Travel Around the US? Spend $11 per Day by Using Social Media

Social media is always a tool to connect people together around the world. There is no country and so no boundary, social media is like a big family that complete strangers could even have dinner together or bum a bed.

Ryan Dwyer, a college graduate who spend three months traveling around the US, let me first time really realize the power of social media sites. He planed to use social media and collaborative consumption services to keep his fuel and lodging expenses to $1000 over the course of three months (that’s $11 a day).

road-trip

He said this is a real life test to see if travel has truly been revolutionized by social technology. Click the picture to read the list of services he used during his social, collaborative road trip.

Select an Advertising Agency – Outsourcing vs. Hiring In-House

downloadEven if you are a one or two-person company and doing business today, at some point there will likely not be enough time in the day to keep up everything. Or you will reach a point where you may not have the skills or expertise to do the job as effectively as an expert. Advertising is such a kind of thing that you may feel helpless sometimes. It is difficulty for people to know knowledge and information in such as media plan and brand management. Therefore, at this time. selecting an advertising agency is always a wise choice.                                                                                       (Picture source: http://www.houstonmarketingmatters.com/blog/bid/335472/How-to-Select-the-Best-Advertising-Agency-for-Your-Houston-Business)

Now, you will face a complicated decision at that point. Do you hire someone and run the operation in-house? Or do you outsource it to another company? If you decide to outsource, do you choose a small local agency or worldwide advertising conglomerate?

Here are some tips for you,

#1. Select from independents and smaller holding firms.

– Save on expenses. Independents should be much cheaper than large advertising conglomerates. If your advertising budget is not relatively large, it would be a good idea.

– Objective. Most people worked in Independents are those young advertising professionals, who usually have fresh minds to consider untraditional ideas.

– Specialized. Unlike full-service large agencies, independents usually concentrate on limited fields that make them more specialized in particular activities.

– Gain more attentions. Because of the relatively small scale, Independents usually has fewer clients and will devote totally to clients in order to establish in market.

#2. Select from major holding advertising conglomerates.

– Somewhat evade risks. Major holding firms acquired large numbers of independents over that period, therefore compared to those smaller ones, large firms at least operated steadily without risk of bankruptcy.

– Resources. No matter professional people, expertise or physical facilities, large advertising conglomerates have abounds resources than independents.

– Strategic partner. Most large advertising firm are full-service involved not only in advertising, performing research, selecting media, but also direct promotion programs, interactive marketing, web site design, public relations and even strategic market planning.

– Know industry better. After years of development, major firms had accumulated abundant knowledge in advertising fields, and experienced in marketing no matter a brand or a product and deal with any unexpected.

#3. Develop an in-house advertising agency.

– Direct control. It would be much easy and initial for a company to manage its own firm.

– Proprietary information. In-house agency could avoid risks of exposing advertising creative ideas and some confidential information of the company.

– Know more about the company. In-house one could better understand the company’s situation, needs and future expectations.

– Communication (more efficiency). No matter what type of agency a company chose, it may have to spend time running with this new one only except it is in-house.

When shopping become a tradition on Thanksgiving

Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving, is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Most major retailers will offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, which seems that Thanksgiving is always a good time to go shopping.

Recently released consumer surveys give the impression that,

Roughly half of shoppers will be hitting the malls on Black Friday, and over one-third of Americans will be out at stores on Thanksgiving.

There is plenty of data indicating that the spread of stores opening on Thanksgiving and endless Black Friday deals will surely succeed in drawing the masses out to stores.

However, a few major chains, including a couple based here, are resisting a trend that threatens to turn Thanksgiving into another shopping day. The companies say they place more value on family time than expanded store hours.

“It’s commercialism and consumerism to a point we’re not willing to endorse,” said Laura Sen, chief executive of BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. “Call me old-fashioned, but I think Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday and not the time to be shopping.” (Click picture to read more)

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Besides, for retail workers and many consumers, early store openings have prompted a backlash from Groups like Organization United for Respect (OUR) Walmart, which represents Walmart employees nationwide.

“I should be able to spend time with my family,” Katie Cunningham told the Herald. She has 17 grandchildren and works at the Walmart in Miami Gardens. “Instead, I have to work from 2 to 11 on Thanksgiving day.”

Cunningham isn’t alone.

Another revolt the Consumerist reported on involved a Pizza Hut manager who walked off the job rather than open up on Thanksgiving.

So..what’s your idea towards this “tradition”?

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving!

A Secret of Online Marketing – Post Time

It goes without saying that marketers need to be consistently and continually updating their online information with new, relevant, and interesting content. But is there a specific day or time that their readers and customers may click, leave comments or share more? When is the best time to attract more traffic and increase interaction?

Just as people usually have internal clocks to guide them through days, consumers online also have different reacts to information influenced by time slot. According to a Hubspot webinar on “The Science of Timing”, the time of day and the day of the week when marketers send their tweets, emails, Facebook updates and blog posts really make a difference,

Although “the more you tweet, the more followers you’ll get”, if marketers want to be re-tweeted, they’d better send their tweets from 2-5 pm and late in the week. What’s more, on Facebook most people “share” on weekends, because Facebook is blocked at most people’s workplaces, and articles published on Facebook at 10-11 AM get the most “shares.”

These figures show that knowing the optimal time periods in which to run their initiatives or posts is extremely useful to marketers who running campaigns online.

Besides, sending emails at the right time to reach subscribers when they are actively using their email will affect overall campaign response. Here is a timing for e-mail marketing campaigns, and you could learn more just by clicking it.

email mktg timing

What Can Social Media Sites Do For You?

Nowadays, social media is a great trend to rebuild the Internet business world. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, could help you reach and engage right people and increase brand awareness. You would be amazed at the powerful connection and communication that social media sites build. If you’re still not already using social media for your business, then maybe you’ve fallen behind the majority of your rivals.

David Finch, a writer of Social Media Explorer, well expound fifteen things that social media can do for you today,

  1. Allows you to participate in networks that at one time you didn’t have access to.
  2. Gives you access to thought leaders
  3. Connects you to employment opportunities
  4. Grants you an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with brands
  5. Brings the world closer to you
  6. Allows you the ability to build a global network easier
  7. Provides a platform to build and promote a personal brand
  8. Increases the opportunity to become a thought leader in your area of expertise
  9. Provides income opportunities
  10. Gives you access to raw journalism often times not available to mainstream media outlets
  11. Connects you with business opportunities – partnerships and funding
  12. Gives you a platform to be heard, if you’re willing to take time to listen to others.
  13. Give you access to information faster, easier and in real time.
  14. Makes it easier to share information with your networks
  15. Through technology and social media channels you have instant access to communities and networks at all time.

It is never too late to start social media campaigns, and here is a true story that social media could help you better achieve business goals.

Why Successful American Businesses Fail In China?

I really believe that China is one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing consumer market, but it seems that a great number of major overseas retailers have to struggle in this market.

Of course there are a lot of successful examples, such as Apple. It’s been reported that Apple’s store in Shanghai, China sells more iPhones per square foot than any other store in the world, despite the phone being priced 30 percent more than in the United States. However, data also shows that 48% of all foreign business operations fail within two years of arriving in China. Examples come from Best Buy and Home Depot.

People may ask why?

“It’s a lack of understanding of the legal and cultural environment that leads to most failures,” says Shawn Mahoney, managing director of the EP China consulting group. “The only difference between a success and failure in my experience is that people who are successful are more willing to talk and learn about how things work on the ground.”

Click picture below to read a article about how four of the biggest US companies lost their way in China. And gain knowledge and experience in doing business in China.

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How to Determine the Advertising Budget?

As the old adage says, “you should spend money to make money”, advertising spending is always an essential part of marketing budget. Although there is no direct relationship between advertising spending and sales, carefully determine advertising budget could better help marketers set their marketing strategy, and finally advertising spending will become the investment of building brand.

Here are four common methods to determine the advertising budget,

#1. “Share of Market” method. With this method a business equates its market share with its advertising expenditures.

Pros:                                                                                                                                         

– Easy to estimate. The only two data marketers need to know are company’s market share/estimated market share and industry media spending.                                                 

– This method bases advertising budget on external market trends, and so it is useful for marketer to clearly define company’s positioning and reflect its standing.

Cons:

–  This method ultimately predicates that company’s advertising is on an arbitrary guideline that does not adequately reflect future goals.

–  Directly connect ads budget with market share and ignore the power of effective ads campaigns. Even if $1 could usually drive 1% market share, however effective $1 advertising campaigns may generate 2% market share.

 

#2. “Percentage of Sales” method. When using this method an advertiser takes a percentage of either past or anticipated sales and allocates that percentage of the overall budget to advertising.

Pros:                                                                                                                                        

–  This method is useful for a conservative estimation, especially safe if the ownership feels that future returns cannot be safely anticipated.                                                                    

–  This method directly relate expenditures to funds available, and suitable for company who is experienced in allocating current funds.

Cons:

–  Not accurate. If a company launch a new product without historical data, it could be very inaccurate because the advertising budget will base on a predicting sales/revenue.

–  Sales and budget are not always consistent. If a product is in the introduction phase, which means its sales may very low (or even no profits in the first year) however it need more advertising budget to help it open up the market.

 

#3. “Objective and task” method. With this method, a business needs to first establish concrete marketing objectives, often articulated in the “selling proposal,” and then develop complementary advertising objectives articulated in the “positioning statement.”

Pros:                                                                                                                                        

– This method make limited budget on the point of sales. If properly executed, the advertising becomes an investment.

– It’s accurate because this method ties the use of funds directly to the tasks the company wants to accomplish.

– This method let the company focus on its marketing goals.

Cons:

–  This is the most difficult and complicated method. Before calculate the budget, marketer have to determine company’s specific marketing objectives, the tasks needed to accomplish these objectives, and the estimated costs associated with completing these tasks.

 

#4. “Match competitors” method.

Pros:

– Easy to estimate. To use this method, marketer only needs to match company’s advertising spending with its direct competitor.

– This method is a good way to draw lessons from competitor’s good work and bad work.

Cons:

– It assumes that the competitors’ experiences apply to ROC Mobile in the marketplace. ROC may ignore its current existing resources and its business features, and so miss opportunities to increase market share.

– This method may sink company into meaningless competition.

(Of course there are more methods, check here)