“The Intrusive Ad is dead, long live the Intriguing Ad!”

Ad Blocking

Playing a Game…. Pause… Ad !
Watching a Video….Pause… Ad !
Reading an Article….Pause… Ad !
Block ! Block ! Block !…In short, We just Hate Ads.

All the favorite activities that a Mobile user wishes to do on his Mobile device are bombarded with ads. The users have now built an immunity system against them – banner blindness, ad-blocking software & the nano second reflex of closing off ad pop-ups. While annoyance is one of the prime factors, the users are equally concerned of privacy as well, since no other device has this degree of an intimate relationship with them.

Realizing this, Apple recently decided to support ad blocking with iOS 9, allowing it’s users to enjoy an ad-free mobile experience while forcing publishers and mobile advertisers to rethink their advertising approach by overcoming these barriers.

Hence, Marketers will now have to think around strategies that make the user engage and interact with the ad rather than just seeing it on his/her device. This is because the focus has now changed, to not just what content or offer the ad contains, but also the context, timing and frequency that needs to be customized to every individual user. If these parameters are not met by Brands, users will continue to block ads now and in the future.

In India too, Mobile users face a challenge because of ad bombarding, leading to slower page load time and high data consumption, hence a recent study also shows that the number of people actively using ad blockers in India too, has increased from 2 million to 4 million in a span of just 3 months. How will Marketers face this challenge?

Brand Marketers now need to understand that besides creating engaging ad copies, shareable content and awesome branding initiatives, they also need to explore ways that will create user generated ads in both online & offline worlds. Understanding the current challenges Brand’s face, VivaConnect has devised a solution for gaining maximum interactions of Brand’s creative campaigns from it’s customers, where we combine the power of online targeting with the strong offline reach to provide an experience the customer enjoys leading to loyalty and retention. VivaConnect makes use of it’s own Voice & Missed call platform to create a customer initiated ad journey with the Brand, thus providing maximum output to the relevant stakeholders – The Customer, The Brand, The Publisher.

With the advent of this new style of advertising in the online space, we can rightly proclaim “the intrusive Ad is dead, long live the intriguing Ad”. To know more about this solution and to create ads that gain maximum impact even in the current advertising scenario, give us a missed call on 0 83 83 83 83 99.

(Author – Mr. Vikram Raichura)

Embracing Cloud-Communications for a Competitive Advantage : CIO Review

Cloud-Communication. You might have heard this term a lot, but do you really know what exactly is it? Let’s clear up the idea of cloud communication first for better understanding of how it can provide your business a competitive edge. In generic words, cloud means anything that can store data without being physically present with you, i.e., at a remote location. Any communication which is done accessing data stored in cloud can be called as Cloud-Communication. Cloud-Communication providers deliver Voice and Data communication applications and services. These applications and services are hosted on provider’s servers, giving their customers access to the cloud.

Many businesses are leveraging cloud communication for competitive advantage. A cloud based communication solution can be an integral tool for a business. It enables a business to do things smartly and swiftly than the competition. Good business is all about customer relationships, and a survey by CloudTech found that activating cloud communication improves the interaction between client and business. According to “India Cloud Computing Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2020,” the market for cloud computing services in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 22 per cent during 2015-2020. With nearly 8 million Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in India, this market segment presents a huge opportunity for SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors and solution providers.

If I talk about VivaConnect’s solutions based on Cloud-Communication, we provide services on SaaS principle. For instance, we provide client with a number (no sim cards or system required), and the customized campaign is run at the back end on our servers and PRI lines. The biggest advantage for the clients is that they don’t have to invest in the infrastructure or PRI lines, they can just buy the relevant services and monitor the activities remotely with timely reports and software/web panels. They only have to pay for services or applications they use, thereby having a cost-effective, reliable and secure communications environment, says Mr. Vikram Raichura, MD, VivaConnect.

Know More : http://bit.ly/1KKx0Dn

Business is not just about growing, it’s also about building.

Business is not just about growing, it's also about building.

Success or failure of any business depends on the area of focus of the core teams. In a startup stage, the core teams focus only on growing the business, however when the growth stagnates the core teams are expected to deliver beyond growth, moving into the phase of sustaining the business that has been built. This is because majority of businesses devise a growth strategy that’s focused on short-term goals (user acquisition, expansion, increasing market share, increasing toplines) and plan to design the long-term goals (customer experience, retention), once the short-term goals are achieved, thus leading to only short-term benefits. In the hastiness to achieve quick results, the focus of the business, that is crucial to attain the desired result, becomes hazy.

Although every business can capture maximum eyeballs by spending on a launch strategy across paid media channels, what really matters is repeat customers. While there may be a million people who are attracted by the offers a business promotes at the initial stage, if no efforts are put to build the customer experience and make improvements in the product or services, the business will struggle to sustain.

When a business focuses on building a strategy that engages it’s customers strategically, right from the awareness to acquisition to retention to turning them into evangelists, the business will create value… delivering more than what the customer perceives of what he is paying for. Hence businesses which identify that growing is only focused on acquiring, while building is focused on delivering wow experience and getting repeat customers, recognize that winning only a few battles isn’t the goal, winning the war is.

So the crux actually lies in how many people keep coming back to you even when you do not reach out to them, and that’s when you can be sure that you’ve built a business, not just grown a business.

(Author – Mr. Vikram Raichura)

Facebook partners with VivaConnect to scale-up its Missed Call Ad Unit business

Facebook had launched a missed call ad unit business specifically for the feature phone-heavy Indian market. To scale-up its reach across mobile devices, Facebook has partnered with VivaConnect.

This Missed Call Advertisement-based initiative is Facebook’s first foray into using primary feature of a mobile phone (i.e a missed call, voice call or SMS service), aimed specifically at helping advertisers reach their consumers in developing markets. India is quickly catching up to the US, Facebook’s biggest market. Last April, Facebook crossed the ‘100 million users’ milestone in India. Around 66% Indians access Facebook on mobile devices of feature phone segment and over 95% of India’s mobile subscriber base has a Prepaid connection.

Moreover, this is a market in which ‘giving someone a missed call’ is common, both in terms of practice and parlance. Overseas, people typically say, ‘I missed your call’; but here, a ‘missed call’ is something one deliberately places. Team Facebook is optimistic that the new Missed Call Ad format will bolster advertising on Facebook, through the mobile device, in India.

Maxine Schlein, Product Marketing Manager, Emerging markets at Facebook, says, “Consumer behavior in high-growth markets is changing very rapidly and we are poised to respond to that as quickly as possible. We see brands delivering useful and entertaining content like sports scores, news, or celebrity messages that people find valuable enough to take the time to listen to and interact with. There is also a good tie-in for direct response advertisers who can use the missed call unit as lead generation, where a person is essentially raising their hand and expressing interest in a good or service.”

Missed Call
Michelin India’s advertisement campaign over Facebook with call to action over Missed Call. An easy connect with brand for users accessing the site over mobile phone.

How it works: In addition to the regular Facebook Ads, the Missed Call Ad Unit has a ‘Missed Call’ button. As users click on ‘Missed Call’ button, they are automatically taken to the dialing screen that features the telephone number. As they initiate the call its automatically disconnected after two rings. In response they promptly receive a call back or an SMS delivering interactive content such as music, cricket scores, celebrity messages or simply a brand message from the advertiser.

In this Ad unit, the easily available user’s ‘social data’ on their respective Facebook pages, will help brands to fine tune the way they target and communicate with people. Moreover, mobile access will allow for effective re-targeting of consumers and personalizing the content.

Vikram Raichura, Managing director, VivaConnect, says, “Facebook has been a hot trend over mobile in India and so have been missed call services. Together, they would be a perfect solution for delivering an enhanced brand experience over mobile. Missed calls offer an instant way to spark conversations.”

VivaConnect connects brands and their consumers through innovative mobile marketing services. The company holds over 30 million interactions in a single day through services of Voice call, Missed Call, SMS, Email and Mobile Apps.

Featured over Afaqs and Media Avataar.

IMPACT weekly interviews Vikram Raichura

“India has around 650 million active mobile connections, out of which only 140 million are subscribing to mobile internet services. That leaves a whooping 410 million people reachable only via the mobile’s core functionality, a voice call.” conveys Vikram Raichura (Managing Director, VivaConnect) explaining how the concept of missed call marketing brings a brand closer to its consumer. Held in conversation with Henna Achhpal, here’s the interview.

.

cover page

Q] There could have been no better time to gain traction for LiveTalk than during the recent Lok Sabha elections. How did the idea of such a service come about?
The pre-election campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections was indeed the best time to exhibit the prowess of LiveTalk. India has around 650 million active mobile connections, out of which only 140 million are subscribing to mobile Internet services. That leaves a whooping 410 million people reachable only via the mobile’s core functionality, a voice call. The platform was developed working together with Bharatiya Janata Party and the idea was conceived out of consumer request, taking into consideration the population that wanted to connect with the leader over mobile.

.

Q] What is the business model for a marketing company such as yours that provides services in response to a missed call?
Our business model is focused on generating value for our clients over mobile. We help our clients reach their customers by creating innovative 360 degree solutions around mobile media. We’ve shed our image from a ‘mobile marketing’ company to a ‘mobile media’ company. Missed calls act as an ‘initiator’ or conversation starter that lead to engagement through other mobile services such as downloading mobile apps, listening to audio content, availing discount vouchers, registering for services, authenticating online transactions and so on. At VivaConnect, we don’t simply sell our inventory. Instead, we deliver smart solutions crafted to deliver an insightful and memorable experience both for our clients and their customers.

.

Q] From which regions of India do you get the most response for missed call marketing?
The response depends on the brand, campaign and target group whereas the engagement varies depending on the brand’s objective. For instance, we executed a missed call campaign for a leading television channel to garner maximum viewership for a popular movie’s world television premiere. A missed call number flashed during advertisements that told viewers they would receive a call from the movie star reminding them to watch the movie. This particular campaign witnessed maximum participation from Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

.

Q] With smartphones becoming cheaper, there are several other forms of marketing on the mobile battling for a consumer’s attention — what is the future of missed call and voice-based marketing solutions in such a scenario?
The exponential growth in sales of smartphones in India has certainly led to a growth in the mobile app industry. With this, augmented reality concepts will have high takers among Tier I and Tier II cities allowing brands and enterprises to process even more interactive content to build effective engagement. No matter how advanced the device gets, the basic functionality of a mobile phone will remain the voice call feature and it will always drive better engagement. A voice call builds an emotional connect with the consumer and conveys a higher brand affinity. The charm of a missed call and voice-based services will never fade away.

.

Q] What are some of the unique ways a brand has used the voice-based solutions provided by VivaConnect?
We had executed a campaign for a leading toothpaste brand, which then had a popular movie actress as their brand ambassador and wished to use her association to leverage their branding over mobile. Hence, the concept of a ‘wake-up call’ was developed wherein consumers could subscribe to receive a wake-up call from the celebrity at their choice of time in the morning. They could subscribe to receive a wake-up call for five consecutive days regardless of their product purchase. The service was absolutely free of cost and could be easily subscribed to over a missed call. It was active in Bihar and Delhi and became a huge hit. The call’s content included the recorded voice of the brand ambassador, packed with a good morning greeting, a joke and of course product branding.

.

Q] What could be some new ways to monetize mobile marketing in the future?
Mobile marketing is absolutely not about monetizing or selling one’s services over mobile. It’s about offering a captivating experience that enhances the consumer’s connect with the brand. It’s important to understand that consumers are heavily bombarded with advertisements and publicity all around them. Annoying promotions over mobile are the last thing a mobile subscriber would wish for. The best way is to understand the mobile usage habits of a brand’s target consumer, address their requirements and gradually build the brand over mobile so that when a consumer looks out for it, the brand is spot on.

Read the IMPACT online edition

IT voice interviews Bharatesh Salian to know secrets to VivaConnect’s success

IT Voice interviews VivaConnect‘s CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) Bharatesh Salian to shares his view over Mobile Media and Marketing in India.

1. Congratulations, How will winning this award affect your work? How do you feel to win prestigious Smarties India 2014, with 3 Gold Awards for Innovation, Cross Media Integration & Relationship Building/CRM & also the Industry ‘Best in Show’Award.
Its really an honor to win 3 Gold Awards at Smarties India and especially lifting up the ‘Best in Show’ Trophy, unquestionably it was the most awesome feeling for our entire team. This victory is a testimony to our efficiency in delivering the very best in Mobile marketing services in India. It has brought our services the long awaited recognition among Brands and Enterprises as now they perceive us as a creative mobile media company that offers end-to-end solutions to build compelling customer engagement. Also over past decades, since all the creative work has been churned out by advertising agencies, brands obviously relied over them even when it came for planning mobile media initiatives. But this new found recognition for us has boosted the confidence among brands to involve us in crafting creative solutions incorporating mobile services that fit perfectly in their branding &  advertising campaigns. We are loving it!

IMAG1118
Team VivaConnect (from Left to Right) – Mr. Vikram Raichura (Managing Director), Mr. Pranab Basu (VP – Sales & Operations), Mr. Bharatesh Salian (Chief Strategy Officer) and Mr. K. N. Raichura (Chairman).

 

2. Have you won other awards in the past ?
Yes this very year we won at IDMA Awards bagging 2 Gold Trophies for ‘Best Innovation in Mobile Marketing’ and ‘Best Use of Technology’. Last year in 2013 we won a Mobbys Award for ‘Best New Service in Mobile Industry’. Previously we had been bestowed with prestigious awards like Red Herring Top 100 Asia in 2012, Top 100 Small Business in 2011 and The Best SME (E-commerce) at CNBC Emerging India Awards in 2009.

3_rev
From left to right: Colvyn J Harris (CEO, JWT South Asia / JWT Mumbai), Sunil Lulla (MD, Times Television Network), holding the trophy is Bharatesh Salian (CSO, VivaConnect), K.N. Raichura (Chairman, VivaConnect), Pranab Basu (VP – Sales & Operations, VivaConnect) and Shri. Arvind Gupta (IT Cell Convener, BJP)

3. How would you gain access to new customers like BJP who helped you to win this award?
Overall we practice niche marketing to create brand awareness, however we have earned clients through exceptional result of our services. Word of mouth has been highly instrumental for us, as many of our clients have been earned through referrals.

4. How fast have you been developing last years ?
The growth has been phenomenally fast as our VivaConnect family doubled in a years time. Over last year we even executed some of the very best campaigns for big brands and Enterprises. Moreover we expanded our operations by establishing a Delhi office to connect with clients from Northern India.

5. Which factors maintain such continuous growth of the Company, As a Mobile Marketing Solutions company in India?
The factor that motivates us the most and promotes continuous growth has to be ‘Innovation’. We have a never ending urge to create something better with every new campaign that we execute for brands. Since ‘Mobile Phone’ is a communication device that offers immense utility, so we focus to amplify this connect between brands and their customers, making the interaction all the more engaging and rewarding. As a Mobile media company our learning comes from mobile using habit of our customer’s customers. Talking of Indian market, which is still a feature phone heavy market, services over Missed calls are by far more popular. A large portion of target consumer is highly cost conscious and for that reason services with ‘zero’ engagement cost (to the end user) goes extremely well.

6. Comment on “Scope of Mobile Marketing in India”, including DND (Do Not Disturb) service & other governmental rules & regulations?
The scope of Mobile Marketing is growing immensely as India’s rural market presents opportunities that companies seeking to become high-performance businesses cannot afford to ignore. The revisions in DND has given a privilege to every user of receiving their choice of updates, notifications and services. Unlike earlier time when a DND subscriber didn’t receive any informational or promotional content, now they can opt to receive updates from their favorite brands, Restaurants, Shopping hubs, etc. For eg: A person who likes pizza’s can choose to receive promotional offers and discounts over SMS by subscribing to their service and at any point of time if they wish to say goodbye to the brand they can easily unsubscribe over a missed call or SMS. These services have enriched the overall engagement between brands and their customers.

7. Please tell us more about VivaConnect ?
VivaConnect is a Creative Mobile Media Company having India’s LARGEST platform for  Voice and Missed Call Services. We ideate solutions for Brands & Enterprises over missed calls, SMS, email, mobile apps and voice platform. Most the solutions that we offer are  enjoyed at ‘zero cost’ by the end user. They are great for authenticating, registrations, activation/deactivation, voting, polling, sampling, gratification and more. Managing a three way traffic 365 days a year through Voice Calls, Missed calls, Emails & SMS, our service platforms make over 3 crore impressions every single day through transaction and marketing services. We even explain it to our clients that ‘mobile marketing’ is not about selling their services on mobile, instead its about offering an experience of their brand over mobile. Thus our solutions are often a combination of more than one mobile service to weave an engaging interaction.

8. How is it unique from your competitors? Your competitive advantage.
Combination of our self-owned Largest Infrastructure of Voice platform, our excellent team and the tie-ups with telco’s gives us an edge over our competitors. Its the result of these factors that enables us to deliver products distinct from other mobile marketers. Our setup of 1700 PRI’s is capable of managing 50 million outbound calls in a single day which is an enormous capacity. Moreover what really differentiates us is the way we deliver the solutions. It goes as the famous saying, ‘Its not what we do, Its about how we do it’.

9. What’s your “Marketing Strategy” in present & for future ?
Earlier we offered solutions separately in form of Voice calls, Missed calls, SMS, Emails and Mobile apps. But now we are on our path to productize our services which will make it easier for our clients to pick a set of mobile service mix befitting their requirement. For instance, one can choose our iVote for handling voting / polling over missed calls, or choose MoRe to offer easy and instant gratification services over mobile, or if requirement is of broadcasting live events over Phone call then choosing LiveTalk and so on.

Here’s an online coverage over IT Voice.

.

Mobile Marketing: Don’t Sell, offer an Experience!

Marketing’ – The dictionary defines it as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, which even includes market research and advertising. Though this term was coined may be a century ago, the practice surely dates back to the primitive days of our human race. Humans have always been in practice of sharing goods against something in return, which eventually transformed into act of selling as our ancestors grew smarter. As the trade begun and flourished, so did the number of manufacturers and suppliers providing the amount of services. In process of increasing the sale and expanding the reach, we picked up practices to reach more and more individuals. Gradually the act become a custom, people became consumers and practice becameMarketing’.

Marketing can be simply defined as the process of getting our message across the masses through a means of communication and in return knowing their (masses) choice. The great minds of our time have worked their toil experimenting with various ways of effectively conveying a message on a broader scale and to gain a reach with intended target group. The ideal message carriers came in form of a real persons (obviously), Newspapers, Print Publications, Radio, Television, Internet and the more recent and magnificent ‘The Mobile’.

Economy lead

Out of all the marketing vehicles, very few offer a 2-way communication to the likes of Mobile, which is unarguably the most handsome, powerful and cost effective means to build a connect with a million individuals. Mobile has leveraged the world of personal communication by bring 24×7 connectivity, granting facilities of internet access, voice calls, messaging apps, multimedia sharing (audio, video, images) and much more easily on the move. It certainly surpasses rest of marketing vehicles with matchless speed, reliability and instant connect delivering a thundering mileage.

Mobile marketing has grown four-fold into a whooping billion rupee industry in India, within a brief span of time. By coupling services offered by mobile i.e. voice call, text messages and mobile apps with zest of creativity and innovation, Brands and Enterprises are now providing their customers instant services, acknowledgements, rewards and a lot more of interactive content right over mobile. Moreover, going beyond the global mobile marketing trends, India has an unique offering too, here brands are even replying back to customers missed calls. Mobile marketing has unveiled a beautiful horizon for marketers presenting a world of limitless opportunities to engage and gratify customers through services of voice, sms, email and mobile apps.

Not so long ago, people walked to banks just to know their account balance or status of their transaction, waited in long queue to make railway reservations, mobbed payment counters to pay their utility bills and so on. Thanks to mobile, today all of this is just a minute away, one missed call and we get an up-to-date account balance on sms, a few taps on mobile screen and we’ll have a reservation for a journey, payment of our utility bills, ordering a meal, renting-a-cab and much more.

Redefining Marketplace
Mobile marketing has redefined the engagement between enterprises and its consumers, the former (Brands & Enterprises) have come closer to their consumers than ever before. Today brands have gained access to vital information of their customers, like knowing their location, preferences, dislikes, feedback, frequency of usage and so on. (All this information is of course acquired with customers consent). This knowledge allows enterprises and brands to deliver a better and customized service, easing the connect. Thanks to mobile, consumers are finally receiving a ‘King’ like treatment with tailor made services and round the clock assistance.

Though Indian market took a little more time than foreign markets to adopt mobile marketing services, yet the current growth has been phenomenal. For the very first time sell of smartphones have overtook sell of feature phones in India. The amount of user accessing internet services over mobile has touched 188 million and expected to reach 519 million by 2018 (States a report by Morgan Stanley). Retail markets have quickly shifted from square foot shops to mega byte apps for selling a range of goods and services. Entertainment channels, BFSI, Government, News Agencies, Film Productions, Food & Beverage, Travel & Tourism and every possible industry is turning to mobile marketing services. A midst all of its offering, Indian market still thrives much over Voice and Missed call services.

It’s Different
The characteristics of mobile marketing services have turned it into a hot platform for interaction, enhancing ‘Right here, Right Now’ services. It has highly streamlined many of day-to-day operations and proven to be an absolutely great time saver. Most of its services are offered at zero cost (or minimal cost) for engagement to the end users.

Also, It’s absolutely not about selling products or services over mobile, Instead it’s about offering a warm experience of a brands hospitality. Mobile marketing now dwells into understanding mobile usage habit of target consumers, addressing their requirement and gradually nestling over mobile so that when they (customer) look out, they’re (Brands and Enterprise) right into the spot.

India has a massive mobile phone user base amounting to 800+ million subscribers and increasingly holding stronger roots. Since aim of marketing has always been about letting people know about existence of services, that says ‘there’s a service just for you’, today its done better over Mobile!

As featured over Vikram Raichura’s Blog at Economy Lead.