Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pricing strategies – step-by-step increase in prices brings more revenue than immediate price increase

So far, retailers had two possibilities when reducing prices: Either the products are offered cheaper for a short amount of time, in order to increase the price again to the (normal) price before. Or the products are advertised with “everyday low prices”.

Studies (Michael Tsoiros, University of Miami, ALBA Graduate Business School and David M. Hardesty, University of Kentucky in the Journal of Marketing) show that there is a third possibility that is even more effective.

A store can create more revenue with a price promotion, by increasing the prices step-by-step after a price reduction – instead of offering the product for the original price again.

Customers expect a higher price in future and therefore buy (inaction regret).

You should therefore think twice about setting your prices and also work out a good pricing strategy. However, this strategy should also fit into your marketing or business plan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More time for important things – data protection is important

Do not waste your time to look for your data and hundreds of files, just because the hard drive of your computer stopped working. Save your data on a regular basis to prevent a bigger catastrophe.

Make backups from all important (and unimportant) files regularly.

Especially when you mainly work with portable devices you should save your data more often. External hard drives and laptop computers have a shorter life span than hard drives in desktop computers.

Get yourself an external hard drive so you can save a copy of all relevant data on it. If you keep updating the files on it you will have access to all important files in case of an emergency.
Additionally, you can save backups on the hard drive – with the help of the backup function on your computer.

If you are still worried about your files, you can burn them to DVDs. However, you need to make sure you use DVDs of high quality. Also, you should not burn your DVDs with the fastest speed available, as this might cause a loss of data. Files are not as safe on DVDs (or CDs) as you might think. When using cheap DVDs/CDs files can be lost a few months after burning them and pictures might only be shown half way. A good alternative to regular DVDs are so called archival DVDs that have a golden layer (and are also more expensive).

You should keep your different media in different places. So in case your office burns down and you only have your files saved to your desktop computer and the data DVDs are next door, you will loose everything. This can also happen after a break-in or when a pipe bursts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

PR for your organization: How to make it into the media with your company or organization

You will make it into the media (newspapers, radio, television, ...) with interesting events, such as an anniversary, a product launch, major investments, changes in personnel.

If there are no events present, you will have to create some. Organize an open house or hold lectures. You can make proposals to certain media (e.g. magazines) for journal articles on a specific subject, appear as an expert or write a journal article yourself. You can also offer your customers/clients something really special, such as an expert hotline, a free book or a raffle.

It is important that the event or occasion is interesting and arouses the attention among readers/viewers. So if you want to open a bakery in a city where there are already hundreds of them, neither the media nor the newspaper readers will be interested. But if you open an organic bakery, where people can also bake their own bread, it would be something very unusual and the media will certainly take it up. Organize events in cooperation with other companies or organizations. This way, you can create unusual events.

Always remember to make sure that your PR campaigns fit your company/association.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating local media, such as daily newspapers. Many people are subscribers to local newspapers - because of the local section. Let the local press know, what you do as a company/association.

Possible content for your news release could be the following:
  • News about the development of innovative products
  • News about the development of products for a special occasion, such as World Cup sausage
  • Messages that have serious consequences
  • Unusual news
  • Opinions or information about a current topic that affects/interests many people
  • News about record attempts (e.g. the Bavarian Red Cross set a record with getting 400 new blood donors within two days)
  • The parties are members of the public
  • Study results, test results, market surveys
  • Messages that have a benefit, such as events

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fast reaction with personalized videos through social media - Old Spice smells like great success

When advertising through social media, being quick is essential. There are not many companies that are fast and at the same time deliver appealing content. A company that was able to do so is Old Spice - with advertising for deodorant and body wash for men. Old Spice belongs to the Procter&Gamble group.

The clip „The Man your Man Could Smell Like“ by Old Spice with Isaiah Mustafa was first published on Youtube on February 2nd, 2010 and has had almost 15 million viewers since then. On June 29, 2010, the Clip „Questions“ was added. As the actor from the clip tells in an interview, the entire clip is one single shot without any CGI (computer-generated imagery). To build the set in Vallermo, California, took several days.

A week ago, an Old Spice hype started, as the company added personalized videos to its Youtube channel OldSpice. The "Old Spice Guy" from the commercials answered questions and responded to tweets - topless and just with a towel around the waste. Even conversations and flirts between him via video and (female) users via Twitter started. The Old Spice guy answered to random questions from users - almost in real time. Within 24 hours, more than 150 videos were created.

The video responses are between 20 and 60 seconds long and react to the users' comments (Tweets, Youtube comments, blog articles, facebook comments, reddit comments and others). The responses contain a lot of charm and humor and are also sexy.
Very funny are the video responses to the twitter question of @isaiahmustafa, the actor who plays Old Spice guy or also the question of Haley Mustafa (the actor's daughter) who wants to know why Old Spice guy looks so much like her dad.
One questions however remains: who is the actual target group of the Old Spice commercials?
Old Guy certainly speaks to the "ladies". Nevertheless, the products are for men. For sure, Old Spice guy is every woman's darling - maybe guys should become jealous? Or it speaks to women who should then go and buy Old Spice products for their men?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quote by Henry Ford - Marketing like chicken

"Ducks lay eggs discreetly, on the other hand a chicken makes noise so the whole estate can hear. What is the result? The whole world eats chicken eggs, just few use duck eggs.“ /Henry Ford

Act like chicken. Make noise. Market your product. Without marketing nobody will see you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Your online reputation: How to monitor yourself or your company on the Internet

A reputation can be easily damaged - especially on the Internet. Therefore, you should always check what appears online about you or your company/organization on the Internet.

Simply google your name and see what you find on the online. Then google the name of your company/organization. Also google your website to find out if and where it is mentioned. Additionally, you should enter your name, your company’s/organization’s name on Twitter to find out whether someone twittered about you.

This way, you can find out what others are saying about you or your company/association. You can also find out if your work or your business name is used (without your permission).

You should set up a Google Alert, so you do not always have to google your own name. You will be sent an email as soon as Google finds something on your search term.

If you find that someone uses your information, data or work without your permission, spreads negative information about you, you can either ignore it and hope that the person fails to do so in the future. You can, of course, confront the person directly, and also ask why she/he did it. A third possibility is to get professional help. There are firms or lawyers, who specialize in such cases and know what to do.

Do not forget to check again, what is distributed through online about you and make sure that your image does not suffer.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to make money with the World Cup 2010 - adjusting your marketing on major events

Every four years, there are some smart companies that are able to sell a lot of World Cup merchandise and products related to the World Cup for a lot of money - all with a good marketing strategy. These include not only companies in South Africa that earn their money with the many tourists who come into the country. Football fan articles are available (almost) everywhere worldwide and are purchased by customers worldwide.

According to the CEO of Intersport International, Franz Julen turnover from the World Cup in June and July was about 30 to 40 percent of the annual football sales - depending on the country and when the team is eliminated from the World Cup.

Products that are hot during the World Cup 2010 are jerseys, footballs and flags for the car. Also the flag that is attached on the mirrors of the car is enjoying great popularity in Germany this year. Annoying, but quite a sales hit - not only in Germany - are the Vuvuzelas. Those horns that make viewers think of a huge swarm of bees in the stadium.
Of course there are numerous other memorabilia, such as Hawaiian chains, fan hats, sweatbands, headbands, makeup, car magnets with the flag of a country, key rings, key chains, glasses, bags, stickers, cups, glasses - everything goes with the color of the country.

But you cannot only make money with these mentioned products. Even products that have to do with the host country South Africa are hot. Thus, supermarkets offer more wines from South Africa and also South African food during the World Cup.

As a company you should not only get the maximum revenue from the 2010 World Cup, but to also offer the best service to your customers - regarding football. Public transportation in Germany is a good example here: Hamburg's subway reports the scores of games during the World Cup on the display board and the German railway announces the scores on their trains. For non-football fans, this may seem trivial or even annoying. However, any football fans will welcome this service.
Other companies rely more on online services for football fans, such as animated World Cup calendars, projections etc.

Next time, think of mass events like the World Cup in advance, so you can offer special services to your customers, in order to differentiate from your competition.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mass customization - individual products

Following the example of product personalization or mass customization, numerous small companies in various product categories emerged.
With this mass customization that exactly follows the wishes of the customer, warehousing is (almost) not needed anymore. Products can be sold in very small quantities (one piece) and the customer receives a product exactly produced according to his wishes.

However, individualized products cost significantly more than similar products in the supermarket (surcharges of up to 200 % compared to standard versions). Customers accept the high price, as it gives them the chance of otbaining their absolute dream product.

Even large corporations are increasingly focusing on the individualization of their products. Thus, you can choose from various designs for products such as bags, shoes, t-shirts and laptops.

The personalization of a product can take place at different levels. Either by the imprint of a customer specified word or sentence, the (additional) adaptation of various product features (e.g. color, shape, size, ...) or by creating a completely new product by the customer (e.g. tea, cereal, sausage, chocolate). Some companies also offer the individual design of the products' packaging. So you can give your compiled product a special name and appearance of your choice.

Surprisingly, some companies are now offering their personalized products in shops, bars or cafés. This will require completely new business strategies. The online shops primarily form cooperations with small local businesses, which like the products offered.

All these mass customized products are not only individualized for the end user (public), but also for companies.
Often small companies want special products for events (such as an open day), for their long-standing customers or simply as a special promotional gift or give-away.

Maybe now you are thinking about giving some special müsli mix to your long-time customers with your company logo on it? Or as an organization you want to give your major donors a very special chocolate with their name on it?

Which online shops that specialize in mass customization do you like? Let me know and I will add them to the list.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stationery - have it printed professionally on recycling paper

As a company or association and as a freelancer, you should always worry about your appearance. It should be as professional as possible. So you should always use for your stationery Korespondenzen. You should also consider having your stationery printed professionally.

Whether you print your own stationery or have it printed, use better paper. Most people use cheap copy paper (80 g/m²). For a professional appearance, this is not really suitable. Experiment with different papers and try them out to make sure that you select a paper on which the ink runs from inkjet printing. Consider a slightly thicker paper such as 90 g/m². Also ensure that with the weight of the paper you do not exceed the normal weight limit for standard letters. Otherwise you will have to pay more postage.

Nowadays, there are different beautiful (white) papers made from 100% recycled paper - so that you can actively contribute to environmental protection. Should you not like a pure recycling paper, you can instead use an FSC-certified paper. The abbreviation FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. Resources for paper with this label come from sustainable forests.

If you have more stationery printed professionally, you should think about, which information will stay and which will be dated after a while. For example it makes little sense to have an address printed that will be changed soon anyways.

Even if it is cheaper to print more, do not print too many. Otherwise, years later you will have stationery that you do not really like anymore.