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Bogus Marketing + Self Promotion Thread

Creating this thread for bogus marketing , self-promotion, sharing success stories and little victories! Will add small success stories and a little self bragging of self and forumias as a whole.

jack_Sparrow,DMand20 otherslike this
10.8k views

38 comments

Kindly look at the quality of Simulator test especially CSAT.  It seems they are just copied and pasted from some other sources. I can tell you one source from where questions were copied. It's SPIPA, Gujrat. 
JatinJha,bismarkkand1 otherslike this
6.1k views
Kindly look at the quality of Simulator test especially CSAT.  It seems they are just copied and pasted from some other sources. I can tell you one source from where questions were copied. It's SPIPA, Gujrat. 

Seized of the matter. Two tests remaining. Should be sorted out. Was this the case in last csat test also - the one held last Saturday?


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

6.1k views
Kindly look at the quality of Simulator test especially CSAT.  It seems they are just copied and pasted from some other sources. I can tell you one source from where questions were copied. It's SPIPA, Gujrat. 

Especially CSAT -  did you find this in GS ? Can you share this over email. Shared in inbox.


In GS, you may have it question from here taken there but not vice versa. Because several state administrative institutes do purchase papers from forum ( not spipa but 6-7 others in different states )


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

6.1k views
Kindly look at the quality of Simulator test especially CSAT.  It seems they are just copied and pasted from some other sources. I can tell you one source from where questions were copied. It's SPIPA, Gujrat. 

SPIPA does copy pasting from other coaching institutes. SPIPA’s economy sectional test was 50% from this year’s SFG of forum +50% from other institutes. 

5.2k views

@NeyawnSir, if one is planning to enroll into AWFG ( have been selected after the entrance), then in which MGP Cohort + one should enroll and when the date for the MGP cohort that starts just after prelims will be announced?

Also had a request, the messaging (inbox) system on this platform is not working from a long time while, Please get this fixed.

5.2k views

@NeyawnSir, if one is planning to enroll into AWFG ( have been selected after the entrance), then in which MGP Cohort + one should enroll and when the date for the MGP cohort that starts just after prelims will be announced?

Also had a request, the messaging (inbox) system on this platform is not working from a long time while, Please get this fixed.

@Jack__Sparrow 


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

5.6k views

@jack_SparrowSir, Please look into the messaging inbox system.

LuckyKatt,
5.3k views
@Mango_Person  we apologize for the inconvenience caused, we are fixing some updates in chat system. It will get fixed by today.


5.1k views

@Neyawn you haven’t shared any story yet!

4.3k views

Londonsaid

@Neyawn you haven’t shared any story yet!

No, actually I am thinking about something. Generally every year what forum does is have a single strategy session / anseer writing session so that there is no confusion. Also we don't want to interview or showcase too much students who have secured ranks but are still writing the exam, given that they are still aspirants, and one gotta be in aspirant mode till one is writing the exam.


What I am seeing however is that vjrm is holding hundreds of sessions, some of them even by people who are taking next attempt. And most of the people this year are not even their students. On one hand there is an academic side which says, don't expose your students too much as long as they are writing the exam again. They gotta improve rank / score and this sonehow jinx it. There is a commercial side which says ask every selected candidate to do some talk / webinar etc. even if he is writing the exam again.. or else you will lose market share due to poor visibility and marketing. Just thinking. Any thoughts?


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

DM,sonderand3 otherslike this
4.7k views

Neyawnsaid

Londonsaid

@Neyawn you haven’t shared any story yet!

No, actually I am thinking about something. Generally every year what forum does is have a single strategy session / anseer writing session so that there is no confusion. Also we don't want to interview or showcase too much students who have secured ranks but are still writing the exam, given that they are still aspirants, and one gotta be in aspirant mode till one is writing the exam.


What I am seeing however is that vjrm is holding hundreds of sessions, some of them even by people who are taking next attempt. And most of the people this year are not even their students. On one hand there is an academic side which says, don't expose your students too much as long as they are writing the exam again. They gotta improve rank / score and this sonehow jinx it. There is a commercial side which says ask every selected candidate to do some talk / webinar etc. even if he is writing the exam again.. or else you will lose market share due to poor visibility and marketing. Just thinking. Any thoughts?

Whenever confused take madhyam marg

4.1k views

Neyawnsaid

» show previous quotes

No, actually I am thinking about something. Generally every year what forum does is have a single strategy session / anseer writing session so that there is no confusion. Also we don't want to interview or showcase too much students who have secured ranks but are still writing the exam, given that they are still aspirants, and one gotta be in aspirant mode till one is writing the exam.


What I am seeing however is that vjrm is holding hundreds of sessions, some of them even by people who are taking next attempt. And most of the people this year are not even their students. On one hand there is an academic side which says, don't expose your students too much as long as they are writing the exam again. They gotta improve rank / score and this sonehow jinx it. There is a commercial side which says ask every selected candidate to do some talk / webinar etc. even if he is writing the exam again.. or else you will lose market share due to poor visibility and marketing. Just thinking. Any thoughts?

I have realised not promoting or marketing self/  product (which you believe is better) is equivalent to allowing a substandard or below average product or less hardworking people to move ahead of you 


This also amounts to denying the consumers a better product. Hence marketing is absolutely ethical. Rather not marketing your better product is a fraud with the consumers. 


P.S: I am not endorsing XYZ coaching as a better/poor product 

Neyawn,DMand4 otherslike this
4.1k views

In my first attempt, I was unaware of Forum IAS. And some coaching taught foundation class till April along with mains answer writing tests. 

It cost me an attempt. After that I randomly saw one of your video on YouTube wherein you explained the concept that- June to November/December is for mains and from December, preparation should shift from mains to prelims.


It was really helpful and gave a new direction. Especially for people who are preparing from remote locations and are not in Delhi, right guidance is needed. Because in UPSC preparation, many things are at stake in your life.


Your one session(read right guidance) can bring a change in direction for someone's preparation. Many people burn the midnight oil but the light gets flickered due to uncertainty and doubt on oneself. 

PS- being a music lover, I wanna give an analogy- these days many sub standard singers get famous coz of remaking songs. BUT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW WHO THE OG KUMAR SANU IS.

Sorry, if there is some spelling mistake. Typed it on my mobile phone.



@Neyawn

Neyawn,DMand4 otherslike this
4k views

In my first attempt, I was unaware of Forum IAS. And some coaching taught foundation class till April along with mains answer writing tests. 

It cost me an attempt. After that I randomly saw one of your video on YouTube wherein you explained the concept that- June to November/December is for mains and from December, preparation should shift from mains to prelims.


It was really helpful and gave a new direction. Especially for people who are preparing from remote locations and are not in Delhi, right guidance is needed. Because in UPSC preparation, many things are at stake in your life.


Your one session(read right guidance) can bring a change in direction for someone's preparation. Many people burn the midnight oil but the light gets flickered due to uncertainty and doubt on oneself. 

PS- being a music lover, I wanna give an analogy- these days many sub standard singers get famous coz of remaking songs. BUT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW WHO THE OG KUMAR SANU IS.

Sorry, if there is some spelling mistake. Typed it on my mobile phone.



@Neyawn

Thank you. Thats too kind of you!


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

DM,Zaryaand1 otherslike this
4.1k views

Neyawnsaid

» show previous quotes

No, actually I am thinking about something. Generally every year what forum does is have a single strategy session / anseer writing session so that there is no confusion. Also we don't want to interview or showcase too much students who have secured ranks but are still writing the exam, given that they are still aspirants, and one gotta be in aspirant mode till one is writing the exam.


What I am seeing however is that vjrm is holding hundreds of sessions, some of them even by people who are taking next attempt. And most of the people this year are not even their students. On one hand there is an academic side which says, don't expose your students too much as long as they are writing the exam again. They gotta improve rank / score and this sonehow jinx it. There is a commercial side which says ask every selected candidate to do some talk / webinar etc. even if he is writing the exam again.. or else you will lose market share due to poor visibility and marketing. Just thinking. Any thoughts?

I have realised not promoting or marketing self/  product (which you believe is better) is equivalent to allowing a substandard or below average product or less hardworking people to move ahead of you 


This also amounts to denying the consumers a better product. Hence marketing is absolutely ethical. Rather not marketing your better product is a fraud with the consumers. 


P.S: I am not endorsing XYZ coaching as a better/poor product 

So I was reading this book from zero to one by Peter Thiel . The book hit me hard in one aspect which said that most tech founders / people from tech background think that if the product is good they do not need marketing and distribution channels and they dont focus on it. They always want to work in stealth mode which sometimes may be detrimental to the company. So yeah, giving a thought to that.

However when I look at people who are marketing themselves well, I only see everyone in edTech Space begin with "education should be free" ( Mind you, this is not basic education or primary education they are talking about. They are talking about competitive exam which affects a small minority of the society ) then have billionaire plans. Worse, they use investors money to subsidise their products with the hope that someday they will recover the costs after becoming a monopoly and when that day never comes they exit or go silent.

Also because they plan to teach millions , one edTech founder I met told me their classes are subscribed by 1,20,000 students. I said any selections . They are clear - selections will come another program. Now to cater to the 1,20,000 students the course quality is brought down such that it wont help you clear the exam. 

It will however fix your basic school level knowledge base, if you didn study well in school.


I am no knight. Do not call me Sir

DM,GaneshGaitondeand3 otherslike this
4.1k views

Neyawnsaid

» show previous quotes

So I was reading this book from zero to one by Peter Thiel . The book hit me hard in one aspect which said that most tech founders / people from tech background think that if the product is good they do not need marketing and distribution channels and they dont focus on it. They always want to work in stealth mode which sometimes may be detrimental to the company. So yeah, giving a thought to that.

However when I look at people who are marketing themselves well, I only see everyone in edTech Space begin with "education should be free" ( Mind you, this is not basic education or primary education they are talking about. They are talking about competitive exam which affects a small minority of the society ) then have billionaire plans. Worse, they use investors money to subsidise their products with the hope that someday they will recover the costs after becoming a monopoly and when that day never comes they exit or go silent.

Also because they plan to teach millions , one edTech founder I met told me their classes are subscribed by 1,20,000 students. I said any selections . They are clear - selections will come another program. Now to cater to the 1,20,000 students the course quality is brought down such that it wont help you clear the exam. 

It will however fix your basic school level knowledge base, if you didn study well in school.

Great insights 


I can draw an analogy from my legal profession. You must have seen many lawyers who have amplified their practice just by using social media. Some of them have been able create a system within 3-4 years where they are earning in lacs/crore despite being first generation lawyers. 


Now, some of these lawyers are at best : AVERAGE. I see much better and competent lawyers working hard in isolation believing that they will make it big SOMEHOW (I don't know how) and that their HARDWORK WILL PAY OFF SOMEDAY. 


Well it doesn't work that way. The BCI doesn't allow a lawyer to advertise. I don't know how else can they generate clients.

Further, Relationships including monetary ones are based on trust. Any person before buying or consuming usually makes a quick Google search. A good presence and track record gives them the trust and the confidence to put money on you. 


I also believe a good & credible presence also somehow indicates a level of sincerity and professionalism. 

Hence marketing self & our products is sin qua non if we want to be successful in a field such as law that is heavily titled in favour of the elite. 


One of my lawyer friend recently met a female client who was Sexually harassed but didn't have a lawyer for 2 years. She could afford to pay Rs 5,000 per hearing (which is good for a young lawyer who has just started practice ) . Yet, these competent and young lawyers are NOT VISIBLE. This not only allowed the likes of Sibbals &. Singhvis to charge in crores per hearing but also denied the people (like the lady who was Sexually harassed) proper justice. 


Who is to be blamed? It is these young & competent lawyers who should be blamed as they didn't make themselves accessible, visible and available to the needy. 


I think this holds true for all the fields. Who is to be blamed when you allow average people to move ahead of you in life despite having all the resources? 


Neyawn,dalphaand2 otherslike this
3.6k views

Wonderful discussion here@Neyawn , it's discussions like these that keeps the community strong and growing. 

From 2012/13, you've been the biggest reason for creating a community of civil services aspirants, especially after orkut and mrunal's forum were closed. 

Within just a few years, forum became the reddit for civil services aspirants (the positive comparison), where everyone could find answers and peers just by sitting at home. This not only resulted in knowledge sharing but also knowledge sharing by successful aspirants who were among everyone in the community. 

From that to building a highly trustable brand and a business has made you nothing less than a celebrity among the aspirants. The craze to meet "Neyawn sir" or "Ayush sir" and get a direction to their preparation is very real and I have heard it from hundreds of aspirants. 

You are today among the top mentors and successful business persons in edtech industry and this is only the beginning considering how strong your business foundations. 

Now, what I admire the most about you is, inspite of having achieved so much in this sector, you come here and analyse your marketing strategy here in the public. It takes absolute courage to do that and full credit to you for always doing such things and perhaps why you'll end up being a "Doyen" of this sector when you decide to call it a day. 


Coming to the discussion part, about the marketing in edtech sector, I'll share my humble opinion. 


1) Marketing is indispensable: Without marketing, even the best product dies. 


2) Ethics in Marketing: I've always held this thought that marketing in edtech should be "product based" and not "result based". The very nature of competitive exams are dynamic and "no product" can guarantee selections, it's only the individual efforts and individual person's journey (habits, aptitude and attitude, way back from school) that plays a huge role in selections. The best of the edtech products, at best "aid and advise" the aspirants but are not and cannot solely be responsible for selections. The reason being, each edtech product solves issues related to a specific preparation area and there is "no product" that can solve entire "A to Z" problems of every aspirant, considering both time and money constraints. 

So, I'll be really happy the day every edtech player, focuses on explaining the features of their product in depth and how it can effectively solve problems in their preparation, rather than just correlate it with the number of selections from the aspirants who purchased that product. Even the toppers, just say I used so and so product, but never actually share in detail that I used so and so product, for solving x y z problems related to my preparation. 

To cut it short, the problem with marketing in edtech is lack of specifics and honesty. Perhaps that's why the government also decided to crack a whip on edtech advertisements on selections. 

The day any major edtech player starts getting into the marketing based on the product "specifics", is the day when the consumer will have a win-win situation because not only is he/she a getting a high quality product that solves a highly specific problem, but the aspirant also gets to make an informed choice and understands that the product is not the panacea to all their problems but one of the problems.

The marketing conundrum: Now, coming to the absolute commercial side of business. The majority of the crowd that enrolls for the courses are "non-serious" aspirants, by which I mean that cracking civil services exam is not their highest priority. They just want to taste the process and leave. Such aspirants can be non serious either due to situations in life or due to their own personal interests. For such aspirants, they don't really care about product specifics because they don't want to or don't have the time to understand the exam process in depth. They just want to look at the number of selections from x y z and that'll be their sole criterion for deciding whether to invest in a product. If you start explaining the product specifics to them, they'll simply move to another product where only the number of selections are given. Because they are not so involved in the exam process, they want to make decisions based on the ease of information and want no complex information to enter into their decision making process. 

From a consumer psychology perspective, the consumers look for a "fame value" in any product they buy because somewhere it provides the feeling of almost cracking the exam, because someone else cracked the exam using the same product. (For example, many surveys indicate that people buy iphones to be perceived as rich and important, rather purchase an iPhone for it's utility). Similarly, aspirants want to buy a product that can give that mental validation that they'll be successful after the purchase. 

The problem is, majority of the consumers want the marketing to be outcome oriented and not process oriented. So, in such an environment, which business firm will want to risk a new marketing strategy that majority of the consumers neither value or understand?

Right now, nobody has an answer to this. No one knows how to educate and motivate those majority of the consumers. Neither do businesses have time and resources in the highly competitive environment to focus on these aspects. That's why the marketing conundrum ensues and will continue to. 


Even with the tiny experience I've had as a  business entity in this sector, I've seen the same. I've lost hundreds of consumers because I've never marketed myself (consciously) and even if I did, it was half hearted because deep down my aspirant soul knows that people who get selected do get selected by their own individual efforts and my products or any other product, may have played only a small role. I've made the best of products and yet have had zero registrations. And I've made commerical products that serves the consumer psyche and they have sold like hot cakes. Not once but multiple times, and that has cemented the belief in my head that consumers do not want to go through a complex decision making process by evaluating the product specifics. They only need a simple metric like number of selections or a product that gives them a sense of validation.


(Though my experience as a business entity in this sector is negligible, because somewhere i never wanted to be a business entity in this sector because of the same marketing conundrum, but happened to stay there due to personal circumstances. I cannot work where my beliefs are something else and the reality is something else. I face this cognitive dissonance related to marketing every day and that's why I felt like commenting here on this thread because this issue is something that I think almost everyday. I still remember the uneasy feeling when 80% of the test series buyers on my platform never attempted any and that money just went down into the drain. And there were many who passed prelims from those remaining 20%, and they give credit to my test series till date, but deep down both i and them know that the reason they cracked prelims was their mad efforts and I only played a small part. One year down the lane, i entirely stopped the test series initiative because somehow that money from people who never utilized the product dint feel right to me. I no longer wanted to do it just for the sake of money. Once I was having a casual conversation with the ceo of the firm that provides lms to many major coaching institutes and he too agreed on that fact that majority of the product buyers never utilise it.

Hopefully, one day I get to work where i spend my hours in improving the lives of people even by a tiny amount and not spend my efforts on guaranteeing selections to people through marketing. That's how I want to make money in this life. But then, these are only my personal thoughts and inclinations.)


To add more weight to my argument, one can see and witness the number of "psuedo-coaching" initiatives that have proliferated like madness on Instagram and other social media. They have cracked the consumer psychology that I've explained above and are successful baiting "those non serious majority aspirants" to generate a significant revenue, while providing absolutely no value to the consumers. 


Ethics is anyway a subjective term, and people do call "advertising of selections" by edtech players as unethical, but what else is the way out? In this edtech sector, if a business has to survive and thrive, there's no other option, because the consumer mindset will perhaps be very difficult to change. 


So anyone who wants to succeed in the edtech sector, will have to put aside "ethics in marketing" and perhaps display immense business ethics in how the products are fulfilled (in post purchase processes like effective delivery of goods and services, ethics in refunds and returns etc). If anyone goes into "ethical marketing" without solving the marketing conundrum, they are just killing their business slowly. 


To end, as bad as it sounds, generally agreed ethics and marketing in edtech sector cannot go hand in hand at the moment. Let's only hope for a better future. Until then, do everything you can and do not think about ethics in marketing, if you want to get bigger and bigger in the edtech sector. 

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Deleted
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3.1k views

Neyawnsaid

Londonsaid

@Neyawn you haven’t shared any story yet!

No, actually I am thinking about something. Generally every year what forum does is have a single strategy session / anseer writing session so that there is no confusion. Also we don't want to interview or showcase too much students who have secured ranks but are still writing the exam, given that they are still aspirants, and one gotta be in aspirant mode till one is writing the exam.


What I am seeing however is that vjrm is holding hundreds of sessions, some of them even by people who are taking next attempt. And most of the people this year are not even their students. On one hand there is an academic side which says, don't expose your students too much as long as they are writing the exam again. They gotta improve rank / score and this sonehow jinx it. There is a commercial side which says ask every selected candidate to do some talk / webinar etc. even if he is writing the exam again.. or else you will lose market share due to poor visibility and marketing. Just thinking. Any thoughts?

@Neyawn my two cents on this. 

You are stuck between two relationships here. 

One where you are an employer and you need to ensure the well-being of your employees by keeping the financial health of your business intact. 

Another, where you are a mentor to hundreds of mentees at any given moment, with a responsibility to ensure their well-being with respect to their performance in the exam.

There's a clear conflict of interest here because both of them demand the opposite actions in some situations like the one you mentioned in your comment, and the simple solution is to quit one of these responsibilities. You'll have both peace and better productivity + results in anything you choose to go ahead with. 

If you choose to continue as the chief mentor, someone else will have to fill in your shoes as a chief to execute business decisions. 

If you choose to continue as the chief business executive, then someone will have to replace you as a chief mentor. 

Either the chief mentor or the chief business executive, one of them should have the powers to have the final say, depending on the philosophy of your institution. And the business prospers in the direction that you choose. One of the aspects will have to suffer at the end of the day giving way to the growth of another aspect. 

Since you're doing both the jobs together, I can very well understand and empathize the mental difficulty that you go through. 

If we take the analogy of the cricket, the president of the BCCI cannot also be the head coach of the Indian cricket team. Both are separate jobs and with separate responsibilities. 


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