Archive for June, 2010

Overdraft Opt-In Presents A Huge Opportunity For BPOs

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Federal Reserve Board of the USA has amended the so-called “Regulation E” to prohibit financial services institutions from charging overdraft protection fees for ATM withdrawals and one-time point-of-sale debit card transactions unless the customer has opted in to overdraft coverage. For the uninitiated, overdraft protection fees are the US$ 25-35 charges levied by banks on an average for allowing transactions made by their customers to go through despite not having sufficient balance in their accounts. For more on this topic, click here and here.

An independent survey recently reflected that, unless banks reach out and proactively communicate the cost-benefit proposition of overdraft protection to their customers, over 80% of their customers will not opt in for it. With over US$ 7 billion in revenues at stake from overdraft protection fees, it’s not surprising that FSIs are aggressively seeking customer opt-in agreements.

For BPOs having expertise in retail banking and the experience of working with the US financial services industry, overdraft protection opt-in presents a huge opportunity to expand their footprint within existing accounts, penetrate new accounts and grow revenues.  They can partner with FSIs to design, develop and execute campaigns to boost overdraft opt-ins. Since most campaigns will be centered around outbound telephone calls to retail banking customers, this opportunity is ideally led by BPO companies. For the messaging, content, web advertising,  microsites and other integral parts of these campaigns, BPOs can partner with marketing agencies, website design and development firms and IT solutions providers.

GTM360 Celebrates First Foundation Day

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

GTM360 recently turned one and celebrated its first Foundation Day on 16 June.

Many of our customers, prospects and well-wishers joined us for cocktails and dinner at the Hotel Sun-N-Sand in Pune, India to celebrate this occasion.

We thank all attendees for gracing the occasion.

Google Versus LinkedIN Advertising Rekindles The Quantity Versus Quality Debate

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Having recently completed a month-long campaign using the recently-launched LinkedIN DirectAds PPC advertising platform, I thought of comparing it with Google AdWords, the #1 PPC platform in the world. I’ve used the latter several times in the past, albeit not for the same product / service.  

Both Google AdWords and LinkedIN DirectAds are intended to trigger action, so neither of them is the platform of choice when it comes to advertising for creating and promoting brands. For that, banner ads are perhaps more suited.

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Having covered the similarity, let me get down to the differences between these two platforms.

When it comes to driving sheer volumes of traffic to the advertiser’s website, Google AdWords does a much better job than LinkedIN. With Google campaigns, I have averaged over 0.3% CTR (that is, clickthrough rate, which is defined as the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown), whereas my recent LinkedIN campaign delivered a measly CTR of 0.02%.  

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In other words, for a given number of times your ad is shown – also called ‘impressions’ – Google AdWords sends many more people to the advertiser’s website as compared to LinkedIN.

This huge difference is perhaps explained by the fact that Google AdWords uses purchase intent to target its ads, which LinkedIN doesn’t.

On the other hand, if you’re a B2B advertiser seeking to attract top level executives in target buyer organizations, you can specify that your LinkedIN ads should only be displayed to viewers at that level. You can’t do this with Google AdWords. Therefore, it could be argued that LinkedIN DirectAds delivers better quality of traffic. After all, you might find one visit by a C-Suite executive to your website to be far more valuable than several visits by operating-level people who might have a purchase intent (which is assured by Google AdWords) but no decision-making authority.

Whose Transaction Is It Anyway?

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I’d written about Offermatic, a newly launched service that promises deeply discounted offers on items of everyday purchase based on your credit or debit card transaction history.

Coming to think of it, direct marketers, banks and credit card companies have been doing this for decades. Direct marketers representing advertisers of FMCG and CPG products have been sending out mail shots through credit card issuers to cardholder lists for a long time. Do you recall the last time you received a credit card statement that wasn’t accompanied by a leaflet announcing discounts on electronics, luggage, perfumes and other items of everyday use? Now you get my drift.

On the face of it, it appears that Offermatic differentiates itself by sending out offers that are specifically targeted to each cardholder. That is, you receive an offer that is likely to be highly relevant to you based on your past purchase history.

On second thoughts, even banks and credit card companies claim to have started doing this in the last few years. With increased labor and postage costs, they have apparently begun to use spend analysis software to mine through your transaction history and send you offers that match your past purchase behavior. This way, they stand to improve conversion rates from their campaigns, instead of wasting money to send every offer to everybody, and then waste some more money to follow it up with telephone calls, and then land up with measly 1 in 200 conversion rates. However, I haven’t seen any evidence of this actually happening in practice with any of my credit cards in India, UK and Germany, so I’m not sure at what stage their rollouts of spend analysis technologies are.

If Offermatic is really able to fulfill its promise that it will “only send you offers that match your interests and purchasing history”, it might be able to make great strides where banks and credit card companies seem to be faltering. If and when that happens, it will be interesting to watch the reaction of banks and credit card companies: Will they ignore Offermatic? Or, will they claim ownership to transaction data and block Offermatic’s access to it? In the latter case, Offermatic will lose its ability to make targeted offers, which is its unique selling proposition. While cardholders can no doubt give away the usernames and passwords for their credit card online accounts to Offermatic, banks and credit card issuers can always take shelter behind specific clauses in their agreements that expressly forbid sharing of such sensitive information.

Eventually, it’d boil down to the question of “whose transaction is it anyway?”

No PC, No Google

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

In the early days of the Internet, there was so much hype around what it could do that the common man was almost under the impression that it could do anything except make his coffee. Vendors of ERP, office automation and other high-tech products had to gently remind their customers that they needed computers to access the Internet. Now, in its Web 2.0 avatar, there’s so much buzz around Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like. For those interested in finding ways to improve their Windows environment, nothing seems to be coming their way.

fwg01_200That is, until this article from FreewareGenius came along.  

FreewareGenius lists over forty freeware applications that either bring additional functionality to Windows or tweak the way people work with files, folders, applications, or the Windows environment itself. It should be very useful for people who haven’t forgotten yet that “without a PC, there won’t be a Google”, as Microsoft’s CTO Craig Mundie points out in a recent interview.  I know that it’s possible to access Google, Facebook, Twitter and many other Web 2.0 applications from Internet-ready mobile phones, but I’m not sure if mobile phones will ever supplant the PC as the primary device for office automation or Internet access any time soon. If you’ve ever tried using a mobile phone for typing out a document, creating a spreadsheet, or reading email attachments, you’ll know what I mean. 

From this list, I found TeraCopy and WinSplit Revolution addressing some of my immediate pain areas.   

TeraCopy integrates itself with Windows to deliver accelerated file copying without breaking down if it encounters a file error. WinSplit Revolution brings docking and resizing of multiple windows.

teracopy01Until I found TeraCopy, I’ve been using the standard Windows Vista copy / paste commands to backup my laptop’s hard drive. This would take one hour if I was successful in making my external hard drive work (more on that here), or three hours if I had to backup to a USB pen drive.  Inevitably, there’d be a couple of errors (e.g. “filename too long for destination folder”) that would halt the copying process and I’d have to manually instruct the program to skip these files to proceed. This meant that I’d have to hang around beside my PC for 1-3 hours. Whereas, when I tried TeraCopy recently, the copying process completed in less than an hour. Besides, there was no need for manual intervention: TeraCopy finished the process and informed me at the end that it couldn’t copy some 55 files because their names had more than 255 characters. All I had to do was uncheck an option that limited filenames to 255 characters, hit a button, and, these  55 files got copied in a few seconds. This is a major saving of headache and time, something not to be sneezed at since I backup my laptop’s hard drive one a week.

With WinSplit Revolution, I’m able to keep multiple windows open simultaneously on my monitor. Although I admit that I used to be able to do this in earlier versions of Windows, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do this in Windows Vista, so WinSplit Revolution is a great help.

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Kudos to FreewareGenius for publishing this excellent list of freeware applications. 

However, as an aside, let me say that its prediction that “SOMEDAY ALL SOFTWARE WILL BE FREE” will never come true – at least not until the said Mundie’s employer reigns supreme in the software world!