Saturday, May 2, 2009

Strategic Principles of Marketing - 7 Essential Principles of Strategic Marketing for Success



Know your Target Group - An Effective Marketing Campaign will be directly focused on selling to your specific niche. Different groups of people are looking for different concepts. When you present your product to a specific niche, you increase the buyer interest exponentially, creating an opportunity for greater marketing success.




Share your Genuine Passion - When you feel strongly about your product or service, the passion and enthusiasm you generate creates momentum that will ultimately sell your product or service. Your buyer will assume the same passion and begin to promote your product expanding your potential market with word of mouth marketing.




Dare to be Different and Unique - In a black and white world, wear RED and stand out in the crowd. Being different exemplifies quality, value, and independence within your market. When you present your business as Unique and Differentiate between yourself and others you Brand your business with Integrity and Independence.




Understand the Law of Success - Know that Success is the natural response to Marketing. Once you understand that Success is the Natural Response to Marketing it's easy to accept a "No" with sincere grace and move on to the next customer. When you realize that making a sale is a direct result of having a product or service to sell, you can smile and walk away graciously when someone doesn't buy with confidence that they just don't need what you have to offer.




Know your Business Purpose - When you understand that your purpose in business is to make sales and market your product or services, then you begin to present your product and services in everything you do. Your website promotes your business, because it sells your products and services. Your business card, your letterhead, you copy, your mannerisms sell your business because that's the purpose and goal of your Business.




Find Results Oriented Solutions - Once your efforts are focused on solutions your business expands to encompass the process, developing new ways and concepts to offer solutions to your specific market. Your customers begin turning to you for all their solutions in your field and your company produces more and more solutions. The result of high quality business solutions is success.




Never Give Up - Failure is part of success. When you realize that every failure you experience brings you that much closer to success, and every failure you experience is a lesson bringing you closer to success, you encounter more opportunities for success. Learn from mistakes and make consistent strides to improve your Business Marketing Strategies.


McDonald’s gaining share in turbulent times

McDonald's announced a resilient 4.3% increase in global comparable sales for the first quarter as they continue to attract financially stricken consumers.
Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner said a focus on convenience and value were the drivers of their success. "McDonald's continues to deliver a relevant restaurant experience that provides consumers with a broad range of quality menu choices, affordable prices and unmatched convenience," he stated. "Our underlying business performance remains strong. In constant currencies, first quarter results reflect higher revenues, operating income and earnings per share over the prior year."

The greatest growth rate of their three regions was in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) sector, where they anticipate to derive significant benefit from in the years ahead. In constant currencies, APMEA's first quarter operating income soared by 11%, driven by strong performances in Australia and Japan - which were partly offset by weaker sales in China. The strong US dollar had an impact, however, with sales rising 5.5% in USD terms.

The US region outshone Europe, with sales up 4.7% despite the deep recession in their home market. The company said they had managed to take market share as consumers sought out core products like the Quarter Pounder, and were drawn to convenient locations and operating hours. Increased sales of chicken, breakfast and beverages contributed to the robust results.

"McDonald's business remains strong, despite the economic concerns around the world," Mr Skinner added. "Our well-known value proposition and unparalleled convenience continue to resonate with customers. In fact, the momentum has continued with April comparable sales trending at least as strong or better than first quarter sales in every area of the world.

"I remain confident that we have the right strategies in place to grow the business and provide value into the future," he concluded.


Building a Brand Through Social Networks

With all that's going on with social networking these days, we're seeing a lot of figures leverage the popularity of social networks to gain visibility for themselves. We've seen it a lot with musicians, films, and especially politicians, who recognize the potential of reaching out to the teen and young adult demographics that connect over social networks and are hoping to get the young vote for the 2008 Presidential elections. The social marketing blog QuickSprout has noted 3 rules for you to brand yourself through social networks. Here's the abbreviated version:

Create a Profile

It's important to have a profile on every major social network out there, including MySpace and Facebook(). Most profiles have public URLs that become hubs for people seeking information on you. They're great because they allow you to share pertinent information for the rest of the world to see. We've seen it with politicians such as John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on MySpace, YouTube ()and even Twitter(), as they rake up friends and offer a place to disseminate updates and announcements in a way that reaches MySpace users quickly and easily; on their level.

The more customizable the profile, the better. MySpace(), Magnify and Bebo offer a pretty high level of customization, enabling you to add backgrounds and color schemes that match your brand. Magnify can also be incorporated into your existing site or profile elsewhere.


In order to get visibility for your profile, you need to network. This means, get out there and connect with the other users. Send them messages, add them as friends and leave comments on their user profiles. You can also join and start groups that are related to topics that connect back to your brand, participate in forums and chats, as well as special activities a site may have, such as Vox()'s Quotd, which is a daily question they pose to the community. This allows you to reach other users on a personal level, and lets them know you're an active member of the community.

You see this a lot with musicians and profiles that are set up for movies or series, such as pop singer Mandy Moore, who holds several contests on sites such as Photobucket(), and Prom Queen and Afterworld, who have garnered quite a following on MySpace and YouTube. Facebook newsfeeds and Twitter updates will also let your friends know what's going on with you, which sparks a continued interest in your profile. Several services have incorporated Twitter into their own sites, such as MyBlogLog and 30Boxes, so no matter what networks other people are using, there's a growing chance they'll still see what's new in your life. Twitter also makes it easy for people to keep up with you even when they're on the go, as Twitter gives SMS updates as well.


In order to get people to remember your brand, you'll have to make sure they see it over and over again. In order to achieve this, you'll need to get people to keep coming back to your profile. You can do this by giving updates about yourself and your brand, and adding interesting content such as photos and videos.

I'll add to this the use of widgets. If you create a widget with content that's directly related to your brand, and this widget is exportable directly from your profile, you are encouraging others to place the widget on their own profile, letting them work for you while still expanding the recognition of your brand. You'll need to incorporate a way for people to know how to get back to your site if you decide to use widgets. If the widget itself can't be linked back directly to your profile, add a caption to your images slide show or video that displays your brand and your public URL. Try to keep this simple. Services for photo and video editing include MixerCast, Mojiti and Jumpcut.

If you employ a widget strategy, you can use tools such as those offered by ReverbNation, which gives you stats and demographics for your profile and your widgets, so you can see where they are the most effective, and what type of people they appeal to.

Major Lesson Learned

One key takeaway from these guidelines is to remember that smaller, even niche social networks can be used to build up your presence in larger communities. A lot of smaller sites offer tools that will let you incorporate additional content that's important for branding purposes, as well as ways to manage your overall web presence, offering compatible tie-ins with larger networks.


Advertising Yourself: Building a Personal Brand through Social Networks

In 2007, Jim MacMillan was at the top of his profession -- a photojournalist who had just shared a Pulitzer Prize for pictures from Iraq's deadliest combat zones -- but he also started to wonder what kind of future that profession had in store for him. His newsroom in Philadelphia was making steep job cuts in the face of plummeting revenues. Then MacMillan attended a BlogWorld conference and returned with a determination to re-invent himself though social networking.

MacMillan has since become highly skilled at using social networking to gain new fans of his photography, and he is hardly alone. Over the last few years, creative professionals -- including musicians, writers and artists -- have found they can reach an engaged audience by making songs available on a MySpace page or building a national readership by blogging. Now, with the economy mired in a recession, many individuals are wondering how to build a buzz about themselves and find new employment opportunities by adapting the same kind of branding techniques used by businesses.

"I saw that the real value of a new media profile, or a social media profile, is distribution [to an online audience]," MacMillan says. While still employed as a staff photographer at the Philadelphia Daily News, he had launched his own web site -- -- for posting his photos and linking to related stories in the news. Like many professionals, he also created a profile on Facebook, Twitter and every social network he could learn about, roughly 40 in all.

Eventually, he took a severance package from the newspaper and threw everything into social networking. Today, he has close to 14,000 followers reading his posts on Twitter -- a number on a par with some celebrities -- and keeps in touch with about 475 friends on Facebook. He believes he reaches a larger and more engaged audience than when he was at the Daily News, but he also concedes his activity is only bringing in "lunch money," mainly through ads on his blog (which receives traffic referrals from his Twitter postings). But by expanding his network, Macmillan says he also has promising leads on better-paying job opportunities at companies, including some that want advice on social networking.

According to Jonah Berger, Wharton marketing professor, using social networking sites or a new media endeavor such as blogging can be especially useful for workers looking to reshape their career into a new kind of profile. "People will begin to see you in that role," Berger says. "By creating these links outside of your organization, you can change your meaning to [others]."

Clearly the recession -- which has cost the American economy more than five million jobs, including an estimated 1.5 million in the white collar sector -- has placed a new premium on the art of networking among workers who see their jobs threatened. As The New York Times recently reported, interest in traditional face-to-face networking groups among executives -- even those still collecting a paycheck -- has soared in recent months.

Indeed, social networking is that rare sector of the economy that seems to be booming in the midst of the recession. MediaPost reported that businesses spent $2.2 billion on social-networking in 2008, nearly twice as much as they did in 2007, primarily through advertising on popular sites like MySpace and Facebook.


While not dismissing the value of more traditional networking, many experts in the art of self-marketing agree that the rapid rise over the last five years of Internet-based social networking sites is a game-changer. Such sites allow like-minded people to forge connections, not just at lunch, but across the country or even overseas, leading to unprecedented opportunities for ambitious people to expand their list of contacts, generate business leads or even develop a new career.

Initially, it was largely the creative classes who saw that an online following could eventually grow into paying customers. For example, rock musicians who once spent years trying to land a record deal with a major label created pages on the popular MySpace social networking site, forged bonds with online fans through free downloads or other audience-participation efforts and eventually sold compact discs or song downloads to a loyal following.

Author Scott Kirsner, who writes a weekly column for The Boston Globe, recently studied this emerging business model for a book titled, Fans, Friends and Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age. Musicians or authors who build an audience through social connections and an ongoing dialogue over the Internet develop devoted fans who are even more likely to buy a product because they feel a personal connection to that artist, he says.

"There is a major shift [among] consumers, whose entertainment used to be watching TV or buying movie tickets," Kirsner notes. "That shift is a desire to connect with the artist and to support [him or her] directly." In addition, these followers often become online evangelists, spreading buzz through their own large social networks.

According to Kirsner, one of the best examples of self-marketing is Jonathan Coulton, a self-described "geek rock" musician who once worked as a computer programmer but has built a large online following through music. Coulton frequently offers songs over the web for free, allows fans to legally create music videos or other forms of artwork around his music, and once famously allowed his followers to come up with the instrumental solo for a track he had posted on his site. Coulton "created this whole community where he would write the songs and others would spread the word to promote it and make products, or add their own creativity," Kirsner says.

Today, however, social networking is no longer merely the province of the creative classes. Millions of business professionals have joined sites like Facebook -- the platform that allows people to share photos, links or information with a network of friends and that has more than 200 million active users worldwide -- and LinkedIn, a networking site that is more business oriented and has 35 million users. Gaining fast in popularity is Twitter, with about five million users who exchange information with their network of friends in short bursts of no more than 140 characters.

Wharton marketing professor Eric Bradlow, co-director of the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative, has spent several years studying self-marketing for financial services professionals -- one of the hardest-hit sectors in the current slowdown. He says developing a personal "brand" can be as important for a financial advisor as for a rock musician. Bradlow is co-author of a book to be published this summer titled, Marketing For Financial Advisors: Build Your Business by Establishing Your Brand, Knowing Your Clients and Creating a Marketing Plan.

"In these times, people need to differentiate themselves," notes Bradlow, who became interested in this topic five years ago when he learned that training for financial services professionals almost never included any education about marketing and self-promotion. Bradlow believes it is critical for a worker in the financial sector -- especially those who are sole practitioners or run a small business -- to develop a brand identity to convince would-be clients to choose them over a large field of rivals. He advises business people to come up with three simple words to define a personal brand -- words that could describe a specialized skill set or simply community involvement.

"The most important part is being consistent, [to establish] brand consistency across the various channels," Bradlow says. That means a business person seeking to build buzz about himself or herself should convey the same message whether meeting people at a local luncheon or building a profile and communicating with friends by way of Facebook. It is also important to understand that different types of networking -- traditional or new media -- bring different pluses or minuses to the table, he adds. For example, financial planners who target clients in the "at-retirement" sector will have more success making social contacts at a golf club or winning referrals through other trusted professionals, such as lawyers, than by aggressively using Facebook or Twitter, which could even be off-putting to some older clients.

LinkedIn is by far and away the most popular business-oriented social network -- with more than 35 million registered users scattered across more than 170 industries -- but it is just one of a growing number of sites. Others include Ning, which allows specific businesses to create their own social networks of clients, employees and interested parties; Ryze, which allows organizers to better organize contact lists and schedules; and Xing, which aims to connect business people with experts or potential customers.

It's equally important to be aware of the potential pitfalls of the different online networking sites. In particular, some experts voice concern over business networking on Facebook, because it allows friends and acquaintances to freely post material that will also appear on a person's profile page; the risk is that someone else might post an inappropriate comment or photo that could actually scare away potential business contacts.

"Your professional branching-out can be comingling with your personal friends' accounts, and you are exposing all of them if somebody decides to give away your information or post something imprudent," says Andrea M. Matwyshyn, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton. She recommends that potential job seekers focus their activities on business-oriented sites such as LinkedIn, which are unlikely to pose the same risks.

Skip the Wild Parties

In fact, Matwyshyn says the recession -- and the greater risk of layoffs that comes with it -- can make Facebook even riskier as managers who make decisions about layoffs or about new hiring are increasingly exposed to online profiles. "People in this down economy are deciding whether to fire one person who has a picture of a wild party the night before [on Facebook] ... while [another] person who is on the chopping block has posted pictures of his family." Still, Matwyshyn acknowledges that she herself has an active Facebook profile because she found it an effective way to make contacts or trade information with other academics in her field of expertise.

Despite the risks, many experts are advising individuals to use the web and other tools to brand themselves. They note that until recently, executives and other professionals tended to market themselves through their resume and depended heavily on the reputation and branding of the employers they have worked for -- something that makes less sense in this roiled economy with so many layoffs and job changes.

Peter S. Fader, Wharton marketing professor and co-director of the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative, says establishing a personal brand is important in an age in which consumers are more skeptical and seeking a level of comfort and trust. "Before, receivers would usually play a passive role and accept a product because it was there. Now, they want to know what your source of credibility is and why they should trust you." He argues that this environment makes it possible for an investigative journalist, for example, to adhere to top professional standards through his relationship with his readers in what he calls "a grassroots manner. I think that's great."

Building an online identity also takes patience. Berger notes that at first, it is usually helpful to build a following by giving away something for free -- even if it's just nuggets of information or personal wisdom transmitted by blog postings or through commentary on Twitter. "People might enjoy that, and find that they're willing to pay for it in another outlet." Likewise, an attractive online personality could widen one's list of contacts to include people able to offer job opportunities down the road.

Bradlow believes that it's important to reach out to people who are "influencers," who will use word-of-mouth to spread information about you and your unique expertise to their own wide networks of social contacts -- a concept described by author Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling book, The Tipping Point. "You need to seed the right people, to develop a word-of-mouth army," Bradlow says. "Everyone should have a list of 20 or 30 people who will act as their ambassadors."

For someone -- a white-collar middle manager, for example -- who might question whether he or she truly has enough unique abilities to create a personal brand, Bradlow notes the endeavor might not involve a skill as much as a specialized kind of training, or even something like philanthropic involvement in the community. The other thing he suggests to self-marketing newcomers, online or otherwise, is patience. "Branding is something that does not necessarily come with a short-term payoff. It's a long-term investment. Why does Coca-Cola spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising? It's not about increasing sales today; it's about building brand awareness."

Ask MacMillan, who is branding himself and his award-winning photography online and who is painfully aware of how long it takes to develop income. "I'm not trying to replace the revenue from my job through the direct revenue from my blog, because that doesn't happen," he says. "But the secondary revenue will be there."


Four Keys to Launching Your Service Brand... The Right Way

1. Don't Mass Market To Your Target Market
Product companies sell to the masses through large scale advertising efforts. Following in the footsteps of these companies, many service firms, when attempting to build their brand, start advertising to the masses as if they were selling Wrigley's Spearmint Gum or Coca Cola. But for a service brand, this is a waste. It's not targeted enough, and it costs too much, given the return that it provides.

The dynamics of brand implementation are just different for service companies. Service firms need consistent articulation of their value proposition across all touch points of the marketing and sales process.

While catchy jingles during primetime TV might work for a product company, they are simply inappropriate for service firms. But the right marketing program that "touches" your prospects regularly with highly targeted messages will increase awareness and recognition, so the next time you call to schedule a meeting, they're more likely to take it.

2. Focus On Relevance Over Differentiation
Differentiation is important to product companies. Most brand models (and business schools) argue the need to differentiate. But it is a rare service brand that can stake the claim to categorical differentiation. Let's face it, many service firms offer similar services. As such, it is difficult to own a unique market position. So forget about those product oriented, one-word descriptions.

Instead of attempting to be amazingly different from the rest, focus on being relevant. Specifically, relevance as it pertains to the client. The ideal service brand merges the needs, wants, and desires of the client with the character and values of the company.

The key lies in creating a space where customer needs meet company essence, an ideal combination of rational and emotional attributes that apply to both groups. This common ground approach develops a brand that not only resonates with the client by delivering what is important to them, but also develops a brand that is genuine, appropriate, and defensible by the company.

By staking a claim for what you stand for, communicating how you help your clients succeed, and communicating how reliable you are in doing this, you'll develop a unique identity. Most service firms don't have the stick-to-it ability to get this far, but if they do, they'll stand out in the market.

3. Worry About Growing Revenue, Not Market Share
Product companies are taught that they must be number one or two, in terms of market position, to be successful. Service brands should concentrate on growing revenue, not gaining market share, as product companies do.

In a service industry, whether it be accounting, law, architecture, or consulting, even local markets are usually fragmented and crowded with many successful firms generating considerable revenue from like-services.

Instead of concerning yourself with your position in the market, focus your efforts on improving the bottom line.

4. Help Your People Be Your Brand
Service firms do not have a tangible display of products that you can see, touch, and test out before deciding to purchase. As a service firm, your face to the world, what carries your brand most is your people. As such, do not underestimate the internal components of brand development.

To create a collaborative culture, communicate your brand message to the troops so that each individual becomes a brand ambassador. This helps to ensure that every sales call, every client interaction, and every elevator conversation delivers the brand as intended.

Don't attempt to be Big Brother, but do provide a rallying point for the entire organization, because "speaking in one voice" is far more important for service firms who rely on direct, one-to-one interaction with clients.

What Is This Really All About?
A successful brand is really about a client-centric approach tied closely to the firm's business strategy. Even in its simplest form, brands offer tangible benefits to the vast majority of service firms. So, think strategically, roll up your sleeves, and you can expect the following out of a well developed and implemented brand:

  • A genuine and defensible market position
  • Improved external awareness, perception, and desirability
  • The development of a collaborative internal culture
  • Alignment and integration of all messaging
  • Revenue growth
  • I'll add one final note about branding: your marketing materials are important, but don't go overboard.

Consumer brands focus on their position in the market and differentiation, using the pretty designs of a brochure, website, or advertisement to play a large role in driving their brand and growing their market share. But for service brands, good design is just one supporting part of success. We must take a fundamentally different approach than consumer brands to attain the same results.

What matters is having a process that drives revenue growth over the long term; the pretty pictures are just along for the ride. So learn from Apple, FedEx and Volvo. Adopt the idea of brand, but apply it to the particular needs of service firms.