Can you imagine shopping in a supermarket without Shopping Carts? Consumers didn’t like them!

Sylvan Goldman was an American who served in World War 1. But he didn’t shoot guns. Instead, he was a food requisitionist in France. It was his job to find food for the soldiers fighting in France.

After the war, he took the skills he learned as a food requisitionist and started his own venture. With his brother, he started a wholesale fruits and produce selling business in Texas. And later on, with some monetary help from his uncle, he started the first supermarket in the state of Oklahoma. The Sun Grocery Company.

Within 3 years, he was running a successful supermarket chain – that had grown to 55 stores! 

Sylvan sold off the Sun Grocery Company for a huge profit. But promptly lost most of his fortune in the stock market crash and the great depression of 1929.

So Sylvan went back to doing what he knew best. Changed cities and created another successful supermarket chain. Standard Grocery.

As someone who constantly optimized every small detail in his stores, Sylvan was always troubled by how difficult shopping was for women with kids. Juggling kid, as well as big shopping baskets, was a difficult task.

And so, in 1937, he came up with the invention that you still use today: the shopping cart.

But these shopping carts were a huge failure. No one used them in stores. When Sylvan asked the shoppers why – men told him that it made them look feminine. And women told him that they didn’t want to push something that looked like baby carriages anymore.

At this point, when the market had invalidated your product, most people would give up and move on to something else. Not so with Sylvan. He doubled down. And hired male and female models to push these shopping carts all around his stores and demonstrate its utility.

When folks saw others were using the invention, they started using it too. And soon, other stores started asking Sylvan if he could provide them with these shopping carts.

So Sylvan patented the shopping cart. And started charging a royalty for any shopping cart made and used in USA. And became a multimillionaire!

Action Summary:

  • Do more of what works. And less of what doesn’t.
  • Look out for things that bug people, that are hard to manage. And try to think of solutions to make those things easy.
  • Use social proof to overcome people’s objections. If they see others use your product, they will want to use it too.

Celebrities v/s Influencers v/s Bloggers v/s Advocates

Celebrities, Influencers, Bloggers & Advocates are the pillars of Word of Mouth Marketing. Ever been influenced by someone lately to make a decision? The person who likely made you do so, fall in these categories. So let’s define what each category means so that we as marketers know how to leverage them.

Celebrities:

This sort of people have already earned a name for themselves and typically charge a premium for their face value when you request them to be associated with a brand. In most cases, knowing them personally can help you void the fee but in most cases, they charge a heavy premium and primarily have a large follower base on their Social Networks. A celebrity helps you associate your brand dictate a standard.

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In India, the media thrives on face value instead of Brand value. Organizing an event without a celebrity means the press is not gonna turn up at the event. A Celebrity is primarily a media puller for the Indian market.

Bloggers:

They are those who are more mature in their way of expressing themselves. Bloggers are ideally hired when a brand is looking for ‘qualitative’ content coverage. Bloggers tend to vary drastically. Some charge, others don’t. Some charge but still end up writing their own opinions. But primarily most bloggers love to write and got into it with a passion for writing about their favorite subjects. Some of these bloggers have a large following on their social networks and also charge for having a brand’s post being featured on their channel.

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The above photo featured is one of the most admired & reputed bloggers I have witnessed in the tech space. His name is Amit Agarwal and he runs a blog called Digital Inspiration which is curated with tech hacks & growth hacking techniques – if you’d know how to read between the lines. If you are like me and wish to be a Hybrid Marketer, I’d recommend a dose of any of his blog articles, once a day!

Dealing with bloggers in India is pretty straight forward. Connect with them via their email id shared on contact page of their blog or connect via a Social Network and then discuss the potential association. Top Bloggers who work with brands usually have a ready rate card and new ones don’t. Among the various category of bloggers Fashion & niche category bloggers charge the highest. Most food bloggers trade in for their dining experiences with a +1 person.

Hiring bloggers will NOT get a brand trending online but might get a few ooh’s, aah’s and queries if you are lucky to have selected the most relevant ones to your brand. Unlike their international counterparts, bloggers in India haven’t reached the potential of driving a store to be out of stock on the posts they upload. Most bloggers in India charge for the posts they write unlike the old practices of getting paid through advertising impressions.

Influencers:

This audience made its presence felt much recently. I categorize them as primarily those users with a large follower base (primarily on Twitter or Instagram) on Social platforms. They may or may not have the power to influence people into buying products but they do help in influencing visibility of a brand on a network to drive quantitative targets. Unlike Bloggers, they do not necessarily emphasize on quality nor do they emphasize on being able to drive conversions but they can help you generate buzz or noise. They can help you drive brand. Influencers have been denting pockets of Social Networks for some time now and I feel they will continue to do so. They are here for the money and anyone with a large following can make a quick buck by tweeting/posting about the brand.

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In India, brands have begun to hire Influencers to trend contests, engagement activities, run political campaigns, criticize opinions & people, share offers etc. Having an Influencer Management partner for your brand is like having the power to ‘buy’ your way into getting people to talk what you want. It’s like a brand’s army on standby that would operate on a need-to-know basis to achieve anything you want to accomplish as far as the quantitative targets are concerned.

The growth of this category in India is fueled by brands who do not necessarily understand the way social media works in influencing a customer or would have set unrealistic targets. Hence in most cases I recommend this to be purely a stunt exercise. To know more about the right way to leverage this media, connect with me through the contacts page.

Advocates:

This bunch is what every brand truly seeks from Social Media but doesn’t know it yet. Most brands confuse them to be bloggers, influencers, and celebrities. This isn’t true. A true advocate is one who would recommend a product or a service without charges. However, finding true advocates is not an easy task as one would require to handpick them. Advocates pay real value and still promote the brand.

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I remember such an instance while dining with Rashmi Uday Singh – A Times of India Columnist at Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai. When the Hotel mentioned to her that her meal was taken care off she was adamant to pay for it and mentioned if the hotel didn’t accept it, she’d tip the waiter the bill amount.

Most advocates don’t write or recommend for money. They recommend because they love it and they’d feel its worth the pay. For eg, I recommend classic doughnuts at Krispy Kreme, Kebabs at Northern Tadka, The Naughty Lucy burger at Dunkin Donuts, Sushi at Trident Hotel in Bandra Kurla. If you were to ask me which hosting provider I would recommend, I’d say Siteground. They charge almost double than that of Godaddy but after buying at least over 20 domains on Godaddy, I’ve switched to Siteground and I enjoy being with them. I do it because I know it’s worth the pay for my troubles (in after sales support) I would have had to face if I had chosen my ex-hosting provider.

Anyone can become an advocate. Even a blogger, a celebrity or an influencer is an advocate when they buy the product for real value and recommend the same without being paid elsewhere. An online advocate is the one who not only buys the products for real value but also talks proudly about it.

If you are further looking for assistance in understanding the above terms in detail and how to leverage them, feel free to connect with me via the contacts page.

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