Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marketing Keys to Success: Building Your Brand

How do you want to be perceived? Your brand is your identity and how people remember you by.  This is a crucial step to developing your business and gaining customers.  People want to know who you are, what you have to offer, and more importantly why they should buy from you instead of other competitors.   To start building your brand you should think about how you want people to associate you as.  Once you are able to identify that, make sure you commit to it, you never want to confuse customers on what you actually have to offer, so you always want to remain consistent. After that, you need to communicate with your audience. Show that you’re an expert in your given industry by blogging, answering questions, joining social media conversations, and constantly engaging your audience with relevant content. Communicate your message and create brand awareness.

As you engage and communicate with your audience, you should always be true to yourself and to others. Never offer something that you don’t completely believe in. Building your brand takes time and requires you to constantly be proactive and always up to date on new information occurring around your industry.  Anything that you say or associate with can build or dissolve your brand; consider it as the base of your business.  The more people that trust your brand and understand the message that you want to promote, makes your business stronger.  However, if you constantly break promises or do something that impacts your brand negatively, it will have opposite effects.

In order to grow your business, you must build your brand. Make sure your message speaks to your audience while promoting what you have to offer.

Stay tuned for more Marketing Keys to Success.

For more information on how to fully build your brand please email me at alan.mktg@gmail.com, I will be more than happy to help you out.

Follow me @alantsao2

Friday, January 6, 2012

Keys to Success: Expand Your Communication

Communication is an important tool towards the success of any business either small or large.  It’s imperative to create a relationship with your market.  Due to being so competitive, the only way to win new customers and keep existing ones is to create a line of communication. A great way to capture this is to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  These are great tools that can connect your business to thousands of potential customers. These not only help promote your expertise and what you have to offer, it also creates a line of communication which, at the same time, helps build your brand. I will talk more about this in the “Keys to success: Building your brand” blog post. 

Communication is a key part to a successful business.  It gains trust and loyalty from your followers.  People are more likely to buy a product or service from a company they know and have a relationship with.  In other words, the best way to keep and grow your customer base is to listen and communicate.  Take some time to listen to what your customers are saying about your company, if it’s all positive, that’s great, thank your customers and encourage more feedback. However if its negative, this gives you a chance to improve your business and make it  a place where your customers can say, business xyz actually listened to us and changed the way they do things based on our standards. 

So why is communication a key factor for success? It creates relationships and helps build your brand.  It puts your business in front of your customers and shows that you care. 

For more information on the Marketing Keys to Success: Communication email me at alan.mktg@gmail.com

Stay tuned for more postings on my marketing keys to success.

Follow me on twitter:@alantsao2
Visit my website at www.alantsao.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Marketing Keys to Success Introduction

Happy New Year everyone! To start off on the right foot I’d like to write about the keys to success.  Many people have written and blogged about their thoughts on the keys to success for small businesses.  So I thought I’d give it shot. Within the next few days I will be posting my keys to success based on marketing.  They will include communication, branding, market analysis, digital media, and creativity. So stay tuned and again, if you have any marketing questions that you’d like to get answered, I’d love to help.

Best regards,
Alan Tsao

Follow me on twitter @alantsao2
Visit my website www.alantsao.com
Email me at alan.mktg@gmail.com

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Marketing During The Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner with opportunities to increase revenue for any small business.   It just takes the right marketing strategy to attract customers and compete against the larger businesses during the holiday season.  Here are some tips to help get your small business to achieve holiday sales and company goals.

  •        Focus your advertising.  If you measure your advertising initiatives, which are a must, you should have a good grasp of where your audience is.  Once you identify the top marketing sources that reach the most of your audience you should focus your advertising, especially during the holidays.  Consumers have a higher likelihood to purchase during the holidays than any other time.  In other words, the market becomes very competitive, which should give you enough reason to focus on what works best. 

  •        Name your special. Creating a holiday special is an important strategy to help draw in current and prospective customers into your business.  The special should be connected to the actual holiday, that way it can be associated as an exclusive event that only happens once a year.  Giving the intent for consumers to act and acknowledge other discounts that you are providing. 

  • .       Timing. Consumers respond to deadlines in very positive ways. Therefore your business should create a time sensitive discount that gives consumers a deadline.  The end of the holidays is a great way to do so.  Your small business can create awareness while gaining new customers.

  • .       Bring everyone together. The holidays are meant to bring families and friends together.  Therefore you should offer discounts for families, groups, and friends that require customers to buy multiple items for a cheaper more affordable price to them while increasing your overall revenue.  A great example is a “buy a gift, get a gift” campaign, which can work for gift cards as well as other products that you’d like to sell in pairs. 

  • .       Social Media.  Use this to help deliver your message.  Although this isn't a seasonal tactic, it should always be implemented to communicate your business and any special discounts that you may have, especially for the holidays.  Social media is an important marketing tool that can communicate your products while gaining customer awareness and market buzz.  The best thing about social media is that it’s little to no cost to you. Consumers look everywhere to find a great deal, so the best place to create buzz is to establish the platform of word of mouth using Facebook, Twitter, or other social tools that help communicate what you have to offer.

The holidays are a great way to build relationships and test new marketing initiatives to gain more customers, while increasing sales and accomplishing company goals. It doesn’t take a holiday miracle to improve your business revenue, just some innovative ideas, new marketing tactics, and a few simple guidelines to truly have a successful holiday season.

Have a question or a new topic to discuss?  Feel free to contact me at alan.mktg@gmail.com or through my contact page, www.alantsao.com

Happy Holidays,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What does your BRAND say?

How are you marketing your brand? If you’re not recognized based on what you actually offer, then you’re not successfully marketing your brand.  People associate a successful business or person by the amount of expertise they have.  If you lack expertise on what you’re offering, then your potential customers will associate your product or service to be generic or bland.  In order to market your brand you should first gain a following, that associates customer needs or wants, to what you have to offer.  A great tool to do this is Twitter.  You can gain an online following while introducing what you have to offer, expressing your ideas, products, and expertise.  Once people are able to acknowledge your expertise they gain trust and customer loyalty.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  Within the fine print, branding your product/service takes a long time that requires you to constantly talk to your audience and continue to keep them interested and engaged to what you have to offer.  So what do people say about your brand? If you think you don’t have a brand, what are people thinking when your name comes up? What do you want to be associated as? Are you the party goer, the forgetful friend, immature, etc.? Or are you the professional, leader, motivator, etc.  Which do you prefer to be associated with?  These are all questions to ask yourself once you figure out what your brand actually is.

For any questions please feel free to contact me through this website or by email Alan.mktg@gmail.com

If you have a new marketing topic or question that you would like to be answered/discussed, I’d love to answer them.

Thank you,
Alan Tsao

Print vs. Internet based marketing- What works best?

Time has changed but communication has generally stayed the same.  Of course the tools to communicate have greatly evolved through social media, web, and other forms of internet based marketing.  The question is what is working and who is it working for.  Depending on the industry and the market, a traditional print campaign can still hold great value but because of new trends in technology as well as online resources it’s hard to turn down any online marketing.  Where print can reach several thousand, the internet can reach several million at the same or lower cost to you, the business.  If your target audience is an older crowd that relies on traditional print material, then that’s a no brainer, and you should continue print marketing.  However, if your audience is focused around the 40 years or younger market, you may want to consider e-marketing.   E-marketing has transformed just about every industry you can think of.  As mentioned in my last post, the world is very competitive, and in order to compete, a company must have some sort of web presence.  Where 30 years ago, a small local pet store can successfully sell to local customers and always maintain a competitive edge because of the local connection. Now, because the internet is so large and open, a local shop can’t just compete against another small local shop but they also have to compete against large stores that sell products online at only a portion of the price compared to the local shops.  If you are a retailer or any form of business that sells a product or service, you should definitely utilize some internet based marketing opportunities.  A great way to start, if you don’t have one already, is to create a website so that you can advertise to your customer at all hours/days of the year.  Once you created a website you can start an e-marketing campaign.  If you’re on a very strict budget, consider entering into social media such as Facebok, Twitter, and Youtube.   They are free to use and can give you an opportunity to directly communicate to your customers as well as thousands of other people that may be interested in your service or product.  The best way to gain customers is to create a relationship/ connection that would spark customer loyalty and brand awareness.

In conclusion, print marketing can still be successful as long as you already know your target audience and where they look to find your product/service.  Internet marketing is the best form of marketing due to the vast amount of people on the internet and the potential for your company to reach/market to thousands or even millions of prospective customers.

If you have a business and would like to gain more insight on the different forms of marketing and how to reach your target audience, I’d be more than happy to help you.  Please visit the contact page or email me at Alan.mktg@gmail.com

Best Regards,
Alan Tsao

Comment by Amer Jaber on December 7

When studying marketing, practices companies may use sometimes come into question of its ethical standing. Most or all the questions asked involve subjective answers to find whom the scale of fault shifts to the most (the consumer or the company). 
Does marketing influence the behavior of targeted stereo types (individuals who are grouped into classes of age, gender, race, geographic location, etc.) or do groups of people in the classification effect marketing? 
Does a company’s marketing technique have a social responsibility to respect the moral guide lines of society or does it just follow the change in society’s behavior?   

These are great questions Amer. In terms of marketing ethicality, many have argued that marketing is somewhat evil and plays a large role in damaging personal values/beliefs, manipulation of social values, and self-images. I believe it all depends on how someone perceives a marketing campaign and how it affects them individually.  However, marketing most definitely can influence the behavior of different groups.  Remember, marketing is creatively communicating to a target market. Marketing must be focused to a certain target in order to truly gain a customer base.  There is no such thing as a generic marketing campaign that impacts the entire world, everything must be analyzed and targeted. In order to do so, a market must be funneled down to a designated target group with similar background (i.e. stereotypes).  Once a marketer is able to identify the niche market or target market, they will be able to identify which strategy to use and how they can use it. At the same time, groups can also play a large role in affecting marketing.  Based on constant changing values, goals, beliefs, etc. marketing must always change and adapt to new trends.  In order to focus on a certain market, the campaign must evolve and communicate to the group by creating a connection or something that relates a product or service to a consumer.  For example, let’s say Baltimore city contains 50% males, 40% are in the middle class, under 30 years of age, and all love dogs.  If a large company that develops pet food wants to focus on males in Baltimore city they would create a marketing campaign focused on dog food. If 40% of the males that love dogs suddenly change to love cats, the entire marketing campaign must be shifted and start focusing on cat food.  With that said, both marketing and the “groups” affect one another. It’s somewhat like evolution. You always have to adapt to survive, or in this case adapt to successfully communicate.

Marketing is a very difficult field to truly respect the moral guidelines of society.  The main reason is because “morals” is very broadly defined, and therefore a marketing technique cannot satisfy everyone’s ethics.  Like Newton’s Law, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction” Same, applies to marketing.  No matter what type of technique is being used a different reaction will take place, either good or bad.  Everyone holds different ethics and a society can’t necessarily create a universal morality code, it all depends on the individual viewers or customers that the marketing campaign is truly affecting.  Of course there are morals that should never be crossed, for example directly discriminating against a certain demographic or anything that directly causes someone harm, either emotionally or physically.  Based on your questions a company’s marketing technique really depends on both the change of society behaviors and the universal respect to individual morality.

I hope I was able to answer all your questions. If you need a more detailed answered please email me at alan.mktg@gmail.com