As Chief Information Officer its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.
Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and marketing strategy & planning can make your business and products more popular. For your profession as Chief Information Officer it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.
Is Predictive Intelligence the Frontier of B2B Marketing?
If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.
What is a Brand? Put simply, it defines the identity of an organisation, product or service. It's more than just names and logos. The identity needs to be based on a unique idea and told through a compelling story. It needs to connect with potential customers and form positive emotional bonds. The idea needs to be distinctive from the competition and relevant to the target markets worldview. It also needs to be authentic, meaning that it's not enough to simply make empty claims. The organisation needs to actually live its brand.
Brands increase the value of products and services by differentiating them from the competition, creating positive mental associations and forming emotional relationships with the customer. Philip Kotler from the Kellogg School of Management famously said that "if you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner."
Competing on price may increase short-term sales, but is a dangerous strategy for anyone serious about building a profitable, sustainable business. Brands provide businesses with the means to free themselves from constant price competition, increase the value of their services, reduce their marketing costs and develop long-term customer loyalty.
Building a successful, sustainable brand requires careful planning and consistency. It needs a strategy. Brand strategy is the plan that defines defines the ideas and stories behind the brands, the structure and relationship of the brands within the organisation and the core identifying elements. These can include elements such as company and product names, tone of voice, logo's, colour schemes etc. It also provides the framework for implementing the brands throughout the organisations operations and for using them to efficiently work towards the businesses goals. It's not just a cosmetic exercise; it's a key element of business strategy.
With a clear strategy in place, managers can make appropriate, co-ordinated, informed decisions not just in marketing, but in all departments from product development through to customer service and recruitment. This process of embodying the brand idea throughout the organisation is what we call branding.
The beauty of branding is that by telling your customers authentic, compelling stories, you not only make your goods more attractive and valuable, you give your customers something to talk about. Humans naturally love to tell and share stories. By giving them good stories to tell, you gain access to what is by far the cheapest and most effective form of promotion - word of mouth.
Few organisations manage to achieve the full benefits of word of mouth, and worse still, for many organisations it spreads more negative stories than positive. To compensate for a lack of positive word of mouth, organisations spend huge sums of money on ineffective marketing exercises. Without an effective brand strategy these exercises are often unfocussed, inconsistent and unauthentic. Consequently, they rarely pay for themselves, let alone make a profit.
So what is the role of marketing? To a large extent, branding is the antithesis of marketing. Branding is the most effective way of generating positive word of mouth, making it both cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing techniques.
Marketing without a clear brand strategy is a chaotic, costly exercise that in essence is little more than shouting and showing off about your products and services. People don't like or trust show-offs. If you want to make an impact, you need to talk to them like grown ups. With exposure to thousands of marketing messages every day, consumers have become largely immune to meaningless promotional messages, filtering them out and filing them in their mental recycle bins.
However, there is still a place for marketing and in many cases, marketing is part of the branding process as it provides a means by which to spread the brand story. This explains why there is so much confusion regarding the difference between them. Marketing used to be about the promotion of products and services. Successful marketing now focuses on the promotion of brands.
If an organisation developed a perfect brand idea but did nothing to promote it, then no one would ever have heard about it. The story would never spread and the strategy would be unsuccessful. It's therefore important to combine the strengths of both branding and marketing in order to reach your target market.
The most successful organisations combine a confident and forward thinking idea with a robust and organised strategy. They then use carefully targeted marketing to help get their story out. The success of their brands means that as time goes on, the need for formal marketing reduces and the effectiveness of any existing marketing increases, thus paving the way for increased profits and organisational growth.
In conclusion, brands are a key element of building profitable businesses with long-term sustainability. When executed well, they increase sales, add value to products and services and reduce marketing costs. They also give focus to a business, boost staff morale and increase share value.
Building successful brands is not simply a cosmetic exercise. They need to be consistent, true to the organisation and embodied throughout their activities. This is only possible when a clear brand strategy is in place to act as a framework for their implementation, and to ensure that they are always working towards the business goals. Marketing has its place as a tool for promoting brands, but once they have made a connection with the core of their target market, successful brands can sell themselves through word of mouth.
Emerging Technologies In Supply Chain Management
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Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for Chief Information Officer, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.
What is e-Marketing?
e-Marketing is still quite a controversial subject to talk about, since no one succeeded to unify the various theories around it; however there is one thing upon which there is no doubt - that e-Marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques deployed by pioneer companies selling their products via the internet in the early 90's.
The frenzy around these new marketing techniques created by e-tailers and supported by the internet rapidly gave birth to a new dimension of what we knew as Marketing: the e-Marketing (electronic Marketing).
There are many definitions to what e-Marketing is, the simplest and shortest one being formulated by Mark Sceats: e-Marketing is Marketing that uses the internet as manifestation media. A working definition is that coming from a group of CISCO specialists: e-Marketing is the sum of all activities a business conducts through the internet with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.
The e-Marketing Strategy is normally based and built upon the principles that govern the traditional, offline Marketing - the well-known 4 P's (Product - Price - Promotion - Positioning) that form the classic Marketing mix. Add the extra 3 P's (People - Processes - Proof) and you got the whole extended Marketing mix.
Until here, there are no much aspects to differentiate e-Marketing from the traditional Marketing performed offline: the extended Marketing mix (4 + 3 P's) is built around the concept of "transactional" and its elements perform transactional functions defined by the exchange paradigm. What gives e-Marketing its uniqueness is a series of specific functions, relational functions, that can be synthesized in the 2P + 2C+ 3S formula: Personalization, Privacy, Customer Service, Community, Site, Security, Sales Promotion.
These 7 functions of the e-Marketing stay at the base of any e-Marketing strategy and they have a moderating character, unlike the classic Marketing mix that comprises situational functions only. Moderating functions of e-Marketing have the quality of moderate, operate upon all situational functions of the mix (the classic 4 P's) and upon each other.
The fundamental concept of personalization as a part of the e-Marketing mix lies in the need of recognizing, identifying a certain customer in order to establish relations (establishing relations is a fundamental objective of Marketing). It is crucial to be able to identify our customers on individual level and gather all possible information about them, with the purpose of knowing our market and be able to develop customized, personalized products and services.
For example, a cookie strategically placed on the website visitor's computer can let us know vital information concerning the access speed available: in consequence, if we know the visitor is using a slow connection (eg. dial-up) we will offer a low-volume variation of our website, with reduced graphic content and no multimedia or flash applications. This will ease our customer's experience on our website and he will be prevented from leaving the website on the reason that it takes too long to load its pages.
Personalization can be applied to any component of the Marketing mix; therefore, it is a moderating function.
Privacy is an element of the mix very much connected to the previous one - personalization. When we gather and store information about our customers and potential customers (therefore, when we perform the personalization part of the e-Marketing mix) a crucial issue arises: that of the way this information will be used, and by whom. A major task to do when implementing an e-Marketing strategy is that of creating and developing a policy upon access procedures to the collected information.
This is a duty and a must for any conscious marketer to consider all aspects of privacy, as long as data are collected and stored, data about individual persons.
Privacy is even more important when establishing the e-Marketing mix since there are many regulations and legal aspects to be considered regarding collection and usage of such information.
3. Customer Service
Customer service is one of the necessary and required activities among the support functions needed in transactional situations.
We will connect the apparition of the customer service processes to the inclusion of the "time" parameter in transactions. When switching from a situational perspective to a relational one, and e-Marketing is mostly based on a relational perspective, the marketer saw himself somehow forced into considering support and assistance on a non-temporal level, permanently, over time.
For these reasons, we should consider the Customer Service function (in its fullest and largest definition) as an essential one within the e-Marketing mix.
As we can easily figure out, the service (or assistance if you wish) can be performed upon any element from the classic 4 P's, hence its moderating character.
We can all agree that e-Marketing is conditioned by the existence of this impressive network that the internet is. The merely existence of such a network implies that individuals as well as groups will eventually interact. A group of entities that interact for a common purpose is what we call a "community" and we will soon see why it is of absolute importance to participate, to be part of a community.
The Metcalf law (named after Robert Metcalf) states that the value of a network is given by the number of its components, more exactly the value of a network equals the square of the number of components. We can apply this simple law to communities, since they are a network: we will then conclude that the value of a community rises with the number of its members. This is the power of communities; this is why we have to be a part of it.
The customers / clients of a business can be seen as part of a community where they interact (either independent or influenced by the marketer) - therefore developing a community is a task to be performed by any business, even though it is not always seen as essential.
Interactions among members of such a community can address any of the other functions of e-Marketing, so it can be placed next to other moderating functions.
We have seen and agreed that e-Marketing interactions take place on a digital media - the internet. But such interactions and relations also need a proper location, to be available at any moment and from any place - a digital location for digital interactions.
Such a location is what we call a "site", which is the most widespread name for it. It is now the time to mention that the "website" is merely a form of a "site" and should not be mistaken or seen as synonyms. The "site" can take other forms too, such as a Palm Pilot or any other handheld device, for example.
This special location, accessible through all sort of digital technologies is moderating all other functions of the e-Marketing - it is then a moderating function.
The "security" function emerged as an essential function of e-Marketing once transactions began to be performed through internet channels.
What we need to keep in mind as marketers are the following two issues on security:
- security during transactions performed on our website, where we have to take all possible precautions that third parties will not be able to access any part of a developing transaction;
- security of data collected and stored, about our customers and visitors.
A honest marketer will have to consider these possible causes of further trouble and has to co-operate with the company's IT department in order to be able to formulate convincing (and true, honest!) messages towards the customers that their personal details are protected from unauthorized eyes.
7. Sales Promotion
At least but not last, we have to consider sales promotions when we build an e-Marketing strategy. Sales promotions are widely used in traditional Marketing as well, we all know this, and it is an excellent efficient strategy to achieve immediate sales goals in terms of volume.
This function counts on the marketer's ability to think creatively: a lot of work and inspiration is required in order to find new possibilities and new approaches for developing an efficient promotion plan.
On the other hand, the marketer needs to continuously keep up with the latest internet technologies and applications so that he can fully exploit them.
To conclude, we have seen that e-Marketing implies new dimensions to be considered aside of those inherited from the traditional Marketing. These dimensions revolve around the concept of relational functions and they are a must to be included in any e-Marketing strategy in order for it to be efficient and deliver results.
Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.
Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge. Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.
These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.