Promoting and advertising your start-up

There are many tools and techniques that will be useful to you when communicating with the outside world.  Think about these tools as another type of mix, let us call it the promotions mix!  Again, you will balance and blend these approaches to suit your business’ needs best.

Ask yourself ‘why?’ are you trying to communicate with your customers, and what are you trying to say?  The whole purpose behind promoting your small business is to persuade your customers that your product or service has value to them, and more importantly to build long-term relationships with customers.  How you do this is down to you.

There will be some trial and error, and unfortunately you may invest in some promotions which deliver less than you invest.  You will learn from your mistakes and develop effective promotional tools that suit you and your customers best.

Which promotions work best for you?

How do you select the best approach?  There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when selecting the best way to promote your products or services.  Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Cost.  Of course if you have bottomless pockets you can do plenty of promotion.  Therefore, you need to look at what are expected returns based upon your communications.  Don’t overspend!  Look for ways that you can get your messages across by spending as little as possible. That’s just good business.

Your target market.  The promotional tool that you select should be the most suitable one for your target market.  For example, if you have a local business, then the local advertising will be better; that would include local newspapers, local Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, local billboards, local sponsorship, and any approach which will directly hit your potential customers.

Availability of communications.  Not all promotional tools will be available to you.  Their may not be a local radio station in your area for example.  A particular keyword in relation to Pay-Per-Click may be too expensive simply because your competitors are willing to pay more for it. More on this later.

Look for innovation.  Always think to yourself, how can I get some really effective marketing promotion by spending as little as possible?  It might be as simple as sponsoring a local junior football team.  You could send some very targeted e-mails to opinion leaders in your area that might have an interest in your product or service, and they might blog about your product.  It is the role of the small businessperson or entrepreneur to look for ways of networking and maximising big bangs for small bucks.

Offline tools for promoting your small business

  • Personal selling
  • Sales promotion
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Trade fairs and exhibitions
  • Sponsorship

With all small businesses personal selling is likely to be an underpinning marketing tool.  Personal selling will be used for every stage of the marketing process for your product or services, from the early days when you are sounding-out others about your new ideas, right up until the product is withdrawn and replaced by new one.

Don’t be afraid of personal selling!  Anyone can learn it, and there are many tools and techniques that can be used to make sure that you get to a sale.  Let’s have a look at a typical personal selling process that you can use today to sell your product or services to your customers.

The idea is that you match the benefits of your product, service or solution to the specific needs of your customers, and remember that you want to build a long-standing relationship.  That might mean that you do not sell today, but you sell many products and services in the future as you nurture the relationship and maintain a dialogue with your clients.

Tips and techniques for successful blogging

Tips and techniques for successful blogging

Now that you’ve discovered the power of successful blogging for entrepreneurs, start-ups or small businesses, make the most of your writing time by considering some of the following tips.

  • Design a publishing schedule, and stick to it. You do not have to write an entry every day.  Find out what your readers require and how often they want it, simply by asking them.
  • Begin a list of potential blogging ideas. There will be times when you are lucky enough to have an abundance of ideas on which to base your blogs.  Take into account, that there will also be times when you work harder for ideas.  Therefore, keep a list of potential blog post ideas; give some examples of what you intended to happen; use short, sharp bullets, or mind-maps to remind yourself of your reasoning in the future.

Blogging for entrepreneurs.

  • Read as much as you can. By reading around your topic of expertise you will develop and enhance your professionalism.  You may read outside of your industry area of expertise, but then draw it back again and reflect upon your blogging topic.  Make sure that you’ve read all of the key texts, and that you are referring the main industry websites.  Keep up to date, and the current.
  • As you begin your posts, explain in short sentences exactly what will follow. This will entice your reader to continue reading, and will give you a structure for the post which you will write.  This will prevent any aimless meandering.
  • Continue with a straightforward structure, and don’t confuse your reader.
  • Do not leave your writing until the last minute. If you plan ahead, then spend time working on your blog and make sure that it is a quality piece of work.  If you would not read it, why should your clients read it?
  • It is a good idea to keep a post in reserve. Therefore, if you are ill or if life takes over, you have a post ready to send out to your eager readers.
  • You may be one of those people that is able to write from 8.00 AM to 8.00 PM, and you will generate some quality content. If this is you, that’s marvellous.  However, if you’re an entrepreneur or a small business person, it is likely that you will have many other tasks to complete during your busy working days.  A better solution would be to write for 30 minutes to 60 minutes, and then take a break and work on other tasks for your business.
  • Staying on this topic, if you feel enthusiastic and full of energy and your writing is flowing, then write more blog posts! If you have something on your mind, then write it straight away providing you have the opportunity to do so.
  • Go and take a look at other people’s blogs; this will give you an idea of what makes content mundane or compulsory. Find a Blogger that is interesting, and learn to write in a similar style or technique.
  • Make sure that you are focusing upon your target audience. the people who ultimately will spend money with your business and will become loyal customers.  Don’t waste your time trying to please everybody.
  • Write what feels natural for your audience; don’t write in hyperbole, which means to grab attention or to generate clicks. You are not in the business of getting people to click through, you in the business of retaining profitable customers.
  • At the outset, explain exactly what your blog is about and who it is going to please. Make sure that you stick to this purpose and generate content to please your readers, and to make them loyal – of course.
  • Vary the length of your blog posts. If you have finished saying what you got to say, then that is the end of the blog post.  There is no point in stretching content because it will become thinner and less interesting to your readers.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. If you make mistakes in your work your readers will notice it, and this will mean that they have less faith in your writing skills.
  • Include guest posts. You may have friends or colleagues there are interested in your area of expertise.  Perhaps you have employees or suppliers that work for your small business by blogging?  Ask reliable writers to write blog posts, and given credit for their work.
  • Include something visual. Try to add an image or video to support your blog post.  People tend to scan posts quite quickly, and having something which is eye catching will slow down the eye, and draw them towards your content.  It also important to include an image/logo for many blogging websites, so that it can be included in summaries of posts which can be found on other pages.
  • Look at your competition. Make sure that you know what your competition is up to.  What are they doing?  What are you doing, which adds value to what you do?  Look for opportunities to add value in terms of your blog post.
  • Use outbound links. Once you have written your work you can include links to other websites which have examples and/or support your reasoning.  Focused and relevant outbound links can improve the attractiveness of your blog post in the search engines.
  • Once you have completed your blog post, go back and proof read it. Make sure that you chop up out any unnecessary text.  Keep it focused and succinct.
  • As with your social media, you need to create a Ask your readers some questions in your copy.  Find out what they think about topics which you are writing about.  Ask them for their experiences.  You can even open up the comments on your blog page, but make sure that you monitor them carefully.
  • As you complete your blog post, draw together all your themes. If you post a question in your introduction, then answer it in your conclusion based upon what you have written.
  • Finally, add internal links to any similar blog posts that your reader may be interested in.

Conclusion

The public are generally interested to hear about new innovations. You need to promote yourself as an entrepreneur, and you can provide the narrative for your start-up using one of many free tools. Blogging is a cost-effective way of kick-starting your marketing.

Blogs for entrepreneurs

Writing a successful blog for your idea, start-up or small business

If you are new to blogging, then the whole topic of writing a successful blog for your small business, idea or start-up, may seem a little daunting.  This section will consider the pros and cons of a blog, and offer advice and tips on how to make your blog more compelling.

Blogs for entrepreneurs

Write a blog about yourself as an entrepreneur

What is a blog?

So, let us get back to basics -what is a blog? A blog as a personal diary which is updated online.  You can share your expertise, thoughts and ideas.  The word comes from a shortened version of web log or weblog, hence blog.  Originally blogs were simply places to write about your day-to-day activities, in the same way as you would do in a paper-based diary.

Some are boring and mundane!  Some are not!  In fact, the more interesting and absorbing blogs became so popular that the bloggers tended to make a decent living. Video bloggers, or vloggers, do the same today – in fact many of them have become thought-leaders and celebrities in their own right.

Create your own blog

  • You need to select a blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogger. If you have built a website already, it is likely that you will be able to blog freely by simply creating a new post.  If not, you will need to organize a hosting provider and a domain name (see earlier sections on WordPress).
  • Add a theme, or skin, to your blog. This will give it a more original and authentic look.
  • Once the blog is ready, and you have a theme, you can now change the look and feel of the site by using tools to alter its appearance; this will make it more personal.
  • You can add plugins which are tools to enable you to undertake tasks such as adding social media, or creating mailing lists.
  • The next step is to work on quality content for your blog. This is probably the most important aspect, and will generate a readership audience for your work.

Blogger is a free blog, from Google.

Become an expert Blogger

  • Your readers will expect you to be one of the opinion leaders in whatever topic you write about. So, if you have a flower retail business, your readers will expect you to know all about the best way to arrange roses.  Whilst there may be better qualified experts elsewhere, you are the person that your readers are following, and therefore you need to live up to the title of expert.
  • If you are not comfortable being an expert, then refer to other experts within your field.
  • Write at regular intervals and make sure that you always compose good quality content. Be reliable and post on time.
  • Case studies are fabulous tools for you to go in to more depth, and for you to demonstrate the extent of your professional knowledge. This may mean that you need to source and gain access to a particular organisation in order to write your case study.  It a good idea to obtain permission before you publish anything about someone else’s organisation, their personal qualities, or use photos, which include themselves or their business.
  • Do not worry too much about giving away things for free. Write compulsive, engaging and must-be-seen content that will grasp the interest and attention of your readers.
  • Deliver in-depth material rather than superficial jargon. This will show that you have a professional knowledge of your topic, and it will help you to recruit new customers.
  • Don’t write shallow posts. Don’t write simple lists.
  • Finally, you must have a strong opinion or view on the topic that you are writing about. Don’t sit on the fence!  Don’t be afraid to tell people what your view of a particular situation is, after all you are the expert.

Conclusion

The public are generally interested to hear about new innovations. You need to promote yourself as an entrepreneur, and you can provide the narrative for your start-up using one of many free tools. Blogging is a cost-effective way of kick-starting your marketing.

Get your business on Facebook

Why is Facebook ideal for your business?

Worldwide, there are over 1.65 billion monthly active Facebook users which is a 15 percent increase year over year.  So, you can see that Facebook is an ideal avenue for you to communicate your messages, and so your products or services. Age 25 to 34, with 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic.  Therefore, if you are targeting the under 34 age group then you need to have a robust Facebook presence.  Indeed, those aged over 34 are also likely to use Facebook in one form or another.  However, as we reach the older age group of 70 plus, it is less likely that they will use Facebook or any form of social media.  So, what do you need to get you going on Facebook? Facebook is popular with most ages

Facebook is popular with most ages

The benefit of creating a hub for your business on Facebook is multifaceted.

  • As Facebook puts it, it makes your business discoverable when people search for you on Facebook they will find you.
  • It connects your business so that you can have one-to-one conversations with your customers, who might like your page, read your post and share them with their friends, and they can check on you every time they visit.
  • Timing is also one of the benefits of Facebook as a social networking tool, since your page can help you reach large groups of people frequently. Messages can be specifically directed to their needs and interests.
  • You can also analyze your page using insightful analytics tools, which give you a deeper understanding of your customers and how successful your marketing activities are.
  • Facebook actually gives you a web like address, which you can put on your business cards, website and on your other marketing tools e.g. www.facebook.com/great-budget-pianos.

Get your business set up on Facebook

The starting point would be a Facebook company page.  You need to do this to a good standard; otherwise potential customers may not take your business seriously.

  1. You need to set up the Facebook profile.  Go to www.facebook.com/pages and login. Click ‘create page.’

Get your business onto FacebookGet your business onto Facebook

  1. You are then presented with a series of choices, based upon what kind of business you have. Therefore, if you are a local business or place, you need to click on the icon for local business with place. Add details of your business, and click ‘Get Started!’

The sign-up process is easy

The sign-up process is easy

3. Complete the section about your company in some detail.  Tell Facebook what categories you trade in.  Finally confirm that your business is a real company.  Essentially complete all other sections and finally click ‘Save Info.’

Tell Facebook about your business

Tell Facebook about your business

4. Next it will ask for a profile picture.  Upload your company logo for an image of your product or service.  Make sure that the image is high quality.  A picture speaks 1000 words!  You might decide to use your logo, or something else that represents your business, for example a picture of you or your idea, product or premises.

5. Adding your new Facebook site to favourites just makes it more easy to access.  It is not absolutely necessary, it is just a matter of convenience for you.

Record the page in your 'favourites'

Record the page in your ‘favourites’

6. The next page invites you to add some information about your business and your customers.  This will help Facebook target your pages, in the same way that Google uses information to help its search engine to rank and prioritise.  Try not to get drawn into any Facebook advertising programs; we are not interested in advertising at this stage.

Your business has a Facebook page.

Your business has a Facebook page.

7. Click through, and wow!  Congratulations, and your small business now has its own Facebook page.  The task now is to build your audience, start a conversation and develop some loyalty amongst your Facebook followers.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the management of content to engage visitors, followers and customers. Any medium which is on a webpage or social network can form the basis of content.

There are lots of examples of such tools and approaches; content may relate to material on social networks such as Facebook; it might be social streaming through iTunes or Spotify; content could be social publishing such as blogs or a personal website; it might be social knowledge such as Wikipedia; content media might include social searches such as Google Product Search; there are other examples such as social bookmarking sites including Reddit.

content marketing
Social media content is king!

Therefore, content marketing controls text and video, and other tools such as games, apps, vouchers and so on, so that the visitor is engaged in communication and dialogue; this supports our longer-term relationship.

You will need to address a series of topics in readiness for content marketing.

  • Which platform does our target market use to access content? Do they use traditional newspapers or magazines i.e. traditional print media? Do they use social networks such as Facebook? Do they use more than one platform to access content?
  •  How will they participate with the content which they access? Will they play games? Will they post messages? Will they circulate a viral e-mail?
  • Can content be syndicated? Syndicated content can embed material from elsewhere on a webpage or in an app. RSS is an example of syndication.
  • Which medium would be best to communicate with your target group? This often depends on whether the user accesses content via a tablet or laptop using Wi-Fi, or whether they are using mobile devices, accessing using 4G. Obviously the richness or size of downloaded video, images or text will vary depending on local download speeds; also think about target groups in international markets where speed is variable.
  • Finally, what actually engages your target audience? What content will they actually value? Do they want video? Do they want to download maps? Do they want to pay with their phones or mobile devices? Do they simply need information in text format? Do they want to play games? Do they want to contact friends?

There are plenty of other blogs, lessons and articles on our website to help you extend and develop your content marketing skills for digital marketing.

Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses, by Tim Friesner.

Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses, by Tim Friesner.

People market ideas, products and services for all sorts of reasons; you might want to make the world better for everyone, you might desire recognition for yourself, you might not like working for other people, or you might have found yourself unemployed for a whole range of reasons. That is why you have arrived here, and now you need to develop your marketing knowledge and skills.

This marketing book is written for you. Click here >> Buy it on Amazon. Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses

Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses. Having worked for others and for myself, I have built a whole range of practical marketing skills that you can use today. I have also taught the academic tools, models and concepts of marketing to university students for 20 years, and I have written and delivered marketing training for dozens of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.

From my experiences, I have learned important lessons about marketing, which are shared with you throughout this book.

Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses is written as a practical guide for new and experienced entrepreneurs and small business people.

It covers the basics on both traditional and digital marketing, and builds to give you a more detailed, practical picture of the topic. You will be able to start marketing immediately.

The book contains current marketing topics including:

Chapter 1 Marketing for you. 1—4

Chapter 2 You and marketing. 2—10

Chapter 3 Know your customers. 3—29

Chapter 4 Your marketing mix. 4—64

Chapter 5 Get your price right 5—76

Chapter 6 Sell yourself 6—87

Chapter 7 Promoting and advertising your start-up. 7—98

Chapter 8 Public Relations (PR) for you. 8—125

Chapter 9 Writing a successful blog for your idea, start-up or small business. 9—132

Chapter 10 Organising your event 10—139

Chapter 11 Getting started with your digital marketing. 11—147

Chapter 12 Your website and online stores. 12—161

Chapter 13 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) 13—192

Chapter 14 Your social media. 14—199

Chapter 15 Your e-mail marketing. 15—239

Chapter 16 Measuring your online success. 16—246

Chapter 17 International marketing for growing businesses. 17—255

 

 

 

How much digital marketing is enough?

How much digital marketing is enough?

Could you be wasting time, money and effort on too much digital marketing? Let’s look at how you can establish how much digital is enough for your idea, start-up or small business.

With your digital strategy you need to decide how much of your valuable time & resources you are willing to dedicate. In order to do this, there are a series of questions which you need to ask yourself; spend some time thinking about this because the digital world is full of smoke and mirrors. It is suggested that you undertake some basic background research with your current or potential customers. You’ll be surprised how much you can find out. Here are some questions that you can ask:

1. What proportion of your target audience are using different digital platforms? Within this chapter the you will explore the most popular types of websites and social media. The point here is that if your customers prefer to use Twitter then there is little point in focusing on Facebook. So find out what your customers are using, by asking them.

2. Which content and promotions are your audience interested in? Once you know the preferred digital and social media choices of your customers, then review what they’re looking at and try to find out which promotions most interested them. TripAdvisor is an example of this; find current clients and follow the reviews that he or she is placed. This will give you an overview of what they like and what they dislike; similarly look to see if they review car hire or transfers, or whether their comments say they have used particular promotions. What are they sharing on Facebook? Which websites are they talking about on Twitter? You can build quite a detailed image of your customers’ online behaviour, which will help you plan for it.

3. How are competitors using the platforms – benchmark what’s working for them? You may have to become a mystery shopper! It goes without saying that as a small business you will sign up to the digital communications offered by your close competitors. So, how many followers do they have on Facebook and Twitter? What online marketing are they doing using their websites? What seems to be working well for them? Then you can emulate their success, adapt it and then improve it. So a quick audit of your competition is important.

4. Reviewing your own analytics, sales and customer insights. Within this chapter we will discuss online analytics and marketing research; digital marketing leaves a rich trail of data which can be used to analyse and evaluate the success of your campaigns. You need a critical mass of traffic to do this. If your digital approach generates one visitor per day, digital marketing may not be the right route to your customers, and you may prefer to use more traditional promotional methods. However, if you can grow your traffic to 10, 50, 100 or 1000 visitors per day, then you have data which can be used for analysis.

Keep it simple. If you post some interesting content and your traffic increases, then you know you got it right. If you put effort into writing material and there is no noticeable increase in traffic, then you need to change something. You need to deal with this at a basic level. There is a lot of hot air spoken when it comes to digital marketing and you need to be prepared with some basic knowledge to help you overcome the pitfalls. Unless you can justify a huge expense on digital marketing, do not do it! Start small, simple and proficient and go from there.

5. Setting broad goals and vision/mission for the organisation. If digital marketing is central to your business offering, then the online experience needs to have some broad goals and a central vision. So what is your vision? What will your business look like in five years’ time? You can change your vision as time rolls out, but you need a central purpose for your online business. So, what will it be?• Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. (Facebook 2016)
• “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.” (Investopedia 2016)
• Coca Cola’s mission is to refresh the world in mind, body and spirit, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions, and to create value and make a difference. (Coca Cola 2016)

6. Get more specific with SMART objectives (specific/measurable/achievable/realistic/timed). Finally, you need to translate your vision and purpose into SMART the objectives. For example:

• To increase traffic to 10,000 visitors per day within three years.
• To have 30,000 registered e-mail addresses in your opt-in mailing list within 24 months.
• To sell 10 items per day through your online store within six months.
• To achieve 5000 Twitter followers in a single year.

Let’s make sure that you are not doing too much social. It’s important to get as many bangs for your online buck as possible.

20 Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

Networking for entrepreneurs and small businesspeople often involves meeting new contacts and developing existing relationships. Generally, you will attend a purposefully organised networking event. Look for general networking opportunities in your local trading area, or one organised by your trade/market association. Here are some tips to get you organised so that you make the most of your networking opportunities.

  1. Research the networking event beforehand, and try to find out who will be attending. Visit their websites and try to get some insight into their businesses. Make notes.
  2. Have a wide network. Reach out to others and use every networking opportunity. Target contacts and find out where they meet for networking.
  3. Have an elevator pitch or business summary ready; this means be prepared with few focused sentences to explain in plain language what you do and why you are networking.
  4. Get there on time. Turning up early might give you chance to meet the organisers, and to meet other early-birds.
  5. Be efficient and realistic. Connect with others that are useful to you now, or will be in the future. You don’t have time to connect with everyone, so don’t work the entire room.
  6. Speak with others. Sounds obvious but you are there to network. Try to build rapport quickly. Have an opening question, such as Tell me about your business, explain to me how your business works for customers or describe how you get new customers. Prepare some before you arrive.
  7. Don’t be afraid to listen to other groups, and to join in. If you have something in common, then it is important that you begin the dialogue. Expect others to listen in to your discussion, and to join in too.
  8. Have goals, but keep them reasonable and don’t spread yourself too thinly. For examples, try to make 2 new contacts.
  9. Dress appropriately. If smart dress is required, then dress smartly. If you don’t dress smartly as part of your business’s ideology, then where what make you feel comfortable – within reason of course.
  10. Remember, just be yourself. You are the most important part of your business.
  11. Remember your business cards. Make notes on the cards themselves to remind yourself why you need to network that contact. Only hand out your card to people that will value it; if you have rapport, then ask for a business card from the contact, and expect them to do the same with you.
  12. Give a firm handshake and look the contact in the eye. Smile.
  13. Get your elevator pitch or business summary ready. However, try to not turn the discussion into a sales pitch. You are not selling, you are networking.
  14. Listen to your contact’s elevator pitch or business summary. Ask a question to show that you are engaged and that you understand. Try to be interested in the conversations. Be passionate about your own ideas. Try not to hijack somebody else’s conversation.
  15. Be willing to end the conversation politely. Thank the new contact, and explain that you’d like to meet a few more people during the event. They will understand because they are attending with similar goals.
  16. Perhaps you might be in a position to introduce other networkers to each other. You may form an informal mini-network.
  17. After the meeting or event, review your new contacts. Follow up contacts quickly. Add them to your LinkedIn profile, or add them to your database. Make relevant notes.
  18. Use social media to connect with relevant contacts. As with your business card, don’t try to work everyone. Be efficient and focused.
  19. Once you have connected, develop the relationship. For example, send them a sample; ask them for a meeting, or invite them to become a customer or a supplier.
  20. Why not organise your own networking event? Or, you could volunteer to support an event or networking opportunity organised by others.

Social Media Audit

Social Media Audit

The social media audit is an important part of the digital marketing planning process. Social media is an opportunity for consumers to generate their own content, and many of the top-ranking results of an Internet search will result in social media content – in relation to companies, brands, and products and services. User Generated Content (UGC), for example Trip Advisor, is a reliable way of Informing consumers’ decision-making.

social-media-audit
social-media-audit

Why do we need a social media audit?

So what a digital marketer needs is a tool to audit social media within the competitive environment, i.e. relative to competitors. The digital marketer will be trying to work out the best way to ‘feed’ the digital marketing funnel, and he or she will also need to monitor/measure any discussions about his or company. This is where a social media audit fits in.

It’s a systematic examination of social data to help marketers discover, categorize, and evaluate all the social talk about a brand. (Quesenberry 2015)

Keith Quesenberry developed a social Media auditing tool based upon the principle of the Five Ws, which is an approach used in journalism: who, where, what, when and why. If you add ‘How’ then your source is Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Elephant’s Child:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Let’s adapt the Five Ms to suit social media marketing, as does Quesenberry. This is Marketing Teacher’s adapted version.

1. Who is creating content using the digital medium? Is it you? Is it an influencer? Is it a competitor?
2. Where is the digital content? Which digital media platform is being used for content? Such as You Tube or Facebook.
3. What is the content on the social media platform? Is it textual content, and video, a photo, is it a story, etc? Does it use a ranking system? What is the feedback like?
4. When was the social media posted? How often does it get posted? What was its reach? Was it shared?
5. Why is the content generated? What was its purpose? Is it a campaign, a complaint or simply a user’s opinion?

The next step is to rank and prioritise your observations based upon these five criteria. How important is it to your social media marketing strategy? Here is Marketing Teacher’s adaptation of Quesenberry’s social media audit. For more detailed information, we recommend that you revisit the original article.

Here are some basic instructions for the social media audit:

1. Please print out the social media audit template from Marketing Teacher.
2. Complete there ‘who’ column. ‘You’ will be your business or your assignment organisation.
3. Then go through ‘where, what, when and why’ and insert the tick symbol (cut and paste the image) to select the appropriate element. You can tailor the audit to suit yourself with the ‘+’ symbol.
4. Finally rank or score the importance of each element using numbers 1-10, or Booz balls. That’s it! It’s time to do your own social media audit.

References

Quesenberry, K. A. (2015) Conducting a social media audit, Harvard Business Review, November 18th, 2015.

TOWS Analysis

What is TOWS Analysis?

TOWS analysis is a tool which is used to generate, compare and select strategies. Strictly speaking it is not the same as SWOT analysis, and it is certainly not a SWOT analysis which focuses on threats and opportunities. This is a popular misconception. TOWS may have similar roots. TOWS is a tool for strategy generation and selection; SWOT analysis is a tool for audit and analysis. One would use a SWOT at the beginning of the planning process, and a TOWS later as you decide upon ways forward.

There is a trade-off between internal and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors and opportunities and threats are external factors. This is where our four potential strategies derive their importance. The four TOWS strategies are Strength/Opportunity (SO), Weakness/Opportunity (WO), Strength/Threat (ST) and Weakness/Threat (WT).

TOWS Analysos
TOWS Analysis

Four TOWS strategies

Strength/Opportunity (SO). Here you would use your strengths to exploit opportunities.

Weakness/Opportunity (WO). Indicates that you would find options that overcome weaknesses, and then take advantage of opportunities. So, you mitigate weaknesses, to exploit opportunities.

Strength/Threat (ST). One would exploit strengths to overcome any potential threats.

Weakness/Threat (WT). The final option looks least appealing; after all, would relish using a weakness to overcome a threat? With Weakness/Threat (WT) strategies one is attempting to minimise any weaknesses to avoid possible threat.

TOWS Analysis – Simple Rules.

  1. Like many tools, models, concepts and frameworks, TOWS is subjective. It is only as robust as the data which you include within the model.
  2. Use other models and frameworks to support your strategic choices, such as Ansoff’s Matrix Porters’ Generic Strategies and others.
  3. Strategy will include internal development for growth, merger, acquisitions and joint-ventures.
  4. Be as specific as possible and avoid grey areas.
  5. Always rely on your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, then maybe it isn’t right. Tak another look at simple rule 1 above.

 

Baby Boomers in America

Baby boomers are the demographic of people who were born just after the Second World War; this would give the baby boomer generation an approximate date of between 1946 and 1964 .  World war two ended in a 1945, and as a rule of thumb baby boomers are the children who are born as the war ended, as families settled down again.

The name baby boomers described many different people , and in this article you must appreciate that it would be too simplistic to over generalise .  Nevertheless, here are some interesting facts about baby boomers. Richard Adler, is Research Affiliate at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, CA, where he recently co-led a project on Baby Boomers: The Next 20 Years. Here is his TED Talk.

Baby boomers grew up at peak levels of income, and had a general belief that things would improve over time.  In fact, they did. Baby boomers have worked for almost all of their adult lives , they had good pension schemes , they paid for housing when it was relatively cheap, and many had the opportunity to retire early . They’ve lived for a long time , and they will continue to live for much longer.

Arguably baby boomers thought of themselves as a special generation, at least one which was superior and different to those that proceeded it. 71-76,000,000 American children were born between 1946 and 1964 and this is a relatively high number. In Britain for example, baby boomers held about 80 per cent of the UK’s wealth, and are happy to spend money on holidays and experiences.

Here are some relevant and interesting facts about baby boomers :

  • Born between 1946 and 1964. Two sub-sets:
  • the save-the-world revolutionaries of the ’60s and ’70s;
  • and 2. the party-hardy career climbers (Yuppies) of the ’70s/’80s.
  • The “me” generation.
  • “Rock and roll” music generation.
  • Ushered in the free love and societal “non-violent” protests which triggered violence.
  • Self righteous & self-centred.
  • Buy it now and use credit.
  • Too busy for much neighbourly involvement yet strong desires to reset or change the common values for the good of all.
  • Even though their mothers were generally housewives, responsible for all child rearing, women of this generation began working outside the home in record numbers, thereby changing the entire nation as this was the first generation to have their own children raised in a two-income household where Mom was not omnipresent.
  • The first TV generation.
  • The first divorce generation, where divorce was beginning to be accepted as a tolerable reality.
  • Began accepting homosexuals.
  • Optimistic, driven, team-oriented.
  • Envision technology and innovation as requiring a learning process.
  • Tend to be more positive about authority, hierarchal structure and tradition.
  • One of the largest generations in history with 77 million people.
  • Their ageing will change America almost incomprehensibly; they are the first generation to use the word “retirement” to mean being able to enjoy life after the children have left home. Instead of sitting in a rocking chair, they go skydiving, exercise and take up hobbies, which increases their longevity.
  • The American Youth Culture that began with them is now ending with them and their activism is beginning to re-emerge.

 

 

 

Rocket Internet’s Business Model.

Rocket Internet’s Business Model.

This is an interesting example of where the company bases its business model upon the ability to be second or third to market. Let’s think about this in more detail, because it makes total sense – the first companies to get to market experience the costs and the huge learning curve that is associated with any start-up which enters a new and emerging market. If there is no advantage to being first it to a market, or if the market is new and expanding and has room for many new competitors, then this is a really good business idea. Some would argue that Rocket Internet is a ‘disruptive’ organisation.


The clone factory is based upon Rocket Internet and their business strategy for dominance in Germany and other parts of the world. So the company does not really have a new and innovative idea; essentially it waits and watches how other innovative online and digital start-ups enter new markets, then it quickly invests time and resources in developing its own version of its competitors’ idea, adapting and improving it.

Rocket Internet's Portfolio
Rocket Internet’s Portfolio

By having a vast portfolio of these types of start-ups, rocket Internet has developed a strategy whereby it will see many of the start-ups becoming successes, whilst others will diminish fadeout. The business model will hopefully deliver successful companies in the long-term. Here’s another issue, investors in these companies will want to see returns in the medium, if not the short term. However, these tech companies which may not see a return for many years to come. However, these will be the new cash cows for investors as these markets mature and as customers are satisfied.

Its chairman, the charismatic and future thinking German entrepreneur Oliver Samwer, find himself continually reasoning and explaining the need to think about the medium to long-term. These new businesses are cutting-edge and pioneering. In fairness to Samwer, his companies are disruptive and ‘clone’ is a little misleading.

Some examples of rocket internets new clone businesses include Bonativo (Farmer’s market online), Carmudi (to buy and sell vehicles), EatFirst (super-fast takeaway food), EverJobs (for jobseekers) and Easy Taxi (arguably an Uber clone).
Oliver Samwer Interview – NOAH15 Berlin

Marketing Crossword.

Marketing Crossword

This is a free marketing crossword. This example contains many of the basic marketing tools and models that you might find in an essentials of marketing course. Why not post your answers below? Enjoy.

Marketing Crossword

ACROSS
6 What is the topic of this crossword?
7 What do you charge for a product? One of the 4Ps.
8 What analysis contains political and economic, and ends in ST?
9 SMART refers to what?
10 What ‘Life Cycle’?
12 Whose four-celled matrix contains market penetration?

DOWN
1 What is distribution? One of the 4Ps.
2 What is advertising? One of the 4Ps.
3 The ‘what’ mix?
4 Neil H. ‘who’ describes the marketing mix in 1965?
5 Whose four-celled matrix contains cash-cows?
11 What analysis contains opportunities and threats?