Given enough time, one boys toy is an antique collectors prized possession. Strange as that may sound, there are many collectors who would love to see an original G.I. Joe or an original Star Wars action figure. Remember He-Man? Action figures tend to be based on shows, movies, or comics that always have a following, and therefore even years after companies stop producing the figures, there are individuals who still seek to collect them. There are many a man who think of all the G.I. Joes they blew up with fireworks, only to find out twenty years later how many hundreds or even thousands of dollars their collection would have been worth if it remained in mint condition!One interesting story dealing with action figures involves Takara, a Japanese toy company. They are best known to modern toy collectors as the company that built the original Transformers "action figures" . In 1974 Takara created a 4-inch humanoid action figure, which was called "MicroMan." In the late 70's and early 80's this toy was brought over to the United States by the Mego Toy company, which was desperate for a hit after they made the famous blunder of passing on Star Wars. They re-named the line "Micronauts", and created enough of a back story for Marvel Comics to get a good run of comics. Mego got several years of good sales, which was about the same size as Star Wars figures, before the whole company went down.The basic construction of the Micronauts action figure would soon be utilized by Hasbro for their new action figures: the now famous and very collectible 3-3/4" G.I. Joes (an action figure famous amongst young boys of the time for their propensity to have bad run-ins with fireworks). In recent years, the Micronauts concept has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence. There has been a decently successful series of comic books, a trilogy of paperback novels, and a toy company called Palisades managed to re-create many of the original Micronauts molds. Now the original company is coming out with larger action figures based on the originals. Like many classics, companies want to keep dipping back for more. Why mess with success? Still its the old action figures that gain the most attention from collectors, so if youre thinking about putting out the old toys from twenty years ago out in the garage sale, maybe think twice and take a second look before putting the boxes out. Who knows what you might find?
Affiliate marketing is all about the promotion of products of an online company. The affiliate sign-ups with the advertiser or marketing arm of the online company and the affiliate becomes an active searcher of potential clients. Such set-up of affiliate marketing can become easily successful if the affiliate is aware of the importance of advertising.Advertising is the means to make a great portion of the consuming public become aware of a certain product or service. Thus, advertising should be attractive and should be appealing to the consumers. If the advertising is not appealing enough, it will not be effective. If the advertising has pulled the attention of the consumers, then such advertising is powerful.To make ones advertising effective and powerful, an affiliate must use the smart methods of advertising. One such method of advertising is the re-use of one key concept of "affiliate marketing" . This key concept is the harnessing of human resources. That is, an affiliate may tap on the capacities of other people to bring in more visitors to the website. In essence, he is creating his own affiliate marketing program.Why is having ones own affiliate marketing program beneficial to the affiliate? The economics involved is simple yet unquestionable. For example, when a visitor will up a form in the affiliates website, the affiliate may be earning about $0.50 from the online company that he is promoting. In a day, he may refer around ten visitors and that will be equivalent to $5.00However, this affiliate may increase his income by utilizing other people. That is, the affiliate may pass on half of his earnings to other people if these people can refer more visitors to him. The affiliate will be earning less ($0.25) from each visitor that fills up a form. But if one of his people will be referring ten visitors, and he has five of such people, he will be easily earning around $12.50 in a day. Such amount is more than 200% of his initial earnings.To have such a significant increase of income in affiliate marketing, an affiliate can do three things. First, he must search for a profitable and feasible destination site. Second, he will link with companies that are generous with co-registration leads. Such companies must also allow three to four offers bundled together in one subscription form. And third, the affiliate must locate a progressive and rising online company and then recruit affiliates for such a company.With smart advertising, the affiliate will be reducing expenses for advertising that dont work. Then, he will be spending less for procedures that easily generate more leads.
Branding is easier said than done. Advertising gurus the world over are still mulling over what exactly defines branding. Why does one brand score over others and why does one fail to generate customer confidence despite everything going supposedly right for it?Is it the logo? Is it the color? Is it the design of your ads, your brochures, the packaging of your products/services, the look of your corporate office, etc? Or is it the promise that a particular product or service conveys the promise of quality, authenticity and credibility?Hmm.actually it is a combination of all this. But primarily, it is the 4th point which matters most the promise! Why is it that some products or companies are able to build up high brand recall and brand loyalty in the minds of their customers? Whereas for some others, no amount of big budget advertising and marketing expenditure can help register their product as a brand people may keep coming back to?Quality + Marketing = WinnerIt really depends on two vital things one, the quality of your product/service and two, the promotional and marketing mix you develop to reach out to your customers.First and foremost, if you have a good quality product with great performance, coupled with warranties and the right kind of value for money, you have the arms required to win the war. Thats step one.Now for the ammunition, that is the promotional mix that will position it as a brand that assures reliability. It is not enough to have a slick-looking logo, a trendy color combination, a visually appealing packaging and some hip ads splashed all over the TV channels, newspapers and the internet to win over the customer. You must first know, what exactly is required to build up brand equity for your product. As an internet guru explains, a brand is like the cherry on top of an ice-cream pie where it conveys the brands promise. In fact, how you brand your corporate identity goes a long way in establishing your product/service in customer conscience.While the ice-cream scoops stand for your products and services, the apples represent your corporate environment and crust in the pie is actually your systems and how effectively they work and respond to customers. How does a brand convey its promise?Thats actually quite an interesting way to look at branding. This promise of the brand is conveyed through quite a few factors:the products reputation (the companys own reputation also goes a long way here), its experience (particularly if the product has been in the market for some time a perfect material for viral marketing), the products name a catchy, easy to remember name helps its logo though innocuous looking, a logo is a stamp of authority its positioning in the market and accordingly its pricing news and reviews about it the web 2.0 world is all about sharing notes, information and experiences through social networking sites and what is written about has become vitally important advertising a good tag line or slogan can race into public memory marketing collateral depends upon your product/service and what media suits it best such as flyers, sales letters, direct mailers, and so on)Developing a promotional mix depends on the character or features of the product/service. For instance for some products/services may just need a direct marketing campaign and not TVCs or print ads at all, such as home-based businesses. Or some such as debt management services may bank on a well done corporate video production to create a brand presence in business fairs.Watch out for my next article in which I discuss the vital ingredients needed for preparing an effective media mix, particularly in the context of interactive advertising.
Copyright 2006 Jim EdwardsWithout a doubt, online video increasingly influences the way we expect to digest content on the Internet.As high-speed access becomes the norm in households that actually spend money online, video will pervade even more of every user's experience.Besides the enriched content online video provides for viewers, it has also sparked yet another online "gold rush" for online businesses.The dash for cash this time centers on who can figure out how to put effective advertising into the video mix.But, unearthing these online riches entails balancing the advertising content so businesses can make money while at the same time not alienating viewers who, up until now, have not been forced to endure institutional advertising in their online video clips.With some sites getting over a million visitors a day, the prize of figuring out how to get those visitors to buy something has proven too tempting for online advertisers to ignore.In fact, some even speculate that video advertising technology in the not too distant future will allow contextual ads to appear in video based on actual dialogue in the videos.Though this sounds exciting, my experience with creating online video tells me that, for most big companies, online advertising won't work with any measurable effectiveness.For example, one of the most popular videos online right now shows kids with a Pepsi or Coke bottle dropping Mentos candies into a two-liter container.The ensuing chemical reaction makes for an explosive show. On the surface, you might think one of the soda manufacturers or the candy maker would want their ads to appear within the video, but would they?I don't think Coke wants to encourage people to make bombs out of their product.However, an ad for a book about pranks or mischievous projects with common household items might sell like bottled water in the desert.Another obstacle faced by advertisers who want to ride along in other people's videos involves the fact that TV advertising doesn't work online for a very basic reason: the Internet is NOT TV!When someone watches TV, they are typically in a very physically passive mode.They sit back in their chair, feet up, drink in one hand, remote control in the other and a bag of chips in their ever-expanding lap.Conversely, when someone watches video online, they usually sit upright, leaning forward, mouse firmly in hand, and ready to click away on to the next thing at the first sign of boredom.In short, people physically and mentally won't stand for a traditional TV advertising approach when it comes to online video.So what will work in online video advertising?Simply this: advertisers must create their own videos to go with the ads they want to run.They can't just plop 15-30 seconds of advertising material into someone else's video and expect to turn a profit very often.Video advertisers must understand that the line between video ads and video content is a blurred one that can't be separated by "And now, a word from our sponsor."The videos themselves, not the ads, must build a desire within the viewer to find out more about a product or service.This especially holds true for smaller companies and individuals who, unlike Coke and Pepsi, don't have millions of dollars to throw at online video to "build a brand."The real winners in online video will understand that the marketing message and the delivery method are one in the same.Taking the "easy road" of inserting TV ads into videos won't generate a profit for the vast majority who try to make it work.
Anyone who has built a survey knows that it can be a hard, and arduous process. It takes an understanding of how research is done, to create a truly effective survey. The most important step in creating a good survey is knowing what it is that you want to understand, and building your questions around that.Now lets look at what a good survey should contain.1. First you need to look at what it is you are trying to discover or achieve with this survey. Or in other words, what's the point of the survey. Also, you should figure what action will be taken as a result of this survey.2. Now you need to picture in your head what kind of visuals will this survey produce. Graphs, tables, charts should all be formulated to help you achieve your end result, or action. So think about what your final data will look like and how it can be used to achieve your desired outcome. 3. With an idea of where your going, it's now important to figure out how your going to get there. So ask yourself "how easy is it going to be to get the appropriate information from my respondents?" If it's too hard, then you need to revise your questions or technique. You can do this by changing the question or the method.4. It's time now to look at the questions your going to ask. Are the questions in the proper order? Does one question have an effect on the following question? Do the questions provide answers that are relevant to the survey as a whole. 5. Write down multiple versions on the same question. These questions make up the heart of the survey, make sure that you are using the right ones.6. It's important to test your questions before coming up with your final survey. Pretest the survey on 20 or more people. This should give you an understanding of the abilities of the survey. Also, you should time your survey. A good survey takes only 10-15 minutes to administer.7. After pretesting the survey, look at the respondents answers. When reviewing the responses ask yourself: Did the answers make sense? Were the respondents unsure about anything? Did the respondents have any questions about the survey? Were the questions understood? Was there anything surprising in the responses? 8. With this information in hand you're now ready to make the official survey. Once the survey has been re-tooled, pretest it again to make sure that the efficiency of the questionnaire is maximized.However, creating a survey is only half of the story. Once youve put the right questions together and in the right order, you need to decide on how youre going to administer the survey.Each method of distribution comes with its own type of response. You need to look at all the different ways of reaching your respondents. Surveys by phone, email, mail, online, or in person can yield different types of responses. Its worth your time to sit down and consider which of these methods would most likely suite the needs of your research. Once youve settled on the method of delivery, and youve administered all of your surveys, its time to collect and sort through the mass of data youve received. How this is done, and with what technique you will accomplish this, is up to you. There are lots of options out there, but its important to look into the ones that will help you accomplish your overall goal.Its crucial with any survey to always keep in mind the big picture. Remember during every stage of development, distribution, and collection to make sure that your research needs are being met.