Marketing and Selling on Internet Marketing on the Internet involves online advertising to reach out to potential customers. It requires creativity like designing, development and technical aspects like marketing and advertising. Affiliate marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing and interactive advertising are all different facets of Internet marketing. It also includes sales, public relations, information management and customer service. Ever since the advent of Internet, it is widely used for all kind of purposes. Among the advantages of Internet, some helps in doing business, shopping, etc, from the comfort of the house. According to a research, a quarter of the Internet users shop online. It has also helped grow electronic commerce and Internet marketing is a part of electronic commerce. Direct marketing techniques like radio and television commercials, mails, and newsletters are the inspirations for Internet marketing, which involves direct response marketing strategies and is rapidly growing. Business-to-business, also known as B2B, and business-to-consumer, also known as B2C, are the two business models to which Internet marketing can be linked. B2C companies were the first to start when Internet marketing originated. They are companies that sell directly to the customers. B2B companies are meant to do business with each other. Websites built for Internet marketing are slightly different than others. There are peer-to-peer modeled websites which are used to exchange products and services between each other. Other is name-your-price, where the customers have to specify their price range that they can spend and select products that fall in that price range. Priceline.com is an example of such a website. Amazon.com is a website which is based on find-the-best-price model, where customers can find the lowest prices. Last are online auctions sites, where items are bid. Ebay.com is an example. The companies who use Internet marketing are at an advantage. They don't need to put in huge amounts of energy and time in Internet Marketing like other traditional methods. With the help of only few resources national and international markets can be reached. Because of very low investment, even small businesses are turning to online marketing. Websites and blogs have been developed for this purpose. Internet marketing is advantageous in the sense that the data is easily available on the Internet. Newsletters can be directly sent to customers and if it doesn't contain the information they are looking for, they can search for information about the product online, make a decision and purchase it online itself. One of the factors that hinder the growth of online marketing is delayed loading of the page. The web pages that take a lot of time to download test the patience of the consumer. To add to that, if the businesses design complex web pages with lots of graphics and animations, it will slow down the speed even more. Another minus point of online marketing is that the customers cannot feel, taste, smell or try products in order to make a good decision. To over come this, some of the online stores have created liberal return policies with the help of which the customer satisfaction is guaranteed. Another biggest threat of online shopping is identity theft. Paying online using credit cards, e-checks are susceptible to hackers and information can be stolen and used. Many hackers and websites have been caught who were involved in buying and selling of personal information. Most of the websites have taken measures and incorporated good security on their websites. One of the best methods is encryption. When the data is being transferred between two computers; there is a possibility of a hacker intercepting it. So the data is changed by applying some encryption algorithm and is sent through the network and upon receiving, the decryption algorithm is applied to bring back the data to its original form. Online selling is influencing all kinds of businesses like banking, advertising, music, etc. Instead of going to a store for buying cassettes and CDs, music can be bought online. Bank transactions like depositing, withdrawing, transferring funds, and paying bills are all performed online. Billions of dollars are invested every year in online advertising alone. Marketing and Sales: What is the difference? Marketing and sales are one of the most important components of a business's survival in the market. While both are dependent on each other many people confuse marketing with sales and vice-versa which is a big mistake. Marketing involves designing a product according to the needs of the market and customers, promoting the product through advertising etc. and setting up a competitive price for the product. Marketing is a platform which drives sales. While on the other hand the sales process is what you do to successfully sell a product and fetch a contract. Sales and marketing together is a part of selling and one cannot do without the other. They can also be called activities. The success of a business is critical to the success of these two important activities. Marketing is the backbone of a company's future and launching pad for the sales. While the marketing process encompasses the design of the product, advertising etc. the sales process is the execution of all the efforts which involves direct interaction with client either by in-person meeting or cold calls or by networking. But there is always an ongoing rivalry between the two, one claiming dominancy over other. The marketing people say they have an upper hand because they think it is they who designs the products, lays down the strategy and also develops tools essential for sales. They say sales are the outcome of marketing and thus should follow its directions. The sales people might not agree to this view and may be completely opposite in their opinion. They think that it is the sales people who actually sells a product and bring money to the business. But many experts believe that marketing should play a pivotal role among the two. A successful marketing campaign makes sales easy and makes people believe that it is actually the sales people who are the dominant leaders. The most important role of marketing department is to create opportunities for the sales department. Marketing drives sales and sales drives companies' success. Marketing is like a life support for sales, one who is constantly backing up the sales department and enabling them to successfully deliver the end product. There shouldn't be a race to gain supremacy over another department but a race to win the market and customers working together. Many businesses combine sales and marketing together but in reality they have different targets. While the sales department is interested in fulfilling the requirements of what the customer asked for, the marketing department is actually busy studying what the market demands. The goal of the marketing department is to foresee how the market will shape up in future. They should envision their product catering to the needs of the market for next few years and be ready to make design changes in their product accordingly. It is very important that a company integrates their sales and marketing department in a well fashioned manner. It is the correct integration of these two important entities that fuels the growth of a company. The sale people should not be merely treated as the cash collectors. Each department has its own role and should go hand in hand in selling the product of the company and should be the foremost important criteria. Doing Research on Marketing Research on marketing is essential to understand the pattern of marketing. This is possible by searching existing knowledge related to business marketing. It is a form of business research, business-to-business marketing research and business marketing research. Marketing research is done in many forms and all these forms are known as problem-identification research. Research in advertising is done to determine the copy testing of advertisements. It is also used to know the efficiency of ads placed in any medium, the customer attention it gets, the message it delivers and how it motivates the customers to buy the product. Commercial eye tracking is done to understand the visual behavior of the customer. Ads, websites, etc., are analyzed for this. Before an advertisement is released in the market, its performance can be forecasted with the help of copy testing which takes consumer's level of attention, motivation, brand liking, and entertainment into consideration. When a customer buys something online he analyses it in order to make the decision, this one of the criteria on which consumer decision research is done. Interviews and surveys can be done to understand consumer's level of satisfaction, which is known as customer satisfaction studies. The demographic and psychology of the people of a particular geographical region can be studied with the help of segmentation research. When analyzing is to be done about brand recognition, brand performance, brand preference and awareness, ad tracking is done. A favorite brand can be recognized with the help of brand equity research. Tests are conducted so as to determine what customer thinks about a brand or a product and it is specifically known as brand name testing. The demand of a product can be understood by demand estimation. After the demand of the product is taken care of, the quality should be checked from time to time. Appointing mystery shoppers who is usually an employee of the market research firm does this. He buys goods through a salesperson and notes down the whole experience. This procedure can be used to do research about rival companies' products. Before practical application of a concept, concept testing should be done which tells whether the targeted audience will like the idea or not. Test marketing is done by introducing a product in small numbers in the market and observing the sales, after which the product is launched on a large-scale. After the initial phase, when the company thinks of increasing the price of the product, price elasticity testing should be carried out which shows customer reaction to price fluctuations. Distribution channel audits are conducted to understand the attitudes of retailers and distributors towards specific products and brands. The more tech savvy form of marketing research is Internet strategic intelligence. The likes and dislikes of the customers can be directly known with the help of chats, blogs and forums. Online panels are a group of experts who accept the marketing research done online. All the researches that are carried out can be classified as primary research, which gathers original research, and secondary research, which is based on a primary research and information published by other resources. Secondary research costs less as research is done on already researched data, but the result isn't efficient. The research designs used by marketing research are either based on questioning or are based on observations. Quantitative marketing research and qualitative marketing research are based on questioning. Quantitative marketing research is done to derive conclusions like questionnaires forms and survey. The number of respondents involved is high. Qualitative marketing research is done to understand something like in-depth interviews and projective techniques. Marketing research based on observations is called experimental technique and ethnographic studies. Test markets and purchase laboratories are examples of experimental techniques. The quantity measured is determined by understanding the factors that are responsible for the success of a product and then one or some of the factors are changed and the result is observed. In ethnographic studies observations are done longitudinally or done at several instances of time or cross-sectional, or done at only a particular time. Research on marketing is similar to exit polling in politics. The market is studied from different angles, at different time, and under different circumstances. Disadvantages of using email to sell Some sales people think using email to sell everything is the best idea. But the truth it is not. It is not a good idea to replace calls with emails when contacting with a potential client. Some people use email to sell products, to avoid the humiliation of rejection. Also the major disadvantage of taking this approach is that there can be a possibility of not getting an email while awaiting a transaction related to a sales process. More than seventy five percent of the businesses today have replaced calls with emails, and in the process has lost the personal touch. The reason why businesses do this is that feel awkward to face rejection when speaking directly to the customer. It hurts less to hear a no though an email. Some people get tired of hearing the voicemails repeatedly. They think it's a better idea to switch to emails. When trying to sell products or services to a new client, it is not possible to gain customer's trust through an email, which makes the foundation of a long-term relationship, weak. Some well to do firms, think that they are recognized in the market but they forget that there are strict spam filters installed, these firms take the risk of sending introductory emails to potential customer. There are very little chances that the customer will receive the email and will read it. But when calling a potential customer, there is a higher probability of the customer receiving the call and all the resources invested will be put good use. If the company still thinks that sending emails to clients is the best approach, some points should be taken care of. The introductory email contains introduction about the company, brief information about the products and services they offer and information about method of purchase and contact. All the information included in the email should give the impression to the reader that the company is interested in benefiting the customer and not themselves. The introductory email should sound like it's trying to solve the problems and try to build a strong relationship with the prospective customer. For this the targeted people should be thoroughly studied in order to understand their shortcomings and what wonders they would expect from a particular product. In the first time itself; do not mention that the company and the client is a good match for each other. Sales pitches should be repelled completely. Don't put the company's name in the heading of the email. When the company's name is included in the heading, the customer gets the impression that profit of the company is its top priority and not interest of the customer. It's a good marketing strategy to include the name of the product being sold, features of the product and how it can solve the problem of the reader. The subject should tell it all, and should also catch the attention in the first glance itself. Its best to start emailing the customer after the foundation of a strong long-term relationship is laid first. At first the customers should be personally approached. Later when the customer's trust is gained, further dealings can be done through emails. Emails should only act as a back up method of communicating. Take care that word like "we" should be avoided and replaced with the word "you". The customer feels that he is being directly referred too. There should be no negativity in the matter. This sets the mind of the customer in a negative mood and he will actually get the opposite message. For example, instead of writing 'We don't sell low quality products', write 'We sell high quality products'. Don't condition the customer. This creates a pressure on the customer and they will start to avoid any calls and emails from the company. Emails can be used during difficult times. Suppose some soreness erupted between the parties or at least from the side of the customer, emails written with polite and gentle words can melt the toughness and can open up good terms again. The best thing is to stop using email as the only way of communicating, completely. Companies that directly reach out to clients reflect higher level of confidence and create a good impression on new customers. Taming Customers though Promotional Marketing If a business firm id able to control the minds of million of customers, it will earn billions as profit. It is impossible to do that. But using some promotional strategies, the mind of the consumer can be tamed by influencing their decision making power. They can be presented with material, which can be motivating and persuading. There is no magic involved in this; only the psychology of the human mind is to be studied and played with. Human mind reacts to different situations in different ways. Some key psychological aspects can be studied in promotional marketing to get overwhelming customer response. Curiosity is the want to explore the unknown. Humans are always in pursuit of knowledge. They want to know more than what others know. Secrets are simply hard to be kept. This desire can act as an attractive force in marketing. Like customer won't be that interested if they are told that they can be provided with successful diets. Instead they want to hear the secret of the diet plan which is being provided. The information shouldn't be let out easily. Obviously it is important to catch the attention of the customer by interesting heading, but the content, too, should be as interesting so as to retain the interest of the reader till the end. In case of cross-titles or sub-titles, the initial ones will always have the advantage of developing more curiosity than the following sub-titles. If the content speaks about why the customer should select so and so company or product, it will be easier for them to relate to it. Let the matter speak out and give the explanation by itself. Like supposing a company wants to sell some product before the expiry date and it's the slowest time of the season, plain advertising won't do the trick. Customers are smart enough to think that the company wants to get rid of the old stuff. Instead if the customers are provided with a discount or a limited time offer, a believable reason, they will be more attracted. Every action should have a solid reason. Customers are greedy from a marketing point of view. By understanding the need of the customer, a basis can be prepared for the content. Their greed should be taken into consideration while preparing the content. They should be shown how the product or company would benefit them. They want to buy benefits in the form of products. Suppose when advertising for a camcorder, say that it displays all the colors that can be seen with naked eye, instead of saying it supports 16-bit color. Just specifying that the memory card have a memory of 2 GB isn't catchy. Instead it should be quoted that the memory card can store over 500 pictures, 100 audio songs and 50 videos. This surely will increase the customer enthusiasm. The benefits should be clearly mentioned to the customer and later other information about the product can be discussed, incase if they are looking for more. This is called listing the product features. Features reveal what the product has and benefits describe the advantages that can be derived from those features. Each feature can have more than one benefit, depending on different situations and customer needs. Lots of benefits and fewer features should always be the way to go. Selling to a Woman Vs Selling to a Man Different approaches should be taken when selling products or services to a man when compared to a woman. As they say that men are from mars and women from Venus both of them think very differently and hence, their thinking should be influenced by different methods. For example, when a man decides to buy a car he looks out for the latest model, speed, mileage, etc. But when a woman goes out to buy a car she will choose a car depending on the color. She would like it match it either with her work dress or accessories like watch and will be concerned whether there is enough space to store her necessities. Because their psychologies differ so much, they should be convinced to buy a product using different methods. Presentation is also very important. The salesperson talking to a male client doesn't have to concentrate much on looks and cleanliness. It is okay if he doesn't have the required documents on hand and his sleeves are folded up. But when the same salesperson is referring to a female client, he should be spotless from head to toe. He should comb his hair properly, have manicured nails and even his shoes should be well-polished. The salesperson should be prepared with all the necessary documents before hand and shouldn't go rushing in front of the customer. Women seek perfectionism. Words should be spoken with extra care in front of a woman customer. Women are better listeners and they will analyze each spoken word. A lot of emotion should be involved in the talking because women are drawn to emotions immediately. Like when selling clothes to a lady, tell her how you will feel bad for her if she has to sweat badly in the summer due to her nature of job. Pick a nice cotton dress for her and ask her to try it. The customer will be highly touched and will take less time to buy the product. Seventy five percent of the job is done if she is won emotionally. Next important point is to never stop talking in front of the female customer. The moment the salesperson stops talking, she will start thinking deeply about the product and will start examining every detail of the product and will give a second thought to the product. Women have the capability of multi-tasking. They will be able to listen as well as read the manual at the same time. So keep her involved into many things at a time. A man lacks the talent of multi-tasking. If a male client gets involved with something else, stop speaking immediately because he will be unable to concentrate on both the things and it will lead him into a confusion state. Another point to be taken care of is, it's not a good idea to have a woman salesperson when a male client is to be handled. Women talk a lot and men are bad listeners. The woman salesperson will go on and on about the product and the man will just nod his head without getting any meaning out of it. They will not able to express properly whether they are getting the point or not. But on the other hand, a woman client can easily express how much she has followed. Even if they don't speak it out, her facial expressions will tell it all. So when a salesperson is dealing with a female customer, he or she should watch out for the client's expressions. If she shows any state of confusion or dislike, try taking a different approach. Men clients can be made to understand about the product by simply drawing the outlook of the product using a simple pen and paper. Men have a good capability of visualizing the three dimensional images of the product which is being referred to. But women are not so good that. To present a clear picture, the sample or the actual product should be shown to her. Complimenting a male customer is a very good idea. He will be over whelmed and will take it in a good sense. But a woman is a careful listener, so any compliment should be given with extra care. Any fake compliment will be immediately detected. Relationship Marketing Relationship Marketing is targeted at building stronger and long lasting relationships with clients and other companies. The business is done with a strategic orientation, where the relationship is improved with existing customers rather than finding new customers. It is meant to cater to the needs of individual customers. Its major part involves studying the need of the customer and how it changes in different circumstances. Relationship marketing applies techniques like marketing, sales, customer care and communication. The relationship is not only enhanced but its life period is increased by these strategies. And as the customer realizes the value of relationship, they are drawn closer. This marketing not only focuses on building relationship and attracting customers to their products and services but also how to retain them. A raw form of Marketing came into existence in the 1960s. But, organizations were still facing difficulty in selling products, so a system was developed to sell low cost goods to larger group of customer. Leonard Berry and Jag Sheth originated this marketing, in 1982. It was started in B2B markets and industries, which involved long term contracts for many years. Over the period of time, various marketing strategies were improved and relationship marketing was one of them. Relationship marketing is applicable where the customers have many options in the market for the same product or service and the customer is entitled to make a selection decision. In such a kind of market, businesses try to maintain their clients by providing comparatively better products and good service and hence, achieving customer loyalty. And once it is achieved it becomes difficult for competitors to do well in the market. The customer turnover wasn't paid attention on as the main attention was on customer satisfaction. This kind of marketing was initially named as defensive marketing. Offensive marketing is the marketing strategy where not only new customers are attracted, but also the sales are stepped up by increasing the purchase frequency. This kind of marketing concentrates on freeing dissatisfied customers and acquiring new customers. According to a research, the cost of retaining an old customer is only ten percent of the cost of getting a new customer, which makes sense to not to run around to get new customers in relationship marketing. And according to another research done by cross-sectional analysis, says that, a five percent improvement in customer retention is responsible for twenty-five to eighty-five percent of the profit. Usually high cost is incurred when getting new customers, so if sufficient number of existing customers is retained, there will be no need of acquiring new customers. Once the customer trust is gained his chances of switching to other company becomes relatively less, he buys goods in bulk, he buys other supplementary goods and he starts neglecting average price variation. This maintains the unit sales volume and there is an increase in dollar-sales volume. The existing customers will be like a living advertisement. If he is satisfied with the company he will recommend it to his friends and acquaintances. Since the existing customers are familiar with the process, it will take less time and money to educate them about the procedures putting fewer burdens on employees also and making them feel more satisfied with their jobs. The customers are divided into groups based on their loyalty. This procedure is known as relationship ladder of customer loyalty. The groups in ascending order are prospects, customer, client, supporter, advocate and partner. Due to the advancement in computers and Internet, software has been developed to facilitate customer relationship management. With the help of this software the tastes, activities, preferences, and complaints of customers are tracked. Almost all the companies have this software in their marketing strategy, which benefits the customer as well as the company. Thus the main aim of relationship marketing is to construct and maintain relationship with committed clients who are meant to bring profit to the company. The other benefits achieved are confidence building and social benefits. Recognizing Target Market Achieving good sales is the ultimate target of any firm. Many criteria, such as competitive pricing, near perfect product, reaching out to correct audience and motivational advertising, are responsible for this and should be dealt with in marketing. First things first, all the efforts will go futile if the correct audience is not recognized. It is the major factor in getting abundant sales, because the right customers aren't targeted, they won't buy the product. The right customers are known as targeted customers or niche market, those who will be happy to buy products that fulfill their needs and is also less pricey. Small businesses shouldn't fear competition with large companies as they produce products considering a bigger spectrum, which sometimes won't be customer specific as the products are more generalized and they don't much care about the competition they might get from others. This gives an opportunity to the smaller firms to produce products, which can cater to the need of a section of people whose needs aren't met specifically by the large companies. Although it seems like a silly question, but firstly, a firm should understand who are the people they want to target. The success lies behind understanding this, which requires thorough research and analysis. Various factors must be considered. The age group is the first factor, whether the product will be useful to babies or children or teenagers or youngsters or middle aged or old. Sometimes there is a possibility that the product will cater to the needs of all age groups. Next thing to consider is gender. Marital status, occupation, ethnic background, health status, income status, education, hobbies, etc., are some of the factors that should also be pondered upon. After decided upon the customer group to be targeted, the benefits that can be provided by the product to this group should be jotted down. A thorough examination of the service or product should be done for this purpose. If there is sufficient time, a survey can be conducted on the current customers and pose them with questions like what they liked in the products they are using, anything discomfort they are facing, do they want anything to be changed to make the product better, etc. After making a list of all the benefits, thought should be applied to which of these benefits will actually help the targeted audience. Make a short list of the benefits that will be advantageous and send it to the marketing department. It can surely help in their marketing plan and can boost up sales. Internet has made reaching out to the targeted customers can be very easy. Search engines can be utilized to the maximum extent for this purpose. The thing to be exactly searched can be typed as a keyword or search phrase in the search engines and the results brought on the first three pages will be of great value. But lots of time and investment is involved in this process, as different keywords will fetch different search results. So efforts should be made to finally get what is desired. Next best thing is reaching out by newsletters and ezines. Many ezines are related to marketing, finance, shopping, Internet, etc. A number of ezines websites can be found in an ezines directory, which even contains the contact information, advertising price, etc. The list of ezines website sites should be cut down to which are relating to the target market and ad should be placed in the ones selected which should include all the product advantages if the ad allows that many words. Recognizing the target market is crucial to any successful advertising and sales campaign. Once it is recognized, they can be reached through different channels like websites, newspapers, magazines, etc. This makes the customer think that he is being directly addressed to. And since the whole approach will interest them, the amount of traffic received in return will be simply overwhelming and the whole effort will be worth it. Global Marketing Global marketing is nothing but marketing done on national and international level and which involves understanding the similarities, dissimilarities and taking advantage of the opportunities to attain the goal. Concentrating on global marketing is as important as concentrating on domestic marketing if a company is aiming to increase sales. The domestic market has become saturated in most categories of products and services, in all industrialized countries and hence, they started to deal with other countries to increase their sales. Usually in such case, goods that are too expensive for the domestic customers to buy are exported to other well-off countries. When a company does marketing within the boundaries of a specific county, it has to compete with other domestic companies as well as international companies who are a part of the market. The marketing steps taken by the professionals are based on the taste of a specific audience. The product might not suit the taste of customers at a higher level. The other domestic companies that plan to go global hinder the growth of such companies. They become invisible at the international level as they are unable to cope with the growing competition and might not be aware of potential competitors. The product development is dependant on the need of the local residents. Such kinds of businesses are ethnocentric and are only bothered about their performance in the domestic marketplace. Companies planning to go global should start with export to a foreign client first. The returns wouldn't be satisfying in the beginning. The export department can be introduced at the headquarters that deals with all the laws. There can be a possibility of becoming secondary exporters by bringing export management company into the picture, who will deal with the language problem, time difference, paperwork and customers. If managing the exports without any help, the export department can be started at an office located abroad. This office works in collaboration with the regional headquarters. But the respective offshore offices take the marketing decisions, as they will have best knowledge about the particular market they are operating in. Multinational marketing involves marketing in many countries. The marketing is based on the requirements of different countries and the returns are rewarding. Each region should be studied individually based on development, production and marketing. Such kinds of markets are known as region centric. Global marketing involves the whole globe. The entire world is summarized as a single market and the products that are released in the market should fit the needs of any regional marketplace. Marketers all over the world make the marketing decisions. Such a kind of market is known as geocentric. Automotive industry is one such market that saw a global boost in sales during the last fifty years. Earlier only the local companies like Ford and General Motors used to produce cars in America, but today other international competitors like Toyota and Honda are operating in the same market and have out done the local companies. Another key factor to the global marketing is the Internet, which introduced e-commerce. Businesses went going online and global. This encouraged the sales of the company and the figures are only increasing because of ever increasing Internet users. The geographical location of customers is no longer a hindrance. Global marketing management and business-to-business e-commerce is growing rapidly. Product, price, placement and promotion are the elements of global marketing. The product created should be such that it can sell anywhere using the same method. It should consider the primary elements of all the markets. However, the language in which the product is named can be changed, where as the content can remain the same. The price is never constant. It should be decided after reviewing the market and the currency of the country. The variables which affect prices are location where the product is being produced, cost of ingredients, transportation charges, labor charges, etc. Placement is how the product is distributed and how it reaches the targeted market. Like in third world countries, there is a lack of superstores, so they can be placed or sold at ordinary shops. After the product is developed and distributed, it should be promoted precisely known as advertising, promotion is one of the major steps of marketing and consumes major part of the budget. If it is possible to send out the same message worldwide in a relevant and cost-effective way, it sure must be put into practice but the challenge is really big. Tricks to sell your product The whole idea of the marketing and sales is to play with the psychology of the consumers. In any campaign, efforts should be made it make it so influential that the decision making of the customer is totally in the favor of the company. There are some tricks to manipulate the mind of the consumers, which can be utilized by not only ordinary sales person, but can be used by larger firms. Although they are used unknowingly, there is no set list. Mutual exchanging is the first and powerful trick. The company can start with giving something for free to the customer. He will take it for the first time, but from next time he will feel obliged and will try to return the favor. Offering the product for free initially can do this. And if the customer is satisfied with the product, he will buy it for himself from next time. Some salespersons get confused with this principle. For example, it is ineffective and wrong according to this principle, to quote 'Spend over $25 and get a free t-shirt'. The offer is not free; the customer has to spend something to get the free product. The product being given should be totally free without any condition to be fulfilled. For example, the line 'Get the latest lipstick shade absolutely free' will do the trick. If the shade is really good, they will buy it the next time and might even think of buying other shades of lipstick. The next trick is to present something as of high value, but the company should incur only small or no amount in producing it, like information. It can tempt the customer by saying that the information provided to them is a big time secret and is not known to anyone at all. But some mess it up, by saying that they are providing very valuable information, but it turns out to be another advertisement. Another example is giving out free sample to the targeted customers. Again the mistake made here is that companies distribute samples of poor quality or rejected products. This certainly lowers the customers liking towards the product and he will assume that's the way the product is actually and won't go ahead to buy it. Use words, which initiate immediate action, like 'Limited time offer', 'Offer ending soon', and 'Offer till stocks lasts' are really motivating. The customer gets the impression that the offer will end really soon as the products are limited edition and he should go out and buy it at the very first chance. This works well specially with customers who have an interest in collecting antiques, collectibles and anything which are not easily available. Tricking the customer in making a commitment is another next good method to increase sales. The trick is to make the customer to take small steps toward the goal, without realizing about it. Like when the customer requests for some information, provide them with the relevant information for free and make them fill a form and take contact information from them. This is like committing to get offers and information about products in future. Do not advertise in this step. In the next step advertisements about products and services can be sent to the customer to the address provided by them. Conducting surveys is another example. Lottery is another good method. When a person buys a lottery ticket, he fills his address on the ticket. This information can be used to contact the customer in future. In the above practices it's very vital to not to advertise in the first step. Only after getting the customer contact information, should promotional mails be mailed to him. Long advertisements that are featured in the newspaper are a small twist to this trick. If the customer invests time to read the whole advertisement, he has committed and will surely respond to the ad. Attributes of a Successful Selling Strategy The first attribute of a successful selling strategy is a website that provides information about the products and the service they are providing. The advantage of that is we can sell those products and services online. Selling is a talent to be cultivated. It requires a lot of understanding to find what the customer is looking for and then fulfilling his needs. It is very important to get the complete attention of reader. The content of the message should be make reader think. This can be achieved by using power words, along with color and visuals. Once the attention is grabbed, it should be retained till the end of the message. The customer should be prompted to take some action and their involvement should be sought. They can be made to sign up for newsletters or can be made to take the survey by visiting the company's website. The consumer should be convinced to buy the product. All the features of the company should be specified, with the more relevant ones on the top. They should be explained logically through these points how the products will fulfill their needs or solve their problems. It does only by convincing the customer about this will motivate them to buy the product. They should be made to understand what wonders the product can do to him. Strong emotional words should be included in the sentence. The customer should either fear the loss of the product if he doesn't buy it in time or he should be given the greed of the advantages the product can provide. These reasons will create an emotional impulse and will make them think that they have no other option to buy it. They will have a logical reason to make the purchase. The emotions of the buyer should be manipulated with words. Something like 'limited edition' or 'limited period offer' will create a sense of urgency. The customer thinks that he should get this product somehow. It's nice to have sales often, especially to clear out old inventory in the name of some offer. The products which have an obvious damage should be sold out at a special price. But the damage should be mentioned to the customer. If it's not mentioned, the first time the customer will be tricked into buying something, but he will loose trust and won't come back again. Always hold seasonal sales and offers. Since all the competitors will be giving out different offers to attract customers, it's a good point to have one, too. But it should be remembered to not to imitate anyone. Only a unique offer will make the customers not go to the competitors'. Once in a while offer free shipping offer also works. A condition like if a customer spends particular amount of money, all items will be shipped for free. This is another attractive deal which will surely tempt the customer. Thanks to search engines and online stores anything can be purchased from the comfort of the home. Give away free sample to the customers or keep a pre-sale price for introductory products. The customers won't think twice to spend a little money to try something new. The ending of the sales message is where most people mess it up. The whole efforts will be wasted if the customer gets a second thought. He should be convinced, by nice words, to buy the product till the very end. The content should be arranged with care. The key is to tell the customer what to do exactly after he finishes reading the matter, like 'Grab the golden opportunity now' or 'pick up the phone and dial the number right now', etc. Do not include links or short advertisement of other products or services. This will shift the focus of the reader and he might have a second thought. A list of the existing customers should be maintained and from time to time special offers should be mailed to them. So basically the whole idea is to influence the mind of the customer until he buys a product. Anonymous Visitor Marketing Anonymous visitor marketing or anonymous user marketing is nothing but changing the content of the website according to the taste of the visitor and thus making the information more relevant. Some kind of data is attached with each user known as metadata or supplemental data that is similar to human sensory nerves and gives an idea about how to react to the approaching person. Metadata or supplemental data consists of information like the geographic location, IP address, browser languages like English, Chinese, German, etc., and also information about domain extension like .edu, .gov, .mil, etc., internet connection speed, operating system, search keyword or sentence, referring URL and screen resolution. Graphical location tells about the approximate address of the visitor. By this information, the server can search and display information which is specific for the people of that location. Information like climate, temperature, local happening, and time can be displayed accurately. IP address or Internet protocol address gives idea of the specific Internet service, company the person is related to. If belonging to an Internet provider the web page displays the speed of the connection and if related to a specific company the website displays the name and logo of the company. A web page can be formatted in different languages. By analyzing the browser language, the visitor can be can be served with a web page which is easy for him to understand and the visitor is made to feel that the website is centered on his mother tongue which will make him more comfortable. Different organizations and different sectors have different domain extensions. A website with a .gov extension means that its a government website and a website with .edu extension refers to an educational organization. So the content of the webpage can be changed according to the organization the visitor is related to. Depending on the Internet connection speed if there are any multimedia downloads the size of downloads can also be managed. There will be different resolution versions of a particular download and if the speed is low, multimedia with the lowest resolution will be downloaded to the visitor's temporary Internet files. This will not interrupt the normal working of the computer. Different operating systems have different requirements and their functionality also varies. Some websites provide downloadable software and updates which will not be compatible with all kinds of operating systems. These limitations can be determined without interrupting the user. Search keyword or sentence can be utilized to apply search engine optimization techniques or SEO techniques to the website to make the matter more relevant. Linking data to a specific keyword, which is displayed automatically making the visitor feel that his query was dealt with effectively, does this. Referring URL helps the sponsor to compare data with that of the previous page and bring it on the present page. This increases the competition between the websites, the present website will try to prove to be better than the previous website. If the visitor is surfing the Internet with his hand held device or mobile, the content of the website is trimmed to fit the screen resolution of the device. If the amount of data that is viewed on a normal monitor is displayed over the hand held device, the data will overlap with each other and the content won't be readable.
Affiliate Marketing Affiliate Marketing is a derivative of Internet marketing where the advertisement publisher gets paid for every customer or sales provided by him. Affiliate marketing is the basic for all other Internet marketing strategies. In this type of marketing, affiliate management companies, in-house affiliate managers and third party vendors are effectively utilized to use E-mail Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, RRS Capturing and Display Advertising for the success of the product. The web traffic can be traced with the help of a third party or own affiliate programs. A lot of work is involved in this process. At first marketing by this method involved lots of spamming, false advertising, trademark infringement, etc. But, after the invention of complex algorithms and advance security this has been regularized to make it safer for doing business and shopping online. This even led to the better scrutinizing of the terms and conditions by the merchants. Affiliate marketing became more profiting with the opening of more opportunities but at the same time it also increased the competition in marketing. Due to this pressure in house affiliate programs for merchants became a thing of the past and were replaced by out-sourced programs. The companies that offered this service have expert affiliate and network program managers who have various affiliate program management techniques. These affiliate networks have publishers associated with them who help them with the advertising part. Affiliate marketing was started by cdnow.com who had music oriented websites. They placed list of music albums on their site and they paid others if they put those links in their websites when a visitor bought their album through their site. The first company to link with cdnow.com was Geffen Records. Two months later, Amazon was offered by a woman that she would sell Amazon's books on her website and she should be paid a certain percentage in return if she sold Amazon's books through her site. They liked the idea and started the Amazon associates program. It was more of a commission program where they received a commission if a visitor clicked their links and banners on other's site and bought anything through it. Since its invention, the affiliate network has been adopted by various businesses like travel, education, telecom, mobile, gaming, personal finance, retail, and subscription sites, the most common being adult and gambling sectors. In UK alone, affiliate marketing produced £ 2.16 billion. The compensation methods used are Cost per sale (CPS), Cost per action (CPA), Cost per mile (CPM) and Cost per click (CPC). The first two are the more famous methods today. This is because in CPM and CPC, the visitor which turns up on a particular website might not be the targeted audience and a click would be enough to generate commission. CPS and CPA have a compulsion that the visitor not only clicks on the link but also buys something or signs up for some service after it which proves that he is among the targeted audience. Only in the above case the affiliate gets paid. So the affiliate should try to send as much targeted traffic as possible to the advertiser in order to increase his/her returns and for this reason affiliate marketing is also known as performance marketing because it totally depends on the performance of the affiliate. The affiliate team can be differentiated from a sales team from the nature of their jobs. The job of the affiliate team is to drag targeted traffic to a point and from that point it's the job of the sales team to influence the visitor to buy the product or the service. This is a very effective kind of method because the money is being paid only when results have been achieved. The publisher incurs all the cost except that of initial setup and development of the program, which is incurred by the merchant. Many businesses give credit to this method of marketing for their success. Marketing Strategies Marketing strategy helps organizations to focus their attention to complete resource utilization to increase sales and win over their competitors. Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market. When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives. Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought strategy in a marketing plan means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign. At regular time intervals the firm should analyze the marketing decision. This is done with the help of strategic models and the 3C's model is considered for this purpose. To calculate the company's strategic position, Ansoff matrix is used. The 3C's model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign. There are three key parties involved in this model the corporation, the customer and the competitors. The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C's or strategic triangle. The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing. When making a marketing plan depending on some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used. 4P's model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not. The four Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. Products are goods produced by the company on a huge scale for the purpose of selling them and earning profit. Price is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors like competition, market share, customer perception and product identity. Place where the product is sold can be either physical store or store on the Internet. It is also known as distribution channel. To make the customer knowledgeable about a product, the marketer does promotion. It involves advertising, public relation and point of sale. There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria. Challenger, Leader and Follower are types of market dominance strategies. Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Cost leadership, Market segmentation and Product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies. Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Close followers, late follower and Pioneers are types of innovation strategies. Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps the firm to incorporate latest technologies. Intensification, Diversification, Vertical integration and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies. Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies. A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough market research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have experience. Marketing -- Snail Mail Vs E-mail It was not too long ago that most people had no internet leave alone e-mail address. But internet brought in a new era that is full of unlimited information. Internet gave birth to electronic mail popularly known as e-mail. E-mail opened new avenues to the world of communication. In the beginning e-mail was only used as another means of communicating with other people for personal or business related matters. Now people of every age group have an e-mail address. But, since past few years its potential for marketing has been exploited to its maximum both in good and as well as bad manner. At the same time who can disregard the services of direct mail which has been operating since nearly two centuries? It is still the preferred method of communication for many people. E-mail is the cheapest method of communicating available as of this date. The advantage with email is that you can send email to many people at the same time just with the click of a mouse where as in the case of direct mails one has to go through putting letters in envelopes for each and every person, make different address labels, mail it and also have to bear the cost of mailing. Time is money and e-mail marketing saves a lot of time. While e-mail marketing might look easy but if you compare the net result the story is totally different. When you are marketing through e-mail you go to make sure that you are e-mailing the right person otherwise the e-mail would end up going to junk folder. Also you got to be careful that you don't miss the subject or the body of the e-mail otherwise the net result would be same. In this age of spamming, spammers use variety of subjects, so you have to put the subject keeping in mind that it wouldn't send your e-mail to the spam folder again. In contract the direct mail gets a better treatment. Studies show that direct mail is more efficient and has better success than e-mail. First, it is not as easy to block direct mail as junk e-mail and secondly the process of blocking mails itself is not automated like e-mail. The other reason why people hate e-mail marketing is due to constant bombarding of e-mails from spammers and illegal marketers from Nigerian money scams to porn to online prescription drugs to stock quotes to what not. In addition to that, you also get promotional offers from big companies and who can ignore phishing these days. Due to all these people have developed a negative perception about e-mail marketing and they simply delete or spam the e-mail if they do not identify it as their regular e-mail. In contrast direct mail is seen with respect and people pick their mail as a daily routine and open them with a priority. Direct mail has a personal feel attached to it, one of the reasons why people prefer mail greetings over an electronic greeting. It takes time to personalize a direct mail where as an e-mail is instant and the fate of e-mail is also instant i.e. immediate deletion. Researchers are constantly puzzled by the mystery surrounding why people are so enthusiastic about direct mail. But no worries this only good news for the marketers that they have something in their tool kit that works. So marketers have the mailing list of potential customers handy and send some nicely composed letters to them about your company and its products. Snail mail has a potential of going through the hands of gatekeepers and administrative assistants before actually going to their boss which can end up being thrown in trash. The survival chances are rare unless its subject is business oriented and has some important information. But e-mail wins in this regard, as it reaches directly the person to which it is intended to go, after that its fate is left to the person whether to read or send it to spam folder. A more scientific explanation of why direct mail is dearer to people than e-mail is the sensory perception of people. A direct mail uses three of the four senses of a person i.e. visual, verbal, listening and touching where as e-mail does not use sense of listening and touching. But this can be achieved by adding appealing graphics, text reading ability and streaming audio to the e-mail. The statistics show that direct mail has not died and in fact the volume has grown by leaps and bounds in past few decades. A typical example is the fact that we receive more magazines, journals, mails from universities, DVDs etc. than we used to receive few years ago. This leaves the marketers with a dilemma about which method to use. The answer is simple, use email to contact only those people who you know and use direct mail for the people who don't know you. Multi-level Marketing Multi-level marketing is a business model where salespersons like sales consultants, distributors, and even franchise owners and independent owners work in harmony to increase the sales of the product, on commission basis. This is more like a franchise arrangement where the sales of the product depend on the combined effort of each franchise and regional manager. There are multiple levels of people receiving commission. Usually there are seven or more levels. Multilevel marketing is basically a combination of franchise and direct marketing. This concept started in 1980s when most of the companies started handling the stocking and distribution issues and started compensating all the individuals involved. This increased the interest of each member in promoting sales due to the chance of earning bonuses and since then the Multilevel Marketing companies have taken the responsibility of taking orders, shipping goods, and paying revenue. Things became easier with the transition to Internet. Product promotion, advertising and sales were made online and hence, the whole process began to be known as online MLM. There are various MLM compensations plans. According to the uni-level or stairway breakaway plans there are two types of distributors involved managers and non-managers. According to the matrix plans, the width of each level in a distributor's group is regulated. In binary plans, the limit of each level's width has two legs. Commission was paid when both the legs reached a specific target. In elevator scheme, the distributors pay splits after a certain number of units have been paid. The commissions are paid in two ways, the first says that the commission is paid only if the product is sold and the second one involves paying commission even if the customer just signed-up, it doesn't require the customer to buy anything. Because of the second method illegitimate MLM or illegal pyramid started to arise. The intermediate members used to make proxy customer sign-ups to receive commission and they used to tempt the participant to buy more products than they can be sold. But as most of these businesses present themselves as legal, precautions must be taken. It is better to approach businesses that follow the first method of commission, where it's compulsory to make a sale and not just recruiting a customer. Here money isn't paid for customer sign-up at all. MLM marketing is being practiced all over the United States and in hundreds of other countries. In 1979, Amway Corporation was accused of price fixing. They exaggerated sales claims, while their distributors sold the products at a minimum price. After that, FTC warned all multi-level companies whose commission was based on recruiting and not sales. In 2006, all the business sellers including MLM organizations were asked to provide customers with thorough information, according to the Business Opportunity Rule introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, so as to save them from deception. Before that many motivating programs were started which hid the truth. Such programs were known as cult programs. Laws have been made stronger. As a measure, pyramid scheme is banned in most of the countries. All the newly hired salespeople have to bare the cost of initial training and material. They even have to buy a big amount of inventory. To test the legality of MLM marketing, the 70% rule is being implemented. The members are stopped from over-loading so as to increase their commission. Only when seventy percent of the inventory is sold, order can be made for new material. Mobile Marketing Mobile marketing can be classified into two types based on the technology involved. The more traditional form involves marketing on the move like moving billboards and road shows. The second type refers to marketing on a mobile phone like cell phone. Since the onset of millennium, mobile marketing though cell phone has become very popular. Short message service popularly known as SMS has made marketing by this method a lot easier. There were some problems in the beginning as unwanted information was being sent to the people. Most of the SMS that were passed around was spam and it received negative media response in all parts of the world. This was because a sector of the advertisers bought list of mobile users and began sending them unsolicited messages. They were later stopped due to strict security measures and laws passed. Marketing industry recognized the potential of mobile marketing and utilized it to the full extent. The mobile service providers coded guidelines and laws. It then became a legal advertising channel. The Mobile Marketing Association and Interactive Advertising Bureau also have laid down guidelines for the proper functioning of mobile marketing. Mobile marketing has become popular in Asia and Europe as it is a novel idea and in Europe alone hundreds of millions of pounds have been investing in SMS advertising. Now SMS has become the most famous part of mobile marketing. Because of the popularity of short codes, SMSing has become a lot easier. This has created a new approach to reach out to potential customers. Now mobile short codes are looked upon as mobile domain name, by many of the brands around the world, when the customers message the brand at any occasion. In America, the first SMS short code campaign was started in 2002. SMS containing short codes are easier to send a message with complete information. Short codes are usually numbers that are assigned to mobile operators of a particular location, which they use for brand campaigning and other purposes. They are very small, like they contain only four to five words. These numbers are always under scrutiny by the service provider and each and every message is monitored to see that they do not go against the original service description. Like opt-in emails, customers have to opt for SMSes. This is the biggest criterion, which the advertiser has to follow in order to send a promotional SMS. Some of the mobile operators ask for double opt-in form from the receiver. At the same time opting out is made easy for the customer. When the customer wishes to terminate receiving messages, they have to send STOP word by SMS. All these guidelines have been laid by the Mobile Marketing Association consumer best practice guidelines and it's a compulsion to follow those by all the marketers who wish to do mobile marketing in America. Now, service providers have started to provide the option of sending SMS to email addresses. Other than this, other services provided are mobile games, mobile tones etc., which are used for promotional purposes. This has lead to the invention of MMS or Multi-media Message Service, through which short promotional videos and animations can be send. Bluetooth is another good technology. It started in 2003, and many companies in Europe have found it useful. When a message is send via Bluetooth, the receiver should accept request from the sender. So, sending messages by this method is legitimate. The message transfer speed is high and is also a free service as it is a radio-based technology. The method of sending SMS advertisement to mobile phone users based on their geographical location is known as Location based service. The customer is tracked via a GPS chip which is built-in the phone. Radiolocation signals from the nearest cell phone towers are used for this purpose. Mobile marketing follows a very safe marketing strategy, as it is customer opted. The short message sent through this method is known as mobile originated or MO message. If the advertisement is done through a call, the call is known as mobile terminated or MT message. As there is a phenomenal increase in the number of mobile phone users, this kind of marketing is a sure hit. How to write a winning sales letter? Writing a sales letter is tough and writing a winning sales letter is even tougher. Many sales managers break their heads thinking why they can't get it right. Well, to answer this question they should put them in people's shoes and ask what "benefit "would I get by reading this sales letter? Remember that word "benefit" which is the crux of this discussion. Many sales people take bits and pieces of information from here and there and create mess out of a sales letter. They literally throw everything on people and then get what they deserve, instant rejection. One should always remember that a sales letter works only when you have a product to sell and an offer to make. A sales letter should not be an introduction of your product or company. Remember every word is important in the sales letter and do not waste a single one which would distract your potential customer's attention. They are not interested in the features of you product but an offer or a benefit to them. Think from the customer's point of view and ask yourselves why should I read the letter? Is there any benefit or offer to me which cannot be refused? Can you convince me that it is really a good offer? After keeping in mind these things, sales managers should apply thought in presenting their letter. The header or the headline is very crucial to any sales letter. It should target directly to the customers of your product. One also needs to be little tactful in use of words. But if you are not good at the trade do not attempt to do it and rather be simple in writing it. The headline should not be more a line, so try to be as specific as possible but with maximum affect. Nobody has time to read each and every letter in this fast paced era of instant satisfaction. If you are not able to convey your message to the audience in stipulated time, then you have lost those customers. The headline should start with a benefit being offered to the customer. This ensures that the customer goes to the body of the letter at least. Now, having made a good effort with the heading, it's the time to work on the body of the letter. How to maintain the level of enthusiasm that you created in the customer's mind with the heading? Once again it is important to remember to not to focus on features of the product you are trying to sell but on the benefits and offers you are making to them. Things like how much money it is going to save them and how it would affect their lives should be mentioned in the body of the letter. Make them realize a need for it and compare it competitor's product. Remember, a person reading your sales letter will constantly get questions in mind as to how this will benefit me, after each and every sentence. So be ready to clear those doubts and answer the questions. Being little informal in the approach wouldn't do a harm and try to grab the attention by relating things to real life things. You can add a little bit of humor but unless you are sure that it won't be in the bad taste of the reader. Bring in few previous clients to give testimony of your products. But keep the testimonials believable and something that people can relate to. Once you've made clear about the product, do not forget to prompt your audience to take action. If it is an email, prompt your reader to click on a link to act now or provide a contact number if it is a direct mail. Also remind them again that if you don't act now you will forfeit the offer as the offer is for limited time only. Once you are done with the letter, one of the important parts of the sales letter is P.S. Many people simply read the beginning and end of the letter. So, try to convey something that will prompt them to go back to the letter and read it. It will be a perfect end to the sales letter. How to make a marketing campaign appealing? Marketing campaigns cannot survive if they boring. Everyday there are more than three thousand marketing messages reaching out to the customers and it is really a huge competition if one expects to be recognized among the crowd. This message should talk to the customer and influence his mind. Strong, creative, confident and exciting are the key factors that a message should have, as that will embed it into the customer's thinking and he remembers it for a longer time. The customer should feel empowered and should think of taking some action right away. For instance Nike's catch line is Just do it, it's a line that has such a great impact on the minds of the people that they use that line even when talking about everything else, along with Nike products. It is obvious that by adding certain features, the marketing appeal can be multiplied. Scientists agree to the fact that using visuals to make a person learn something is the best option than any other means and as one of the famous saying goes "a picture speaks a thousand words". So the best bet is to add visuals to promote marketing. Visuals can be anything like pictures, animations, or graphics. See yourself what wonders it does by placing a picture of a representative and products on the company's website. This not only brings the customers close but also strengthens the relationship. Different colors depict different types of emotions. Messages can be delivered to people suing colors and meaning can be added to it. Red and blue are colors liked by aggressive shoppers where as yellow color can catch good attention of the on lookers. Green reflects health, money and nourishment, so it can be used in food advertisement. Black means strength and power that is why it has been used by Jaguar, on their website background and advertisement. Wealth and royalty means purple. Colors used on business cards can also be used to attract the customers. But the colors should be carefully played with, too much can be distracting. A professional help can be sought when selecting colors for business cards, website font, website background, logo, etc., to send the right message. On websites, fonts can be added which change colors and graphics that move. There are lots of options available when thinking of what technology to use. The good news is that most of the options are cheap and easy to use. Audios and videos can be added to your website to attract attention. Like when one visits the Pepsi homepage, they are greeted with energetic music, which attracts teenagers instantly. To make a more realistic approach, welcome message, introduction video, interviews, or how the goods are produced, can be added to the website. Hearing a voice can be very touching and a rapport can be immediately developed with the visitor. Like Adidas' website opens with a video which truly fits their punch line, Impossible is nothing. Business cards should be outstanding and at its creative best. Professionally designed graphics can be added to a brochure type of card. Information about the company, contact information, quotations, and picture can be added on four sides of it. The fonts should be the same. Just listing the benefits isn't enough. Customers want more, they want their needs to be met. Like if some is thinking of buying an exercise equipment, don't just say that the machine has display, automatic incline, cooling device, CD player, programs, but also add that there is a program with audio instructions which encourages the person to do exercise, which is meant for people who need real motivation to get out of their couch and to start sweating out. So convey exactly why the customer should use the product, be more precise. Uniqueness is the biggest key factor. Not only should the products and services be unique, the marketing campaign should be unique too. Not only will the effort be appreciated but also the impression will be everlasting. Once faith of customers is gained, they will be like free walking advertisement and will spread the word to their friends and acquaintances like anything. Increasing the business with the help of Promotional Gifts Gifts are loved by one and all. Gifts are a way of expressing gratitude and marketing gifts are given to customer to thank them and most of the customers are more than happy to receive gifts from companies they pay patronage. The thank you gifts cannot only be presented to existing customers but also to potential customers when they try a new product of the company. This would encourage them to buy other products, which will increase the company sales. This practice can be made more advantageous by making it as marketing and branding strategy, which helps in expanding business along with earning customer goodwill. To make it marketing oriented, a lot of planning should be put it in so as to not to loose its essence. Sending promotional gifts is a means of rewarding clients to appreciate their kind cooperation through out the years; they will make customers feel that they are valued. Flyers are discarded the moment they are received, and are seldom read. But when a person is gifted with something that he/she can use, there is a probability that they will not only enjoy it, but they will also keep it for sometime, might be for several years and until the time they have it, they will remember the company. One of the better methods is to print the name of the company on the gift. This doesn't involve any strategy and can be implemented even if there is lack of imagination. Name and brand recognition can be established by getting the logo of the company or information of the company printed on the gift. This also helps build recognition among potential customers. Also give the customers the gifts that last long. The longer the gift lasts the longer the customer will remember your company. Gifts like pen, key chain, coffee mug, calendar, refrigerator magnets, etc. which not only lasts forever but are something that is observed and used many times a day. There are certain gifts, which can fit the budget, promote marketing and at the same time serve the purpose of gift. Calendars are one of the most opted gifts by small companies as promotional products. They aren't expensive and are used year round. Following them are office supplies. Stationary tub, embedded pens, sticky pads and diaries containing the logo of the company are very good gift ideas too. Desktop accessories are the next best things. Things like pen stands, paperweight are hot giveaways. For home gifts like fridge magnets, coffee mugs and thermo-flask make ideal gifts. They, too, get noticed many times a day. The good thing about them is they can be modeled in different colors, shapes and styles and can be unique when compared to other's promotional products. And hence, they are more like collectible items. Innovation can increase the interest of the user in this regard. Key chains are also something which is carried everywhere and they don't even cost too much. Usually people use the promotional ones to store spare keys. T-shirts and cap are a bit expensive, but are worth the investment. They are usually worn outside and people around can easily sight the company's name and logo and they function like a walking billboard. Creativity is the key to selecting a right gift to market your and so is the money. The more the money invested, the better the gift, but the gift should be selected such that it earns maximum returns. Creating a Corporate Image For any corporation it is very important to create a distinct image in the market. This is known as Corporate Image which distinguishes the corporation from its competitors and provides a picture of it to the general public. It depicts the principles, beliefs, productivity of the company. This image is responsible for increasing the sales of the product and to achieve brand equity. Corporate image creation is a strenuous and time consuming process and is carried out by experts qualifying in perception management. Basically, the creation involves marketing experts who used various kinds of promotion methods and public relations. Since this image is targeted to attract the customers it should be highly appealing. Besides the marketing experts critics play an important role too. The name of the corporation and its catch line should reflect its belief like Wal-Mart, which says that it sells for less. A logo should also be designed accordingly. Like the corporation FedEx has an arrow incorporated in its logo which depicts its fast and efficient service. Once the image is created by the corporation the next step is advertising and product distribution in the market. Like if the corporation creates luxury products, they should rope in big names in the advertising experts and the models to be featured in these ads should be super stars. Likewise, they should not distribute their products to every other store; instead they should target more hi-fi malls. Time to time, advertising and branding budget should be reviewed to cut down on cost and to be in-sync with the technology. This also helps in revamping the corporate image according to the fast changing demands of the consumer. Testimonies of news papers, magazines, and labor union can deteriorate a well-created corporate image. Simplest of controversies can be exaggerated by the media and spoil the name of the company. Controversies are born by the interference of organizations related to environment, religion, crime, politics, education and charity. Government, too, is another powerful and influential organization by itself. Once the corporate image is created, it should be retained. It should not be like here today and gone tomorrow. This image should be reflected in all the brands and product line of the corporation. Even if one of the products isn't up to the mark, it will lead to confusion among the consumers and will hit the sales of the company. Like recently there was controversy about a particular contact lens solution of a company. It was supposed to be infecting the users with a rare disease. This not only affected the sales revenue of that particular product but also made the customers think and raise question about the authenticity of other products of that particular company. Another company's products had hidden non-vegetarian ingredient in a vegetarian product. This led to the decrease of trust among the customers. In such a case the company should either advertise itself as a company selling non-vegetarian food or it should invest in promoting the company as vegetarian by introducing more vegetarian products. So the image of each individual product of the company makes up for the complete image of the corporation. And last but not the least, the image should be very realistic, truly representing its values and should leave a personal touch with the consumers. Digital Marketing Utilizing online distributions methods to promote products is known as digital marketing. This approach is both time saving and cost effective. Digital marketing is done through items such as cell phones, SMS, MMS, instant messaging, websites, emails, banner advertisement and digital billboards. Digital marketing involves some of the techniques of direct marketing and Internet marketing. In digital marketing traditional methods of promotions are executed digitally. It involves marketing in two forms, pull and push. Pull digital marketing requires the user to pull or extract the content directly. The customer has to approach the promotional matter and see the matter by himself. Examples are websites, forums and web logs. All these require clicking on a URL in order to view the content. The content that is being displayed doesn't have to follow any guidelines. Effort is required to only display the content on the website or forum and there is no additional cost of sending the information to the customer, but the customer has to make the extra effort of reaching to the content .The customer doesn't have to opt-in for such kind of promotion and one message is being viewed by all and it cannot be personalized. The customers who see the content cannot be traced, although the click through rate can be considered which give details about the number of clicks the message received. This is be done by enabling the click though tracking during the campaign, which records the information. Push digital marketing technologies requires the effort of both the marketer and the customer. The marketer has to push or send the content to the customer and the customer has to make the effort of receiving it. This is a very effective kind of marketing and the investments surely earn a big return as it creates brand recognition. SMS, MMS, emails, RSS podcasting are examples of push digital marketing. Since the content is sent to individuals, it can be personalized according to the intended recipient. Whether the message has been opened and viewed by the customer or deleted it can be tracked and reported. Information related to the customer such as name, geographical location could be traced. But when sending this king of message, certain criteria should be met as the SMS and emails sent are monitored. If the marketer doesn't follow the rules and regulations properly, there is a possibility of messages getting rejected and blocked, before they reach the targeted audience and the message is considered to be spam. Bigger consequences involve marketers getting blacklisted temporarily or even permanently. The number would be blocked and they won't be able to send any messages at all. Messages sent to the RSS feeders require a mechanism with an application to reach, when sent by an email marketing system. Both forms of digital marketing should be used in consonance to achieve positive results. A smart marketer sends out emails along with SMS and uses multiple channels to market his products. The type of messages being sent should also be different from one another. They should not only be text, but animations, audios and videos. There is a possibility of using pull and push message technologies in conjunction like the email sent to a potential customer can have a URL or a banner ad, which on clicking downloads information. If there is enormous group of people to be reached via email, Email service providers can be hired who sends loads of emails to the customers on behalf of the marketer and they take measures so that the messages are not considered as spam. Although much of the marketing is opt-in, federal laws, such as CAN SPAM Act, have been passed to protect the customers from unscrupulous marketers who would go to any extent to promote their products or hackers or spammers who have a bad intent i.e. like harming the computer or installing adware, spyware on people's computers. Differences between Marketing and Advertising Marketing and Advertising, although they sound similar but in reality they are not. Advertising is only a part of the bigger game called Marketing. Marketing encompasses complete conceptualization of a brand right from research to designing to advertising to sale. Advertising, on the other hand is a component of the marketing process which is nothing but conveying the message through variety of mediums to promote the product. Advertising is one of the most important component of a marketing strategy and also the most expensive. Advertising constitutes sending the message across the public about your company, product or services. It also constitutes behind the scenes work like the process involving formation of various strategies and coming up with a right one to target the viewers. The strategy consists of planning things like placing ads, deciding what media to use, what time, frequency etc. The advertisements are generally placed via mediums like television, snail mail, newspapers, internet, emails, radio, magazines, mobile messaging, flyers, billboards etc. The most popular one is of course television although advertising on internet is becoming increasingly popular too. Easiest way to differentiate advertising from marketing is to consider marketing as a cake and if you cut the cake, advertising as one of the pieces of that cake. The other pieces of cake are market research of the product, product designing, media planning, PR, product pricing, customer satisfaction, customer support, sales and many more. All these components or pieces of cake should work independently but collectively in achieving the bigger goal i.e. sell product and build company's reputation in the market. Marketing is a marathon process involving many tasks that involve hours sometimes days of research. The research part of marketing takes the longest duration as it involves thoroughly understanding the behavior of people towards a product. Designing the product and developing advertising strategy is also a time consuming process. Only components that take less time are executing advertisements and sales. Marketing can also be perceived as a medium between consumers and the company. But many companies often make mistake of confusing advertising with marketing. They try to ape big companies like Coke and Pepsi in advertising but they simply ignore the work that goes behind that. The classical example of this is, take the case of logo for instance. Many business owners are so hysterical about the logo of their company in their advertisements that they think that it will simply bring in the sales. But what makes a logo works is none other than the reputation of the company and the logo must have a feeling to it and should truly reflect company's values. One should also remember that these companies spend fortunes on advertising which a new start up business can't. Rather than spending unnecessary money on branding your product one should invest money and time in communicating to the consumers that they can address their expectations. After building reputation and growing to a big size company one can think of these lavish ideas. Educating the consumers also helps as it will give them an understanding that you know what you do and are best at doing that. Smart marketers are aggressive in approach rather than passive. They provoke reader's minds by prompting them to do something rather than just making them knowledgeable of the product. Smart marketers also bring home the names, addresses and contact numbers of people who are really interested in hiring your company by employing aggressive marketing. Thus having a good marketing campaign speaks a lot about the company and their products and advertising gives that finishing touch to the hard work done by the marketing people in selling a product. Marketing through E-mail and Issues Surrounding it Email marketing is one of the forms of direct marketing, which is done via Internet. Emails are sent to potential customers to boost the business, and gain the trust of the customer by disclosing relevant information and help them to make good shopping decisions. It also enhances the relationship with a current customer, by repeating business with them. In simple words the procedure of sending emails to customers is known as email marketing. The major advantage of email marketing is that it doesn't consume a lot of time, is minimal resource consuming and is also cost-efficient. Within a short period, a large audience can be targeted. Features such as Subscriptions, bounced messages, web bugs, and click through help enables businesses to track potential customers. Since the customers can be directly reached, feedbacks can be collected with ease. In terms of cost also it is not as expensive as newsletters. Reports have proven that this is the next best marketing technique after search marketing. It is effective in tracking the returns on investments. Email marketing is a modernized version of mail marketing. The advantage over direct mail marketing is that it takes less time to reach a customer than mailing. Like people check their mailboxes daily, inbox is also checked by majority of the Internet users on a daily basis. Over the period of time, lots of helpful tools and web services have been developed. List host is web service that provides lots of options to the marketers like managing huge emails and email address database. If the budget is more, list managers can be hired who can be given charge of opt-in-email newsletters and managing databases. Software is also available in the market that does this job too. When the customer fills the form for the first time, there are check boxes to be ticked which reflects their interests. Depending on these choices, an advertiser sends information to them, this is known as opt-in-email advertising, because the customer has opted to receive emails and marketing like this isn't illegal. The content of the email can be elaborate, but it shouldn't be too long as people are really busy for that. The call to action, also known as effective words, in the email should be chosen with care. It's not necessary that the content should revolve around only one item; related product's information can also be included. This is known as cross selling. By using email blasting or sending an email to multiple customers at a time can save a lots of time and will also increase the efficiency. The dark side of email marketing is spamming or also known as bulking. Some companies collect email addresses of people illegally and send irrelevant mails to them, which can be very annoying. Some hackers design an email like an advertisement, but when clicked on downloads adware and viruses that can destroy a computer, which makes it even more dangerous. To make matters worse, the Direct Marketing Association of America has petitioned to make spamming legal. Some prohibitions are also placed on providers who help out business organizations to manage their email marketing by giving them already prepared email templates. Most of the mailing websites have added the facility of separating spam from genuine email by creating separate folders for both and this is known as spam filtering. But in case of large number of spam mails, a useful mail can go into that folder and can go unnoticed and gets deleted with the rest of the spam mails. This kind of mail is known as false positives. But the chances of this happening are rare. There are many laws against spamming like United States' Can-Spam act, Europe's privacy and electronic communications regulations. According to these laws, the companies should get their return address authenticated, false physical addresses should not be included and a one click unsubscribe link should be place in the email. The lesser penalty involves companies sending spam to be blacklisted and on a larger scale, they can be heavily fined. Marketing Management Marketing management involves choosing target markets that not only get new customers but also retain the existing ones. It is a business subject, which is based on research and study of practical applications of marketing techniques and management of the marketing resources. The one who excels in this field is known as marketing manager. The job of the marketing manager is to influence the timing and level of customer demand so as to help the sales. It actually depends on the size of the business and environment in the corporate industry. Like if he is working in a huge production company, he will be the general manager of a particular product category assigned to him and he will be responsible for profit and loss with respect to the product. And in small business there is no marketing manager as his job is taken over by the partners of the company. Creating and communicating best customer values can increase the number of customers. The steps taken and resources utilized to maintain existing customers and get new customers fall under marketing management. The scope is quite large because it not only consists of developing a product, but also retaining it. The term marketing management has many definitions. It actually depends on individual firms and how the marketing department functions and activities of other departments like operations finance, pricing and sales. Before deciding about a marketing strategy, the company must do an in-depth study about their business, and the market. This is where marketing management merges with strategic planning. Usually the marketing strategies are of three types, customer analysis, company analysis and competitor analysis. Using the customer analysis, the market is broken down into different types of customers. The marketing management realizes the characteristics and other variables of each group. They are geographical location, demographic, customer behavior pattern and need. Like a group of people can be recognized who can be less price sensitive, purchases often and are growing. Such groups can be worked on by heavy investments as they are worth the money and time. They cannot only retain such customers and make new customers in this group but they can go to the very extent of turning back customers who don't belong to this group. Understanding the needs makes customer's expectations to be met per their satisfaction, better than the competitors, which will lead to higher sales and obvious profit. Company analysis highlights the cost structure and resources of the company and cost position when compared to competitors. The accounting executives use it to learn about the profit earned by a particular product. From time to time, audits are conducted to study about the strengths of various brands of the company. Marketers using competitor analysis build detail customer profiles. It gives a clear picture about the strengths and weaknesses of the firm, when compared to a competitor. The competitor's cost structure, resources, competitive positioning, degree of vertical integration, product differentiation, and profits are studied in detail and are compared to what company is doing in those regards. The marketing management to do marketing analysis carries out marketing research. The most common of such researches are qualitative marketing research, quantitative marketing research, experimental techniques and observational techniques. After all the studies and researches are conducted, its easier for the marketing manager to make strategic decisions and they then can design a marketing strategy to increase the profits and revenues of their company. The other goals can be profit over the long run, market share, and revenue growth.
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