Want to target your marketing efforts to the breadwinner in the family? According to The Luxury Institute’s recent survey, women are not only the CEOs of their families, but 41 percent of women included in the survey were also the family breadwinners, contributing more than 50 percent of the household income. However, despite the fact that these educated women are earning six-figure salaries, their top priority is still family. So how do you market to these highly educated, affluent women? Think about their busy schedules and high standards. Make sure your website is attractive, professional, easy to navigate and represented on social media. And finally, consider test marketing to this category to get some helpful feedback on what could be improved.Google+
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Business Development Articles
Times are definitely changing. Remember the days of setting up a booth at a big trade show to market your business and find vendors? A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (E2MA) says marketers find it more and more challenging to measure ROI from big events. While marketers still find value in events, 40 percent of respondents are cutting back on big trade shows in favor of more targeted events, while 44 percent are choosing to host their own events. If you’re not sure whether a trade show or event is worth it, ask the event organizers for any analytics available and talk to previous attendees and exhibitors for their feedback.
Tax time is over, and those Americans who are expecting a refund are already making plans to spend it. How? A study of Twitter feeds by IQ Agency found that as of early April, 65 percent of Americans already knew how they planned to spend their tax refunds. The result is good news for retailers, with
- 14% planning to spend it on electronics
- 11% planning to spend it on fashion
- 11% planning to spend it on automotive
- 10% planning to spend it on food and beverages
- 7% planning to spend it on travel
- 7% planning to spend it on events
- 5% planning to spend it on music.
You’ll notice most of these purchases fall into the discretionary category, which means consumers can easily be swayed to buy by emotional appeals. Consider a marketing approach that does one or more of the following:
- Focuses on the tax refund as “found money” that won’t impact the family budget if spent on discretionary items.
- Emphasizes the “reward yourself” or “treat yourself” aspect of making these purchases.
- Suggests making a long-desired, big-ticket purchase (such as a new TV or electronic device) that otherwise would be too costly.
- Highlights the experiential quality of spending on vacations, events, or food and beverages, such as sharing good times with friends or making memories with the family.
- Appeals to the sensible side by offering discounts or deals on these product and service categories to tempt consumers who may be on the fence.
- Uses humor to sympathize with consumers’ tax time headaches and celebrate that they’re finally over.
Even for the 35 percent of Americans that IQ Agency found plan to save their refund or use it to pay bills, there could be opportunity for financial planners, insurance salespeople and advisers. With tax time fresh in customers’ minds and finances on their brains, you can:
- Contact existing clients with suggestions for how to maximize their refund.
- Offer to review current clients’ portfolios or insurance coverage, suggesting that refund money provides an opportunity to upgrade with “found money.”
- Reach out to prospects by offering a free consultation as to how their refund can be the start of an investment plan or used to purchase needed insurance that they may have been putting off.
Image by Flickr user bradleygee (Creative Commons)Google+
If your business is involved in the travel industry, benefits from travelers or markets to them, you’ll want to know what luxury travelers are planning for this year. The news from Unity Marketing is positive: The company’s latest report, Affluent Consumers & Their Travel Plans for 2013, surveyed over 1,300 affluent consumers with an average income of $267,800 and found that nearly half (45 percent) plan to spend more on travel in 2013 compared with 2012.
Where are luxury consumers planning to go? Internationally, three destinations were especially popular compared to 2011: the Caribbean, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. In the U.S., Las Vegas and Nevada in general topped the list of planned vacation spots, followed by New York, Florida, Boston/New England and Los Angeles. 15 percent of consumers plan on visiting Western Europe, especially France, Germany Italy and Spain.
What else do you need to know about luxury travelers?
Luxury travelers typically take multiple long vacations. In 2013, the average luxury traveler will take 2.8 separate vacations lasting four days or longer.
Luxury travelers don’t want to spend a lot of money getting to their destination. They rarely fly first-class, for example, and they seek to use frequent flyer points and other means to economize on the trip. Receiving discounts was cited as more important this year than in the prior 2011 survey.
Once they get to their destination, however, luxury travelers splurge, typically staying in four- to five-star hotels. Experience is key for luxury travelers, and the types of experiences they want most this year are relaxation/stress reduction, sightseeing, and fine dining/food and wine experiences.
This year, luxury travelers are relying much less on travel agents and much more on online reviews and other online tools. Less than one-third will use a travel agent to plan their trips, and the importance of online reviews rose compared to the 2011 survey.
But there is still opportunity for travel sellers, tour companies and other travel-related businesses. To make the most of luxury travelers’ growing budgets:
- Provide or link to online reviews of your business on your website.
- Offer discounts, special offers or packages to appeal to luxury travelers’ desire to save.
- Provide a curated experience. Luxury travelers care greatly about creating meaningful memories and having unique experiences, so if your business can help them discover or enjoy unusual experiences, you’ll appeal to their interests.
- Focus on high quality. Luxury consumers demand the best, so make sure your service is up to their standard.
Image by Flickr user breezy421 (Creative Commons)Google+
If you’re trying to boost the success of your content marketing efforts, one way to do so is by adding video. Online video is becoming more a part of consumers’ everyday lives, especially when it comes to online shopping, according to a report from Invodo and the eTailing Group.
The survey of over 1,000 Internet users found that the majority (52 percent) regularly watch video during the online shopping process. About one-third say they always watch video if it’s available; almost all (90 percent) watch it at least occasionally. Shoppers are also turning to video earlier in the shopping process—during the research stage—especially when it comes to big-ticket purchases or complex purchases.
What’s important for content marketers to know—whether or not they are e-tailers—is that:
- Internet users are showing more interest in video compared to prior years.
- Consumer engagement is greater on sites that offer video.
- Consumers are spending more time watching videos than in prior years.
- They are also watching more videos in more product categories than in prior years.
While Invodo’s study focused on ecommerce-related videos, there is a wide range of options for small business video—from an e-tailer’s video demonstrating what clothing or apparel looks like on a model, to an accountant’s video explaining the latest tax deductions.
Clearly, adding video is a great way to engage your prospects. So what can you do to make sure your videos get watched?
- Make them educational. Create videos that demonstrate your products or services, show past customers talking about their satisfaction with your products or services, or educated consumers about what you do or sell. Invodo found videos with an educational or demonstration aspect were more likely to get watched.
- Make them easy to share. Consumers eagerly share videos on social media—in fact, they’re more likely to share videos than they are images or photos. Add share buttons or embed codes that enable users to pass your content along, as well as text encouraging them to share the video with others.
- Consider mobile. Invodo found viewing of videos on mobile devices is on the upswing, so create your videos with mobile in mind. This means simple setups that are easy to see on small devices.
- Shorter is better. Under two or three minutes is a good length for most types of videos. If you’re trying to cover a complex topic, break it down into a series of shorter videos. You’ll have more content and are more likely to attract views that way.
- Post in multiple places. In addition to your website, post videos on social media and consider creating a YouTube channel for your business. The more places your videos are available, the more traction they’ll gain.
Image by Flickr user M4D Group (Creative Commons)Google+
You may be a natural-born salesperson (or have hired one), but everyone can use a refresher course now and then. Sandler Training has been around since 1967 and has grown into an international franchise with 200 locations worldwide, offering sales training in 27 different languages. Rather than a quick fix, Sandler approaches the sales process with reinforcement and constant coaching. From online tools to local training centers, Sandler offers many ways for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of their vast experience. Check out their blog for smart insights about sales and ask about customizable material for your sales staff.Google+
Are you hoping that the “Made in America” label will help your product sell better? Chances are you’re right. A recent Harris Interactive survey found support for buying American products across a wide swath of age groups, both genders and both political parties. However, it’s important to define what “American” means when it comes to a product.
Being made in America is the biggest deciding factor in whether an item is considered American. Three-fourths of respondents say a product has to be made in the U.S. for them to think of it as “American.” Being produced by a U.S. company or being made from parts manufactured in the U.S. was important to about half of consumers; being designed by an American was important to about one-fourth.
What type of people care about buying American? Just about everyone. However:
- The older people are, the more importance they typically place on buying American. Respondents age 48 and up were most likely to say buying American is important; 18- to 35-year-olds were least likely.
- Women were more likely than men to believe it’s important to buy American.
- Republicans and Democrats, however, were equally likely to believe it’s important to buy American, and felt more strongly about it than did Independents.
What types of products are people most likely to want to buy American? Major appliances (75 percent), furniture (74 percent), clothing (72 percent), small appliances (71 percent) and automobiles (70 percent) were the categories for which respondents were most likely to say it was “very important” or “important” to buy American.
What are people trying to accomplish when they buy American? The most important reason for buying American was to “keep jobs in America,” which 66 percent of respondents rated “very important.” Next on the list was “supporting American companies” (cited as “very important” by 56 percent). Safety concerns about products made outside the U.S. were a very important reason for buying American for 49 percent of respondents.
Less important reasons for buying American were:
- Quality concerns with products assembled/ produced outside of the U.S.
- Human rights issues with products assembled/produced outside of the U.S.
- Decreasing environmental impact since products don’t need to travel as far. However, even this factor—the lowest on the list–was rated “very important” by 32 percent.
Clearly, buying American is still a priority for many people. If you decide to use this as a selling point, be sure that you:
- Are honest and accurate about exactly what “Made in America” means in terms of your product.
- Emphasize the factors that matter to customers, such as keeping jobs in America or supporting U.S. companies, in your marketing.
To fine-tune your marketing message, drill down into more details about specific consumer groups’ opinions at Harris Interactive.
Image by Flickr user donkeyhotey (Creative Commons)Google+
How are small businesses across the country feeling about their financial futures? According to the latest Capital One Small Business Barometer, not too positive. The study asked small business owners about their opinion of the current economy and their financial and business projections for the next six months.
In the most recent survey, conducted at the end of 2012, small businesses’ concerns about the future had risen, with more than one-fourth (26 percent) of small businesses polled saying they believe economic conditions will decline over the next six months. That’s a 12-point increase from Q3 2012. In addition, more than one-fourth (27 percent) of small business owners said their company’s financial position was worse than a year ago, up 11 points from the same time in 2011 and up 4 points from Q3 2012.
Given these concerns, it’s not surprising that just one-fourth of small businesses say they plan to hire in the next six months. “Among the small businesses we’ve surveyed, we are still seeing significant caution about prospects for growth, as well as hesitancy about making investments,” said Jon Witter, President of Direct, Consumer and Small Business Banking at Capital One, in announcing the survey. “Looking ahead, confidence in the economic environment will be key.”
As to the overall economy, the outlook isn’t great. While 44 percent of the small businesses surveyed believe economic conditions are holding steady, that’s a drop of 7 points from the same time in 2011. Fewer than one- third (28 percent) expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months, and the same percentage expect conditions to get worse.
The national Small Business Outlook index, which ranks business prospects for the next six months on a scale of significantly worse (1) to significantly better (10), continued its downward trend throughout 2012, hitting 5.6 in the most recent survey. What factors matter most to small business owners’ outlooks? Price margins and profitability topped the list, followed by cash flow and fuel prices.
Small business owners are keeping a firm grip on their budgets, with just 13 percent planning to increase spending in the next six months—down from 20 percent who planned to increase spending at the end of 2011. In addition, the number planning to cut spending hit 25 percent—the highest it’s been in two years, and up 8 points from the Q3 2012 survey.
With limited plans to increase spending, it’s not surprising that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of entrepreneurs polled don’t plan to hire in the next six months, either.
How do these opinions relate to your own outlook, both for your business and for the economy as a whole?
Image by Flickr user Michael David Pedersen (Creative Commons)Google+