Ten Tips for International Marketing Success


Every business owner knows that the best way to close a deal is through a personalized face-to-face meeting with the prospective customer. However, if you are planning to expand your market internationally then a face-to-face meeting with every client may be challenging.  So what can you do to capture your global market and ensure long-term success in the international arena? Continue reading …

Ten Tips for Entrepreneurial Success


Research shows that only about one-third of all start-up ventures in the US are still in existence ten years after inception. However, interestingly the average return from entrepreneurship is still high enough for more and more start up projects to emerge. What are the key success factors that differentiate the successful ventures from those that fail?

  1. Discovery Driven Planning: Generally past performance is used to plan for the future by existing companies. However, if you are an entrepreneur with a completely novel idea and looking to get started, there is no past data so the approach to planning you use is discovery driven. This approach is a bit like walking in a field with thorns and roses scattered randomly. Each step you take guides you to the next based on the response you get from the marketing field. So you take small steps and learn along the way.
  2. Track and Refine: The winners in the game of entrepreneurship are able to develop a marketing mix that is just right for their target audience.  You can use various tools to do this. For example, you can use call tracking to determine which of your marketing sources generate the most productive leads. In this way you can optimize your marketing budget by focusing on channels that get you the highest Return on Investment (ROI).
  3. Optimism: One of the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs is that they are optimistic. Not only are they positive thinkers themselves but they are able to infuse this spirit of optimism in their team. Keeping your team enthusiastic and energetic is critical for long-term business success. The good news is that optimism is a trait that can be developed and nurtured.
  4. Practicality: Entrepreneurship is about creating value for the customer by identifying a real problem and then solving that problem. However, the price that the customer is willing to pay for your solution needs to be less than what it will costs you to deliver the solution. When calculating your cost, you need to account for opportunity cost as well. Opportunity cost is the cost of the next best alternative. For example, if a teacher starts a day-care center then the opportunity cost will include the teacher’s last salary as well as the value of the additional time required to start the business.
  5. Passion: When selecting a project, it is important to ensure that you are passionate about it. Getting to know yourself helps you capitalize on your strengths and work around your weaknesses.
  6. Persistence: Another quality that you need to nurture in yourself to become a successful entrepreneur is persistence. No matter how hard you plan there will always be exogenous factors that have a negative impact on your business. Coming to terms with this adversity and the ability to keep going is what differentiates the winners from the losers and the quitters.
  7. Creative Time: Companies that value managerial entrepreneurship and innovation give their employees dedicated paid time for creative thinking. For example, you could have a company policy whereby everyone spends 15%of their business day purely on creative thinking work. The purpose of this policy is to infuse the spirit of entrepreneurship in your entire team.
  8. Customers as Partners: The best ideas for innovation can come from your customers. The challenge is to reward the customers appropriately for encouraging fresh ideas. Threadless was a company that pioneered this approach. It started holding contests for T-Shirt designs and then selected the best designs for producing and selling online. The advantage of this was that Threadless was able to source ideas from people all over the world. Hence, the diversity and creativity was far greater than what could have been achieved through an in-house design team. Other companies such as DELL and Starbucks also use crowdsourcing to generate and implement ideas submitted by customers.
  9. Put your eggs in different baskets: It is a good idea to have a bag full of ideas for testing when you start your entrepreneurship career. Starting on a small scale and testing the market may reveal that your idea, although great needs to be aborted due to exogenous factors. In this case, if you have a few back-up ideas you can quickly turn to the next best idea for launching.
  10. Team Building: Last, but not least, is putting together the right team for implementing your idea. No matter how wonderful your idea, you need to have people who share your vision and passion and are able to translate your dream into a reality.

All in all, entrepreneurship is about the right idea executed by the right team for the right market. Keeping the above tips in mind will ensure smooth sailing on the turbulent path of entrepreneurship.

Three Steps to a Successful Marketing Budget


How much are you going to spend on marketing this month? This can be a tricky question to answer. On the one hand you want your promotional message to reach the maximum number of people and on the other hand you want to make sure that you don’t end up overspending on marketing. The good news is that reaching the right target audience is not directly proportional to the amount spent on marketing. There are three simple steps that you can follow to optimize your marketing budget. Continue reading …

How To Bridge The Gap From Marketing To Sales


Have you ever run a great marketing campaign only to find that your sales targets are still not being met? If you fail to achieve your sales targets despite a great marketing campaign, the problem may not always be with your marketing strategy. There’s an interesting story about a man who lost his precious ring and was standing outside his house looking for it. A passerby tried to help the man and asked him where he lost his ring. To this the man replied that he had lost the ring inside his house. “Then why don’t you look for the ring inside your house?” said the puzzled passerby. “Because it is too dark inside my house and I seek the light” was the mystical reply. The message that the wise mystic was trying to convey is that looking for a problem by delving into it does not always solve the problem. The solution sometimes lies in “looking where there is light.” Coming back to our marketing example, you may have to look beyond marketing to see why your marketing campaign did not work. Could it be that you missed a lot of potential sales opportunities generated through your marketing exercise? If so what can you do to make sure that your marketing effort actually gets translated into sales? There are five definite ways in which you can ensure that you actualize your sales potential. Continue reading …

Setting SMART Business Goals


Each business has a unique raison d’etre (reason for existence). For example, Firm A may be a charity working towards alleviating poverty in a certain area while Firm B may want to aggressively grow its market share. Whatever the nature of the business you are in, it is important to understand the purpose of the business and to convert this overall purpose into a set of SMART business goals which are aligned to the overall purpose. Continue reading …

When Marketing met Human Resource (HR)


When Harry met Sally, an interesting movie was made and when Marketing met HR, an interesting learning organization emerged. Marketing and HR have traditionally been two separate disciplines. However, organizational success in the year 2017 and beyond demands that each of these disciplines come together and learn from each other. Some common areas in which an organization’s Marketing and HR department can have the same strategic focus are targeting, tracking, branding and integration. Continue reading …

Marketing Success in Three Simple Steps


The first step in devising a successful marketing strategy is alignment of marketing effort to business goals and target audience.  For example, if you are marketing walking sticks to senior citizens then using larger than usual font in your communications and prominently displayed phone numbers would be a tactic to get you leads. However, if your target audience consists primarily of teenagers then content that can be “skimmed” rather than “read” may work best. This is because teenagers tend to have a lower attention span. If you are marketing to young children then lots of music, images and bright colors would be your preferred choice. Continue reading …

Your Content Marketing Garden


The first step in building a beautiful content marketing garden that generates convertible leads is to define your target audience. The audience description needs to incorporate basic features such as geography and demography as well as deeper attributes such as tastes and preferences. You can then use a variety of tools to determine which content is likely to appeal to your target audience. Ideas about questions that your audience is looking for could be obtained from sites such as Quora or Buzzsumo. Call recordings (with the user’s permission) is another great tool that can help you get insights about possible topics that interest your audience. Continue reading …

The Marketing of Discounts


Before embarking on a discussion of how to market discounts, let me caution you about the usage of discounts. Discounts may give your product an image of low quality. Would a real diamond be worth buying if it started selling for a dollar? In some cases people desire items because they are expensive. Also people tend to associate quality with prices so if you start resorting to too many discounts you send the wrong signal. Also competing on prices can trigger off a price war in the market where you could eventually be forced to shut down. Hence, prices are not a good way to compete. Differentiating based on quality or service would be much better. Continue reading …