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How Soon Will There Be Another Jimmy Carter Level Misery Index and How Do You Prepare?

If there is no inflation, why did the cost of my lunch just go up 25 cents, people are asking. Are you one of the people who just paid an extra quarter AGAIN for lunch at the restaurant where you eat on the weekend? Or what item have you noticed that either costs more now or the portions are smaller?

If we have no inflation and deflation is the risk, why are people seeing things like this?

The bailouts last year put trillions of cash into the system, supposedly until our experts decide it is safe to take the extra liquidity out. As the time drags on to reduce the liquidity overhang, experts raise the question of WHEN, not if inflation will start raging.

The last time this process happened and our politicians were helping us, they publicized a misery index. Last month, the number was 12.72 for December 2009. The all time low was 2.97 in 1953. The highest number was a staggering 22 in 1980. Think of the pressures of high inflation and high unemployment at the same time and the impact on your business or customers business.

You can learn more than you really wanted about the misery index by the website with that exact name.

It says the misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index.

A number of experts suggest the index is manipulated by the party in power to reduce both the level of unemployment shown and inflation. The most comments in that area say the unemployment rate is artificially low since people who drop out of looking for a job until the economy improves stop showing up in unemployment numbers. Think about the artificial levels that interest rates on Certificates of Deposits and money markets are being held to help banks and financial institutions restore their battered equity and slowly bleed off losses in their loans and investments over time.

How should you look at the misery index and its impact over the next year in your business and personal life?

Marketing Strategy for Success in the App Market

Developing an app is an accomplishment. With so much time and effort involved in the entire process of development, test and launch, devising an effective marketing strategy would be the last thing in the mind of a developer.

In the App market, there exists the ‘problem of abundance’. With a surge of mobile apps in various app stores, success is not guaranteed even if your newly developed app has ‘everything’ in it. This is further aggravated with the high failure rate of various nicely developed apps at the app stores. The truth is, no matter how fantastic your app is, a solid marketing strategy is what ultimately sells it. The marketing of ‘promised value’ can act as a key differential.

It is essential to create a marketing plan before the launch for promotion and brand awareness. After all nobody is going to download an app that doesn’t s have buzz around it.

What is the strategy to create the marketing buzz?

1. Promotion Before Launch: Even before the launch of the app, various promotional content should be finalized – content development, reviews by various influencers, opinion makers and bloggers and banner designing for advertising, news releases, etc. Correct medium (portals and publications) can guarantee that the promotion is targeted to the right audience. This is facilitated by making an online presence through social media networks. Demo testing with a target group spreads awareness amidst the right audience.

2. Optimizing the App: Optimizing the app to search engine by providing the correct keywords in its title and description is important so that users can locate it easily. App optimization during the development process should be an essential step for discoverability in search query at the app store. (1)

3. Releasing Unique Features Early: To grow a user base, it is essential to release early, which draws investor attention. Releasing the primary features would help early adoption – setting the stage for growing user base in the future. Enabling a social sharing facility can further lead to enhancing user base. Adoption is typically fast if a unique feature is introduced at an early stage. For example a messaging app that has the capacity to target 50 or more people at time would attract interest. (2)

4. Get Discovered – With a plethora of apps in the same market segment you are operating, at the highest frequency is essential to make your presence felt. The audience wants to know that how your app makes their task easier and that is ready to be downloaded. Create a landing page and an email subscription option for the app. Focus should be to create awareness to drive traffic to the page. A multi-channel marketing strategy such as email marketing, banner advertising, and viral marketing can help promote apps across various channels. To garner maximum visibility the marketing process should continuous.

5. Make Users Your Marketers: Attaining the top position in the chart is difficult but once achieved, users can act as the marketer for your ‘great app’. Users can use the shareable features of the app to spread brand awareness among friends. They can use the app to share content, and social media to create the buzz around the app. Relationships can be forged through the shareable aspect of the app. Social media can be used to create profiles of the targeted users who can be engaged and re-engaged through content, value description, offers, and feature capabilities. Once convinced your true marketers do the viral marketing for the app. (4)

6. Revenue Model: It is essential to develop clarity over the revenue sourcing model. The most appropriate revenue model should be chosen. The app can be a paid app or an initially free and chargeable later on. The various monetizing sources of the app that can be explored include purchase options, advertisements, subscriptions, and product/service selling.

7. User Retention and Engagement: Retaining customers can be just as difficult as acquiring them. Push notifications serve as a source of user engagement. A solid user experience is essential to engage and retain customers. Feedback on user experience through ratings and reviews on the app page/app store are definite ways to boost credibility, retain existing customers, and acquire more. Allowing people to contact directly from the app through a mail or social media can help build engagement. Any negative review about a bug, problem, crash or additional feature requirement should be sorted immediately. Successful handling of user request leaves a happy customer and leads to positive reviews. (5)

Positive reviews increases app credibility as people download apps with higher positive recommendations.

Well planned pre-launch promotion, precise optimization, releasing unique feature early, enhanced discoverability, viral marketing, and positive review through high credibility are some of the killer strategies to fight competition and top the charts in the app market.

References

(3) Dholakiya, Prateek. “3 Strategies for Winning In the Hyper-Competitive Market for Apps.” 6 February 2015. Entrepreneur.com. 19 February 2015
(1,2) Kimbrell, Gideon. “Five Killer Marketing And Distribution Strategies For Your App.” 18 July 2014. Forbes Website. 19 February 2015
(5) “Marketing your new mobile app.” 10 October 2014. Smart Insights.com. 19 February 2015
(4) “The iOS app Marketing Strategy Guide.” Apptamin.com. 19 February 2015

Objectives and Components of Internet Marketing

It is the age of the Internet and it’s only natural that advertising, marketing, promotion and sales of goods and services are done through the Internet. Such activity is broadly defined as Internet Marketing. Other terms that are used to refer to this are Online Marketing, Internet Advertising and Web Marketing. They all refer to the use of the Web to target and deliver promotional messages about products and services to customers.

Internet Marketing includes many types of areas used in marketing such as email marketing, social media marketing, web banner advertising, mobile advertising, search engine marketing etc. As any other advertising media, internet marketing involves an advertiser who provides the content for advertisements and a publisher who integrates advertisements into spaces in online content.

Basically, internet marketing does the following functions, which can be called ‘objectives’:

• Communicates messages about a company’s product or services to customers online
• Conducts research into the demographics, needs and preferences of potential and existing customers
• Sells advertising space, products and services online or over the Internet.

In the highly competitive and globalized economy that the world is seeing today, internet marketing has evolved into a ‘component mix’ that companies use to increase sales; it is an inevitable part of every business’ marketing strategy. For some online companies and smaller or home based businesses, internet marketing is the only method of marketing used.

Internet Marketing Components

Among the many components of Internet marketing are:

• Setting up a web presence – create a website or portal using text, images and graphic elements to convey information on existing and upcoming services and products to customers, thus creating a one-on-one dialogue with potential buyers. Here, this online presence becomes the equivalent of printed material such as leaflets, brochures or catalogues and are an extremely viable way of establishing a business identity.

• Search Engine Marketing – through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it is possible to improve the website or the business identity of the company online to its customers.

• Email marketing – this is a way of distributing information about products, services and exchanging information with the customer to receive feedback and suggestions. Using email marketing, mass distribution of emails is done; it is the online equivalent to direct mail advertising or marketing

• Banner advertising – this refers to placement of ads on websites for a fee; something like placing an advertising in a printed medium like a newspaper or magazine

• Blog marketing – the act of expressing opinions, comments and sharing information in a public forum through discussion; this can be achieved through hosting blogs or posting comments on other blogs and linking URLs to company products and services

• Article marketing – this involves the use of articles written in relation to a business and its activities and posted on article sites. Article marketing can bring substantial traffic to a website and promote brands to a wider audience.

• Social media marketing – this is one segment that every Internet user is aware of and the impact of which is certainly felt on all aspects of a business. Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter etc. have increasingly become extremely useful tools for online marketing.

The Top 10 Don’ts of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the method of marketing in which we use various electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. It also entails the usage of software programs, apps and technological platforms such as email, websites, social media, etc. The world of digital marketing is a vast one in which we can easily get lost.

Because of all the advances and changes in technology, it can be hard to keep up on all the latest trends and methods encompassed by digital marketing. Digital marketing strategies include visual marketing, mobile marketing, and online marketing techniques of various kinds so it can all get very confusing and overwhelming.

We not only need to know what to do in the digital marketing world, we have to know what not to do. Below is a list of ten of the don’ts to hopefully help you trek through the massive digital marketing universe.

1. Closing Your Eyes on Mobile Marketing – The number of people who spend more time on the web with mobile devices is growing at a astounding rate. If you own an online business, you can no longer resist mobile devices as part of your digital marketing arsenal. The first step would be to make your website mobile device friendly. Many site builder programs such as WordPress have plugins and automatic features to do that for you. You can also add a line of code to your site that will format your site to the device being used. Be sure to try your website on your mobile devices to find out exactly how people are seeing it. Go through the mobile shopping experience yourself so you have a full understanding of what you need to do.

2. Too Much Social Media – Social media is so much a part of the internet these days it is impossible to expect to build a presence on all of the social sites. You need to pick 2 or 3 of the top sites and start building your brand and setting up your social presence. The most used social sites as of now are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I get most of my social traffic from Facebook and Pinterest. Next in line is Google+, Tumblr and Instagram. If you can understand your target market you can become a part of the social sites in which they would most likely participate.

3. Information Overload – The digital marketing world is so vast we can easily become lost in the information. I, as well as many others, get caught in the trap of spending too much time gathering information from countless sources on various aspects of building an online business. We need to narrow our focus and learn only what we need to learn to successfully build our business. Find a few good sources for this information and stick with them to learn the ins and outs.

4. Not Having a User-Friendly Website – Many of us are tempted to create the biggest, brightest, flashiest website possible but this is a big mistake. You want your site design to be simple, easy to navigate and very user-friendly. Add only what is needed to inform your customers. You do want to add some extra content to provide information to your visitors but make sure it directly pertains to what your site is about. Do not clutter up your site with countless ads, irrelevant information or extra steps to get to your call to action. Fancy features and flashy extras will just confuse your customer and possibly drive them to another site.

5. Not Keeping Up with SEO Changes – SEO is very pertinent to your website but the rules and regulations are always changing. Find a good source of SEO information and follow it regularly to keep up with the changes so you can make any necessary revisions to your business website.

6. Not Utilizing Visual Marketing – By using visual marketing, you could increase your conversion rate by as much as 86%. This is a phenomenal statistic. Place a video on your landing and/or homepage. Strategically place quality graphics in your blog posts and content. Use visuals as much as possible in your social media marketing. Create and use your own infographics for your blog and social media. There are free tools for making infographics. Use a compelling photo or graphic in your articles. It could mean the difference between your article being read or rejected. Look over articles with photos. Does the photo pull you into the article and make you want to read it or does it leave you flat. Take note of the type of image used and what emotion or action it brings out in you. Placing a well-made video on your homepage or landing page will make a substantial difference as well. People will get the message much quicker than by reading and could be the deciding factor as to whether they stay or go. Be entertaining in the video but be sure to deliver your message. Your image and voice will also help your potential customer bond with you. You also want to get started in a fairly new visual marketing technique called meme marketing. This combines humor and real life situations with amusing and/or heartwarming images.

7. Not Testing and Tracking – Take advantage of Google’s free tools to study your stats and track your visitors. Google Analytics can help you tweak your site to its performance peak. Test ads, web pages, article resource boxes, etc. Find out what brings the best results and most response and stick with it.

8. Not Establishing the Relationship – Doing business with people digitally is much different than being able to talk with them face to face. It is harder for people to trust a webpage than an actual person so be sure to do all you can to build that relationship of trust and respect. Answer all email inquiries quickly and appropriately. Be reliable – if you say you are going to do something, be sure to do it. Be consistent – if you are sending out a weekly newsletter do not get lax and start missing weeks. Update your blog and product information regularly. Do not let your site go stale. Be consistent in your social media. Respond to all questions and comments in a timely manner. Let people know you are available for them and can be trusted.

9. Focusing too Much on Traffic and Not Enough on Conversions – Traffic is the lifeblood of an online business but you also need to focus on quality and targeted traffic. Getting 1000 visitors to your site doesn’t do much good if they are not interested in what you offer. Participate in groups and forums where people who are interested in your services might be. If you offer B2B products and services, join groups and forums of home business owners. We all want more traffic but we need to aim for the traffic to whom we can actually sell.

10. Charging Blindly Into the Marketing Abyss – Starting an online business and charging headfirst into the digital marketing world is not a good idea. You need to do some planning ahead and research what you are getting into. Know who your customers will be and where to find them. Make sure you are offering a sellable product or service. Be somewhat prepared for your dive into the digital marketing world.

These mistakes are very common but need to be addressed. If you are attempting to build an online business you need to be informed and constantly be adapting and learning. Digital marketing has come a long way since the early 90s and we need to grow and develop with it. It will be overwhelming at times but you can work to overcome and build a successful online business.

Top Digital Movement in 2015 – Key for Marketers Success

With the onset of the new year, marketers have realized that the challenges and opportunities for them in 2015 have been like never before. This requires greater awareness about the latest trends in the digital world, contributing towards enhanced customer experience, customization, and multi- platform marketing techniques.
It is important to be aware of changes in consumer behavior and trends.

Consumers are embracing new technology and it affects consumer spending and redefines marketing strategy. Knowledge about the latest marketing channels and importance of enhanced connectivity helps any marketer design new and improved marketing communication.

Strategic Questions for Digital Marketers(1)

  • How do consumers spend their time across various virtual devices, platforms, and channels?
  • What is the spending pattern of consumers over these platforms and channels?
  • How do you devise ways to define the most apt marketing message for these consumers?

Top Digital Trends – Key to Success for Marketers

Brand Responsiveness:

In 2015, Smartphones have become the remote control of our lives with enhanced adoption of technology. Marketers are faced with the challenge of being responsive in terms of usability across a range of virtual devices and platforms. Brands need to be action-oriented and relevant across these touch points.

To succeed in the digital world, brands need to be responsive in terms of design that are compatible across various platforms and device types. With the changing marketing paradigm where mobility and social media are important aspects, brands need to be fast, flexible, and fluid.(2)

Being responsive enables a brand to provide a portable and customized user experience to its customers. As per the ‘Digital Marketing Outlook’ report of E-consultancy (April 16, 2014), client side marketers consider certain areas that keep them ahead of the curve. These areas include social media, data-driven optimization, mobile, integrated design, and responsive design.(3)

Customer Experience:

Many companies consider treating customer experience as a competitive advantage for themselves. This requires aligning the goal of all teams working in the organization’s realm towards jointly attaining this goal. The digital trend report of E-consultancy (2014) shows that 44 percent of business organizations view customer experience/service as a key differentiator as against 28 percent who termed product quality as a differentiator from competition.(4)

Personalization:

As per the Adobe ‘Digital Roadblock’ survey (2015), customized communication acts as the most important marketing tool and top digital concern. As per the survey, other important priority areas for marketers involved content optimization, social media involvement, viral marketing, search engine marketing, mobile optimization and mobile app engagement. Customization doesn’t function in isolation. It functions across the entire customer journey with omni-channel and multi-device communication for customized service and product offering.(5)

Mobile Presence:

Marketers need to realize that mobile has become indispensable in our lives. It touches everything, including our personal and professional realm. Whether it is listening to music, booking tickets, or ordering food, mobile has become a substantially powerful tool. Mobile has redefined our concepts of entertainment, commerce, and content. As per the Emarketer webinar, by the end of 2015, 70 percent of the entire US search would be through mobile. In a mobile focused world, context would be an important characteristic.(6)

Cross Device Targeting:

Consumers today focus on multi-screen multi-tasking. Marketers should understand this behavior and enhance sales by targeting customers across an array of devices. Use of location data, user identification, and re-engagement through mobile apps help marketers redefine their strategy.
The Measurement and Analytics Report 2014, by E-consultany has focussed on important analytics which could be used by digital businesses to assess the changing paradigm of consumer behavior.

The important attributes include:

  • Following consumer behavior across multi-channel and multi-devices
  • Customization and targeting
  • Identifying the most valuable group of consumers for business
  • Assessing customer experience as a whole
  • Recognizing the design of content engagement and response towards an advertisement/campaign

Internet of Things (IoT):

This involves the entire group of things – people, places and objects that are and will remain connected over the internet to garner data to be transferred across networks through devices and apps. The data is analyzed to understand the information. For example through IoT, businesses would be capable of closely monitoring their inventory level through a mobile app. The potential of IoT is simply massive, as very soon it will be integrated across our personal and professional space. IT has the potential to develop into a multi-dollar market.(7)

Conclusion

In 2015, the mobile and social scene will become integrated and coordinated through increased brands responsiveness, customization, customer experience, multi device targeting, and IoT. Marketers need to realize the changing landscape and devise coordinated strategies surrounding elaborate sets of consumer behavior. Marketers need to understand the synchronized effect of the top digital trends and spend accordingly to justify their overall brand value.

References
(4,5) E-consultancy. “Digital trends 2015: CX & personalisation still high priorities.” September 2014. E-consultancy.
(1,2,3,6) Elkin, Noah. “Key Digital Trends-15 Things to Know for 2015 – Webinar.” 11 December 2014. EMarketer Website. 30 January 2015
(7)Forbes. “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2015.” 2015. Forbes Website. 30 January 2015