A big hug and thank you 2018


As we move in to 2019, here’s a big big thank you from us at ZMOTly. Your patronage and feedback helps us do better each day with more enthusiasm. Happy new year.


Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from all of us.

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from all of us at ZMOTly.


9 PR rules shattered (2017)

9 PR rules shattered (2017. Published on 2017-09-27

If you are a professional, a businessman or an entrepreneur, ,you need PR to get visibility for your brand, product or service. The traditional rules of PR that helped well till a decade ago are is dead. The Web 2.0 has brought down the walls and unless you have adapted to the new world your PR strategy will not work in 2017.

The 9 cardinal rules that are shattered in 2017.

  1. Formal Media: The only way to get noticed was through formal media. The internet has changed all that. Today, you control your media. Your twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn – each of them with access to billions of users provide you a platform to get noticed. In fact, the so-called formal media has ended up picking news from these social platforms.
  2. Press Releases: Companies communicated to journalists through press releases. Press Releases are a passé. It is time to keep communicating as conversations with the public. You can share your idea, launch details, plans and seek feedback from your users directly.
  3. Exclusivity: Nobody other than a handful of reporters and editors Would see the Press Release. In fact, many demanded exclusivities. In today’s context – exclusivity is suicidal. The strategy should be rot reach your buyers through as many channels as you can. In fact, being accessible to your buyers at their point of interaction is the key.
  4. Significant News: Companies needed significant news before they could write a press release. Today, the rules are changed. The audience is looking for being engaged with you through your evolution. While significant news can still be leveraged to do some burst PR, the social media helps you to teach out to share the developments as they happen.
  5. Jargon: Jargon was okay because those specific journalists understood. Jargon is not okay. You audience needs to understand you and it must be simple. The lower your denominator for comprehension and understanding you higher are the changes of connecting with you and have meaningful engagement and conversations.
  6. Third party Quotes: Your press release included quotes from customers, analysts and experts to be complete. While all these would help, it is no more mandatory. Once your piece of blog or post hits the online media there will be a 360-degree feedback and that is more authentic. Today, users are looking at authenticity more than spin.
  7. Media as Gatekeeper: The only way buyers learnt about your product was when media wrote about it. Today, the barriers of media as a gate keeper are broken. In fact, organizations have started to completely bypass the formal media d have started engaging directly with the audience. So, you see artists launching anthem album via you tube or governments declaring their plans through tweets and media losing its gatekeeper status.
  8. Press Clips: The only way you measured 3effectiveness of press release was through ‘press clips’ that was maintained painstakingly each time media reported it. Today is measure being far simpler, it all measures what is the virality and click rate for your article. The more relevant and useful the content, the it is shared sand more is the visibility. In fact, main stream media has started writing articles from those 140-character tweets.
  9. Silos with Marketing: PR and marketing were separate silos and ruin by separate goals, strategies, measurements. Marketing is PR and PR is marketing. The walls are shattered. Both works in tandem to ensure maximum reach and engagement.

These were some of the things I have shared. There can be a few more. Please feel free to share your views.

#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur

Please do share your thoughts and feedback and I will be glad to learn from you. I posted this article first on a blog post on, that we maintain to help build Human Capital in the community.

The author is an entrepreneur with two decades of senior leadership experience in India and Asia-Pacific and now runs Futureshift, a boutique consulting outfit that helps businesses chart their digital marketing strategy with the @ZMOTly framework to achieve impactful outcomes. He is available at


[Infographic] A Winning Content Strategy

#DigitalMarketing #Content #ContentStrategy #Online #SEO #SMM #Google #Adwords

[Infographics] Winning Content Strategy
[Infographics] Winning Content Strategy


#OptIn Chat – Get your website visitor to talk to you without fuss!

One of the key areas of funnel building and lead generation under our ZMOTly frame work is about reaching out to the victors of your website or blog, even as they are browsing your page. That is their moment of truth, when they are looking for something and obviously, it is like a customer browsing through in a real store. Without, being intrusive, how do you get to the visitor and see how you can help.

After a lot of research, we ourselves zeroed in on Optin Chat. []. Optin Chat is easy to install on any website or blog and yes, you can start off with free.

When we talk to corporates, they are looking at a simple and effective way to leverage their website with call-to-action on content pages. Without an email IDs, one cannot build audience. Without audience, you cannot grow and one of the best ways to build an audience is to build an email list!

Unlike some of the other chatbots that put the customer off by asking for an email ID, Optin helps reach out by providing something of value and asks if the visitor is interested. Imaginer asking in real life store – “Sir, we have a free beer offer on level 2”, would you be interested? If the visitor says yes (who would not :)), you move on and collect some basic information and direct them to level 2. Optin Chat is something like that.

It is about chatting with users and asking for their email IDs in an interactive way. It is not intrusive but pops up with a catchy ‘ding’ sound to grab the visitor’s attention. This chat is not a Live chat but looks like one. And we humans are wired to respond to chat messages! And then, there you go! your first step to getting your customer email ID. Optin Chat has also a very flexible question builder that helps you to configure the chat module and create a JS code that can be installed on your website.

Go ahead, try it out. It doesn’t cost you much. For all you know, this may be your first step to getting to building your customer base.


5 Leadership Lessons at 160 kmph

5 Leadership Lessons at 160 kmph

Published on 2016-01-22 15:45

Recently, I drove solo from Chennai – to Bangalore. The distance of 340 km was covered in a record 3:40min. Not once in the journey did I have to honk or slam brakes (Anyone who has driven in India will understand the impact of this statement). In all, it was a smooth drive from start to finish line.

I was running a temperature of about 102 deg F, was down with food poisoning, and hardly slept the previous night. And yet, I bettered my previous 10-year-old record by a good 300 seconds.

I was running a temperature of about 102 deg F, was down with food poisoning and hardly slept the earlier night. 

#Shaving300seconds – Shaving those 5 minutes from 3h:45m is akin to breaking the 10-second barrier in a 100 m race. While 9:58 is just .02 seconds off 10, Usain Bolt took almost a decade to crack that. So yes, it is a big deal, and it was exhilarating to better my earlier personal best.

And here are the analogies to business leadership –

The Driver Leader

A driver is pretty much akin to a leader in an organization. Four qualities make for the capability of the leader.


Core Skills



In this case, the driver (yours truly) had an experience of over 500,000 miles, which is a crucial factor. Such experience helped the driver maintain calm and pursue the goal with a singular purpose of doing the right thing each time. In addition, the core skills ensured the seamless interplay of the man, the machine, the road. At speeds of 160kmph and 140kmph, anticipation and reflex must be on high alert all the time.

In business, it is all about the experience of the industry, of channels, leading people and organization with a singular purpose, and not being deterred by distractions of Quadrant 3 and 4 activities (of Eisenhower Matrix Fame). It also means a small error in judgment can represent a significant consequence to the organization and the thousands of people who believe in your leadership. It also means you must take risks and yet know the limits.

The Machine/ Team

In 2004, I drove the 1.4L first generation Tata Indica the last time I clocked 3:45. This time around, it was the second generation 2.5L Toyota Innova. I was going these ten years apart. So you may want to add the advances in infrastructure and technology while also compromising the potential traffic increase (read competition).

But one of the core success factors is that the driver and the machine are 100% in sync. You and your team must work in synergy for super-optimal output in business. You may always not get to hire the best-of-the-best people, but you can always get the best-of-the-best from the resources that you have.

Timing it Right/ Timing it Right

It is essential to start early to avoid traffic that builds up as the day progresses. Beginning at 5 am was not the easiest thing. But then that is how you can avoid the early rising Chennai Traffic, yet have a day-time driving. Reaching Bangalore early morning makes sense, as Bangalore is usually a later riser on Saturday, and a 9ish morning entry means most of Bangalore is snugly wrapped under their blankets.

Similarly, it is critical to get started in business and be ahead of the competition. Then, of course, the competition will catch up. But when you start early and set the pace, you get to reach the leadership before others and continue to up the game.

One Vehicle at a Time/ Solve One Problem at a Time

There were stretches where there would be a line of trucks to overtake, and there were curves and culverts. The best thing is not to plan to overtake the ten trucks. Just focus on the one truck at a time and continue moving on. Eventually, you will cross these hurdles but looking at the hell lot of hurdles together confuses you and slows you down. Pretty much similar in business, where you work optimally by solving one issue at a time while keeping the overall objective in mind.

Luck/ Luck

Well, for all that, there could have been traffic jams or accidents and crowded toll fee junctions. I was lucky that nothing of such happened.


Close That $1,000,000 Deal

Close That $1,000,000 Deal, Published on 2016-01-21

“Million dollar deals have a magic of their own.”

This statement would resonate, with both a rookie sales person, as well as a seasoned sales leader, a million times over. Million dollar deals are unique in the life of a sales person. They definitely get you noticed in the crowd. They make you a rock star.

But then, what makes you that million-dollar rock star? Here are the 9 hacks.

1. Meticulous Planning and Hard Work

Million dollar deals do not happen just-like-that. No one wakes up from bed one fine sunny morning and viola – million-dollar PO lands on their desk. Such deals require some meticulous planning and bloody hard work. Yes, there is just no shortcut here!

2. Build Trust Within and Outside

You must build trust at multiple levels within their own organization as well as the buyer’s organization.

You must build trust at multiple levels within their own organization as well as the buyer’s organization. Building trust in your own organization is the first step, for your organization needs to believe that you can indeed close the sale. Else, remember, the account will unceremoniously be shifted to some other more capable (perceived) sales person.

You must definitely build “personal trust at multiple levels” within buyer organization as well. Beyond one’s personal equations, you may even be required to bridge trust deficits between vendor and the buyer at organization level. And yes, it is your job to maintain it trust-positive at all levels.

3.Build a Definable Mutual Value

Mutual Value Creation is the core of your very existence. It is your responsibility to articulate the value of your solution and why it is a good investment at $1m or more. You must definitely be able to cogently articulate the value to the various entities in the buyer organization.

Similarly, it is important for you to get the right compensation for your product from the buyer. Unless the long term interests of your organization are met, it might be a lose-lose for your organization. Items like under-pricing services, maintenance, labour etc. through ‘side-letters’ and ‘verbal-deals’ and unrealistic commitments will not only turn out more expensive, but will come to bite you hard in your career even if you have moved on.

4. Patience and Perseverance

Million dollar deals are not like fast food. These deals do take time. Yes, they do. You would need to be ‘at it’ even at times when your own boss may not believe in the ability to clinch the deal. Your organization may even be too impatient to wait till next quarter and hence drop the focus.

You, the must build personal resilience mechanisms to be patient and perseverant. Patience is not about sending out a proposal and waiting for the PO to come by email. It is about meticulous perseverance to help buyer make a good buying decision.

5. Accepting Rapid Change and Status Quo with Equanimity

Phases of rapid change and status quo are just a given, usually because of the prolonged natured of such deals. Accepting such dynamics as reality will be one of the must have attitudes to be successful.

In all cases, expect changes in management team, people, product, environment or even the initial need (in both your and buyer organizations). The deal is big enough and many to get involved. So you must expect sudden activities of frenzy at times. There are equally good chances that someone would want to play safe, wait and watch. Accept both with equanimity. Inaction during the former and hyperactivity during the latter spells a definite doom.

6. Address Uncertainties Candidly

Uncertainties are the biggest stumbling block to closure on either side. Understanding any real or perceived uncertainties and addressing them is a must. A deal cannot be inked ever, with uncertainties looming around it. The quicker and complete your approach is towards closure of such uncertainties, the faster are you on track to have that signature on the dotted line.

7. Respect Competition

Competition is a given. It would be naïve not to expect any competitor or challenger.

You must respect your completion, not deride them.

You may still sail through the deal with very little resistance from competitor. But for that you must understand the competition very well and not fear them. You must respect your completion, not deride them. Such approaches show the strength of your character and easily earn respect from your buyer.

8. Honesty and Integrity

At the core of all sales, is honesty to yourself and your acting with integrity. There can be many short-cuts. But it is important to understand that these deals do not happen by pushing important things under the carpet. There are enough smart people to smell the rat. You can then forget your deal and your career forever

As long as you are acting with integrity and you know you are doing the right thing, you are on the right path.

9. Be a Lucky Wizard

Believe that you are lucky. Even after have done all the things right, the luck factor pretty much determines between your hit and miss. Lady luck only comes to the rescue of those that they believe are lucky. Seldom does she encourage negative mind-sets. Get her on your side. Believe that you are the lucky charm to grab the deal.

History is replete with Army Generals who were (believed to be) lucky. Major Roy Franklin from The Guns of Navarone [fiction] or for that matter George Washington who was considered Either Lucky or a Wizard, and no one will ever know. They did win big time.

All the best!


The author has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry in sales and marketing, leading large sales teams in Fortune 100 companies. As Managing Partner at Futureshift Consulting, he often advises large businesses and new start-ups to optimise their sales resources to and generate predictable revenue.


How to juggle the three balls – Family, Career, and Money?

How to juggle the three balls – Family, Career and Money?, Published on 2014-08-24

In my not so short a career, I have learnt an interesting and important equation about life. The fundamental equation about life in my view is about three variables or what I call three balls – Family, Career and Money.

The beautiful and magical interplay of these three balls is unceasing and perpetual.

Put simply, these three balls require attention all the time none-the-less, but they require different focus at different times. For example, in early stages of life one may focus on career and learn new skills or become a subject matter expert. Over time focus may shift towards building financial security. At this point, one may want to monetize the skill sets and negotiate for better salary/ money.

Or there may also be the situation that you had just got married or you just had a baby and prefer to dedicate the next few years primarily to family while continuing to juggle with money and career to make you a the most amazing husband or a father. This is not to say that one is not important than the other. It is more of to help you prioritize these balls while juggling.

Juggling these three balls has a queer additional variable. These three balls change their form – rubber to glass and vice versa as you are juggling.

The smartness is to recognize the glass balls and drop the rubber balls if one needs to. A classic example would be a situation where a marriage is on the rocks because of a hectic travel (career focus) and one is on the brink of divorce. Or alternatively, one has a fast depleting your financial reserve while they continue to stick to a career with a firm that gave fancy titles but just have been paying you 50% of what the market can pay you for a similar job.

While they may broadly be connected and seem interchangeable – they are not. For e. g. a good career broadly would means good money – not necessarily. Good money would mean good family life – but not necessarily – you may be chasing money while, all that your daughter wants is to spend that one hour with you in the evening.

How do you action this?

Plan: Sit down and think hard. What is the most important thing in your life now? What is the goal (measurable timeline) on that front to say that you have achieved that? What is the second priority and what is the third. At which point would you want to reprioritize one for the other – money for career or family and vice-versa. It is important that you have a broad plan.

Over time, monitor if you are on the right path. (In my case I personally do this exercise every three months and give a hard relook to the past success on all three fronts every December). If at any time there is a misalignment – revisit the priorities – are you focusing on the right areas?

Are you achieving results on the order of priority? If not, reprioritize. – If you already doing the right thing be happy – you are on the right path.

* * * *


Why should you chuck a Microsoft or IBM and be on your own?

Why should you chuck a Microsoft or IBM and be on your own?, Published on 2014-08-24

First things first – If you think you are smart, capable and have fire to succeed, read on.

A formal employment gives, or at least is supposed to give three things:

  • Job security
  • Identity with a name card with title and a company name
  • Monthly cash flow to sustain living expenses and/ or to create assets.

Let us take one thing at a time –

  1. Job security: This used to be true in the 1950s and to some extent in the 80s in most parts of the world. Today, as anyone can vouch – no company gives you that job security. The very fact Lehman and lay-offs by GM, Microsoft, and IBM in 2008 and thereafter only proves that job security is fallacy.
  2. Identity: I agree – a business card and title does give one a sense of social status. More so in some Asian communities where you’re Job Title defines your invitation to a neighbour’s birthday party. Why would you not achieve the same if you start your own company and become the CEO or its Managing Partner? You have just given yourself a title and a job scope, which you have always wanted.

You may well argue about the other aspect of identity is a “company brand” or “revenues” of the company. Think about it – these top Wall Street banks just crumbled. General Motors and Chryslers reported pathetic performance, they just could not get a single act right. HP, Yahoo or IBM continues to fumble for years and none of those fancily paid CEOs or their top management team seem to have a clue to fix things. You sure are better than those CEOs when you can run your own company. At least you not betray public trust and put thousands of livelihoods in jeopardy. In your personal evaluation, your worth needs to be better than what you think by being an appendage to someone else’s.

  1. Financial: Monthly cash flow is clearly the most rational reasoning and has a practical implication. One needs money, to run their homes, pay bills, mortgage, and children’s education and get food on the table. If one were to calculate the real costs of these with a level of practicality – just go back and check your current bank reserves and re-prioritize. Most people in middle and senior management should be well off. I have seen that most can live well, without a job for even 5-10 years, with fairly good quality of life style. That is good enough time to get out there, try and experiment and create the next Facebook or at worst, if all fails – we always have the ‘employment’ option ever ready. More so since it appreciates risk takers.

Does that give instil some confidence? You are far richer than you think you are and far more capable than you can imagine.

Go get cracking!


Update January 2016: Related articles on LinkedIn “8 Reasons to Turn Entrepreneur in 2016“, and the next “8 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail” 


12 Laws of the New Marketing

12 LAWS OF THE NEW MARKETING, Published on 2014-09-23 07:30

Recently, I was in addressing a group of senior marketers including CMOs and industry bigwigs. When discussion moved towards the ‘new marketing’, the room was filled with animated conversations on how excited they were, to be on social media. The chatter could broadly be summarized on these four lines, nothing more.

  • “We are on Facebook”.
  • “I (CMO) have a Twitter Account”.
  • “We have asked our marketing team to post all our launches on Facebook”.
  • “We hired a company that got us 3000 followers on Twitter”.

It is appreciable that they are thinking new-online-media, I was equally surprised to see that beyond those words, the ‘new-marketing’ had not changed much in the last decade. Most think of marketing as if we were in the 1960s – campaign planning, events, features, pipeline, sales stages and 1800-numbers – the core thinking had not changed.

This article is an attempt to share on how the laws of marketing have changed over the last decade, rapidly so in the last couple of years. It is not surprising that marketers are increasingly finding themselves irrelevant and customers are obnoxiously disillusioned with marketers.

A presence on a Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp is only means to an end. What then are the ends? In this article I am going to focus on 12 simple laws that are applicable today more than ever before. Technology and social media makes it possible to adapt and adopt these laws with alacrity and ease.

The question you may want to ask yourself is “Do I have the will to change my perspective?” If you are game, read on.

Law #1 Th!nk engagements. RIP events

The days of holding mega events are long gone. Today your user wants to be engaged. Engaged with them. Period. They want you to be participate constructively in the decision making process. Events usually end up as one-way-traffic activity where the company talks about themselves and their products and audience made to just sit and wait and watch that circus. Today, physical boundaries have disappeared, and what you must think are online and offline engagements that you can have with your customers and prospects.

Law #2 Th!nk relevance; RIP specifications

Easier said than done, relevance is what matters. In this age where consumers can find your product specifications on the Internet whenever they want. What is important is to be relevant to that segment. The rest will follow.

Law #3 Th!nk qualified leads; RIP event attendees

Attendees in an event mean nothing. The measure of success for a marketer should be on the ‘qualified’ leads that sales can pursue. While, it is easier to use attendees as a metric, it is not the metric that your sales team will be proud of.

Law #4 Th!nk demand; RIP pipeline

The current models drive towards pipeline and sales stage. With the new models where the purchaser is constantly moving ahead in the ‘buying cycle’, because of their friends, family and social media, it is time to start focusing on creating demand. Pipeline will follow.

Law #5 Th!nk buying stages; RIP sales stages

Sales stages is a passé. It presumes that the company is controlling the sale because of their sales systems. This could not be farther from the truth. Today’s customers have their own ‘buying stages’ – from realizing need, being aware about the product, to understanding what it can do, to knowing how others are using to solve their problem, and what to expect – they have their own methods and evaluation stages. Think on how you will address the concerns in the buying stages.

Law #6 Th!nk pain resolution; RIP product feature

This is a cliché, but still relevant. You may just want to pick a newspaper, magazine or website ad and see the number of marketers that spend millions in imposing on you there product features. Did you ever care? As marketer, you must address this import question for your customer – WIIFM – (What is in it for me?) and you will never regret.

Law #7 Th!nk buyer concerns; RIP sales actions

The largest of companies still think and measure sales actions. The questions on their sales cadence is almost always on if the sales person has made the presentation, submitted proposal, given price quote. Try changing the metric to addressing buyer concerns by asking questions like ‘have we addressed his core pain’, ‘have we addressed his secondary pain’, ‘Have we given a solution in their budget’, ‘Does the customer feel assured that we will be with him’?. Tough questions, tough answers.

Law #8 Th!nk available; RIP reach out!

Being available is being able to provide the information, support or service when they want it where they want it. A lot of water has flown since the days when corporates said, I will reach out to my 100,000 users or 1000 customers. You must be available when they reach-out, not the other way round.

Law #9 Th!nk social online; RIP exclusive offline

We started with this. Being social online is not about having a Facebook account. It means engaging in conversations, solving problems and available online when they want it, on the medium they want. The words say it all – social: are you interacting and being sociable and; online- you are there when they need it and where they need it. Being exclusive may seem to work for exclusive million dollar cars and watches, but even for them, if your users are talking unflattering reviews online, you need to jump-in and fix it.

Law #10 Th!nk byte size message; RIP eight-page collateral

If you cannot communicate relevance and connect in 140 characters – forget it. In this day and age, users have a fleeting look on the headline and in all probability read no further. They research at their own convenience and seldom have time to read more than what is on the first screen of the mobile. So think communicating in that space, connecting, creating interest and assuring. Well 8-page collateral will be just that – for them to research and when they need to dig deeper. Coincidentally, and not surprisingly, the ones that spend time ‘reading’ your 8-page-collateral are already a super qualified lead.

Law #11 Th!nk enable and engage; RIP sell and scoot

Enable your prospects to make the right choice. Be a part of their decision making process. The days of sell and scoot are long gone and have taken many companies down in the last decade than ever in history.

Law #12 Th!nk informed decision making; RIP sell at any cost

Give your prospects the tools and links to that will help them in better decision making. Total-ownership-cost calculator, Mortgage Calculator, industry white papers, whatever helps. Be honest and guide them, unless you are a fly-by-night operator.

These are the 12 laws of the new marketing, are you listening?