It is the season of Business Competitions and this time , we have Vista & Lakshya[on the same days(12th-14th) in the month of October,07].

Vista – IIM Bangalore (IIMB) Annual Business Summit:
Vista is IIMB‘s business competition that would be showcasing the latest trends in industry over the years. The theme of Vista 2007 is ReBusiness. The theme highlights the paradigm shift in manner of conducting business and the same would be reflected in the events hosted during Vista 2007 – to be held between October 12th and 14th,07.

You can find more details here and here
[Thanks Alok Padhi for this information]

Lakshya – NITIE(National Institute Of Industrial Engineering) B-Competition:
As mentioned on the Lakshya website:

Organized by PGDIE students of NITIE, Lakshya aims at broadening the outlook and honing the skills of practicing managers. The middle level managers present live industrial projects which brought significant change in the performance of their organization.

You can find more details here and here

This is in continuation to my earlier article , which listed the 9 differentiators between traditional marketing from guerrilla marketing.Below are the other 9 differentiators between the two sides of marketing:

Note: Guerrilla Marketing is referred as GM in the article.

Traditional Marketing v/s Guerrilla Marketing:

Strategy #10 – Use “You” Marketing:
Traditional marketing is “Me” marketing.A prospect goes to a company’s website and it says “Let me tell you what we do, let me tell you why the company is so big” whereas GM is “You” marketing.GM is always oriented to the customer and not the company, because people are more interested in themselves than in any company.

Strategy #11 – Use Marketing combinations:
Traditional marketing would have people believe that just advertising works or having website works or a particular medium of advertising works.Whereas GM says that times have changed and hence, you need a combination of strategies.Days of single weapon marketing do not work anymore since, we are living in a time where only marketing combinations work biggrin

Strategy #12 – Embrace technology:
Traditional marketing never made allowance for technology since, technology was too complex and it was hard for an average business owner to understand.Things have changed now and Marketers need to be tech-friendly and need to go hand-in-hand with the technology.

Strategy #13 – Create partnerships:
Traditional marketing instructs to compete with the competition whereas GM says to forget the competition and scan the horizon for those businesses with which the firm can cooperate.
The reason: Marketing partners lower the total marketing costs & increase the reach of both the partners.Hence, co-operation(and not competition) is the backbone of GM.

Strategy #14 – Help customers succeed:
Traditional marketing is also about “taking” and about seeing how much money they can get from each of their customers whereas GM is all about “giving.GM thinks about what they can do to help their customers achieve their goals since, this is what would ultimately help to flow the profits into the company.

Strategy #15 – Build relationships:
At the end of each month, traditional marketers count how much money they have brought in whereas Guerrilla Marketers count how many new relationships they have made.The reason – Longer the relationships, the more sales they will eventually make and the more profits they would eventually earn.

Strategy # 16 – Consider the details:
Traditional marketing only identifies the mass weapons of marketing like radio, television, magazines , newspapers and other mass marketing medium.Due to this some of the minute things in marketing getting unnoticed whereas in case of GM , each and every aspect of marketing is important.
Guerrilla Marketers are aware of all the details of marketing , including the attire worn by their company’s representatives and how their employees treat the people on the telephone.Thus, each and corner is important in case of GM.

Strategy # 17 – Gain consent:
Traditional marketing has always aimed to make the sale with the marketing but the reality is that it is very hard to make a sale with one piece of marketing.Whereas GM aims to gain consent since, once the business has gained consent, it markets only to those people.When a company does that, it is not wasting money by mailing to or marketing to disinterested people.

Strategy # 18 – Increase the Marketing Arsenal:

Last but not the least, traditional marketers always had a limited arsenal.They fail to identify some of the unusual weapons of marketing which is quickly identified by the Guerrilla Marketers and many of them are free.
Companies that use GM are going to find out that their marketing arsenal may consist of twenty different weapons , and of those weapons , many of them would be free lol Hence, the bottom line is : The size of the arsenal of the Guerrilla Marketer is much larger than the arsenal of the traditional marketer.


What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla Marketing is pursuing conventional goals using unconventional means.It begins with an idea for how to generate profits for a business and become a circle when that business has the blessed patronage of repeat & referral customers.

More about “What is Guerrilla Marketing” as described by it’s so called father Jay Conrad Levinson here
In my opinion:

From a blogger’s point of view, Guerrilla Marketing comes into picture when the no of readers of your blog increase since, the first few readers of your blog are the ones that have spread the word about your blog wink

Traditional Marketing v/s Guerrilla Marketing:
There are lot of differences when we compare the traditional marketing with Guerrilla Marketing and this is the strategy that keeps Small & Medium Businesses(SMB) alive & kicking.In the book “The best of Guerrilla Marketing”, Jay Conrad has described 18 strategies that differentiates traditional marketing from Guerrilla marketing.The article is divided in two sub-parts, the first 9 key differentiators are listed below:

Note: Guerrilla Marketing is referred as GM in the article.

Strategy #1 – Invest Time, Not money:
Traditional marketers say that a marketer’s primary investment should be money.With GM, the primary investments should be time, energy and imagination.If marketers are willing to invest enough time, energy and imagination;they don’t have to invest as much money.

Strategy #2 – Measure performance by Profitability:
Traditional marketing measures it’s performance by sales while guerrilla marketing focusses on profits.Anybody can achieve high sales, but it takes talent to generate ever increasing profit.
For example: A store owner may feel that more the no of purchasers in the store, more is the profit.But many times, more sales does not result in an increasing profit.The reason – They are not making a lot of money on each sale & the cost of doing business is subtracting more.Hence, guerrillas focus more on profit because that’s how executives build their business.

Strategy #3 – Spend Small:
Traditional marketing has always been suited for big businesses.The reality is GM is geared to small businesses with big dreams – but a tiny bank account biggrin

Strategy #4 – Maintain Focus:
Traditional marketing says that companies should grow their businesses large & than diversify into different fields & services.GM says that companies will probably get in trouble if they do that; the ability to maintain focus will lead to a company’s success much more than it’s concept of diversifying.

Strategy #5 – Know the tools:
Traditional marketing is full of guesses; marketers are not sure if it includes sales and they are not certain if advertising really is marketing.Guerrilla marketers feel no sense of intimidation and to them, there is no mystique about marketing.

Strategy #6 – Eliminate Guesswork:
Traditional marketing has always been about guesses whereas GM is based more on psychology.For example: Guerrilla marketers know that 90% of purchase decisions come from an unconscious mind, and they know that such a manner of accessing human unconscious mind is through repetition.

Strategy # 7 – Grow Geometrically:
Traditional marketing has always said that companies should focus to add new customers one at a time and that is an expensive way to grow : Arithmetically. GM tries to grow companies geometrically, enlarging the size of each transaction; and having more transactions from each customer.It is always easy to sell to an existing customer which in turn results into the birth of new customers(as a result of referral from the existing customers)

Strategy # 8 – Target individuals:
Traditional marketing always aims it’s messages at groups,the larger the group the better.GM aims it’s message at individuals , just a few at a time; if it’s going to be a group, the smaller the group the better.

Strategy # 9 – Follow Up:
Traditional marketing seems to have aimed at making sale, period while GM is big on Follow Up.Guerrilla Marketers say “You have to make a sale and than follow up with that customer”.Most of the lost businesses is not due to bad service but due to loss of apathy after the sale.Customers are ignored after the sale.
That’s why Guerrillas follow up with all of their customers and stay in touch with them.They can’t wait for customers to come to them; they have to constantly be proactive and get in touch with their customers,through any medium.This also gives an indication that “You are valued and are very important biggrin

The other nine differentiators would follow in the next article.

Now as September is nearing it’s end , here is the list of my picks for this month:

Related Links:

  1. Spawners July,2007
  2. Spawners May,2007
  3. Spawners April,2007
  4. Spawners Feb,2007

It has been many months since I am on LinkedIn (with an open profile) and finally, it is fetching some results(good always starts with some smile). Some interesting updates from LinkedIn as well as an attempt to use LinkedIn to get some results and to use a small share of my knowledge wink

LinkedIn photo update:
We can now add photos to our LinkedIn profile and it is one of the best updates on LinkedIn.My profile now also has a photograph.This was very much required since, many times your unique face becomes an identity and some people remember the face(and may rather forget the name).

Thanks Technofriends (for this update on the information) & LinkedIn(for implementation of this badly needed update).

LinkedIn answer rated the best:
Nowadays, along with Blogging , my attempt is to answer some of the questions that are featured on LinkedIn. This is a nice platform where you can share knowledge as well as show your expertise in the subjects that you know.A snapshot of the Q&A that fetched me the “Best Answer” spot !!! You can view my complete answer here

Why should you (effectively ) use LinkedIn:
Many of us count LinkedIn as a normal networking website but there is more to it than Networking, check out Ten ways to get LinkedIn to work for you by Ajay Jain. For example: Check out Recruiter on LinkedIn and you would see 500+ results !!!

Phase of IT is continuously changing and so are the recruitment strategies;lot of Placement Consultants as well as HR professionals from IT organizations have an open LinkedIn profile.This would make job search easy for the candidates and also makes LinkedIn an effective platform for networking, business and niche level recruitment biggrin

Incoming Links – A winning experience:
What is one of the great wins of a person who blogs? It is ‘an unknown person ‘A’ linking to an article on your blog’.It was a great experience when I came to know about my very first incoming link on Technorati.Below a snapshot of the email, which I sent to all my friends(with a lot of excitement) biggrin

Blogging: A Mind game and a (365*7) learning process:
But just like every activity in life , blogging is a continuous learning process. When you see that you are getting more traffic and people are linking to your blog, the blogger becomes very cautious in each and every article that (s)he publishes on the blog.”Cautious” is an alarming word but that does not mean “Care”, but in this case,means “Growing maturity”.Remember, in the topsy-turvy world of stock market, you learn only when you loose money smile

“Maturity” does come in terms of thinking, way you communicate , amount of research and many other factors that consume a lot of time of any blogger. When it comes to research, it is bound to have multiple links from other blogs [which provides a level of Authentication to your article], but the question is “What if the readers like the linked blog and don’t return to mine?sad

Blogging, Linking & Sensex:
“Drip in readership” is one of the most hurting thing that can happen to any blogger and that too, if it happens in your early stage of blogging.Recently I was discussing about blogging with a newly stepped blogger and his point was “Why should I make other bloggers famous by giving their links”? An unfair question with a fair answer:

IMHO, linking is very much important and if a reader does not like your blog(for any possible reason) , (s)he would never return to your blog….To make a fair comparison, “Blog Readership” is like Sensex , since sometimes “The Page Views” go up(yeah, booming economy hooray…Sensex goes up) and sometimes it goes down(market slump) wink

What do you feel about “Blogging & Linking”? Does linking to other blogs result in a traffic loss for your own blog? Have your say:

Had a look the latest issue of Business Gyan and came across an interesting article titled “First step to be a successful business person“. As the author Shivaji Sengupta says the first step to being successful is: To develop a powerful Elevator Pitch

Note:
The article has been taken from Business Gyan and the credit for the it goes to the author.The article has excellent information and hence, has been posted on the blog biggrin

Below is the 5 step formula to create a successful Elevator Pitch:

List out what is unique about what you do and why you are special
:

An Elevator Pitch is an ice-breaker and a marketing pitch-all rolled in one.The elevator pitch must have a hook “I own a flower shop downtown” does not hold up to a “I am a speciality florist who deals in rare, South American tropical flowers that bloom in the winter”.

Make it intriguing :
A superior elevator pitch increases your heart rate.It speaks about who you really are and what excites you about your business.It has integrity.What is it about your business that really motivates you?

KISS Concept – Keep It Simple Stupid :
A good elevator pitch doesn’t try and be all things to all the people.Rather, it conveys a clear idea in a short amount of time.It might be few sentences, but no more than a paragraph or so.Keep it under 30 seconds.

Who your customer is :
Be specific enough that people see the market, but not so specific that people wonder if there are more than five of these people in the world: “We even have flowers for boardroom romances”

Write it down & practice a lot :
Use the guidelines above and take a stab at it.Write down your pitch, say it out loud, write it, and then re-write it again.The first few times you try it out, your elevator pitch may be a bit uncomfortable. After a while it will become second nature to you.

Most of us who are thinking that we should have a startup don’t know “Which is the area that we should target” for example: If you are a blogger who regularly gets a fair amount of traffic, you may feel that you should jump to full time blogging.Or if you are a person, who has a passion for photography,you may feel that you should join a professional course in photography & turn into a full-time profession idea

The bottom line is “When you check your think tank , you start getting number of ideas” and in such case, the important part is to look at your inner-self & decide that “An Idea X is the one that I would perceive as a business“….The keyword in the discussion is “IDEA” and I would like to share some of my thoughts on generating ideas :

  1. Try to see where your interests lie.
  2. Read books [pertaining to your are of interest] to go a level deeper into your thoughts.You could also be tagged as “BOOK WORM” but that is indirectly a compliment wink
  3. Speak with different people since, it would always be great to get a two-sided opinion.They would see you in a different way that how you see yourself.
  4. Think illogically.Don’t reject ideas immediately.Some of them might be the one what people need/want but which no one has provided.
  5. Daydream about what you like doing.Dreaming something with open eyes is very important.This is area where your interest lies the most, so think of capitalizing on that strength.
  6. Brainstorm : Record each & every idea that comes to your mind in a safe place.Do not try to eliminate any of them, even though it may seem absurd.
  7. Think..Think…Think….When you are having a bath or watching TV or doing something in your leisure time.This is the time that can be best utilized as an “Idea Generator”.
  8. See the unexpected similarities in the world around you, permit yourself to make unusual associations biggrin
  9. Don’t always think in words, also think in pictures.Use all your senses to get useful ideas.
  10. Try to foresee “Solutions related to forthcoming problems” for example: Imagine the condition of India in the year 201X & try to visualize a current solution that might solve that forthcoming problem !!!

    Reader’s Contribution:

  11. Open source mind-mapping tool MindMapping, which is useful to organize and represent our ideas with picture.Download the tool from here. [Thanks Manish Panchmatia]
  12. Six Thinking Hats by Dr. Edward De Bono. [Thanks Mahesh Pidshetti]
  13. Think of serving the community back in someway, perhaps the downtrodden or the likes of such people. this only broadens the scope of interaction and perhaps even leads to the higher society people even at these events! [Thanks Srikanth Eswaran]
  14. See things that you like and see if the reasons you like them or the logic can be applied to other things too.In my case, I love Flickr and wanted to see something like that for Music. Muziboo was born ! [Thanks Prateek Dayal]
  15. The importance of doing some things only because they may be important links for one’s future business. Actually this was mentioned by Steve Jobs in one of his speeches. He had done some Caligraphy course which became an important tool while designing the GUI for modern OS almost 10 years later.[Thanks Harshad Desai]

Note:
This article was also an IDEA and this is the best place where I could have recorded(& shared) this IDEA wink

Point [7] also reminds me of an article “Sleep is a luxury at startups” which had an interesting comment from an Open Coffee Club group member – Venkat Ramana, CEO of OutSmart360
Essentially, we never stop working. We are always multi-tasking, looking for the next opportunity, whatever else we are doing. One part of the brain (the bigger part probably) is constantly thinking of solutions and problems and more solutions for them.

If you have some more ideas to generate ideas, than kindly add them in the comments & I would be glad to add them to the article.