How To Know If You’re A Strategic Marketing Communicator, Ask Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach

Competition in the business world requires sound strategic thinking and planning. And one application of those strategic tools is in business marketing communications. And Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach believes that strategic thinking and planning need to be done before developing or recreating any marketing communication. For example, it is important that you take time to think about what role your marketing communication will play and how it will help you achieve your strategic marketing goal(s).

Every strategic marketing communication, from your business card to a simple handout at events has a role to play in moving “your prospects forward.” Here are some of the ways to move your prospect forward: marketing communication tools include:

+ introducing yourself

+ understanding what to do how to help people

+ gaining permission to market to prospects

+ earning prospects’ trust

+ creating and strengthening a relationship

+ getting prospects’ attention

+ provide information

And here are some of the strategic marketing tools to help you move your prospects forward:

+ business cards

+ advertisements,

+ direct mail sales letter

+ Yellow pages

+ web site

+ brochure

+ ezine

+ free report

+ post cards

Now, let’s look at some strategic questions to ask about what you want the prospect to do.

+ What action do I want the prospect to take?

+ Are my current marketing methods achieving my goals?

+ Is this marketing communication tool the best way to get the prospect to take the desired action?

+ When will I use this marketing communication tool?

+ What information do prospects need to know to move forward?

+ Who will benefit from this marketing communication tool?

+ What is my call to action for the prospect?

If you think and plan your marketing communications in a strategic manner (as outlined above), you will be able to make a more educated, more informed, and strategic decision about each of your marketing communication tools. Taking time to ask the strategic questions and analyze if your marketing communications will fit your goals will help ensure that you will reach your goals. And you will know that you are a strategic marketing communicator.

Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach encourages you to fully realize the benefits of business coaching to strategically and effectively market your business. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or by email at [email protected]

Market Research – Why It Should Be Considered Before/During Prior Art Search

An invention is a set of ideas and thoughts to ease the way people perform their daily tasks. An Inventor can be a business or an individual who has an objective behind the invention. A lot of money is required to present the invention to the world, thus, investors who find it interesting fund the R & D operations.

The invention process is very wide. There is no fix time when an invention is converted into useful products. It can take 5, 10 years or even more. The R & D department performs a series of operations one after another – describing the business vision, creating strategies, describing the R & D processes, identifying resources, and drafting designs. The R & D teams comprehensively study all areas of the invention, collect different ideas, which are then combined to build products and services. Thus, the research to development of invention comprises a wide range of processes, which need thousands or millions of dollars.

Patenting an invention

An invention is patented to prevent it from being theft by others. The inventor can restrict individuals and companies from using his/her invention for making or selling products during its life. When filing a patent application, the inventor needs to mention a set of claims, which he/she should choose carefully. So, it is recommended to know the market trends, new technologies, applications, etc. at the time of performing the R & D operations, which will help in getting great claims.

An invention can only be patented if it doesn’t contain any part of the previously patented technology and meet certain uniqueness standards. To find if your invention is already known or not, prior art search is conducted. The innovator can do prior art search on his/her own, or hire an expert for this purpose.

What is prior art search?

Prior art search can be defined as collecting information about the technologies associated with the invention. It’s main objective is to know whether the invention is patentable or not. Sources of prior art search include previous patents, filed patents, scientific reports, research papers, textbooks, newspapers, journals, and internet publications. There are many inventions that are never used in products and services, and these should also be considered during the patent filing process. On the internet, a wide range of tools are available that can help you conduct an efficient prior art search.

Prior art search can provide details about previous inventions in the field, new products and services, etc. It prevents reinventing the already existing inventions. With this, the R & D department can know the already existing technologies, and focus the activities, processes, and tasks to innovate them or research the new ones.

Know the market well before conducting prior art search

The main objective is to get the invention patented with broadest possible claims. Prior art search collects existing knowledge in the fields that belong to the invention. But, this is not enough. One should know the market and companies that are already working on the technologies the invention is based, which will help in choosing the right areas for R & D.

Patent filing is a broad process, and a little wrong move can convert into a big mistake. Thus, from planning to execution, every step should be put wisely. Before going for prior art search, it is important to know the markets in which the invention can bring revolution in, current market trends to focus on, activities of competitors, etc. All these details can be obtained through market research. Thus, it is recommended to conduct a market research first to know the technologies trending in the market.

Why market research?

Market research can help in proper utilization of all the elements of an invention. It provides comprehensive analysis of different markets associated with the invention, patent environment, and existing and future products. Thus, market research can add value to the research and development operations, making them more advanced.

There are many reasons why the inventor should consider market research before starting R & D operations and prior art search. Please have a look at them –

Detailed information about the markets:

Market research reports not only provide information about different markets that belong to the area of invention, but also tell the top active markets. Suppose, an invention can be used in manufacturing products in 10 different industries, out of which 7 are in the growing phase. Thus, there is need to spend extra time and money to obtain patents in these 7 industries to get maximum ROI. Thus, market research reports can suggest you the right industries to continue research and build products.

Competitor analysis:

To emerge as a leading player in the market, it is necessary to know the activities of competitors. With market research reports, the inventor can get in-depth understanding of his/her competitors, technologies they are working on, and their existing and upcoming products and services. Thus, the R & D department can broaden their research to the areas untouched by the competitors.

Helps in patent drafting:

Patent drafter is the person who can help you get a patent with great claims. With extensive knowledge of market trends, active industries, and customer needs, he can write broadest patent claims possible. Thus, with market research reports, your patent drafter can prepare a clear, accurate patent application, and your get a patent, which will have great market value, and you can earn a lot from it.

Top players:

Market research reports provide information about the top companies using the technologies similar to that of the invention. This makes easy to know how advanced the invention is, the technologies that can be innovated, and how to plan R & D processes. After obtaining the patent with significant claims, the inventor can contact the top companies for business partnerships or licensing.

Business Planning – Do You Make These 5 Marketing Mistakes?

What is the one thing every business wants more of? Money! Are you struggling with how to take your business to the next level? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a stagnant place and are unsure of what actions to take to grow? You are not alone! As a business owner, you are busy constantly. There is not enough time in the day for everything. Making mistakes with your marketing efforts can only magnify some of your struggles. Read this to figure out if you are you making these 5 costly marketing mistakes.

Mistake #1: Winging it

Ever hear the expression: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance? This ties right into your marketing strategy. If you want results, you have to put in the proper planning and formulate a strategy, then execute accordingly. This is why it is called a marketing strategy. It takes time, effort, and research to develop the necessary marketing plan. This is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts. Too many businesses “wing it” whether it be for lack of knowing how else to attack it or pure laziness. You worked too hard to get your business up and running. Put some effort and time into developing a formalized Marketing Plan. Figure out who your target customer is and the best way to market directly to that target audience. You may already be wasting effort and money on marketing to the wrong audience! Do your homework. We promise… you will save time AND headaches in the long run.

Mistake #2: Giving Up Too Easily

What would we do without instant gratification today? Searching for answers literally takes seconds on our computers or cell phones. We have access to more knowledge at our fingertips than we could have imagined 10 years ago. Technology has embedded this need for instant gratification in our minds. It has created a society of people that give up way too easily. Like most success in life and business, marketing takes time and persistence. In fact most prospects need to be exposed to your company, its services, the benefits received or problems solved, 7-13 times BEFORE they will decide to purchase. Don’t think that one attempt at reaching out to a prospect will magically make them open their wallet. Don’t think that even 3 times of reaching out will do so. It make take 3, 6, or 9 exposures to get your prospects comfortable with you and your company. Marketing is a marathon and you have to be in it for the long haul.

Mistake #3: Not Adapting to Current Times

Remember when newspaper or radio ads were the most effective way for a company to advertise? Well along came the 21st century full of technology. Embrace it. If you don’t have an attractive, user-friendly website, you’re making a mistake that could turn new customers away and inhibit your growth. If consumers find it difficult to navigate or looking outdated, they may leave with a negative impression of your company and never return. Don’t allow this to happen.

Are you refusing to get your company on social media or advertise using video? This is also costly. The internet, social media, and video marketing are here to stay. If you want to have your business thrive for many years and generations to come, it’s best to get on board… now!

Mistake #4: Lack of Consistency

In order for marketing to be effective it has to be creative and consistent. Think “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is true with any prospect. You don’t know what situational changes are going to occur in their life that may cause it to be… The Right Time. You don’t want to miss the opportunity when it arises. If you haven’t been planting those seeds and nurturing them all along, you won’t be there when they are ready to harvest. The goal of marketing is to be the company in the forefront of the consumer’s mind when they raise their hand and need help. Many businesses make the mistake of sporadic marketing or marketing only when business is slow. Marketing needs to be continual to smooth out the seasonality of business cycles. Don’t let your business fall into this trap!

Mistake #5: Backing Off When Goals are Achieved

Finally, the 5th marketing mistake you may be making is backing off when goals are achieved. This mistake may be the worst one. It’s too easy to breathe a sigh of relief and relish in the success you have achieved. Successful businesses get comfortable when things are running efficiently. However, the issue comes with being too comfortable. As stated earlier, marketing efforts can take 3, or even 6 months to start showing results. This lag time is why discontinuing your marketing efforts, then desperately trying to ramp them back up can be extremely dangerous. It is much wiser to consistently maintain your marketing efforts, then amplify and enhance them as needed. After all, customers may come and go for a variety of reasons. Focus on keeping lifelong customers, and a marketing plan that will help generate new ones during good times and bad.

Marketing is not always fun to do or think about when there is so much else going on. At the end of the day though, marketing is important to the success of your business. Treat it as such and avoid these 5 marketing mistakes. Taking the time to plan and actually prepare with the necessary research will make it so much easier to perform the steps outlined. Don’t forget, persistence is needed for successful execution of your marketing plan. You believe in your business. Make sure your marketing efforts reflect that!

Midsized Company 2015 Marketing Communications Forecasts

Developing marketing communications strategies and plans presents a challenge every year, but 2015 seems especially problematic. While 2015 should be a good year for business in general, we believe that most B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketers should still be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Most financial advisors expect the stock market to keep gaining, and most projections assume modest GDP growth and low inflation. Even Madison Avenue predicts advertising spending to increase by 4.8 to 5.0 percent. So what’s the problem?

Well, the average American’s earnings haven’t risen in more than six years. Cheap money in the financial markets will limit corporate acquisitions. And political and economic unrest around the world continue to be major unknowns.

Marketing Communications Considerations For 2015

In discussions with clients, prospects and colleagues, my takeaway has led to the following ten forecasts for 2015:

  1. The tax deductibility of advertising investment is at great risk. As forecast last year, Congress is still considering putting a limit on the 100 percent deductibility of advertising in a single year. One potential in-coming Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee has already told advertisers that he’ll consider a proposal deducting advertising spending over a five to ten year period rather than just one. If or when this passes, it will have a huge impact on budget planning.
  2. There will be a much deeper and expanded look at the use of “Big Data” as a means of improving customer service, responsiveness, product development and measurement of social media. Fully understanding the “wants and needs” of customers and prospects will take center stage. Analytics will rule, and so will savvy analysts.
  3. There will be increased pressure on proving and improving marketing communications ROI. Evaluating each tactic employed (in traditional or new media) and how each contributes to the overall marketing program is a necessity for profitable growth. Professional and apolitical measurement will be a must.
  4. Outsourced consultants and staff will continue to grow in importance. Companies and nonprofits will continue to pursue a work-as-needed strategy, as opposed to full-time employment. By 2020, these “guns for hire” will comprise forty percent of the U.S. workforce. Now is the time to identify and evaluate these people who you will be so dependent on in the future.
  5. Companies and nonprofits will increasingly focus on internal communications. Employees are as much of a legitimate marketing asset as the product or service itself. Making every employee a marketer and true brand ambassador is becoming a priority. Be sure to make every meeting or internal function a brand building platform. And, above all, keep monitoring your employees’ opinion of the brand.
  6. Small and startup company entrepreneurs will realize that – to be successful – they will require a lot more than just their “big idea”. Building a profitable brand is team sport. And using marketing and marketing communications as part of your team will get you the leverage you need to turn an idea into a sustainable brand.
  7. More emphasis will be placed on marketing to older adults. A recent Nielsen study points out that by 2017 American boomers will control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income. And, according to Forrester Research, the 28 million people over 55 years of age buy twice as much online as do younger adults. In fact, the millennial generation has even less money to spend than did their counterparts of previous generations. However, new approaches will be needed. Marketing to boomers (and older) is a lot different than marketing to 18 – 34 year olds.
  8. The Yahoo-Bing Network (YBN) will grow in importance. Currently, 70 percent of the people who search business and financial service categories on YBN (17 million people) do not search these categories on Google. YBN now represents 29 percent of U.S. search volume (149 million unique searches/month), and the searchers themselves skew towards older, better educated and wealthier people.
  9. Being media neutral in your marketing decisions will become even more important. A recent Gallup study among 18,000 consumers reported that 62 percent said social media had “no influence at all on their buying decision”, while only 5 percent said “it had a great deal of influence”. And, reading between the lines on the importance of traditional media, Advertising Age projected an increase of 48 percent in event spending, 34 percent direct mail, 6 percent in radio and 4 percent in television. Make sure you understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness for both new and traditional media.
  10. Considerably more time and effort will be spent on improving creative messaging. As competition increases, more effort will be placed on determining what customers and prospects want to know about a brand – fact, not opinion. More respect will then be given to the resulting creative product, regardless of media, to make sure it’s authentic, relevant and timely. As Tom Bradley, head of marketing at Nestle, said, “The best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of message. It’s not the media vehicle, new or traditional, that does or does not deliver.”

Obviously, there are many other areas worthy of prognostication and discussion (e.g., Facebook’s decline, the rise of native advertising, fraudulent clicking on digital ads, the importance of marketing to women and Hispanics, etc.), but the forecasts discussed above seem to have greater impact on marketing communications in 2015. The question then becomes what to do about them.

Consider Fresh Eyes From Marketing Communication Consultants

Another recent study from Forrester Research reports that 34 percent of marketers currently feel overwhelmed by change. And, unfortunately, most companies and nonprofits don’t have the financial or intellectual resources to deal with the challenges in either the short or long term.

If this hits home, now many be the time to tap into established, experienced, consultants. Look for people with broad industry and brand experience, across organizations large and small. Candor should flourish. Most of all, make you future better than your past.