Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Marketing – Snail Mail Vs E-mail

It was not too long ago that most people had no internet leave alone e-mail address. But internet brought in a new era that is full of unlimited information. Internet gave birth to electronic mail popularly known as e-mail. E-mail opened new avenues to the world of communication. In the beginning e-mail was only used as another means of communicating with other people for personal or business related matters. Now people of every age group have an e-mail address. But, since past few years its potential for marketing has been exploited to its maximum both in good and as well as bad manner. At the same time who can disregard the services of direct mail which has been operating since nearly two centuries? It is still the preferred method of communication for many people.

E-mail is the cheapest method of communicating available as of this date. The advantage with email is that you can send email to many people at the same time just with the click of a mouse where as in the case of direct mails one has to go through putting letters in envelopes for each and every person, make different address labels, mail it and also have to bear the cost of mailing. Time is money and e-mail marketing saves a lot of time.

While e-mail marketing might look easy but if you compare the net result the story is totally different. When you are marketing through e-mail you go to make sure that you are e-mailing the right person otherwise the e-mail would end up going to junk folder. Also you got to be careful that you don't miss the subject or the body of the e-mail otherwise the net result would be same. In this age of spamming, spammers use variety of subjects, so you have to put the subject keeping in mind that it wouldn't send your e-mail to the spam folder again. In contract the direct mail gets a better treatment. Studies show that direct mail is more efficient and has better success than e-mail. First, it is not as easy to block direct mail as junk e-mail and secondly the process of blocking mails itself is not automated like e-mail. The other reason why people hate e-mail marketing is due to constant bombarding of e-mails from spammers and illegal marketers from Nigerian money scams to porn to online prescription drugs to stock quotes to what not. In addition to that, you also get promotional offers from big companies and who can ignore phishing these days. Due to all these people have developed a negative perception about e-mail marketing and they simply delete or spam the e-mail if they do not identify it as their regular e-mail. In contrast direct mail is seen with respect and people pick their mail as a daily routine and open them with a priority.

Direct mail has a personal feel attached to it, one of the reasons why people prefer mail greetings over an electronic greeting. It takes time to personalize a direct mail where as an e-mail is instant and the fate of e-mail is also instant i.e. immediate deletion. Researchers are constantly puzzled by the mystery surrounding why people are so enthusiastic about direct mail. But no worries this only good news for the marketers that they have something in their tool kit that works. So marketers have the mailing list of potential customers handy and send some nicely composed letters to them about your company and its products.

Snail mail has a potential of going through the hands of gatekeepers and administrative assistants before actually going to their boss which can end up being thrown in trash. The survival chances are rare unless its subject is business oriented and has some important information. But e-mail wins in this regard, as it reaches directly the person to which it is intended to go, after that its fate is left to the person whether to read or send it to spam folder.

A more scientific explanation of why direct mail is dearer to people than e-mail is the sensory perception of people. A direct mail uses three of the four senses of a person i.e. visual, verbal, listening and touching where as e-mail does not use sense of listening and touching. But this can be achieved by adding appealing graphics, text reading ability and streaming audio to the e-mail.

The statistics show that direct mail has not died and in fact the volume has grown by leaps and bounds in past few decades. A typical example is the fact that we receive more magazines, journals, mails from universities, DVDs etc. than we used to receive few years ago. This leaves the marketers with a dilemma about which method to use. The answer is simple, use email to contact only those people who you know and use direct mail for the people who don't know you.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a derivative of Internet marketing where the advertisement publisher gets paid for every customer or sales provided by him. Affiliate marketing is the basic for all other Internet marketing strategies. 

In this type of marketing, affiliate management companies, in-house affiliate managers and third party vendors are effectively utilized to use E-mail Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, RRS Capturing and Display Advertising for the success of the product. The web traffic can be traced with the help of a third party or own affiliate programs. A lot of work is involved in this process. At first marketing by this method involved lots of spamming, false advertising, trademark infringement, etc. But, after the invention of complex algorithms and advance security this has been regularized to make it safer for doing business and shopping online. This even led to the better scrutinizing of the terms and conditions by the merchants. Affiliate marketing became more profiting with the opening of more opportunities but at the same time it also increased the competition in marketing.

Due to this pressure in house affiliate programs for merchants became a thing of the past and were replaced by out-sourced programs. The companies that offered this service have expert affiliate and network program managers who have various affiliate program management techniques.  These affiliate networks have publishers associated with them who help them with the advertising part.

Affiliate marketing was started by cdnow.com who had music oriented websites. They placed list of music albums on their site and they paid others if they put those links in their websites when a visitor bought their album through their site. The first company to link with cdnow.com was Geffen Records. Two months later, Amazon was offered by a woman that she would sell Amazon's books on her website and she should be paid a certain percentage in return if she sold Amazon's books through her site. They liked the idea and started the Amazon associates program. It was more of a commission program where they received a commission if a visitor clicked their links and banners on other's site and bought anything through it.

Since its invention, the affiliate network has been adopted by various businesses like travel, education, telecom, mobile, gaming, personal finance, retail, and subscription sites, the most common being adult and gambling sectors. In UK alone, affiliate marketing produced £ 2.16 billion.

The compensation methods used are Cost per sale (CPS), Cost per action (CPA), Cost per mile (CPM) and Cost per click (CPC). The first two are the more famous methods today. This is because in CPM and CPC, the visitor which turns up on a particular website might not be the targeted audience and a click would be enough to generate commission. CPS and CPA have a compulsion that the visitor not only clicks on the link but also buys something or signs up for some service after it which proves that he is among the targeted audience. Only in the above case the affiliate gets paid. So the affiliate should try to send as much targeted traffic as possible to the advertiser in order to increase his/her returns and for this reason affiliate marketing is also known as performance marketing because it totally depends on the performance of the affiliate. The affiliate team can be differentiated from a sales team from the nature of their jobs. The job of the affiliate team is to drag targeted traffic to a point and from that point it's the job of the sales team to influence the visitor to buy the product or the service.

This is a very effective kind of method because the money is being paid only when results have been achieved. The publisher incurs all the cost except that of initial setup and development of the program, which is incurred by the merchant. Many businesses give credit to this method of marketing for their success.

Selasa, 30 April 2013

Marketing Management

Marketing management involves choosing target markets that not only get new customers but also retain the existing ones. It is a business subject, which is based on research and study of practical applications of marketing techniques and management of the marketing resources. The one who excels in this field is known as marketing manager. The job of the marketing manager is to influence the timing and level of customer demand so as to help the sales. It actually depends on the size of the business and environment in the corporate industry. Like if he is working in a huge production company, he will be the general manager of a particular product category assigned to him and he will be responsible for profit and loss with respect to the product. And in small business there is no marketing manager as his job is taken over by the partners of the company.

Creating and communicating best customer values can increase the number of customers. The steps taken and resources utilized to maintain existing customers and get new customers fall under marketing management. The scope is quite large because it not only consists of developing a product, but also retaining it. The term marketing management has many definitions. It actually depends on individual firms and how the marketing department functions and activities of other departments like operations finance, pricing and sales. 

Before deciding about a marketing strategy, the company must do an in-depth study about their business, and the market. This is where marketing management merges with strategic planning. Usually the marketing strategies are of three types, customer analysis, company analysis and competitor analysis. Using the customer analysis, the market is broken down into different types of customers. The marketing management realizes the characteristics and other variables of each group. They are geographical location, demographic, customer behavior pattern and need. Like a group of people can be recognized who can be less price sensitive, purchases often and are growing. Such groups can be worked on by heavy investments as they are worth the money and time. They cannot only retain such customers and make new customers in this group but they can go to the very extent of turning back customers who don't belong to this group. Understanding the needs makes customer's expectations to be met per their satisfaction, better than the competitors, which will lead to higher sales and obvious profit.

Company analysis highlights the cost structure and resources of the company and cost position when compared to competitors. The accounting executives use it to learn about the profit earned by a particular product. From time to time, audits are conducted to study about the strengths of various brands of the company.

Marketers using competitor analysis build detail customer profiles. It gives a clear picture about the strengths and weaknesses of the firm, when compared to a competitor. The competitor's cost structure, resources, competitive positioning, degree of vertical integration, product differentiation, and profits are studied in detail and are compared to what company is doing in those regards.

The marketing management to do marketing analysis carries out marketing research. The most common of such researches are qualitative marketing research, quantitative marketing research, experimental techniques and observational techniques.

After all the studies and researches are conducted, its easier for the marketing manager to make strategic decisions and they then can design a marketing strategy to increase the profits and revenues of their company. The other goals can be profit over the long run, market share, and revenue growth.

Digital Marketing

Utilizing online distributions methods to promote products is known as digital marketing. This approach is both time saving and cost effective. Digital marketing is done through items such as cell phones, SMS, MMS, instant messaging, websites, emails, banner advertisement and digital billboards.

Digital marketing involves some of the techniques of direct marketing and Internet marketing. In digital marketing traditional methods of promotions are executed digitally. It involves marketing in two forms, pull and push.

Pull digital marketing requires the user to pull or extract the content directly. The customer has to approach the promotional matter and see the matter by himself. Examples are websites, forums and web logs. All these require clicking on a URL in order to view the content. The content that is being displayed doesn't have to follow any guidelines. Effort is required to only display the content on the website or forum and there is no additional cost of sending the information to the customer, but the customer has to make the extra effort of reaching to the content .The customer doesn't have to opt-in for such kind of promotion and one message is being viewed by all and it cannot be personalized. The customers who see the content cannot be traced, although the click through rate can be considered which give details about the number of clicks the message received. This is be done by enabling the click though tracking during the campaign, which records the information.

Push digital marketing technologies requires the effort of both the marketer and the customer. The marketer has to push or send the content to the customer and the customer has to make the effort of receiving it. This is a very effective kind of marketing and the investments surely earn a big return as it creates brand recognition. SMS, MMS, emails, RSS podcasting are examples of push digital marketing. Since the content is sent to individuals, it can be personalized according to the intended recipient. Whether the message has been opened and viewed by the customer or deleted it can be tracked and reported. Information related to the customer such as name, geographical location could be traced. But when sending this king of message, certain criteria should be met as the SMS and emails sent are monitored. If the marketer doesn't follow the rules and regulations properly, there is a possibility of messages getting rejected and blocked, before they reach the targeted audience and the message is considered to be spam. Bigger consequences involve marketers getting blacklisted temporarily or even permanently. The number would be blocked and they won't be able to send any messages at all. Messages sent to the RSS feeders require a mechanism with an application to reach, when sent by an email marketing system. 

Both forms of digital marketing should be used in consonance to achieve positive results. A smart marketer sends out emails along with SMS and uses multiple channels to market his products. The type of messages being sent should also be different from one another. They should not only be text, but animations, audios and videos. There is a possibility of using pull and push message technologies in conjunction like the email sent to a potential customer can have a URL or a banner ad, which on clicking downloads information. If there is enormous group of people to be reached via email, Email service providers can be hired who sends loads of emails to the customers on behalf of the marketer and they take measures so that the messages are not considered as spam.

Although much of the marketing is opt-in, federal laws, such as CAN SPAM Act, have been passed to protect the customers from unscrupulous marketers who would go to any extent to promote their products or hackers or spammers who have a bad intent i.e. like harming the computer or installing adware, spyware on people's computers.

Sabtu, 27 April 2013

The Disadvantages of a Career in Financing

When we were young, we already had an idea of what we want to be when we go grow up. Sometimes, these changes as the years go by. While there are advantages in whatever profession we choose, we should also look at the disadvantages if this for instance will be a career in financing.

What is wrong with financing? If you think about it, nothing given that it is an honest job with a considerable rewards. But not everyone will be able to stay here for the long term which is why you have to weigh the pros and cons.

First, can you see yourself doing mathematical computations and giving advice to someone who is probably earning more than you? The truth is, some people can while others can't.

The best test of all will be how well you excel in subjects like calculus and economics in school. You have to be able to understand these concepts and then use these tools to your advantage. Then again, there are people who may be good in one subject or both while there are those who will probably excel in other subjects.

Learning concepts is one thing but doing this job every single day is another. A good idea will be to talk to professionals who are already in the financial industry and see how it is working there. Make up a list of questions and ask for clarifications if there is something that you do not understand.

It will also be a good idea to read up on the finance industry so you know what you are getting yourself into 4 years from now once you graduate from college.

If you still choose to have a career in financing, here are some of the disadvantages you will hear or experience. You shouldn't be discouraged about them but keep them in mind as you are starting your career in finance.

Professionals who have obtained their CPA's and start work as accountants do not earn that much compared to those who are involved in investment banking and consulting. Also, they handle multiple projects at certain times especially during the end of the financial year or when it is time to file income tax that means overtime just to get the job done.

There is also the pressure given that you are in a fast paced game and you are dealing with other people's money. If you screw up, this could mean financial ruin for them and you will be hired on the spot. But those who succeed can get a promotion, earn much more than they did before and even get to work abroad.

If you think about it, there are advantages and disadvantages in just about any job or career that you decide to pursue. How you are able to deal with it is the challenge that you will have to face on your own. Those who can stand the pressure will probably stay for the long term while those who don't will quit and shift into another career.

Doing some research and getting your feet wet will probably give you an idea of how things are like working in the finance industry. This is what on the job training or internships are for so you know what its like in the real world.

With this information, you can then see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for you to purse a career in financing.

Steps Towards an Insurance Agent Finance Career Change

Everything changes. Nothing in this world is permanent except change. The dream of an insurance agent finance career change may not be just a dream. It is possible and will come true if one knows what to do in order to achieve what they want to happen.

Insurance Agent 101

Who are these people who are known as the insurance agents? They sell policies that have something to do with insurance to different individuals. This is why they are also known as insurance sales agents.

These agents are classified according to groups. They may be captive agents. These agents work for one insurance company and their job is to sell the products of that company. The brokers, also known as independent agents of insurance are affiliated with different companies.

The clients for this workforce are the families, even individuals and certain businesses. It all depends on the type of policies that they are selling. Some examples of these policies are health or life insurance, property, even casualty, disability and those that cater to long term care. These agents may also sell variable type of annuities, or mutual funds and other kinds of securities.

There is really no educational requirement to be able to succeed in this type of work. A person needs to be able to strategize on their selling skills. There are some companies that require their agents to be college graduates. Others may even prefer those with a degree in business. But for other firms, a high school diploma would suffice.

There are different processes regarding the renewal of license for the agents in different US states. All these states oblige every insurance agent to have a license. They need to get different licenses depending on what kind of policies they are selling. Many states even require these sales agents to fulfill a pre-licensing course and then pass the examinations prepared by the state where they are.

Decided to Move On

Being an insurance agent is a profitable career, especially if you are good in sales. But if you are really decided to make the move for a career change, then here are some tips for you to think about.

First, think hard. See if the other opportunities are really better. Weigh every option. Finding a new job may be easy. But finding the job that would really fulfill you may be the harder part. So think about everything and decide on your own if you really need to make the leap.

You also have to see the world in general. What are your options? Do you think it will be easy to penetrate that other field? Do you think that you can handle the sudden diversion of things after making the move towards the other career? If so, then maybe you really are better off with that especially if you are no longer being fulfilled by your current job.

You better have a list of goal. Include on that list the ways in which you would like to attain those goals. It will be easier for you to shift if you have other plans that you can fall back on if you did not succeed with the first action.

An insurance agent finance career change is an achievable aim. All you have to do is persevere and know what you are getting into before deciding to get out to where you used to be.

Jumat, 19 April 2013

Protecting Your Affiliate Commissions

There are numerous software products on the market
that range from 15 – 50 dollars for special types
of software that’ll assist you in protecting your
affiliate marketing commissions. The effectiveness
and ease of use for the programs range greatly, so
before you buy one, you should always learn as
much as you possibly can.

Banner servers
Banner servers not only serve banners, as many of
the more recent servers will also display text
links as well. The link coding that’s associated
with served ads is normally long, so that the
visitor won’t be able to see on the status bar
where the redirect is heading.

Click tracking software
Click counting software will not show the target
URL as the links point inwards to the software,
which is normally installed on your own website.

Once someone has clicked on the link, the click
tracking application will then redirect the
visitor to the URL that you have specified within
the script. The click tracking software will also
provide a great way to monitor the usefulness of
your ads and not just relying on the reports
that merchants will provide.

Protecting your commissions is extremely important,
as you want to get paid for what you do. Even
though fraud is possible with affiliate marketing,
you can protect yourself. Fraudsters have certain
techniques and tactics they use, which you can
protect yourself from.

If you own your own business, the last thing you
want to experience is either credit card fraud or
affiliate fraud. They do happen on a regular
basis, simply because those who have it happen
haven’t taken the necessary steps they should
have to protect themselves.