A simple comparison to differentiate marketing, advertising and branding

Working with business students or with entrepreneurs one does hear marketing strategies which are explained as having an online brand, having social media, or advertising a lot.

What they do not understand is all these are part of the plan; they do not try to understand the deep and complex concept that is behind any truly effective marketing strategy.

All the above terms are different in a context of marketing. These concepts if applied personally would be something different.

marketingMarketing

The word ‘marketing’ is how you see yourself. Marketing is all about your representation you are trying to present to others. It is about the way you dress, the patterns you choose, the colors you use that is how you groom yourself. Everyone has a different strategy for it. It also applies to those T-shirt worn by someone throughout his college life which is to get easily recognizable.

Having no strategy for your personal appearance is also one of the strategies and many people do it.

One chooses an image one wishes to project himself. It can be of a sports player, a business professional, a technical nerd or anything else. By dressing up so you are communicating to others through your dress/appearance the character you like, the value you offer to others and the attributes you like the most.

First impressions are determined by appearance though one cannot admit that appearances are all that important. Impression on others can be molded and evolved later but they require the efforts and takes time on your part. It is more about how you want your company outlook to be and how effectively the consumers will accept your message and image.

Advertising

How you act in the public is advertising. Advertising describes your actions to the public. What you say is important. How you carry yourself and other attributes describe your actions. It is a part of your marketing strategy and you should have consistency between your actions and your image you want to put up with or someone to know you.

Say you are a fan of a xyz club but are wearing some other clubs T-shirt and cheering the team. Your dress up (T-shirt) and your actions (cheering up) are completely mismatched. Maybe you will make your friends angry and they may boycott you in the future.

If your business advertising strategy is not in line with your marketing methods your consumers will get confused and may turn away from you. You should not execute your advertising at a wrong place, with the wrong message, and to a wrong audience.

Branding

How others see you is branding. Labelling or branding is how business actually does. Marketing strategy should consider your personal brand and should be accessed. If your business brand is strong you have more time at your hand building it. In the case of negative publicity or reputation problems, you need to focus more on changing people’s perception or rebuilt it.

From a business point of view understanding how consumers recognize your business is important and helps you decide how you will be executing your advertising and marketing strategy.

Applying the above-discussed concept oneself creates a simple and an effective way how each of the concepts can be applied to your business.

How to be a successful businessman and overcome challenges?

Whenever you meet or see a successful businessman may start thinking what has lead to his success. You try to inquire from your sources as an answer to your question is important for you.  Well, the reason behind most of the successful people is consistent hard work, determination and hiring good people. A businessman has to face many challenges, must overcome obstacles in the path and move ahead.

successful businessmanHere are a few tips that will help to become a successful businessman.

  1. Ideas on how to raise capital

Whether you are a new businessman or an experienced one, you will need new ideas to raise your business capital. Sufficient capital is needed to run any business. At times raising capital may be a problem and you may run out of ideas how to raise it and may go mad over it. Better write down few alternatives where there is the possibility of raising capital. It can be raising it from crowd funding, bank loans, borrowing from friends or market, looking for a new investor, or government schemes for industries.

  1. Managing cash flow efficiently

90 or 45 days credit time; delay in invoicing, partial payments and many things like this are common in every business. But this hampers your cash flow which eventually affects the functioning of your business. Many  times electricity bills, loan repayment, taxes, raw material purchase, employees salary and things like that remain due because funds are not flowing in according to your expectation. One has to do proper planning and budgeting depending on inflow and outflow of your funds, utilizing funds optimally.

  1. Use failure as your strength

Failures are stepping stones to success goes the proverb and rightly. So no one in this world is perfect when it comes to business or entrepreneurship. But your approach to it should be perfect. Fear of danger is thousand times more dangerous than the danger itself. It is because of your fear of failing you will lack success. Observe and analysis why you failed and see to it that you do not repeat the same mistake again. Learn and understand what went wrong. The sooner you realize the better it will be.

  1. See that your brand image is right

Your brand image recognition is one of the decisive elements of the functioning of your businesses or establishment. For image building, you should choose the right channel and right geographical area depending on the nature of your business. You have to create your brand awareness among your target audience. Get hold of ace web developer and digital marketer for your promotional activities. You will have to increase your customers recall memory wherever they see something related to your product or services. Have a good feedback system in place.

  1. Undertake one project at a time

To be a successful businessman you have to live in present and plan for the future. There may be thousands of new ideas running in your mind regarding establishing your brand everywhere and generating revenue. For being successful you have to count every step you take. Start with one project and give your 100 percent to it. Be firm in your decision even if another project is too tempting to start. If you hold many projects at the same time you will be stressed out and will not able to concentrate on all. Being successful in each project one by one will increase your motivational level.

How to Launch Your Company’s IPO Successfully?

After successfully running a company for a few years many entrepreneurs think of expanding their businesses but are short on funds. This is where the need for IPO arises. Many entrepreneurs wish to add more products to the existing product line, others wish to expand their business by opening a branch at a different location(s) and many others have yet other reasons.
At this juncture to acquire more capital inflow in the company the entrepreneur is ready to share with the public and go in for the initial public offering (IPO).

IPOFor executing a successful IPO the business owner and management requires a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. One should consider the reason for going public and the timing of the launch of IPO, as both have a significant impact on how things will turn out at the end.
It is exceptionally important to plan a solid strategy well in advanced and as far as possible all potential problems to be identified and if possible rectified.

Discussed here are a few matters which should be considered in advanced before the launch of the IPO.

A strong and experienced CFO

Successful ventures are heavily dependent on those persons who are guiding it, mostly the owner and his team members. Though it is more of a financial matter, hence chief financial officer has a major role to play. He/She will be responsible for the creation and implementation of IPO strategy.

Though other members will also be involved throughout the process who can be the company’s internal executives, external professionals are also required who are familiar with ins and outs of an IPO.

Before entering into water it is better to test first. One should analyze the company’s past performance and financial standing. Identifying existing and potential collaborators or partners and how much the prospective investors are interested in the company’s betterment.

Assess stakeholder’s readiness and interests

One should take into account the factors and circumstances for which the company is going for IPO, an honest assessment should be done. Since the reality of the situation should not be bye-passed with the greed and impatience only to make money. Stakeholder’s interest should be in line with the company’s mission and vision.

Assessing company standing and adjusting to the future needs

Conducting an honest assessment of the company’s standing will help you fix any irregularities or shortcomings if they exist in advanced. Once a company goes public it is bound by many rules and regulations that govern a company which does not apply to a privately held company and may create problems at the later stage. Financial and operational matters may need some change and that will consume some time. It is better to make these necessary adjustments to see how the company will perform once it goes public.

Allocating appropriate manpower

Making the transition from a private domain to a public domain will affect every aspect of the company. Hence one should have the appropriate amount of manpower and resources so that the staff can easily handle the tasks assigned to them. Though it does increase the costs allowing any sort of lapse or falling off the track may prove disastrous to deal with the upcoming situation. Care should be taken to manage and allocate appropriate resources at present then to feel disappointed when things go out of control.

How can you pitch your startup for better funding?

You have got an idea, one which is great, workable and sustainable and is eagerly waiting for someone to fund it, as there are many investors out there who wish to invest in projects that are feasible, viable, and innovative. It is you who will have to market your startup.

startup fundingFor a good impact of your idea, you have to go through a thoughtful planning process and prepare well to explain your idea in the best possible way. You can take some time now to make yourself ready for the event (presentation).

Your introduction and few moments of your initial time can win or lose the attention of probable venture capitalist or angel investor for him to decide to bet money on you or not.

An angel investor eats, breathes and dreams of ideas which he/she can fund and profit out of it. Here are few tips on how you can pull the angel investor to fund your project.

  1. Have your details ready

Before you contact investor, have 15 to 20 slides that cover all your business aspects. Few slides can be the description of your product/services. How will you market your product/services? What is the demographic who will use your product or services? Your business model and how will you scale up?

Marketing strategies that you will adopt? Who are your competitors in the field? Who will all be your team members and their roles? How much money and time you will need to spend to achieve breakeven point? How will you spend money and how much will you profit from your sales?

By discussion you can get feedback from your friends and relatives once they go through your idea. Present them your ideas and get feedback on the positive and negative part of your idea and its presentation.

Do not argue but listen to your friends carefully the questions they put up. You can also ask them what they did not understand in your presentation. What points or topic was not clear to them.

Before you think of talking to any investor do your homework thoroughly. Be ready with the trial run and rehearsal before the launch.

  1. Build a vibrant team

Fundraising is an important part for any startup. One of the smartest moves is to have a team of advisors who will introduce you to great investors. The team should be such that it should be passionate and committed to your idea too.

Instead of cash, you can commit each member with small equity in your enterprises. Maybe some may even be ready to invest. Many startup companies often skip the step of forming a right team of advisors.

You may know few people. Each member of your team also knows few people. If you pool everything you will know lots of people. There are many investors who have quite a lot of cash lying unproductive, idle or inactive with them and may be looking for less risky investments.

  1. Practice your lines

Practice makes man perfect so goes the saying and it fits perfectly when it is time to display your presentation. While displaying your idea to potential investor rehearse your lines thousand times. Go through your speech, practice in front of the mirror. Though it may sound silly and awkward, when you know your lines perfectly it builds up your confidence which is important.

Once you are prepared and confident, calmness follow. Being calm you will able to answer all the hard questions put up by the investor. Satisfied answers really matter.

  1. Know whom you are meeting

Find out details about the investor you planned to meet. If you know what interests and what bores your investor, you will not be in unchartered waters. Both can forge a better friendship and understanding.

You should know if the investor has been an entrepreneur, if yes he will understand you better. Has your investor failed in any startup, if yes he will have apprehension about the project? Was he in the past an associate investor or a principal investor? Though these are small things they will help you to decide which line of action you should take.

Be flexible, we all make mistakes and do have a share of bad and good days. Once you fail, remember to get up and start walking again. Life goes on and on and on.

How to Interact with Customers on Social Media Channels?

In today’s setup businesses cannot ignore social media intersection with their clients especially to improve brand awareness. Word-of-mouth and newspaper advertisement is the things of the past. Customers prefer to interact with brands on social media.

social mediaEven the most conservative and traditional businesses houses wish to make their own social media presence on Facebook, Twitter etc. or have their own website.

Even publishers operating from narrow bye-lanes in the old part of the city who are operating from one of the dark and dingy room of an old building, with hardly any ventilation, who have just electric connection now have a computer and a fully operational website.

Interacting with sellers, purchasers, vendors, and customers on social media are the decisive and crucial aspect of the marketing plan. How businesses can interact with customers through social media channels is discussed below.

  1. Importance of Social Media

In today’s age and time conversations happen on social media. Social media has become a type of customer service center for businesses. For whatever type of business one is conducting small, medium or large.

It provides certain benefits like lead generation, increased awareness, increased exposure, and reduced marketing costs, online search ranking and developing customer’s loyalty. The businessman must know which platform to choose from where he gets more audience and his business grows.

Large numbers of people are using social media for various different purposes and hence businesses cannot ignore it. They have to actively engage with the customers or they lose the opportunity to gain more users.

  1. Social media presence

Having cardinal relations with customers is an essential factor for the growth of any business. If a better relation exists between the business and customer, the business is in the better position to effectively grow. The strategy is simple but it should be used effectively to engage followers on social media.

Businesses should open up multiple communication channels and should be responsive and have their presence felt on social media. By staying integrated that is social and call center teams communicate seamlessly about latest updates and details on customers preferences.

They should have hands-on experience on engagement and be ready to welcome both positive and negative comments with an open mind.

If possible to manage the brand, the company can have a dedicated person to manage customers on social media. One can engage customers in various ways on social media.

Like you can take a problem statement and start the conversation by posting it on social media. The existing and/or prospective customer can share their opinion. Later on, you can promote your product or services by offering a solution.

  1. Choose platform which suits your business

There is no single platform or rule for social media interaction. It is by trial and error method that one figures out which suits the business the best. One has to evolve by learning and adapt your marketing strategies according to the platform one is using.

The best way is to treat the customer is such a way he wants himself to be treated. Do take care of the medium you are using. Each has a different approach like Facebook for more informal approach is better and LinkedIn should be used for more professional and formal approach. Instagram is a good platform if you wish to share a story. So on and so forth.

  1. Engage your customers but do not infringe their privacy

There are certain things to keep in mind while engaging your customers. You can have a relevant conversation with the customer but do not encroach into their mind space.

One should try to post blogs/articles relevant to the industry. While writing an article or blog sees to it that you do not focus only on your company’s product or services. You can post gathered information and interesting articles which are in trend and are relevant to your customers.

  1. Feedback and analysis

It is important to know your target audience and understand their needs. With so many multimedia apps available today you can acknowledge, wish and thank your customers.

Never ever ignore feedback you receive. Take it in your stride be it positive or negative and remember to analysis feedbacks. As they threw up an important and direct message about your businesses and ways to improve it.