Waldorf Education

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Business Growth Secret Revealed – Using a Marketing Calendar

Using a marketing calendar
Many business owners may not necessarily be doing their marketing planning this way or may choose to be doing this in a similar way. Either way, using a marketing calendar can be hugely successful strategy to grow your business through effective marketing.What is a marketing calendar?
A marketing calendar is a way to organize your marketing activity to specific dates or deadlines relevant to the target markets of your business;For example a florist could target mother’s day marketing and promotion. It may be a more general month target of for instance targeting Christmas shoppers in November. It can also be used to schedule information or promotion to clients who have been engaged to services for a specific period, such as an insurance company may wish to do certain marketing activities prior to renewal dates for instance.A marketing calendar can be a way of aiming at different key target markets throughout the year and aligning all the marketing efforts for greater impact in gaining your target markets.You may also notice trends at certain times of the year, which you may choose to attempt to exploit more fully in your marketing calendar planning. For instance a financial planner may see a spike in new year resolutions leading to more interest in wealth creation early in the new year.How to do a marketing calendar?
Your marketing calendar is a working document you can revise and update throughout the plan year. A marketing calendar should be simple. I recommend a simple spreadsheet matrix with months or dates with your key target market type described along with the key marketing efforts directed at that target market.Go back and review your target markets.
A good business should know exactly who or what kind of client or customers it would like. Remind yourself the types of target markets that you may be winning more, make more money from, have more competitive strengths in, more specialized in or even just downright enjoy more. The key is don’t be too broad or have too many. The more specific your target market is, the easier your marketing becomes and chance of marketing success.Review all of your marketing activity
If you haven’t already done so, go on and write down all your marketing efforts in detail and check on just how effective each marketing tool is for you. To state the obvious you should then consider putting more focus on the ones that work and eliminating the ones that don’t work. You could also try to match certain ones to the different target markets.Some examples of your marketing efforts maybe be:
• Signage• Social media• Websites• Referral partners• Business networking• Paid online marketing• Asking for referrals• Web blogging or SEO• newslettersWhat if this doesn’t apply to your type of business?
Perhaps your business is not at all dependent on the date or time of the year. If so, consider just having after care schedules to perhaps ask for referrals or cross sell you at a certain point after a sale.Where do I find the time to do this?Well often business owners do not get out of the business long enough to develop some systems to improve their businesses. If this is the case they are unlikely to get different results.So they need to look at ways to free up their time to devote in this area. This can be achieved by delegating or training staff to be more capable and giving the business owner more time to develop their business.Otherwise they may simply outsource their marketing and grow their business that way.Some other examples
• One business owner says he arranges a highly discounted sale of stock or wrongly sized materials. As well as clearing out stock, staying tidy, it brought in new people into his showroom and lead to sale of his real product too.• Use a regular say monthly newsletter of useful information or stock listing to your customer list. It will be a great way to keep you in mind of the customers. You may also be inviting them to buy or use your services at the perfect time they may be considering that very purchase at that time.• Curiously at times of elections spending can slump in economies. So you could factor this into your marketing calendar too.Here are some reasons why a marketing calendar will help your business grow
1. having a plan gets you to a destination. You will be efficient in knowing what to do at certain times of the year and can repeat these year in year out.2. Focusing on less gets you a better result. Improving your efficiency from your marketing tools will get you better results.3. More clients and customers come with more marketing activity. Thinking in this way and implementing a system to gain new clients will be effective in improving your sales.4. Improve your branding and reputation. Honestly, being consistent and having good marketing activity will make you appear to be an even more successful business therefore attracting more clients and customers.5. Become more productive. By working on your business you will learn how to outsource and delegate. This will also get your more profit or results with your time.6. Making more success in your business always improves your personal life balance. So having more profits may in turn means more holidays or more staff to help you better enjoy your non working life.

Home Brands Winning the Fight Over Big Brands

Christmas is a great time to catch up with family and friends that you hardly see. This year I ran into a friend of mine who works for a chemical manufacturer. The organisation he works for happens to specialise in anti-bacterial hand washes and sunscreen creams.

After exchanging our greetings I asked how work was and he told me that manufacturing was tough and would only be getting tougher. The weather was hot (it is Christmas and summer in Australia at the moment) and so I took out the sunscreen my wife had purchased from our local supermarket to apply on my children’s skin. He asked why we had purchased that particular brand and my wife explained that she recognised the brand and that the bottle looked easy to open and close. He then began to explain that the difference between the brand offered by the supermarket “Home Brand” and the brand we had purchased was probably perfume only, ie one had a different aroma added to it than the other. In terms of the protection offered, there was no difference. The company he worked for made several brands of sunscreen and they where all pretty much exactly the same, differentiated by packaging and therefore price.

He extended his comparison to the anti-bacterial hand cleanser that his company also makes. Our local supermarket stocks a few brands and we have gotten used to the smell of a particular brand that we now buy regularly. The formula used was very similar if not the same across each of the brands that they packaged on behalf of other companies.

With all of this information at hand it got me thinking. Of late the press had been hammering the big supermarkets about their drive to have customers purchase “home brand” products by essentially giving them priority positioning on shelves as well as undercutting the competition on price.

Can millions of dollars invested in a brand disappear literally over night if you learn that brand A and brand B are essentially the same? Are you likely to switch to a “home branded” product offered by a supermarket simply because it is 30% lower in price than the traditional market leader. Should we as consumers care if big brands are being driven out of the market by cheaper alternatives with the distribution power to undercut them?

The large supermarket chains of Coles and Woolworths dominate grocery shopping in Australia. IGA and a few independents offer some competition but the shear distribution of these large chains means they control what we eat and what brands we buy. Or do they?

The press is telling us that if we don’t want our grocery shelves dominated by “Home Brands” we should be voting with our wallets, driving the dollars back to the big brands. Yet the big brands make us pay 30% more for what is essentially the same product as the “Home Brand” simply because this is how they make lots of money.

Look at your own shopping experience. Would you travel out of your way to buy a particular branded product if the local grocery store didn’t stock or stopped stocking it? Would you continue to go out of your way even after a few months. If you are time poor, you like most others are more likely to pick the easier option, just buy what the store offers.

In Australia the Coles and Woolworths range of “Home Branded” products are taking between 25% and 30% of all grocery sales. This is likely to rise to over 30% as has been seen in other countries like the UK. With a young family, I purchase 9 litres of milk each week. That is three times three litre containers. The difference between buying the “Home Brand” and the market leader is over $1.50 per container, equating $4.50 per week. I personally prefer the taste of the market leader’s milk but until my kids can tell the difference and ask for it, I would rather save the $4.50 per week.

Therefore the market leading retail milk brand in Australia who has spent so much over the years convincing us that their flavour and milk is better is now forced to compete primarily on price. It is a big challenge for them and it will require them to begin to think in a different way so that they can begin to win customers like me back. As I mentioned I prefer their milk but when the economy is facing tough times, we all reign in our spending where we can and make compromises to get by.

A few years ago a similar marketing challenge was presented to Panadol the leading paracetamol brand (head ache relief). A low cost, no frills competitor come into the market saying that it offered the same formula as Panadol without the premium price. Their advertising in fact focused primarily on this point of difference. Same formula, 30% cheaper.

What Panadol did was evolve their product range, developing products that worked quicker “Rapid” and were more focused on specific pain relief (eg kids). They developed marketing campaigns focusing on the tie that many Australians had with the brand and how they used it for specific pain relief. They used some real customers and made their advertisements focus on “testimonial.”

To date it has worked and Panadol is once again selling well. Whilst the other brand is still around, it hasn’t been seen on TV for years.