Will consumers pay?

For many years the Times on line service has been offered  free content. From June there will be a charge. This is a new approach and the risk is that consumers will switch to other free services such as the Telegraph. Or less direct such as television news. 

The Times is acknowledged to offer a wide ranging source of up to the minute news, articles and commentary. The BBC could compete as a free service and also dominate that space. This would mean that the Times will need to do more to persuade the consumer to pay. If this costs more than the revenue generated it will be a problem for the business.

If the Times need to generate cash it seems that there are other ways of achieving that objective.  E.g if someone registers and then accesses tailored content. It follows that advertising very carefully tailored to this consumer with links to selected products,  will generate revenue for the Times.

Time will tell if charging is a viable business model of if a customised service using tailored content and  advertised product is a stronger model

Marketing Exam

If you are sitting a marketing exam or a marketing test this semester, here are a few exam tips to help.

I won’t repeat the usual points about time management but will try to show how you can focus and gain higher grades.

If you think about what the examiner wants as the starting point. He/she is your customer. They need to know firstly, do you know your subject. E.g what is segmentation?  Here you outline the key principles, size of segment,  growth, profitability, number of competitors, needs of customers.  Focus then on the options to target and finally position. 

That is the start not the end of the question. Too many students learn and repeat the stages from the texts and leave it at that. Stronger students do more and gain higher marks.

To achieve higher marks in your marketing exam you need to show that you understand the concept. In this example segmentation. So take a business you like. It might be an interest or just a company that is in the news. You could start with an industry and then look at the various companies in that industry.

Take the jeans industry. Look at the overall size and growth of it. Number of competitors and then how attractive it is. You could then compare two types of jeans in that market. Look at the lower end of the market and then the higher end. Price is a key way of illustrating position. Show then how each of those businesses build their position in the market. So are you buying your jeans with a cool designer label or an own brand from a high street store or even a supermarket such as Tesco.

Show that the needs of customers are many and varied. Business must focus and build the marketing tools around the choice of segment and the needs of the customers in that market.

The marketing exam answer will ideally show that you know the topic. That is only part of the answer. Show that you understand but giving examples. Use topics you know or like, try to be different as the same text book examples will not make you stand out from the crowd.  If you like sport, take that as a theme, or maybe cars, or music. Build up a range of examples and think about giving the examiner some variety. This marketing test will show the examiner if you really understand how marketing works and can help businesses.

Finally the students that really stand out in any marketing exam are those who are able to show what the concept means for the business you have chosen. If you were the manager of that business would you be any the wiser. Ask the question, so what does that tell me? Can I use that information to improve my business. That is the secret to success in your marketing exam.

Using Social Media in Crisis

The internet has changed our lives in so many ways.  The way companies respond to customers is no exception. If there was a crisis the business had at least 24 hours to deal with the problem. Now that time is cut to about an hour.

Immediacy is the big change and also the need to offer information. Eurostar has used Twitter as a marketing tool. Yet during the break down in the tunnel it avoided giving feedback via social media. This frustrated consumers who needed to know what is happening.

The way Virgin dealt with a train crash in 2007 is seen as best marketing practice. Get straight to the issue, confront the problem, be direct and sort the fall out. This is where Toyota suffered. They did not deal with the problem as a whole, it was a drip drip drip approach. Avoiding the issue never solves anything. They are fast becoming the way not to manage the crisis.

Steps for Using Social Media in Crisis

Be direct, clarify the extent of the problem

Confront the issues

Offer a solution

Take responsibility for communication. Social media really works very quickly so make it work for you. Or consumers will use social media against you

How to write a Marketing Plan- Free Report

It is good marketing practice to be able to develop a direction for your business. This will form the basis of the marketing plan. 

There are 4 key stages in a marketing plan.

Firstly – analysis of the current situation. This will include an assessment of the key external issues. This can include the economy to changing customers to new competitors. It needs to decide how to respond and build for the future.

Best marketing practice will illustrate the challenges but also the options facing the business. It will need to decide who to compete with and on what basis. Is it better service, providing a solution or offering a low cost deal?

Whatever the issues the stages of the plan remain constant.

Opt in to the email list and get immediate access to see the rest of the plan and receive the Free Report- How to Write a Marketing Plan. It will help you to develop best marketing practice and take your business forward

Basic Rules to Build your Brand

Just a few simple steps to develop the brand in difficult times. This shows best marketing practice for building the brand

Focus on the long term and where you want the brand to be positioned in the future. Focus on that be careful about short term tactics of price reductions. That can cause long term problems as it devalues the brand and alienates loyal customers

 Maintain the investment in marketing. In tough times the brands that continue to develop as the ones that are stronger and take  market share from  weaker rivals

 Be real and do not try to be too funny, too cool. If your business is about offering serious advice you must be seen as credible and avoid the temptation to go for gimmicky promotions. That will devalue the brand and decrease your ability to extend into new areas in the future

 Branding is about so much more than advertising. Build the brand from inside out. Focus on fabulous service and that comes from the employees. Everything your business does builds the brand, delivery and response to customers is key

Don’t just promise, prove that buying from your business will solve a problem for your customer. Make it simple and show the value added to the customer. Do not under deliver and over promise that is the fastest way to alienate customer and devalue the brand

Yaro Starak’s How to blog-Free Report

How to create and sell info products online

Over the years my students have found my teaching really uesful. I seem to be able to make things as simple as possible. Some marketing students have increased their marks in the marketing exam by as much as 20%. I was looking for a way to offer help with marketing exam to a wider audience. I trawled the internet and found lots of poor material. Then I came across Yaro Starak and followed his approach.  The free report makes so much sense

It shows you  how to profit by creating and selling your own information product.

His report is called the Membership Site Masterplan and as you would guess, it is a step-by-step guide for launching a profitable online membership site.

You can download the report from here: http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/go.php?offer=arael&pid=3

For information, more go here http://www.marketingtutorblog.com/courses/