Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm sitting in my car when I see a magazine salesman coming up to the window, trying to sell me a copy of "Good Housekeeping". Another of their lot was trying to sell a copy of "Maxim" to my mother.
We didn't buy either. There was nothing wrong with the products; both are excellent, world-class products (I can certainly vouch for Maxim ;) though I'm not too sure about Good Housekeeping).
This is what happens when you've got a great product but you don't identify a target audience: no sales. Period. Marketing your product is thus as important as having a great product. Maybe even more important.
Contrary to popular belief, Marketing is not just about making awesome ads. The first step is to find a target audience and then create a campaign that will convince it. Just having a great campaign probably won't result in a sale either (unless the customer is an idiot).
You can't sell a garage-lock to a guy that doesn't have a garage, even if you've convinced him that you have the finest garage-lock in the market.
Take a look at some successful products around you. Most of them have done well because the marketers identified a target audience and worked to sell it to that very audience by developing a great sales pitch.
This applies as much in the online world as it does offline. Websites (blogs included) have to identify a target audience and sell themselves to it. Of course, this stage comes only after you have something worth selling (please note that I am not using the word sell literally). For a website that something is either great/unique/quality content or a great services.
The reason that most blogs (mine included) aren't too popular is because:-
1. they don't have anything unique (most are personal blogs)
2. they don't have great content in addition to being non-unique
3. they don't have a target audience
Who are you writing for? Why should people read your blog/website? Will it make any conceivable difference to them if they didn't read it?
The answers to these questions most often are: dunno, dunno and no (these are also my own answers). And the result is obvious.

P.S. I have no idea why I wrote this. It's a strange post, admittedly, but quite relevant to most bloggers. And I'm not writing this to discourage anyone from blogging. And yes, I have written a rather meandering post where I've been moving back and fort between marketing, target audiences and great products.


I've updated my link bar, check it out for some more blogs that I've started reading recently (and some not so recently)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Punjabi Wedding

Last night I found myself scarfing down tender seekh kebabs at a Punjabi wedding and it struck me that there's something special about Punjabi weddings, which sets them apart from the rest. The reason is obvious: a large number of Punjabis.
For one, if an invitation card to such a wedding says "7:00 PM" it means that the guests (i.e. you) should not arrive 10:00 PM. No wait. 11:00 PM. (I do admit that this is often true of ALL Indian weddings, events, etc.)
Punjabis like to eat. Obviously, food is of paramount importance at a punjabi wedding. It is, undoubtedly, the centre of attention. Even more significant and important than the wedding ceremony itself which begins painfully late.
(It would also be worth noting that Punjabis like to call chicken "murga". Their refusal to call it "chicken" is not without reason. Apparently, calling this delicious form of poultry "chicken" reduces its appeal to the tongue.)
Punjabi weddings also have a large number of punjabis (am I stating the obvious?). And Punjabis laugh. When Punjabis laugh, they like the world to know that they find something funny. Their laughter is loud, clear and resonates in the hall. The word "Hearty" is apt.
Relatives. When you're at such a wedding, and you're related to one person (to the best of your knowledge) a domino effect is observed. An entire battalion of relatives appears, and also knows you quite well, seemingly. The remark "Kinna vada hoga ya!" is often heard during the introductions to this seemingly endless regiment of Punjabi relatives.
Another essential part of the wedding is the Bhangra (forgive me, but I'm not too sure about the difference between gidda and bhangra). No Punjabi wedding is complete till a large number of relatives raise their fingers (pardon the expression, but if you've seen anyone do the Bhangra, you'll no what I'm talking about. "Shake their legs" just didn't make the cut.) to Punjabi music. This is by far the most enjoyable (and hilarious) part of the wedding.
Try and visualize a large group of fat men and women (full to the brim with food and drinks) trying to shake a leg to "Punjabiyan di Shaan Wakhri". A sight to behold.
The ceremony itself is short and sweet although it takes place at about 1:00 AM as the "baraat" has too arrive. It's not very important either.
Punjabi weddings are about food, drinks, dancing, music and Punjabis. The bride and the groom are hardly seen. Ironic? You're damn right.

NOTE: Any inaccuracies in protocol and/or procedure that might have crept in are inadverdent and deeply regretted.
And yes, I am a true, hearty, fun-loving, kebab-scarfing Punjabi.