Monday, January 25, 2010

INFOCOM 09-10: Creating business opportunities through social media marketing

INFOCOM 09-10, the largest congregation of ICT professionals, corporate leaders, academicians and policy makers in India is organized in Kolkata annually. The recently concluded event had quite a few parallel sessions on ICT focused topics. Creating business opportunities through social media marketing was one of the interesting sessions that I attended.

The session attracted around 50 - 60 people with a good mix of students, executives, as well as senior members from various business houses and corporates. The two main speakers Sriram from Iridium Interactive and Siddharth from Indusgeeks shared engrossing insights about social media marketing and virtual gaming marketing respectively. The session focused on the growing need for Indian businesses to look at social media marketing as an important aspect of their overall marketing plan.

Sriram shared quite a few Indian examples as to how corporates like ICICI, Reliance etc have handled rumors and criticisms and used the right crisis management measures to ensure consistent brand image. He also laid stress on the fact that content on various media is beyond a company's control. Hence one needs to be very proactive in their approach and respond to these conversations to clearly put forward their stand on the discussed context. Platforms like Facebook, twitter, blogs etc today are being effectively used as effective marketing and PR tools in the West and Indian businesses too need to start adopting it.

On the other hand, Siddharth brought in a new angle to the session by sharing videos on how virtual gaming like Second Life and other such forums are the future of marketing. He stressed on the need to target the growing population who now have a virtual Avatar (he referenced the recently released blockbuster Avatar) and link with them. Certain examples he shared - Advertising in Sports-focused-online-games is today one of an attractive ways to reach out to a huge fan base instantly. These are the new techniques that he is promoting and also the fact that its no more about Brand campaigns..infact we are in a transformational stage, today it is more about Brand Experience.

The key take aways from the session - One cannot just rely on the online impressions being generated by a brand anymore, there is an increasing need to provide visitors with a brand experience. This then needs to be measured by the amount of time they spend on your web pages, responses on you blog, tweet backs, discussions around your brand etc. Hence an effective digital & social media marketing strategy is a must for any brand today.

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