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Sell what sells

Give them what they want

As a business, you need to focus your marketing campaigns on what generates sales. The best campaigns are those that influence product purchases. If consumers dislike the campaign, but it sells products better than favored campaigns, then the advertisement would be considered a success.

The goal of any campaign is to generate sales. The ideal campaign should build trust, influence sales, and generate brand awareness. Your business should target and adapt your marketing strategies to focus on what consumers want and will purchase. The consumer is the ultimate power broker within any organization.

Your business should structure its marketing efforts on identifying and meeting the consumers’ individual needs. Those needs must be met within all aspects of the business, including price, customer support, and overall value.

Qualitative research methods

Qualitative research methods work to understand and discover experiences, perspectives, and insight of participants (Hiatt, 1986). An advantage of a qualitative approach is that study participants are not constrained to a predetermined set of responses (Harwell, 2011). A downfall of the study in regards to collecting data is that it is expensive considering the amount of time needed to collect the data. Qualitative research consists of using lived experiences and interpreting the phenomena (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005).

Quantitative research methods focus on increasing objectivity and typically interested in future prediction (Harwell, 2011). Features of quantitative research include instruments used for collecting data, which often include test, reliance, probability theory, and surveys for analyzing statistical hypothesis that relate to research questions. Quantitative methods are considered deductive in nature considering collected data create general inferences about the characteristics of a population (Harwell, 2011). A quantitative method often makes assumptions that there is only a single truth that exist, which does not include human perception (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). A quantitative approach is beneficial for gathering information. The problem with this approach is that it does not cover the reason for why certain data concluded in a certain manner.

Mixed methods combine qualitative and quantitative methods by linking their differences while addresses a research question (Harwell, 2011). The key principle of mixed methods is that various forms of data should be collected by using multiple strategies and methods. The methods should assist with reflecting complementary strengths and weaknesses that do not overlap. The mixed methods study should create insight that is not possible with only a qualitative or quantitative approach. Mixed methods produce opportunities for approaches with weaknesses and presents opportunities by correcting method biases (Harwell, 2011). Mixed methods approach uses balance for efficiently collecting data. The concern with using a mixed methods approach is that the method struggles to complement, and not duplicate each approach (Harwell, 2011).

Research study methodologies are characterized as either qualitative, quantitative, or a combination of both, which is referred to as mixed methods. Of the methods, neither can be considered the best method without factoring the goals and objectives of the research. Research that desires to focus on interviewing lived experiences of participants should use a qualitative approach (Harwell, 2011). In contrast, a mixed methods approach should be used for research that needs a combination of qualitative and quantitate approaches to justify the goals and objectives.

 

Additional Resources

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Introduction. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 1–29). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi:10.1108/09504120610655394

Hiatt, J. F. (1986). Spirituality, medicine, and healing. Southern Medical Journal, 79, 736–743. doi:10.1097/00007611-198606000-00022

Harwell, M. R. (2011). Research design in qualitative/quantitative/mixed methods. The Sage handbook for research in education. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 147. doi:10.4135/9781483351377.n11

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. doi:10.1177/144078338702300329

Work Productivity

Performance is dependent upon satisfaction toward the party most benefitted. Additionally, the ethics of the organization and its leadership have a tremendous affect on the morale of the employee. If morale is down, then work productivity may also slack. According to a research by Chekwa, Ouhirra, Thomas, and Chukwuanu (2014), 75% of employees have no desire to work for a company with poor organizational ethics. Additionally, research has discovered that leaders are responsible for creating healthy environments by supporting  employees (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009). Leadership is crucial when developing productive employees and influencing employee morale and satisfaction. To implement and maintain morale, leaders should place importance on stress prevention programs and develop effective communication methods with employees to discover and address issues regarding dissatisfaction and ethical dilemmas (Chekwa et al., 2014). Additionally, research has discovered that leaders are responsible for creating healthy environments by supporting  employees (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009).

 

Additional Readings

Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421–449. doi:10.1177/0149206310393520

Chekwa, C., Ouhirra, L., Thomas, E., & Chukwuanu, M. (2014). An examination of the effects of leadership on business ethics: Empirical study. International Journal Of Business & Public Administration, 11(1), 48-65.

Mentzer, J. T., Myers, M. B., & Stank, T. P. (Eds.). (2007). Handbook of global supply chain management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Qualitative or Quantitative

Determining whether to use a qualitative or quantitative method is really dependent upon how you desire to collect your data and what is important to you. A qualitative examination technique assesses why people behave a certain way. Furthermore, the strategy aides in discovering boundaries that influence thinking by breaking down points of interest and gathering information from in-depth sources (Šalkovska & Ogsta, 2014). A qualitative examination produces findings that are regularly not conclusive and are exploratory in nature. The advantage of this kind of study is that it gives alternative research to further decision making. A quantitative methodology utilizes information in view of raw information and statistics. The research technique frequently uses experiments and segments to gather information (Šalkovska & Ogsta, 2014).  A quantitative methodology is similar to qualitative concerning the examining of individual practices. However, a quantitative methodology uses structured information to shape a hypothesis and conclusion (Šalkovska & Ogsta, 2014). Unlike quantitative, a qualitative examination is non-measurable. Furthermore, a quantitative exploration produces detailed information that contribute to in-depth comprehension, while a quantitative examination produces information based on populace and generalized information.

Additional Readings

Šalkovska, J., & Ogsta, E. (2014). Quantitative and qualitative measurement methods of companies’ marketing efficiency. Management Of Organizations: Systematic Research, (70), 91-105. doi:10.7220/MOSR.1392-1142.2014.70.7

Locations and facilities

Your Location Matters

Most online only businesses operate in an online space so a physical location may not be needed. However, your location still affects your business’s marketing efforts even as an online company.

For example, if your company is located within the state of Texas, but seeking to do business in New York or another, you need to make certain that your website addresses the concerns of each target customers’ location

Things to consider:

  • Is your location/website convenient (address / online address)
  • Is it consistent with your brand image?
  • Is it what customers want and expect?

Creating financials for your business

Sales plan

The sales plan is designed to reach new customers. The plan is the process used to close the deals that the marketing plan opens. The sales plan explains how salespersons are rewarded or commissioned, how orders are processed and tracked, and how the business keeps in contact with the customer throughout the sales process.

Revenue forecast

Lists major products, services, and other revenue streams. Organizes them into sensible higher-level groups as appropriate. Revenue forecast can also be used as a comparison against actual results.

Budget

This section includes estimated expenses for the creation, development, and distribution of materials. The budget plan includes the estimated purchase cost of raw materials, printing and postage. Additionally, it analyzes the budget of taking part in trade shows, travel costs, booth fees, setup costs, and any other particular expenses.

Cash Flow Assumptions

Managing cash flow is one of the most important aspects of business. In the planning phase, the business can radically change its cash outlook by adjusting a few basic assumptions about when it pays and gets paid. This section, which is a required part of a detailed forecast, walks through those assumptions.

Hiring the right graphic artist

Hiring the right designer

While it’s easy to find a designer, hiring a graphic artist who understands marketing and web design will save you time, headaches, and printing dollars.

A graphic artist has a responsibility to efficiently combine art and technology by using strategic placement of text and images. This combination should communicate a message that generates a sale.

When seeking a graphic artist, you need to view their portfolio of work and be sure that they show versatility. Once you find a designer that matches your style, you need to assess their professionalism and reliability. This includes references, experience, knowledge, education, and price.

Having the right professional means that you will end up with a more creative, appealing, and polished project the first time around.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is about optimizing your website to increase traffic by improving internal and external strategies that will ultimately increase site traffic to your website. Businesses that practice SEO can vary, and there are many unique elements to consider when optimizing a website. The goal of SEO is to discover the search terms and phrases needed to build and generate website traffic. Don’t worry, if you’re confused about this, you are not alone.

Most web traffic is guided by three major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!). If your site isn’t found by search engines or your content isn’t optimized enough to be picked-up by their databases, you lose a great opportunity of marketing your website to potential clients or customers. Whether your site provides services, content, information, or products search engines are a primary navigation method for almost all internet users. Experience and statistics have proven that search engine traffic can make (or break) a website’s or business’ success. SEO targeted website visitors provide revenue, publicity, and exposure like no other. Investing in SEO, whether through finances or time, can create an exceptional rate of return.

Working With SEO. To create a successful website with proper SEO, you must first be sure that the website is well built as it plays a significant role in how search engines analyze your domain rank and relevancy. In creating your website, you must first be sure that the website is appealing to the customer and that the site is easily navigable. The way to create the proper architecture for a website is to build a site that is flat and has minimum clicks necessary for the user to get to the destination page.

In addition to creating the proper navigational structure of the website, you must also check for broken internal and external links. There are many useful tools for finding broken links which will crawl through your website and recognize any broken links that forward to 404 or corrupted pages. Another technique for improving the architecture of your website is to check the server header response code and duplicate content. If either of these is found, they should be corrected. While some of the concerns may need to be fixed by the sites developer, others can be fixed by simply changing some wording or taking the proper steps with search engines to correct the information.

Finally, make sure that your website has the proper architecture and has one main URL by setting up a canonical 301 redirect if needed to change www… to non-www. To search engines, having your site accessible by both looks like two different websites and your domain authority may be negatively affected. In addition, be sure to remove any developmental site that was used to originally create the website. By leaving the developmental website on its server, this creates duplicate content that can get crawled by search engines and create a negative impact on your main website. Once the live site is up and running, the developmental site should be taken down and removed from search engines if it exists.

An SEO campaign is based on the cornerstone of on-page optimization. However, when it comes to which on-page SEO techniques really work, there are 8 opinions for every 5 experts. When your business is at stake, you can’t just optimize your website and hope that it works. You need to be completely confident that everything you do will help your rankings. Moreover, you need to be sure that you’ve done everything on the SEO checklist and your website is optimized across the board.

Don’t try to do everything

One of the biggest business mistakes I have ever made was trying to do everything myself. I wore the hats of the marketing department, sales, customer service, collections, technical support, developer, graphic artist, etc.

I understand that you may want to save money or may simply not have the financial support to hire someone else to complete additional task. However, do what you need until you can get help and then get the help. If you have to cut your pay temporarily to hire a project manager while you handle sales, you will be grateful in the end. Else, you’ll drain yourself empty and never have the time to do what you love.

Do yourself a favor and focus on what made you love the idea of being a business owner in the first place.

Security Breach and Ethics

As a healthcare patient, I feel that the privacy of my personal information is a major concern. Organizations should focus on making ethical decisions when handling patient information in regards to implementing effective security and privacy measures (Haag & Cummings, 2008). Many organizations including healthcare spend thousands or millions of dollars on securing patient privacy and protecting data against breaches and hackers (Farahmand, Navathe, Sharp, & Enslow, 2005). It is the responsibility of leaders and management to understand and influence ethical practices which relate to privacy and security threats (Haag & Cummings, 2008). Security breaches have the ability to disable the functions of a business and pilfer confidential consumer information such as healthcare information, social security numbers, and passwords (Tran & Atkinson, 2002). In addition to potential loss in revenue, breaches also create consumer distrust, and negatively affect brand reputation (Farahmand et al., 2005).  The risks associated with breaches such as loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability, should cause organizations to be aware and active with threats that generate concerns (Halliday, Badenhorst, & Solms, 1996).

 

Suggested Readings

Farahmand, F., Navathe, S. B., Sharp, G. P., & Enslow, P. H. (2005). A management perspective on risk of security threats to information systems. Information Technology and Management, 6(2–3). doi:10.1007/s10799-005-5880-5

Haag, S., & Cummings, M. (2008). Management information systems for the information age (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Halliday, S., Badenhorst, K., & Solms, R. (1996). A business approach to effective information technology risk analysis and management. Information Management & Computer Security, 4(1). doi:10.1108/09685229610114178

Tran, E., & Atkinson, M. (2002). Security of personal data across national borders. Information Management & Computer Security, 10(5). doi:10.1108/09685220210446588

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