How did Thanos do it?

posted by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated ]

#1 Market Research Question in Avengers Infinity War/ Endgame

Spoiler Alert: Serious spoilers below. This article will ruin the climax for Avengers Infinity war for you. But seriously, If you still do not know the climax- what on earth are you doing here instead of doing something productive like streaming it on Netflix right now!

At the end of Avengers infinity war half of all the life (or sentient life because I don't recall them focusing on Thanos disintegrating animals or plants- the lesser life as we humans like to deem them out of our own hubris). So, Thanos or the six infinity stones wiped off half the sentient/ intelligent lifeforms across the universe.

So, let's say you are living at the end of Avengers infinity war: you have a chance of either being disintegrated or if you are lucky you escape this fate.

But wait, in case of a complete random disintegration: there is no way of knowing for sure that 50% of the remaining population of the universe will be faithful to the original 100%.

I understand that for a truly random sample drawing, across the universe the distribution across gender, age group, income, education, race, religion, and other so-called social and cultural indicators will remain more or less the same: or it should. But it could wreak havoc in smaller geographies, in context with the universe, our planet is not even the famous pale blue dot mentioned by Carl Sagan. We are pretty much nothing. So, there is a possibility that for a tiny fraction of the universe, like a planet, there are some serious issues in disintegration that might end up killing all the let's say reproductive members of a species resulting in the destruction of the species itself.

Thanos must have hired a market research agency for making a screener of sorts for the disintegration. Thanos must have set up quotas. And since he claims to be impartial and not mutilating populations/ species out of spite, he must have had a system to remain fair, but fairness means tossing a coin, you either live or disintegrate. You toss enough coins and you see heads and tails tend to be roughly equal. But unfortunately for life, that fairness does not work in an isolated system. We need to have quotas to remain 'fair'.

I wonder which agency handled market research for Thanos.

And what was the payment structure for the service? No disintegration for the employees? But won't that compromise the central premise of fairness? So, the poor employees might have chalked up the plan for their own disintegration without even being aware of it!

Daenerys Targaryen's Elevator Pitch!

posted Jul 2, 2016, 5:18 PM by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated ]

Yesterday's season finale of Game of Thrones was truly epic. Now that we have a long wait for season 7, let's try to understand what can we learn from GoT characters. Starting from the obvious candidate: Daenerys Targaryen . 

"I am Daenerys Stormborn of the house Targaryen of the blood of old Valeria; the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Khaleesi to Drogo's riders; queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and I will take what is mine with fire and blood"

I am not sure how fast the elevators in the Wall are, given that they are hand-operated, but this lady has a killer pitch even given modern elevator speed standards!

So, what is an elevator pitch? 

It is an opportunity to evoke interest around a brand- be it your personal brand or your business. So let's imagine, you have a brilliant business idea and you find yourself in an elevator with Kevin O’Leary de la Shark tank. Now, you do not know which floor he gets off so you have a limited time to introduce yourself and make a memorable impression so that he might show further interest. An elevator pitch is basically the hook whether you are fishing for a job or a VC funding.

What are the successful elements of an elevator pitch?

A brief background: The key here is to be succinct and only highlighting those affiliations that would make you stand out.Talk about the certifications, if you are a part of a well-known association(e.g. CMA, CPA Ontario): highlight it!

How does Dany do it? "I am Daenerys Stormborn of the house Targaryen of the blood of old Valeria": This touches upon her rich ancestry and the legitimacy of her claim to the iron thrones.

Your significant & relevant past achievements: Since past behaviour is a generally accepted indicator of future behaviour, it is a good idea to showcase your achievements.

How does Dany do it? "Khaleesi to Drogo's riders":Were you an exceptional leader? Were you the first woman to effectively lead a bunch of unruly, squabbling, water-fearing horse riders across the sea? Great, that might indicate that you've got the prowess to lead and rule Westeros too!

Point out the strategies that shaped your achievements, not only the outcomes: This is the part where you tell what actions on your part helped you achieve those accolades/ that promotion/ that client. If you have a unique skill or two(Coding, SEO, proficiency in 19 languages, riding dragons etc.), this is where you address how you used them in real life scenario.

How does Dany do it? "The Unburnt, Mother of Dragons": She points out that she became a leader of the Dothraki by showcasing that she could stay unscathed amidst a raging fire. Bonus point for giving 'birth' to 3 super-cool dragons who would grow up to be the most ferocious beasts in seven kingdoms.

And finally, The call to action: All that is good, but what do you plan to do next? Here is where you lure them into joining your cause(by giving you their card or email id, or by pledging their sword to you: whichever is applicable in the scenario!)

How does Dany do it? "Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and I will take what is mine with fire and blood": She wants the iron throne: she is the rightful heir and she would ascend the throne no matter what it takes(note the display of sheer determination, will power and an unwavering faith on your goals). The implied message? Come join the party- "My reign has just begun"!

Last but not the least, following up is an essential aftermath of an elevator pitch that most people ignore. Please don't make that mistake. Blow the hammer while it's still hot. Write a follow-up email within a day and stay in touch: you will sail across the narrow sea in no times!

P.S Your watch has not ended yet. Keep a vigil over the 'wall' for the upcoming posts in this series!

The art and science of Marketing

posted Jul 2, 2016, 12:14 PM by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated ]

I always wanted to learn magic as a kid and spent many a sleepless night awaiting my Hogwarts invitation letter. It didn't come, but later I realized why I loved magic. What had enthralled me was the perfect synergy between meticulous science and the art of mesmerizing the audience.

I have fulfilled my dreams of becoming a magician by being a marketer. Marketing revolves around the art of persuading consumers, the psychology of buyers persona and the science to decoding data to generate better business decisions. It's the perfect convergence of humanities and science; the yin and yang!

Given that, today's marketers need to not only be comfortable but also embrace technology. Following are 3 arsenals marketers need to have in their armoury and hone their skills with them regularly. Starting from the obvious:

Social Media:
Social media is not a niche marketing discipline anymore, it is re-writing traditional marketing disciplines. Being present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat has become a hygiene factor. While the traction of work done in social media and the tracking tools (speaking of which, check out this cool article: are definitely under the purview of science the organic way of content-building still embraces the art and the magic of words!

Marketing Automation:
Automation has been deemed as a hydra-headed monster gobbling up traditional jobs(read about its implication on call-centre industry: The automation industry today is nowhere close to 'What if I told you, machine's have already won' scenario. Though a mind boggling about of things (even certain news articles that you read online) are automated, from a marketing standpoint it is an immense asset prioritizing and streamlining our marketing tasks so that we can concentrate our energies on more creative endeavors. 

Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing visibility of your web page by making it appear in the TOP results in a search engine( read about Google's plea against search engine 'manipulation': You can do some cool science and search the specific keywords by Google KeyWord Tracker and improve the rank of your website in Google Algorithm. But quality content in the end of the day is an art that attracts  your consumers to your website.

So, ride the changing tide, my fellow marketers with your automated surfers but in the end your tenacity, creativity and instinct are the traits that would separate a great campaign from an average one! 

Multicultural Marketing and Ethnic Advertising

posted Jul 2, 2016, 12:04 PM by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated ]

Let me start with an anecdote without going into the specifics. As a qualitative researcher in the advertising evaluation arena, I have had my fair share of startling consumer insights but this one left a lasting impression on me. We were doing eye tracking(those cool neuro-marketing exercises where you can magically tell which part of an ad gets consumers' precious attention the most through a 'heat-map') for some online banner ads. One particular ad had it all that previous researches had suggested our TG was aspiring for: a smiling couple with an infant having a merry picnic in sunny outdoors. It should have been a clear winner, it had all the elements. But it wasn't.

The family depicted in that ad were from a ethnicity consumers could not identify with. While the move on part of the agency was clearly to add on to the aspirational aspect, it backfired into alienation instead.

Another very personal example would be when I went to the grocery store the other day. Now, cons of being a marketer is that even when you are the consumer, you put yourself under the constant radar of scrutiny by trying to analyze why you picked up one brand over another. The product in question was a low involvement puffed rice. I do not like puffed rice. But I purchased it nonetheless. Because besides English, the scripting on it was also done in my mother tongue. It immediately hit my amygdala which oozed out fond memories that eventually successfully penetrated my purse.

For a multicultural country like Canada, where the visible minorities are often majorities in certain specific areas, PoS ethnic marketing is something that still has a lot of scopes to work on. We marketers need to understand the importance cultural backgrounds play in consumer decision making process and successfully leverage those findings into effective campaigns.  With the immergence of ethnic millennials  who spend majority of their time on their smart phones, ethnic content marketing & social media strategies should also be carefully designed.  With most B2C brands already acknowledging this trend, an exciting time is ahead for us brand builders to be creative and make meaningful impact in consumers' mindspace.

Can introverts be risk-takers?

posted Jul 2, 2016, 12:01 PM by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated ]

"A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life"- Muhammad Ali 

As an INFP working in an industry which not only is dominated by seemingly extrovert professionals but also celebrates extroversion, I have pondered a lot about the merits and demerits of being an introvert. Introversion does not necessarily mean being a wallflower(though a lot of introverted people would refrain from communicating unless they have something meaningful to say therefore often appearing to be rather aloof): it is just that introverts spend a lot of time thinking and speculating and they often need some alone time to 'recharge' after a social gathering.  A lot has been written about the power of introspection: Susan Cain's brilliant book 'Quiet' is an excellent reference. While mostly the debate has been around communication, I came across an interesting PoV of a friend: 'Introverts are inherently cautious people: so they can not take risk'.

I would take this opportunity to counter that. I know from my personal experience and from dealing with other introvert peers and friends that before taking a decision (be it choosing a flavor of ice-cream or grabbing the backpack and leaving for that road trip), a lot goes on inside our little grey cells. We tend to calculate the upshot of our actions before jumping the gun. We might appear to be killjoy but actually we love to circumspect.  But given the right motivation,  not only would an introverted person take risk but also follow it through meticulously even if the going gets tough.

A classic fictional example would be Frodo Baggins from LoTR: JRR, an introvert himself did a prime portrayal of what an introvert could achieve if entrusted with a pursuit he really deems important.  

So, I love the bodaciousness of my extrovert friends and often get awed by their enthusiasm and zeal but those who know me up, close and personal could never accuse me of not being a risk-taker: professionally or personally. Any discipline of business, including marketing, requires a healthy mix of different personality types. It is time we celebrate the quiet ones in the workplace because their brain is anything but quiet!

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