Bum Marketing Method – What’s The Difference With Article Marketing?

What is the bum marketing method? It is simply article marketing and affiliate marketing combined. Travis Sago, the inventor of this name made a lot of noise last year, and many people are confused.

I will answer to several questions to help beginners trying to earn a few bucks online. But first, you need to understand that the bum marketing method is a short term strategy.

First, you need to write and submit articles to the top article directories. These are EzineArticles, goarticles and searchwarp.

I don’t have a lot of success with searchwarp, and in fact I stopped submitting articles there.

But there is a little problem with this method. To earn money, you need to practice direct linking. This means that you link directly to the merchant’s website.

While you can make anywhere between a few hundreds and a few thousands dollars per month with this method, I don’t recommend that you send visitors directly to the merchant. Send them to your own landing page instead because in this case, you are in control of your traffic.

I do not say that direct linking doesn’t work, but a landing page is the best way to do it.

Another mistake made by bum marketers is that they try to sprinkle their associate links inside the article. This is really annoying for article owners, and most of them won’t even bother publishing your articles.

Another benefit of linking to your own webpage is that search engines will notice the surge in inbound links and your website will have higher rankings in the search engines.

What should you have on your landing page?

It is good to have an opt-in form to capture your visitors email addresses. Then, you will redirect them to the affiliate page with your autoresponder series. It’s a proven fact that most of the buyers won’t do it at the first visit and you need to expose the offer to your reader several times for maximum conversion.

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Mass Email Marketing Can Help Grow Your Business

Email Marketing is a form of direct marketing in which a commercial message or an email newsletter is sent to a list of interested audience through electronic mail. It is similar to sending direct mail except that sending emails is much easier and less expensive. Whether a growing organization or an established firm, email marketing offers a cost effective way to keep in touch with the customers and build a loyal base of customers.

Increase traffic to Your Website

One of the hardest things to do in internet is attracting traffic to a website. Though search engine optimizations can bring visibility to your website, just the traffic does not make profit. You should have a strong marketing strategy to convert the traffic into customers. Email marketing is the best way to sustain the interest of the people who visit your website and make them do business with you. By sending regular newsletters with quality content, people will be compelled to visit your website to know more. This will turn in sustained traffic to your website. Moreover, these people are genuinely interested in your products and services and visit your website to do business. Even if 5% of the people buy your products, it can work wonders to your annual turnover.

Build Customer Loyalty

Email marketing is the best way to expand your customer base and improve brand loyalty among your customers. By sending them useful information and interesting content customers, get a sense of value for the time they spend reading your mail. Just a few paragraphs or few tips are enough to capture the interest of the customers and bring them to your home page. With regular emails, readers are better exposed to your products and they start accepting them. You do not get a better chance to build your brand image. A great advantage with email marketing is you can identify the potential customers and target your marketing to suite the niche audience. The emails can be personalized to make them sound informal wherever desired. If the content is interesting and makes sense to people, they might even forward it to their friends increasing your brand visibility.

Save Advertising Cost

Compared to other forms of advertising – direct mails, newsletters – email marketing is less expensive. Moreover, the entire process of sending mails can be automated. Such tools are easily available over internet. They help you manage your contacts and send mails at regular intervals. Your investment involves only an auto-responder, which sends out the emails periodically (at preset intervals). In addition, you should spend some manpower on making the content of the email compelling and useful for the customer. All this will make only a fraction of the money you will otherwise spend in sending direct mails to your customer.

Email marketing is fast catching up as most popular marketing strategy. Any business can benefit from email marketing of some kind. This least expensive mode of advertising has the greatest potential to bring valuable customers for your business.

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NetWeb Marketing Exodus – Membership Re-Opens Again

Ellie and Charlie Drake have opened the doors to NetWeb Marketing yet again. For a community that is supposed to be limited, and exclusive, there sure are a lot of re-openings since the project commenced in December.

Ellie Drake’s hallmark is what she calls “over delivery” and yet, the biggest gripe heard around the charter member forums is the failure to provide timely delivery of content and value.

When she partnered with Mike Filsaime in late 2007 to create NetWeb Marketing, the Network Marketing world was set on fire with the special “Death of Network Marketing” report and subsequent “Birth of” report that unveiled the new intenet concept they dubbed “NetWeb” Marketing.

It would appear that her membership isn’t convinced. As I mentioned in a previous article, Mike Filsaime and Ellie Drake grossed $175,000 on the launch day of this project. To that end, there was much anticipation of Drake’s signature “over-delivery” and this project just hasn’t seen the reality of it.

The first issue is whether or not the software that was provided was actually beta-test software. Drake and her husband Charlie started the Braveheartwomen website a few months before the NetWebmarketer site went live – using the same software model and platform. In addition, there was a promise to create websites for each new member, and then back pedaled saying it would be better for each member to learn to build their own site to get hands on training. Webinars were provided to offer training in that area, but it was the first sign of mutiny in the forums.

The second big issue is the focus of the project. In what was dubbed a wakeup call for all network marketers, it became clear rapidly, that Drake was focusing primarily on “newbies” to the inter-net-work marketing world. More experienced users were put “on hold” to help bring newbies up to speed, and as such, grumblings began in the members-only forum about a failure to deliver on promises made. While the program still holds value for newcomers to using the Internet to boost your network marketing business, experienced marketers were wondering what exactly they were getting for their $39 monthly fee.

The third strike was an email sent inviting Braveheart subscribers to take advantage of a membership in NetWebMarketing that was inadvertently sent out to all subscribers – leaving charter members at NetWebMarketing.com wondering why more people were being welcomed into their “closed door” community.

I’ve been on the inside of this forum since the inception, and while I maintain a “back door pass” into the community, memberships have been dropping for the past month at a steady rate. Several of the more advanced community members have opted to continue their marketing activities over at Mike Dillard’s free membership site, Magnetic Sponsoring.

Drake offered a live boot camp in Atlanta to charter members for $1 – which seemed to comply with her concept of over-delivery, but the “word on the street” from the members is that it was geared primarily to people just getting started.

One charter member commented that “you could effectively do everything that the software does for you at a lower cost then the 39 dollars per month. If you are new stay here and learn and have everything done for you… you can learn all of the stuff for free but it will take you a lot more time.” This same member is also enrolled at Mike Dillard’s Magnetic Sponsoring Community.

So the general consensus is that NetWebMarketing is a great place for people who are just getting started, but with communities like Magnetic Sponsoring that are well-established and free, it may prove to be less valuable in the long term, as a user gains more experience.

As an income model, NetWeb is extremely clever. Subscribers pay a monthly fee for access to the community forum and drive traffic to the Netwebmarketer.com site by posting articles and blog content. The so-called advertising “network” that members can advertise on is nothing more than the pages of fellow members and those of the Braveheart community. Each site supports the traffic and page rank of the other automatically, through the efforts of it’s members. No additional work is required on the part of the Drakes – except maintaining and managing the content of the site.

For those that haven’t read all of the articles in this series, let me summarize: Bring a community product to market, promote it with a free report that pays minimally for referrals, then supply a second free report with incredible bonuses and pre-launch with a fee-based conference call. After the call, open the doors for a limited number and a limited time to increase the desire and perceived value of the product. Then deliver on the content to maintain your membership.

That last step appears to be the “lulu” in this program. Mike Filsaime is nowhere to be found in relation to this program anymore, yet his name still appears on the emails sent from Braveheart headquarters, and his name and likeness have been removed from the sign up pages that are now being sent.

Under promise and over-deliver are the watch words of effective network marketing. You owe it to your customers to provide not just content, but substantially valuable content on a continuing basis. That seems to be the early flaw in Drake’s new program, but time might just prove her out to be the over deliverer she’s been known to be.

In the meantime, unless you’re a newbie, NetWebMarketing doesn’t hold much in store. Experienced Network Marketers can get a lot more from other, low-cost or free options presently available on the web. It might take a bit of research, but several of Drake’s own members have pointed the way to at least one other haven for network marketers on the web.

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Introduction to Direct Response Fundraising

Direct response does exactly what it says – goes to the donor to get a direct response to a request for a donation. It gives people the opportunity to contribute to a cause directly. And it’s amazingly effective. Even in this day of internet marketing, there’s still something powerful about direct mail. It’s tangible, and because it’s in the mail, the recipient is far more likely to see it (instead of hitting delete without noticing the topic). And it continues to help non-profit organizations raise hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

I have worked in the non-profit field for more than 25 years, beginning with a job fundraising for a community development organization in the South Bronx. Specifically, my job was to begin and build a direct mail campaign.

Because my father was in charge of fundraising for an international non-profit, I had great exposure to and familiarity with direct mail and its value. It was a fantastic way to raise both money for and awareness of a cause. Its most attractive attribute? It gave people all over the New York region the ability to do something concrete to help a cause about which they cared deeply or just a little bit. And people did care about helping the South Bronx.

This was back in the day when the South Bronx looked like bombs had dropped, full of burned-out buildings and barren landscapes that spread for acres. President Ford had recently told New York to “drop dead” while President Carter stood amid the rubble at Charlotte Street promising to do something to help the South Bronx. Meanwhile, the movie “Fort Apache” was busy scaring America and Tom Wolfe was doing research for his terrifying book, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Our campaign worked, in part because we began when concern for the people of the South Bronx was reaching its crest. Our first donor acquisition packages went out to people who already were donors to community development and anti-poverty causes. We promised to exchange our lists with the organizations whose lists we borrowed – a practice that continues to this day. The fact behind this: people who already give through the mail are more likely to give to another organization through the mail. And people who support one social cause are more likely to support another one. There were lists we rented, too, because we knew those donors were very good prospects yet we couldn’t arrange a trade.

The initial mailings were very small in number – 50,000 pieces was the most we mailed at one time. And many mailings were smaller. We never mailed less than 10,000 pieces, however, because we wouldn’t generate enough responses to see if the particular package was effective. Our direct mail program eventually grew to include 3,000 donors and generate more than $250,000 a year in income.

Since that first job, I’ve overseen a lot of direct mail fundraising. For 11 years, I was the Executive Director of City Harvest, an anti-hunger group in New York City that generated 60% of its $11 million annual funding from individuals. While I was there, we quintupled our donor base to more than 50,000 donors.

In my early days, I learned that we were doing extremely well when 1.5% of the people we asked for money actually made a gift. In fact, any response rate over 1% is considered good in the direct response field. I thought these response rates to direct mail pieces were amazingly low considering that we raised more money than we spent on the donor acquisition mailing.

The wonderful thing about direct response is that we can collect lots and lots of data about who responds to what, over what period of time, with how much, at what time of year, etc. The first time a direct mail package is used, we mail to a fairly small set of potential donors in order to see what the response rate will be. At City Harvest, we once did a new donor acquisition mailing and got a 2.5% response rate – almost unheard of and quite celebrated in the non-profit direct mail universe (and much copied).

If a package gets a successful response, then you “roll out” the package to a much bigger group of potential donors (usually comprised of lists of donors to other charities). That becomes a “control package.” It will remain the control package until another donor acquisition package exceeds its average response rate.

A direct mail package consists of several pieces:

* a letter describing the organization’s work and actually asking for a gift, signed usually by the organization’s chief executive

* a response device with the potential donor’s name and address and listing several gift amounts (as well as providing information about getting the organization’s financial reports)

* a reply envelope (either unstamped or a postage-paid Business Reply Envelope or BRE)

Sometimes, the package includes a brief fact sheet or brochure to further educate the potential donor about the organization’s work and its impact.

Testing new packages goes on all the time, always with small groups of potential donors. Other tests also are done, with potential and with current donors – envelope size, real stamp versus machine stamp, celebrity signer versus CEO, enclosing pictures or not, the list goes on and on. Only one thing is tested at a time, though – it’s the only way to isolate what works or not.

One example: We tested whether to include a business reply envelope (with the organization paying for return postage) or provide an envelope that required someone to put on their own stamp. We found there was a slightly higher response rate to the no-stamp envelope – not statistically significant but enough to let us know that we could stop using BREs which cost us a lot of money. (Charities pay the postage AND a handling fee – it really does matter when you add your own postage).

I also learned that it becomes increasingly difficult to cover the costs of acquiring new donors, the more pieces you mail. So why continue trying to acquire new donors? Because once your organization gains a donor, it’s highly likely those donors will make another gift. Donor “renewals” are what yield the real fundraising income.

It turns out that it costs far less to get another gift from a donor than it does to get the first gift. There are no lists to rent, less printing to pay for, fewer stamps to be purchased. Most important: donor “acquisition” mailings are investments in the future. People who give $50 or $100 to an acquisition campaign may give two or three times that amount the next time. They may do that over three to five years. Also, a new donor may become what we call a major donor – someone who gives at least $1000. And some donors eventually become so interested in and committed to the organization that they join the Board of Directors and both give and help raise tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Five More Guerilla Marketing Tactics For Selling Internet Marketing Services to Local Businesses

When it comes to Guerilla Marketing Tactics for Selling Internet Marketing Services to Local Businesses, guerrilla marketing tactics can be some of the best ways to generate an income for yourself doing Internet Marketing for others. There are a lot of commanding guerrilla marketing tactics that you can use to promote a service like this to local businesses. Five of them, mentioned in a previous article, are classified ads, flyers, business cards, road signs, and direct mail. Five more, which we will explore in this article are, telemarketing and knocking on doors, and press releases, and networking groups and mastermind groups.

1.) Telemarketing- this is simply opening up your yellow pages again, starting with the A’s, and making a list of businesses you to call upon and offer your services. If you want, you don’t’ need to compile this list yourself. You can find a list broker, who can provide you with a list of targeted leads to call upon. You can narrow your list to zip code, type of business (you’re looking for Mom and Pop’s here) and whether or not they have a website. Then use a script to simply call on the phone and offer your services or offer them something for free, like a review of their web marketing program and a report on how it could be improved. Most people won’t want to take the time to implement the changes you suggest, but with a great sales letter for your service at a reasonable price, you will be able to secure clients with little effort. If you don’t want to cold call, you can outsource this to a local telemarketing company or on any number of the lance sites available on the web. You can even offer a commission basis if you don’t want to pay hourly wages, but you’ll have better retention rates amongst your contractors if you pay them on a guaranteed basis. With a good script and a good presentation, the cost of your telemarketer will be offset by the income he or she will produce for you.

2.) Door-to-door sales- this is nothing more than the process of getting in your car and going into businesses offering the same thing you would offer them in your direct mail campaign, your classified ad, on the phone and any other number of guerrilla marketing tactics. Your first chore would be to make a list of businesses that you frequent. Then make a list of business around them that you could stroll into when you visit that particular establishment. This will avoid a lot of backtrack driving. You can also hire a door to door sales rep. Professional sales reps are used to working for straight commission so you can hire these people more easily than a telemarketer.

3.) Press Releases- Write press releases about your new company and submit them to your local newspapers, TV news stations and radio stations. There are professional press release writing services who can work with you to give your business a spin that will make it press worthy. If you want to do your press release yourself, you can search out on Google some other press releases to follow their format. Remember, when writing a press release you want to convey a message regarding what YOUR business can do for a community. Submit your press release to your daily newspaper, radio and TV, but also to your smaller newspapers and local publications.

4.) Networking and Mastermind groups- all businesses and industries have networking groups where they meet and network with each other. They may have brainstorming sessions, and they might refer out leads to each other. Some groups restrict membership to one member per type of business. This means that if there is a person in the group who offers Internet Marketing Services to businesses, than no other Internet Marketing Service Provider can join that group. These types of groups have their good points and their bad points, but there are networking groups such as real estate investor groups where membership is unrestricted and they are still in direct competition with each other. But odds are in a restricted group, no one else is offering what you’re offering, and in an unrestricted group everyone is still going to want your services.

5.) Advertising Sharing- Have you ever been to a restaurant with paper placemats that had small business cared sized ads on it? This is an example of an advertising sharing program. First, locate the restaurants in your town or city that use these placemats. Usually you find them in breakfast and lunch places and in diners and family restaurants. Now that you know they use these placemats, all you need to do is offer to supply them for free. Now, go out and find a supplier for the paper placemats, and a printer. Then start going around to businesses who you have seen advertising on these placemats and ask them if they want space on yours. Because this is paper printing, it’s fairly cheap, so you can sell the space cheap to others, but at just enough of a profit margin to have your space for free.

Using these five ‘guerrilla marketing’ tactics can increase the exposure to those in your town to your very unique services. Maintaining a system incorporating these five tactics with the previous 5 tactics, classified ads, flyers, business cards, road signs, and direct mail, you will have a complete, low cost, but highly effective guerrilla marketing system designed to give you the ultimate marketing machine for your Internet Marketing services businesses. Now that you know how to market your services to local businesses for the type of low cost marketing methods you’re used to on the Internet, you can begin to add an additional stream of income to your Internet Marketing business.

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Five Guerilla Marketing Tactics For Selling Internet Marketing Services To Local Business

With all the buzz surrounding offline Internet Marketing Efforts, “Guerilla Marketing Tactics For Selling Internet Market Services to Local Businesses” is probably good knowledge to have. Guerilla marketing techniques are a constant in a number of industries and they are based on low-cost, but effective ways of delivering a sales message to a large group of people. Often times, they are small messages that must lead a prospect to a place where a larger message can be delivered, again with low cost. This is called two-step marketing, but that’s another story. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to look at a few guerrilla marketing tactics that have proven to be extremely successful marketing models for other businesses and industries. These tactics include things like classified ads, flyers, business cards, road signs, direct mail, telemarketing and knocking on doors, and press releases, and networking groups and mastermind groups.

1.) Classified Ads- Both online and offline classified ads can be very effective with a good headline and a call-to-action message. Some free classified ad services are online free classified ads like craigs list and US Free Ads. Many small local newspapers, penny savers and flyers, offer classified ad space free on their web-sites. The most effective way to use this tactic is to deliver a powerful and engaging headline, then use a call to action to have them visit a web-site, call a pre-recorded information line, or call you personally for an appointment. I would use a combination of all three and track which ad gives the best results. Then I would heavily promote that method. If advertising in a paid for newspaper or local publication of some sort, you can use the same exact tactics.

2.) Flyers- Passing out flyers is cheap. You can get a thousand flyers made up for about $30.00 at a local printer. You can spend $50.00-$60.00 and have color too. Some great places to pass out flyers is to local businesses, at chambers of commerce and at networking group meetings.

3.) Business cards- again, like classified ads, you have a small amount of space, so you have to deliver a powerful message very quickly. One of the most interesting business cards I’ve ever seen look like a folded up $100.00 bill and the sales message is printed inside. These are also cheap, because they are printed on a very thin paper. I think I got my last set of a thousand for about $25.00. Drop these on the floor in the mall, and go stand somewhere where you can watch people pick them up. It’s a thrill and it’s funny.

4.) Road Signs- also known as bandit signs or yard signs, these signs are put out on busy roads on light poles and on metal stakes in the ground at high traffic locations and intersections. When you think about how many cars are on the road every day, that’s a lot of exposure. A side note on the topic however, which is important to remember, is that many cities have ordinances against using these signs. You can get around it by using a website address on the sign or a prepaid cell phone for a number to call.

5.) Direct mail- Direct Mail is another low cost and effective method of guerrilla marketing. Just open up your yellow pages and start with the A’s. The best targets here are mom and pop small businesses. If you start calling on big chains, you will get caught up in proposals, phone tag games and voicemail systems. It’s best to stick with Mom and Pop Businesses as the decision makers are usually the people opening the mail. What you want to do with direct mail is offer them something for free, such as a review of their website and web marketing strategy if they do something for you such as opt-in to a list, call that pre-recorded message, or call you for a personal appointment. Your copy should be just as good as any sales letter you write for any product you are selling on the web. Great headline (controversial is always good), testimonials from satisified clients, a message telling them what you are offering, paint a picture of how much better their lives would be with your product or service, contingent upon the use of YOUR service, and more testimonials. A powerhouse close and some bonuses will cinch the deal, and don’t forget the P.S.

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Effective Email Marketing

There is one question that I hear most from small business owners looking to crack the nut of online advertising. It’s a nut that continuously eludes even the craftiest of businessmen.

“Where can I purchase a list of email addresses?”

HTML email newsletters and email campaigns are great! They are a fantastic way to build awareness of new products, position yourself as an expert and touch every client on a regular basis. They help to drive a constant flow of repeat traffic to your website, and correctly instituted, result in big sales increases.

Now our marketing execs, just having crafted a new newsletter and having found Constant Contact or one of the multitude of Email Marketing web sites, are eager to get a list and start advertising to every inbox in a thousand miles. They’re blown away by the price point difference, between the email and direct mail. Finally, they can reach everyone and for almost nothing… and there is the catch.

It’s relatively easy, with a quick Google search, to buy a list of anything. You want the entire library records of Omaha, Nebraska… Done! How about the addresses of every construction company in the nation… Done! Email addresses can be purchased with ease as well, but a word of caution on any of these lists…


There’s a couple of big points here. Not only is spamming illegal (and there can be some pretty big penalties for this, i.e. shutting down your domain), but it’s also just not wise from a marketing standpoint.

Hold on! What about direct mail? Everyone knows that you can get a list and send out as much as you want. Companies do it every day, and it’s considered one of the most effective forms of advertising.

While all that is true, remember that the big advantage that email marketing has over direct mail is price point. In fact, while direct mail is legal, it’s also costly. This serves as a self limiting factor. You can only send out as many ads as you can afford. A computer, on the other hand, can send out a million emails in an hour for almost nothing.

I don’t know about you, but getting SPAM leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth. It sure doesn’t provide me any incentive to use the service of a company, so unprofessional, as to cloud my inbox with every offer, promotion or survey they can think of. In fact, it can do a lot to hinder the building of customer relationships that CAN help drive your business to the next level.

Email marketing is and should be conducted on a permission basis only! In fact, the other name for this type of service is “permission based marketing”. If spamming is reported, the email dissemination service will ban you very quickly.

So here is the big question. How do you reap the big benefits of email marketing? How do you get permission to send out your emails? How do you build a list?

Well, every business card in your Rolodex is fair game, but we highly recommend that you contact these people before entering their name into a database. Enter-to-win campaigns are also a popular way to build your list, but require you to have a storefront. Having a signup box on your website is a must. Each type of business is unique and requires a different solution. There are just too many options to list here, and new, creative ways are being invented everyday. Every beginning email marketing campaign should start with a thorough conversation on how to build a successful list and appropriate names where possible.

Used properly, email marketing can position your company as a provider of solutions instead of a spamming pain in the neck.

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The Voice of the Customer – How Market Research Leads to Product Success

What is the best way to truly understand your customers’ needs? That’s right, just ask them. It seems simple enough, however many companies and product development teams omit this vital step in the process.

Why Is Research So Vital?

For the companies who engage in market research the findings are invaluable. The information captured during research exposes consumers’ likes and dislikes of a product and its features. It gives a glimpse of the future of a product or category and often generates new concept direction. Research gives the design team a look into the consumers’ mind and an opportunity to tweak designs to compare one against the other until the final design is exactly what the consumer wants and the price he is willing to pay. Compare it to an eye exam. As the doctor flips the lens, the patient tells him which is better. The same applies to product research, giving the designer the best opportunity to hit a homerun.

In addition to capturing the emotional and behavioral response of a product, research can also raise a red flag when you are heading in the wrong direction. For example, if focus groups of parents tell you they will not pay $100 for a certain type of toy as it is presented; you can almost guarantee that it will fail on the market if you ignore their warnings. This finding is certainly invaluable when you compare the cost of re-evaluating the product to the cost of failing in the market place.

As markets and consumer expectations change, knowing who your customer is and how they spend their money becomes more and more important. And, just when you think you know who the customer is and what they need or want, it changes. Research gives strong evidence of who the customer is and how to best reach them. More importantly, when used over a period of time, trends and market changes can become more easily identified. Analyzing the history of the research also reminds the team how the consumer and the product have changed over its lifecycle, which may lead to new areas of interest for future product development.

As consumers have become more savvy, so have retail buyers. They have come to expect companies to perform due diligence as proof that a new concept, category or design will be successful. The most effective way to do this is to present the new product through the eyes of the consumer, through market research. Without this, you must rely on cold statistics, studies and your “gut feel”.

In addition, rising product liability concerns have increased the need for product research. Understanding how users interact with products and the assembly, use and misuse of products has quickly become an important effort in liability consideration. Fortunately, liability concerns can often be seamlessly tied into many research methods, allowing companies to gather demographic, preference, market, trend and liability data with the same research program.

Types of Market Research

Market research can be very flexible, based on project needs and budget. There are several research methods that can be used throughout the product development process.

Focus groups

Focus groups typically consist of a group of participants and a moderator. The moderator asks the group questions to begin interactive dialogue. This research method is an excellent way to learn why people make the choices they do. The group dynamics often leads to uncovering new ideas and unidentified needs.

Mall Intercepts and Surveys

While focus groups concentrate on the “whys”, surveys focus on “what proportion”. Surveys can be implemented as a mall intercept, where consumers are individually interviewed in a mall or retail establishment, by telephone or through an online survey. All of these methods can successfully gather quantitative information quickly and accurately, however due to intellectual property concerns, care should be taken when using online surveys to gain opinions on concept sketches, etc.

Observation Studies

Observation research studies, a less formal research method, add a unique perspective to how consumers interact with products. By simply watching consumers interact with products in stores, you can gain great insight into their preferences and how products compete on the retail shelf.

Trend Research

Trend research should be considered during the brainstorming and concept phases of the product development process. Trend research often results in new category development and unexpected product applications. This is exactly how a new version of a classic themed product became a best seller at Target. While the Catalyst design team worked to address consumer assembly issues of an item currently in the market, they identified a niche opportunity that was a perfect fit for their client. After recognizing a grass roots affection for a nostalgic stool design, the team presented the idea of re-introducing the stool design to the client’s marketing team, but with modern improvements for the mass market. Just like that, Catalyst had identified an opportunity that became hugely successful simply by taken the unbeaten path during trend research. This type of research can include things like internet research, retail audits, industry and non-industry related trade shows or other events to name a few.

Choosing the Research Team

The people included in the research team can range from corporate level management to marketing assistants. Market research companies may also be included for the design, facilitation and data analysis of the program. However, for product specific research, studies show that the inclusion of product designers (internal or external) plays a valuable role for several reasons.

First, designers view the world from a unique perspective. They can often capture and sketch participants’ ideas on the spot for clarification. This is particularly valuable when weeding out product concepts or brainstorming new concepts.

Second, a strong designer takes personal ownership in his designs. Since designers are intimate with the product, they offer valuable input on things like questions that are asked and what type or how many concepts should be included in the research. In addition, the design team may need feedback in areas that other members of the team may not consider as valuable. Designers want to understand customer needs and expectations, but in order to do that, they need to see and hear the participants’ feedback first hand. Both positive and negative feedback challenge the design team to see their concepts through the eyes of the consumer. It challenges them to dig deeper into their design not only to meet consumer expectations, but to exceed them.

The few product development companies who understand the importance and value that research adds to the product development process actually integrate market research services into their process. While careful not to let the market research consume the team, budget and timeline, they and their clients often rely on research results to validate concept direction, cost/value clarification and feature/benefit preference.

As odd as it may sound, market research results are often considered among the list of “authorities” during the decision-making process, especially since research results should be reviewed by non-linear disciplines within the group. Consider this example: marketing team members will tune into cost/value comments and suggestions while product designers will most likely focus on ergonomic/style feedback. At the same time, engineering representatives will weigh fit and function comments more heavily than others. Relying on only one of these interpretations is short-sided, leaving significant opportunity on the table. It is the combination of these perspectives and the pure, honest consumer feedback that helps companies determine product direction with confidence.

Market Research Leads to Product Success

The inclusion of market research in the product development process can often make the difference between success and failure. Rather than assuming the team has all of the answers, engaging in one or more of these research methods can confirm your position, raise a red flag to a potential issue, identify a new opportunity, validate cost versus value or give them a new perspective on how their product is used and perceived in the marketplace. Market research increases the opportunity for success by removing all of the guess work and understanding your customers’ wants, needs and expectations simply by asking them!

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The Marketing Secret – What’s in it For Me?

You’ve heard it before: the basis of your marketing should answer the question from your potential buyer:

“What’s in it for me?”

It’s the truth. You yourself don’t visit a website or look at a product unless there is a clear benefit for you doing so.

Keep this in mind for your next marketing campaign. No matter if you have a newsletter, a blog, a press release or a direct mail campaign, you have to give the reader a reason to read. Otherwise you’re missing out on potential business and wasting your time and money.

Here are some examples of how you can offer value in each of these types of marketing tools.


I am a strong proponent of e-newsletters. I send two out to my company’s subscribers each month. I include a personal note, links to places I’ve been interviewed, and an article on marketing. Now, while I certainly hope my readers will read the press releases I’ve included and listen to my interviews, I know the reason they open my emails in the first place is that article. I’m providing useful information they can easily digest in their Inboxes. In return, I hope they’ll explore my websites and contact me if they need marketing services.


Why do you read blogs? Probably because you find information that helps you solve a problem, like how to market online or how to write a press release. So free information is what’s in it for you. I do this out of the goodness of my heart. Again, I provide this information, hoping that when you need extra help with marketing, my readers will consider my company.

Press Release

Think press releases are designed to help you promote your company? Think again. Their purpose is to help solve a problem a potential client has. Say you’re shopping for birth announcements online and you stumble across a press release for Baby’s Here Inc. You find out that this company sells unique, customized birth announcements online. It piques your interest, so you visit the site. You end up ordering all your announcements here. Problem solved.

It’s important to relay your news in a way that answers that question, “what’s in it for me,” for your potential customers. Address the problem your news can solve. A new office location can provide easy access to your store for people in your new geographic area. A new pet product may solve the problem of fleas on your dog.

Direct Mail

We all get direct mail. We usually glance at it, and if it doesn’t catch our attention, into the trash it goes. Having attractive graphics is half of the battle. But once you’ve drawn in the eye, you have to attract the mind. Make sure your postcard or letter directly addresses how you can help the reader. Make them hold on to the card long enough to want to know more.

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Nine Key Questions For Marketing Success

Over my 25 years of direct response marketing I’ve come up with a series of key questions I have my clients answer before we help them solve their marketing problems. These questions should help you clearly see what you need to do to increase your sales over the next few months.

1. How many new customers do you want per month?
This one is very simple and it can look like it’s easy to answer. But, the answer really depends on what your marketing budget is. Nothing in life is free, you either pay it with money or time and sometimes both.

2. Who is the prime target market?
Look at your past customers and create the perfect customer. How big is the company, what industry? Job title?
You will need to get as specific as possible on this one. Exactly who is your prime target market? Write down everything you know about them, location, what they like to eat for breakfast etc.

3. How do you compare to the competition?
The best way to answer this question is by researching your competition. They may not even see themselves as competitors of yours. Your target markets may not be the same.

4. Why are you unique?
Again, don’t just answer this one quickly. You’ll need to ask people in your company, customers and check out what the press has to say.

5. How much is one customer worth?
This is a big one, if you don’t know the value of a customer, how can you decide on how much to spend to get one? For every customer there is really two values. The short term value, what you get immediately for acquiring them. And the long term (lifetime) value, what you will get in the future. Try to put a dollar amount to these values.

6. Do you have testimonials from past customers?
Collect as many testimonials as possible. The more testimonials you have the better. When you have a lot of testimonials you can use them for specific industries.

7. Have you done any press releases?
Press releases aren’t just for your potential customers, they are for the press. It controls what is said about you. It helps shape the public image of your business.

8. How does the prime target market see the need for your product or service?
Customers often have a different perception of the product or service than the business does. The best way to uncover the real customer perception is with a blind survey.

9. What magazines does your target market read?
This is a great way to find out which mailing lists to get. Magazine subscription lists are almost always up to date. And magazines can have a very targeted subscriber database.

It will take some time to answer these questions completely, but I guarantee it will be worth the investment.

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