Friday, August 17, 2012

With the continued proliferation of the Internet, the meaning of the word "marketing" also seems to proliferate. Cyberspace has opened up a whole arena of new marketing technologies, techniques, and twists. Amidst the online exuberance, it seems each online marketer or salesperson changes the definition of marketing to suit his or her preference.
Many times, ill-conceived notions and perceptions reduce the meaning of the word "marketing" to a shadow of it’s true self. Many see marketing as a series of tactics or gimmicks. Some define marketing as pyramid programs and the like. Others treat the words "marketing" and "sales" or "marketing" and "advertising as synonymous. None of these adequately convey the definition of marketing.
Different Marketing Definitions
Along with all of the new terminology, new techniques, and new twists the Internet has brought us, it has also opened opportunities for misguided notions about the definition of marketing. While the above definitions describe different facets or definitions of related terms, they do not convey the much broader process that is truly marketing. By taking a look at some dictionary and trade definitions of marketing we can get a better feel for what marketing is truly about:
American Marketing Association Definition
The process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. (Note 1)
American Heritage Dictionary's Definition of Marketing
The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer. (Note 2)
Merriam Webster's Marketing Definition
1 b: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
2: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. (Note 3)
Marketing Definition From MSN Encarta Dictionary
The business activity of presenting products or services to potential customers in such a way as to make them eager to buy. Marketing includes such matters as the pricing and packaging of the product and the creation of demand by advertising and sales campaigns. (Note 4)
Note the phrasing: "The process," "functions involved," "process or technique," "an aggregate," "the business activity." These all get to the heart of the definition of marketing.
As a process, there are certain foundations of marketing that will never become obsolete. We still have products, services, and ideas to sell at some price. We deliver to our customers via some means of distribution. We promote and we advertise. Those are the basics. Those basics still exist and always will.
If The Marketing Definition Hasn't Changed, Then What Has?
What has changed is the business environment. Companies compete with more efficient technologies. Customers have better access to their cost options and they communicate to each other in ways not conceivable in the pre-Internet age.
In some industries, the Internet has lowered the cost of entry so that entrepreneurs -- many times from a home office -- have entered the competition. The changes in competitive environment are numerous. What have also changed are marketing strategies and the marketing programs we have available to implement those strategies.
These have changed, but the basic marketing definition has not. Superior marketing is and always has been analysis, then action. It is strategy development, then logical and thought-out tactical implementation. It is the way to customer satisfaction and increasing profit.
The steps to successful marketing and implementation include:
1) Analyzing your customers and the business environment in order to
2) identify key opportunities to better and more profitably meet customer needs,
3) figuring out how to act on those opportunities, and then
4) implementing your plan.
The process doesn't have to be cumbersome. Five-year plans and novel-length documents are not required. The logic of the action is what is important.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peter Drucker, author of Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, stated that "the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself". IT marketing agencies, whether as a department within a larger company or a private company altogether, have a responsibility to promote products specifically related to the IT industry. It has been proven time and time again that market-driven technology companies are more profitable than those not driven by the market. In these types of organizations, marketing managers are the center pieces that connect the programming or development teams, advertising teams, and sales teams. Managers in IT marketing agencies accomplish this by identifying and quantifying market needs, and then they rely on the product development team to find a solution for that need. The advertising team communicates the newly discovered solution through promotion, and the sales representatives assist the customers through the purchasing process. The position of the marketing manager is critical in the product development or re-launch cycle and involves an intricate system of research, analysis, strategizing, planning, and execution.
The first step for the marketing manager in IT marketing agencies in the product development cycle is to perform an extensive market analysis, both in quantitative and qualitative formats. Research should focus on the competition, the market, the specific product, and the customers. The marketing manager must fully understand the competition and where each competitor is positioned in the market. With that information, he or she would need to ask whether or not the company can distinguish itself in the market and articulate that distinction clearly to customers. Marketing managers often use a tool called SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. This tool is helpful in determining the company's and competitors strategic positions in the marketplace. Additionally, this tool will assist the marketing manager in identifying potential unmet needs or problems that customers currently face in the industry. In doing so, the marketing manager could potentially uncover additional products or services the company could offer to position themselves more strategically in the market.
Research conducted by IT marketing agencies should also focus on specifically what customers think about the company's products. To find this information, companies can conduct qualitative and quantitative market research. Oftentimes, quantitative market research can be done through third party vendors who specialize in collecting and compiling data from the market about a company's product. Often, quantitative research involves analyzing the performance of the product through predetermined ratios or data (profit, sales in comparison to competition, customer satisfaction surveys, determining percentage of market share, etc.). Qualitative research should be done in-house by IT marketing agencies or departments within a company and typically involves asking open-ended questions about the industry, product, company, and competitors to gather more information about the product line and its position. For example, the customer could be asked which company they look to in identifying market trends or why they chose to purchase a certain product.
Once the analysis of the product, market, competition, and company is complete, a strategy for the product should be formulated by the managers in IT marketing agencies using the data collected. The goal should be to find the type of solution that requires the least amount of investment in technology but has the greatest positive impact on fulfilling the customer's needs. Whether a product is new or existing, certain decisions will have to be made in this step using the information compiled in the research phase. It is at this point that pricing decisions are typically made and managers determine what pricing would be effective based on the target market position and competitive analysis. The development, marketing, and sales teams must fully understand the price and how it was calculated. They must also understand the inherent value of the product and why customers should be willing to pay the decided-upon price. A report should be compiled by IT marketing agencies that articulates clearly the lessons learned from the data collected and the target goals for market position, revenue, and market share. The risk of the investment or product modifications should be clearly defined as well, with targets for potential gains and potential losses based on price point and sales forecasts. Additionally, the decisions made in the strategic write-up should include statements about how the company will produce the new or re-launched product and the benefits/drawbacks of those choices. Buying a simple technology versus partnering with an outside company to build the product, for example, will have large impacts on the future decisions of the company and its strategic position. In making these decisions, core competencies should be considered along with strategic position and cost of investment.
After the overarching strategy is defined clearly and understood by the entire product development team, a firm plan for execution should be developed. This plan should clearly describe what problems the product will solve, what the position of the product is in the market, what the value of the solution is, and what makes the product unique. Next, a sales process should be defined that will fit with the product type market position, and customer expectations. Marketing plans should be developed and should define how the company is going to reach potential customers. Existing customers, potential customers, and competitors' customers should all be considered when creating a marketing plan. Marketing managers in IT marketing agencies should also consider the marketing mediums through which information will be passed and which will have the highest impact on sales. Additionally, marketing managers should include in this plan a process for customer retention and ensuring customer satisfaction. This is especially true if the product relies on recurring revenue or product upgrades/add-ons. A specific "launch" plan should be laid out that defines how the product will be revealed to the public and how the product will be launched within the organization. Included in the launch should be definitions of who the stages of customers will be. Who are the "early adopters" in the market, and how can we tell them about our product? How can we provide a platform for the early adopters to promote our product once they have used it? Finally, product marketing managers in IT marketing agencies should partner closely with technical managers to make sure that staff is well-versed in the market research. It is important that the technical sales force understand the technical background of the product and also the market data compiled. In being trained on this information, the technical staff will be better equipped to describe the product benefits as perceived by the market. Since the relationship between the product marketing manager and technical managers should be strong and effective, the marketing manager should have a clear technical background. He or she should be able to follow the technical manager when conversing about the details of the product development process and should be able to understand and describe technical concepts.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Internet Marketing
The continuous and rapid revolution in the advancement of modern era has made every thing so comfortable for everyone and that is the reason why most of the people are fancy to use Internet because of its reliability, speed & performance. Along with message delivering through e-mail, seeking information through searching and browsing, a lot of people are using Internet for online shopping or ecommerce, which have evolved the field of Internet marketing and internet marketing exporters have found an proficient way to find their potential customers.
"The world was about coming up with an interesting idea and finding unknowledgeable investors to throw at them. But we are now back to live in the practical world, where technology can provide business with an edge over their competition" (Richard Greenwood)
Marketing is actually the craft of connecting different producers (or potential producers) of product or service with prospects, both existing and potential. Marketers basically use four variables while writing marketing plans and making market strategies. They are sometimes referred to as the four P's (which are Project, process, people & product). The combination of these variables is referred as Marketing Mix. A marketing mix is the combination of these four variables in a way that will meet or improve organizational objectives. A separate marketing mix is usually crafted for each product offering. Whenever a strategies or plans are build it engages a blend of these four combinations. A strategy of selling expensive beneficial products in discount stores has poor coherency between distribution and product offering.
Drawbacks of Internet Marketing The actual size of the market is usually not available Difficult to get demography and penetration figures Coverage is not consistent There can be lack of authority There is no certain control, which causes lack or reliability
Benefits of Internet marketing · Easy, less expensive and comfortable access to the information · Most of the information is free · There are numerous web sites available through which the required subject can be covered efficiently. · Contains a lot of background information · Information can be found in a very short time · Has a broad geographic scope · Briskly improving and increasing · Many companies are interested to add their own web pages
Non-stopping development of business online has also augmented the field of online marketing. Before starting any business the most important element, which have the most considerable influence of the success or failure of the business is the initial business idea. For the success of any business there must be a proper business idea along with appropriate techniques to run the business accordingly.
The precise approach towards the Business The business plan for any organization consist of three main parts which are
1. Product 2. Targeted Market 3. Unique Selling proposition (USP)
Product The product is any thing for which you are going to charge your customers. These are the things which you are selling and it can be any thing like books, e-books, electronic items, software to download, it can also be a membership of any online community, a professional service, or any thing else which you are interested to sale. The 'value' of the product is its most valuable feature. The product you are selling should have the following characteristics · It should be beneficial for the customers · It should be good enough to solve the customer's problems · Full fill their requirements · The product should satisfy the customers
Targeted Market The Targeted market for any business is the audience and the customers to whom the product is being sold.
Even if their analytics provider doesn't partner with a search or e-mail provider, many marketers are now using their Web analytics package to make decisions about their overall marketing plan-and their business in general. (Karen J. Bannan)
Following are some essential points to keep in mind while selecting the targeted audience · The targeted market should have an appropriate size · It should be large enough to generate a good profit · It should be small enough to fit in the total resources of the business · If the business is small then it should avoid contending with comparatively large business · The targeted audience should be easily reachable on the internet through the particular websites.
USP (Unique Selling Proposition) The USP is basically the market strategy or the motive of the business through which the corporation is connected with the targeted market. It is the most important part of the business idea in which the corporation decides how to persuade the customers and letting them know that how our product is different from any other item on the shelf waiting to be sold. It should influence the customers and provide them with the reasons that why our product is the best solution for their requirements. When we talk about the profit margin, then it may not necessarily be the financial profit only; there can also be many side advantages, which are essential for running the business smoothly.
Establishing your business on Internet Nowadays Internet is not just a source to get information but it is also a very effective place to run you business. Many people are doing their business on internet and even more people are willing to join them. But unfortunately all of them do not get success and there are also many dot-bombs or fail e-commerce startups. This is because of the lack of awareness about the self-education before starting the business.
The best thing about establishing an internet business is that, there is no big investment required to start an e-business, so if the business is don't in a proper way so you can get a good profit without investing too much.
Understanding of Customers For the progress of any business, it is essential to have a good understanding of the customers. This issue becomes even more vital when we talk about the online business, where we mostly have no idea about the customers.
Due to this fact, large corporations are spending millions of dollars on marketing research to get as many information as possible about their customers, which allows them to improve their product and make them according to the appropriate requirement of the customers. Although this research is help full but if the business is so this expense can be avoided. "They will try to replicate the in-store experience on many levels, developing applications that enable users to see how something will look on someone. The challenge is to develop applications that simulate the in-store experience while still maintaining the speed, convenience and efficiency of the Internet" (Speicher, GCI) It is important to have a sound knowledge of different ways by which customers buy their products. Few points are important in this regard
· Vendors should design their offerings to meet the appropriate needs of their customers. · Venders can persuade buyers at decisive steps during the buying process. · Venders can provide the additional offers for further business.
Trends & Strategies to boost sale in Internet Marketing
Vivid Word Pictures When developing the advertisement of your product, web pages or other or other sales tools, some vivid word pictures should be used to give a pleasant feeling to the customers. It exaggerates their desire to have it and prompt them to buy the product.
Use of appropriate advertising and marketing methods There should be a continuous observation to the advertising and marketing method of the business which ensure the use of latest advertising methods and some old methods which have not been tried.
" eBay says it reaches 56.1 million active users. The obvious drawback: A vast majority of those users aren't in the real estate market. But to reach those who are, eBay is a tool--like direct mail or news-paper advertising--that some practitioners are using to market listings, drive traffic to their Web sites, and attract new prospects."
Cost of the ads If there are some ads allied with any business then it should be carefully examined that if the size of the ads is bigger then it should be reduced to run more ads for the same cost.
Some times the short ads can provide even more response then longer ads and can provide with a bigger return of the cost.
Postcards advertisements There can also be another effective way of advertising by printing a good small ad on a postcard and then send it to the targeted market. People often read postcards if the message is nice and short. This small ad on a postcard can be very effective at times and can make a very rapid change on the sale of the products.
Inspiring words & phrases Lively words and phrases in the advertisements and sales copies make people interested in the product. Try to find some dull sentences and replace them with some active and lively words to obtain the involvement of the prospects.
Eradicate the fear of lost In the manner of revealing the benefits of your product to the customers the other important aspect is to tell them what they lose if they do not buy that specific product. Consumers want any product because of the benefits it offers and on the other hand if they have been told the downside of not buying the product so it will persuade them even more for purchasing that product.
Use of surprise strategies To remove the last minute hesitation, any surprise or pleasant announcements regarding the product also helps influencing the customers to buy the product. The surprise can be any unexpected bonus or additional benefits just before the completion of concluding action of the sale.
Use of special packages For getting a boost in any business the vendors can also introduce some special packages, which combines two or more related items and set a lower prize as compare to each item. These sorts of packages leave a good impact on discount hunters and procrastinators.
Promoting the business sales to new prospects and existing customers Every business always hunts for new customers for intend of improving their sales. But the auction from the existing customers of the business should not be overlooked. It is much easier to get further business from them rather then depending on new prospects. Additional benefits, products and services should be offered to the current customers to get more sales from them.
"As a result of our exposure on eBay, we can attribute two sales, one listing, approximately three good prospects per month, and about 700 visitors per day to our Web site," (Christopher Walker)
Receiving appreciation from the customers is always good for the motivation of any business. The same sort of respond should be provided for such customers, which induce them to do more business.
Hype the product by the help of customers Often the existing customers of your business can be an important asset for capturing a better market of your product. Incentives can be provided to the customers to let them introduce your products to their friends. Assistance from them can increase the sale of the business in a great deal with out wasting much of the money in ads.
Internet Marketing Through E-mails Email marketing is one of the most influential marketing tools accessible to businesses of all sorts and sizes. No matter how you define success, you can achieve outstanding results with Email marketing while investing only a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.
"54% of small businesses surveyed rated Email as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their web sites and storefronts." (Experts of small business) Following are the key benefits of Email marketing
1. Economical Email marketing is a reasonable & affordable way to stretch a limited marketing budget. Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense.
"This information has been only available to big businesses who had research and marketing departments, companies like American Express, Now any business can have it." (Bill Chasse)
2. Effectiveness Email marketing allows active communication with existing customers and prospects instead of passively waiting for them to return to your web site or storefront. Emails can easily be targeted by source, interest, or list. In general, Email communications sent to the prospect and customer lists, and it improves the ROI of all lead generation and customer relation programs, single-handedly.
3. Instantaneous response Email marketing has two great advantages over other marketing vehicles. First, with the existing and easily obtainable self-service tools, anyone can generate and send compelling Email newsletters, promotions, announcements or more in hours or days. No agency or production time is necessary to create and send professional communications. Second, Email marketing generates an instantaneous response. The call to action is apparent: "Click here to take advantage of this offer", or "to learn more about this service", or to "attend this event".
4. Quantifiable results Unlike other vehicles for marketing, results from Email campaigns are easily measured. Results are reported in terms of "opens", which report the number of people saw your offer or newsletters, Click Through Rates (CTRs), which measure how many people actually clicked on the links in your Email, and in a many cases, who actually clicked on those links.
5. Uncomplicated For small and medium business there are web-based Email marketing products. Most of them include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as, automatic tracking and reporting. So, you are free to concentrate on your unique message while the rest has already been done.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Many sales problems can be solved by improved marketing. Selling harder is often not the solution. More . . . or just better . . . marketing may be what's needed. Marketing presents a special problem for any company that has not yet developed a professionally staffed marketing department. This article looks at the various marketing functions. It describes some successful approaches to determining when to add "more" marketing to your company.
In The Beginning
Most successful companies grow from a small enterprise based on the founder's idea or vision. In the early stages, the founder usually plays many roles. It's common to see a founder handling engineering and/or sales roles. As the company succeeds and grows, many of these tasks are delegated to others.
The one area most often key to the long term success of the company is the function of marketing. This article covers:
  • The marketing functions
  • The problems they can prevent or solve
  • The contributions you can expect from marketing
Marketing: The Difference Between Buying And Selling
The definition of marketing has been attempted by many authors. It is commonly referred to as the process of relating the potential customers' needs and wants to the company, and then addressing the company's solutions to meet those needs and wants back to the marketplace.
We have described marketing as the process of focusing on Who the customer really is, and What the customer is actually buying from you . . . rather than what you're selling. What customers can buy from your firm . . . that they cannot buy from another . . . is the real reason they do business with you.
The marketing functions within your company that support this work can be divided into product marketing and marketing services to support demand creation and sales. Both functions are necessary to have an effective marketing effort. However, they are distinct. How much of each you need . . . and who should perform these duties . . . are important issues.
What Is Product Marketing?
The classic definition of product marketing includes the issues of product, price, promotion, and sales channel (place). The concept of product marketing holds true whether your company is a "product" or a "service" company. In the case of a service company, your "product" is the service provided.
To succeed, these product marketing issues (product, price, promotion, and place) must be handled so they are effective from the customer's point of view. In the beginning, these issues are usually a key part of the founder's vision. When the company succeeds, they often become too complex . . . and too important . . . to be handled part-time, by the chief executive.
Product marketing works over two different frameworks, each important, and fundamentally very different. These two areas are strategic and tactical.
Strategic Marketing
Strategic product marketing is the future component of the marketing problem. Strategic issues include:
  • What business is your company in?
  • What business should you be in?
  • What products or services should be designed and offered?
  • What technical capabilities need to be developed within the company or acquired from outside the company?
Other related strategic issues include:
  • Marketing channel strategies (How do you reach your customers, then sell and deliver the goods?)
  • Competitive positioning (What sets your company apart in the minds of your customers?)
  • A complete understanding of, and ability to communicate to customers, What they can buy from your company that they cannot buy from any other company.
The strategic role requires a person who is a generalist, with a broad view of the market, the industry, and the company. This is the role most usually maintained by the founder/CEO. Portions of this strategic function may be provided by a senior marketing manager or by outside consultants.
Tactical Marketing
Tactical product marketing deals with issues that relate to the success of current products or services. These include:
  • New products or services introductions
  • Promotion of existing products
  • Development of marketing programs and literature that are effective in reaching the customer
  • Communicating the unique position that separates your company from your competitors
  • Ensuring that the sales channels are being used effectively to reach customers
The development of tactical plans is a product marketing function. The execution of some of these tactical items may be accomplished by marketing services, as described next.
The tactical role requires a person with the desire and skills to "get it done." Both tactical and strategic roles require great communications skills, and the ability to deal successfully with a wide range of peo-ple, both inside and outside your company.
What Are Marketing Services?
Marketing Services executes tactical marketing programs. This may include sales contests, public relations, advertising, trade shows, dealer programs, direct mail campaigns, etc. This function manages or provides the creative, and produces items such as brochures, advertisements, press releases, trade shows, etc.
There is obviously an overlap between tactical marketing and marketing services in the area of defining and planning these programs. A senior, experienced, marketing services professional may be able to perform some of the functions of tactical marketing. Unfortunately, many times we place an excellent marketing services person in a position which really is tactical marketing . . . and the results are not satisfactory.
Marketing Services' function is to create and manage the tools, support materials, and collateral that tactical marketing has determined necessary to effectively implement the programs designed to achieve the strategy.
Skilled marketing services professionals have excellent input regarding these tools and materials to assure effective results. Asking them to perform the tactical product marketing function is quite another thing!
What Do Marketing Problems Look Like?
Sometimes it's easy to see a marketing problem. One example of this is a stalled product.
You've spent many months developing a new product and feel sure of its merits in the marketplace. You've introduced the product, but it seems to be going nowhere. What do you need to do to take advantage of your investment and ensure the success of the new product (and perhaps your company)?
  • Should you lower the price?
  • Should you raise the price?
  • Do you need to spend money on advertising?
  • Do you need to kick off a public relations campaign?
  • Do you need new sales channels, or do you need a program to "kick start" your existing channels?
Obviously some of these issues are tactical product marketing. Some may involve marketing services, or the problem may be fundamentally strategic.
Possibly, you have an unneeded or unwanted product or service. Maybe you have not fully determined what the differences are your product or service provides which are valuable to potential customers.
Another example of a potential marketing challenge is an important new product introduction.
  • How do you ensure that you get the best press coverage?
  • Should you introduce the product at a trade show? Or with a press conference? Or with a press tour?
  • What literature and sales tools will you need?
  • Does this new product (or service) fit your existing sales channel?
  • What is the competitive environment in which this product will be introduced?
  • How should the product be priced and positioned to take maximum advantage of the competitive situation
  • What do your prospective customers think of the new product?
Again, some of these problems are tactical and some are Marketing Services. Executing an effective new product launch by relegating the planning and execution to Marketing Services, or worse, to your advertising agency, is a mistake. Given that 90% of new product introductions fail to achieve their sales goals, perhaps it's time to consider that the execution may not be the problem. Perhaps there was never a viable plan.
Sometimes it's more difficult to recognize the problem as belonging to marketing. It can still clearly be rooted there however. An example of this is the conflict between sales and the factory. Often the conflict looks like this:
The salespeople are frustrated. They see opportunity they can't turn into business, and they blame the factory for not listening to them, and for being unresponsive.
The sales person says, "Why don't they hear what I am telling them?" The factory staff in this case is often frustrated with field sales. "Why can't they just sell what we have?", is a common question from the factory.
Are the salespeople just complaining, so you should disregard them? Are the factory people being too "hardheaded?" Or is it possible that a marketing job, clearly defining the position of the product and communication of this to sales, has not been done?
If sales does not know the positioning, you will be getting inconsistent results and information from them. Has this happened to you?
Some marketing problems are easier to identify. You have an idea for a wonderful new product. But,
  • What features should it have?
  • What is the importance to your customers of each feature?
  • Is there something else even more important about which you are unaware?
  • How do you tell the story of the product so that you can get your sales people excited, and your customers to buy?
To answer these questions, what do you do? Do you conduct a focus group? Or a user survey? By phone, or letter, or face-to-face interviews? Or just design it, release it, and hope you were right?
The bottomline is that all of the above scenarios describe marketing problems which can be solved with the right marketing talent. Whether that expertise is full-time or a part-time, on-staff or from outside services are trade-offs you make to get the best solution your budget can afford.
Final Thoughts
The key to marketing is to see your company as you are seen by your customers. If you're satisfied with your company's results and feel that the future of your company is secure, then you may have all the marketing you need.

Monday, July 30, 2012

One of the most authoritative organizations that researches and comments on insurance matters is the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. A part of its remit is to monitor the general levels of claims and to make informed predictions based on the trends. As the number of boomers reaching retirement age has been increasing steadily, the IIHS suggested there was likely to be a steady increase in the number of claims made by drivers over the age of 75. At the time, this seems a reasonable assumption. As we age, everyone finds their reflexes slow down and their eyesight is no longer as sharp. Yet the IIHS has now admitted it made the wrong call. In fact the number of accident claims involving the elderly has fallen. In the most recent data covering 2009 through 2010, this trend has continued.
So what has happened to throw off the statistical expectation? Well, score one for the medical profession. Even though the cost of medical care has been rising rapidly, the safety net for our seniors ensures they still have access to good quality treatment. This is helping them stay in better shape. Now add in the fact our seniors are more socially responsible. They know they may be starting to lose their edge so they begin to drive more slowly, and avoid driving at night when they may have greater difficulty is seeing. As the mental faculties also come under pressure, they keep to the routes they know well and generally take greater care. The most responsible go through driving courses designed to help seniors navigate our roads with the least risk. Some modify their vehicles to make them safer.
The cheapest car insurance comes through membership of Carfit. This is a project run jointly by a number of organization representing the interests of the aging. The idea is to offer advice and practical assistance to upgrade skills and make vehicles safer to drive. This reflects the reality that the elderly cannot easily adapt to modern life unless they continue to drive. With insurance companies offering the cheapest car insurance rates as an incentive and occupational therapists to advise, there's no reason why seniors cannot continue driving without having an accident.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In common parlance, a market is a place where trading takes place. Whenever we think about markets, a picture that flashes across our minds is of a place which is very busy, with buyers and sellers, some sellers, shouting at the top of their voice, trying to convince customers to buy their wares. A place abuzz with vibrancy and energy.
In the early stages of civilization, people were self-sufficient. They grew every thing they needed. Food was the main commodity, which could be very easily grown at the backyard, and for the non-vegetarians, jungles were open with no restrictions on hunting. However, with the development of civilization, the needs of every being grew; they needed clothes, wares, instruments, weapons and many other things which could not be easily made or produced by one person or family. Hence, the need of a common place was felt, where people who had a commodity to offer and the people who needed that commodity, could gather satisfy their mutual needs.
With time, the manner in which the markets functioned changed and developed. Markets became more and more sophisticated and specialized in their transaction so as to save time and space. Different kinds of markets came into being which specialized in a particular kind of commodity or transaction. In today's world, there are markets which cater to the needs of manufacturers, sellers, ultimate consumers, kids, women, men, students and what not. For the discussion of the topic at hand, the different kinds of markets that exist in the present day can be broadly classified as goods markets, service markets and financial markets. The present article seeks to give an overview of Financial Markets.
According to Encyclopedia II, 'Financial Markets' mean:
"1. Organizations that facilitate trade in financial products. i.e. Stock Exchanges facilitate the trade in stocks, bonds and warrants.
2. The coming together of buyers and sellers to trade financial product i.e. stocks and shares are traded between buyers and sellers in a number of ways including: the use of stock exchanges; directly between buyers and sellers etc."
Financial Markets, as the name suggests, is a market where various financial instruments are traded. The instruments that are traded in these markets vary in nature. They are in fact tailor-made to suit the needs of various people. At a macro level, people with excess money offer their money to the people who need it for investment in various kinds of projects.
To make the discussion simpler, let's take help of an example. Mr. X has Rupees 10 lacs as his savings which is lying idle with him. He wants to invest this money so that over a period of time he can multiply this amount. Mr. Y is the promoter of ABC Ltd. He has a business model, but he does not have enough financial means to start a company. So in this scenario, Mr. Y can utilize the money that is lying idle with people like Mr. X and start a company. However, Mr. X may be a person in Kolkata and Mr. Y may be in Mumbai. So the problem in the present scenario is that how does Mr. Y come to know that a certain Mr. X has money which he is willing to invest in a venture which is similar to one which Mr. Y wants to start?
The above problem can be solved by providing a common place, where people with surplus cash can mobilize their savings towards those who need to invest it. This is precisely the function of financial markets. They, through various instruments, solve just one problem, the problem of mobilizing savings from people who are willing to invest, to the people who can actually invest. Thus from the above discussion, we can co-relate how financial markets are no different in spirit from any other market.
The next issue that needs to be redressed is what is the distinction between various financial instruments that are floated in the market? The answer to this question lies in the nature or needs of the investors. Investors are of various kinds and hence have different needs. Various factors that motivate investors are ownership of controlling stake in a company, security, trading, saving, etc. Some investors may want to invest for a long time and earn an interest on their investment; others may just want a short term investment. There are investors who want a diverse kind of investment so that their overall investment is safe in case one of the investments fails. Hence, it is the needs of the investors that have brought about so many financial instruments in the market.
There is one more player in the financial market apart from buyers and sellers. As stated above, the one who wants to lend money and the one who wants to invest the money may be situated in different geographical locations, very far from each other. A common place for this transaction will require the meeting of these persons in person to close the transaction. This may again result in a lot of hardship. It may also be the case that the rate at which the lender wants to lend his money or the duration for which he wants his money to incur interest, may not be acceptable to the borrower of the money. This would result in a lot of glitches and latches for closing the transaction. To solve this problem, we have a body called the Intermediaries, which operate in the financial markets. Intermediaries are the ones from whom the borrowers borrow the harbored savings of the lenders. Their chief function is to act as link to mobilize the finances from the lender to the borrower.
Intermediaries may be of different kinds. The basic difference in these intermediaries is based upon the kind of services they provide. However, they are similar in the sense that none of the intermediaries are principal parties to a transaction. They merely act as facilitators. The kinds of intermediaries that operate in financial markets are:
• Deposit-taking intermediaries,
• Non-deposit taking intermediaries, and
• Supervisory and regulatory intermediaries.
Deposit-taking intermediaries are those that accept deposits from a principal. They accept deposits so that the deposits can be utilized for the purpose of advancing loans to the persons who are in need of it. Example - Reserve Bank of India, Private Banks, Agricultural Banks, Post Office, Trust Companies, Caisses Populaires (Credit Unions), Mortgage Loan Companies, etc.
Non-deposit taking intermediaries are those which only manage funds on behalf of the client. They act as agents to the principal. They merely bring together the borrower and the lender with similar needs. Unit Trusts, Insurers, Pension Funds and Finance Companies are an example of this kind of intermediaries.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marketing tools are only the first step in making a marketing strategy a success. Having the tools alone is not going to increase your traffic, your business or your conversion ratios. How you use these tools is an essential part of implementing a marketing strategy and having that strategy ultimately successful for your business.
Marketing That Works
Having every marketing tool available on the market when it comes to marketing your business is going to create two problems. The first is that you are going to end up spread too thin when it comes time to work on implementing your tools. The second is that there are going to be a number of tools, which are not effective for your business that you are going to be attempting to use and that are going to show no results despite the time, money and effort you may be putting in to marketing via these methods.
The Importance of a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is essential to ensuring that a business not only has the right tools but the action plan necessary to ensure that those tools work to bring in the best possible amount of business the type of business that increases conversion ratios and increases profits. Many first time business owners whether they are experienced in the field of their business or not may not be aware of how important a marketing plan is or how to set one up.
The marketing tools that everyone hears about such as video marketing, email marketing, SMS or text message marketing are only tools it is the actions taken with those tools that ultimately markets a business successfully.
Setting up A Marketing Plan
Several elements are necessary in order to set up a marketing plan successfully. The first is data. You need to have data on your market, your competition and your industry. This data should provide you with a number of things. It should provide you with knowledge of your customers, including what appeals to them, knowledge of your competitors, what they are doing and what works for them, and knowledge of your products and services.
Knowing your market and what appeals to them is going to provide you with the basis of your marketing plan. You want to cater to these elements. The competition will provide you with a variety of data on what seems to be working in the way of marketing and presentation. You want to find out what works and then offer something unique to attract attention and set you apart from everyone else.
Setting up a marketing plan does not just involve research and determining the types of tools that are going to be most useful when it comes to marketing your business, it is also about making an effective use of those tools. Making effective use of the marketing tools for your business is an essential part of a successful marketing plan. Taking the time learn the various ways that these tools can be used is an essential part of ensuring that your marketing plan is a success.
Creating an Marketing Action Plan
A marketing plan has several parts the first part is the strategy and goals. The second part is the tools necessary to accomplish these strategies and goals and the third part is the action plan that puts these tools into action. Many people forget this third aspect or they do not place enough importance on it.
In order to market a business properly, it is essential to spend time on your marketing and fully utilize the tools at your disposal. There is no such thing as a marketing tool that can be set and left on its own to work. Each marketing tool requires a set of actions that needs to be seen too on a regular basis. It may be weekly, daily, and even monthly but some action must be taken in order to ensure that marketing strategies and tools bring the greatest benefit to your business and profit to you.
In addition to maintenance actions when it comes to your marketing tools, it is also important to upgrade and change your marketing. If you are using videos as part of your marketing tool set then it is important to make sure those videos are kept up to date and changed regularly in order to encourage customers or clients to view them.
Email marketing should be constantly updated, should include personal information to engage the customers. This requires research and requires maintenance, in other words it requires action. Sending the same email repeatedly is going to leave your customers deleting rather than reading your messages. The same goes with any other type of message such as SMS.
Promotional offers and discounts also have to be updated. This requires active participation something many internet business owners and beginning marketers forget. In order to ensure that your marketing tools work for you devote a certain amount of time per day, week or month, depending on your marketing techniques to working with your marketing tools.
Constant research into which videos, offers, and messages get the most interest and incorporate those elements into future messages marketing is not just a set and forget option when it comes to creating a successful marketing plan. Marketing strategies and plans are more than just having goals and finding marketing tools. It is about taking the time and putting in the effort to make your business success. Businesses do not make themselves and while some businesses may seem effortless, they only seem that way because of the work and effort, the actions that the employees and owners of the business take.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Small businesses who operate in the business-to-business space do a lot of things right, but marketing is not one of them. This article will explain why this is the case and explore associated pitfalls and opportunities, as well as give you a definition of b-to-b (business-to-business) marketing and suggest some effective solutions to the problem.
Typically, companies with 20 to 100 employees or so who are in manufacturing, distribution, professional services and the like do not have a marketing manager, and rightly so; these firms are simply too small to justify that position. So the president or general manager is responsible for marketing. This doesn't work very well because that person has more important things to do such as keeping the place running and keeping the doors open. So, there's little or no time for marketing planning or to implement a plan consistently.
First let's define "marketing" as it applies to the b-to-b space. Simply put, marketing is not advertising. Advertising is part of marketing, but a small part.
The correct definition of b-to-b marketing is that it's the integration and orchestration of all of the tactics that go into bringing a product or service to market: marketing research and competitive analysis; face-to-face selling; online support including an optimized website with an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy; downloadable white papers and how-to's; email marketing; trade shows; sales lead generation; a customer retention strategy; sales tools such as brochures and literature and testimonials; online and offline press and publicity. You get the idea: it's not just advertising.
Most small business owners and general managers know they should be doing something to generate business other than shove their salespeople out the door. But they don't get around to those other things, meaning marketing. Suddenly a year has gone by and their sales and market share have suffered. So they scramble to do something like build a new website or try some online advertising. But they have no plan. As the saying goes, "He who fails to plan, plans to fail."
On the other hand, with a well-crafted marketing and advertising plan the business can actually have a strategy to develop a consistent market presence, generate sales leads, create a better brand and retain existing customers. But can the business afford to do this, and how does it get done?
The first part of the answer is, they can't afford to not put a marketing plan in place because their market is full of competitors who can and will beat them in the marketing arena. It's a market-share battleground out there and the best marketer wins.
Another argument for investing in an integrated marketing plan is this: companies pay for legal, IT and accounting services, right? Marketing expertise is no different.
In terms of cost, it comes down to needs. If there hasn't been a formal marketing plan in place for some time and if the company doesn't know where it stands in terms of its status (market share, perception etc.), some research will be needed and a marketing plan should be developed.
The plan will comprise three main components: the company's business objectives; its sales and marketing strategies; and the tactics and media spend necessary to achieve the objectives. Depending on where the company goes to get this done, the cost will probably be between $3,000 and $7,500 for a plan. Then the plan must be implemented.
Where does a company go to get this done? For smaller businesses, it's best to avoid larger ad agencies; those with 50 employees and above. They'll want to work with big marketing budgets, say, $500,000 at minimum. It's also better to work with an agency that specializes in the b-to-b space; they understand the integration referred to above. While it's handy if the agency is local, it doesn't have to be. It's more important that the agency is a good fit for the company.
Another alternative is to contract a good b-to-b marketing consultant to do your research and draft your marketing plan. But have the second step lined up, too: an agency who can implement the plan, ideally a smaller agency specializing in b-to-b marketing. Check their work and get referrals from their clients.
Whatever route you choose, make sure the firm you choose is very knowledgeable in the online space. Today, almost all marketing in the b-to-b space occurs online: information gathering and downloads of white papers and how-to's; organic search results, online ads, web engagement, SEO, email marketing, press, articles, etc.
Actually, this is good news since online marketing and the analytics associated with it are far less costly than the traditional methods b-to-b marketers have been used to such as trade magazines, lavish literature, direct mail and trade shows (not that those traditional tactics should be abandoned.)
So what is the cost for a full-blown integrated marketing plan, media spending and implementation-management by an agency or a consultant?
The best budgeting method is the "task method", meaning determining what tasks need to be done considering your market circumstances, then assigning costs to those tasks and their associated media. It varies by company. That's something a good marketing agency can do for you. If you have a very limited budget a good agency can develop your plan and focus on its most critical tasks, working with a first-year budget as small as $50,000.
But a full-blown integrated marketing-media plan is highly recommended if you want to be a market leader. As a rule of thumb, the higher your gross sales, the less you'll pay as a percentage of your sales. Roughly, if you're a smaller company, say, sales of $5 million or so, count on spending about three percent of your gross sales, or about $150,000. At $10 million in sales, perhaps two percent, or $200,000. At $20 million, probably between one and two percent, so about $300,000.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Firstly, we will review the daily rhythm of the Forex market, the best times to trade the Forex market and also periods to avoid.
One of the most important aspects of trading the Forex market is to understand what drives price movement. We are often told that the market operates on a 24 hour basis 7 days a week - this is true but it does not mean that that you can apply any technique at any time and expect the same or even good results.
Contrary to popular belief the Forex Market is still driven by human behaviour. Volumes increase when the participants in the Forex market are physically at "the Office" working and volumes and activity dies down when those participants go home and sleep.
Many Forex traders focus so much on technical analysis that they ignore market behaviour completely. The Forex traders who are successful are masters at understanding market behaviour and then merely use appropriate technical analysis to enter the deal.
A fact to consider is that there is no official Forex market as there is a Stock, share or Bond market. Activities in the Forex market occur as a result of activities in all the other financial markets. So we need to study the times when these financial institutions open and close. A study of the trading volumes going through the Forex Market show how important the opening and closing of financial markets are to the Forex market.
Market openings and closing can often impact and change the direction of trading. You, therefore, have to be aware of time of day factors which can impact forex trading. Most of the day's highs and lows come from the Asian open, European open and close, and the US open and close.
The period between the US market close and the Tokyo market has particularly low volumes. Although trends sometimes can occur in the period, poor candle stick formations are common during this period due to the extremely low volumes.
A further study of the average hourly ranges of currencies crosses will confirm the importance of the market openings and closings by the increased volatility created at those times.
1 The Open of the Tokyo market (9:00 am to 1:00 pm Tokyo time)
The Asian market has fewer announcements than the other markets and the announcements appear to have fewer whipsaws. Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore (1 hour later) are other exchanges impacting this market. The Asian Based currencies are best traded in this market (AUDUSD, USDJPY) along with the EURUSD. 26% of the daily highs or lows occur in this market
2 The Open of the European market (7:00 am to 9:00am London time)
The period covering the afternoon Asian and early European session is a low volume period. Volumes start increasing at about 7:00 am London time and this is often the best opportunity to catch some short term trends. Frankfurt is an important exchange that opens in this market. This period often produces the daily highs or lows with 8:00 am London being an important time. 8:00 am often produces the high or the low for the rest of the day. This market behaviour emphasises the importance of time of day trading.
3 The Opening of the London Financial markets (9:00am to 11:00am London time)
The London Financial market is the highest volume Forex market. The period around its open has the potential to produce the best trends. There are also more economic announcements impacting the EURUSD and the GBPUSD during this period. It is the best period to trade, where a scalping transaction can often get you into a +100 trend.
4 The Opening of the US Financial Markets (8:30am to 11:00 am New York)
The Opening of the US market can be very volatile due to the high concentration of announcements in this session (especially on Thursdays and Fridays). Chicago opens 1 hour after New York. The reactions to announcements are more severe with dramatic breakouts and whipsaws happening regularly. The US open happens when the European markets are still open and therefore you have a 3 hour overlap in volumes making it appear as if the US market is bigger than the UK one. In fact it has lower volumes. The USDCAD has its biggest trading volume in this market.
5 The close of the London and US markets (+/- 5:00 pm London time and +/- 5:00 pm New York)
The close of these markets can create trends or trend corrections until the Asian markets open. This period has fewer announcements and has fewer fear and greed type of moves. This is a highly tradable period with some good repeating patterns.
6 Economic Announcement times
Economic announcements result in new financial information about an economy being released. The disclosures often happen at a precise time of day and can cause trends when the news is not in line with what has been expected. Announcements are generally regarded as a high risk time to trade as they could result in higher velocity price moves and whipsaws.
The best way to trade these announcements is not to trade them. If you are in a deal you need to exit the deal or move your stop to protect your trade from disaster. Brokers tend to increase their spreads prior to a big announcement to discourage trading.
7 Weekend Gaps
Weekend gaps are quite common in Forex trading. A recent analysis of the weekend gaps since the beginning of 2009 shows that on average 80% of weekend gaps are closed within a day. The average gap is +/- 19 pips.
The way to trade the closing of these gaps is to enter a deal on the Monday morning with the Friday close price as the target. Your stop would generally be the same size or double the size of your target in pips.
Additionally we need to focus is on simple and easy ways of trading the 'time of day' Forex market.
1. Straddling the price range
Often market behaviour prior to an important announcement or event, will cause the market to trade sideways in a narrow range of uncertainty. Nobody knows which way the market will move prior to the new information becoming available. Once the information is available, the market will trade in a particular direction.
The most common way of dealing with this is to place a Buy order above the consolidation and a sell order below and let the market decide which one will be activated. This approach can be used for any type of consolidation. The 5 to 15 minute charts work well with this approach
2. Straddling a specific candle
When the market is trending at the time of the potential trend starting event or time, you can merely straddle the candle just before the event. The amount of the straddle could be 5 to 10 pips above and below the high and the low of the previous candle. The 5 to 15 minutes charts work well when using this approach
3. Trading away from a specific price level.
Sometimes the price does not head in a specific direction at the time anticipated.
Traders can use a specific price level such as the 8:00am GMT level as Sell and Buy Zone divider. You would then buy when the price is above the price level or sell when the price is below the price level UNTIL the price finds its trend for the day. This can be monitored on the 5 to 15 minute charts
4. Scalping to find the market direction
Traders often use scalping to find the market direction. There are many ways of scalping. A common method is to use a moving average (3 offset by 3) which provides great scalping opportunities until the market eventually finds its direction. This approach is best used in more liquid markets such as the opening of Asian, Europe and US. You can use the 5 to 15 minute charts for this approach.
The objective of this review is to create an awareness of the importance of time of day in Forex Trading. Technical analysis is a good tool for getting you into deals and exiting deals. Technical Analysis alone is not Forex trading. You are not going to make money using technical analysis on its own.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Marketing successfully requires not only insight into how a product or service can be successfully marketed but also flexibility into the marketing of a product or service.
This is one of the marketing principles that doesn't seem to be taught successfully. Too many times, the "marketing gurus" will promote a type of marketing that has worked for them to the exclusion of all other types of marketing.
Now the type of marketing they promote may very well have worked well for them, but it is folly to believe that one marketing method and one marketing method only will work for every product or service everywhere. This just is not the reality as marketing methods can be as unique as the products and services that are marketed.
Innovation, creativity and flexibility are needed in any type of marketing efforts. Trying several types of marketing is usually the best method of eliminating marketing methods that fail, and determining which marketing methods are successful.
Online business or any type of business for that matter demands perseverance and determination. Perseverance and determination are also promoted heavily by the marketing gurus. However, perseverance and determination does NOT mean sticking with a marketing method that is incorrect for the product or service or NOT producing any results. It does not mean continuing self-defeating marketing methods over and over at a loss each and every month.
To prove a point about the misconceptions sometimes promoted by the marketing gurus and the misconceptions others may have about perseverance in general, I've used two actual case studies below:
A. Case Study #1 is a young male who started an online business many years ago promoting marketing resources and marketing strategies. He had many fine offerings that were of great value, as he spent much time and energy researching and developing resources. He read many manuals from marketing gurus, who stressed a lot on list building and e- mail marketing.
This young man, following the marketing guru's advice, spent much time and energy for years, e-mailing others relentlessly, swapping ads for further exposure, writing articles in other newsletters and e-zines, and trying every "trick" of e-mail marketing to no avail. He also persisted in this strategy as he had taken to heart the principle of "never quitting" quite literally, which the gurus had promoted so heartily to him.
He lost quite a great deal of time and money until he noticed that his Web site had been ranking quite well in the Search Engines (after all, he had great content). Most of the few sales he had been making were coming directly from his Web site, despite the fact that he did not believe in (and dreaded) Search Engine marketing! He rethought the whole process and his approach, and began focussing on marketing his resources strictly from his Web site, applying his perseverance and determination to that, with incredible success ever since!
B. Case Study #2 is a middle aged female who approached the marketing somewhat differently, as she had read a manual from a different marketing guru. She was promoting a customized service, rather than a product, and the guru, whose advice she followed, firmly believed in Search Engine marketing, and Search Engine marketing alone. She spent literally tons of money, and tons of time, getting her Web site to the top of the Search Engines.
Like Case Study #1, she felt that if she only gave it enough time, and persevered, sales would be made. As time went on, she discovered that most of her sales were being made through her e-mail marketing. Her articles, ad swapping, and other e-mail marketing efforts (she published routinely her own newsletters and e-zines), were leading to more clients than those which were attained off her Web site. In her case, e-mail marketing was the "key" to success, but she also was following the mandates of the wrong marketing guru.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Small business marketers love the chase. Love the new fangled way to make the phone ring. They love to think of a marketing promotion as a single event. But it's precisely this view of marketing that holds most small businesses back. They fall prey to the "marketing idea of the week" and never fully explore what it takes to create and build a completely functioning, consistently performing, marketing system.
In this article I am going to outline the basic steps that any business can follow on the way to creating their very own marketing system. But first let's explore this word system in the context of marketing. Small business owners have no problem thinking systems when it comes to say, accounting or hiring. When it comes to marketing though, all bets are off. It's as if they are waiting for magic fairy dust to fall upon them with the next great marketing innovation.
Look, effective marketing is little more than creating and operating an effective marketing system. Now, when I use the word system I mean several things. 1) The system is documented - You can't have a system or a step in a system unless you write it down. 2) The system is built on sound marketing principals and 3) You constantly measure, innovate, and refine the system.
Okay, so on to the system building steps.
1) Narrow and define a target market - Small business owners love to say yes. "Sure we can do that." The next thing you know the target market is roughly anyone they think will pay them. You must commit to a narrowly defined target market and you must focus all of your attention upon serving that market like no one ever dreamed of. A narrow marketing focus might be - Estate Attorneys - as opposed to Law Firms.
2) Discover and communicate a core message for that market - Until you can show how your firm is different and offers something unique, you will always compete on price. You must find a way to tell your newly defined narrow target market why you have something to offer that they value. Your core message might be - We show estate attorneys how gain all of the business they can handle - as opposed to: We help law firms.
3) Develop multiple forms of permission based lead generation - No one like to be sold to and more and more advertising is falling on numb ears and eyes. Your lead generation system must be built on several fronts, such as public relations, referral marketing, strategic partnerships, and targeted advertising. Your lead generation message must offer the target market a reason to want to know more. Forget about the sale, look for ways to build trust.
4) Construct a lead conversion and customer reselling process - No amount of leads in the world will help your business if you don't efficiently turn those leads into clients. You must have a plan that maps out what you will do when phone rings, when you make the sales call and when it's time to do more business with the clients you already have. Most small businesses completely ignore this aspect of their marketing, but this is where the real success in marketing lies.
5) Create educational based marketing and presentation materials - Forget about the glossy sales brochure, use your marketing materials to teach how your firm is different, how you solve real problems, how you work, why you work, what you believe and your marketing will be much more successful. Your web site must come from this point of view as well.
6) Define the most important marketing success indicators - Setting marketing goals for such things as leads, appointments, sales, phone calls, referrals, impressions, mentions and anything else you can think to measure is how you turn marketing into a game and how you keep score of the game. Everyone loves and game and the only way to improve something is to measure how well you are doing in the first place.
7) Build an annual marketing calendar and budget and stick to it - Once you have spent the time and energy to think through steps 1-6 you need to commit your plan to a marketing calendar and then allocate (or at least think about) the money it will take to implement your plan. Once you create a calendar it is much more likely that you will look at the tasks assigned to each month like a "to-do" list. So, instead of whining that you should do more marketing, you simply scratch each item off your list and plan for the next. It's an amazingly simple but effective device.
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