"Christian constantly brings brilliance, creativity and a deep sense of integrity to everything we have done together. What more could you ask for?"
- John Seely Brown
What We Do
We help individuals, businesses and institutions use the Internet to get their voices heard, attract an audience, engage them (no, Twitter is not engagement), and turn browsers into buyers (or donors).
We do this through ecosystem strategy, helping you navigate the online marketspace and give you deep, actionable insights into your industry, your competition, your partners and suppliers, your customers, and your own standing in the marketspace. We then help you develop a thought-leadership strategy which becomes your attention platform. You become a leading voice in your industry.
For individuals, we do this through speaking, blogging, column writing, and books. For companies, we do this through thought-leadership communities and events (physical and virtual). We developed and optimized an approach called Double Loop Marketing™ (Wikipedia) to explain how it all works.
We've applied our knowledge in various ways to help clients understand their online strategy and marketing challenges and create specific action-plans to become more competitive. The following applications have been tested over the past five years, with measurable success:
- online branding & sales
- competitive strategy
- intelligent advertising
- product marketing
- cause marketing
- innovation ecosystem mapping
So who should use this ecosystem thinking?
Thought Leaders: Know your niche and dominate it.
Strategists & Business Owners: Understand your competitor's strengths and weaknesses and find marketspace entry points with the "least resistance."
Senior Executives: Make your agencies accountable for results - we help you assess the impact of your marketing dollars in the marketspace.
Marketers: Optimize the impact of every dollar you spend online by focusing on the right audience at the right time in the right place.
Product Marketers: Find the most effective means to launch your new product in your target marketspace.
Product Innovators: Discover individuals and companies to collaborate with; understand your innovation ecosystem through our ecosystem intelligence
Sales Executives: learn how to create demand generation programs that beat all previous performance benchmarks.
Alliance Managers: Discover the best candidates for partnerships - in technology, marketing, and product development.
PR & Media Executives: Watch the diffusion of a "story" in real time and make decisions affecting your company's reputation based on marketspace impact.
Let's begin by looking at our Ecosystem Strategy Blueprint and asking "why?"
Your competitive position in your ecosystem determines your destiny:
• How do you and your competitors compare in terms of return on marketing investments and relative share of the ecosystem?
• How are the leaders making money, and what is their approach in the ecosystem?
• What is the full potential of your position in the ecosystem?
• How big is your marketspace—the size of the ecosystem you want to compete in?
• Which parts of the ecosystem are growing fastest?
• Where are you gaining or losing share in the ecosystem or sub-ecosystems you compete in?
• What capabilities are creating a competitive advantage for you in the ecosystem?
• Which capabilities need to be strengthened or acquired to help you compete in the ecosystem?
The ecosystem strategy blueprint teaches you how to compete in ecosystems:
1. Ecosystem Strategy & Analysis: determine your competitive position in your business ecosystem
2. Ecosystem Orchestration: deciding who your customer is; where and how to compete in your target ecosystem; select the ecosystem(s) you will compete in.
3. Ecosystem Attention Platform: design the scope and boundaries of your attention platform. Develop appropriate products, services, experiences.
4. Ecosystem Conversion Strategy: how will you get your message out? What are the best mechanisms for conversion?
5. Ecosystem Value Capture: build a sustainable online business model to find and keep customers; develop ecosystem feedback loops to improve performance.
We work with companies and institutions to leapfrog problems not solved by traditional consultants. These include the following workshops:
- Executive problem solving
- Innovation workouts
- Digital strategy and tactics
- Product portfolio development
- Startup advisory services
- Employee engagement
- New audience development
- Thought-leader strategies
- Ecosystem strategy
- Serving the Base of the Pyramid
- Seeing Diffferently: From Creativity to Innovation
Double Loop Marketing™
After all these years, the agencies still don't get it. They're just too busy billing hours, chasing creative awards, being fashionable... you name it. They forget one thing: the end of advertising is sales.
- It's about getting your message into the heads of the most people at the lowest possible cost.
- It's about finding and keeping customers efficiently. Not coolness, not prettiness, not awards. The end of advertising is sales.
Double Loop Marketing™ (Wikipedia) was a technique I developed by accident in the middle of the dot-com boom. The "Double Loop" approach requires a company to first develop "mind share" by building a company sponsored site that offers genuinely useful information and advice to consumers in the subject matter areas most relevant to their products. This is the first loop of the firm's interaction with customers. Only after such a site achieves credibility among its community of visitors can the company, in the second loop of customer interaction, try to convert that "mind share" into "wallet share." Double Loop Marketing can yield surprising results — often ten times the number of qualified sales leads generated by conventional advertising and marketing approaches.
Double Loop Marketing™ is described in some detail in the book: Blog! How the newest media revolution is changing politics, business, and culture by David Kline and Dan Burstein. (Here's a review>>)
The following is an excerpt:
One innovative approach to marketing via blogs has been pioneered by online marketing expert Christian Sarkar. Called "Double Loop Marketing," it is based upon the notion that in today's blog-rich world, marketing must of necessity be people and knowledge-driven rather than product driven. Sarkar's "Double Loop" approach requires a company to first develop "mind share by building a company sponsored blog or blog-like community site that offers genuinely-useful information and advice to consumers" in the subject-matter areas most relevant to their products. This is the first loop of the firm's interaction with customers. Only after such a blog achieves credibility among its community of blog readers can the company, in the second loop of customer interaction, try to convert that "mind share" into "wallet share." In other words, first community, then commerce. This approach can yield surprising results -- often 10 times the number of qualified sales leads generated by conventional advertising and marketing approaches, according to Sarkar. He cites the example of a large database software company that spent $120,000 on a campaign advertising in various independent blogs and media online outlets that in the end generated only 250 qualified leads.
After it sponsored a blog-like community site that captured significant mind share in the community of database software users, engineers and vendors, a mere $20,000 spent on advertising returned 11,000 qualified leads.
How would such an approach work in the mass-market world of consumer products? Sarkar outlines how “double loop marketing” applies to Procter & Gamble. What if P&G wants to launch a new infant car seat to compete against industry leaders Graco and Evenflo? Let's assume also that P&G's new car seat is of excellent quality and offers performance or safety features superior to those from competitors -- just for argument's sake, let's say that it features a child-safe mini-airbag that inflates in an accident. In addition to all its traditional advertising and promotional efforts, how can P&G use blogs to ensure a more successful product launch? The first thing P&G should do -- and they should do it 3-6 months before before the launch date of its new infant seat -- is to map out the "online ecosystem" of parenting and child-rearing blogs. P&G marketers should ask:
- Which hubs have the most traffic and are the most influential in their Google search engine result rankings?
- Of these "hub" parenting blogs, which appeal most to parents of infants and toddlers rather than older children or teens.
- What are the most popular keywords used on search engines that drive parents to these sites?
- Are there any unmet information needs of parents on these blogs?
Without this first critical mapping step, Sarkar finds that most companies fly blind, and end up building sites to win awards, not customers.
Armed with a clear picture of the competitive landscape in parenting and child-related blogs, P&G can then start to build a company-sponsored community blog of its own that provides genuine thought leadership and information/advice on the parenting topic most relevant to its new product's key selling point -- i.e., child safety issues.
Let's call this community blog "KidSafety.com." While the site may feature an unintrusive ad or sponsorship logo from P&G, it absolutely must not promote its products in the content of the site, either directly or indirectly, or the credibility of the site will be destroyed.
Sarkar warns that most companies don’t have the patience to build brand equity for the site. In their haste to produce results, they usually embed their commercial messages into the content - poisoning the water, and destroying the true informational value of the site. This kind of “PR-pollution” kills the site instantly. Instead, "KidSafety.com" will offer the best, most unbiased and trustworthy information on child safety issues available anywhere. Although it will be very blog-like in its atmosphere and may even feature blogs authored by noted child-rearing and safety experts, "KidSafety.com" will organize its content around topic areas -- "Child-Proofing Your Home," "Safe Toys for Toddlers," "Pool and Backyard Safety" and the like -- rather than in reverse chronological order of postings, as most blogs do. This is a shortcoming of current blog design, notes Sarkar. Blogs today are ego-driven and author-centric, not reader-centric. If "KidSafety.com" truly offers parents the kind and quality of useful information parents can't find useful, it will draw attention from other blogs and from the media, and will attract a community of hundreds of thousands of loyal readers.
Sarkar insists that only once this has been achieved can P&G then begin to convert these readers into customers by placing valuable offers for more information about its new infant car seat -- as well as downloadable reports from unbiased experts such as Consumer Reports on the safety and performance of the seat -- in a discrete sidebar on the community site.
Once readers become customers, P&G can then cross-sell "Pampers" or other P&G baby products as well as provide customer service for these products.
Of course, none of this works if the car seat isn't truly a quality product. Most companies with inferior products and service, in fact, will find that the blogosphere is utterly useless to them -- or worse -- and will would be well advised to keep trying to hoodwink customers in their usual manner until driven out of the marketplace.
So don’t even think about stepping into the blogging waters if you can’t swim, advises Sarkar.
Learn about the double loop blogging model here>>
WEBINAR: Double Loop Marketing by Christian Sarkar
Penn State, Smeal College of Business (Institute for the Study of Business Markets)
In the webinar you'll learn:
- Where to start: are you positioned in the right ecosystem?
- What is "Double Loop Marketing?"
- Who is using it: surprise, it's not just high-tech companies
- How it's being used: case studies (B2B) from companies using "Double Loop Marketing"
- The results: comparisons of effectiveness between traditional online advertising and double loop marketing
- Barriers to execution: what separates success from failure?
- It's not about technology: how blogs, RSS, and mobile applications play a role but are not the defining elements of "Double Loop Marketing"
Online Business Model Optimization
The business value of your website really is the value of your customer relationships through that channel. Basically, you're looking at traditional "customer equity" - a relationship between the following value metrics:
- volume of purchases per period
- margin per unit of purchase after tax
- duration of purchase stream
- customer acquisition, development, and retention cost
- cost of capital
Thus an increase in volume, margin, or duration, will increase customer value so long as there is no offsetting decline in one or both of the other variables.
FACT: "85% of Visitors ABANDON a new site due to poor design" - cPulse
FACT: "50% of Visitors are LOST because visitors can't easily find content" - Gartner Group
FACT: 70% of people who are ready, willing and able to buy online - don't complete the sale.
We help you overcome these barriers.
For a few clients, we help them run their online business from concept to execution - on a month to month basis.
These "level-one" flowcharts describe how to run a profitable and sustainable, online business.
The flowcharts cover the following work processes:
1) Offer development process
2) Offer creation process
3) Sales process
4) Marketing process
5) Order fulfillment & support process
6) Financial process
7) Licensee certification process
8) Licensee business development process
9) Events process
10) Archival process
You can download the flowcharts by signing up for our newsletter >>
What They Say
"Christian Sarkar is a master at using online media to generate a strong return on marketing spend. He provides a rare combination of design for usability skills and clear understanding of the economic levers driving marketing performance. His unique approach to Double Loop Marketing™ builds upon the virtual community concepts I outlined in Net Gain. Christian brings proven experience in helping vendors cost-effectively find and convert prospects to customers... and then building in the feedback loops to rapidly improve performance over time."
John Hagel III, co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge, formerly global leader of McKinsey & Co.'s Strategy and Electronic Commerce Practices
"Christian Sarkar constantly brings brilliance, creativity and a deep sense of integrity to everything we have done together. What more could you ask for?"
John Seely Brown, Chief of Confusion
formerly Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the Director of Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
"Christian Sarkar's unconventional techniques are based on sound marketing principles. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of his techniques; few people know online business as well as this..."
Raj Srivastava, Provost, Singapore Management University; formerly Roberto C. Goizueta Chair in Electronic Commerce and Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
"Christian Sarkar does a brilliant job of crafting pragmatic and effective web presences and web marketing efforts for his clients. He knows what it takes to establish a web identity, build content, drive traffic and all the million little details that distinguish his services as among the best available today. Last but not least, he's a pleasure to work with and to learn from."
Douglas K Smith, consultant, author, innovator
Lately we have discovered one Christian Michael Sarkar .... His Double Loop Marketing aids intelligent companies to use brainwaves to sell their wares and services to the many knowledge professionals who have real disposable income in the great out there. You can read about his Double Loop services. In fact, Sarkar thinks "Shooting Birds and Catching Fish" is a perfect explanation of what Double Loop is all about. His marketing process, when linked with very substantive content, can increase your pool of qualified prospects by more than 300%.
William Dunk, William Dunk Partners, Inc.
"Christian is a source of great ideas. His enthusiasm is second only to his knowledge about how to get attention in the marketspace. If you need quick results, hire him ASAP."
John Tammaro, former SVP, Masius, New York; former Sr. Strategy Manager, General Electric
"Christian's uniqueness lies in his ability to bring fresh perspectives to familiar issues, to quickly identify and analyze emerging issues, and to distill the results into clear, concise observations. I have seen Christian apply these attributes in the broadest range of subjects, from market trends in the chemical industry to employee communications..."
John Gersuk, Manager of Public Affairs, Bechtel Group