Thursday, March 1, 2012

Changing Trend in Marketing with Social Media

A report published at Bloomberg suggests that; “Market for social media management tools grow over 100% to $970 million in 2016, from $389 million this year.”

The trend for marketing is changing through the globe. There are studies that show that fewer people are reading newspaper ads or billboards. According to Mashable “more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers — and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too.”

This is supported by a surveys conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism that says, “34% of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31% who favored newspapers); and a full 41% said they get most of their news online, 10% more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper.”

Most voters in this survey were from age group 18-to-29, and that is the market today and in the future!

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Emotions | Power to Succcess

My last blog on this subject titled “What is Success? Concept Re-defined!” talked about how people perceive success.

I continued reading stuff on this topic and found that Anthony Robbins in his book “Awaken the Giant
Within” provided an excellent set of 10 Emotions that could lead to a successful life.

These Emotions are:

Love and Warmth
In my opinion only dead are unable to express love and warmth. There is only one way to prove that you are alive and still have soul in your body – love and warmth. Anthony writes that “love can melt almost any negative emotions, hence generate warmth”.

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Deliver Effective Presentations

Giving an effective presentation is fun and enriches a sense of personal power; a quality presentation can help you win contacts, contracts and fortune! This is one of the key ingredients that will take your business to the next level.

I generally advise presenters to consider the 5P rule. This rule is explained in the last line of this post.
Presenters are generally required to learn to stand or move with a firm posture and speak with a natural accent. Understanding their audience and the environment is also advisable. Presenters who fail to exert a lot of energy and passion are unable to motivate their audience. It is also essential to learn the art of engaging your participants and stimulating the thought process for effective feedback and learning.

I have compiled a list of dos for those willing to learn the art of effective presentations!
Click here to get the list:

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Techniques to Fight Depression?

One of the biggest causes of failure in achieving high growth in your career is “depression”. This blog post is written for depressed people and there are many. Some will accept it, some will not.

Let’s do a bit of self diagnostic of environment in which we wake-up every morning, drag ourselves until the day is over and ask just one question, how do I classify depression?
  • A state when I feel no energy
  • When I can only think of bad things
  • Do not see light at the end of tunnel
  • Fail to focus on issues (lack of concentration)
  • Unhappy feeling
  • Sleeplessness, fear and craving for food
  • Unwell feeling on getting out of the bed in the morning
If you face any of the above in 24 hours, you might be experiencing depression, and it makes you powerless!
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Why Use Direct Mail as a promotional tool?

Remember those days when we used to wait for postman to deliver our mail? Things have changed; we now receive most of our bills, invoices and notices via email. Marketing and promotional material that used to flood our post box, now being sent to us in our spam box!

I recently conducted a random survey asking people about their preferences on receiving promotional material. Whereas most respondents expressed their preference to receive promotions via email, there was an alarming commonality, “It was easier to delete the email”.

Obviously when marketing and promotion is one of the major costs in any business, such a finding is scary. A major challenge for email marketing companies is to increase the “Open Rate”. There are various estimates and researches. But most experts agree that a 10-15% open rate is good. More important stuff is the action that the reader takes after reading the email. Logically speaking, a reader could delete, forward, respond or take no action.

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I was reading a report done by Constant Contact (one of the top email marketing companies in the US) based on a survey done in Fall 2011 that shows that 81% small business prefer face-to-face contact with the potential customers. Hence the importance of human contact is undeniable, particularly in case of small businesses.

Laughter Therapy Can Change Your Mental and Emotional State

We all are stuck in the whirlpool of happenings around us. Most of us remain in the “struggle mode” throughout our life! Fame, fortune, and family – we all need these three things and these either link us to happiness or depression.

Looking around, we now see people walking like emotionless zombies. Worried and depressed! People have generally stopped laughing. Unhappiness surrounds us on a daily basis. Our physiologies have now attuned to like depression. We like to listen to worrisome news. Discussions with friends and family are often circle around bad news!

Socialization is now done virtually. No more regular meetings with people you know, but interactions with people you are friends with on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Sleepless nights texting or chatting, does that help in keeping us fresh and healthy?

No need to remember seven digit land-line phone numbers anymore. Historically, our minds were intelligent enough to remember telephone numbers such as home, office, in-laws and couple of friends. Not anymore though! I remember telephone companies replacing old printed directories every year. I am sure most of younger generation does not know what a telephone director looked like!

Grow with Assertive Behavior

A lot of people mix-up the meanings of being assertive and being aggressive. These are two distinctive behaviors. In simple words, assertiveness is related to open dialogue, exchange of views and situational analysis to come-up with a win-win conclusion, a truly positive action. Whereas being aggressive is a negative behavior.

Observe communication style of the most successful people around you and make a note of their assertiveness. In most cases you will see that assertive people do not try to impose their thoughts, but are tactfully able to make the other party agree upon certain things.

In today’s highly competitive business and work environment, if you are not assertive enough, you will not grow! Let’s analyze how assertive you are by answering the following questions on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least times, and 10 being the most times):

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Spying Your Business Competitors

Spying on competitors can help businesses align marketing and pricing strategy.
While identifying competition, it is necessary not to keep your vision too narrow. A wider angle and more thorough approach will bring more competitors on your radar. Companies that fail to adapt this wider approach and identify their competitors narrowly are endangered by smooth operators who can easily become strong competitive threats.

This fast paced business environment requires quick and comprehensive information on competitor’s activity and the next potential move or product launch or even sponsorship to an event. In simple words, a successful business always stays at least one step ahead of its competitors.

While identifying competition, one of the key mistakes is to look only for your competitor’s positive points that might pull your customers. Not many businesses consider importance of negative aspects of your competitor’s business model – think about it, if you exactly know the negative elements of your competitor’s branding, marketing or pricing strategy, you can use this as an advantage to your company.

I read an excellent piece by David Aaker who is the vice chairman of Prophet and the author of Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant. He writes the blog on branding. David suggests;
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Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

Today is the first of January 2012, a new year has begun. It will bring joy and happiness for many, some will suffer and some will struggle. That is the reality of life.

2012 will be a challenging year for small businesses across the globe. With deepening economic crisis in Europe, threat of Euro zone and Euro, possibility of Greece and Italy defaulting and push to convince Germany to take the hit by paying for financially strangled nations in Europe, things are not promising!

The US Economy continued in depression since 2007. Although, US economists and the media, including New York Times. Los-Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Herald Tribune have acknowledged US economic growth in 2011, the consumer market still looks dull!

Middle East remained a turbulent region during 2011; it is highly unlikely for this region to perform well in the New Year.

According to Moody’s, Asia Pacific economies are going to see some slowdown mainly reflecting upon the economic crisis in Europe. There are chances of recovery in the second half of 2012, but a lot depends on how well the US and European economies perform!

The situation is alarming and a number of businesses particularly domestic businesses in smaller economies will be required to play safe. To be able to survive, small businesses must focus avoiding four major mistakes during 2012:

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Brand Building with a Perfect Logo

Let me start this post by asking a simple question:

What is the first thing an entrepreneur creates before starting a business?

Answer: A business logo.

The reason is simple. Logo is created to build brand identity and it is also a visual representation of your business that helps in building brand equity and ensuring customer loyalty. Therefore it is essential to consider spending time and energy in creating a perfect logo.
Some people rightly argue that logo is not a brand, according to Dan Pallotta who is an expert in nonprofit sector innovation and a pioneering social entrepreneur;

“A brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand”
This means that everything that goes around creating brand value and brand recognition is important, and my view is that an attractive logo plays a vital role in doing so.
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Micro Management Failures!

The term Micro Management means keeping close control on happenings within an organization. The term has a negative connotation and rightly so. Manager’s role is to facilitate, but a micro manager generally creates roadblocks for other coworkers.

Small business owners tend to micromanage, but once the business grows, the scope of an owner manager’s responsibilities change. It however becomes challenging for him to realize the situation, which ultimately makes life difficult for him and his coworkers. In this post, I would like to focus on why people micromanage and what can be done to improve situation in an organization.

Psychologically, we all are micromanagers; some will consider this a radical statement. But the fact of the matter is that human generally think that “they are correct and others are goofs”. Those who say that they are working for micro managers, most of the time do not realize that they micromanage too
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The Age of Social Media

My recent posts focused on business opportunities available through social media. There is no doubt that social media is an extension of online businesses, but the same also provides business promotion opportunities for non-online business too. This post is about some examples of how businesses in Pakistan are using social media to increase outreach and building brand value.

In the modern age of social media, physical presence of a business is becoming irrelevant. For example a pizza oven at home can be turned into a potential business. I have taken this example from 14th Street Pizza, based in Karachi. Based on a simple business model, marketing is done only via Facebook. They have an active Facebook page with over 130,000 fans. This marketing tool brings them massive sales every day.

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Growing Opportunites for Making Money Online

Power of web 2.0 is still unfolding. Businesses small or large, corporations, political parties, think tanks etc are fast becoming aware of the fact “There is no escape from the might of internet!” Looking back in the history, CEO of CNET Halsey Minor was amongst the first corporate leaders who accepted the power of internet. Started as a cable TV in 1992, CNET soon started beaming via the web.

Amazon has been recognized the first comprehensive ecommerce enabled marketing platform. The growth has been phenomenal for this company, in 1999, Amazon touched the annual revenue US$1.5 billion. In the quarter ending June 2011, the revenue stood at US$ 9.91 billion.

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