspired By Levitt’s Marketing Myopia”. If any of you find it do contact me so I can add it to the post. Thanks!

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New Categories Seeking Mindspace

What happens when a company from a category does mass advertising (TV, Print, Radio) for the first time (especially on prime time)? It creates space for the category in the consumers minds. We are seeing two such categories going mainstream currently in India and its a big deal for business segments which are so far dominated by brick and mortar business (software services being the exception and they have hardly gone mainstream!).

1. Education Technology – Educomp with their mainstream media (read TV) ads in the past few weeks have suddenly created a category recognition for everybody in the education technology space. Now, every time I talk about education technology people smile back at me knowingly, some ask – “like educomp?” This move by educomp has a potential to create a “generic” brand identification with education technology in India for them and I guess that is what they intend to achieve. However, at the same time it has helped create a business segment for all the other players to identify with in the market.

2. Ibibo – social gaming has come of age with ibibo doing a major splash on TV, Radio and Newspapers inviting one and all to play with each other. Not only are they roping celebrities to invite people, they are also running “on-the-edge” titillating ads on prime time.

So, what do you think? Sign of interesting things to come?

Ideas come dime a dozen…

I recently took a session on Ideation at SIMB (thanks to Nandini!). We both believe that the entrepreneurs need to realize the potential of thinking big and start looking around them for ideas. More often than not when participating in entrepreneurship workshops we tend to look upon it as another course and turn to traditional sources of information (read Internet) to get ideas. When starting up a company/thinking of starting up a company it is as important to look within yourself as to look outside. It is somewhere in the intersection that the magic lies…

Here’s the slide deck that I covered at the session. It is just pointers to different ideas that people have had over the past few years – some successful, others not as much, but great ideas nevertheless and that is where great things begin to happen.

 Ideas are dime a dozen

One of the myths I wanted to dispel was related to the statement many people used “ideas are dime a dozen”. I asked the students to come up with a few business ideas – I got less than 5 from a group of 50 and later I heard about 3 more  – thats all. While it is easy to dismiss this statement, I take the following stand – what the statement really means is that “talk is cheap”, it really doesn’t mean that “ideas are easy to come by”. Also, an idea in itself is not going to execute itself and being an entrepreneur is a tough job. One needs to brace oneself for the roller coaster ride and not delude oneself that a “cool” idea is going to see you through.

Having covered some ground on that, I asked the students if they believed all of them had the capability to come up with ideas. The answer was a resounding yes – more confirmation to the fact that I was standing amidst potential entrepreneurs!!! It all starts with a belief that then gets tuned into your system that then constantly seeks for ideas or gaps in the current way of doing things that can be potential opportunities. So, it is very important to believe that you can do it and then start thinking and looking around for ideas like a habit (like breathing)

Lastly, we played a game together. I seed funded the 9 teams in the class and gave them one hour to make as much money as they can. What happened in the next 90 minutes was beyond my imagination! So, I will just narrate it. Each of the teams started with some idea and iterated through it quickly, with quite a few of them changing the initial idea that they had started with. One of the teams rotated their capital and did the same business twice over in the given time and the others realized that the customers will pay only when there is at least a chance of  them winning and hence, positioning matters. Most of them figured out a “good enough” market opportunity to address within the constraints of the “budget” and “time” given to them and set about their tasks. Some of them sold juice, some burgers, some bike rides to the nearest bus stand and a few others resorted to gambling (card games and sports bets).

The most interesting of the lot were two teams – one of who made the most money by throwing in a lucky dip contest and got about 90 people to sign up with them and the other team started offering an “internal services” to me for managing the various teams, their members, amount collected etc!

At the end of it all, we all had a lot of fun and made some money too! Loved the energy of the group and their enthusiasm to get going. Hope it was as much fun for the teams too…looking forward to more such interactions.


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