Tag Archives: marketing

Shifting Techniques: From Conventional to New-Age Marketing

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In the twentieth century, with the increase in the number of manufacturers and industries for specific products, consumers had numerous options to buy from multiple manufacturers. Manufacturers faced the need to differentiate their product and thus mass media marketing was born. Primary channels used for mass media marketing were print advertising, mass mailers, television, radio, and outdoor advertising. The objective of conventional mass media marketing was for organizations to create strong brands and differentiated brand perceptions so that consumers would desire and purchase their products rather than those of competitors.

 

However, in recent times, the media have become increasingly fragmented with several hundred television and radio channels as well as a large variety of print media including newspapers, magazines, and trade publications. With the increasing popularity of the Internet and, more recently, smartphones, many options now exist for advertisers to reach a global audience using digital media marketing methods such as cell phone apps, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, QR codes, gamification, and proximity marketing. All of these options have resulted in fragmented new-age marketing. Some characteristics of fragmented new-age marketing are as follows:

  • Fragmented new-age marketing suits new, small brands with much smaller budgets targeted directly to customers in a global marketplace. Thus, it enables small companies and startups with smaller budgets to achieve a global reach.
  • New-age marketing is data-driven and more centered on driving specific calls to action. Also, new-age marketing is about engagement, unlike mass media marketing, which involves interruption.
  • Sales and Marketing communications have increasingly become multi-directional in new-age marketing. The producers can reach consumers directly; similarly, consumers can share their feedback with producers and other consumers.
  • Huge amounts of data gathered by multiple media forms and the ability to process the data through proper marketing analytics and generate valuable insights has given rise to the newest trend of “smart marketing.”

These characteristics provide compelling reasons for companies to shift their focus toward fragmented new-age marketing. Marketers evaluate all media in terms of who the target audience is and what media resonates best to arrive at an integrated approach to marketing by leveraging the strengths of various types of media.

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Eye-to-Eye on IT Value, Marketing and SMstudy

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When designing a marketing strategy should you start where you want to be, or where you are?

If you’re a motivational speaker, you’re probably saying, “Start where you want to be.” If you’re a process engineer, you’re likely to say, “Start where you are.” If you’re a marketing strategist, you’re probably saying, “Yes.”

“But it’s an ‘either/or’ question!” they might remind you.

“True, but the answer is still ‘Yes,’” you would answer.

In sales and marketing, there must be a strong focus on goals and objectives, the “where you want to be”bit. “The Corporate Marketing Strategy is defined at a corporate level. It defines the overall marketing goals for the company. These general marketing goals drive more specific marketing strategies for each of the company’s business units or geographies,” saysMarketing Strategy, book one of the SMstudy™ Guide.

Can the company meet these goals? The answer to this lies in the “where you are.” “The strengths and weaknesses of a company determine its internal capabilities to compete in a market and to fulfill customer expectations,” says the SMstudyGuide. “Strengths provide the company with a competitive advantage and weaknesses place the company at a disadvantage.”

“Start where you are” is one of the “Practitioner 9 Guiding Principles” identified by Axelos, the people responsible for publications coming from the Information Technology and Infrastructure Library (ITIL) of the British Home Office. These principles are designed to help IT practitioners succeed in an increasingly customer- and market-oriented service environment.

One of the key “Practitioner Guiding Principles” is “focus on value.” This is something marketing professionals know very well: their product’s or service’s value proposition. “All successful products or brands need well-planned marketing strategies in place to ensure that they satisfy the goals set by the corresponding Business Unit or Geographic level, and in turn the overall Corporate Marketing Strategy. Marketing Strategy is therefore one of the most crucial Aspects of Sales and Marketing. It defines a product or brand’s unique value proposition, target markets, and the specific strategies to be used to connect with defined audiences,” according to the SMstudyGuide.

Arriving at a value proposition involves identifying the target market segment: what are the people that make up this group like? What do they do for a living? For recreation? How do they spend their money? These are very similar to questions that IT developers ask and answer when creating personas for their end users and customers. How will they use this service? When will they most likely access it? What will it do for them? How much is this worth to them? The confluence of service development and marketing is becoming greater and greater.

With the decreasing time between product development and its “hitting the shelves,” it seems inevitable that marketing interests and elements would enter product lifecycles earlier. Which ties in well with “Practitioner Guiding Principle” number 8: collaborate. The real value that developers put into a product after conferring with marketing and management becomes the real value that the sales and marketing people communicate to the customers, who buy that value, take it home and cherish it. Everyone is working together and the world’s a happier place.

 

For more informative articles on Sales and Marketing, visit SMstudy.com

A Disappearing Brand

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The iPad was Apple’s last big innovation launched in 2010. Since then the company has yet to give the people a product that has really caused us to say, “wow.”

Why is this?

In the last five years the company has released upgrades to the iPhone, but I think we can all agree that Apple has mastered the art of the iPhone, so maybe it is time to move onto something else. The company seems to have adopted the, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, but the problem with this approach is technology is not static. It is changing, adapting and growing every second; so instead of mastering its product, the company should think of advancing with technology by creating a new product.

Apple followed the iPad release with the iPad Pro, which should have provided us all with that “wow” factor that we have been looking for, but unfortunately the device seems more like a copy of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. So, instead of creating new, innovative products the company has stooped to mimicking.

This rut that Apple finds itself in can all be attributed to their previous innovations. According to Timothy Wang at Cubic Lane, “the company is at the top of the industry in the terms of revenues. There is really no pressing need to create or change when business is doing so well.”

The company has to get out of the comfort zone they’ve created if they plan on staying on top of the industry. Remember Nokia? The company used to be the leader in the mobile phone industry. If Apple doesn’t change their mentality soon they could become just another disappearing brand.

As discussed in the recent article, “Out with Innovation, in with Maturation,” brand loyalty is the reason for the company’s continued success, but if we, as consumers, aren’t provided with a big “wow” anytime soon we might find loyalty for another brand. I used to love my Nokia, but now I love my iPhone. Maybe I’ll love my Samsung Galaxy next, you never know.

Apple can look to the SMstudy® Guide, the Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge, to find their answer. As noted inMarketing Research, book two in the six book series, “A 5C Analysis is one of the most popular and useful frameworks in understanding internal and external environments. It is an extension of the 3C Analysis that originally included, Company, Customers, and Competitors. Collaborators and Climate were later added to the analysis to make it comprehensive. This integrated analysis covers the most important areas of marketing, and the insights generated can help identify the key problems and challenges facing the organization.”

An analysis of the company and where it wishes to advance in order to beat competitors and appease their customers can be done with the help of collaborators and climate. Apple needs to stand up to its reputation as the most innovative company in order to stay on top of the technological food chain, and fortunately for the company the SMstudy® Guide is the light at the end of their innovative tunnel.

For more interesting articles and resources visit SMstudy.com

Eye-to-Eye on IT Value, Marketing and SMstudy

Modern-cyber-girl.jpg

 

When designing a marketing strategy should you start where you want to be, or where you are?

If you’re a motivational speaker, you’re probably saying, “Start where you want to be.” If you’re a process engineer, you’re likely to say, “Start where you are.” If you’re a marketing strategist, you’re probably saying, “Yes.”

“But it’s an ‘either/or’ question!” they might remind you.

“True, but the answer is still ‘Yes,’” you would answer.

In sales and marketing, there must be a strong focus on goals and objectives, the “where you want to be”bit. “The Corporate Marketing Strategy is defined at a corporate level. It defines the overall marketing goals for the company. These general marketing goals drive more specific marketing strategies for each of the company’s business units or geographies,” saysMarketing Strategy, book one of the SMstudy™ Guide.

Can the company meet these goals? The answer to this lies in the “where you are.” “The strengths and weaknesses of a company determine its internal capabilities to compete in a market and to fulfill customer expectations,” says the SMstudyGuide. “Strengths provide the company with a competitive advantage and weaknesses place the company at a disadvantage.”

“Start where you are” is one of the “Practitioner 9 Guiding Principles” identified by Axelos, the people responsible for publications coming from the Information Technology and Infrastructure Library (ITIL) of the British Home Office. These principles are designed to help IT practitioners succeed in an increasingly customer- and market-oriented service environment.

One of the key “Practitioner Guiding Principles” is “focus on value.” This is something marketing professionals know very well: their product’s or service’s value proposition. “All successful products or brands need well-planned marketing strategies in place to ensure that they satisfy the goals set by the corresponding Business Unit or Geographic level, and in turn the overall Corporate Marketing Strategy. Marketing Strategy is therefore one of the most crucial Aspects of Sales and Marketing. It defines a product or brand’s unique value proposition, target markets, and the specific strategies to be used to connect with defined audiences,” according to the SMstudyGuide.

Arriving at a value proposition involves identifying the target market segment: what are the people that make up this group like? What do they do for a living? For recreation? How do they spend their money? These are very similar to questions that IT developers ask and answer when creating personas for their end users and customers. How will they use this service? When will they most likely access it? What will it do for them? How much is this worth to them? The confluence of service development and marketing is becoming greater and greater.

With the decreasing time between product development and its “hitting the shelves,” it seems inevitable that marketing interests and elements would enter product lifecycles earlier. Which ties in well with “Practitioner Guiding Principle” number 8: collaborate. The real value that developers put into a product after conferring with marketing and management becomes the real value that the sales and marketing people communicate to the customers, who buy that value, take it home and cherish it. Everyone is working together and the world’s a happier place.

 

For more informative articles on Sales and Marketing, visit SMstudy.com

The Rise of Organic Advertising on Snapchat

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There are 83 million Millennials. That is 83 million young adults that were born in the early 80s to late 90s, and 71 percent of those young adults check their social media websites every day. It only makes sense that companies have moved to social media when it comes to advertising their brands.

Snapchat, a company born in 2011, is now worth 18 billion dollars. So, ask the question. Go ahead. How did they do it? They learned how to monetize their product. Snapchat Discover is part of the latest app update. It provides companies with the ability to market their brand on the Stories menu. This not only eliminates the restriction of only being able to reach the people that personally follow a company but also costs 100 dollars CPM or cost per mille. For those who have no idea what that means, that is 100 dollars per 1,000 views. You can imagine how fast the money is being raked in when you consider there are 100 million daily active Snapchat users and the number is rapidly growing.

As fantastic as the new Snapchat Discover is, it doesn’t really assist companies that are not able to fork out large sums of money to reach the masses. Companies such as The Coca-Cola Company have figured out how to overcome this issue by handing the metaphorical reins over to Snapchat Influencer, Harris Markowitz. Snapchat Influencers are just your average Joes that have accumulated millions of followers by utilizing the app to it’s potential. The Coca-Cola Company partnered with Harris Markowitz to organically advertise their brand.

Markowitz has been providing weekly exclusive content for their Snapchat Story by, “reflecting the company’s set mission: to refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and to create value and make a difference. The Snapchat stories Coca-Cola creates refresh the organic advertisement world within the app by meeting all of their company missions in a creative way,” said Julian Gamboa, Lead Course Assistant at the University of California, Berkeley.

So not only do these snaps reach the followers of The Coca-Cola Company, but every single one of Markowitz’s 5 million followers has the opportunity to enjoy the engaging and entertaining Snap Story. By hiring Markowitz, The Coca-Cola Company went from promoting their brand to the few that have chosen to follow the company to having the brand viewed by millions of users virtually overnight. Other companies such as Taco Bell and Mashable have also jumped on the organic advertising bandwagon by partnering with Snapchat Influencers.

Partnering with an influencer on social media almost tricks viewers into thinking they watching their favorite Snapchat star’s Story and in the digital marketing world we like to call this native advertisement. According to Digital Marketing, book 3 in theSMstudy® Guide, “native advertising is a form of online advertising that blends in with its surroundings. The objective is to promote a company’s product or service in a way that is ‘native’ to the platform in which the message appears. Native ads are promotional pieces that are attempting to look like the material to which they are adjacent.”

The going rate for partnering with Snapchat influences varies as much as their online personalities, but there are best practices when it comes to negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. Most influencers accept a flat fee. It simplifies the process for everyone and it is helpful for the allocation of funds months in advance (if need be). As Snapchat charges cost per mille, so do influences. For the most part. Influencers have also been known to ask for a percentage of the sale rather than flat compensation, as well as free products or services.

According to Ad Week, “Snapchat splits revenue with the media companies for ads on Discover channels, and those sponsorships can cost as much as $75,000 a day, say marketing execs. In other cases, brands like McDonald’s cough up as much as $750,000 for daily official sponsorships.”

Companies like Boost Insider aids brands in finding the right influencer for them at the right budget. You can partner with an influencer for as little as 200 dollars, but, again, this number does depend on the amount of followers the influencer has. For small business, hiring an influencer is not out of the cards, it will drastically improve the way you organically use Snapchat and give you the fun of going native.

For more interesting articles about sales and marketing, visit www.smstudy.com

 

What Did You Do When You Were Supposed to be Sleeping?

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Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks your sleep cycle. Seems pretty simple, but looks can be deceiving. In November of 2015, just a few short months ago, the app was released to the public and the vote is in. Everyone loves it.

So, here’s what you do. First, download the app. Before you go to sleep set the alarm programmed in the app and the sleep cycle device will activate. Place your phone screen side down on your nightstand, plug in your charger, and, hopefully, have a great night of sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, the app provides you with a line graph that depicts how many hours you were in bed and how your sleep varied throughout the night from awake, sleep, and deep sleep.

I tried out the app for the first time last night and it appears as if I am a champion sleeper, but I moved 1,267 times. I am a champion sleeper that thrashes.

But that’s not all! The trends tab on the app is available to premium members, and it provides you with several different charts that display sleep quality, what time you went to bed, the amount of time in bed, and what time you woke up at for the week. It also gives you a percentage in regards to sleep quality. Did you sleep poorly because you ate dinner too late? Or did you wake up refreshed because you hit the gym the day before? The app will tell you. It also lets you know if your sleep quality was affected by air pressure, weather, or if you are a thrasher like me.

You get all of this information for a large fee of 83 cents a month (This is not a typo).

Sales and marketing professionals can learn a thing or two from Sleep Cycle. We, as people, are fascinated about sleep. We can’t study our own sleep patterns, considering we are sleeping, so it was all too fascinating to find out that I sleep the majority of my night in a deep sleep. I would have never known that. That’s how they get us in. It’s all a marketing ploy. And then for just 83 cents a month I can not only learn how I sleep, but I will learn how I can sleep better. Who doesn’t want to know that?

83 cents a month is nothing for us fortunate enough to be living in a first world country. We see the advantages for the app, sign up, and never unsubscribe because it is only 83 cents, even though we never use the app anymore and it has been long forgotten. And the money is just rolling in for Sleep Cycle.

(Applause for Sleep Cycle)

So what did they do right? First of all, it is a very big gamble to charge such a low monthly fee. But according to Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide, it was a very calculated move with the help of secondary marketing research. “Secondary marketing research involves the use of content and information that is currently available within the company or in the market through primary research that has already been conducted and is readily obtainable through company reports, trade journals, industry publications, and/or the Internet.”

The very popular Fitbit will track your sleep, but it can cost upwards of 200 dollars. Fitbit sold nearly 11 million devices last year, so the market was there. From looking at information that was right at their fingertips, Sleep Cycle was able to build a sales and marketing plan that was destined to succeed.

I was pulled in by a marketing ploy and I didn’t even see it. That’s how you know a company is doing its job well. I look forward to going to sleep tonight, I have a competitive streak, so I want to beat last night’s amazing performance.

Give it a try, you know you want to.

For more information and resources about sales and marketing visit SMstudy.com

 

Identifying Competition: An Essential Element of Marketing

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All industries are growing at a rapid pace with emergence of more and more companies. For a company to exist in this race, it needs to mark its presence and grow at the same time. Knowing competition for a company and accordingly positioning the products is something businesses are concerned with today.

Listing Competitors

To get a clear idea of the differentiated positioning the company needs to identify its potential competitors. A thorough analysis of the competitive products, their features, strengths and operational excellence would give the company a clear picture of the market operations and the trends. Understanding the value proposition provide companies a sustainable competitive advantage which can be utilized in attracting customers from the competitors.

In the process of identifying competitors the company should consider the product, substitutes, technological challenges, new entrants, old established brands. Future competitor analysis also plays an important role in creating a brand presence in the market for a product.

How to Identify Competition?

With the help of senior management direction and insights the company can have a better picture of the competition in the market existing for its products and services. Also from the market research reports and information published by the competitors help in identifying the details of the competitors and their ways of operation.

In order to understand the competitor in the market for a particular product the several analysis are to be carried out such as future competitive analysis, marketing research and meetings and discussions with industry leaders and experts. Understanding the emerging technologies, new entrants and actively scanning the industry gives a complete idea of the competitors and their structure and functioning. A SWOT analysis of the available list of competitors also gives a fair idea of the trends the competitors following and can help in improvising the products of the company and expand the customer base.

Every business that we see today is part of one or the either industry. With the moving pace and increasing consumer demand the business are expanding. Competition is something which has always been there and shall exist till ever. To find a way out and present the product in a better way in comparison to the competitor’s product is every business’s requirement and they should be focused towards it. Identifying competition empowers the business and gives scope for improvement, which enables it to prosper.

Inventions from 1900-1910: Deja vu All Over Again

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There are some things I never do on social media. When I get a post with a picture of an old-fashioned pencil sharpener, apple corer or slide rule and it says “If you’ve ever used one of these, Like and Share,” I never do. And it’s not just because I don’t want to admit how old I am.

Looking back in history can be much more helpful than trying to get one up on “those young people today” by showing how difficult you had it and they should be glad they have it as easy as they do! Looking back in history can actually help people deal with the present.

With this in mind we thought we would take a quick look at the first decade of the Twentieth Century and draw some inferences relating to the first two decades of the Twenty-first.

We researched several websites and found that a lot of things happened from 1900 to 1910, inclusive. From the frivolous to the profound, some of the inventions and advances still affect America and the world today. In 1905, the American form of football allowed the forward pass to stop injuries and deaths caused by brute-force tactics such as the “flying wedge.” Today, the National Football League is trying to make reforms that will minimize, or do away with concussions. Also in 1905, Albert Einstein published a paper introducing the idea that the formula for determining energy is a direct ratio with the combined characteristics of mass and the speed of light squared, e=mc2. In that same year, he published a fuller elucidation, his theory of relativity. (We felt like we could use phrases like “fuller elucidation” when we’re talking about such heady stuff.) From those papers have risen arsenals, energy generation, medical uses of radiation, and advances in the physics that run our televisions and computers, among other things.

Speaking of televisions and computers, both of these have their roots in Lee De Forest’s invention of the vacuum tube triode in 1907. “The three terminal setup could serve as an electrical switch. When you changed the voltage traveling to one terminal, you could reduce the current following between the other two terminals. In this way, you could turn it ‘on’ and ‘off.’ That’s your 1 and your 0,” says Wired.com in reference to the binary code used in programming.[1]

The more immediate use of the vacuum tube was in building the sets needed to receive that new-fangled thing called radio. De Forest used his vacuum tube to transform “those taps and clicks [of Marconi’s wireless telegraph transmissions] into the broadcast communication system we know today,” according to Wired, adding, “Forest, who also coined the name ‘radio,’ used his invention to send the first over-the-air public broadcast on January 12, 1910.”

From all this, it becomes apparent that first decade of the twentieth century saw the new arrivals of more than twenty inventions that reshaped life and business. Mercedes (1901) and Ford (1908) took the automobile from the showcase and exhibition track to the roads of America and Europe in mass numbers. Along the way, they also invented the car salesman.

These inventions made their creators wealthy through marketing. In 1908, Dr. Julius Neubronner combined invention and marketing into one operation. He fitted “tiny timer-driven cameras to pigeons and developed and printed the photos immediately upon the birds’ return, selling them as postcards on the spot,” says Wired. They also say, “Take that, UAV cams!”

Apple Computers is the modern poster child for this symbiotic relationship between innovation and marketing. And that brings us to Digital Marketing, book three in the SMstudy® Guide series, “Today, consumers have multiple ways of searching, learning about, and purchasing various products and services, and e-commerce technology has offered the convenience of secure and instant transactions.”

In 1901, the vacuum cleaner was invented and was soon followed by the door-to-door vacuum salesman. The invention of the radio brought radio advertising, which was one of the methods inventor and businessman George Louis Washington used to turn his 1909 invention of instant coffee into a mansion in Brooklyn and a lodge by the beach in Belford.[2]

Automobiles brought roadside signs and billboards. Walls in every major urban setting became festooned with advertising aimed at the motoring masses. The marketing messages were everywhere. Conventional mass marketing made sure they even arrived in peoples’ mailboxes.

Today’s market seems filled with innovation and invention on steroids. “Consumers can receive messages from any of the several hundred television and radio channels, a variety of print media, including newspapers, magazines, and trade publications; and, online, it’s difficult to check e-mail without various banner ads popping up. The messages are constant,” saysDigital Marketing.

“For businesses, in this age where consumers are continuously provided with choice, the challenge is finding ways to stand out.” SMstudy and the SMstudy® Guide are designed to help sales and marketing professionals and entrepreneurs handle the change in ways that make them stars.[3]

For more informative and interesting articles on sales and marketing, visit SMstudy.com

[1] “The Decades that Invented the Future, Part 1: 1900-1910.” (10/12/12) WIRED. Retrieve on 4/13/16 from http://www.wired.com/2012/10/12-decades-of-geek-part-1/

[2] Janie (4/13/2015) “20 Influential Inventions from 1900-1910” JellyShare Retrieved on 4/13/16 from http://www.jellyshare.com/article-194/20-influential-inventions-from-1900-1910.htm

[3] For more information about the SMstudy® Guide, visit http://smstudy.com/SMBOKGuide

OOH, Electronic Billboards

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More than six thousand digital billboards light up America’s roadways, yet, we’re still in the dark![1]

We thought that—with the explosion of social media, the long (waning?) reign of broadcast advertising, Internet advertising, and more—billboards, like sandwich boards, were becoming a thing of the past. Yet, according to the association, there are more than 158,000 standard billboards (also known as “bulletins” in the trade) and 165,500 posters (the slightly smaller sized billboard common in urban settings). Then there’s “billboards” on the sides of trucks, 2,700, and wrapped around buses, 205,000. That’s a lot of OOH (Out of Home) advertising!

This exemplifies something that Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide series, says: “Rather than viewing the changes as completely replacing the earlier practices, Sales and Marketing approaches should be viewed as a continuum where recent innovations can co-exist with earlier practices.”

If you have been following our posts at SMstudy, you may remember that we have addressed the idea that old ways stay and can continue to be profitable even in the midst of great innovation.[2] OOH advertising offers two examples of not only how older approaches can remain relevant but also co-exist in symbiotic relationships.

As the numbers quoted above show, billboard advertising is alive and kicking in today’s innovative age. One cause of this is that “the brevity of OOH’s copy is ideal for driving traffic to a website,” according to OAAA. In cities with the fifty worst commutes, Americans spend from 32 minutes (with 8 percent of this city’s commuters spending more than an hour) to 42.6 minutes (and 25 percent spending more than one hour) one way.[3] That’s a lot of time spent slowly moving with the traffic flow. The vast majority of Americans spend from 30 minutes to an hour driving to and from work. Include the time they spend traveling for other purposes and that’s like having an arena’s worth of people idling past every billboard.

Co-existing can be more than just parallel existence at a distance. For example, “OOH reinforces television messages when viewers are away from their homes during the course of daily activities,” says to OAAA adding, “Television is expensive. OOH improves the efficiency of a television campaign buy by driving down CPM costs. OOH reaches light TV viewers who are younger, mobile, and more affluent than heavy TV viewers.”

OAAA points out that “younger, mobile, and more affluent than heavy TV viewers” also describes Internet users. This becomes an important insight when the marketing team considers its product’s marketing mix. “In a differentiated targeting strategy, a company directs its marketing efforts towards two or more segments by creating a different marketing mix for each segment. Each marketing mix for this strategy typically varies depending on product features, distribution methods, promotion methods, and pricing,” according to Marketing Strategy. As each market segment is targeted, the team develops a mix of “promotion methods.” These methods can include conventional mass media marketing and fragmented new-age marketing (aimed at channels such as Internet, social media, and mobile devices).

The old and the new not only can exist side-by-side but they can flourish. And that’s something to OOH and ah about!

 

For more interesting and informative articles on sales and marketing, visit SMstudy.com

 

 

[1] This datum is according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) in their OOH (Out of Home) Formats on the OAAA site at https://www.oaaa.org/OutofHomeAdvertising/OOHMediaFormats/OOHMediaFormats.aspx

[2] As in our recent blog, “Pushing the Envelope: The Case for Paper,” http://www.smstudy.com/Article/pushing-the-envelope-the-case-for-paper

[3] “The 50 Worst Commutes in America.” (1/28/16) MSN; News. Retrieved on 4/12/16 from http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-50-worst-commutes-in-america/ss-AAakiJv#image=51

 

Learn How to Make a Product Training Program Effective

 

 

In this fast pace business world companies are spending billions of dollars in training their sales forces about their product. But why only a few of the companies are successful when it comes to product training initiatives and rest are not able to yield the desired results? How can a company build an efficient and effective product training program? Let us have a look at it.

Well, product training program should impart an in-depth knowledge of the product or service being offered to the sales team. As a general rule, product training ensures that the sales team understands:

The features and functionality of the product

The features of the product are captured in detail in the input Product Features. When product features are presented to sales personnel, it is important to focus on how the features will benefit the customer. The sales team will need to be instructed on the intent and use of each feature. They may require practice using the product or demonstrations of its functionality. The corporate sales staff should have a level of familiarity with the product that enables them to explain the value of each feature, display the product’s ease of use, and answer any questions the customer might have about the features.

The customer’s use of the product

The way in which the customer uses the product, or integrates it into their existing system, is a key area that the corporate sales staff must understand. The ability to view the product’s purchase and implementation from the customer’s point of view greatly helps the sales staff to communicate with the customer, as it demonstrates knowledge of the customer’s needs. Descriptions of customer use and integration may be captured as part of the product strategy, the product features, and the sales value proposition.

Competitor’s products and their similarities and differences

The corporate sales staff needs to be trained on the specifics of any competitor’s products. Knowledge of similar products will help the sales staff focus on areas in which their product is superior, and anticipate customer questions.

How the product actually achieves the promised sales value proposition.

Being able to effectively communicate how the sales value proposition is applicable to a specific customer or target audience is a key component of corporate sales. The sales team will need training on the sales value proposition, which areas are of interest to which companies, and the quantifiable results of using the product.

Industry trends (related to product use)

Industry trends related to product use help the corporate sales team understand the usage patterns of customers over time. This can also help determine future buying trends. Knowledge of industry trends needs to be updated regularly. The corporate sales team must have access to market research reports to stay current on trends.

Additional offerings

Additional offerings refer to any incentive programs, sales commissions, and gifts for customers. The corporate sales team must know the company policy related to additional offerings when meeting with and presenting information to customers. Many buyers in large organizations are prohibited from accepting gifts or commissions from sellers. The seller can offer “value-adds” as part of the contract. This avoids the appearance of impropriety because it provides the incentives to the buying organization rather than to any one individual.

An effective product training program focuses more towards the benefits of the product and less towards its features. It utilizes the technology and provides the information for the product team. The product training programs are one of the vital parts of the organizational culture, especially of those organizations which are performing really great in the industry.

To read more interesting articles about sales and marketing, visit www.SMstudy.com