I got an SMS today from TCS.  I’ve recently used their courier services, so I was surprised to see a message about yayvo. Surprised because I don’t remember giving them my permission to share my data.  But I understand the reality, so I let it go because it was an interesting SMS.


To me, TCS has always been a forward thinking brand; and I believe that they have the right combination and strength to be the leader in this space. So I was interested to explore how yayvo.com was marketing itself (the 10 lakh rupees had nothing to do with it!).

This is the site that opened on my mobile:

yayvo mobile

At first, I couldn’t find anything on the website related to what the SMS was talking about. Eventually (and because I have OCD) I found an article on ProPakistani talking about a similar promotion. Was this SMS part of that promotion? Did they really give away 10 lakh rupees? We will never know.

To me, this is a #marketingfail because it is a zero impact exercise. And it is impossible to measure conversion.

After I realized that there was no contest or list of winners, my immediate thought was that they just wanted a click, they probably need to show traffic growth.  

And for most ecommerce managers traffic growth is a major KPI.  Many do it to show potential VCs how amazing the growth is.  Or even if funding isn’t essential, the hope is that if they get enough people to visit the site, they will eventually buy something.

How do they measure the success of this particular SMS blast? Is it working or is it mostly annoying people?

While I am excited to see retail ecommerce grow in PK, I’m mostly disappointed with the digital marketing campaigns that are run.  Several people from the advertising world bluntly tell me that most digital agencies (or digital marketers) in PK don’t understand digital yet.

Now, I don’t take criticism well myself.  I know the feeling when you work hard to run a campaign, only for people to point out defects.  I always tell such people to express possible solutions or improvements, so I can learn for next time.

And I practice what I preach.

So here’s how I would have run a conversion campaign using SMS blasts.  

  1. Segment the customer list.
  2. Message copy A/B testing
  3. Use a Click Funnel or landing page

That being said, SMS marketing is a waste of money in my opinion!  Yes it gets your name out there. But mostly it’s annoying.  You’re better off using the resources for pull sms marketing.

Here are the top 3 areas I’d pay special attention to (besides the digital marketing basics) instead:

  1. Pop-Up Stores – For an early stage ecommerce retailer, shopper conversion is job numero uno.  A well designed pop-up store placed in a high traffic shopping location (i.e. a mall, an exhibition or event) markets the company during a person’s shopping experience.  
  2. Influencers & Evangelists – work with both current and emerging influencers of the Pakistani community (both locally and abroad).  Incentivize word of mouth conversion with a referral program that pays commission.
  3. Digital content – It’s not enough to put your TVC online.  Supplementing your TVC with exclusive content (like product reviews, sponsored podcasts, etc) increases its lifetime and viral possibilities.  This is also a perfect way to engage influencers by helping them produce content that ties into your brand.  I saw a great piece that TVF did for Flipkart on “How to train you dad for online shopping”.  Watch it here

Obviously, with Adam Dawood heading yayvo, I’m sure a B2B marketplace will be coming in the near future.  

Who wins the e-retailer wars?  These certainly are interesting times for ecommerce in PK!