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Author: Maybell Marquina

It doesn’t take a worldwide financial crisis for people to appreciate a good bargain, but it no doubt helps. We are not just a nation of bargain hunters, we are a worldwide family of people who like to find that extra something that costs substantially less than it should.

When Asa Candler started giving out complementary coupons for his new company product, Coca-Cola, in 1887, he didn’t know that his unique marketing method would generate billions of dollars worth of income for countless companies over the next 125 year or so. We all love coupons, for they represent a bargain.

We also like it when someone we know gets a bargain. We might ask a friend if he or she got a good deal on their new car, or we might congratulate  someone when they tell us that their purchase of a new house was an amazing deal. This is especially so if they had to haggle on the price.

Perhaps it’s a kind of hunter instinct in us. We like it when there is a struggle to get what we or others feel is deserved. Just being handed a great deal is good, and we don’t usually argue, but having to work at getting it, haggling over the price, or doing something similar, always feels better.

However, when we find a place we can go to in order to find a bargain, we will happily take it. That’s why there are so many Best Daily Deals type of websites to be found online in their hundreds. They all have a loyal following, and will continue to, no doubt, as long as they can continue to deliver on their promise.

The idea is straightforward, and it usually employs the simple, but incredibly effective, marketing ploy that Asa Candler started all those years ago; the coupon. Online you won’t find a physical coupon, a slip of paper you can take along to a store in order to get 20% off, or whatever. The modern coupon is often no more than a special code, and in fact it is often referred to as a coupon code.

Many companies use coupons, or something similar, to retain a loyal customer base. They will often have a valid coupon code based on things like, summer, Easter, Christmas, winter, and the like. You may have to search around to find the current coupon, and many do just that, Others, who either can’t be bothered, or who don’t know that coupon codes exist, pay the normal, and higher, price.

If you want to find a good bargain, a great deal, or just simply pay less than you normally would for something, look for a coupon, or a coupon code. Do a search on one of the major search engines. You’ll find plenty of daily deals that could save you thousands.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/online-promotion-articles/looking-for-a-bargain-or-a-great-deal-6008986.html

About the Author

May Marquina is a freelance content creator in Arvada, Colorado. A thrifty shopper, she is always hunting for methods to spend less. She covers great deals at www.dailypocketdeals.com as she discovers them.

Author: drypen

For the brand concept encompasses all of the brand’s distinctive signs ( name, logo, symbol, colors, endorsing characteristics and even its slogan), it is the brand name that is talked about, asked for or prescribed. It is therefore natural that we should devote particular attention to this fact of the brand creation process: choosing a name for the brand.

What is the best name to choose to build a strong brand? Is there anywhere a particular type of name that can thus guarantee brand success? Looking at some so-called strong brands will help us answer these usual questions: Coca-Cola, IBM, Marlboro, Perrier, Dim, Kodak, and Schweppes … what do these brand names have in common? Coca-Cola referred to the product’s ingredients when it was first created; the original meaning of IBM (International Business Machines) has disappeared; Schweppes is hard to pronounce; Marlboro is a place; Kodak, onomatopoeia. The conclusion of this quick overview is reassuring: to make a strong brand, any name can be used (or almost any), provided that there is a consistent effort over time to give meaning to this name, i.e. to give the brand a meaning of its own.

Does this mean that there is no need to give much thought to the brand name, apart from the mere problem of ensuring that the brand can be registered? Not at all, because following some basic selection rules and trying to choose the right name will save you time, perhaps several years, when it comes to making the baby brand a big brand. The question of time is crucial: the brand has to conquer a territory of its own. From the very start, therefore, it must anticipate all of its potential changes.

The brand name must be chosen with a view to the brand’s future and destiny, not in relation to the specific market and product situation at the time of its birth. As companies generally function the other way around, it seems more than appropriate to provide some immediate information on the usual pitfalls to avoid when choosing a brand name, and also to give a reminder of certain principles.

Brand name or product name?

Choosing a name depends on the destiny that is assigned to the brand. One must therefore distinguish the type of research related to creating a full-fledged brand name – destined to expand internationally, to cover a large product line, and to last – from the opposite related to creating a product name with a more limited scope in space and time. Emphasis, process time and financial investments will certainly be different in both cases.

The danger of descriptive names

Ninety per cent of the time, manufacturers want the brand name to describe the product which the brand is going to endorse. They like the name to describe what the product does (an aspirin that would be called Headache) or is (a biscuit brand that would be called Biscuito; a direct banking service called Bank Direct). This preference for denotative names shows that companies do not understand what brands are all about and what their purpose really is. Remember: brands do not describe products – brands distinguish products.

Choosing a descriptive name also amounts to missing out on all the potential of global communication. The product’s characteristics and qualities will be presented to the target-audience thanks to the advertisements, the sales people, direct marketing, articles in specialized periodicals and the comparative studies done by consumer associations. It would thus be a waste to have the brand name merely repeat the same message that all these communication means will convey in a much more efficient and complete way. The name, on the contrary must serve to add extra meaning, to convey the spirit of the brand. For products do not live forever: their lifecycle is indeed limited.

The meaning of the brand name should not get mixed up with the product characteristics that a brand presents when it is first created. The founders of Apple were well aware of this: within a few weeks the market would know that Apple made microcomputers it was therefore unnecessary to fall into the trap of names such as Micro computers International or computer Research systems. In calling themselves Apple, on the contrary, they could straightaway convey the brands durable uniqueness (and not just the characteristics of the temporary Apple-1): this uniqueness has to do more with the other facts of brand identity that with its physique (i.e. its culture, its relationship, its personality, etc).

The brand is not the product. The brand name therefore should not describe what the product does but reveal or suggest a difference.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/how-to-choose-a-strong-brand-name-5995311.html

About the Author

Drypen provides action-oriented intelligence for management professionals that’s smart, useful, crisp and just a click away.

A Brand Building Strategy Hub

Author: David Little

While stock markets around the world retrace, the financial picture of Greece and Spain flounders and the world holds its collective breath waiting to see if there’ll be an attack on Iran and a spike in oil prices, there is a piece of outstanding economic news for those involved in the place-based digital media market.

2011 was a great year for digital out-of-home advertising, and this year is setting up to be even better. Data from PQ Media released in April show that global digital place-based networks, billboards and signage operators saw revenue grow by 15.3 percent to $6.97 billion last year. This year, the revenue figure is projected to be even better, growing 19.2 percent.

In the United States, DOOH operator revenue climbed by 11.2 percent last year. According to PQ Media, an econometric research and consulting service in Stamford, CT, digital billboard operators saw double-digit revenue growth and operators of place-based networks saw a high single-digital rate of growth.

According to the PQ Media “Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2012-16,” the compound annual global growth rate for the five year period will be 13.7 percent. Much of the revenue growth appears tied to a recognition of how important it is to reach consumers outside the home where they make purchases. “While TV remains the 800-pound gorilla of ad-based media due to its reach, scarcity and measurement, DPNs (digital place-based networks) offer brands opportunities to extend their reach by engaging target consumers with contextually relevant content in venues outside the home,” said PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn.

Digital signage networks were one of the fastest-growing ad-based media in the United States last year. While PQ Media acknowledged a deceleration in the rate of growth in the second half of 2011 due to cyclical economic events, it found digital place-based networks experienced a revenue increase of 10.7 percent from 2006 to 2011.

According to PQ Media, digital place-based networks are likely to benefit indirectly from the Summer Olympics in London and the U.S. political campaign this fall. Both traditionally inject significant revenue into local television stations as well as cable and broadcast networks. This time around, however, PQ Media foresees a scarcity of TV inventory. As a result, major brands squeezed off television could be forced to consider other video platforms, such as digital place-based networks, said Quinn.

The latest revenue tally from PQ Media is another in a growing string of positive developments over the past couple of years for the digital signage industry. Together, they wins demonstrate that digital placed-based media is a viable and being taken seriously by companies with products to sell and the advertising agencies they hire.

The growing availability of audience metrics for digital place-based media is adding a sense of legitimacy about this new medium for those who control where ad dollars get spent. The PQ Media ad revenue numbers, therefore, shouldn’t be too surprising.

Going forward, the next big test for this medium will likely be whether or not those responsible for buying ads will reallocate dollars from television to digital place-based media.

With the possibility of too few available commercial slots on TV in the second half of the year, there might be a hint as to whether digital place-based media can begin taking on the “800-pound gorilla” and winning.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/advertising-articles/digital-signage-advertising-hits-its-stride-5986204.html

About the Author

David Little is a charter member of the Digital Screenmedia Association with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to effectively communicate. For further digital signage insight from Keywest Technology, visit our website for many helpful tips and examples. For more in-depth research from Keywest Technology, download our free digital signage white papers and case studies.

Author: Tim Hawthorne

Direct response is all about getting consumers to take action. Pick up the phone, visit a website, respond to an ad on a mobile phone — these are all responses that direct marketers focus on as they develop campaigns. It just makes sense that quick response (QR) codes would have a place in a DR marketer’s toolkit.

First developed in Japan in 1994, these high-density, two-dimensional graphic images are basically just barcodes comprised of digital squares instead of bars. The composite of these ‘squares,’ often looking like crossword puzzles on steroids, come together to create codes, which, in turn, house the data that are scanned by mobile devices. The devices quickly scan and digest the code’s information block, translating it into hyperlinks or text information.

QR codes are being used across a wide variety of advertising mediums — from magazine ads to television to billboards. They allow for easy tracking of offline marketing efforts, provide a new channel for direct sales, and help stretch advertising dollars. Using QR codes, for example, marketers can cultivate a bigger pool of VIP customers (who take the time to scan the codes into their phones) and educate consumers in ways that billboards or magazine ads or 30-second TV spots cannot, while increasing brand awareness.

QR codes are also good at getting consumers involved in key issues. To gain public support for the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill, for example, the Women of the Storm club in New Orleans launched a ‘Be the One’ campaign, based on QR codes that sent consumers to a mobile website where they could watch a video and sign a petition in support of Gulf restoration.

Retailers have also caught onto the value of QR codes. Macy’s has integrated the codes into its holiday advertising campaign and its spring fashion promotion. The ‘Macy’s Backstage Pass’ campaign delivers consumer-oriented video content (including fashion advice, tips, trends and inspirations) according to Marketing Daily. Customers who scan the QR codes gain access to 30-second films showcasing Macy’s celebrity designer partners.

The list of QR code users goes on: Best Buy uses them in its offline ads and in-store displays (once scanned, the codes send consumers to the retailer’s mobile product pages), while clothing retailer Lacoste offers a discount to customers who scan its QR codes, play an online arcade game, and then register after playing.

Simple and affordable to set up and administer, the QR code’s low barrier to entry makes these mechanisms attractive across a wide swath of advertisers. To ensure that your own campaign yields the best results, follow these three tips:

1. Define your goals first. Do you want to get more people to your firm’s website? Provide an instructional video? Give certain customers an inside, VIP look at new offerings? Collect registration information? Whittle it down to one or two specific goals and your odds for success will rise exponentially.

2. Focus on the call to action. Much like you would do with a DRTV campaign, develop a well-defined call to action (CTA) to support the goals you’ve identified. That CTA will reside next to the code itself and should be short and to the point. For example: ‘Scan this code to see our newest attraction,’ or ‘Scan this code for a special discount.’

3. Create a compelling landing page. The mobile landing page that consumers see when they scan the QR code should relate directly to the first two steps. Create a dedicated site that only QR code users can access and make sure the site functions well on all mobile handsets.

When assessing the campaign’s success, focus on the length of engagement time generated by the QR code. If consumers are spending several minutes (or more) on the page you’ve directed them to, you have a successful campaign on your hands. If not, it’s time to revisit your campaign, check your code’s scanability (an issue caused by the many different scanning apps and phones currently in use), re-craft your CTA, and try again.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/deciphering-the-qr-code-5941089.html

About the Author

Author of over 200 published articles, Tim Hawthorne is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a full service DRTV and New Media ad agency founded in 1986. Since then, Hawthorne has produced or managed over 800 Direct Response TV campaigns for clients such as Apple, Braun, Nikon,Time-Life, Nissan, Oreck, Bose, and Feed the Children, Tim is a co-founder of the Electronic Retailing Association, has delivered over 100 speeches worldwide and is the author of the definitive DRTV book The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing. A cum laude graduate of Harvard, Tim was honored with the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) in 2006.

Author:
Mark Dale

A measly sounding improvement in this conversion rate could easily mean a improvement in your overall profitability.

Nothing to be sneezed at!!

Many online marketers are satisfied with 2-3% conversion rates.

But why settle for the mere average when there are marketers out there with proven 10 20& 30(or more!) conversion rates?

(If you don’t believe these conversion rates are possible, email Nettclicks for a real case study which will show you that this is easily attainable within a short time frame)

There are many important elements on you landing page that can help you boost conversion rates almost immediately. These are:

1. Headline – a powerful headline on your landing page will commit visitors to read on. Grab their attention, make them curious, appeal to their immediate needs & tell them so explicitly in numbers if you can. And don’t be afraid to use long headlines and sub-headlines if they help to get the point across.

Does headline a) or b) below grabs your attention? And why?

a) The Best Accounting Software in the World: Available With Acclaimed Support when You Buy From the Industry Trusted ABC Co.

b) Work Dilemma: Do You Go Home Early or a Have Longer Lunch?

XYZ guarantees to save you at least 41 mins per day in your book-keeping duties…and it’s totally up to you on how you spend all that extra time!

Once you think you have a good powerful headline, you must test it and improve on it! (If you don’t know how to do this, contact Nettclicks for free advise)

2. Scarcity – make your offer(s) urgent and/or scarce. Putting a time or quantity limit so that it propels the visitors to commit to an action. If there is no urgency to commit to anything, they are likely to leave and never come back (or find a better offer that compels them to act!)

3. Use Multimedia – your landing page can stand out through the use of video or audio media. It adds extra sensory elements to the decision process, especially if what you offer on audio/video can capture their imagination or teach them something useful.

It can also help with verifying authenticity when they hear a reassuring voice or an honest face explaining an offer or process to them.

(Nettclicks can show you how to implant a relevant YouTube video on to your landing page to help with your sales conversion – without violating copyright laws – reply email to find out how)

4. You, Not We – cut out uses of WE, meaning you should cut down on any excessive self promotion.

Visitors are essentially selfish – so get to their point of  ‘what’s in it for me?’

Use YOU regularly instead of WE and use language/graphics that appeal to the visitor in the first person so there is better connection on the landing page.

5. Testimonials work – good testimonials add a sense of reliability and ‘social proof’ factor to your offer. Refer to good reviews, post genuine testimonials and use them liberally to show that your products and services have been well received by other like minded people/organizations.

6. Bullet proof – research has shown that many visitors scan through landing pages quickly – so whatever your landing page is (long or short) there should be concise bullet points somewhere to summarize the benefits and features. Bullet points are eye-candy for the time-poor and attention-poor visitors online – they will get it quickly if you can get the message across concisely.

7. Be secure – information privacy and payment securely at big factors in online transactions. Make sure your landing page has the right graphics and concise language to appease security/privacy conscious visitors (if you would like some examples of good graphics/page layout to help with offering visitors that better sense of online security, reply to Nettclicks for more details)

8. Guarantee it – Bunnings has a no-questions-asked return guarantee on all their products. That offers trust and comfort.

So should you!

Your landing page should always offer your products and services with a guarantee – research shows that without it, you have no hope of converting traffic. And if you guarantee it, deliver on that guarantee. Nothing worse than being lampooned on social media if you don’t deliver on promises!!

9. Clear CTA – you should continually check that your landing page has a concise Call to Action for your visitors. If you want them to buy – show them clearly where to click to buy. If you want them to opt in for a free email report – show them clearly (and regularly) on how to opt in.

(If you are not sure whether your landing page has a clear and concise CTA, contact Nettclicks for an obligation free opinion)

By following these 9 pointers for a better converting land page, you too can get your landing page conversion rates to 10o% & beyond!

As usual, should you have any questions or need a clarification on any of the tips discussed on this email, please don’t hesitate to call or email Nettclicks.

Good luck in your traffic conversion!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ppc-advertising-articles/9-landing-page-fixes-to-improve-conversions-5944575.html

About the Author

As usual, should you have any questions or need a clarification on any of the tips discussed on this email, please don’t hesitate to call or email Nettclicks.

Good luck in your traffic conversion!

Author: Linda Mentzer

White papers are a highly effective platform to convey the right mix of technical and marketing information to knowledgeable customers who make the final decision. A well written white paper educates your customer, differentiates your product and brings you closer to a sale with a self selected and interested audience.

For decision makers, white papers are the shortest and most efficient solution to evaluate a product and view independent research/surveys that support the products credibility. Decision makers look to white papers to answer the question – How will your product help solve my business needs.

A white paper (also known as an issues paper, position paper or thought leadership paper) frames certain issues that are of interest to a specific industry. White papers…

  • Educate
  • Clarify the broad outlines of an issue/topic to non-specialists
  • Summarize the implications of new business development
  • State specific approaches to a particular issue or market
  • Introduce a new opinion/way of thinking to business

White Paper matters!

If you have the ability to create white papers that help your customers and prospects, and also get you leads and build credibility and trust, then white paper still matters. There are so many firms for whom whitepaper still proves itself empirically (downloads, time spent on page, repeat visitor of page) as a great way to educate less-ready leads and tell them about an emerging space, technology or service.

Battle-Proving Stats

As per latest trends:

  • 54% indicate white papers are still the most important content to help make purchase decisions, greatly exceeding all other content such as analyst reports, webinars, user events and case studies.
  • 41% indicate white papers as extremely important in influencing purchases.
  • 70% of IT buyers used white papers to get information on enterprise technology solutions in the past three months.
  • 77% of respondents responsible for either making b2b technology purchase or influencing purchasing decisions read at least one white paper in the first six months of 2011, with 84% rating white papers as moderately to extremely influential when making final purchasing decisions, and 89% passing along to others.

So, are these trends indicating a death of white papers? The answer is, white papers are and have been one of the top forms of lead generation. Here we go with some of the proved reasons:

Reason 1 – They are viral by nature. People pass them around, post them and email them to other people. Yes, you can do that with a link also, but there is something powerful about a packaged and polished PDF.

Reason 2 – Even the ones that suck, people still save them, people print them, people study them, and people use them to make decisions.

Reason 3 – And if you are talking about the future, then don’t forget about the IPad and the Kindle. People still love reading a good quality content. The white paper may change names (i.e. eBook) or access requirements, but it will never die.

So forget about the speculation, the reality is that white paper still rank as the first or second most powerful tools available to marketers. They still represent a concise and portable argument on a particular topic and can be tremendous lead generators.

References:

www.esalesdata.com

www.tomgoodfellow.co.uk

http://www.focus.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/top-3-reasons-white-paper-is-not-dead-5927941.html

About the Author

Linda Mentzer is a published author and senior marketing manager for an information management company that has helped sell thousands of software products on a global scale. With over 11 years of experience in electronic marketing techniques, Linda has authored articles for several leading business journals, worldwide.

Author: Jerry Canavit

Having worked in the creative end of this business for a good while, I have often been asked  ‘How do you come up with advertising ideas?’ Do ideas just happen

So why do some seem to be so prolific at generating ideas while others are seemingly so challenged?  Does it have something to do with genes? Intelligence?

Or, a magic formula?

Well, first let me say that I believe that most everyone has the potential to be creative.

I also believe that those who find success at being creative have identified and practice a problem-solving approach to doing so. They may not understand how the process actually works, but they’ve come to understand that there is a creative process involved.

I’m not even going to attempt to try and analyze this topic in a broad sense, but rather to limit it to how a very definite process is in play when producing messages in marketing communications mediums. I believe there is no magic formula for producing ideas, however, I do believe there is a process that can serve as a guide to how ideas can be generated.

Here are my thoughts:

In marketing communications you can produce ideas in basically two ways. You can ‘borrow’ an existing idea or approach, adapt it to your needs (with slight modification, of course), and Presto, you have your own idea (and we all know there is a lot of that going on out there). Or, you can try to create something that is totally original and unique to the product or service you are promoting.

Now, we all strive to do the latter, however, the truth is that it is very difficult to do this every time. Do you remember the last time you came up with  a totally original idea?

It does happen, but not very often.

More often than not, an advertising idea is a combination of existing ideas that we’ve  seen or heard before, that can be used in a different and unexpected way – the familiar cliché seen differently, if you will. This ability to see and make new combinations is heightened by an ability to see how things relate – and to combine them to create effective and memorable marketing communications messages.

I do believe that the generation of these ideas is the result of a deliberate problem-solving process that leads to this end. I therefore offer two statements which I believe are at the source of idea generation. They are:

  1. An idea is usually a new combination of existing ideas.
  2. The ability to create new combinations is heightened by the ability to see relationships between existing ideas.

…therefore, creativity in advertising communications involves using combinations of known elements and an ability to see relationships that allow these elements to be considered in different ways. With that said, I will continue with a discussion about a technique for producing ideas.

The Five Steps in the Process of Producing Ideas:

Step One: Gather Raw Material.

The gathering process falls into two categories: Specific and General.

Specific: In marketing communications, Specific materials are those relating to the product or service and the people to whom you want to sell this product or service. We need knowledge about the product and the consumer on an intimate level. We dig for FACTS. We do RESEARCH. The process here  is called PREPARATION.

General: Equally as important is General information. This information involves a continuous process of gathering general materials and life experiences that are relative to the problem being solved.

A good analogy here is the kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscope is an instrument that designers can use to look for new patterns. Every turn of this instrument shifts bits of glass into new patterns (or relationships). The more pieces, the more possibilities for new combinations. Comparatively, the more elements stored in your mind, the more chances are increased for the production of new ideas.

To reiterate, Specific information is information relative to the current problem-solving challenge, and General information is the total content of your kaleidoscopic mind reserve – and is a life-long job.  Both contain the seeds for planting – taking us to . . .

Step Two: Into the Mental Maelstrom.

The second step is hard to describe. It goes on entirely in your head. Like chewing food – mashing information and facts together.  Looking for relationships; for a synthesis of where everything will come together like a jigsaw puzzle.

In this part of the process, two things will happen: First, you’ll have partial ideas – some crazy and incomplete. You should write them all down. They may forecast the real idea that is yet to emerge. Writing everything down helps the process.

Second, after a period of time you may tire of trying to fit this puzzle together (not all solutions come quickly). Everything seems jumbled. There seems to be no clear insight anywhere. At this point, you are ready for the next step.

Step Three: Incubation.

The third part of the process can be called the incubation stage. This is where you make absolutely no more conscious effort in looking for a solution. You drop the subject completely and put the whole thing out of your mind. Now I have no idea why this works, but I have found that it does. Apparently, when you turn problems over to your unconscious mind and let it work on its own – it can solve problems. Sometimes it comes in a revelation after a nights sleep – or while in the shower – or during a walk. I have also found that by dropping the problem-solving effort completely and turning to things that stimulate me imaginatively and emotionally – like reading a book, listening to music, or even going to a movie ­– things can happen. Not all solutions come this way, however,  my point here is that it often works this way.

A good example of this technique is in old Sherlock Holmes movies when the famous detective would stop abruptly in the middle of a tough case and begin playing his violin or even drag a baffled Dr.Watson off to a concert. This was, of course, very irritating to the literal-minded Dr. Watson who never seemed to grasp why Holmes would consistently resort to this behavior when they were right in the middle of solving a case. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle understood – for he was a creator and understood the creative process and the power of the unconscious mind.

Now, if you’ve done your homework in the first three steps, you will almost certainly experience the fourth.

Step Four: Eureka!

Out of nowhere the idea can appear. It may come sometime when you least expect it.

For me it’s happened in the middle of the night, when I’m half awake in the morning – or, more often when I’m showering or shaving. For you it might be something different. My point is that ideas can sometimes come seemingly out of nowhere after you’ve stopped all of the conscious straining and have passed through a period of rest and relaxation from the search. And when the idea actually materializes, it can be so all-consuming that it becomes difficult to concentrate on much else. The application of the idea can become so involving that other competing activities can pale into a paralysis. This can provide very difficult challenges if you happen to be in the middle of a meeting or if you are working on an unrelated project with a hot deadline.  Sometimes when the ideas start rolling out quickly, like giving birth, it requires immediate attention.

This step is also particularly difficult in that it involves a constant assessment of the

value of the idea and to see exactly where it can be taken.  This can be a period of frustration for creative people. Some don’t recognize or even care about the process that generated the idea. The truth is that many supervisors expect a well thought out idea delivered according to schedule. The problem here is that the process does not naturally work that way. And, for every good idea, there are always a few clinkers that just don’t work out and you just can’t know beforehand which will work and which will not.

This is a time of constant moulding.

You question everything.

Will it work better this way? Or that?

Is the communication clear?

Is the tone right?

Is it just clever without  making the point effectively?

Is this really as good as I think it is?

Your gut tells you it is!

Right?

Right!

So now you’ve come up with this great idea.

What next?

Step Five: Hello Cruel World.

How will the world react to your newborne creation?

Well, have courage.

You should share your idea with your peers.

Don’t shelter it.

When you do, a surprising thing can happen.

A good idea has self-expanding qualities.

It can stimulate those who see it and make them want to add to it.

Possibilities you had not considered may be brought out.

Congratulations!

Another great idea created.

Maybe you were lucky and hit a home run. Maybe not.

Whether your idea was a good one is not the point here.

What I’ve attempted to do is describe the steps involved in allowing you to produce the idea. The quality of the idea is still in your court.

If your idea is an award winner (great), a bottom-line winner (wonderful),

or both (even better), it’s just the icing on the cake – as we are only concerned about the process here.

Those are my thoughts.

Now, do I finish the three projects that have been laying here on my desk all afternoon?

Or, do I take the afternoon off for some step three incubation time and take in a movie?

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/the-creative-process-5829828.html

About the Author

While creativity is Jerry’s stock in trade, he distinguishes himself by basing solutions on solid marketing objectives. That’s why his work not only receives national attention for its creative content, it also produces increased market share for clients.

A graduate of the University of Texas College of Fine Arts, Jerry is highly trained in the technical aspects of his craft. During the past three decades, he has enhanced his skills with extensive practical experience in the communications arts. He is comfortable creating and developing ideas on the computer, producing television commercials on location, or presenting an advertising campaign in a corporate boardroom.

Jerry has instructed classes in Art Direction, The Business of Advertising and Typography at San Antonio College and has served as AAF judge for advertising awards competition in Albuquerque, NM and Baton Rouge, LA.

Jerry’s rich experience allows him to apply his craft skillfully to a wide range of client needs. His work is seen in a variety of commercial advertising applications and has received a bevy of regional and national awards. With Jerry Canavit heading the  creative team, BK&A Advertising clients enjoy the benefits of unique and award-winning solutions tailored to produce bottom line success.

Author: Tim Hawthorne

When someone copycats a legitimate DRTV product, everyone loses. Consumers get inferior products and may even get hurt by the counterfeit versions. The original marketer loses sales, incurs legal expenses and winds up with a damaged reputation. The industry as a whole gets a black eye as customers complain about the purchase to friends, family and co-workers.

The hotter the product, the better the odds that it will be counterfeited either domestically or in China, where counterfeiting is big business. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 81 percent of all counterfeits in the U.S. come from mainland China.

Denise Kovac, president of Full Service Marketing and former COO of Your Baby Can LLC, knows firsthand how persistent and destructive counterfeiters are. As the purveyors of the innovative child development product Your Baby Can Read, Kovac and her team kept close tabs on counterfeiting activity for the popular product.

In one blatant example, Kovac says a company had the gall to put out a copycat version of the product with book pages that were riddled with spelling errors. ‘We started getting customer service calls, asking us to correct the issue,’ Kovac recalls, ‘and it wasn’t even our product.’

Kovac estimates that copycats rob DRTV marketers of 5 percent to 25 percent of their earned sales, mainly because the culprits pay no advertising, marketing, promotional or royalty expenses in order to make their sales.

To get out in front of the problem, Kovac says marketers must pay attention to which companies are selling their items online and sign E-commerce agreements with each of them. Kovac says, ‘The only way to make sure products are all legitimate is by keeping a ‘24/7′ eye on who is selling those items.’

Visiting countries where counterfeiting runs rampant is another strategy. ‘I’ve sourced the copycats all the way back to China,’ Kovac explains. ‘Then, posing as a buyer, I was exposed to more than 100 different SKUs of various products for sale. All of them were counterfeit.’

The confusion that copycatting causes for consumers is a real concern for DRTV marketers. The idea that consumers ‘don’t know’ that they’re buying knock-offs is real. In a 2009 study, British Brands Group concluded that 33 percent of consumers have purchased a copycat, believing they’d actually bought the better-known brand.

Fitness Quest Inc. of Canton, Ohio, has found itself combating multiple counterfeiters. ‘People pick up on the fact that a product is selling well and decide to make a slight change to it and call it their own,’ says Karel Rolli, director of electronic sales for the firm, whose products include Gazelle Gliders and the Ab Lounge. ‘They call it a different name, put it on the market and start selling it.’

Rolli says Fitness Quest has dealt with both domestic and international counterfeiting. One of the worst cases involved an overseas manufacturer that was making the company’s ‘legitimate’ products on one assembly line and the knock-offs on a different line – all under the same roof.

Dealing with copycats is a full-time job for Fitness Quest. ‘We spend a lot of money every year fighting this,’ says Rolli. In some instances, the firm’s customer service team picks up on the illegal activity first. The consumer who calls in for technical support with a product serial number that doesn’t exist in Fitness Quest’s database, for example, lets the firm know that something isn’t right.

Marketers can combat the counterfeiting problem on several different fronts. Unique branding and messages; the use of copyrights and patents whenever possible; the creation of multiple ordering options; and regular product ‘tweaks’ are some of the best anti-counterfeiting strategies. Adopting a proactive, never-back-down stance against the thugs who spend their lives copycatting successful products also goes a long way to thwarting this persistent challenge.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/why-counterfeiting-hurts-5771116.html

About the Author

Author of over 200 published articles, Tim Hawthorne is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a full service DRTV and New Media ad agency founded in 1986. Since then, Hawthorne has produced or managed over 800 Direct Response TV campaigns for clients such as Apple, Braun, Nikon,Time-Life, Nissan, Oreck, Bose, and Feed the Children, Tim is a co-founder of the Electronic Retailing Association, has delivered over 100 speeches worldwide and is the author of the definitive DRTV book The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing. A cum laude graduate of Harvard, Tim was honored with the prestigious \\\’Lifetime Achievement Award\\\’ by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) in 2006.

Author: Linda Mentzer

With super-connectivity, comes increased levels of user influence, and we’d like to take a moment to discuss the where the future of sustained branding lies. Here we’ve put together three of the crucial aspects that marketers need to adapt to in order to achieve superior levels of user engagement and brand advocacy.

1. For The People

It isn’t often that consumers begin to feel an unquenchable love for your products and organization because of the charming sales pitch that your rep delivered. It’s the actual user experience, the product function that they admire and it’s the emotions created by your collateral that drives them to advocacy. And before I forget, it’s also the kind of treatment they receive at your hands. Bad service = zero brandgelising.

2. Keep ‘Em On Their Toes

Consistency is the buzz word when it comes to marketing, and that is increasingly true given the accelerating pace of life we now face. Today’s consumer is the informed consumer – informed to such a degree that I believe the world of hard sell is slowly being rendered completely obsolete. And that’s why it’s vital that marketers keep their best customers on their toes and excited if they intend to develop product-toting, praise-singing brand angels. And yes, social media plays a heavy role in the above advice (more on that later).

You’ll know that your brand advocacy efforts are making headway when you begin to see a lot more repeat customers. Sure, the mass of one-time purchases is what keeps you rolling in dough, but it’s those that buy again and again and again and then some that are on their way to a tryst with your brand.

3. Condensing The World, One Post At A Time

What I said earlier about the informed consumer? This is plays an even more important role in the rapidly widening scope of social media. The ‘network’ seems poised to take over our lives as we become increasingly interconnected. Unlike the one-way public communication that we are used to experiencing, the interactivity of our virtual social space has added new dimensions to the broader flow of conversation. And although this phenomenon is hardly new, the fact that it is unfolding in space that is as sensitive to fluctuation as social media is what most marketers seem to be blind sighted by.

4. Be A Customer Service Nazi
Despite living in an age where one pissed off customer can negate an entire campaign through the power of social media, I still see companies trying to maximize short term gains at the expense of customer service protocols and after-sales initiatives.

I’m well aware that the need to meet profitability quotas can seem overridingly important, but it’s sad to see those objectives achieved at the cost of an increasingly dissatisfied customer-base. Instead, take a long term view and adopt a customer-centric service policy that is consistently upheld and you’ll see true brand advocacy work its magic. In the grand scheme of things, your boss will thank you for it.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/2012-the-changing-face-of-b2b-brand-advocacy-5738926.html

About the Author

Linda Mentzer is a published author and senior marketing manager for an information management company that has helped sell thousands of software products on a global scale. With over 11 years of experience in electronic marketing techniques, Linda has authored articles for several leading business journals, worldwide.

Author: Tim Hawthorne

Armed with an insatiable appetite for the unique, pretty, ugly, soft and cuddly, today’s kids want more toys, dolls, art kits, pillows, music and entertainment than ever. They don’t even have credit cards yet, but their voices and buying habits are already being heard – and heeded – in many households.

Answering the call is a group of manufacturers and marketers that have their fingers on the pulse of the children’s market. They work in a category that hasn’t historically ranked high on the DRTV charts despite the fact that it racks up millions of unit sales annually.

Targeted to toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers and their parents, fun and educational products often translate into successful retail, web and catalogue plays. That not only helps extend brand life – Kidz Bop, for example, is currently in its 14th version – but also ensures that the products reach multiple generations of children over time.

Market research firm Packaged Facts reports that the kids’ market reached over $21 billion in disposable income in 2010, and that families spent more than $115 billion on kids in key consumer areas, such as food, clothing, personal-care items, entertainment and reading materials.

The fact that kids have a lot to say about how that money is spent translates into major opportunities for marketers who get into the minds of these young buyers and figure out what they want.

Sometimes the answer lies in the simplest of ideas. Bees, ladybugs, dogs and unicorns took on new identities in 2003 when Doug Fowkes introduced the world to Pillow Pets. The folding stuffed animals have since morphed into an entire line of plush products that includes blankets, hats and even bedroom slippers. The concept of an animal-shaped pillow is simple enough, but it took Fowkes’ marketing genius and a boost from DRTV to turn these products into a real goldmine.

John Miller, a pioneer who helped build the kids’ category with Better Blocks, Floam, Bendaroos and Pixos, is current president and creative director at Hutton-Miller in Boca Raton, Fla. Miller says those early products – plus newer innovations like Happy Nappers™ and the Gyro Bowl™ — have all helped to drive the children’s category.

‘We realized early on that success in this category depended on how excited children got over the products, and whether they could get their parents to pick up the phone and place orders,’ says Miller. ‘We call it ‘pester power’ and it works very well with kids’ products.’

However, the children’s category can be fickle:  Kids sniff out inferior products quickly and jettison them to the bottom of the toy box. ‘The key is to produce and advertise quality products that truly excite the child,’ says Miller, who calls DRTV the ‘jumping-off point’ for all other distribution channels. ‘DRTV toy commercials have evolved from simply introducing products to creating categories that everyone jumps in on.’

Robert Yusim, president of Product Counsel DRTV in Winnipeg, helped bring to market DRTV products like Moon Sand, Moon Dough, Air Hogs and Vectron Wave. He says the most successful children’s DRTV shows center on fun creative treatments that include the appropriate balance of product demonstrations, fun displays and ‘magic transformations’ that ooh and ah the young audience. ‘Getting kids to react and then lobby their parents is the hardest part,’ says Yusim. ‘You can only do that through compelling creative.’

The momentum established by the many children’s products that left their mark on the DRTV world has opened doors for companies seeking a direct channel for their youth-oriented products.

Both infomercials and short-form commercials have proven themselves as effective ways to sell kids’ products and to create brand awareness and desire among a diminutive but influential component of today’s households.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/who-says-kids-products-dont-sell-on-drtv-5771232.html

About the Author

Author of over 200 published articles, Tim Hawthorne is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a full service DRTV and New Media ad agency founded in 1986. Since then, Hawthorne has produced or managed over 800 Direct Response TV campaigns for clients such as Apple, Braun, Nikon,Time-Life, Nissan, Oreck, Bose, and Feed the Children, Tim is a co-founder of the Electronic Retailing Association, has delivered over 100 speeches worldwide and is the author of the definitive DRTV book The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing. A cum laude graduate of Harvard, Tim was honored with the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) in 2006.

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