Monthly Archives: June 2016

Mac v. PC: Distinct image, Distinct Choice

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When purchasing a computer, a person will most likely ask themselves; Mac or PC? Well, in 2006 Apple released a series of commercials addressing that very dilemma. The “Get a Mac” campaign made the answer to that question crystal clear. The commercials starred Justin Long as a laidback Steve Jobs look alike personifying a hip Mac computer. The Mac (aka Justin Long) paints the picture of a PC as a nerdy and awkward member of a cubicle farm, but in a nice way.

The commercials were very funny and cute, but were also aggressively competitive. The kind-hearted Mac always turned out to be the good guy, letting the poor sad PC know that even though he was better when it comes to pictures, video, and music, you know… “iLife,” he does confess that PC still has a great app… its calculator.

According to Marketing Strategy, Book 1 of the SMstudy® Guide when forming a brand, a company should, “create a distinct image of a product or range of products in the customer’s mind.” Apple stepped out of the box to provide the public with not only an image, but a personality as well. Mac is a hip young man that promises to be reliable and live up to his promise. Apple took it a step further by also creating an unflattering image for their competition, a drab looking computer that will most likely malfunction or freeze at any point in time.

Prior to the “Get a Mac” campaign, Apple’s sales were on a steady decline while PC’s dominated the market. Apple noticed that while its sales were low, they were voted higher in an American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey. . So, the company decided to play to their strengths, and PC’s weaknesses.

According to Marketing Strategy, Book 1 of the SMstudy® Guide, “The image communicates the promise of value the customer will receive from the product or products.” The image of Justin Long promised creative freedom as well as reliability because that is exactly what Mac computers are known to be. The majority of PC users are aware of the malfunctions that often occur, but Apple wanted to drive the message home to the general public in order to promote its brand. One of the biggest issues with PC’s is their lack of creative control, which is something that Mac’s excel in.

This created an instant increase in sales of 12 percent in the first quarter and by the end of the fourth quarter sales had increased by 39 percent. In fact, sales increased so much that Microsoft launched a rebuttal commercial, thinking that they could use the same format of commercial and be just as successful. Unfortunately for the company it wasn’t the commercial that sold the product, it was the product itself.

For more interesting articles about Sales and Marketing, visit – www.SMstudy.com/articles

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Leaky Funnel

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Accepting that the sales and marketing funnel will always be leaky is akin to accepting that, despite all efforts, we will not grow taller… or younger. It’s never going to happen, we know this. The marketing funnel will always be leaky, no matter how talented and thorough sales and marketing teams become at plugging the holes. But accept it we must! Since as of today, there is no leak-free funnel and none on the horizon, we all just have to deal.

We learn from SMstudy that the leaky funnel is an analogy. Water being poured from the top represents prospective customers and the water existing from the bottom represents converted customers.

SMstudy states: “Digital media reaches out broadly and acquires potential customers using a variety of online tactics. Marketers then capture information about those customers and begin to target them more effectively with marketing messages and other digital marketing initiatives, and many become qualified prospects or leads. Eventually some of the qualified leads buy the product, thus becoming customers.”

In a perfect place known as “Sales-and-Market Landia,” every dear soul who ever views our ad, not to mention visits our website, would be swirled into our seamless steel-trap funnel with no chance of escape except out the bottom as the proud owner of our product or service, free to roam and spread the good word.

Well, the real world is not “Sales-and-Market Landia,” and most of those who venture into the funnel will ultimately slip through the cracks on their way to the final stage (aka the sale). Leakage numbers vary, but according to Lisa Cramer nearly 80 percent of those who fall into the funnel are never brought to sales. On the bright side or perhaps a cautionary warning, 60 percent of leads who enter the funnel will end up purchasing within the next 24 months… just maybe not via that same funnel.

With figures like these it’s no surprise we find all sorts of advice on how marketers can plug the holes of their own unique funnels. Just google, “plug leaky funnel” and you’ll see what comes back, a bucket load of funnel advice.

Basics such as data analytics and understanding the Point of Loss (POL) and Point of Influence (POF) can help to identify and shore up the holes, and realistic genuine attempts should be made to do so. But at some point, acceptance of a leaky funnel is key to not obsessing over the holes and maintaining your sanity.

David Lund of Marketing Executives Networking Group recognizes the inevitable nature of the leaky funnel and the necessity of accepting said leakage, but still offers these simple steps to increase sales even for a hole-riddled funnel:

  • Put more total people in the funnel.  Your funnel still leaks, but more people in should mean more people out.  If only 1-5% of the people at the top of your funnel actually buy from you or sign up for your services, you need to first focus on improving your funnel rather than putting more people into it.
  • Put more of the right people in the funnel.  You hope to attract and sell more of your target audience.  But, if you don’t clearly understand why they are choosing you, this approach will not be fully effective.
  • Retain more of the right people in the funnel.  By slowing or stopping the leaks in your funnel, you will optimize your efforts to attract and retain more target customers.  This is usually a much more productive near-term effort versus just spending more on ads or offering promotions.

So, ideally, yes, all holes would be plugged and anyone who ever knowingly or unknowingly fell into our funnel would come out the proud owner of whatever product or service was for sale. But that is a myth, a dream straight out of “Sales-and-Marketing landia.” The truth is, despite all our efforts, there will always be holes. Always. But still we plug on!

For more articles on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com/articles

Photo credit: Catherine, https://www.flickr.com/photos/rumpleteaser/2812559753

Sources:

SMstudy Guide, Digital Marketing, pg.62-63.

Sales Success as an Optimistic Cynic, Tibor Shanto, Pipeliner CRM, July 7, 2015, http://blog.pipelinersales.com/sales-professionals/sales-success-as-a-optimistic-cynic/

The Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Leaks in Your Sales Funnel,” Dale Cudmore, The Daily Egg, June 8, 2015, http://blog.crazyegg.com/2015/06/08/leaks-in-your-sales-funnel/

“How to Reduce Lead Leakage Now,” Lisa Cramer, Marketing Profs, Oct. 27, 2011, http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/6227/how-to-reduce-lead-leakage-now

“Do you know where your marketing funnel is leaking and how to stop it,” David Lund, Marketing Executives Networking Group, July 30, 2013, http://mengonline.com/blog/2013/07/30/do-you-know-where-your-marketing-funnel-is-leaking-and-how-to-stop-it/

What Do You Do When Your Boss Says Prove It

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If you’ve ever found yourself having to defend the merits of social media marketing, you’re officially not alone. A recent report on social media marketing in 2015 reveals the struggle that still exists in pinpointing the almighty ROI of social marketing to that skeptic saying “yes, I see what it does…but how does it help?” Usually that skeptic is the boss (in some way or another) and the answer is not so easy to nail down. Social media is proving to be a little slippery.
The newly released The State of Social Marketing 2015 report by Simply Measured cites three major challenges that were impacting social media marketing in 2015.
They are:
1.    demonstrating the value of social programs within the company;
2.    overall business integration; and
3.    not having the right tools to measure social media activities.
Demonstrating the value of the social programs within the company (#1) was, in fact, the top challenge noted (60%) by survey participants consisting of 600 media marketing professionals.
The reports states, “Companies of all sizes and maturity levels are struggling to prove the value of their social programs. Social media activities can be difficult to quantify, and marketers are trapped between readily available “vanity metrics,” such as Likes and followers, and difficult-to-measure objectives such as brand awareness.”
It goes on, “When it comes to understanding, proving, and quantifying value, social marketers are still trying to find the sweet spot.”
It’s logical to consider (as the report does) that the “sweet spot” could be found by addressing the challenge of #3. or “Not having the right tools to measure social media activities,” which according to the same 600 marketers, is a major frustration for those attempting to work with current analytics options. In addition, they noted the dissatisfaction with their current set of tools and the difficulty of interpreting the data they do have. And here’s the really frustrating bit, it’s hard to drum up enthusiasm and encourage further investment when the current tools or methods don’t allow marketers to provide highly accurate data which would, in turn, drum up enthusiasm and encourage further investment. And the wheel goes round and round.
Finding the right tool for the right job seems to be an essential part of the plan. In the area of data analytics tools, the report suggests either an inability to hone in on what is truly needed or simply an area that hasn’t been fully addressed in regards to tool development. According to the report, most surveyed are using multiple tools for tracking the various social media channels and as many as 65% said they were using the platform’s native analytics tool.
All that being said, the future looks very sunny for social marketing. Tools will emerge that address the needs of social media marketers. Social media marketers will become more adept at interpretation. Chances are both will occur (are occurring).
And whether the frustrations continue on or are assuaged in the coming year, it might not matter. As squishy as the analytics may appear to the bosses, they’ve seen enough “proof” to increase social marketing budgets, on average, by 12.5% over the next five years from 2015’s 9.9% to 22.4 in 2021.
For more on sales and marketing, visit www.smstudy.com
Sources: 
The State of Social Marketing- 2015, Simply Measured, http://simplymeasured.com/#sm.0001gymsunkgqdcepli19xtqnlo4p

Paying Attention: A New Metric for Advertising on Mobile

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Since the demise of newspaper’s great hegemonic grip on advertising, news media minds have been banging their big brains together, trying to come up with ways that not only monetize their content, but also generate some of the sweet ad revenue they used to have the luxury of enjoying. This is, of course, much harder in the infinite space and freedom of the internet. (limited space and information gatekeeping was a true friend to print news)

It’s been a bit of a slog and news outlets have been in “trial and error” mode for a while and still haven’t quite gotten it fully figured out. That being said, over the last year or so, user trends have been offering great nuggets of insight that are changing the way marketers and news sites are adapting to trends in mobile news consumption.

The landscape for mobile news outlets was important enough to make it to the front page of The Pew Research State of the Media 2015. What was the big deal? That 39 out of 50 legacy news outlets get more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop computers!

Full list (stats provided by comScore)…http://www.journalism.org/media-indicators/digital-top-50-online-news-entities-2015/

In the digital-only “newsscape,” a similar trend was noted.

The report states, “similar to the larger list of top 50 digital news entities, just a minority of these digital-only sites, 11 in all, had audiences that spent more time with them via a mobile device than a desktop.”

Here’s the complete list of digital native sites… http://www.journalism.org/media-indicators/digital-top-50-digital-native-news-sites-2015/

This preference for mobile news consumption is only mildly tempered by the fact that longer times were spent on news sites when being read on desktop computers.

Nevertheless, it matters.

Believe it or not, tracking consumer behavior has been one of the main problems with news outlets and marketers alike when considering ad dollars for mobile. Now we know that people are preferring their mobile devices for their news both while in on-the-go situations as well as in the down time of “Netflix and chill” moments.

In addition, we appear to be in a “mobile ad desert” where despite a rapid increase year over year in mobile advertising spending, there’s still a gap between advertising dollars spent on TV and other marketing channels and those spent on mobile. It seems that marketers haven’t quite picked up on the huge leap mobile viewership has taken. As an example, Adobe Digital Index reported in July 2015 that media has risen by two hours a day over the last five years, but advertisers have been slow to respond.

The article states, “Just as internet advertising once experienced a lag between the number of unique users and advertising spend, a gulf now exists between the growing amount of time consumers spend viewing content on mobile devices and the relatively small investment brands are making in the channel. But it’s just a matter of time until the numbers match.”

When confronted with new information, a new approach is often required. And this positive mobile news usage data begs for new solutions.

One of the more interesting examples of calculating an accurate measure was put forward by the Financial Times. The FT has switched to a time-based metric, one that places attention front and center in their value assessment. Other news outlets are also recognizing the truer value of an attention-based metric, as well. I’ve begun calling this the “after the fold” ad as it appears when I’ve stayed on a story long enough to show I’m committed. This strategy bets squarely on the contents ability to hold attention. And so far, so good.

Although various solutions abound, no silver bullet has yet been discovered (and perhaps never will). Serious impediments to accurate metrics (and hence, the flow of ad dollars) include bots that inflate the numbers and the easy accessibility to, and preference for, ad-blocking. This trend is particularly noted among millennials.

But even so, a new approach based on time as opposed to volume (number of clicks) could be the way forward for news outlets. Getting a handle on what they have to offer marketers may be the thing to lead news outlets out of the red and back into the black.

For more on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com

 

Sources:

The Pew Research State of the Medial 2015

State of the News Media 2015

“How mobile metrics fall short for news outlets and advertisers,” James Breiner, July 13, 2015 https://ijnet.org/en/blog/how-mobile-metrics-fall-short-news-outlets-and-advertisers

“Is Digital Advertising Ready to Ditch the Click?”  Michael Sebastian. September 29, 2014. http://adage.com/article/media/digital-advertising-ready-ditch-click/295143/

“ADI: Advertisers Must Prepare To Follow Increasing Eyeballs On Mobile Video,” June 21, 2015. http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/6/21/adi-advertisers-must-prepare-to-follow-increasing-eyeballs-on-mobile-video.html

“When Will Mobile Marketers Move Beyond Basic Measurement?”  June 15, 2015 http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Will-Mobile-Marketers-Move-Beyond-Basic-Measurement/1012600?ecid=NL1001#sthash.B8b4GxdM.dpuf

 

Its All in Your Head: A Brief Introduction to Psychological Pricing

 

 

Have you ever tried to sell something quickly (desperately) by lowering the price well below market value only to discover no one will bite? If so, your frustration is not unique. You’ve just experienced the quirky, seemingly-counterintuitive nature of the human consumer.

It’s long been known that pricing can make or break your sales, even when the value and quality of the product or service hasn’t changed. To the consumer, it matters not that you’re offering them the deal of a lifetime. They’ve already decided that the price is too low and, therefore, something is amiss. Of course, it’s all in their head, but the effects of pricing have real-world outcomes, such as a loss of sales because the set price doesn’t seem to match the perceived value. This is just one of the reasons why it’s wise to know a few basics of psychological pricing and how it contributes to a product’s perception and, in turn, sales.

Psychological pricing is one component of a much broader and more complex pricing strategy for a product or service. TheSMstudy® Guide defines a product’s or service’s pricing strategy as “focused on creating a sustainable brand perception and sustainable profitability for the product or brand, while growing and maintaining a healthy market share.”

All aspects of a pricing strategy are important to the success of a product, but psychological pricing can have a very significant influence on how consumers perceive a product’s value. In a recent post titled “Focus on the Why,” we noted the critical function emotional responses play in consumer buying decisions. Why a product was created or why a company does what it does speaks directly to consumers’ emotions and creates a strong call to action as well as brand loyalty.  According to Shelley Frost of Demand Media, psychological pricing works on the same level, by tapping into a customer’s emotional responses to promote sales.

“Instead of appealing to the rational side of the consumer, this strategy appeals to their emotional side. The pricing may aim to strike a thrifty note with a bargain or stir up feelings of prestige with a high-end item,” Frost said.

There are many forms of psychological pricing that may be employed by marketing departments (and individuals), including the value perception pricing example noted above. Others you may have encountered include these five provided by Psychology Pricing:

  1. Odd Pricing – Quite simply, it’s the illusion of the difference between .99 and $1. We humans perceive a real value difference between the two even though we understand logically the difference in price is a mere .01.
  2. Prestige Pricing – The opposite of odd pricing, prestige pricing creates the perception of higher quality by pricing a product or service to a rounded number. For example, $1 instead of .99.
  3. Buy One, Get One Free – Same as 50% off, right? But somehow it looks so much more alluring when a product is marked “Buy One, Get One Free.”
  4. Comparative Pricing – Similar to the straw man definition, comparative pricing sets up a false comparison so the consumer finds one offer decidedly more attractive.
  5. Product Bundle Pricing – The gift basket of marketing ploys, product bundle pricing offers a discount on a group of items packaged together. A win-win situation for marketer and customer.

Psychological pricing may have a touch of the “dark arts” about it (it is, after all, a system of psychological manipulation), but it’s been proven effective and is at this point nearly ubiquitous. So the next time you are selling an item and feel the temptation to set the price low in order to turn a quick buck, consider that you might be selling yourself short. A higher price tag, whether fair or not, creates the illusion of greater quality and value and may actually stir up the deep psychological urge to buy compared to the friendly bargain price you thought would create a fast sale.

For more articles on sales and marketing, visit http://www.smstudy.com

Sources:

“5 Psychological Studies on Pricing That You Absolutely MUST Read” https://blog.kissmetrics.com/5-psychological-studies/

SMstudy Guide, Digital Marketing, Pg. 53.

“The Ultimate List Of Psychological Pricing Strategies” http://www.psychologicalpricing.net/ultimate-list/

“What Is Psychological Pricing?” Shelley Frost, Demand Media http://smallbusiness.chron.com/psychological-pricing-11862.html

“Lessons From the Biggest Pricing Strategy Failure of 2012,” Patrick Campbell, Jan. 2, 2013. http://www.priceintelligently.com/blog/bid/168572/Lessons-From-the-Biggest-Pricing-Strategy-Failure-of-2012

Focusing on the Why

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How do we inspire people to take action such as buying a product or service? Everyone wants to know! Well, author Simon Sinek says the answer lies in the Why, the centermost part of his Golden Circle.

Imagine a bullseye target with three rings (such as the one in the above image); the outer ring is What, the middle How and the center is Why. Simply stated, the What is the product or service you provide. The How is everything that you or your company have done to improve upon or create the What. In other words, all the selling points of the product or service. And finally, the Why. The Why is the place where the purpose or belief behind the company is stated and hopefully inspires a person to action. Ideally, they relate to the company’s core beliefs. This is the Golden Circle, and according to Sinek it explains all human decision-making behavior.

Sinek states that all human decisions, such as “should I buy this product?” occur in the limbic system, the part of the human brain that is directly responsible for feelings of trust and loyalty. Interesting to note, the limbic brain’s reaction to a company’s core beliefs (their Why) is not logical and lacks the capacity for language. From this understanding we gain important insights into what drives a person to make a purchase. It’s not the description of what a company does or how they do it, although those can be beneficial in supporting the decision. The How and the What do not sway a consumer to buy; it is the Why that compels humans to purchase a product or service.

Sinek repeats his statement twice for emphasis, “people don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it.”

Will an understanding of The Golden Circle affect marketing success? Sinek gives a definitive Yes!

As an example Sinek uses is Apple computers.

As we can see Apple’s What is great computers.

Their HOW is an offering of greater creative freedom, less viruses, user-friendly interface, etc. All the cool things MAC computers can do.

And finally the WHY. In the case of Apple, we see a very strong belief and ideology emanating from the company. They believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently as Apple’s Think Different marketing campaign declared in the late 1990s. The Think Different campaign has been Apple’s boldest “Why statement” to date and is still credited with its success nearly 20 years later. Take a look at an example, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”, and see if you feel anything bubbling up…

 

Once consumers made the “Why connection” with Apple, the bond has proven nearly unbreakable. So strong is the loyalty, in fact, that people are willing to purchase, not only their computers, but all the other products Apple has released, including iPhones, iPads, etc.

Sinek notes that every incredibly successful company (such as Apple) has done so through clearly showing and explaining why they are doing what they do. As he points out, every company in the world can say what they do…and many can tell you how they do it. But very few can clearly tell you why they do it. And that makes all the difference.

And one more time for good measure…

“People don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it.”  So, focus on the Why.

Watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk here…

 

Find more articles on sales and marketing at smstudy.com

 

Great Teachers Deserve the VMEdu Authorized Content Partner Program

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Great teachers are rare. Great teachers should be prized for what they give to the world. A great teacher should not have to slog it out alone, wasting precious time taking care of the tedious work that must be completed in order get thier courses recognized and propeled to success. This is where the VMEdu Authorized Content Partner (V.A.C.P.) program can come in handy. The V.A.C.P. program offers to take on the heavy lifting of course preparation, presentation and management, leaving great teachers with time to do what they do best…teach!

The VMEdu Authorized Content Partner program provides real advantages for teachers who are ready to get the word out about their courses!

The V.A.C.P. program lets teachers create and upload courses through an easy-to-use cloud interface called the VMEdu Course Builder. Everything related to your course, including videos, test questions, case studies, flashcards study guides and more can be included. And have no fear, the VMEdu technical team is always available to assist with course creation or any other technical assistance. There is no cost for creating or uploading your courses, and zero licensing fees.

The creation of a mobile app is another perk of the V.A.C.P. program. VMEdu can create a mobile app to support your courses with both your company name and logo. This app can be used by students to experience all available  courses as well as provide students with flexibility they need in their learning experience. Apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store (for Android App) or Apple App Store (for IOS App).

In addition, VMEdu has a global partner network of more than 750 Authorized Training Partners (V.A.T.P.s), and if so inclined, teachers can sell courses to the VMEdu A.T.P. partner network. Prices are set by the teacher and VMEdu assists in reaching out to its large network of corporates, colleges/universities, training companies and individual trainers. This helps increase reach and at the same time garners additional customers and revenues. More specifically, if a course relates to sales and marketing, teachers may consider selling their courses through SMstudy.com, the global accreditation body for sales and marketing certifications.

VMEdu understands that managing classes can take up a ton of valuable time, so they’ve created an easy-to-use portal where teachers can manage course-related activities such as student access, course financials and course reporting.

With all the benefits of partnering with VMEdu, teachers now have an option that makes sense. The V.A.C.P. program is the accommodating, helpful, time-saving platform that teachers need, so they can focus on the important work of teaching.

For more detailed information of the VMEdu Authorized Content Partner program, visit http://vmedu.com/Benefits-of-VACP.asp

Evolution of Sales and Marketing – Part 1

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Sales and marketing, though sharing the same objective, differ significantly. Sales can be considered the last stage of marketing. It would be interesting to explore how they differ, but we will reserve that discussion for another day. In this post, let us look at an equally interesting topic of how sales and marketing have evolved over time. Let us begin with one of the earliest forms of sales and marketing: the barter system.

 

More than a thousand years ago, when coins and other forms of money were not yet popular, the typical and most common way people procured their products or services was through the barter system–the direct exchange of goods or services without the use of money. For example, a farmer might have exchanged some of his harvest with a carpenter for some wooden furniture. Sales and marketing with the barter system relies on having access to the appropriate persons with whom things can be exchanged for mutual value. Then came the traditional marketplace.

 

The growing popularity of coins and other forms of money as a medium of exchange gave rise to the traditional marketplace in which producers such as farmers, craftsmen, and carpenters created products, sold wares from shops, and shouted out to crowds of potential customers in order to promote their products. Traditional marketplaces are usually small markets where price negotiations and other decisions related to sales are made quickly, often by one or two persons. Next came the sellers marketplace.

 

The Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries marked a shift toward mass production in factories such as textile manufacturing. Goods were produced more efficiently and economically and could be sold to a wider market. This created the sellers marketplace. The main objective of the sellers marketplace is to establish a supply chain to procure products and then establish a distribution channel to sell the products to a wide variety of customers, often referred to as mass marketing This was followed by conventional mass media marketing. We will discuss this along with the innovative fragmented new-age marketing of the twenty-first century in the next post. Until then, keep selling!

Marketing for a Flat World

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Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author made a strong case for the democratization of the global marketplace in his 2005 book, The World is Flat. Friedman named ten factors that had contributed to the leveling of the world’s economic playing field. One of the most important noted by Friedman was the advent of the Internet and its unprecedented opportunities for connection. In many ways, modern-day marketing is a microcosm of Friedman’s “flat world” where a similar “leveling” of has occurred.

At one time (not so long ago), traditional media outlets, such as print publications and radio/TV stations received the lion’s share of all marketing dollars. They were the only game in town able to reach large swaths of potential consumers and, therefore, enjoyed a special place in the marketing hierarchy. Ad space was limited in each of these traditional marketing channels and in turn, the cost of ad space (or time) was pricey. So pricey, in fact, that it often discouraged or prevented smaller companies from participating. But, as we know, this is no longer the case.

Compare our current media “ecosystem” to 20, or even 10 years ago, and it becomes clear that as the Internet has grown, so have less expensive, more diverse channels for marketing distribution, opening up the opportunities for smaller outfits to compete with larger companies. All these new Internet-enabled marketing options that have led to the democratization of marketing can be called fragmented new age marketing.

According to SMstudy’s Digital Marketing, fragmented new age marketing supports new, small brands with much smaller budgets and it also allows for more direct targeted marketing.

The book explains that “while mass media marketing is less targeted and primarily focused on affecting emotional attitudes about the brand, new-age marketing is data-driven and focused on driving specific calls to action.”

Fragmented new age marketing allows for traditional avenues, but also includes newer channels such as websites, mobile and social media and within those categories there are numerous economical marketing options. Regardless of company size or limited budgets, there’s some form of new-age marketing that is within reach. And most likely, there’s numerous avenues available even if the budget is nearly $0. For example, online ad networks such as Google, Yahoo! Search and Microsoft AdCenter often offer promo codes that reducing their costs to as low as $25.

In addition, there are a variety of ways to approach marketing in the digital age that are not only free, but break through the limitations of traditional media and allows for greater public engagement. Many relying on creativity and a more open, responsive and organic approach such as connecting with topic bloggers or forging relationships with experts.

As author David Albert notes, “There are many ways to position yourself as an expert: guest blogging, participating on Q&A sites like Focus.com, Quora.com, LinkedIn Group Discussions, etc.”

Fragmented new age marketing recognizes that today’s marketing is, in a sense, open source, offering the ability to grow and build on marketing ideas and opportunities made possible through technology. And now with the demise of the high cost of doing business, the only limitations are the limits of the creative collective. A more democratic global “marketing-place” is here!

 

Sources:

“Top 10 Tactics To Marketing Your Startup Launch With $0”, David Albert, Junw 2, 2014 http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/top-10-tactics-marketing-your-product-launch-0

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First History, Thomas Friedman. 2005

SMstudy Guide ®, Digital Marketing, Pg. 8

 

VMEdu Welcomes You to the Post-Capitalism Era

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It has been said that we are exiting the post-capitalism era, and we weren’t even aware of it. We can thank this monumental shift to advancements in technology. Many terms have been thrown around in regards to what sort of economy we have ventured into—such as the sharing economy or frictionless economy—but what path are we really following?

In a recent article we discussed what exactly the frictionless economy is. The frictionless economy centers around companies that provide platforms on which suppliers and buyers can do business directly. Uber, Etsy, and Fiver are just a few of the hundreds of companies that have sprung up in the last decade offering people the ability to be a “self-entrepreneur.”

According to Alex Chriss, vice president and general manager at Intuit, “What we find so exciting about this trend is it’s solving what has traditionally been the number one challenge any entrepreneur or small business owner faces: finding customers. We’ve seen millions of small businesses struggle to find their next customer – and this struggle has set a bar, a hurdle for entrepreneurs to jump over. Technology is lowering this bar.”

But what about the sharing economy? Companies such as Airbnb and City CarShare allows owners to rent out something that they are not using. This has generally been sharing a house, car, or bike, but the only constant in technology is change, so this sharing could expand to new avenues. Each sharing-economy styled company provides users with ratings or reviews, so that trust is built on both sides of the transaction.

So, which economy are we really entering? One thing that we have learned from technology is that there are no limits. So, why would we limit ourselves by believing that we are entering just one sort of new economy? It seems to be that we are entering various economies that will create branches rather than one straight path. VMEdu gives professional trainers and educators the ability to be a part of both the frictionless AND sharing economy, with its Learning Management System (LMS). The VMEdu Authorized Content Partner (V.A.C.P.) program is one of the finest adult learning platforms available. The V.A.C.P. program is for anyone looking to create online adult learning courses for any subject and in any language.

As a partner, you can create and upload your courses with the user-friendly VMEdu Course Builder. You can also run the courses on your website for free. Course materials can include videos, test questions, flashcards, glossaries, case studies and more.

Once your courses are uploaded via the VMEdu Course Builder you have the option to sell them to the VMEdu network of more than 750 Authorized Training Partners (V.A.T.P.s) in 50+ countries. Having the support of such a strong network will help you reach a larger number of potential consumers in a shorter amount of time.

The V.A.C.P platform gives you the ability to sell your own courses, do business directly with customers that have been provided for you, and be your own boss in addition to hosting your courses on your own website to share with your contacts. This program equips you for whichever future economy becomes our reality.

You can find more information on the VMEdu V.A.C.P. program at http://www.vmedu.com/Benefits-of-VACP.asp