Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Communication in advertising is similar to advertising in interpersonal communication

Why do we communicate? It is simple - to meet with our social environment.
The communication process works as follows: A sender wants to send a message. In order to do so, he/she encrypts the message, which is called encoding. The message is then sent through a channel to the receiver. The recipient must then decrypt the message, which is also called decoding. The meaning of a message only emerges after the receiver decodes it.
Usually, we
think we know the meaning of a message. However, we are often wrong, which results in a misinterpretations of the message.

When decoding or interpreting the message, the codes we use are very important. Without codes we would not be able to decrypt the message in a meaningful way. Codes can be verbal or nonverbal. Nonverbal codes are usually more important for decoding. Verbal codes can be spoken words and sound. When talking about nonverbal codes, we usually mean body language, such as appearance, facial expressions, gestures, posture, eyes, head movements, body contact and spacing, but also the tonality and voice. These signals are more subliminal, but essential for decoding.

According to Young and Matt*, communication in advertising works in a similar way: for the transmission of messages to customers different codes (pictures, texts or sounds) are used.
This means, that in advertising as well as in interpersonal communication, it is important how the message is decoded. Many means of advertising contain complex product descriptions that customers do not understand. It must be ensured that the message that is being sent also arrives at the receiver the way it is meant to.

*Young, H. and Matt, J.-R.: Momentum. Die Kraft, die Werbung heute braucht, 2004, Lardon Verlag. 38,- €

Friday, March 26, 2010

Social networks for small businesses and organizations

Every day we exchange lots of information through social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Youtube or Xing. So why not use these online communities as a marketing tool? Millions of people gather in social networks to share information or videos, and to make photos available for others. Companies and associations can also make their news and information available in these online communities.

Effective advertising through marketing mix

The most effective way to attract customers is a mixture of online and offline media - which connects real life with virtual life on the Internet. This combination could become your success!
A very positive aspect is that companies and organizations can create more personalized advertising through clusters (identification of groups). In the various social networks this could be distribution by age, gender, region, or interests such as hobbies, work, etc. Therefore, social networks should be used to promote niche products with very specific and individual target markets. It is not easy to sell everyday products
with this approach. The identification of groups should be an easy task, since many people add everything about their lives in their profiles in online communities.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Effective online marketing

Online or Internet marketing is becoming increasingly important - not just for online businesses, but also to any other companies.

To run effective online marketing, you should note the following:
  • Spend a lot of time on the Internet and try to learn as much as you can about online marketing.
  • Take part in debates in Internet forums and state your website. This will help you to get search engine traffic to your website.
  • Try to find out how your customers find you - through acquaintances, Google search, by chance?
  • Define your target audience and align your website, as well as your complete marketing.
  • Your website should be different from their competitors' websites. Do not bore your clients with information, photos or products they have seen everywhere else.
  • Your website should contain useful information for your customers - about your company, your products, your services. Offer tips or newsletters to your customers so that they will come back to your website from time to time.
  • Your website should show clarity. The navigation should be clear - you should give up using different levels.
  • If you sell products through your website you should have a secure order page.
  • To ensure that your website is found by search engines, you should have so called "back links"- links from other websites to your website.
  • Try to find out which new opportunities there are in online marketing and how to use them.
  • Hold on. Do not give up too quickly. It takes time until you are able to see results of your online marketing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Newsletters- a way of keeping your customers or members informed

If you want to keep your customers or club members upt to date, but you don't want to invest much, then we recommend a newsletter. It can be sent to interested people per email or it can be offered for download on your website. In your newsletter you can summarize what has happened in your organization or club over the last few weeks or months.

There are many organizations that already offer newsletters. Just subscribe and it will be sent to you.

The easiest way to write your newsletter is with a word processing program, such as OpenOffice or something similar. Because text documents look different on every computer - fonts might be missing or the software is not installed - it is advisable to convert the document into a pdf document. In order to create pdf documents you can use freeware (such as pdfcreator or freepdf).

If you want to send your newsletter to multiple recipients via your regular email software, make sure you put all recipients in bcc. This will make the different email addresses invisible for the different recipients. You can set your own email address as cc.

Of course, there are many other ways to create and send newsletters. If your website is built with a content management system (cms) you can send the newsletter directly through the system there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Budget-friendly photos for your advertising

Many small businesses and associations often have no budget for images for advertising, such as flyers or websites. But photos do not always have to be expensive.

When downloading photos from the Internet,
Google Images seems like a great chance to get free material. However, you must be aware that these photos are copyrighted and therefore should not be used on promotional materials. Moreover, these photos were mostly optimized for the Internet and therefore the quality is not sufficient to have them professionally printed.

Therefore, you should draw back on photo pages, which let you have artwork with user licenses.
On the following pages you can download pictures with an inexpensive license:,,,,,

When using images other than your own, you should always ensure that you purchase a license and may use the photos on printed material.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Green washers or world saviors?

Among large companies there is a trend towards “becoming greener”.
Right before the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, companies such as Coca- Cola, Panasonic, Siemens and RWE presented themselves as green saviors. McDonald's added the color green into the corporate logo, Walmart demands information on fuel consumption and raw material extraction from its suppliers.
But how serious are companies really? Will they save the world in spite of the failed climate conference? Or is it all just "green washing" ( - PR/advertising, that aims to give the company an environmental image?
We may hope that there is at least a bit of truth behind the expensive, large-scale advertising campaigns.
But how much green washing do consumers tolerate? Are these companies taken seriously by consumers, when all of a sudden so many companies act “green”?
A good source of information to find out which campaigns are pure marketing tricks and what companies actually do something for the climate and the environment, is the blog by Toralf Staud. Also, the website gives information about which companies are actually saving the world.
If you speak German, you can learn more about green washing on the website of the environmental organization BUND Southern Upper Rhine:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Starting your marketing campaign

Usually, the marketing budget of small companies is not particularly large – often it is non-existent. Therefore, you must be creative when it comes to marketing your company.

You can start your marketing campaign as follows:
  • Ask your suppliers or partners, to advertise together with you.
  • Take the time to send recommendations and buying impulses to existing customers.
  • Think about introducing yourself to the local or regional press - possibly as an expert in your field.
  • Invite people to your company. Maybe there is a concert in your city for which you can provide tickets? This might get you on the air in the local radio station.
While spending your marketing budget, remember to measure your marketing efforts. You can code your ads or ask your new customers where they have about you. This way, you will get to know which efforts work and which efforts are redundant and you can replace them with efforts that work better.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The importance of marketing according to D. Packard

„Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.“ /David Packard (Co-founder of Hewlett-Packard)

This quote by the founder of Hewlett-Packard is only partially correct. Today, many firms offer products that cannot be differentiated from others easily. Therefore, it is important how customers perceive the product. The perception can be influenced with the right marketing strategy, as well as the implementation of this strategy. The management of an organization should set this strategy together with marketing experts (internal and external). But consider, that the strategy will mainly be implemented by the organization's marketing experts. The big field of marketing is too complicated for managers, who do not have the experience with it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The average facebook user is not a teenager

According to a study by Royal Pingdom, about 25% of all social media users are between 35 and 44 years old. Only 24% of the users are under 25. The average user is 37 years old.

The company also looked at the age structure of facebook and found out that the averag age of facebook users is about 38, the average age of LinkedIn users is 44, and the average age of MySpace users is 31 years. The average twitter user is about 39 years old.

In another study the company conducted in 2009, it was found that 84% of all social network sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace,…) have more female than male users. 64% off all MySpace users are female. However, the ratio male-female among facebook users (57% female) and twitter users (59% female) is relatively balanced.

If you already advertise through social media, or you intend to do so in a near future, make sure to consider these statistics. Make sure, you really reach your target audience!