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Marketing 101 In a Nutshell

Marketing 101 In a Nutshell

Marketing 101 In a Nutshell

Marketing 101: Two Opportunities & Challenges of Digital Technology:

Communication via digital technology creates two opportunities and challenges respectively for marketers in the 21st Century. The two opportunities include: (1) Increased Share of Customer; and (2) Building Customer Equity. However, digital technology communication also assumes at least two challenges for marketers, specifically, (1) Privacy/Liability Issues and (2) Risk of Brand Damage.

Increased Share of Customer

Digital technology purposefully avails to the opportunity of an increased share of customer. Share of customer refers to the portion of customer purchases a company receives in its product categories.

Increased variety to current customers generally assumes a higher share of the customer as companies may satisfy more multiple interests by diversifying products and/or services. This increased variety of customers may differentiate from competitors that offer less selection, increasing the potential for a higher share of customers.

Communication via digital technology displays such an opportunity to increase the share of a customer by offering greater variety.

For example, an estimated 50% of American adults now use smartphones, with 25% of that proportion using mobile devices to access social media. Additionally, Americans reportedly average 5.24 hours with digital media. Consequently, this exponential demand for social media in a rapidly increasing globalized landscape compels purportedly 90% of companies to exploit digital social media marketing.

As this “consumer love affair” fosters “fertile ground” for marketers “to engage customers,” marketers may efficaciously exploit advantage by offering more accessories that innovatively integrate digital communication into company products and services.

Indeed, Marie Gulin, Loreal’s VP of Global Integrated Communications contemplated social media as a potential “game-changing” influence in hair color product development to rehabilitate its prominent market position. Digital communication facilitated a felicitous opportunity to diversify hair products and differentiate from competitors in attracting consumers.

This idea she excogitated after examining consumer response to the social media campaigns implemented by other industries. Her hypothesis proved accurate. A greater proprietary assortment of digital communication options may differentiate one company from another, targeting multifarious interests to attract more customers.

GoPro benefited from this theme. These sophisticated cameras, “help people capture, share, and celebrate with others action-charged experiences of their lives.” However, digital communications technology paved these new paths of expression among consumers.

Therefore, the increased competition to differentiate by diversifying products and/or services with increasingly innovative digital communication technology options strongly support an increased share of customer. But for the increased competitiveness inherently assumed in diversifying digital communication, marketers may not otherwise avail to strategically seize creative solutions.

Thus, digital communication offers the quintessential opportunity to capitalize on the share of customers, incentivizing ingenuity in products and/or services. This opportunity enables marketers to satisfy exponential consumer demand by inventing different ways to incorporate digital communication applications into products and/or services.

Building Customer Equity

The hypertrophy of digital communication also enables an opportunity to build customer equity as marketers utilize advanced technology in considering consumer preferences. Customer equity refers to the aggregate value of all current and potential customers.

Marketers may utilize predictive analytics—a software system that incorporates computer-generated logic to determine consumer interests, inferring trends and patterns from stored computer data. Predictive analytics may enable marketers to potentially maximize customer-equity by attracting current and prospective customers based on the copious cornucopia of cumulative computer data available.

For example, IBM provides predictive analytics software as a revolutionary resource to help business leaders “look beyond biases in discerning real patterns and anticipating events.” This strategy enables marketers the opportunity to target customer preferences with greater accuracy—which may facilitate consumer retention and possibly build customer equity over time.

Predictive analytics helped Netflix, “substantially improve the accuracy of predictions,” concerning movie preferences, acquiring invaluable insight about consumer behavior to optimize service with informed decisions.

Moreover, marketers may collect consumer information using internal databases and computer marketing intelligence to observe how consumers interact with brands on social media dialogue. The latest mobile cellphones—smartphones—“extract intimate insights about consumers,” from a labyrinth of detailed, smartphone user profiles to virtually verify their personal identities.

This tactic, known as “hyper-targeting” may benefit both marketers and consumers by aligning possession of “brand information with the right customers.” Therefore, digital communication affords an unparalleled opportunity to build customer equity by matching consumer behavior with customer preferences as detected by mobile advertising companies.

Privacy/Liability Issues

Digital communication presents the intractable challenge of privacy/liability issues if marketers sidestep social responsibility. Social responsibility emphasizes corporate ethics—“seeking ways to profit by capturing the long-term value of customers and communities,” with legally sustainable marketing strategies.  But companies encounter the challenge of mining consumer information to promote value without violating privacy. If left unaddressed, potential privacy encroachments may not only discourage customers but lead to heightened government intervention.

Marketers may confront this challenge by following the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice. The code promulgates researcher responsibilities, requiring them to disclose their personal information with general participants while publicizing information about all data collected.  Such compliance may help mitigate liability risks. Alternatively, “unscrupulous marketers” victimize “millions of unsuspecting consumers” with unwarranted solicitations—directly dispatching, “deceptive, tailor-made, emails.”

To strengthen this probative inference, complaints received by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center Website surpassed “289,000” last year.  Consequently, these charlatan charades may risk undermining the reasonable efforts of respectable marketers seeking to advantageously exploit digital social media platforms, possibly dissuading dubious consumers. To aggravate matters, the analytical hyper-targeting techniques of mobile advertising companies track individual consumers’ digital movements. Hence, marketers encounter the challenge to circumvent corruption—finagling accessible consumer information—with socially responsible temperance and prudence. Marketers tread a tenuous line between “serving and stalking customers.”  If not tempered, the potential for unbridled manipulation of sensitive personal identity information may create “more harm than benefit to consumers,” consequently culminating in diminished sales.  If taken to extremes, marketers risk abusing privacy.

Risk of Brand Damage

Similarly, digital technology also risks brand damage. A brand in marketing vernacular typically refers to the marketing reputation of businesses/professionals among consumers as represented in products and/or services. Preserving a brand remains indispensable because the slightest damage may lead to company insolvency. Assuming such a risk might predispose company dissolution.

However, digital communication presents the conspicuous challenge of brand preservation as blogs present a vitriolic weapon for virulent, vituperative attacks against companies from caustic customers. The dissemination of widely accessible information provides an effortless outlet to express customer dissatisfaction where disgruntled individuals denigrate company reputation with inflammatory invective. Consider Dell. After one blogger’s disparaging diatribes undermined its brand, Dell learned an invaluable lesson—redefine “listening” to include observing digital correspondence from consumers about the company. The Dell paradigm represents a notable challenge in consumer digital communication because it demonstrates how inadequate vigilance risks brand damage.

Nonetheless, by expanding its definition of listening to include not neglecting digital customer service communication, Dell transformed this palpable challenge into a prominent opportunity. Dell now implements a 360-degree marketing approach that engages customers by “phone, social media, digital online strategy, traditional media, print advertising, and everything in between.”  Dell also instituted a social media employee certification training program that tracks approximately “25,000 conversations daily” about Dell—annually exceeding “6 million online conversations.”  While digital communication presents the considerable challenge of brand damage if cursory, companies no longer possess any such excuse to capitulate in complacency as Dell.

Therefore, even if digital communication still risks brand damage, such a risk attenuates in view of Dell’s example, encouraging prophylactic precautions to prevent brand damage. Ultimately, companies need not risk the same fate as Dell. Redefining relationships with consumers, expanding “listening” to encompass multiple fronts, digital communication affords more of an opportunity than challenge if marketers learn from Dell’s example. Generally, this challenge to re-adapt as needed depending on circumstances, becomes a propitious marketing opportunity for profitable growth when companies make customer-value their primary priority.

SWOT—Personal Brand of Michael W. Staib

This section provides my professional summary, accompanied by a SWOT personal brand analysis of myself. This professional summary introduces my overall personal brand—the professional profile. Under SWOT, I introduce five corresponding Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In summation, my perspicuous professional profile summarizes as follows.

Professional Summary: Michael presents himself as a prodigious polymath with versatility “for all kinds of literature and learning”—the quintessential Renaissance man in contemporary society. Daniel 1:17. This cerebral curiosity—an incessant, unquenchable thirst for knowledge—distinguishes his genius. A rapacious reader, Michael’s insatiable intellectual inquisitiveness encompasses universal subjects, often involving intense debate on esoteric themes. His preternatural acumen incorporates a particular penchant for language, logic, and written analysis.  He displays a didactic, dynamic demeanor. Known as the walking, talking semantic and human thesaurus by friends, Michael efficaciously exploits his lexicon with linguistic legerdemain. His vivacious vernacular and voluminous vocabulary demonstrates the adroitness of a verbal virtuoso.

This professional summary itemizes as follows under SWOT—acronym represented by (S) Strengths, (W) Weaknesses, (O) Opportunities, and (T) Threats—to describe my personal brand.

StrengthsMy personal brand includes the five following strengths:

Weaknesses The following five weaknesses accompany my personal brand:

Furthermore, a perennial workaholic, I frequently work myself to illness in my industriousness, seeking A-1 performance at every pursuit. In this way, sometimes I work relentlessly harder, but fail to work strategically smarter. This trait may contribute to further stultify time-management and overall progress. Meanwhile, I know better, as generally, give or take, the “20% most efficient resources and/or time allocation,” tend to yield purportedly, plus/minus, “80% of productive output.”

Ironically, despite this conventional wisdom manifest by the laws of nature, I become “lazy” in my workaholism, sometimes, “sublimating everything—family, leisure, friends, church—to career/school.” Still, I overwork. Then, if inefficiency plagues my overwrought, desiccated acumen, i.e. decelerated progress or rare moments of writer’s block, I become self-critical and sometimes blame myself for not accomplishing the lofty agenda set. This pathologically pernicious, sinful psychological and spiritual pattern of behavior often perpetuates on a routine basis for me amid time-pressured deadlines. As my own worst critic, self-dissatisfaction arises with slower progress and/or work product.

Consequently, my striving to achieve near perfection even anesthetizes appreciation of actual work accomplished. Indeed, “pride goes before destruction.” But rather than let the “Judge” continue deluding me into some “rational justification,” for “badgering shortcomings,” “desensitizing to achievements, I instead, “give God the judging.” To relinquish this ego-driven criticism, I thank Jesus for the strength derived from weakness. Then I “delight in my weakness” as Christ reminds me how He “perfects me” through “weakness,” miraculously move monumental mountains with His work for me. Consummate contentment resumes as I again rejoice with an “inner peace that surpasses all understanding.”  Why? No condemnation exists in Christ, as a “fearful and wonderful creation of God.”

Still, I may occasionally struggle simplifying thoughts efficiently on command. Sometimes I forget to revise the exponential ideas that quickly imbue my brilliant brain. This weakness appears to contemporaneously coincide with perfectionism. For instance, disparate working memory deficits compared to my overall superior intelligence sometimes preclude me from capturing the aptest word or phrase initially excogitated.

As I struggle to remember the initial thought, my mind may complicate sentences with extraneous information. I may sporadically stammer, stumble, stutter, and pause, sometimes unnecessarily adding empty words as fillers—e.g., consider our Loreal presentation—until my mind recalls the precise phrase. I may obsess in a moment to recall the verbatim word or sentence portion. Similarly, I search unrelentingly for words, active verbs, adjectives, and eloquent syntax, to feature information in the most favorable manner possible. Again, perfectionism perhaps compounds the problem. My punctilious precision often leads to needless repetition. Indeed, I reiterate explanations of the same subject, repeating multiple times in different words to maximize others’ comprehensions. Likewise, I seek every effort to minimize ambiguity—as my words may suggest multiple, conflicting interpretations.

This weakness not only projects an appearance of pretentious periphrasis—incorporating inordinate verbiage—but may instigate confusion and/or impatience among others who perhaps prefer conciseness. If not tempered, this issue may undermine my overall marketability, perhaps proving especially problematic in a financial analysis where people demand simple explanations for complex information. For example, as one equity analyst verbatim asserts, “I could have done the most brilliant analysis out there, but it would be for naught if I couldn’t communicate my thoughts in a manner that fit the portfolio manager’s style.” Inherent in this assertion assumes the verbal versatility to incorporate a varied vernacular one diversely tailored toward multiple communication styles as suited for different personalities. This kind of cognitive channeling generally constitutes a learned skill cultivated with practice. But this acquired resource of “speaking with management teams, frontline employees and product-end users” is no less important than, “crunching numbers in Excel.”  Pithy explanations remain paramount.

Therefore, I discipline myself. With a conscious effort to succinctly streamline and simplify, I cut any unnecessary circumlocution. Sometimes annotating thoughts on notepaper helps me to more mindfully address this issue as it arises. Likewise, I return to different assignments from my academic history that required more plain-spoken language. Other times, I refer to books such as “Strunk’s Element of Style.” Even so, I seek to slash words and sentences. Limiting sentence size helps. Generally, I try to keep sentences 25 words maximum. Occasionally, I may exceed this threshold. Still, the effort matters. Likewise, I vary sentence length and structure. For persuasiveness, short, staccato sentences typically follow longer ones, oscillating from lengthy to laconic, synchronous with the rhythm of a swinging pendulum. Additionally, I remind myself to opt for simpler, smaller words.

After all, “a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  As wisdom teaches, I need to “let my words be few” and “always seasoned with grace.” These virtues reinforce acceptance, an assumed trust in others understanding my words the first time spoken without requiring further clarification, unless specified otherwise. Why belabor the point? Such superfluous belaboring may counterproductively detract listeners. Nonetheless, this issue continues to abate, strategically refined in time, with wisdom reinforced from experience. Ironically, it appears the rambling here, thundering along for three paragraphs, substantiated my point. The habit warranted a mention. Therefore, I tersely temper my tongue, substituting prolix with pithiness where proper.  Often “less is more.”

But beneath the bravado and braggadocio of my bombastic badinage, bantering with others for cheap thrills rests a Christ-esteemed individual who genuinely loves people. Therefore, I exhibit “gentleness” piquing others’ curiosity with a subject of interest.  Additionally, I listen before speaking.  This strategy reaffirms their self-worth. Afterward, I may transition the conversation into some related topic as the springboard for a sanguine greeting, introducing myself. An amicable smile also tends to establish rapport. Thus, our presence exerts a profoundly positive influence to cordially address others. So the aphorism proceeds, “we catch more bees with honey.”

Opportunity—Five Favorable Opportunities for Aspiring Financial Analysts

Threats—Five Risks the Financial Analyst Assumes in a Fiercely Competitive Field

Financial analysts face fierce competition. The decision to become a financial analyst requires tremendous commitment not necessarily suitable for everyone. Becoming competitive in this field may necessitate some investment of time and money. Beyond the expense, the field tends to assume certain minimum educational thresholds. Consider the following five areas of competitiveness that distinguish a financial analyst.

Observational Research involves gathering primary data by observing people. This section delineates two benefits and potential problems with Observational Research as follows:

Benefit 1—Observes People in Action Rather Than Mere Words

Observational Research transcends mere inquiries, unlike Survey and/or Focus Group Research which superficially assess unreliable opinions, often extracted from unrepresentative population samples. Rather, Observational Research examines how people in action from a relevant demographic might react to particular products beyond simply asking questions. Marketing managers who utilize this method generally elicit greater accuracy by circumventing biased answers to potentially oversimplified questions from some limited group of people. They avoid this issue by observing human behavior because actions usually speak louder than words—which wrongly assumes reliability, neglecting misperception and/or deceptive motives. For example, Fisher-Price created an observation lab that observes the reactions of toddlers to new toys.  If Fisher-Price surveyed a small sample of toddlers, assuming arguendo they even answer honestly, Fisher wrongly assumes toddlers know their preferences concerning new toys. Such a survey also assumes without warrant toddlers possess adequate knowledge and/or information about new toys to reasonably infer preferences. Additionally, this assumption imputes a level of sophistication in reasoning perhaps not readily available to the ordinarily intelligent toddler. After all, marketers most likely realize children generally lack, “ability to distinguish between commercial and entertainment or educational content,” let alone “advertising motives” for toys.  Furthermore, this fallacious methodology inherently assumed in surveys and/or focus groups here may predispose “stealth marketing,” as marketers advantaged children by manipulating “gullible” kids’ sentiments.  Marketers may even use their flawed assumptions to finagle results, perhaps inveigling reactions that suit advertisement motives. Observational Research eliminates this issue. Instead, Observational Research simply observes people, i.e. these kids, in their natural environment, which likely negates the possibility of deceptive motives since people, particularly young minds, generally lack any reason to behave differently than for any other situation. Why? If people, as with these children in the Fisher example, lack any knowledge of Observational Research employed due to a lab that simulates “natural surroundings,” they most likely lack any reasonable justification for atypical behavior. The naturally-simulated environment probably eviscerates disingenuous motives to behave anomalously because people likely lack the knowledge for deception in not perceiving anything different, unusual, or suspicious. Therefore, Observational Research enhances reliability by observing people within their natural environment because people likely perceive no change in surroundings sufficient for deceptive motives. Thus, people’s actions most likely strengthen the probative inference of a more accurate reaction, reducing biases inherently assumed in a survey and/or focus group responses.

Benefit # 2—Observational Research Examines Natural Conversation in Action.

Observational Research also affords marketers the privilege to observe digital dialogue between people. For example, a company may listen to internet correspondence—routinely reviewing online consumer conversations on blogs, social networks, and/or websites about their latest product sold. Granted, awareness of a company’s online marketing practices might dissuade candor among certain reserved, internet-savvy personalities less comfortable disclosing opinions. While perhaps less reliable than observing actions, the same reasoning, to an extent, analogously applies. “Naturally occurring” feedback may spark uninhibited dialogue.  Others who care not what companies witness may candidly communicate ideas with the hopes of learning from others who experienced certain products and/or services. Moreover, blogs and/or freelance internet articles from professional writers emulating more of an objective, a journalistic tone may also yield some impartial insight. For instance, an article review about some product/service might even elucidate consumer behavior, perhaps even substantiated with sources to observational research methods, possibly confirming prior conclusions. These reviews may suggest less deceitful motives with higher ethical publishing standards, requiring writers to maintain some minimum ethos/logos threshold as a prerequisite for publication. If true, this authoritative quality may provide a reliable resource with invaluable insight while further curtailing the effort of gathering additional extrinsic observational research.

Potential Problem # 1—Observation Limits to Outward Manifestation.

The fundamental flaw with Observation Research remains its limitation to outward manifestations. In other words, observational research evaluates external appearances. But what about intrinsic qualities? While observation may suggest the probative inference of plausible motives and psychological processes among people, it fails to necessarily pinpoint with definitive certainty, “attitudes, motives, and/or private behavior.”  One’s inner thoughts constitute an unobservable quality. To judge a book by its cover assumes omniscience, eliminating the possibility, and in this circumstance, overwhelmingly likelihood of not knowing about something unseen. How could someone accurately infer an outcome about something one cannot actually observe? One may only speculate possibilities. This issue presents a potential problem for marketers if they permit circular conjecture to form the basis of their conclusions.

Potential Problem # 2—Difficulties Interpreting Behavior From Observation

Problem # 1 connects with problem # 2, specifically, that Observational Research fails to transcend the amorphous disconnect between outward appearance and internal thoughts. Ambiguity pervades human behavior. Something ambiguous suggests multiple conflicting interpretations. A physical bodily gesture and/or facial expression may present many multiple conflicting interpretations to others psychoanalyzing the reaction. Beyond ambiguous, human behavior may also exhibit vagueness. Vagueness refers to a general lack of clarity. For instance, the person’s incoherent words and/or impassive facial expressions may lack definite form as to engender no interpretation. To infer a direct, unambiguous link between outward appearance and specific motives neglects the assumption that appearances sometimes deceive—not always aligning consistently with internal human thoughts. For example, people may behave one way, perhaps suggesting a particular motive with their body language. However, their true thoughts about a situation may not match the behavior they project. Indeed, a person may not only camouflage intent with different behavior, but one person’s intent may also differ from the action others perceive. Hence, the inconsistency between observed traits and inner thoughts obfuscates perception, thereby instigating “difficulty interpreting behavior.” This obscurity may elucidate a potential problem with Observational Research if pursued without some modicum of suspicion, and unaccompanied by at least another research method. Therefore, if not taken with a grain of salt, Observational Research risks misleading marketers into erroneous conclusions about human behavior, overlooking the possibility that inner thoughts may not parallel physical reactions.

Buyer Decision Process—Buying a New Car

This section stipulates the buyer decision process with respect to buying a new car. It specifies each step of the process, providing examples where possible. The 5-step process enumerates as follows:

Car Buyer Process: New car buyers typically engage the following five-step process, instantiated by NIEDB (Need Behavior)—Need Recognition, Information Search, Evaluation of Alternatives, Purchase Decision, & Post Purchasing Behavior.

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