Sunday, January 8, 2017

What Business Are You Really In

The first thing that the situation analysis sets out to do is to answer the question, 
“What business are you really in?” 




On the surface this may appear to be an absurd question to ask. Certainly most if not all small business owners/managers can tell you what market their business operates in.  For example: the book market, the shoe market, the men's wear market, and so on.  However knowing this is not enough.  You must also know exactly what market segment your business caters to.  For instance, based on the examples given above, your business might be in:

1.      The educational book market for primary and secondary level schools but not tertiary (as part of the overall book market).

2.      The high–fashion, leather shoe market catering only for women and not men (as part of the overall shoe market).

3.      Affordable, medium quality/medium priced men’s wear clothing and accessories (as part of the overall men’s wear market).

In each of these three examples, the business operates in one segment and not in all segments of their respective markets. Constructing a profile with key descriptors about your business will help you to identify the specific segment to which your business belongs. You may want to create this profile by using a checklist of ‘who, what, when, why and how’ regarding your customers and their needs.

      Checklist of key questions

1      
   Who are your main customers currently?
2        What other potential customers could be targeted by your business?
3        What are the main products (goods or services) sold by your business to these current customers?
4       What is the key need that is met by these products?
5        What other products could your business supply to its customers?
6        When do your customers mainly buy?
7        Why do they buy the product to begin with?
8        How do they buy?  (Buying patterns and methods).
9        Why do they buy from your business?
1       What don’t your customers like about buying from your business?
1       What related items do they buy elsewhere and why?
The owner of a small but profitable computer-programming firm considered that his business specialised and catered to no particular market segment.  He believed that his business designed software with a fairly even cross section of customers from various industries. 
However, on closer examination, the owner discovered to his surprise that about 40% of his customers were accounting firms.  This realisation prompted the firm to target this area more rigorously, with the result being an increased clientele list and increased profitability.
What really happened here?
Over time, the business had developed a superior and specialised knowledge of accounting systems in direct response to customer needs. Because the specialisation was gradual, this market segment was not identified until an analysis of the business was conducted.

Think broadly about the business you are in.
Once you have accurately determined exactly which business you are in, the next step is to take a broader look at what (beyond the actual product) the customers are buying from you.
Have a look at the three columns in this example. In the first column, the names of a number of well-known businesses are listed. The second column displays their respective product offerings.  It is, however, more important to identify what the customer is actually buying beyond the product itself. This is found in the third column.

Business                                 Product offering                      What’s in it for the customer
Universal Studios                      Movies                                     Entertainment
Revlon Cosmetics                     Make-up                                   Beauty
Telstra                                     Telephones                               Communication
Carrier                                      Air-conditioning                         Comfort
Mt.Buller                                  Skiing                                       Recreation
Metrail                                      Trains/Trams/Buses                 Transportation
Coca-Cola                                Soft Drink                                 Acceptance
Club Med                                  Travel & Tourism              Escape

From this type of analysis, the true nature of a business is quickly revealed.
Consider Cadbury Schweppes Company.  Their product offering is food and beverage.  But what are the customers really buying?

Mark Smith (Former Managing Director of Cadbury Schweppes – Australia & New Zealand), said:
               “I work for an outstanding company. And I'm really passionate about what we do,
                 which put simply, is to bring delight into the lives of millions of consumers.

Therefore, Cadbury Schweppes is in the business of putting joy and fun into people’s lives.  Not simply selling confectionery. 
 The customer’s perception of your product can be more important than the product itself. Coca-Cola is a classic example of this.  The long-term popularity of the Coca-Cola drink has been sustained over many decades. This would suggest that there is more to the drink than its taste.  The advertising is perennially the same and is targeted at young people. “Coke is it” really says, “Drink it and with it comes acceptance, status and fun.”  Not bad for a soft drink.
Similarly, once it was established by Revlon that women are really buying ‘beauty,’ Revlon tailored the marketing strategies, packaging and advertising to reinforce this perception.
By understanding what a customer is really buying, your marketing strategies and promotions will more accurately hit the mark.
To learn more about business marketing go to: http://www.roadscholarstraining.com/services/accredited-courses.html  and select from any of the nationally accredited business courses available to expand your knowledge further.
So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.




Monday, December 19, 2016

Seasons Greetings And A Very Merry Christmas To All

Hello again everyone and yet again as we say every year, another year has passed before our very eyes. This week I'd like to take a step back from  Business, Social Media and all things Sales and Marketing and focus instead on something more important.

Namely family and friends and how at this time of year it's certainly a time to reflect on how fortunate we are to be surrounded with so many good people who all help enrich our lives and really help to make life worth living.



On a personal note I'd like to thank all the readers for their support, feedback and input as it makes doing the Road Scholars Marketing blog so enjoyable.  As well I'd also like to wish you and those special to you a very safe and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

And so until next time, good luck and as always, good marketing.

Regards,
Daniele.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Including Calls To Action In Your YouTube Videos By Adding YouTube Cards



The Need For Effective CTA's

 The need to be able to effectively navigate from one social media outpost to the digital hub and or the next social media option is critical and has been spoken about on the Road Scholars blog many times. This ability to move within the overall digital network allows you the ability to keep providing value, social proof and ultimately a way to commercialise the customers desire to meet their needs with your product offering.

Within YouTube

Specifically within the YouTube environment there are multiple ways to do this. One of the simplest ways is to simply create and YouTube Cards that appear on the video and direct the viewer to take the next required action that your are nominating for them.

To create the YouTube Card for a video, simply go to the Video and add cards to your YouTube video, go to your YouTube Video Manager and simply select the video you want to add a card to. Then click on Edit below the video’s title.

The on the next screen click on the Cards Tab.


From here the template is accessible that allows you to craft the specific message you want the viewer to see and respond to. Just click on the Add Card button and create the specifics of the card.




As shown above there are five types of YouTube Cards currently available.
You will provide the key information for the one you select to create the card. 

For example, if you choose the URL option you will provide the link to the next port of call which may be for example where the prospect buys your product offering.


Summary

 This YouTube card is yet another effective and viable way to provide users with clear directions and options on what to do next and how to do it. They make the process more intuitive and enjoyable for the person engaged with your content and is a vital cog in producing viable social media networks.

To learn more about all aspects of social and digital marketing simply click on: 

http://victorianchamber.com.au/business-solutions/training/course
 

and select a course that's right for you.
So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Google My Business Improves Notification Settings


Recently Google made an important announcement to the market that they had made significant improvements to the Google My Business Package.


These changes will now allow any and all Google My Business users more direct control over the notification settings and their ability to choose what they want and don't want to be notified about by Google. 
Contained within this, Google are additionally integrating added types of updates which they believe will provide additional value and relevance to understanding your business. 
This new format as pictured above is a hybrid of the previous preferences contained within the new set of settings, that users will begin receiving from Google moving forward..
Importantly as stated you the user will have the ability to preferentially choose or not choose any of the available options and be able to change that preference on the settings page at any stage in the future as your needs may also change.

To do this you simply click on or off the notification option and the change is automatically recorded by the system from that point. The link to unsubscribe will also routinely appear in the footer of all notification emails should you wish to stop receiving the notifications.

So another nice refinement by our friends at Google that will hopefully provide even deeper insight and clarity around your business dynamics. To learn more about all aspects of social and digital marketing simply click on:
http://victorianchamber.com.au/business-solutions/training/course
and select a course that's right for you.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Virtual Reality Update: VR Box Series (II)

Since the last recent post on virtual reality I know a lot of people have asked about the content side of things that is required once you have your VR headset and Bluetooth controller.


Thankfully there is a sea of free or extremely low cost, quality content that is extremely easy to get online and use on your VR Box Series II..



From the point of view of quality existing content for schools,  the Google Expeditions site is here:

The experience comes from the app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.vr.expeditions), downloadable onto any Android device/phone and suits Google Cardboard - our VR headsets are the same as Google Cardboard but better, they're solid plastic and visually appealing.
 From the Google support article for getting started (https://support.google.com/edu/expeditions/answer/6335093?hl=en&ref_topic=6334250):
Expeditions are group experiences with a guide leading and the explorers following along. We recommend a tablet for the guide and phones, a virtual reality viewer, for the explorers.

If you want to put together your own kit, you can use the app with Android tablets and phones. Expeditions will run on any Android device running KitKat (Android 4.4 and above) but multiple devices are required to use the app. Essentially for any BYO teacher kits, our headsets are perfectly fine.



Also note anything with the following Google Cardboard icon, is compatible with the VR Box Series (II) headsets.



 Updated information on this incredible unit is available at:
https://verve.digital/vr-box/ It is a truly impressive unit that simply requires a modern smartphone runs on any regular mobile and does not require a laptop to run off ensuring a greater level of freedom of movement.


Some additional great immersive (360) videos can also be obtained from:
  1. Jaunt: https://www.jauntvr.com/
  2. 360Rize: http://video.360heros.com/
  3. Littlstar: https://littlstar.com/
  4. Discover VR: http://www.discoveryvr.com/
  5. YouTube (There is a growing range of 360 degree videos here): https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=360+video
  6. Google Play & Apple Store apps

So regardless of how proactive you have been to this point, the advent of Virtual Reality technology now affords another exciting opportunity to differentiate your business offering from competitors and provide an even higher degree of value added service delivery that will continue to allow for a more interactive and immersive brand experience.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.