Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Should Cut Back on Marketing During These Tough Times?

If you have a business that sells products, you need to get the word out about your product to as many people in your target market as possible. Everything you do should start with getting customers. If you have no customers, you have no business. It is an unfortunate situation that most business owners cut back on their marketing and advertising budget when sales go down. That is exactly the worst approach you can take. Marketing is both a short-term and a long-term investment in the survivability of your company. Saving money on marketing when dollars are scarce may seem like a logical way to cut expenses. But, while you may see a short-term benefit, over the long haul, you may be slowly killing your business.

When consumers are scrutinizing each purchase carefully before they commit their dollars, you must keep on top of their mind why they need to purchase your product. You must keep reminding them that you are still in business and they need what you are selling. It is likely that your competitors are going through the same cost-benefit analysis in which you are engaged and that many of them have decided that they are not willing to spend their dollars on advertising or other forms of marketing. That’s great news. That is how you get to dominate your market. When others are pulling back, you push forward. You fill the vacuum left by your competitors’ trying to save money.

Similarly, if your business is a service business, you still need to market and create new referral sources and nurture the ones that you already have. This is the time to let your referral sources know that you are still in business and how much they mean to you. This is the time to spend on forming new relationships with movers and shakers who can bring you new clients. Keep up with those lunches and dinners, tickets to sports and other events, or however you used to develop new referral sources.

You may want to change your message a bit to acknowledge that times are different. If you are lucky, your product or service is even more needed, now that people are facing hard times and cutting their spending.

Don’t neglect using the free or cheaper forms of marketing that are out there. You can use social media to get your message out for free, you can hire independent contractors for each marketing project (check with your lawyer to make sure that you are not hiring an employee and classifying someone as an independent contractor), you can offer internships to college students to get some help instead of hiring employees (do this through the colleges that are near your office). There are many ways to market on the cheap if you need to economize. But don’t stop marketing. By consistently getting your marketing message out to your existing customers and to your target market for new customers, you are doing the most you can to ride out the hard times and still be in business when the good times return.

Why Use B2B Data Lists?

More and more, business-to-business marketers are using B2B data lists; largely because of the great benefit they provide in the search for new clients and, as any thriving company knows, new clients are essential to growth.

Without a B2B data list, finding new companies to sell to takes a lot of effort, looking through brochures and magazines, attending conventions or even cold-calling. When you use a B2B data list, you don’t have to look any further than your computer screen and your telephone to initiate contact. A multitude of potential clients are listed and organized in a database and you can even find companies within your local area or specific industries you serve.

A new company can’t afford to spend a lot of time searching out new clients. They need to find and secure customers as quickly as possible in order to establish themselves. One way to do this would be by coordinating an effective email marketing campaign. In order to do this, you need to have all of the email addresses of the key people within the companies you want to do business with. Without a B2B data list, you could spend hours researching the information you need to send your emails to the right people. Even then, there is always a chance of sending the wrong person the information within the right company. However, if you use a B2B database, you can quickly identify the information for all of the companies you wish to contact in less time than it might take just to find the information you need to make contact with one company using traditional methods.

You can use the B2B database for more than your email campaigns; Databases have all the information you need to conduct your business through phone campaigns as well. A database can make a phone campaign so much easier, transforming it from the tedious ritual of researching through piles of source material to find a phone number. Instead, you have a list right in front of you that tells you what companies might be interested in doing business with you. It will let you know which ones are movers and which ones are stagnant, so you can jump on opportunities as soon as they emerge.

When you are finding new clients quickly, it also affects your inventory. You will find your warehouse isn’t getting as full as it used to, even though business is better than ever. That’s because, with more customers, your sales cycle is shortened. With a shortened sales cycle, your storage capacity needs are reduced, lowering your costs of operation and increasing your profits. A B2B data list can assist your company in so many ways; it would almost be crazy to venture into this market without the use of one.

As you can see, a B2B data list is definitely the most important tool that any B2B marketing company can utilize. The time it saves alone is a big money saver and the results it produces can be a big profit maker. When implemented to its fullest capacity, it could be what you need in order to make your company stand out and become the thriving profit machine you always knew it could be.

Provided by EzineArticles

Deciding What Advertising Strategies to Use is Critical

There are several strategies to use for advertising campaigns and promotions. Multi media advertising has taken a new turn. It is no longer the traditional distribution such as TV, placement and print that advertising can be done across.

Advertising is an emotional science of selling goods and services to potential buyers by convincing them of the advantages of the product or services. In advertising, the makers of the products use the power of the media to portray a good or service in a certain way. In this regards, the power of the product or service is usually portrayed as better than other competitive brands in the market.

Media houses and advertising agencies are learning from consumer every day. They create new strategies on how to reach their targeted groups. This might include using a clever copy to sell their good or using repeated commercials on television or a fantastic creative.

Television commercials play an active role in convincing people to buy. The current generation is motivated by what they see and hear more than ever before. Various market strategies have been employed by advertising agencies to reach diverse groups of people. It must be noted that the strategies employed by these advertising houses will depend entirely on the brand being sold. That would mean targeting a particular group of people say teenagers, adults or young adult groups.

In the case of pharmaceuticals, the older groups are often the targeted groups. Advertising Agencies like to project the effectiveness of their brand by paralleling elderly people suffering with similar illness. Watching the television in USA will reveal the amount of drugs being advertised to various groups of people. They range from simple pain relievers to complex drugs that are created to treat complicated illness like multiple sclerosis, liver infections, arthritis, fibromyalgia back pain etc.

No wonder the multiple strategies being employed by various agencies. These involve using billboards, newspapers, magazines, posters and advertising on buses, train stations, inside trains and in-store advertising using other forms of multi-media.

The highest billboards effectiveness seems to be at the point of sale. Shoppers actually get to see these at a close up. Large departmental stores, take Macys, Wal-Mart, Target etc use this strategy quite well to promote their products.

Internet advertising is a fast growing advertising medium that is being employed by major big and small companies all over the world. Google, Bing and other big internet companies have made millions from internet advertising.

Effectively there are a plethora of avenues to spend your advertising begets, do pick wisely. Select your advertisement placemat to fit your demographic and product and always measure your results.

Planning For Seasonal Digital Success

It’s almost that time of year. In fact, for many online retailers plans are already finalized and subtle changes are already beginning to show evidence of a strategy to take us straight from back to school to Labor Day through Halloween and into the gift-giving seasons. For others, their high season might be spring or summer. Whatever the high season for your business you need to approach it differently to maximize the opportunity it presents. Below are some tips to help you plan for a successful sprint that can extend into longer-term success.

  • To maximize revenue opportunities make sure your budget caps are not limiting your yield. Spend needs to expand to absorb the increased demand. Challenge your media and search providers to do some forecasting to see what the high limits of spend might be under ideal circumstances that fit your cost of marketing goals.
  • Grow your customer base. Take advantage of the buying or gift-giving mindset of the season to encourage referrals and pass-along’s. Consider treating each new customer to a coupon opportunity for future purchases either for themselves or for a friend.
  • Grow your customer e-mail list. Add opt-in language in multiple places to help.
  • Use this time of heightened activity to learn more about your customers. If you have high enough site volume and you crave feedback or demographic validation, consider an exit survey that doesn’t interfere with your commerce goals. You may need to sweeten the survey with an incentive to get participation. If you make that incentive a coupon, you both win.
  • Factor in gift giving so you don’t confuse your customer profiles with personal profiles. Flag purchases during this period in your database as seasonal and treat remarketing and recommendation engines with care to avoid the probably false assumption that 20-something males are regularly buying fuzzy pink slippers.
  • Scout for competitive weaknesses. If they’re not taking advantage of the season perhaps you can scoop up their traffic or entice their customers. Beware of starting an unproductive war though.
  • Adjust your creative and messaging. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to bathe everything in shades of red and green and tie a big bow on it, but reflect the holiday state of mind. It’s important to signal your customers.
  • Remember that many of the people you will reach during seasonal craziness may know less about you then your usual customers. Factor that into your messaging and promotions.
  • Draft off of holiday or seasonally specific events, sites, and promotions that occur to reach customers in places you may not have been before or ways that you haven’t used. Customer volume and traffic appears in new places during this time.
  • Try a joint promotion with an audience-compatible but non-competitive brand to extend your reach and to provide a truly unique product bundle or promotional opportunity. Look for a potential partner with a high quality brand and a solid CRM program with an extensive customer e-mail list to cut your costs of marketing as you each leverage your e-mail and other customer touch points like product shipments or e-mail confirmations for joint benefit.
  • Accelerate your optimization schedule if you can afford to do it. That will allow you to make the quick shifts that mean the difference between acceptable and exceptional performance. Don’t be afraid to drop non-performing elements of your plan. When volume is high, you can and should make faster decisions as you have more data, more quickly to validate what you are seeing.
  • Negotiate rates aggressively. While premium inventory is always at a premium there are also more page views available for sale during seasonal periods.
  • Click prices will almost definitely be bid up for seasonally affected categories. Be prepared for that ultimate manifestation of supply and demand by knowing what each click is worth to you – during this time period. Don’t cling to off-season click price averages. They don’t apply for now.

Use what you have learned the rest of the year to hone your seasonal strategy, but treat this time of year as the unique opportunity that it is. Hopefully you’ve been testing both onsite and offsite elements to have a really good idea of how to drive business productively and can end the year with more customers and great potential.

 Provided by: Robin Neifield

Clickz

Dare To Be Different In Your Marketing

Do you want to attract the attention of more potential clients and customer? Then it’s time to dare to be different. Over the last five years our marketing departments have become complacent. Rather than come up with new concepts, ideas, and marketing plans way to often we only revisit someone elses idea, change a few things and call it our own.

Do you want to create buzz about your products and services? Would you like people to take a look at what it is that you have to offer over your competitor? If you answered yes to either of these questions then this year I dare you to be different.

Develop new ideas; actually spend time brainstorming to firm up your own company’s marketing message. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Quit comparing your creative ideas with others.

It’s time we learn that adopting the tactics and strategies of another company is just simply not enough. It’s still important to do your research regarding your competitors. However, it’s more important to listen to the needs of prospects and current clients. Truth be known most marketing companies have stopped listening. When did it become ok to quit paying attention to our markets? We want a quick fix, a fast campaign, an instantaneous idea. We’ve stopped putting in the time necessary to be effective.

Daring to be different doesn’t have to be difficult, often enough it’s as simple as getting back to the basics. You can do it in four easy steps. To get started consider the following:

  • Define your products and/or services.
  • Define the needs that these products or services fulfill.
  • Survey and listen to your current clients and customers and figure out what it is that they like or don’t like about your product. Ask them how you can make them better. Ask them how they found out about you and what it was that brought them your way.
  • Develop a marketing plan for the next 6 months using the three steps above.

I’ve seen way too many marketing professionals burn out and stray away from the basics. When this happens it just becomes “easier” to begin to do what everyone else is doing. Realize that I said easier not more effective. I’ve also seen marketing professionals turn their careers and their marketing departments around by adopting the basic principles that they abandoned. I challenge you to revisit your marketing campaigns, apply the basic principles, and dare to be different. I think you’ll be surprised at the difference that it will make in the effectiveness and the excitement of your own marketing campaigns.

By: Laura Lake
About.com

Helpfull Tips on Tradeshow Exhibits

A good tradeshow exhibit mixes a little bit of flash with a whole lot of information about the organization’s mission. Whether the show display is meant to tout a new product or service or an entire line of them, a few things are key in creating a professional, eye-catching display. The costs involved, of course, will vary, but do keep in mind a loan shouldn’t be necessary to get the right message out. Imagination and planning however are key.

The best tradeshow exhibits use the newspaper method to pull potential customers and clients in to learn more about a product or service. This means a bit of flash, or the headline if you will, is an absolute must. If a display doesn’t catch the eye, it won’t capture the attention.

But, just like a newspaper, if there isn’t substance beyond the flash, the viewer will quickly move on to another organization’s display. A well-organized display entices clients and gives them all the information they need to know to be interested in buying the product or service.

Consider these things when putting together a display or buying the backdrop for one:

  • Mission for the display. Is the display meant to tout a product or service? Is it needed for a one-time show or possibly many? If the display will be used for many different occasions, is it one that’s adjustable in size to meet different constraints? Can it be altered for different products? Services?
  • Color of the backdrop. This is important for setting up the graphic elements for the rest of the display. If your display, for example, is meant to tout an exciting new product that happens to have nothing but red in its logo, a red backdrop won’t do. Something more neutral like black or gray might be better. Plus, the neutral backdrops allow the information to create the flash and are more suitable for multiple uses.
  • Complexity of the display. There are many different types of displays available pre-made. These can include single boards just for putting posters and pictures on, or very complex backdrops that have their own shelving for multi-media presentations, lighting and more. The complexity and costs should be considered. The choices are so many, the best way to decide on this is to first set a budget and then determine what you’d like included in the tradeshow display, such as paper information, posters, a computer screen or maybe even a TV that has a demonstration on a continuous loop.
  • Graphics. Many companies that make backdrops for tradeshows will also offer graphics services. When this is the case, it’s a good idea to visualize the graphics you’d like included along with the complexity of the display and the colors for the background. A good display is eye-catching, but not too overpowering in appearance the actual message gets lost.

A good display is eye-catching to pull viewers in, but if there isn’t substance included as well, the viewer will be lost. Be certain to make sure your display speaks to your company’s mission, the product’s mission or the service’s purpose, too. Don’t overlook the meat of the presentation simply to have flash and you’ll find a number of different display options will serve beautifully.

Apple Could Jump-Start Mobile Advertising, Challenge Old Media

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs said Monday that the company’s iAd platform, its mobile advertising network, will go live on July 1, introducing yet another disruptive force in the media industry.

The rise of digital advertising already has weighed heavily on traditional media businesses–such as publishing, radio and television–and the nascent mobile market is expected to bring a new wave of upheaval as devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad proliferate.

Mr. Jobs told an audience at his company’s annual World-wide Developers Conference in San Francisco that the iAd platform will pull in $60 million worth of advertising in the second half of this year, with spending commitments made in recent weeks by major advertisers such as Nissan Motor Co., Citigroup Inc., Unilever PLC, General Electric Corp., AT&T Corp., which is the exclusive service provider for the iPhone, and Walt Disney Co., where Mr. Jobs holds a board seat and is a major shareholder.

“For something that hasn’t been in the market and is unproven, that’s a lot of money,” said Noah Elkin, senior analyst with eMarketer. “By getting behind mobile advertising in this way, Apple could create a rising-tide situation that will give the business a lot of momentum.”

Mr. Jobs said the iAd platform will be built into Apple’s upcoming new phone, the iPhone 4, which he introduced at the conference. The platform, he said, will allow developers to incorporate sophisticated, interactive advertising into the applications they develop for Apple’s App Store, which sells downloadable programs that run on its devices. The App Store now has 225,000 applications available that have been downloaded a total of five billion times.

Apple will give 60% of the revenue generated from the ads to developers. Mr. Jobs said the company doesn’t aspire to be an advertising agency; rather, it developed the platform “to help our developers earn money so they can continue to create free and low-cost apps for users.”

The mobile advertising market will reach $593 million in 2010 before more than doubling to almost $1.6 billion in 2013, eMarketer estimates. In January, Apple acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, for an undisclosed sum, and used its platform to create iAd. Google Inc. and a host of other firms are also competing in the business.

“Apple has proven itself to be one of the most innovative companies in our lifetime, and they will be a powerful player in the advertising,” said Bob Davis, a partner with Highland Capital, which was a stakeholder in Quattro before it was sold to Apple. “There’s already a lot of tough competition out there though.”

John Shelton, chief executive of Strata, an ad-software provider that manages $50 billion worth of ad transactions, said that, while mobile makes up a small portion of the total ad market, there is pent-up demand from large advertisers and agencies to enter the space, and Apple is poised to tap into it at an opportune time.

“I think you’ll see a lot of agencies really pushing this,” Mr. Shelton said. “These devices are just showing up in the market, like televisions in the 1950s, and all of sudden, I think you’re going to see a watershed of advertising coming in here.”

Provided By: TheWallStreetJournal

The Truth Behind Advertising

Advertising is more than just the means of disseminating product information. It is a primary communications tool of our economic system. Moreover, aside from its diverse role as a persuasive communication tool, it is also part of the everyday culture of virtually everyone. Actually advertising is a part of our social, cultural, and business environment.

The specific reasons that a company chooses to advertise at a particular level is often difficult to determine. However, there are a number of situations that usually dictate a higher proportion of advertising to sales than might otherwise be used.

  • First, it introduces a new product of service; to enter the marketplace against established competition, extra weight is needed.
  • Second, to encounter competition; some industries are engaged in price wars and have far more competition than others, especially when nobody is a real leader in the field.
  • Third, to maintain a leadership position; companies decide to spend in advertising investing in promoting their brand names. Fourth, to emphasize price; among all competitive pressures, price is probably the most usually used feature that gets heavily promoted.
  • Finally, to keep up with a fast growing industry; in fierce competitive fields it is vital to spend more on advertising to prevent others from surpassing your offer.

Advertising primary strength is that it reaches a large mass audience to intensify broad-based demand for a product. As specialists support, advertising can build brand awareness, create long-term brand images and positions, and increase brand knowledge effectively. It can furthermore, alter the image of an existing product and act as a reminder mechanism. Finally, advertising acts also as a memorability mechanism through message repetition.

Regarding new product launch, advertising is considered of vital importance as it can provide the necessary information to the targeted audiences and increase their awareness levels. It moreover can act as an Awareness-Identification-Desire-Action tool since it can provide all the incentives needed for a trial. As far as the action stage is concerned, advertising can become the element through which a prospect will decide upon purchasing the product or service. Coupons, free samples, discounts, and many other promotional mechanisms can become the reason behind a new product’s success. Penetrating any market is a matter of well-planned integrated marketing program and in order for a new product’s or service launch to be successful, advertising can serve as a valuable tool for the company’s future goals and current sales increase.

Advertising has limits, however. Consumers often tend to believe it is intrusive, and try to avoid it by changing the TV-channel, radio station or page. Because of the abundant of products and services in today’s world, clutter issues can threaten advertising, as the more advertisements exist, the more frustrated the consumer becomes. Another major drawback of advertising is that of lost impressions. Due to its high penetration, the mass market is not always the right target to which the messages are directed.

Regarding new product launch, advertising is valuable only to companies if it creates consumer identification, is differentiated from clutter, and in the long run its success is measured by repeat purchase. If a product or service stays viable for a longer period than its competition, it is due to its penetration to customer minds and homes.

In conclusion, advertising should be used in the marketing communication mix to maximize its strengths, which should be analyzed relatively to other marketing communication tools.

Maximumize AdWords Marketing

Google has formed a very productive internet marketing method in AdWords advertising. In accordance with the theory of keywords, the idea necessitates brilliant placement of ads on applicable websites, so as to establish that only the most highly targeted traffic is led your way through those ads. You have the preference of both text ads or banner ads. Google has specified size parameters, and your ad units must abide by those parameters. Text ads must consist of 2 lines of text, along with a header line.

The Quality Is In The Keywords

No matter what you eventually sell on your website – whether it’s a complete product range regarding something, or some services, or even a simple affiliate marketing plan – you must have quality content on your website. The quality of your website content determines the price of your AdWords advertising. It also determines the amount of revenue generated by the hits resulting directly from this advertising.

It might seem like a good idea to use a misleading keyword phrase in your Google AdWords campaign in order to direct more traffic towards your website. But always remember internet surfers aren’t stupid, and they know what they’re looking for.

And if your AdWords advertising and marketing says you’re marketing carpets, but there’s no reference of carpets anywhere on your website, your visitors won’t turn into customers just because they’ve reached your website, so they might as well buy something.

On the contrary, this kind of misleading AdWords advertising can have the very opposite effect. It can totally destroy your brand name and market trustworthiness. It can cause the search engines to hate you. It can even lead to a “Google Slap”, which is what happens when Google increases your bid prices for keywords because of irrelevant website content and low page ranks on the search engines.

The Targeted Audience

The importance of relevant keywords can’t be emphasized enough in making your Google AdWords campaign a successful marketing venture. Internet surfers like websites that provide what they advertise. Even more important is that your ads should be relevant to the particular market segment you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re selling health products related to asthma, mention something about the discomfort experienced by asthmatics – in such a way that it touches an emotional chord inside them somewhere, compelling them to check out what you’ve got to offer.

Almost all Internet marketers are however aren’t capable to make optimum use of AdWords advertising. Consequently, they simply end up paying needless costs without adequate conversions into revenues. Furthermore, the bid prices of the AdWords also increases, if the landing page of your website isn’t totally related to the keywords employed.

If you make use of the simple tips provided above, you can easily gain a pretty decent advantage over your competitors, with increased revenues and a reduced cost of advertising.

 Provided by: Charles McDuffie

Why It Pays To Advertise

“You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, it’s not going to be worth much. There are singers in the world with voices as good as Frank Sinatra’s, but they’re singing in their garages because no one has ever heard of them. You need to generate interest, and you need to create excitement.”

Donald Trump, American real-estate tycoon

Advertising doesn’t cost, it pays! And good advertising can pay you well. Bad advertising, or no advertising at all, invites disaster.

You have to advertise if people are to be made aware of your business and the benefits it offers them. Without advertising you rely on word of mouth recommendation or press editorial, both extremely effective, but slow and generally unpredictable.

Advertising takes many different forms, from painting your name on the side of a van to delivering leaflets door-to-door or posting printed cards in shop and post office windows. More often the term applies to classified and display promotions in appropriate media, usually newspapers and magazines, and it is with this definition we concern ourselves here.

Advertising by itself does not sell. It will not sell a bad product (customers will ask for refunds) and it won’t open up new markets. It is not a miracle cure that can generate sales for a dying product. Conversely, advertising will not sell your must successful products to people who simply don’t want them.

Main Points About Effective Advertising

It reduces the entire population to your target audience and reaches as many of those people as possible at least available cost.

It must always have an objective. This means having a clear idea about what you want to accomplish in your advertisement. Reasons for advertising include:

  • To invite orders or enquiries
  • To launch new products
  • To publicise price changes.

The message must attract your target audience, it must interest them, create a desire for your product and prompt people to act (order or ask for further information). This acronym AIDA is one you will encounter many times in advertising.

  • It must be truthful and straightforward. The nearer your advertisement is to reality, the more effective it is.
  • Sufficient resources must be allocated to accomplish your advertising objectives.
  • Testing is crucial to effective advertising, allowing good promotions to be repeated and bad ones to be eliminated.
  • Every aspect of your advertisement must be prepared from the customer’s point of view. That person wants to know how you and your product can benefit him. The most important feature of any advertisement is the benefits it contains.
  • It must be placed in the appropriate media.

Newcomers to business tend to confuse the real benefits of advertising, frequently considering it a necessary, and expensive, evil, not the long-term investment it really is. In short, effective advertising is the lifeblood of your business. Without it you will surely fail!