Archive for 'research'

By GuyKawasaki

ScienceDaily.jpg

I recently learned about Science Daily. It is a treasure chest of interesting studies that has implications on business practices. I’ve collected so much material from it that this is going to be “Science Daily Week” in my blog.

For example, have you ever wondered whether giving employees a pay-for-performance bonus or a merit raise fosters greater productivity? According to this “Bonuses Boost Performance 10 Times More Than Merit Raises” in Science Daily which pointed to a Cornell study called “Using Your Pay System to Improve Employees’ Performance: How You Pay Makes a Difference” by Dr. Michael C. Sturman, a bonus yields far better results.

Obviously, compensation is more complex than this, but it’s interesting that the study found a ten to one advantage for bonuses.


PS: While poking around the Cornell site, speaking of bonuses, I also found this very interesting study: “Sweetening the Till: The Use of Candy to Increase Restaurant Tipping.” It says that tips go up from 15.1% to 17.8% when a restaurant gives candy.

Dealing with and handling change and uncertainty is one of the major challenges each of us faces in today’s world. And we face it in our business and personal lives. It can be said that change and uncertainty arrive together and that most people find it much more difficult to manage and endure ambiguity and waiting than to deal with changes as they happen. And, in my opinion, on thing is certain – each of us will face some type of change and uncertainty at multiple times during our life. So, what are some strategic actions we can take to deal with this change and uncertainty? Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach researched this question and developed seven (7) strategic actions to recommend dealing with change and uncertainty in business and life.

The seven (7) strategic actions are:

Strategic Action #1: Adopt an attitude that accepts and welcomes change and uncertainty as the catalysts for endless opportunities in your business life and personal life.

Strategic Action #2: Develop an understanding that “our thoughts” create “our reality” and that “our thoughts” will actually drive our response to situations. Negative thinking really weakens our creativity, problem-solving abilities, and our immune systems. Therefore, it is critical to think of all the possibilities of positive outcomes, rather than dwelling on the negative and problems.

Strategic Action #3: Develop a clear focused vision of the outcome(s) you are striving to reach, then proceed with passionate pursuit and deliberate intention to reach your vision and goals.

Strategic Action #4: Build an unbreakable spirit and use the awesome power of your spirit and its mysterious blend of emotional strength, energy, character, passion and “will” to defy all odds against reaching your vision and goals.

Strategic Action #5: Use the power of strategic thinking and keep the image of your vision in front of you at all times, instead of having your attention and efforts diverted toward the negative.

Strategic Action #6: Free yourself for your future by “letting go” of the negative and the past. Each of us on each of the days of our lives decides how we respond to life’s challenges. We have a choice to play the role of a victim and feel sorry for ourselves and seek pity, blame others and become very angry. Or we can choose to “let go” and look ahead for what positive things are yet to come.

Strategic Action # 7: Postpone your judgment about your today and your tomorrow until they become your yesterdays. Judge the present by taking advantage of viewing it through the clearer and more powerful lens of it being the past. I believe there is great truth and wisdom in saying that our tomorrows often look very different when they become our yesterdays.

Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, “Glenn’s Guiding Lines – Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach” and has published more than 250 articles on business.

To find out more about the benefits & rewards of effectively working with a strategic thinking business coach, please contact Glenn Ebersole through his web site at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or jgecoach@aol.com

The Secrets of Selling


BY STEVE COHN
Saturday, March 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

1. “Understanding Media” by Marshall McLuhan (MIT Press, 1964).

I have no idea who might be the smartest human ever, but the most brilliant marketing mind of all belonged to Marshall McLuhan. “Understanding Media” is a timeless analysis of how language, speech and technology shape human behavior in the era of mass communication. The book is a cautionary tale for marketers today who hear the Web’s siren call and ignore the power of the spoken word. Whether heard onstage, over the phone, or on radio or TV, McLuhan says, the spoken word is ultimately much more powerful than the written. Part anthropologist, part psychologist, part behavioral scientist, McLuhan ponders many other aspects of how we connect, such as the persuasive powers of typography. He was a genius who understood why mass media holds us in its grip and never lets go.

2. “Brand Sense” by Martin Lindstrom (Free Press, 2005).

Of all the books I have read on marketing, “Brand Sense” is the most dog-eared. Martin Lindstrom makes a strong case that engaging the five senses is crucial to selling a brand. Whether marketers are trying to persuade consumers to buy a particular car or soda or shirt, they had better be aware of the role that each sense plays in the selling process, Lindstrom says, or they are working with only half a deck. Lindstrom displays much original thinking here, particularly with his “authenticity test” for brands. Does the brand feel real? Does it smell right? Does it tell a story that stirs emotion? The final payoff in “Brand Sense” is Lindstrom’s checklist to help marketers build maximum brand loyalty in their customers.

3. “Reality in Advertising” by Rosser Reeves (Knopf, 1961).

Rosser Reeves is not as well-known as the advertising giants of his era, such as David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett and Bill Bernbach, but he was every bit their peer. Reeves originated many of the concepts–including what he called the “unique selling proposition”–that make the difference between marketing success and failure. Reeves was immensely talented, and he expected to be paid commensurately, which led to an incident that has become something of a legend in the advertising world. When a client demanded that he justify his fees, Reeves asked him to take two quarters out of his pocket and hold one in each hand. Reeves then explained: “You pay me to tell the consumer why the quarter in your left hand is absolutely fantastic and the quarter in your right hand is not.” Reeves chose exactly the right title for “Reality in Advertising”–all the marketing theory in the world means nothing if it can’t be translated into specific techniques that make a product or service stand out among all the others in its category.

4. “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill (Simon & Schuster, 1999).

So you go to the mall, pop into a handful of stores and walk out with a few shopping bags–mission accomplished. Understanding how retailers can facilitate that experience is the particular talent of shopping-pattern researcher Paco Underhill. He and his trusty band of young sleuths have studied all age groups and looked at every angle of how we behave as shoppers. More than 70% of the purchases made on most shopping expeditions are unplanned, Underhill notes. He then explains shopper psychology and the techniques that retailers should use to maximize their chances of snagging our unintended expenditures. From describing how to create the most effective window displays to analyzing optimum shopping-basket placement, Underhill is unrivaled in his ability to dissect the countless variables that are essential to a store’s success.

5. “Branded Nation” by James B. Twitchell (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

James B. Twitchell begins “Branded Nation” by asserting that “the secret to great brands is that they are often nonsensical.” After all, what’s golden about McDonald’s? What’s real about Coke? Among the endless number of books churned out each year that try to explain brand success, this is the best overview of the rules of the road. It also provides an in-depth look at the often overlooked marketing strategies of churches, universities and museums. Twitchell is unusual among college professors in that he teaches both English and advertising, two disciplines that make perfect sense together.

Mr. Cone is a senior marketing executive at Citigroup and the author of “Steal These Ideas: Marketing Secrets That Will Make You a Star” (Bloomberg, 2005).

The Hidden Value of a Link

By David Berkowitz

Is PayPerPost evil?

Sure. I can get on board with that. Though it’s a flawed hypothesis, a lot of my column this week tries to explore why. It actually does have parallels in other media, and there are even some blog advertising campaigns enlisting bloggers themselves that tapped into the real power of community, but PayPerPost keeps making me squirm. I’ll take pop-ups over PPP any day. It does have some defenders, such as those who commented on the column on MediaPost (granted, those who emailed me were much more supportive – hardly a surprise, given sample biases).

The column also once again, like last week, stars the link. The full column’s in the extended entry. Is PPP really just product placement or advertorial? Or is it corrupting the fabric of social media, and the entire social media ecosystem? I welcome your take, as this debate isn’t going away.

The Hidden Cost Of A Link

How much is a link back to your site worth to you?

That’s one of the questions that arises with PayPerPost, the service which, as its name suggests, offers a marketplace where advertisers can pay for bloggers to post about them with a link to their site, all within the blog’s editorial content. The link itself is arguably the most valuable part of the whole operation (for more on the value of links, read last week’s column).

The biggest problem with links from PayPerPost is that they’re in the editorial copy instead of with the ads. This presents a double-edged sword for PayPerPost. If the links were off to the side or otherwise demarcated as ads (such as when ads in RSS feeds are set off in a shaded box or surrounded by the word “advertisement”), then there wouldn’t be much controversy over money changing hands for running them.

The backlash against PayPerPost stems from these ads being included as regular posts. The fact that there’s a disclaimer requirement doesn’t do enough to blunt the negative effects of such a slippery slope with ads being included in the editorial content. Additionally, the disclaimer can negate the value of the blogger’s write-up (making the link the only real value) — and bloggers with impeccable integrity, or enough of an audience to otherwise monetize their blogs (whether it’s through ads, new business, or other leads such as speaking engagements) won’t risk their reputations to join.

Some defenders of PayPerPost claim that their model is no different than other forms of advertising. A perfect parallel is hard to find, so this may be a straw-man argument. One somewhat related model is in radio, where hosts will shill a product themselves on behalf of the good folks at the advertiser being promoted. You won’t find such advertising in The New York Times, or embedded in a Fareed Zakaria column in Newsweek. For similar reasons, it shouldn’t be on a blog.

Another parallel can be made with advertorials, which appear in many shades of gray. Some are merely ads that include editorial copy written by the advertiser, and they’re often made to look like other articles on the page or in the publication. As that’s just another type of ad, the parallel is tenuous at best. Some publications, meanwhile, will have their writers interview the advertiser and write the copy for the advertorial, which is the only place that the publication will cover a given topic. In such a case, the advertiser’s only way of getting into the “editorial content” of that issue is by buying its way in.

Bloggers have nothing in common with the second form of advertorial I mentioned. Bloggers can always write about whatever they want whenever they want. I’m a blogger, and I can post 20 times a day or once every 20 days, covering as few or as many trends, ideas, and companies as I wish. I’d never run PayPerPost ads for fear of losing credibility (full disclosure: I did register my blog with them to check out the service, though I never took part in any campaigns).

So how could a marketer reach me and take advantage of those 133 links Google counts pointing to my blog? Blogger relations would work better. I have companies write me every so often letting me know about new Web sites, products, and services. If it’s a really great Web site, for example, I’ll write about it (rarely do I cover things that don’t interest me just for the sake of posting about them), and I’ll provide a link with commentary. Instead of paying per post, the marketer invests time (by themselves, or through an agency) in researching appropriate blogs, developing pitches relevant to each blogger, and then making the pitch — with the occasional added cost of sending promotional items. While such a campaign can be more costly, it’s exponentially more effective. As a bonus, other bloggers will readily post their own links to something they find in another blogger’s copy, though with PayPerPost that viral effect isn’t there (I’ve never blogged, “Hey, check out what this advertiser paid this other blogger to write about!”)

PayPerPost refers to its service as “consumer-generated advertising,” but that’s a misnomer. When I write on my blog that I loved staying at the Ceiba del Mar in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, that’s a consumer-generated ad — better known as word-of-mouth marketing, and from the consumer’s perspective, it’s just sharing information. When Dale Backus won a contest for producing the Doritos Super Bowl ad, that was consumer-generated advertising. When advertisers pay someone to post a link and comment on their offering, it’s a cash-for-link deal that appears in the editorial content. When PayPerPost’s advertisers hire consumers to write the copy and post the link, it’s clearly not in the spirit of consumer-generated media, even if in some way it counts as a technicality.

It’s up for marketers to determine how much links are worth for them. They should keep in mind that the price can include intangibles that harm their brands. And that, by the way, is full disclosure.

Are You Ready To Start Your Home Based Business?

By Allen Lundy

There are all types of people in this world. Everyone of us is unique in one way or another. We all look different, we have different hobbies, likes, dislikes, and most of all we have varied skills and learning abilities.

Our uniqueness is what makes each of us special. The ability to make decisions and take responsibility for our actions is what really sets an entrepreneur apart from everybody else with a desire for a home based business.

Making the decision to start your own home based business is just the beginning of a long, fun, exciting and sometimes frustrating journey. Are you ready?

With the Internet being such a prolific venue for anyone desiring to have their own home based business, it’s no wonder so many people have shelled out hundreds and thousands of dollars for their dream – a successful home based business – only to have that dream turn into a nightmare.

You may or may not have been one of those that started a home based business only to find out there is more to a work at home business than just putting up a website and waiting for the money to come rolling in.

If you haven’t been told before, let me say it now – It doesn’t work that way.

Running a successful home business takes planning, hard work and yes, even money. You may have heard that you can start your own home business and make a fortune for no money. That my friend is a myth!

Before you start your own home based business you absolutely MUST look before you leap. A home based business requires the same dedication, hard work and ingenuity as any other brick and mortar business.

Do you have a business Plan? Without a “blue print” of what you envision your home business to be and a path forward to get there, all your hard work may be for nothing. You need to have a business plan and you must research the niche that you are planning on making your fortune in. You must know what your business is all about and what it is going to take to make it a success.

You must have a positive attitude. Your home based business will succeed or fail, depending on how you approach it. Regardless if you work your home business full time or part time, you must always do everything in a positive manner. Your should always remember and believe that your home business is a business, it is not a hobby. Thinking of your home business in any other way could set you up for failure.

Set yourself up a balanced schedule. To achieve a balanced schedule, you need to sit down and actually write out a schedule to follow on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Set up specific periods of time for your business. When your schedule shows it’s time to work, do nothing else but work on your business.

You will also set aside time for your family on your schedule. After all, isn’t more time with your friends and family a benefit of having your own business? Put in time for your hobbies, go fishing, ride your Harley, whatever you feel like. You absolutely must have some free fun time. Like the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…Follow your schedule.

Learn everything you can about your products or service: Whether you are selling affiliate programs, software, PLR/MRR products or a service that you can offer, such as television repair, auto repair, the bottom line is you must be considered an expert or at least very knowledgeable. The more you know and the better you are able to articulate to others your knowledge, the more respect within your niche area you will receive. When you are considered the best, Word-of-Mouth advertising can do wonders for your bank account.

Purchase a good domain name: You have already done your research and you know what products you are going to sell, you now have to get one of the most important items for your new home based business. You need to “name” your business. Your domain name is one of the very first things people will see and it will be their first impression of you. Make a good first impression.

Set up your payment options: Many home based businesses will already have some sort of payment option set up on ready made websites. However, especially for individuals that may be new to Internet Marketing, I would suggest starting off with PayPal. It is one of the most popular payment processing systems around.

STUDY, STUDY, STUDY AND DID I MENTION – STUDY? You can never learn too much when it comes to setting up, running and maintaining your home based business. There are a ton of books in both hard copy and digital available for you to become an expert in your field in a very short period of time. Start off with the free eBooks you may find. They have excellent information for the beginner or those that just wish to refresh their knowledge. You don’t have to spend $197 for an eBook when you don’t even understand the basic fundamentals.

Finally: Take your time, be patient, don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t the next Internet Millionaire in 30 days or less. Think about this, Microsoft(tm)started out in a small garage and took many years to become what it is.

An overnight success story according to the newspapers and television – yet, that overnight success took 7-10 years to attain. Be patient, and you too could become the next “overnight success”.

Allen Lundy has been working online for the last few years. His new site The Home Business Plan teaches anyone how to create their own plan for a successful business.

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