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Good Resources for Innovative Technology in Marketing

Foxman, E. R., & Kilcoyne, P. (1993). Information technology, marketing practice, and consumer privacy: Ethical issues. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. 12(1), 106-119. doi: 10.1007/s10660-007-9000-y

This article Foxman and Kilcoyne (1993) discussed the privacy and customer behavior in the electronic market. The author explains that there is a growing concern from consumers about their privacy when dealing with state and federal government agencies and businesses. Consumers believe that their personal information is being computerized and sold without permission. They believe that companies should ask for permission before storing and selling their personal information.

Online consumer information, credit cards, billing details, and demographics are being collected, bought, and sold across the marketing industry. Furthermore, many consumers are unaware that their information is passed around. Consumers agree that the ethics behind collecting the information and sharing it is morally wrong. In working to understand how to resolve the privacy concern, there is debate on who owns the consumer information. Businesses feel that they own the information if they collect it or purchase from another business. They see nothing wrong with collecting the information considering the data allows them to produce better marketing services to the community. Consumers feel that the data belongs to them and should only be used with their permission.

A study within this article evaluates experimental situations in how consumer behavior is being influenced by websites and the personal information being requested from the consumer is affected by the message. The study examines to understand whether customers are manipulated into disclosing personal information through online methods. The results conclude that the consumers’ behavior is significantly impacted by their misunderstanding and misinformation. The author believes that in order for the confusion to be resolved, marketers need to make privacy details clear and they must be commitment to maintaining an ethical behavior when dealing with consumer privacy.

Privacy is a great concern within my industry. In marketing, we not only collect user data from potential customers, but we also collect it from current customers so that we can create the best possible marketing approach. Oftentimes, I have done and seen businesses collect user data and use it to their advantage for producing marketing campaigns. Understanding the legality behind consumer information handling is something that marketers must take seriously. This article is informative in explaining the reasons for protecting and clearly stating privacy policies. Consumers are unlikely to trust a company that shares their personal information without their consent.

 

Peattie, K. (2000). The New Marketing Era: Marketing to the Imagination in a Technology-Driven World/Marketing the Unknown: Developing Market Strategies for Technical Innovations. Journal Of Marketing Management16(5), 529-532.  Retrieved from the Walden Library databases

The author explores how technology has no affect on the behavior of the people who buy, use, and interact with the technology. It explains that marketing is not shaped by what the technology can do, but marketing instead centers on what the consumer will accept, understand, and want. Peattie (2000) further examined the changes that marketing is undergoing because of new technology. From the perspective of the author, marketing is psychological and technology will not change society considering it has no real affect on human emotions, drives, and capacities.

The author details that there are three changes that marketing must undergo in order to create successful strategies. The first is to move away from market research and instead look toward being able to interpret information extracted from the consumers through databases of information. The second change is moving away from traditional advertising and placing more attention on social media for communication. The final stage is to stop looking at marketing as a means of mass markets and move toward building a personal relationship with consumers through media outlets.

I enjoy the different perspective that technological tools used by consumers are not as important as whether or not they desire to use them. I find this relevant within the marketing industry particularly because marketing focuses on understanding the consumers’ desires and being able to fulfill them through brand messaging. The author explains that consumers choose products because of their feelings. This information can be valuable for someone within the marketing industry. As for the author’s perspective that technology does not influence emotions and direction, I disagree with this. To say that a television commercial has no effect on consumers’ buying habits, which are generally led by emotions, is to say that advertising has no real purpose.

 

Erragcha, N., & Romdhane, R. (2014). Social Networks as Marketing Tools. Journal Of Internet Banking & Commerce19(1), 1-12. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases

This research examines how the Internet effects people in their daily lives and how it is causing challenges for businesses due to the openness of social media. The author discusses how social media has opened a door for consumers to express their concerns to companies and this method of communication has facilitated interaction between business and consumer. This allows consumers to enjoy having power of opinion and change, but companies are feeling challenged because of the direct open forums of communication.

The author states that users are huge factors in generating brand awareness. This is due to users promoting the brand as well as creating content such as comments, questions and answers on forum boards, and adding to their custom profiles on social media accounts. Because of technology and social media, the consumer has helped enrich and improve company activities as well as add value to the brand image. The author goes further into details of what the five pillars of social media consist of. These pillars are participation, openness, conversation, community, and interconnection. The author believes that there has been a shift from marketing to interactive marketing. Marketing must move away from traditional transactional marketing to facilitator marketing which focuses on businesses sharing knowledge with the consumers and being open to consumers sharing knowledge with the business. The conclusion of this method will give power to the consumer, but will promote positive sales and satisfied customers.

This article holds valuable information to my industry considering marketing is all about the customer. The research explains that marketers should listen to consumers if they want to be successful. Marketers should never ignore the customers concerns and should allow their voice to matter. By doing this, the business can create a strong bond, a lasting relationship, and a brand promoter within the consumer.

 

Lipnická D., Ďaďo J. (2013). Marketing Audit and Factors Influencing Its Use in Practice of Companies (From an Expert Point of View). Journal of Competitiveness, 5 (4), 26-42.  doi: 10.7441/joc.2013.04.02

The study analyzes research conducted through the Delphi method. The research included two rounds of questionnaires obtained by the opinions of sixteen marketing experts. The research was carried out during the months of October and November 2012. The sixteen marketing experts were individually contacted by email and those experts were used to ensure research validity. The evaluation of the research was to determine the main factors and barriers influencing the results of a marketing audit. The results of the study show that marketing audits are a factor in company success.

The author believes that in order to conduct a comprehensive marketing audit, the method should have four major characteristics; comprehensive, independence from decision making managers, systematic, and the audit should be carried our periodically. Audits help companies with reviewing their marketing strategies, which can help improve business performance. A marketing audit can improve marketing management and problems. This is done by assessing and evaluating the company’s marketing ability, effectiveness, threats, and opportunities. The author explains that a marketing audit can be an important tool in discovering potential risks within the company’s activities.

Within the marketing industry, understanding how or why to market is a key component to creating a successful marketing plan. In creating a marketing strategy, marketers do comprehensive research and studying of consumers, and creating a marketing audit would be conducting a similar type of research on the current structure of the businesses and its marketing efficiency.

Staying Competitive

Businesses lose customers for various reasons. I once lost a long-time customer of over 8 years, finding out only after realizing I was locked out of their hosting account. These things happen, and they happen for several reasons, but mostly, customers discontinue business because they feel they aren’t satisfied with current results.

A competitor swooping in at a local event and making new promises becomes an easily tempting proposition for your customer who hasn’t heard from you in a while. Just think, if you aren’t providing for your customer someone else will. Just as in personal dating relationships, if you don’t show interest and pay attention, there is always someone else waiting to take your place.

Customers can also easily be attracted to another business who simply excites them because that business presents something new and different. Nearly every year, businesses and customers will want to change how they do business. They will have new resolutions, new plans, and new strategies for success, and they will want to partner with a company or individual just as excited to fulfill their goals and take their business to the next level. During this time, you can’t simply offer the same products or services that you have always offered.

Generally, throughout the year, or at least once a year, you should make certain that you introduce or update your customers on new services and offerings. At the end of the year, your customers will be speaking with family and friends during the holidays. Those family and friends will offer business references, discuss new trends, or may even offer to do the work themselves for a lower price. Customers will also be attending local business events and parties, and everyone at these events will have a million ways of convincing your customer that there is a better and cheaper solution for them.

Using Analytics

Analytics are not necessarily about numbers, but about processes. It helps to evaluate what hinders people from getting from point A to point B. This starts with segmentation. Numbers don’t show you the whole picture. Segmenting tells you the factors that lead to the actual data that you collect, which will then help you to adjust your strategy. Web analytics has many benefits. Some of these benefits include tracking website visits, hits, conversions, trends, ROI, goals, etc. With a web analytics solution, you can monitor:

  • Where your site traffic is coming from.
  • The IP addresses of your visitors.
  • The customer’s actions by sequence with a time stamp.

Analytics can also help measure:

  • How many users visit your site, how many return, and how often.
  • How users navigate through your website.
  • Where in the “conversion funnel” or purchasing process customers are getting stuck and leaving.
  • What content your visitors are looking for, and whether they’re finding it.
  • Exactly which form fields are driving people away rather than bringing them in.

With analytics, you can also monitor your visitors by seeing which browser type, operating system, and the originating country, state, and city from which they are visiting. This information is beneficial for creating an effective website and will help users gain the maximum experience while they are visiting your company site. With web analytics, being analytical is not enough, but it should also be combined with creativity and company knowledge. You may find that reading analytics is confusing, mostly because there is too much information to collect. As for where people originate from when they land on your website, there are many inlets. Trying to measure the effectiveness of each inlet is a daunting task, but worth the financial savings of having to market and research.

Motivation Theory: What Motivates Me

As an employee, I am motivated by items that are personal to my life’s situation. These items have to deal with things that affect my family, my future financials, and me. With considering these things, the company that I work for must have a positive influence on these personal motivational factors.

In the workplace, my motivation to get work done and complete task is based upon the leadership style of my supervisors. A supervisor must understand that my family and future success are key motivational factors for me and my future within the organization. Having an employer that threatens these motivations will result in me putting forth less effort to satisfy my work responsibilities. Moreover, I would begin looking for ways in which to leave the company and instead follow a company that positively influences and aligns with my personal motivational factors. Because family and future are important, it means that steady income, business reference, reliability, likeability, and financial advancement are also important.

The style of leadership that I look for in an employer matches that of a transformational, servant, and transactional leader. A servant leader would take my personal needs and motivations into consideration and will be able to develop upon them (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014). This type of leader is said to be sensitive to the personal motivations of their followers (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014). While a servant leader would be desired, I believe it would be unlikely to find such a leader considering my belief that workplace employers have other responsibilities outside of serving their employees. A transformational leader can be an ideal point of reference for my learning advancement. This type of leader could motivate me by being optimistic about my future position within the company and would help me reach my career goals (Kovjanic, Schuh, Jonas, Quaquebeke, & Dick, 2012). I would be able to use this type of leader as a role model and they could help me reach my mental capacity for achieving my goals. A transactional leader could provide me with short-term project and task exchanges as motivation to reach my short-term goals (Northouse, 2013, p. 195). The types of rewards and incentives that a transactional leader provides would be motivational throughout the journey of achieving my long-term objectives and satisfying my personal motives.

Overall, nothing is more paramount for me than trust in my employer’s leadership. Having a leader that I trust, would keep me not only motivated for reaching my personal goal, but would build motivation for me to achieve my current and future career goals. Following leaders and working for organizations that provide transactional, transformational, and servant leaders would be effective and beneficial to both myself and my employers if they desire my dedication, knowledge, and creativity within their organization.

 

Credits

Kovjanic, S., Schuh, S., Jonas, K., Quaquebeke, N., & Dick, R. (2012). How do transformational leaders foster positive employee outcomes? A self-determination-based analysis of employees’ needs as mediating links. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from wileyonlinelibrary.com

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Liden, R.C., Wayne, S.J., Liao, C., & Meuser, J.D. (2014). Servant leadership and serving culture: Influence on individual and unit performance. Academy of Management Journal, 57, 1434-1452. doi:10.5465/amj.2013.0034

Marketing Strategy

Marketing plans are crucial for starting and growing your business. A good marketing plan will help your business identify target customers and generate a plan to reach and retain those customers. The marketing plan can be a roadmap to gaining customers and improving organizational success if done properly. Additionally, this strategy can help to define your desired customer by targeting their precise needs based on their demographic profiles which are helpful in identifying targeted customers and creating focused advertisements aimed directly at those prospective customers.

Strategy Development. Carefully developing your marketing strategy and performance will help keep your market presence strong. Without planning, you could potentially waste time and money targeting the wrong audience. Effective marketing is often based on the importance of how your customers perceive your business, and has two important principles:

  • Your business policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.
  • Profitable salesvolume is more important than maximum sales volume.

There is no one method of creating a flawless marketing plan. The most effective tried and true method is taking the time to do the necessary research and stay updated on your market and target consumer groups. Monitoring population shifts, legal developments, and local economic situations can help to identify problems and discover opportunities for your business. Monitoring your competitors’ successes and failures is also helpful in devising your marketing strategies.

Marketing Message. The marketing message is the heart of a marketing plan. It details the business’ plan for the marketing materials, how the company plans to achieve its marketing goals and the tactics that will be used to meet them. In addition, the marketing message determines how your business intends to communicate its message to customers. When creating your marketing message, make certain that you focus on how you want your company to be perceived by its customers. Do you want customers to view your business as having good prices, customer support, or quality service? Once you determine your marketing message, you will know the next steps to take for your business.

Distribution. A critical point of your marketing plan is its plan of distribution. The distribution plan details the channels and processes through which customers can make purchases and how your business will reach new customers. The distribution strategy of the plan is considered one of the most important sections of the plan. Examples of an effective distribution strategy include tactics utilizing television, trade shows, and online advertising.

Strategy Milestones cover the business’ major events and achievements that need to occur to keep your strategy on track for success. Milestone events are strategically important for your business and provide an outline of dates and timeframes as to when the events should take place. Additionally, the milestones should be tracked and analyzed with real results. Not sticking to the plan and milestones will likely cause your strategy to fail, particularly, in reaching its expected completion date.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership was first written about within the writings of Robert K. Geenleaf (Northouse, 2013, p. 219). According to Avolio, Walumbwa, and Weber (2009), the characteristics of a servant leader including: the ability to listen to the needs of others, having empathy, awareness, persuasion, stewardship, and building community (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009). Like authentic leadership, servant leadership includes either implicit or explicit identification of the role of leader self-awareness (Avolio & Gardner, 2005). A servant leader is considered a leader who behaves ethically and will motivate followers without having ulterior motives to first satisfy their personal desires. This type of leader prioritizes the needs of their followers and is more concerned about the success and wellbeing of others. Servant leaders are humble leaders who desire to stimulate strong relationships with their followers by encouragement. This servant approach creates a positive work environment and value for the organization (Sendjaya, & Sarros, 2002; Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014; Northouse, 2013, p. 248). Leaders who provide emotional support to followers that desire to reach their full potential, can be seen as role models. Servant leaders are linked to followers’ outcomes including organizational attitudes, and performance. Servant leaders are respected and admired for their integrity, trust, and concern for others. Core requirements of a servant leader are empathy and behaving ethically (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014).

The desire of a servant leader is not only to take on the role of a servant, but to also take on the nature of a servant. A servant leader will seek to grow and transform their followers (Sendjaya, & Sarros, 2002). As a servant leader provides guidance and direction for their followers, they create what is known as a serving culture. A serving culture can be defined as a group that focuses on behaviors that produce benefits for others. A store manager that engages in being a servant leader is an example of a serving culture. As a servant leader, the manager promotes a culture that inspires to help members and learn the behavioral expectations. The store manager will be an example for the employees, and the employees will learn how to serve others as they follow and admire the manager’s leadership. An employee, follower, or member of the serving culture, must feel cared for, respected, trusted, and supported by the leader. If the leadership is effective, it will enhance the follower’s identification. As employees identify with their store managers leadership, they will identify with the store. If the identification with the store is high, the employees will value the organization and feel a sense of unity with their coworkers. This bond will inspire strong work ethics and better performance (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014).

Organization Change in Business

Drivers of organizational change. 

When trying to influence organizational change, you have to first understand why you are trying to influence it. Some good reasons are social influence or responding to an action (Marsden and Friedkin, 1993), sustaining a healthy environment (Newman, 2012), improving understanding, or simply trying to remain relevant to the industry or consumer.

As an entrepreneur, I always find myself having to create organizational change every few years. As technology advances, so must I and my business. In determining whether or not it is time for a change, we look at factors such as a drop in sales, website traffic, or lack of consumer interest. Even without those negative impacts, we must still create change so that we can remain above change. A majority of the changes we make consist around guesswork and market predictions. Sometimes it plays out well and we remain on top or within the industry’s new standards, or we make the wrong decision and are stuck trying to catch-up with the market.

What I have found to be my most effective reason for change is listening to the consumer. We must make it a priority to hear their desires, compliments and complaints. Focus on what they like, what they want more of, and what they want less of. Even if the industry is headed in one direct and the consumer in another, I have found that following the consumer’s change request is more beneficial to the organization. 

Fortunately, most of my business is done online and through websites. Technology has easily allowed my company the opportunity to test the reactions of the customers toward the changes. Because of a majority of the business being done online, there are a multitude of tools that we use to track their reactions as they navigate throughout the web pages. Positive reactions create positive sales, and negative reactions create negative sales.

Organizational change should always be driving in a forward direction, else it’s going backward or is standing still. Neither or which is good for long-term business success.

The keys to successful organizational change. 

Successful organizational change begins with making sure that change is a priority. Being able to implement and continually set goals will prepare for course correction. These goals should include strategic planning along with setting deadlines and leadership roles (Newman, 2012).

My most successful changes have come from simply asking the consumer what they thought of the changes and whether or not they were needed. Survey’s, rewards, and discounts are a great incentive for the consumer and an opportunity for me to hear directly from the persons who the changes are being made for. In the beginning of my career, I would spend weeks or months trying to guess what the consumer wanted and it wasn’t until I decided to ask them, that I was able to implement the most affective changes. 

In order to get to that point of being able to listen to the consumer, I had to research, study, test, analyze and be open to understanding their wants. What I concluded was that organizational change is never going to satisfy everyone. If I tested too much, I would only get more confused by the multitude of reactions and suggestions. Change is only a piece of the solution. What’s equally as important is persuasion of public convincing (Battliana and Casciaro, 2012).

If the leader successfully sustains and oversees the process, the result will be a functional and sustainable transformation of the organization.

Credits

Battliana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2012). Change agents, networks, and institutions: A contingency theory of organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(2), 381-398.

Marsden, P. V., & Friedkin, N. E. 1993. Network studies of social influence. Sociological Methods and Research, 22: 127–151.

Newman, J. (2012). An organizationally change management framework for sustainability.Greener Management International, 57, 65-75.

Branding Benefits

To say that you need a brand to be successful is inaccurate. The laundry mat or embroidery shop up the street do not have a brand and they are doing very well. Whether you need a brand is dependent on the goal of your business. For example, if you are a service based business, or simply have a business that is in demand, then having a strong brand is not needed considering customers will seek you out and already know what they want, how they want it, and at what speed and price they want it. Think, where does the local school purchase its school buses? Have you ever seen a school bus manufacturer advertise their brand on television or at local events?

You do, however, need to have a brand if you have significant competition and if you have a niche product which requires educating customers. The goal of a brand is to provide customers with reasons to purchase your product or service over the competition. Without a solid brand, it makes marketing and customer acquisition expensive and time consuming. A brand gives your business its unique character – its look and feel, voice, and identity. Without its image, Nike is just one more shoemaker, and Macy’s is simply another retailer. A good brand should have a foundation based on value and customer engagement. The brand should represent the mission of your business and hold relevancy to your customers.

Perceived Value. Your brand should reflect the goal of your business by highlighting your strengths and encouraging a positive perception. Perceived value influences the amount of money your customer believes your product or service is worth. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the customer’s perception of your business’s expertise, quality, and reputation.

If your business and your competitors sell the exact same item, built the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the business with the better brand value reputation will sell the item at a higher rate because of the perceived value by the customer. If your customer perceives the value of your brand as high, they will likely make assumptions that the products you promote are of high-quality as well.

Building your perceived value

Perceived value is based on how much money the consumer or business believes the product is worth. It is the marketer’s responsibility to generate a positive perceived value of the company’s products. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the consumers’ perception of the company’s or individual’s expertise, quality, and reputation.

If your business and your competitors are to sell the exact same item, built exactly the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the business with the better brand value reputation can sell the item at a higher price because of the perceived value by the consumer.

If your customer perceives the value of your product high, the customer will likely show more interest and loyalty. The customers’ perception of your company’s customer support, trust, loyalty, and product quality determine the products value.

Tracking KPI’s

After reviewing your analytics report, you can confidently make a conclusion about your website’s performance and identify actionable items that will help improve the key performance indicators (KPI) going forward. You can start by looking at the average time a user spends on your website. This report will be able to help measure how visitors interact with the website’s content. If you dig deeper, you should be able to see which pages create the longest stay and conversions, and which pages users are not finding to be relevant toward their search. Digging even further, you can begin to see which pages users last visited before abandoning the website. If you see a common trend of user activity, you will be able to make the corrections as needed. The other two metrics, unique visitors and ratio of local audience to national audience, will be important in helping you understand how engaging your website content is to customers. These two metrics may also be useful in helping with future marketing. By having a true understanding of what your visitors are looking for, it will help you develop effective campaigns to accumulate more leads, which will lead to an increased ROI.

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