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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Jai Rawat, CEO of ShopSocially (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 24th 2013

Sramana Mitra: That is true in B2C, but in B2B that doesn’t really work that well.

Jai Rawat: Absolutely. There are certain categories that are very content heavy, where a person wants to sit down and read about that. But in the B2C category, you basically get the user´s attention with images.

SM: What works better, image or video?

JR: That is hard to say. I don’t think there is enough data right now on videos to be able to determine that. Even for video to work, the initial image has to be engaging. The point is to get the user´s attention in that fraction of a second where the news feed is scrolling. If you create a really interesting video that people start sharing with friends, it has a higher chance of going vital.

SM: Video is not as much part of retailers’ marketing strategies.

JR: There are some communities who have done a good job at these. There is a company that created a very interesting video that suddenly got millions of viewers. That compelled them to become a very meaningful site. That video was the one that got them going. It works if you can do it creatively, but there is generally no formula for that.

SM: So your approach is more the one of daily blogging, tackling and keeping the conversation going on a regular basis. That is much more doable.

JR: It is much more doable and much more deterministic. We are not really an agency that is saying that they are going to do a creative ad campaign for you.

SM: You are putting a framework around a process, encouraging the retailers to follow that process, and then you are distributing the content.

JR: It is a machine that works and hums. The creativity is not an agency type of creativity that might end up not working.

SM: Where do you see the industry moving to?

JR: At a high level there is still a lot to come. I will take a step back and think about social and its impact. When eBay launched, it democratized selling. Every buyer also became a seller. The distinction became very thin. What social has done is democratize marketing. Every consumer has become a marketer. Over time we will continually see the shift from B2C to C2C. People will have to figure out how to tap into that more and more.

SM: Your analogy is perfect for this discussion. eBay came to realize that the business really is B2C. It is consumers becoming power sellers or small businesses selling on eBay and setting up their own shops.

JR: But even the smaller businesses were able to get an audience that they did not have earlier. This was leveling the playing field to some extent. The same thing happens here. Social can level the playing field as well, so even the smaller businesses have an opportunity to get their name out there. They don´t have the budget to compete with the big players in marketing.

SM: However, if you look at the direction Facebook is going with these promoted posts, that is again budget driven.

JR: My point is that if you can tap into your user base to generate content for you, at least you are getting some degree of reach. You don’t have to spend Super Bowl millions to get the reach. The Super Bowl has great reach, but so does Facebook. Rather than spending money directly on Facebook, if you get users to do the content for you and then you spend a little bit of money promoting that, that is very cost efficient.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Jai Rawat, CEO of ShopSocially
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