Back then, Nikhila and I were servicing Lason India, a leading BPO player in Chennai/India. They had a network of business associates, an innovative operations model. We were briefed that the business associate model had been taken to the next level and that Lason had set up what was probably the first BPO center in a village! Rural BPO! Though I initially suggested that we do a small press brief in Chennai, I changed it to a press junket to the obscure village in Thiruvallur District, at the last minute.
Being the person she was, Nikhila swelled with anger. She had already started working on the press meet in Chennai and now she had to start from scratch to organize the logistics for a larger event. But more importantly she was upset that we were not sticking to the initial plan. She demanded to know why the plan was being changed. And I didn't have an answer. It was a gut feel.
Thankfully, the event was a big success.
I couldn't articulate why I changed the plan. It was certainly based on the experience and understanding of what would or wouldn't work.
Now that leads us to No Money Marketing by Jessie Paul. A veteran marketing professional who has worked with the leading software services companies in India (Infosys and Wipro) and played an important role in building the brand that they are today, she has no such articulation issues.
Also, I realize that there are two kinds of writers/authors. One who are academicians who research and look at the big picture. They give guidance with their theories and support it with observations. And then, there are those like Jessie who are doer-authors. No Money Marketing is like a ready reckoner. Read it, roll up your sleeves and get to work. The book is unpretentious and doesn't test your patience by giving models that are great to read but difficult to utilize. But it does have models that can be easily digested and provides a great framework to develop marketing campaigns. There are nuggets of wisdom which provide excellent cue to marketers who always work on a diet-budget.
This book is a must read for marketing professionals in the technology industry, especially those in the software services space. The challenge for players in this space is that most of them are Me-Too. Last time I checked the Nasscom member's list in 2007, there were more than 1000 software services company. The glory story is limited to the top 50 or 100. For the rest in that list, it is a tall order.
I liked two lessons, in particular:
- As I said, Jessie is a doer-author. This book is full of practical inputs for a marketer who wants quick solutions. But what is more important is that before she presents the ideas, she sets the context. First few chapters are dedicated completely for self assessment. While the tools and ideas are common, Jessie urges every company to self introspect and develop a strong unique story. She in fact provides many examples and thoughts on how it could be done.