Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Brief Primer on Marketing and PR

Marketing: (definition) The moving of a specific product (or service) into public hands. This is accomplished with effective promotion that creates want in your target public so they buy what you are offering. At Batson Group Marketing we always keep in mind what is needed to create response or demand for your product or service.
Public: (definition) a type of audience

I. Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is designed to give you short- and long-term goals as well as a strategy to achieve those goals.

A. You need a strategy. You must make a marketing difference. You have to be distinct. Think of how much advertising you run into every day. Magazine ads, television, radio...in some places you'll even find advertising in bathroom stalls!
1. There are several key factors you must identify to make your marketing plan a strong one. That’s where MARKETING RESEARCH comes into play:

  • Who are your potential customers?
  • What's the most effective way to inform your potential customers?
  • What do your customers want?
  • How can you position your product/service in an appealing manner?
  • Look closely at your target market. What's their age, sex, profession, income level, educational level and residence?

If you're selling $70,000 vehicles, it really is a waste of time to target an audience who's making minimum wage.

B. Drip Marketing
Let’s say part of your overall MP is to use ‘drip marketing’. Drip marketing is not water torture… compare it to drip irrigation, where farmers and gardeners apply small amounts of water to plants over long periods of time instead of all at once.

Here’s a rough drip marketing campaign plan
Step 1: Develop your Plan (Plan something EVERY month)
Step 2: Strategize the Execution of Your Plan
Step 3: Decide who your Target is.
Step 4: Create consistency by developing your slogan or phrase. Then place it on every promotional piece. Many times your promo material will be referred to as Marketing Collateral

Marketing collateral (Definition) A collection of marketing communications pieces used as part of an organization's overall marketing strategy. It’s the stuff you send out so people know who you are and what you provide. Marketing collateral might include: brochures; data sheets that provide an overview of the features of a product or service (often a technical overview); and white papers - articles, usually of a technical nature, that showcase an organization's products or services and shows why those products or services are useful to the industry the business serves; Postcards, Newsletters

1. What collateral can you use for your drip marketing campaign? Here are a few that will get you started:

  • Postcards
  • Newsletters
  • Email Newsletter (You'll have to be careful of spam filters)
  • Promotional or Sales Brochures

Think of your drip marketing campaign as a way to nurture your current and potential clients. You campaign should keep them aware of your products and services. With this thought in mind your campaign will succeed.

C. Business Card
Remember, every successful home business conveys a unique message about their brand. You’re telling a story. And the business card is a small, yet integral, part of that story telling process.
Consider logo options that offer an element of consistency with your brand image.

  • Decide on the most relevant information that will be of value to those in possession of your card. How can they best reach you – e-mail, phone, fax, mail? Use the information that can provide a return on investment, and omit the rest.
  • Size Best to follow traditional business standards (3.5 X 2).
  • Keep the back of your business card blank. Some people opt at the last minute to add a mission statement or a catchy phrase on the back. But if you can’t win over somebody with information on the front, don’t expect any residual returns from what goes on the back.
    Important Design Note: Be careful of some companies who insist on printing their logo on the back of your card. Find a company that wants to make YOU money, not them. I favor
www.printsmadeeasy.com

D. A Brochure is Part of Your Business Identity
Leave-Behinds - This type of brochure is named for the brochures you leave behind after meeting a potential customer. Write this type of brochure with a complete description of your product and its benefits. Summarize your sales pitch to echo the one you just gave. Keep your words forever in their brain - or at least long enough to get them to buy your product.

Point-of-Sale - These are best described as the type you might encounter while standing in line at the bank. You notice a rack of brochures and it just so happens they're conveniently located right there for you to enjoy. You take a brochure. You'll read about it later. Point-of-Sale. Write a catchy headline and make sure you have a nice visual to work with the headline. Your goal is to get potential customers to see your brochure, be curious enough to pick it up and, even more important, keep it.
Respond to Inquiries - When people ask about your product, they're obviously interested. Sending this type of brochure is for a qualified buyer. They're qualified because they're much more likely to buy than someone who hasn't contacted you. Since they've already expressed interest, write this brochure to take your prospect to the next step: the buying process. Hammer home all of your sales points and pack your brochure with facts to convince them they can't live without your product.

Direct Mail - This is the type of brochure you include with your direct mail package. You know the sales letter sells but a brochure used with direct mail contains photos, your product's sales points and even technical features.

Sales Support Tool - Sales support is very similar to leave-behinds.
Your salesperson uses them to guide them through their sales pitch. They have larger pages, larger photos and larger headlines.
Now that you know the types of brochures, figure out where they fit into the buying process for you. That way, you'll not only know the type of brochure you need, but the information your copywriter and designer needs to have.

E. Small Budget Advertising
Budget Publications - This includes weekly shoppers, free local TV guides, newsletters, and community papers. These publications are targeted toward a specific audience with relatively low ad rates. You're looking at a small market segment either geographically or by the consumer's special interests.

Classified Ads - Weekly newspapers, metropolitan dailies, national magazines. Readers in these areas may not be looking for your product, but your ad will be seen by individuals who are looking for specific information. On that note, classified ads need to be written in a clear and simple manner. Only feature one product/service per ad. If you offer more than one product, consider running a separate ad for each product you want featured.

Coupon Mailers - You've probably received a package of these at some point. They contain cards advertising several different companies and their products. These are also known as "card decks" and reduce the cost of mailing from 34 to 40 cents all the way down to about 5 cents per piece.

Handbills and Fliers - While you may not want to distribute handbills on the street yourself, you can hire a high school or college student to do the grunt work for you. There are even distribution services you can hire at a low cost to pass these handbills out. You'll still save money on your advertising and it only takes one customer to make up for the cost. You can also post fliers on bulletin boards, hang ads on doorknobs and pass out your promotional materials in office buildings.
Another place you might want to consider distributing these materials is at a trade show for your specific industry. Think of all the targeted prospects that are right there at your fingertips!

Bargain Broadcasting - If you're looking to hit the airwaves, you can find some good deals on radio, your local TV stations and even cable. But you have to make sure you're reaching prospects, your target market.

Co-op Advertising - A lot of companies overlook one of the easiest ways to get your name out there. Co-op advertising is a program in which several businesses take in the expense of advertising by advertising together.
Say you're in the interior decorating business. You can co-op with furniture companies, carpet dealers, etc., to reduce your advertising cost and increase your exposure.
Advertising doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. It can make or break your business...but it doesn't have to break your bank account in the process.

II. THE VALUE OF PR
Public Relations: (definition) The art of making good works well known. The purpose of PR is to make you, your company, it’s actions, products or services well known, accepted and understood. Effective PR assists the company to exist in a favorable climate so that it can expand, prosper and be viable.

Press Release or News Release or Media Release
Definition: Newsworthy articles intended to be published in the media for the purpose of showcasing a company's activities to the public or its market.
It’s a PR world! You read papers, books and watch TV and it’s not a very nice world. Well, that’s PR at work. PR is a partially developed technique of creating states of mind in different types or audiences or publics.

Agreement with one’s message is what the PR is seeking to achieve. Thus the message must compare to the personal experiences of the audience. So PR becomes the technique of communicating an acceptable truth – and which will attain the desirable result.

PR is an activity concerned with presentation and audience. When someone writes a news release it is slanted for the publication that reaches a type of audience and writes for that audience.

And again that is where marketing research comes into play with surveys.
Step 1. You need to survey for the public [you have to find out who your public is].
Step 2. You then survey that public with regard to the product or service. [So you know what that public needs, wants and thinks.]

Unfortunately PR is abused. Examples of how PR shapes how we think...
Example 1. Public relations firms and corporations have seized upon a slick new way of getting you to buy what they have to sell: Let you hear it from a neutral "third party," like a professor or a pediatrician or a soccer mom or a watchdog group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged to make you believe what they have to say--preferably in an "objective" format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their "opinions."

Example 2. You think that nonprofit organizations just give away their stamps of approval on products? Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $600,000 to the American Heart Association for the right to display AHA's name and logo in ads for its cholesterol-lowering drug Pravachol. Smith Kline Beecham paid the American Cancer Society $1 million for the right to use its logo in ads for Beecham's Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette anti-smoking ads.

QUOTES:
"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public opinion is greater than he who enacts laws." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, CIA Director (first staff meeting, 1981)

Andrew Hayward, now top man at CBS News, told Goldberg after the 1996 piece that "of course, the networks tilt left", but that if Goldberg ever quoted him as saying that, he would deny it.

In 1996, veteran CBS News reporter and producer Bernie Goldberg committed the unpardonable sin of publicly mentioning the issue of liberal bias in the media. For that he became persona non grata at CBS. In 223 pages of his book, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News" (Regnery), Goldberg tells how friends and colleagues turned on him, from junior CBS reporters all the way to Dan Rather. But much more than that, he exposes a bias so uniform and overwhelming that it permeates every news story we hear and read- and so entrenched and deep rooted that the networks themselves don't even recognize it.

Keep in mind that not all the news you hear is true but some of the Press Releases may be.

Hope you find this useful.
~Eileen Batson

Info for this was gleaned from a variety of sources over many years of experience, study and workshops.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How Well Do You Know the Constitution?

From “Straight Talk” - a weekly commentary written by Chip Wood

September 17th, is Constitution Day - a day specifically designated by an act of Congress when Americans are supposed to honor the remarkable document that created our system of government. The date was chosen because the Constitution was approved at the original Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.

The act that created Constitution Day mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. Let’s see how well the schools have done their job. Ask a recent high school or college graduate to take the following brief quiz. I’ll be interested to hear how many of the 25 questions he or she answers correctly.

And be sure to take the quiz yourself, too. Even if you score 100%, it’s good to be reminded of some of the fundamental principles that our country was founded on.

1. Has the Constitution always guided our country?
1. No. Originally the nation functioned under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation. Eleven years after the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution was written, agreed to, and sent to the states for ratification. When ratified by nine states (as the document itself prescribed), the Constitution was declared to be the new governmental system. That occurred on September 13, 1788. The new government was ordered to be convened on March 4, 1789.

2. What are the three branches of government named in the Constitution?
2. Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

3. Does the Constitution allow the Supreme Court to make law?
3. No. The very first sentence in the Constitution states: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” Any Supreme Court decision is the law of the case that binds only the plaintiff and the defendant. The meaning of the word “all” has not been changed.

4. Does the Constitution empower the President to make law?
4. No. Executive Orders issued by the President that bind the entire nation are illicit because, as noted above, “All legislative powers” are possessed by Congress. An Executive Order that binds only the employees of the federal government (such as granting a holiday) is proper because the President should be considered to be the holder of power much like that possessed by the CEO of a company. But the entire nation is not in the employ of the President. The President does have a role in lawmaking with his possession of a veto. He can veto a measure approved by Congress (which can be overturned by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress), or simply allow it to become law by doing nothing within 10 days, “Sundays excepted.”

5. Does the Constitution give the federal government any power in the field of education?
5. No. The Constitution contains no mention of any power “herein granted” in the field of education.

6. Where in the Constitution is there authorization to dispense foreign aid?
6. No such authorization appears in the Constitution.

7. Does the Constitution mandate a minimum age for a Senator?
7. Yes. To be a senator, one must be 30 years of age. He must also be nine years a citizen of the United States and an inhabitant of the state he will serve as a senator.

8. What are the Constitutional requirements for a person to be President?
8. A President must be a natural-born citizen (not an immigrant who became a citizen), must be 35 years of age, and must have lived in the United States at least 14 years.

9. Did the Constitution give the federal government power to create a bank?
9. No. Congress was granted power to “coin money,” meaning it was to have power to create a mint where precious metal could be stamped into coinage of fixed size, weight and purity. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to have created the Federal Reserve.

10. Can the provisions of a treaty supersede the Constitution?
10. Absolutely not. Thomas Jefferson responded to those who consider treaty-making power to be “boundless” by stating, “If it is, then we have no Constitution.”

11. Does the Constitution allow a President to take the nation into war?
11. It does not. The sole power to declare the nation at war is possessed by Congress. Congress last used this power at the beginning of World War II when war was declared on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Germany declared war on the U.S. the next day.) A congressional vote to authorize the President to enforce UN Security Council resolutions should never be considered a substitute for a declaration of war.

12. Can you name any of the four crimes mentioned in the Constitution?
12. The four crimes mentioned are: Treason, bribery, piracy and counterfeiting.

13. Should the Bill of Rights be considered part of the original Constitution?
13. Many do hold that view because if the promise to add a Bill of Rights had not been made during the ratification process, some states would not have ratified the Constitution.

14. According to the Constitution, how can a President and other national officers be removed from office?
14. The President and other high officers of the federal government can be impeached by a majority in the House and tried by the Senate. Impeachment does not constitute removal; it should be considered the equivalent of an indictment that must be followed by a trial. Two-thirds of the senators “present” must approve removal at the subsequent trial to effect removal.

15. What authority does the Constitution give to the Vice President?
15. The Vice President stands ready to take the office of President if a president shall die or become incapacitated (as defined in the 25th Amendment). He is also the President of the Senate and has the power to break a tie vote should one occur.

16. How many amendments have been added to the Constitution?
16. There are 27. The first ten (the Bill of Rights) can be considered part of the original Constitution. Amendment 18 was repealed by Amendment 21. This means that, in 220 years, only 15 other amendments have been added. The process was deliberately made difficult to keep anything dangerous or silly from being added to the Constitution in the heat of passion.

17. How is an amendment added to the Constitution?
17. Congress can propose an amendment when two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to do so. Any proposed amendment must then by ratified by the legislature or a convention in three-quarters of the states. Amendments can also be proposed by a federal constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the states. Any amendment arising from a constitutional convention must also be ratified by the legislature or a convention in three-quarters of the states.

18. Does the Constitution say anything about illegal immigration?
18. Not directly. But Article IV, Section 4 assigns to the federal government the duty “to protect each of them [the states] from invasion.” It does not specify that the invasion must be military. When 20 million enter our nation illegally, it is an invasion that should be repelled by the federal government.

19. What is the process mentioned in the Constitution for adding new states to the union?
19. By a majority vote in each House of Congress, a new state can be added to the union. This was done twice in 1958 to welcome Alaska and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states.

20. Is the term of a President limited by the Constitution?
20. Yes. In 1951, Amendment 22 was added to the Constitution to limit any president to two terms. The only president who served longer than two terms was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who held office during a fourth four-year term. He died in April 1945 shortly after beginning his 13th year in office.

21. Which part of the federal government holds “the power of the purse”?
21. The House of Representatives. Article I, Section 7 states: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives….” If a majority in the House (218 of its 435 members) refuses to originate a bill to raise revenue for any particular purpose, no funds can be raised for that purpose.

22. Does the Constitution provide a method for expelling a member of Congress?
22. Two-thirds of each house has the authority to expel any of its members for cause even though the member has been elected by voters.

23. What does the Constitution say about financing an army and a navy?
23. Congress can raise an army but “no appropriation of money” to fund it shall be for longer than two years. And Congress can provide for a navy without that same restriction regarding funding. Why? The men who wrote the Constitution feared the possibility that a standing army housed within the nation might arise and seek to take power. But they did not fear that a navy would try to do so, because a navy and its weaponry did not reside within the nation, only at sea or at coastal seaports.

24. How many times is the word “democracy” mentioned in the Constitution?
24. The word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution. Our nation is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. The Founders feared Democracy (unrestricted rule by majority) and favored a Republic (rule of law where the law limits the government). James Madison wrote: “…. Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

25. Does the Bill of Rights grant the people free speech, freedom of the press, the right to possess a weapon, etc?
25. No. The Declaration of Independence, which provides the philosophical base of our nation, states very clearly that our rights are granted to us by our “Creator.”
The various rights noted in the Bill of Rights were not granted by government. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to prevent the federal government from suspending any of those God-given rights, including the right to possess a weapon. Those who claim “Second Amendment rights,” for instance, make a big mistake with such a statement. If the right is granted by the Second Amendment, meaning by government, it can be taken away by government. If the right is granted by God, only He can take it away.

It wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be, was it?
What would this country be like if the Constitution were fully and honestly enforced today? I hope some day we’ll come a lot closer to finding out than we are today.

*************************************************
Straight Talk is a weekly commentary written by Chip Wood. For many years Chip was the host of an award-winning radio talk show in Atlanta, Georgia.� He is the founder of Soundview Publications and serves as an MC at several investment conferences.� His weekly rants and raves are free for the asking at
www.straighttalkletter.com. To ask a question or to comment on something you've read in Straight Talk, please write to Chip@StraightTalkLetter.com

Copyright 2008 Soundview Communications, Inc.

Read the Constitution and other documents at http://www.usconstitution.net/ and http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/toc.html

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Your Actions Today Determine Your Future by Grant Cardone

What you do today, not yesterday, is what will determine how you live your life tomorrow. Its unfortunate that so many people spend time regretting yesterday, stewing over it, planning their life around it when its over, gone, finished! Yesterday in no way can impact tomorrow. "Yesterdays" only ruin your ability to create a tomorrow.

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