How a Triangle can explain any Successful Business


A few days ago, I was teaching Geometry to my seven-year-old and the usual discussion on shapes came-up – squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, etc. and their respective properties. Suddenly my son asked me “What is your favorite shape?”I was dumbfounded and surprised and could not immediately justify a particular favorite shape.This got me thinking about different shapes and how they value in the business world. Venn diagrams (Circle), Flowcharts & org charts (rectangles), quadrants (squares) immediately came to mind and then finally it struck me – Triangles!! The more I thought about triangles, the more I felt that Triangle is the one and only shape that can define successful businesses (or business concepts) in the simplest manner.At its core, a Triangle is a shape with three edges and three vertices. Though we can classify triangles based on sides (Equilateral, isosceles, scalene) or angles (right, obtuse, acute) – the three sides property is common across them all. From a business perspective, the three sides of a triangle can represent three primary or dominant factors that are related to or interact with each other in multiple ways to make any business successful. Thus a simple ubiquitous Triangle can fit and help explain (almost) any successful business.Here are top #10 cases that (I think) exemplify the “Triangles” in a successful Business:

1. B2B Marketing & Sales Funnel:

2. B2C Funnel (Online):

A B2C funnel for an online business focuses all energy on improving conversions from more visitors aware about products & services, getting them interested and finally purchasing products from their platform. This is in addition to other factors like repeat customers, avg transaction, frequency, etc.

3. Account Based Marketing (ABM):

A precursor to ABM is “Marketing Automation” that necessitates the alignment of Marketing/Mops/DG and Sales/Sops systems with people and processes to drive revenue increases. ABM – as Engagio’s Jon Miller says – is fishing with spears unlike fishing with a Net. Here in ABM, there are three broad steps – Target Accounts & contacts are identified, then using data, insights, and content, engaged & measured and finally conversion and customer advocacy that leads to higher average ARR.

4. Banks

This is probably an over-simplified explanation of primary functions of a bank. Basically, banks hold deposits, issue credit and manage Risk. There may be different instruments and channels via which deposits, credit and risk can be stored, managed, traded, etc. over periods of time. The above maybe bordering on being incorrect but I guess my friends and ex-colleagues from Chase or PayPal can correct me.

5. Card card networks:

Again realistically card networks (Visa, Master, Amex, etc.) have multiple parties involved in a given transaction and the respective fees charged by each – but the three main parties are the issuer bank, acquirer bank, and payment network.

6. Payment system (online):

All online payment systems (like PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Alipay, etc) enable e-commerce or mobile app commerce using traditional card networks. But for widespread global adoption, profits and high transaction volume, they need consumers and merchants to select them for payment and developers to integrate them into websites and apps.Some of these online payment systems have also moved into offline/retail transactions either with dongles or NFC.

7. New Age “Digital Disruptor”:

Most of the new age “Digital Disruptor” companies (like Uber, Airbnb, FB, Alibaba, etc.) have become successful in the last 2 decades using technological innovation – but they do not own any assets (inventory), to provide the app / UI / Platform for a fee and link millions of global users.

8. Smartphone OEM:

Smartphone OEMs (that are profitable) tend to be the ones that have a high level of vertical integration or ownership of the hardware and software OS. (Think Apple, Google/HTC and to a smaller extent Samsung). The entire smartphone business model is based on the trifecta of hardware/software integration, mobile network /distribution (that effects pricing due to subsidies) and Apps. The successful ones are those that are able to exert control on all three.

9. Media (All):

All Media companies – from old to new media – function primarily using content, distribution, and monetization. In some cases (think Google), they don’t own content but rely on UGC (user generated content) while controlling distribution and ads/subscription. Others like Comcast or Time Warner control all three. When I look at the last 2 triangles, I wonder whether ATT’s motivation to buy TWX is improving 2018 margins by starting to integrate premium Content (HBO, DC universe, NFL, etc.), distribution (DirecTV, mobile), premium advertising (higher rates), & paid apps to consumers who want to bundle everything and save. This would allow them control over 5 of 6 sides from two Triangles!Finally, this last one is likely true across ALL companies in ALL industries…

10. Corporate Success:

Corporate success depends on a balanced mix of Strategy, Execution, and Culture (of the people involved). There are many good articles on HBR, Wharton and Medium extolling the virtue of whether Strategy with execution or Strategy with culture brings success, but IMHO with people involved in every facet of business, all three are equally critical for any successful business – Strategy, Execution and Culture. Read more…

About the Author

Ankush Garg is an accomplished Marketing professional with 16+ years of experience in Digital space – in B2B & B2C marketing and product management roles in USA and India. He is currently leading a cross-functional 20+ member team managing Marketing Operations, Sales Operations, Demand Gen, Accounting, and Dev-Ops – for Marketo. He is also a member of NASSCOM Sales & Marketing SIG & Speaker at events.

5 Ways To Put Your Email Call To Action (CTA)


In today’s day and age, emails are being sent out all the time. Whether it is a mail to browse through insurance quotes, or apply for a job or connect with a customer or friend, we do this task without stressing much on its importance.

Imagine being the recipient of those emails now, and think of the number of times you have actually,

  • Paused to check who it is from
  • Stopped to read the subject line
  • We’re interested enough to click and open it
  • Read through the messaging
  • Pursued a course of action, either by clicking a link to the site or signing up for an event or filling up a form

As you may observe in the above, your actions get more and more strong (depending on whether you were enticed enough) or decidedly weaker (where your interest couldn’t be held for very long).

There are several factors for the above, but the most compelling of these is the ‘Call To Action’ or CTA.

An email marketing campaign and its success are defined by its CTA. A Call to Action grabs a subscriber’s attention and compels him to act. This may be going half way through the desired action or all the way. Imagine this process as a funnel, where the customer is pulled through a series of steps which ends up by him taking a certain course of action.

If the right call to action has such power, then it needs to be given much importance. Here are 5 ways to put together your email CTA.

1- Make the Call To Action short

A customer’s attention span lasts for less than a minute. In this time, they have to read, assess and perform an action. A long winded CTA can make them switch off altogether. Essentials are the only things that they will absorb. A CTA should not be more than 5 words.

When it comes to putting together one, remember KISS – Keep It Short & Sweet

2- Tell People Which Action to Proceed With

Call to actions are so very important, then why would you add inanity or state the obvious while writing them. This is not the time to make redundant sentences. You must tell people what to do and how to go about it.

To emphasize the point, imagine you walk on the road with a message and people are running through you on their way to work. You want them to read the message but they just don’t have enough time. What can you say to grab their attention, make them stop and process it? THIS then is your Call To Action.

CTA is usually a verb, asking the person to do something, ‘Make This Call Now!’, ‘Call That Number!’ Some marketers suggest making these CTA’s instructional, concise and direct.

Amazon product pages display some of the most effective and crisp CTA’s. These are;

  • Look Inside Now
  • Shop Now
  • Share
  • Add to Wishlist

If you’re a consumer, aren’t you getting your instructions subtly and without a hassle?

3- Compel People to Respond Immediately

Gone are the times, when people indulged in time to their heart’s content. Those were also the days when people were given at least a day’s heads-up to perform an action. ‘Mail the letter today’, ‘Send the fax today’, etc.

With shorter timeframes, the trending word is NOW. People have to respond immediately and this word makes them perform some action. It is also short, goes with any verb and is immediately understood. Even toddlers understand this word. 4 out of 10 in Amazon’s CTA’s use the word now.

4- Make the CTA Stand Out

It’s difficult to make a customer look for something that he doesn’t even know there is. CTA’s need to be visible even more so than the main focus – an advert, product image or report. They need to be in the first or second line. Highlighting the CTA button in a bright, pop-up color makes it more noticeable.

In the below image, Mailchimp’s CTA buttons are in a color that is different from the site color and easily located. The messaging is also very clear.

CTA buttons can be made to stand out by,

  • Putting them in catchy colors
  • Making the buttons bigger, especially true in people using mobiles. Button size of 50X75 pixels in best, wider.

5- Test Everything

Putting together a perfect CTA that checks on all the above parameters is of absolutely no use, if it isn’t linked to the right page, goes elsewhere or is not reaching its target audience. Testing the email is very important and can be done by A/B split testing, something that every email service provider provides.

It is also important to make sure that this shows up even if the subscriber has his images turned off by default. They must respond to your email irrespective of this. A simple CSS or HTML code button works equally well.

Call to Actions, are the single most effective aspect of email marketing campaigns. When done right, they increase response rates, make your strategy more effective and get you more converts.

Going Mobile In B2B: A Passing Fad Or Here To Stay?


Our mobile devices, be it smartphones or tablets have become an extension of ourselves. They have been rooted into our everyday lives as a necessity and have changed the way we shop, eat, bank, and ultimately live. Where brushing your teeth was the first thing you did after waking up, now checking your phone has become the primary morning ritual (more than 50% of cellphone users get on their phones right after they wake up).

This drastic change has impacted not just our personal lives, but the way business is conducted as well. According to a report by Forrester Research mobile is estimated to account for 49% of e-commerce i.e. $ 252 billion in sales by 2020. While these numbers are not purely indicative of the B2B mobile commerce market, they paint an optimistic picture. In fact, the gap between B2B and B2C mobile commerce is closer than you’d think; a Gartner study reports that B2B mobile channels generate 19.4% of digital commerce revenues, as compared to 22.6 % for B2C.

Mobile is the new virtual office

Smartphones are now our portable business centers. According to Usablenet’s infographic, on an average around 50% of B2B customers use their phone for work related tasks, be it researching products for business, reading reviews, comparing prices, or consuming work related content.

Additionally, 16% of B2B sites receive mobile traffic. Combine this data with the fact that 61% of users who have issues with viewing a mobile site were unlikely to visit it again, and 40% go to a competitor’s site instead, and you’ve got a compelling reason to go mobile and do it right. Think of your website as your virtual office, if in a bad shape or poorly located, it will be that much harder to attract, let alone retain customers.

Ability to reach your customers where they are

Even if you were to ignore the hard numbers presented above, you can’t overlook the single biggest benefit that going mobile offers: Mobility. For both buyers and sellers, work can be done on the go: lead capturing, data gathering, and customer engagement. Your customers are always reachable on their smartphones, through calls, messages, and emails. In fact in today’s digital age, with millennials (18-35-year-olds) replacing the previous generation, they expect it. A Regalix survey found that 84% of millennials in B2B segments consider their mobile device essential to their work.

Case in point

A simple yet extremely effective use of mobile to boost business is illustrated in a case study on Marketo, a marketing analytics software provider, documented by Rob Peterson (advertising and marketing professional). He states in his article, “The company recognized webinars as a key piece in the marketing toolkit to promote thought leadership and generate leads. As with many webinars, people registered but didn’t always attend. They used a simple, recorded phone message reminder in addition to email. Although the phone reminder added $2 for every registrant, it increased conversion of people who attended from 26% to 48% and, according to Marketo, was well worth the investment in terms of sales results.”

Harnessing the potential of a simple mobile feature made a huge impact.

Don’t be left behind

The list of facts, numbers and live examples to make a case for mobile technology in B2B is fairly long, and they all point to one thing: A mobile strategy in our digital era is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. It is a reality that B2B marketers must accept and exploit for their benefit. And with every passing day newer mobile tools, applications, and automated software are rolled out that make embracing mobile technology that much easier while making companies more efficient. Safe to say, mobile technology is here to stay.