Thursday, April 29, 2010

iPad marketing vs. WePad marketing

Apple's iPod lacks a lot of things that are considered standard with other laptops, such as USB ports, connections for screens, multitasking ability or support to Flash. However, the German WePad comes up with all this and even more. Should Apple start to get worried?

The WePad GmbH, who markets the WePad, is a joint project of the Neofonie GmbH and the 4tiitoo AG. The sale of the WePad is supposed to start this summer - much cheaper than the iPad: 570 € for the WePad 3G 32GB, wheras the iPad 3G 32 GB will cost around € 730. Even though the WePad's battery life of six hours is less than the iPad's with 10 hours, the display of the WePad is bigger than that of the Apple iPad, the WePad has a faster processor, more RAM and even a webcam that the iPad completely lacks.

All this sounds as the WePad could outdo the iPad easily. When the WePad was presented to the public for the first time everybody thought it was a joke, as there was only a video presentation running on the device. The rush to the first presentation was enormous - the frustration and confusion before and after as well. The press event was poorly prepared and the device was only delivered a few minutes before the press conference.

Or was the disaster at the presentation just a publicity stunt of the company WePad GmbH? No, certainly not, as a video of the strange WePad performance in Berlin shows - including an error message at 1:31. This PR disaster the anticipation has to WePad but very troubled.

WePad's CEO so far mostly invested in social marketing. On Facebook all the news of the company are posted and the website also tries to draw more attention to social networks. Thus, Facebook already registered over 19,800 people who like the WePad. Fans of a device that nobody had ever held in his or her hands. What are you reminded of when you hear that? Maybe a tiny bit of the marketing strategies of Apple?

But what will happen with the fans if the company goes on like this with their public relations work? At the end, once enthustiastic fans will turn to the brand - before the WePad reaches the market.

The two managing directors of WePad GmbH presented their device to bloggers and the press again - this time it worked!

So there is still hope that the middle-class company with the WePad will still land the absolute hit and lever out Apple's iPad. With the Open Office suite installed, it is definitely an alterantive to the iPad that only runs on Apple software.

Some people seem to think life is all about the I, and the Me, Me, Me We beg to differ. To us, the power of many beats the power of one.

Read more: # ixzz0mEy3x3XJ

Monday, April 26, 2010

Advertising with flyers - preparing a brochure step by step

Although the creation of flyers and brochures can be very time consuming, it is worth it. You have the opportunity to present your company/club. And not just with words, but also with images.
In addition, flyers and leaflets can be read anywhere and over a longer a period of time. Products or services that need a lot of explaning can easily be presented in a flyer or brochure.

Before you get started, you should determine your budget. The amount of money needed depends on whether you wnat to design the leaflet yourself or hire an expert.

2. Hire a designer or make it yourself?
If you think about making the design of your flyer on your own, you need to figure out, whether it is really worth it. Calculate how long it will take you to learn the software and how to design it and also how long it will take you to get the flyer ready to have it printed. Then multiply this number by your hourly wage and double the amount - for all the suffering and trouble you will go through when creating the flyer yourself, when nothing works out the way you had imagined.
Then consider whether it is worth this sum to your or if you should rather hire an expert.
You should provide your graphic designer or agency with sufficient information. The more information you provide to your designer, the faster and easier he/she can work on your flyer.

3. Purpose
Consider the purpose you need the flyer for. Do you want to run image advertising and you want to present your company? Do you want new members for your club? Do you want to collect donations for your organization?
Do you need short information leaflets for your stand at a fair or a comprehensive brochure with prices?

4. Type of flyer/brochure
Depending on the scope of the content or the information that you want to pass on, you need to decide on a flyer or a brochure.
- Flyer: A flyer has at least one page and consists of a single piece of paper that is folded.
- Brochure: The brochure is somewhat more comprehensive and consists of several, usually stapled pages.

5. Audience
Who will get your flyer? Should it appeal to young people or rather to adults? Depending on who you appeal to it does affect the design of the flyer.

6. Quantity
How many flyers do want to print? Printing will get cheaper per flyer if you have them print more. But do you really need 10,000 flyers or brochures? Maybe 5,000 or 1,000 are enough? Printing too many does not make sense if you are not able to distribute them in a timely manner. Nobody likes to read an outdated brochure. It is always possible to have copies printed later on.

7. Distribution
Where do you want to distribute your flyer? Where will you put it so people can pick it up?
Depending on where you will put your flyer, it should be designed differently, so that it stands out and will be picked up by people.
Will you send him by mail?
If you want to send your flyer primarily by mail, you should consider what else you want to put in the same envelope. Do not have your flyer printed on heavy paper if you intend to send it with a letter, as the envelope will get too heavy and you will end up paying a lot for shipping.

8. Content
The contents of your flyer or brochure is based primarily on the purpose of the flyer, the target group and the distribution. Formulate short, precise and clear sentences. Think about a meaningful and clear structure for the entire text. The target audience should understand what is at stake!
The entire text should be structured in a way that even when just skimming through it will become clear what is going on. Add highlighted key words to your text that jump immediately when reading.

9. Pictures and captions
You might think captions are unimportant. The opposite is the case. Captions are usually read before the actual text.
Do not describe the image, but set up important performance data in the captions.
How to get budget-friendly photos if you do not have your own, you can read here:>Budget-friendly photos for your advertising<

10. Selection of a designer or an agency
Agencies can be found in the yellow pages. Freelance graphic designers who usually work a lot cheaper than agencies are more difficult to find. Ask people you know, other business owners, who they are working with. Check with several graphic artists and also sit down with them to figure out whether working with them would be possible.

11. Selecting a printing company
If you work with a graphic designer he/she will be able to help you when choosing a print shop. Otherwise, you can of course ask different printing companies and get quotes from them.

12. Printing and print-ready file
If you want to create your flyer yourself, you should ask the printing company which file formats can be processed there. If you create your flyer for example with Microsoft Publisher and the printing company does not have this software, it will be impossible to print the flyer.
Most printers will need a PDF file containing your data. This should have embedded fonts and graphics - this can be set when creating a PDF file.
Images should also be converted to CMYK. Most digital cameras create photos for the screen view - these photos are only available in RGB. If you do not know how to convert them, just pass them to the printing company. Also make sure you have high-resolution photos with at least 300 dpi. Otherwise, your photos will print slightly blurred/fuzzy or pixilated.
Do not just make photos or graphics that you insert in Word, Publisher or any other program bigger! Photos are usually inserted with the biggest size possible and if you just make them bigger, they will become blurry or pixelated.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

E-mail signature

As a small business owner, do the emails that you send have a signature? If so, what information does the signature contain?

Usually, email signatures contain the sender's name, organization, department, address, phone number, email address and website. Of course, if you work in a company, there might be rules as to what has to be included in the email signature.

Different countries also have different legal requirements for email signatures. In Germany for example, if you work in an organization, your email signature has to include the name of the organization, legal form, headquarters of the company, court of registration, registration number and registration place. Ireland's and UK's limited companies have to disclose the same information.

However, if you work in a limited liability company in Germany, you will even have to disclose additional information: The name of the CEO and the chairman of the supervisory board (if one was formed) with at least one full given name and surname. Germany's public limited companies even have to put the names of all board members and the chairman in the email signature in addition to the requirements mentioned before.

Many companies and organizations in the US also add a legal disclaimer to their email signature. Many lawyers argue that this is necessary.
In the US, organizations and companies have to comply witht the Companies Act 2006: The email signature has to contain the company’s name, number, registered office, incorporation country and registered number in their email signature. Also, including contact information, such as phone or fax number, address, email address and website is useful if clients want to contact you.

An email signature for a company - in any country - may look like this:

First name, name
Name of organization and legal form

776 Street
City, FL 49956
Phone 996-445-2343
Fax 996-445-2344

Registered office
Incorporation country
Registered number

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama and the social networks

Social media are becoming increasingly important for advertising and PR. More and more organizations create positions for people that take care of communication with customers/members through social networks.

The American President, Barack Obama, already created such a position a while ago. Now, this position as a social networks manager is available, as Mia Cambronero does not want to do it anymore.

Getting paid for hanging around in facebook, twitter, myspace and others all day? That sounds too good to be true.
However, it is not completely clear, what qualifications are required for such a position. Of course you will need experience with social networks - but how much experience can anyone have with something that has not been around for a long time? Social networks are not yet matured and keep on developing. Those people having to do with social networks have to acquire new knowledge quickly, in order to make sure they do not miss any trends an are up to date all the time. Of course, you will need a certain experience in writing thrilling and motivating articles. Correct orthography and phrasing are always important in a job like this. Also, marketing knowledge and experience, as well as creativity might come in handy. You should be able to develop new social media strategies. Managing social networks is not a 9 to 5 job - you are always working...

But now let me go - have to send my applicaion to Obama real quick!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Apple's Marketing - is the iPad really that great?

Apple's iPad is not the first tablet PC. It doesn't do anything that other devices wouldn't do - and other devices generally even do it better: The iPad does not have a USB connection, nor does it have a keyboard or a mouse. The iPad doesn't do multiple things at the same time. However, you can hold it with one hand, put it on your lap or pass it to someone else. Typing on the device feels as if you were typing with frozen fingers, it doesn't even have a camera, but it has a nice design. The only browser that the iPad has is Safari and it doesn't have a system for storing data. However, it has one of the world's best multitouch technology displays. The iPad doesn't have a lot of features (not even Flash!), but it has great batteries that will allow you to surf the Internet for 10 hours with charging them once.

Apple's products are simple. The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it makes it easy to listen to music. With the iMac it became simple to use the Internet. With the iPhone it became easy to carry the Internet, phone, films, and music with you. The products speak to the masses rather than thechies. This can be seen in the fact that Apple is more concerened with TV commercials than social media marketing, which would tent to attract techies.

Apple does not organize focus groups, it doesn't ask what consumers want. Instead, Apple dictates what customers want.

Apple creates new niches and dominates them from the start. Whereas rival Microsoft penetrates and takes over established markets in a brutal way. Apple's products consist of a mixture of different niche products. Also the iPad is a little bit of everything: some MP3 player, some netbook, a little bit of tablet PC and a some e-book reader. In fact, the iPad can't be compared to anything, because there is nothing comparable.

And anyone who ever bought an Apple product will have a hard time to escape from the brand. After all, those who switch to another will lose everything previously purchased or will have to pay a lot of money.

But which organization is actually able to get customers to stand in a line for a product that they have never before held in their hands, nor seen or used?!

The iPad is not a revolution - bbut certainly different than a regular laptop. It is well suited to consume content, but not for creating content. Apple shifts the focus from content creation to pure absorption of content and thus transforms users to pure consumers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to avoid copyright infringement as a website owner

When running a small business or organization you have to be very careful when adding content to your website. You should know exactly, what you are allowed to publish and what not, to make sure you avoid plagiarism or copyright infringement.

All work published is copyrighted - this is true for most countries (certainely for the USA and Germany)! This means, you have to ask for permission to use it - whether there is a copyright notice or not. Never take credit for someone else's work and let viewers know, whose work it acutally is.

Also be careful with customer data. You should disclose in a privacy policy on your website how you gather, use, disclose and manage customer's data. In many countries, this is a legal requirement when running a website.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Test of company products as viral marketing campaign

Blendtec, a company from West Orem in Utah, that produces and distributes blenders, mixers and mills - both for commerical and private use - is very successful with its viral marketing campaign "Will it blend?".

The company has its own websites (,, uses twitter ( and facebook (, has its own YouTube-channels (, and a video blog ( The company also offers recipes and tips on healthy eating to customers and all those who are interested through its websites and facebook.

On the video blog with the name "Will it blend?" the company tests which products can be blended with one of their blenders. Tom Dickson, the founder of Blendtec, throws in different products in each video. Books, soft air guns, laser pointers, cameras, camcorders, paintings, car parts, light sticks, skis, but also fruits, vegetables and other food. The Blendtec devices blend everything - until dust is the only thing left. Dickson already blended iPhones - the YouTube-video of blending an iPhone has more than 8 million views, almost 4.5 million viewers wanted to see the blending of the iPhone3G. The latest video of the company, blending the Apple iPad is extremely successful already. After being put online only on April 5, almost 3 million viewers watched it so far.

All of the "Will it blend?" videos are set up according to the same scheme and also contain the company logo, which definitely increases the recognition value. The "Will it blend?" campaign has been running successfully since 2006. Since the beginning of the campaign the company was able to increase its turnover. Meanwhile, the campaign has its own page on wikipedia (

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tutorial: How to develop your marketing plan

When starting a business, you need a marketing plan in order to know which target groups to attend to, how to plan your marketing campaigns, how to set up your budget and control it.

Before your start to develop your marketing plan, you should ask yourself the following questions:
  • Which product/service are you selling?
  • Who is your target audience that will buy your product/service?
  • What need does the above market have for your product or service?
  • Which information on your product/service do you want to communicate to your target audience?
  • What is the best way to get into contact with your target audience (for example TV, radio, newspaper, social media)? – When answering this question you should not forget about your budget?

Your marketing plan should be set up like this:

1. Executive summary
(this information you can either take from your business plan or write anew)
>> The questions who, what, when, where and how should be answered in regard to the marketing goals and strategies.
>> This part can be answered easily at the end, after the marketing analysis has been done.
  • Description of the company
  • Mission statement
  • Products/services
  • Financial feasibility

2. Analysis of the industry
>> Here you should go into the industry, competitors, suppliers, regulatory environment, customers, as well as the role of the company within the industry.

3. Products and the corresponding target audience

>> Describe each product/service
  • Demographics of the target audience: income, interests,activities, way of life, other geographic descriptions, psychological mindsets, political affiliations, family situation, age, taste
  • Market trends and social trends through which customers are being influenced-
  • The needs and wants of your target audience and corresponding benefits received from products

4. Marketing strategy

  • Overall marketing objectives
  • Mission statement
  • Product's positioning relative to competitors and in the eyes of target customers
  • General strategies you will use to reach objectives and fulfill the mission statement
  • Product's marketing mix, including specific marketing programs.
  • "Four P's":
    - Product (any related changes, improvements and issues)
    - Pricing strategy for each product
    11 different pricing strategies:
    - Distribution channels (how the product gets to customers and consumers)
    - Promotional activities: Public Relations, internet marketing and advertising, offline advertising, viral marketing and other marketing programs

5. Measurements

>> Build success metrics into each marketing program, including intermediate measures, and how you will use them to monitor progress and adjust execution when applicable.

6. Prognosis and financial analysis

  • Size of the target audience
  • Size of the market shares
  • (monthly) growth forecast
  • Profit und loss statement (with sales units and dollar forecasts, cost of goods marketing budgets, fixed overhead and variable expense projections, other expenses, profit margins)
  • Breakeven analysis (units and dollars needed to make a profit for each marketing program or new or changed product)
  • "What-if" scenarios (sensitivity analyses) showing what happens if forecasts and profit margins are lower or higher than expected

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marketing in the clouds - green information and communication technology?!

The term "cloud" or "cloud computing" is based on an infrastructure or business model delivering data, entertainment, news and other products and services directly in realtime from the internet to the device. Data does not have to be stored on your own computer anymore, instead it can be retrieved from everywhere with a internet connection.

Google is probably the most famous example for an organization building in the clouds. The most known services by Google - such as Google Mail, Google Documents and Google Earth - are supplied from a cloud.

The cloud is growing at a time when everyone is talking about climate change and reducing emissions and also contributing to an increase in energy consumption. When the cloud grows and more and more data is being saved in the cloud, the energy consumption of the cloud grows as well. All the data that is being shown in realtime, virtual mountains of videos, pictures and other data have to be saved somewhere and also have to be available immediately. The "somewhere" are data centers - huge facitities saving data and eating big amounts of power. The ones making decisions on how the clouds are built rather care for making even higher profits, instead of taking care of reducing emissions or stopping the climate change.

Facebook for example gets its power from a supplier who gets most of his energy from coal power stations. These are the biggest source for greenhous gas in the US (Facebook group that wants Facebook to use renewable energies: Yahoo! on the other hand has its own data center, powered by hydroelectricity, which reduces the carbon footprint.

Despite the economic crisis the cloud computing industry is growing. The data centers of the industry leaders are growing in number and in size. How much electricity is needed for cloud computing every year is not clear. It is also not clear, how much more electricity will be used during the next years.

At the moment, more and more companies in the cloud computing business are trying to reduce the energy consumption of their data centers - mainly to reduce costs. For most companies, the ecological advantages are of secondary concern.

If cloud suppliers really want to offer green and renewable clouds they will have to use their power and influence to make more investments in renewable energies possible and also promote laws associated with it. Also, we need much more investments in research and development of storage media.

Greenpeace started its “Cool IT Campaign” in 2009. With the help of dedicated companies and also the public, the campaign tries to put pressure on the information and communication technology (ICT) industry, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, Greenpeace supports a policy that combats the climate change and increases the use of renewable energies.

It will take a while, until cloud computing becomes totally green. Until then, the advertising of cloud suppliers stays greenwashing (with a few exceptions)...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Logo design

Nice logos can be comprehended, learned and recognized easily. Your logo (usually) is the element of your visual identity that is seen the most.

Once you start developing a logo for your business or organization, there are a few things to consider:
  • It is advisable to hire a designer for your logo.
  • Your logo should go well with your business/organization and you (and your staff) and of course you should like it.
  • Of course, the lgoo should reflect the skills and core features of your company or association.
  • It should also fit the target group you want to reach.
  • Shapes, colors and fonts should make a unified image and also fit the image your company/organization wants to communicate.
  • A high signal effect of your logo would be desirable - in order to increase the recognition value.
  • The nicest logo will not help you, if it does not stand out from the logos of your competition. It should also be unique.
  • Your logo can be designed to follow a short-term trend or it can be usable throughout a long period. If you wnat to follow a trend consider that what is in today can be out tomorrow.
  • As your logo will be used on your business card as well, it should be designed in a way that it is still readable when printed small. Also, it should still look good when printed black and white, for example when sent on a fax.
  • Make sure that your logo is recognizable and works when used in different media (internet, print, outdoor advertising).
  • To make sure your designer can create good work later on with your logo on it, such as flyers and posters, your logo should be available as a vector (eps file).