Five Ways to Conduct Market Research – Steve Cartwright

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If you’re looking into producing a product or service, your first step is usually to conduct market research. No matter how good your product is, it’s not going to sell if it doesn’t meet a need or serve a purpose that is useful to your customers. While you can hire someone to do the research for you, most people can’t afford the thousands of dollars it will cost. Here are five ways to do your own research on an affordable scale.

1. Customer Polling

The easiest way to conduct market research is to poll your current customers. If you publish an ezine or newsletter, include a short survey with it that the reader has the option of returning. If you have web pages, add a survey question or two to the top of some or all of the pages that the reader has the option of filling out.

This is a great way to get useful information on future product releases or improvements for current products from your most likely users. The problem is actually getting them to respond. Surveys should very short, or include some sort of small incentive to respond. This will help increase response to help you get more data.

2. Attend Events

Seminars and other events are a great way to learn the latest market research. Even if the seminars are not specifically about this, the people attending them have done or know the research and many of them are already successful at what they’re doing (and what you want to do). Pick the parts of the seminar that you think will be most beneficial to you, then spend the rest chatting and networking with presenters and other attendees.

3. Focus Groups

Focus groups are a tool researchers have been using for a long time. These are small groups of people brought together to talk about and come up with specific ideas. If you’re working on a topic, you can get together a small group of people who are willing to answer and discuss questions in a group setting. You can do this by actually getting them together, or by getting everyone on a conference call or in an online chat room.

4. Published Data

If you’re looking for a reputable source for market resource, researching published data is the way to go. Take a trip to your local library. While their books are likely outdated, they often have subscriptions to magazines, journals, and journal databases. This way, instead of doing the research yourself, you can simply find the results of someone else’s work. Plus, to make it into these journals, the research must be validated and peer approved.

5. Random Surveys

You can use your local telephone book to conduct surveys in your area. If you are looking into a larger market, use online telephone books to expand your survey. You can pull numbers randomly for general opinions, or narrow down people polled by looking only at small restaurant owners or something else your product would be marketed to. Just realize that this method will take you a lot of time and a lot of calling.

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7 Things You Should Stay Away While Doing Social Media Marketing

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Social media has become a huge platform to socialize and connect with your loved ones. It has also become a great place to market your products to a greater customer base, which enhances the chances of your business. With the ever advancing World Wide Web, digital media trends and rapidly growing social media users, there are infinite possibilities and everyone can easily launch a business and enjoy success.

Today, billions of people are online at a time on social media for various reasons. Although they are divided by the platforms, with advanced connectivity they are all interrelated with each other. This provides a unique chance for any big or small business to operate with little operational investments and develop social media marketing campaigns to expand their businesses.

According to our experience and multiple other types of research, marketers agree that social media marketing is the best way to enhance brand awareness. However, this is not the case with every business running a social media marketing campaigns. There are multiple examples of businesses that have not been able to achieve their desired goals.

But we cannot ignore the fact that its business and marketing individuals who are to blame for their failures, rather than social media platform itself, as there are more success stories than there are failures. A failure can be because of a poor marketing strategy, campaign planning, targeting the wrong audience or even working in the wrong season. You need to design an effective marketing and business strategy for social media marketing in order to get something from it.

It is imperative to avoid common mistakes that determine the outcome of your social media marketing strategy. For an instance, you are running an online travel agency and you want to promote cheap Copenhagen flights. But your social media marketing team made a simple mistake of targeting the wrong audience. This can play heavily against your strategy and in the end, you won’t get your desired results.

There are many mistakes that you are prone to making while launching a marketing campaign over social media. Following are 7 things that you should try to avoid while doing social media marketing of your business. We hope this article will help you diagnose the flaws of your social media marketing and you can find some success for your hard work.

Overlooking data

You simply cannot expect your business to flourish and see success without any business plan or marketing strategy. You should always determine what actions to take or strategy to make so that you can work out the data and information that is needed to process.

Fortunately, data gathering isn’t that difficult today as it was some years ago, due to the availability of multiple tools and analytics websites. You can easily acquire information on the target audience, keyword traffic, and much more. So try not to overlook data when planning your social media marketing strategy.

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Becoming irrelevant

Becoming irrelevant with your social media posts and blogs can always hurt your customer base and reaches. People will start doubting your business intentions and dedication, which can result in un-following your social media pages. Although you can add a little humour to your articles, blogs, and posts to develop the interest of people, it is imperative to never become too irrelevant. Too much irrelevancy and going off topic can also hurt your organic search engine rankings, as Google’s algorithm is always on the watch.

Using automatic means to communicate with customers

Although it may seem like a little practice to use automatic response on chats, to speed up communication with followers and potential clients; we highly advise not to do so. You should always approach your followers with your own replies, and attend their complaints or queries with a proper customer service approach. If you run a small business on any social media platform, try to attend that customer issue personally through a chat box. In this way, your followers can be satisfied and there is a great chance for them to become your permanent customers.

Being obscure

When running an online business, you need to avoid being obscure. Transparency in business helps you to develop a relationship of trust with your followers. Social media is the best way to show your work and products to your followers and it is also an opportunity to gain loyal customers with your transparency.

Obsolete and invalid content

Always post relevant and new content on your blogs, and share them on your social media for more reaches and readers. Never post an outdated, obsolete or invalid content on your social media, no matter what is the purpose behind it, as nobody appreciates out of date information, which is of no use. However, this doesn’t apply to the content that is evergreen and factually relevant.

Avoiding criticism

Negative or positive, criticism should always be welcomed on social media. It provides you a chance to know the taste of your followers, which you can use to your advantage. You can also work on that criticism, by addressing it and making sure all the concerned people are satisfied. This will only result in the favor of your organization.

Insensitive stories

Nowadays the majority of the social media platforms are offering stories and live streaming option to all their users. This feature has numerous benefits for every online business, big and small to increase its exposure. However, you should always avoid controversy by creating insensitive and careless stories. Everything on social media regarding your business contributes to the image of your brand. So be extra careful with every social media story or any other feature.

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Sony Makes Moves To Dominate Image Sensors & Music – Daniel Cooper

Sony’s turnaround was started by its former chief, Kaz Hirai, who insisted that the business kill off weaker businesses to focus on its strengths. His replacement, Kenichiro Yoshida, has unveiled his own, three-year plan to help continue the work that his predecessor began.

The biggest is likely to be the $9 billion investment in image sensors, an area where Sony is arguably king of the hill. Its hardware is used in pretty much every smartphone worth talking about, and since many now use dual cameras, Sony’s profitability has increased.

The other is that Sony will spend $2.3 billion buying the largest chunk of EMI Music Publishing that it didn’t already own. Once the sale is complete, the Japanese giant will own 90 percent of the publisher, not to mention that it already has its own music publishing arm.

But wait, there’s more, since Sony is also hoping to get people to spend more time with their PlayStations by getting more folks onto PlayStation Plus. In addition, it’ll invest more of its cash into building first-party games and “add-on content,” which we’re taking to mean more DLC.

As for its long-suffering movie studio, Yoshida has said that it will double-down on good-quality screenplays that exploit existing IPs. So expect plenty more side-sequels, remakes, reboots and the such like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which made nearly a billion dollars at the box office.

Part of that plan also saw Sony invest in the company that owns Charles Schultz’s Peanuts cartoon, so expect lots more Charlie Brown in the future.

Why Brands Have To Manage Follower Expectations On Social Media – Jayce Redford

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It’s only a tweet. There’s no harm done. It’s just banter. That’s not how Mauricio Pochettino saw it. Or, indeed, Harry Kane. When the official Twitter account of the Football Association sent a tweet lightly mocking – and all in good nature – the England and Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane, all hell broke loose and it’s found its way going right up to the manager, Pochettino.

It wasn’t just storm in a Tweet-cup, either. Kane recently had the gumption to claim that he had managed to get the slightest of touches on the ball after a shot from his teammate Christian Eriksen, and therefore attempted to – for want of a better phrase – steal the goal away from the Dane.

Unfriendly behaviour

So it might not be the most friendly behaviour from the England man: taking a goal off your teammate is to rob him of a statistic at the end of the season, it may even have denied him a goal bonus either from the team or his sponsors. But it’s also a good thing in footballing terms to see a striker who is so hungry for goals, awards and records that he puts on the blinkers and singularly focuses on scoring as many goals as he possibly can. Kane currently has odds of 7/1 to be the top goal scorer of the 17/18 season

Because of this, though, Kane was gently mocked. When you’re such a high-profile, Premier League footballer that’s par for the course: you can’t really say or do anything without someone, somewhere, analysing it. And when it becomes a running joke, you’re the butt of all the jokes for a little while.

That seems fair enough: it happens to all top footballers at least once, and they mostly laugh it off. You need thick skin to be a top player these days, but we shouldn’t think of this as bullying – just a light-hearted about a piece of contemporary popular culture. Like any other meme, really.

Official account

But where we really get into the weeds is the bit where we start to consider what official accounts of old, prestigious organisations should be doing on social media.

Clearly, everyone needs a Twitter account these days. It’s a way for brands and celebrities to interact with the public. For football clubs and leagues, it’s necessary to engage with their fans, and indeed the more likes and shares they get the more ‘fans’ they can claim to have. And if they can show their reach is big, they can sign bigger and better deals with sponsors.

Is that what was going on here?

We know that brands and other big accounts tend to try to muscle in on the big events. If they can stay relevant, that’s important, but if they can become part of the story even better. When Iceland beat England at Euro 2016, frozen food retailer Iceland became a viral news story after their social media team pounced on the result and supported the Icelandic national team for the remainder of the tournament.

Hitting the numbers

The thing is, these days there is at least some sort of strategy behind every ‘official’ social media post. Long gone are the days when the intern was let loose on the Twitter account because no one else cared. Now every post is strategised over – maybe not in real time when you’re trying to react to a breaking news story, but there will at least have been a meeting about tone and tactics before the weekend started.

But it begs the question of why the FA would want to go down the more light-hearted route. They are the oldest football governing body in the world – of course they’re seen as old and starchy. And so when they try to be down with the kids, it’s hard for them to hit the right notes and people find it difficult to swallow.

Of course – as mentioned – this is all part of a wider strategy. This wasn’t simply a rogue post that was out of line with what the FA are trying to do on social media. Indeed, it’s firmly in line with their drive to connect with younger audiences on social media. From advertising campaigns aimed at that demographic to innovative uses of Instagram polls and account takeovers like they did for the Wigan v Manchester City FA Cup game a few months ago in an earlier round, they are changing the tone of their brand and doing it fairly successfully.

Just not successfully enough to get away with a ‘banter’ post like this one, it seems.

It shows once again that you have to bear in mind the expectations that your followers have of you on social media, and if you don’t give them what they expect it’s jarring and appears wrong. And when you do that, you’re going to get criticized.

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Branding, Corporate Identity, Logo Design & Your Business

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Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to revamp your image, our Business Logo Design team will help you portray the true identity of your business through professionally designed logos. Your logo is arguably the single most important element when it comes to building a recognisable brand and increasing customer awareness.

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Business identity

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Your Corporate logo design is critical

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10 Ways to Create a Positive, Personal “Service” Brand

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When your business product is invisible, it can be difficult to become the go-to expert in your field. We’re talking about business coaches, career counsellors, wellness practitioners, personal trainers, key note speakers, consultants and anyone working in the services industry. This makes creating and maintaining a positive personal brand essential.

So, what is a personal brand, why is it so important and how do you do it? We spoke to Lauren Clemett, an award-winning personal branding specialist, for her expert tips.

What is a Personal Brand?

A personal brand is the process of creating a specific image of yourself in the mind of your ideal client, so they can get to know, like and trust you before they buy from you. Having a clearly defined personal brand makes it easy to explain what you do and why they should choose you. In the same way big brands create instant recognition, your personal brand makes you stand out from a crowd of competitors.

Why is a Personal Brand So Important?

We are living in an increasingly confusing and overcrowded world, where standing out is vital, especially if you sell services such as business coaching, real estate, personal training, finance or wellness services because selling services is like selling thin air. You need to create confidence that you can deliver on your promises to become the go-to trusted expert.

In the 1970’s it was estimated that the brain saw around 500 branded messages a day, today that’s closer to 5,000. The brain is easily overwhelmed by all the brands it sees, which is why having a unique, stand-out brand that engages instantly is so important.

1. Know Yourself First

Before you start any marketing, figure out what you want to be well known, well paid and wanted for. This could be in any space that you have expertise, an interest, education or life experience. When you know yourself and the service you want to offer well, you’re equipped to promote yourself and create a strong and positive personal brand.

2. Get 100% Focused on Your Brand Strategy

If you are an entrepreneur you will have a creative and adventurous brain, which is awesome, but it can also get side-tracked or distracted by “bright-shiny-objectitis.” If you have focus, you will invest your time and money in the right places. I call it finding your true north and you can go through the exercise of considering four aspects:

West – What problem do you solve (not just helping people get fit or balance the books)? What transformation takes place for your clients?

East – Execution. How will you provide a resolution in a unique way?

South – The value of what you deliver. What do your clients really get, beyond what they pay you for?

North – True North. This is your passion, purpose, mission. Why do you do what you do? What is in your DNA that makes you so driven to help others?

3. Consider Your Brand Personality

Your personal brand flows into your business brand, so if you have a clear idea of the brand personality, you can ensure all elements of your business are infused with consistent messaging. If you consider your brand as if it were a person, you can get consistent on how it would behave, speak, react and communicate. The most memorable brands have been totally consistent with their brand personality for years – boring maybe, but everyone knows Nike, Coke and Virgin!

4. Expert-Ease

This is where you should be careful not to sell yourself or your skills short. You should remember that not everyone knows how to do what you do! When you create your personal brand, be aware that your ‘service’ is something you do with ease, but that others find difficult, that’s why it’s called expert-ease!

5. You’re Not Right for Everyone

Just as every person is unique, so too is your service offering. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, as this is where you will come undone. Instead, accept that you can’t help “every Mary in the diary!” You will have more impact and influence with the right tribe following you.

6. Finding Your Tribe

Know exactly who you want to attract to your business – not only clients but also affiliates, suppliers, partners, and staff. Your brand is a culture and you need the right people around you. Start by identifying your core message, mission and brand purpose. This way you can ensure there is a natural alignment with those you choose to spend time with. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Branding is all about creating a culture and considering how you want people to feel when they interact with your brand. What’s the number one emotion you want to generate?

7. Create a Target Avatar

Create an actual target avatar, with a name, photo, life-stage and lifestyle as well as their preferred method of communication. When you create this avatar, you will know the right message, the right channel and the right time to contact your potential client. You will also engage and connect on a relevant and relatable level.

Start by considering the demographics: their age, income, do they have children, married, living in a city? All of this will affect their daily lives and give you a better idea of when it’s the right time to propose your solution to them.
Next consider psychographics: how do they feel about the situation they are in? Are there generational values or beliefs that might create barriers or stop them from considering your help?
Lastly, look at their personal communication style and preferred method of communication. There are four types – Owls, Eagles, Peacocks and Doves. Much like the DISC profiling, you can first work out your own dominant style, then learn the others to ensure you are targeting the people that will naturally like working with you.

8. Choose Your Words Carefully

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Be clear on what you want to be called so you’re introduced correctly to potential clients.

Use the right words in your elevator pitch and on your collateral and online marketing and think like a P.R.O – Problem, Resolution, Outcome. Most service providers are good at talking about the problem they solve, and the resolution clients get, but few consider the outcome.

The brain thinks in pictures so use engaging language and images that clearly show clients what life could be like if they use your service. A simple action step is to ask your existing clients “What was it that I did for you?” and consider using their words to describe what you do.

9. Create a Cascade of Influence

You can create influence by approaching the key opinion leaders in your industry, or affiliates who have similar clients. Word of mouth marketing is free: third party endorsements make it easy for others to refer to you. Once you know exactly who your ideal client is, you can look at who they already go to for advice. By going to the community or industry leaders and asking for their help, you let them know you are there and make them aware of what you are trying to achieve with your brand. Never try to sell to an opinion leader but consider it an opportunity to work together.

10. Share Your Brand Story

Your brand story is all about recognition, reputation and respect. To be recognised is all about what others say about you, so include the challenges and struggles as well as the good parts. Reputation is memorable, so make your story easy to repeat and share. Respect is about being authentic; we live in the age of authenticity. Remember, anyone can Google you to find out more, so be the expert, but also be a human (and honest).

Australian Online Courses

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