India-Pak Semifinal: The Pinnacle of Advertising in India

Today should be noted in the books of history. It doesn’t happen too often. And it’s unlikely to happen again in the next 8 years. As India play Pakistan in the semifinal of Cricket World Cup, the world of adveritsing would have changed, and the price barriers would have set a new benchmark for how expensive an ad slot can be. It will be interesting if any weed smoking son of the gun can calculate the real ROI of an ad slot today.
Here’s the opportunity (the ‘for dummies” version) –

  • Everyone’s watching – It’s that one topic. If you are marginally aware of cricket, you’d be watching it. If you’re not, then you’d be forced to, because the others won’t let you put anything else on the tube.
  • The same thing – The match is being telecast on three channels I guess- DD, Star Cricket, Star Sports. Each of them have their reach and captive audience. English speaking audience would prefer Star Cricket, given the commentator panel. DD would be the default for the parts of the country where people don’t still have cable tv/ set top boxes.
  • And they are confident India would win – the confidence of the nation, because despite the relative strengths or weaknesses, Pakistan has never defeated India in a world cup match. Oz and SL have. And that’s why the emotions are a lot more subdued. Lots of critics would weigh the balance of the two sides. And lots of people on the street would feel that we are going to the final. Its as much a celebration as it is an encounter
  • Yet they expect it and want it to be competitive – It has usually been like that. And more so in our head than in reality. A 50 run partnership in another match can be seen as normal, but would be seen as a high pressure situation for the bowling side today. So, people are going to take it to the wire, irrespective of the end score.
  • Without any lapse of attention – Its an 8 hour+ marathon. That tension would means a higher adrenalin rush, and greater attention to the most minute details of your ad. People will be all eyes and ears. They will watch just that one channel, and will keep looking for it. Because they don’t want to miss that moment when something happens – that wicket, that boundary, that divine shot, or that cut, or that miss.
  • And will be discussing it – everyone’s a critic today. Everyone has an opinion. And today, it’s out in the open. To the extent, that they would discuss the ads that feature the cricketers to assess how weird/funny/ridiculous it might be. In some cases, those ad taglines would be used in the context of the match. Imagine Shoaib bowling a bouncer to Sachin and thousands of people quipping – aisi delivery khelne ke liye protection chahiye.
  • In their rooms – Quite like the superbowl, there is a frenzy in metros and villages alike. Inverters/ Batteries/ Generators have been arranged for and charged to ensure that a power failure does not stop them from watching the match. Watch-dos have been organized by people inviting friends/ family/ colleagues. Offices have arranged for projects and audio systems for large hall screenings. And people will be reaching early to get their prized seats early.
  • Or, on the internet – If OZ match was an indication – half the internet generation of India would be tweeting/facebooking about the match, with their emotions out in the open. There will less analysis, and more expression of the moment. Y
  • And will remember – Yes. We may not remember what the boss said this morning. But we are pretty good at remembering that six Sachin Tendulkar hit of Kasprowicz in that Desert Storm innings, or the exact shape of the Venkatesh Prasad delivery that took care of Aamir Sohail. And Sehwag ki Maa stays as one of the most epic ads (in terms of recall) ever. I won’t be surprised if Yuvraj’s Revital and bhaag daud se bhari zindagi might be the next one.
  • If they like or dislike something – the opinions and expressions are not always about things people dislike. It covers the likes, the neutrals, the sharpness or the dimwittedness of the moment, analysis of players, analysis of commentators, ads, presentation ceremony and everything else.
  • And while doing all this, they are consuming! Let’s not forget that these viewers will also be guzzling down large quantities of drinks (Alocholic and non-alocholic) with chips, popcorns, dine-in orders, kebabs, pakodas and what nots. Unless the delivery guy of the neighborhood shop refuses to go for delivery today, or the ever so accommodating mothers and wives decide to join the cricket party.

What you are assured of is an assured and a HUGE number of viewers who’d not flip the channel even as you beam them with the most inane and absurd ads, and there are quite a few of them. What you gonna do that’s gonna leave a name for you? In advertising, there cannot be bad recall, as long as there is recall.
And yes, its also a day where the nation’s collective productivity loss would have most likely offset any commercial return possible. Even the Prime Minister is not working. Yet, wouldn’t the ultimate master of ceremonies say – “People of India, and People of the World, ARE YOU HAVING FUN?”

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Dofficially D!

Finally, I put to official use the name that was given to me by the people I loved working with (read, Inductis colleagues) – D

The Diamond Consulting Case Competition on campuses is called DConstruct. I think they think its D for Diamond. (wink wink). Its D for D!! 🙂

Couple of links I could find about DConstruct – Here and here

Customer Analytics is here to stay

Couple of very interesting articles here – 1 and 2

The first talks about the relative unpreparedness of Asian Banks in maximizing the value of their data as well as the need for advanced analytics for the next stage of growth. Not sure if the link would work; So, I am pasting the article below anyway.

The second talks about digiton’s view of an IBM report that talks about the end of advertising unless they start investing in customer analytics.

Two separate reports talking about the same thing – Customer Analytics is here to stay, and gradually its become the backbone of all businesses. Encouraging, isn’t it?

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Copyright 2007 Business Wire, Inc. – Business Wire

November 9, 2007 Friday 2:00 PM GMT

HEADLINE: Survey: Asian Banks Seek Right Strategies and Decision Tools to Fuel Smart Growth in Today’s Credit Boom;

New Survey from The Asian Banker and Fair Isaac Spotlights Need for Better Data and Analytics for Managing Risk, Fraud and Customer Acquisition

As credit markets in the Asia-Pacific region continue to expand at record rates, results of a new region-wide survey underscore a growing need for proven strategies and solutions that enable banks to make profitable customer decisions that accelerate growth while limiting risk and losses.

Commissioned by Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FIC) and conducted by leading financial services research and intelligence firm The Asian Banker, “The Asian Banker Consumer Credit Practice Survey 2007” spotlights current practices in credit customer management, risk management and fraud control. The survey engaged senior banking executives, experts and practitioners in 10 major financial centers across Asia Pacific, including Singapore, China, India, and Hong Kong. The Asian Banker and Fair Isaac revealed the results in Shanghai this week, during Fair Isaac’s first InterACT customer conference in China.

The survey indicated that as Asian banks work to expand their consumer credit businesses, they are in need of advanced decision-making capabilities to help them smartly capitalize on their growth opportunities. The survey found that most banks in the region are still at the early stages of building and leveraging sound analytic approaches and technologies to improve the processes that drive their most important customer decisions. Key findings of the survey include:95 percent of respondents identified establishing a reliable credit scoring process as a key operational challenge. Less than 10 percent of respondents currently utilize advanced techniques for fraud detection and prevention on a regular basis. Less than one-quarter of Asian banks utilize advanced customer segmentation techniques in their marketing activities. Less than one-third of banks incorporate customer profiling or profitability analysis on a regular basis.

The survey was conducted at a time of burgeoning growth in Asian credit and lending markets. According to The Asian Banker, the current $3.9 trillion consumer credit market in Asia Pacific has an estimated potential of $8 trillion.

“By investigating how banks manage key functional processes and customer decisions across the consumer credit lifecycle, The Asian Banker sought to examine the preparedness of Asia-Pacific banks to achieve their growth potential,” said Dr. Grace Liu, Senior Researcher at The Asian Banker. “Specifically, we looked at their current capabilities as well as the fundamental challenges they encounter. Diversity of credit markets, varying levels of process maturity and different go-to-market strategies were key themes that emerged, along with the common challenges banks face in acquiring and leveraging quality customer data.”

“We are pleased to partner with The Asian Banker to provide a timely view of current practices, perspectives and requirements for success in the Asia-Pacific credit industry,” said JY Pook, Managing Director for Fair Isaac Asia Pacific. “The fast-emerging markets in this region hold tremendous opportunity for banks and lenders that approach it with both the right growth strategies and the right combinations of data, predictive analytics and sophisticated decision technologies. Fair Isaac’s mission is to help Asia-Pacific banks embrace and leverage the strategies and solutions they need to consistently and confidently make customer decisions that enable smart growth.”

Survey Details

Select findings of the survey include:

Data, Credit Scoring and Fraud Analytics are Keys to Growth

The Asian Banker found that the ability to capture, analyze and act on customer credit data is a key determinant for success in the lending origination process. Respondents were concerned by the state of data, predictive modelling capabilities and account automation across the consumer credit lifecycle. They indicated that an inability to effectively leverage data is an obstacle to developing advanced decisioning capabilities, and thus is an obstacle to consumer credit business growth. Eighty-seven percent of respondents indicated that making effective use of credit bureaus is challenging, while 88 percent indicated that they have difficulties achieving effective automation of credit approval processes.

In the areas of fraud detection and prevention, the survey found that banks rely largely on basic fraud detection methodology, and view fraud detection and prevention improvements as secondary to growing customer acquisition and account management capabilities. While 89 percent of respondents actively use internal or industry-shared “blacklists” – the most basic of fraud detection methods, only 22 percent use more advanced modelling methodologies such as neural networks and profiling.

A Need for Deeper Understanding of Customers

The survey illustrated that Asia-Pacific consumer credit markets are at different stages of development, with varied levels of market penetration. Emerging economies like India, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia demonstrate the highest potential for market development and growth, while more mature economies like Singapore and Australia comprised the group with the highest ratio of penetration and indebtedness.

This diversity is further indicated by different approaches to market development. In emerging economies, banks such as those in India and the Philippines (or 29 percent of all banks surveyed) utilize broader-based approaches to customer acquisition, while banks such as those in Singapore and Australia (24 percent of banks surveyed) have adopted more advanced marketing strategies in customer segmentation. However, fewer than half of all banks surveyed have established mechanisms for measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, due largely to challenges in quantifying and establishing appropriate performance measures.

China Poised for Growth, But Needs Advanced Analytics

According to The Asian Banker survey, China is one of the highest-potential growth markets. However, the country is still at the nascent stages of market and process sophistication. For example, almost 65 percent of Chinese banks surveyed agreed that they were unable to target appropriate customers for their consumer credit offerings. More than half of Chinese banks also viewed the effective use of credit bureaus and historical data a major challenge.

Evaluserve report predicts Indian KPO Boom

This link here [may require subscription.. not sure] talks about the impending boom in Indian KPO market. Headline says – India to dominate global KPO mkt; create 1.8 lakh new jobs

The Evalueserve report also states in detail about the few sub-sectors within the KPO industry that are expected to do well. These include banking, finance, securities and insurance research, data mining and analytics and contract research organizations and biotech services.”

Thats some good news ;). Having decided to make a career in this field, and still watching it find its firm feet, I think these occasional headlines are very importants for us to feel confident about the career choice we have made.

Nascence, Idling & Adolescence

One of the things I’ve always been scared about, in an organization, is the transition from Nascence to Adolescence. What I mean is a new/small/fresh/startup environment of the firm (NASCENCE), gradually maturing into the processes/culture/large company environment (ADOLESCENCE). However, the theme here is the transition process and my fear around Idling. Often, as we build delivery capacity, the lag between sales and delivery often leads to idle (delivery) time for the team.

Let me show a cycle of events, which I hope some of you will identify with –

  1. Company gets a project in a new space (analytics here)
  2. Company hires people to get it done
  3. Company views this as an opportunity to build its presence in the space
  4. Company starts building the business case. A core team is put together to convert the project into a vertical/business
  5. The wheels start rolling. Sales team is roped in for selling. Delivery capacity starts getting built. Everyone is busy. Everyone is enjoying the dirt on the track.
  6. New guys come in. Some start working on new projects. Some wait for projects.
  7. The unutilized team members are put on firm-development and intellectual capital development
  8. On the ground, there is an uncomfortable buzz. The seriousness required to complete these internal initiatives is often missing. The unrest begins!

I feel that the initial lot of people are usually overworked, because they came in after a project was sold, which, in high probability, led to the identification of opportunity. The IC and FD guys seem to be creating unrest. Why?

My guess is that the blame should be taken by the initial overworked guys like me, who end up believing that they are the ones doing the “real” work, all FD and IC is just a way of keeping guys busy.

The second group to take blame should be the leadership which is in charge of looking at the FD and IC initiatives. Its their responsibility to inculcate the sense of pride, responsibility and importance associated with these inward oriented projects.

The third group to be blamed, to the least extent, is the new group itself. A simple saying like Rome wasn’t built in a day goes a long a way in building organizational maturity. We all need to realize that everyday cannot be a perfect 9 hour work day. Just as there are bad days/weeks of 16 hours+ work per day, there are bad days/weeks of 0(ZERO) work per day. Just as you need the client work to generate revenue, you need FD and IC initiatives to build the backbone of a firm. The initial chaos of excitement needs to gradually mature into a process driven organization meant to meet the needs of a large number of people working together. The ad-hoc decision making needs to be replaced by structures that are ready to take the load of a large number of people demanding individual attention.

That said, I believe that it is how well we handle this stage of growth, that differentiates a great leadership from an average leadership. and yes, one of the ways of doing it is communication (clear, effective and copious)

What do you think?

Desktop Analytics

Read this quote – (Measuring productivity, or the lack thereof, on the personal computer. “Desktop Analytics”) on Google Reader feed of Data Sciences Analytics

Interesting. Not getting into the contents of the real post, I loved the statement. Its funny how many times I have tried to measure my desktop productivity. My desktop (or, laptop) time includes work, watching cartoons/animations/manga, reading comic books, reading blogs, reading general stuff, mailing, searching for tid-bits, playing games, etc etc. Amongst all this, I have no idea if my desktop productivity is 50% or less than that! Oh Yes! I would like to believe that I am terribly busy and am doing a lot of work, but the fact is that, ignoring the dependencies of a workplace, my productivity in the last several years would never have been more than 50%. On a really bad day, it might be 100%. But that would have to be really bad day!

All ye data folks out there, is there a way to capture this data? Any tool? I am sure the results are going to depress the hell out of me. BTW, this blog post – would it go under productive use or unproductive use? My guess is that its unproductive use, unless people find a skewed logic of calling it a break to refresh my decaying brain cells and hence, increasing my productivity. And a break is a part of a productive work day, isn’t it?

Communicating is required!

A very impressive experience based blogpost by Kevin. It rightly emphasizes the equal if not greater importance of communicating over crunching!
I guess its true not just in an internal vs. consultant kinda scenario, as Kevin mentions, but also in the case of a Manager-Analyst relationship. There are times when I have seen the Engagement Managers and above have a tough time with the team, because they want to hear a lot of things, but not just the numbers! 😉

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