Tag Archives: strategy

Corporate Strategy: The Ladder for Strategic Ascendancy

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With the ever increasing B2B sales and rapidly expanding global network, organizations today face a tough challenge  dominating the competition and gaining substantial market share. Moreover to answer questions like “Where are we now?, Where do we want to be?, and How do we get there?”, companies require a concrete strategy to help comprehend and answer these questions at hand. These multifaceted problems requires the senior management of the companies to work in tandem to create and define “Corporate Strategy”, that helps address the ever increasing challenges of the corporate competition.

Corporate Strategy defined by the company’s senior management team are guiding principles for the organization as a whole which takes into consideration an assessment of the existing capabilities of the company and external opportunities and threats to the business. Thus formulation of a company’s Corporate Strategy requires inputs from multiple stakeholders, particularly senior management who are well aware of the strengths and weakness of the organization.

To device a proper Corporate Strategy most companies use existing documentation regarding their Corporate Product Strategy, Corporate Marketing Strategy, Corporate Operations Strategy, Corporate Finance Strategy, and Corporate Human Resource Strategy. These documents are integrated to help define a coherent Corporate Strategy. The level and complexity of documentation for these strategies vary depending on the size of the company and the breadth of its product portfolio and geographic reach.

Many companies execute strategic planning exercises at appropriate and specific time intervals like once or twice a year to arrive at a corporate strategy. This process helps ensure that leadership team has coherently defined goals and strategies that align with the overall strategic goals of the organization.

Corporate Strategy is often defined at a company level; but strategy can also be formulated at lower levels depending on the size and complexity of the organization. For example, the Corporate Strategy for an entire company can be divided into strategies for each business unit or geographic region and then divided further into specific product or brand strategies for each product or brand in a defined geographic region. The Product or Brand Strategy is the lowest level of this hierarchy.

Corporate Strategy thus acts as a benchmark for the company to execute future plans by carefully assessing it internal and external capabilities and helps inundate actions that aid in achieving overall targets and goals.

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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

 

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

 

Can You Really go Viral?

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Lately, I have been asking myself, “Why do companies really push their marketers to go viral?” Only 15 percent of marketing material actually goes viral, so why not push for something more realistic? I get that companies want to “Go big, or go home,” but this mindset just wastes marketing dollars.

Going viral literally just means the number of views your campaign reached. So, the obvious choice to get your marketing to the masses is social media. According to Jason Akeny, a contributor at Entrepreneur, “Getting your brand noticed via social media grows more difficult with each passing day. Users upload 100 hours of video to YouTube every 60 seconds and share more than 4.75 billion pieces of content on Facebook every 24 hours. Add to that 500 million new tweets per day, and the chances of breaking through to a wider audience can seem virtually nonexistent.”

The companies that have mastered the art of going viral, such as T-Mobile, Similac and Chipotle also have the marketing budget, for lack of better words, to waste when it comes to focusing on going viral. So, what can small businesses do to reach this same level of success? The truth is going viral isn’t an effective marketing strategy. This may be a hard pill for many to swallow, but it is still possible for those smaller companies to go viral, it just can’t be the end goal.

There is also the misperception that if you produce more content then it has a higher chance of reaching more people. But it will most likely just get lost in the social media ocean of information. Companies need to focus their attention on what their marketers are producing; quality not quantity.

“An assumption can be defined as anything that is considered to be true without proof,” states Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide. So, going viral is really just that, an assumption. How do we prove how to go viral? As stated in the book, “Competition analysis involves examining the competitive landscape for competing products with a view to understanding the company’s current product portfolio relative to other products and determining opportunities for product differentiation.”

This does not necessarily mean that an analysis should be done for a company’s specific industry, but rather for many industries in order to find that proof. When it comes to creating viral content there is no formula, but evaluating how other companies achieved their success is a good place to start.

Companies that are looking to successfully market their brand (this is what the main focus should be) need to think outside of the box. Madison Avenue has always struggled to market feminine product companies. Women just don’t associate their “special” time of month with dancing on the beach in white pants. In 2013, HelloFlo, a subscription-based company that delivers feminine products right to one’s door launched.

The new brand was barely keeping their head above water when they decided to try something a little different. They decided to be honest. “The Camp Gyno” hit YouTube in the summer of 2013 and within 24 hours it became the ad of the day and reached 6 million views in its first month. Not too shabby for a product that was produced on a small budget.

It is possible for small businesses to go viral, but that doesn’t mean it should be the goal. The goal should be to create quality content that breaks away from the norm and makes people think, laugh, or even cry. Producing a content mill will not reach your prospective consumers, but creating the right content will. Stop wasting your time producing a lot of content when you could be producing the right content. Go ahead, I dare you.

For more information and interesting articles go to SMstudy.com

Psychology, Sales and the SMstudy Guide

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Could a beer seller’s story about their purple wisteria saving the day help you?

When the story is an example of using psychology and emotion-driven sales, it can and probably should. London Pride accomplished this with their advertisement featuring a uniquely ancient wisteria plant: “The purple genus has been steadily scaling our brewery walls since 1816. It’s the oldest in England.”  It seems the Brits value their past, their national pride and their wisteria.

“London Pride beer uses emotion-driven marketing … that hooks the reader with a memorable story about something Londoners are familiar with and proud of,” says Kath Pay in Leveraging Psychology in Digital Marketing.

A Guide to the SMstudy® Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge (SMstudy® Guide), makes a similar point: “The most popular blogs choose topics that are of interest to a large community. Successful blogs have something interesting, useful, or creative to share, and do that sharing with an engaging style.”

How does one leverage psychology in his or her marketing efforts? SMstudy® Guide’s book Marketing Strategy explains one of the ways: “Psychographic segmentation is primarily used for consumer markets and involves segmenting buyers along one or more psychological variables including, but not limited to, the following—Attitude, Personality, Values, Fears, Lifestyle, and Life stage (e.g., early childhood, youth, young adult, newly married, married with young children, married with teens, empty nester, elderly and retired).” This type of segmentation begins the process of researching and analyzing a target market’s psychological profile.

“To make the path to conversion clear, you must understand the psychological cues that prompt action, and then consider the entire customer journey, using both implicit and explicit directional cues,” says Pay.

How can you find the cues that prompt consumer actions? The SMstudy® Guide helps here, too, suggesting the use of behavioral segmentation and explaining, “There are five variables that can be used for behavioral segmentation.”

Needs: Users are segmented on the basis of their needs related to a product. Here it is important to understand the users’ category and brand purchasing motives, their value systems and their perceptions in order to draw a composite image of each user and his or her needs.

Consumption Behavior: Purchasers may not be the direct consumers or may not be the only consumers for a variety of products. Therefore, consumption patterns for these products should be considered separately.

Purchase Behavior: Users are segmented on the basis of their purchasing patterns. Some of the patterns are non-user, potential user, first-time user, one-time user (also referred to as “one and done purchasing”), repeat user, former user, product/brand loyalty-based user and early adopter.

Communication Behavior: Users are segmented on the basis of how much they communicate about the product with others before, during and after purchasing. In this respect, opinion leaders are particularly influential as they are knowledgeable about, or are regular users of, particular products; are very vocal about their views regarding such products; and command the attention of other potential customers. In addition to examining how these users communicate, it is also important to understand how they prefer to receive communication. For example, what types of media do they consume?

Consumer Purchasing Roles: Consumers can be categorized based on their roles in the purchasing process. Individuals take on one, several or all of the following roles in the purchasing process: initiator, influencer, decider, buyer and user. When segmenting based on consumer purchasing roles, businesses will often target influencers rather than buyers in an effort to connect with those with the most influence on the purchasing behavior of the group.

Looking at the traits that put consumers in each of these categories provides cues to their motivations and the directions those motivations will lead them.

Using some practical suggestions from www.SMstudy.com can help leverage psychology and make people think that buying from you is a good idea. Cheers.

 

Can You Really go Viral?

4b6d8af5a49ba64ccfcf3707af2bbece.jpg

Lately, I have been asking myself, “Why do companies really push their marketers to go viral?” Only 15 percent of marketing material actually goes viral, so why not push for something more realistic? I get that companies want to “Go big, or go home,” but this mindset just wastes marketing dollars.

Going viral literally just means the number of views your campaign reached. So, the obvious choice to get your marketing to the masses is social media. According to Jason Akeny, a contributor at Entrepreneur, “Getting your brand noticed via social media grows more difficult with each passing day. Users upload 100 hours of video to YouTube every 60 seconds and share more than 4.75 billion pieces of content on Facebook every 24 hours. Add to that 500 million new tweets per day, and the chances of breaking through to a wider audience can seem virtually nonexistent.”

The companies that have mastered the art of going viral, such as T-Mobile, Similac and Chipotle also have the marketing budget, for lack of better words, to waste when it comes to focusing on going viral. So, what can small businesses do to reach this same level of success? The truth is going viral isn’t an effective marketing strategy. This may be a hard pill for many to swallow, but it is still possible for those smaller companies to go viral, it just can’t be the end goal.

There is also the misperception that if you produce more content then it has a higher chance of reaching more people. But it will most likely just get lost in the social media ocean of information. Companies need to focus their attention on what their marketers are producing; quality not quantity.

“An assumption can be defined as anything that is considered to be true without proof,” states Marketing Strategy, book one in the SMstudy® Guide. So, going viral is really just that, an assumption. How do we prove how to go viral? As stated in the book, “Competition analysis involves examining the competitive landscape for competing products with a view to understanding the company’s current product portfolio relative to other products and determining opportunities for product differentiation.”

This does not necessarily mean that an analysis should be done for a company’s specific industry, but rather for many industries in order to find that proof. When it comes to creating viral content there is no formula, but evaluating how other companies achieved their success is a good place to start.

Companies that are looking to successfully market their brand (this is what the main focus should be) need to think outside of the box. Madison Avenue has always struggled to market feminine product companies. Women just don’t associate their “special” time of month with dancing on the beach in white pants. In 2013, HelloFlo, a subscription-based company that delivers feminine products right to one’s door launched.

The new brand was barely keeping their head above water when they decided to try something a little different. They decided to be honest. “The Camp Gyno” hit YouTube in the summer of 2013 and within 24 hours it became the ad of the day and reached 6 million views in its first month. Not too shabby for a product that was produced on a small budget.

It is possible for small businesses to go viral, but that doesn’t mean it should be the goal. The goal should be to create quality content that breaks away from the norm and makes people think, laugh, or even cry. Producing a content mill will not reach your prospective consumers, but creating the right content will. Stop wasting your time producing a lot of content when you could be producing the right content. Go ahead, I dare you.

For more information and interesting articles go to SMstudy.com

 

OOH, Electronic Billboards

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