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 or through my contact page,

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

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

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

What does marketing mean to you?

Marketing-What it means to me

Marketing is creatively identifying and implementing a communications strategy that connects a product or service to a target market.

Marketing is creativity at work.  In order to sell a product/service or express ones ideas/values, marketing tactics are being used.  Marketing can range from sales, graphic design, e-commerce, social media, and everything in between.

I have always been intrigued by the marketing/advertising industry, ranging from traditional tactics to new and upcoming tactics. Marketing is always evolving which means there's never a single marketing tactic that can be applied to all consumers. It takes several different forms and trials to successfully communicate to different markets.  It can be a long process, but a very important and necessary one in order to truly gain a customer base. Understanding even the basics of marketing can help a company strive in their daily lives, as well as in business.

Marketing is creatively communicating to a target market.

We live in a very competitive world.  It's getting harder to reach certain markets because of so many options that consumers can choose from.  Like it or not, but many consumers base a product/service on first impressions.  If your product or service doesn’t catch a consumers eye within the first 10 seconds you’ve already lost them. For example, if your website doesn't look appealing enough or your product is perceived to be too difficult to use, the prospective consumer is just going to forget about what you’re actually selling and remember all the negative features that you have to offer. What a successful marketing campaign can do is, creatively communicate your service/product in a way that projects the great features, which allow viewers the opportunity to remember the great things about what you have to offer and potentially tell their friends, and their friends of friends, and so on.  That's what marketing can do.  It can create an initial buzz that will then start a natural human reaction through word of mouth.

For any questions or comments please feel free to comment on this post or just send a message to me on the contact page.

Thanks for reading; I hope you find this article very informative. If you have any marketing topics or questions that you’d like me to discuss or answer, I will be more than happy to.

Best regards,
Alan Tsao