Saturday, August 25, 2012

How to Refresh Your Marketing Strategy With Tins

Marketing and tins, now there's a combination you don't hear of every day. Usually, if we think of tins, we think of those things that store our food and sit tucked away in our cupboards. The last think most of us will think of is a novel marketing strategy. Nonetheless, a novel marketing strategy is just what you can achieve with tins if you know how to use them. You're looking confused right? Don't worry, that's perfectly natural. Read on, and that confusion may turn into wonder.

So, what on Earth do tins have in common with marketing?

Well, before we start, let's clear one thing up. We are not talking about your tin of peas in your cupboard. Giving that to a potential customer with a verbal note of 'buy our products' is just absurd, unless you're in the business of selling peas, of course. Instead, we're talking about how you can create personalised tins and use them as a great marketing tool. There are a few tin wholesalers out there who can customise both the shape and design of their tins for you to use. You can bulk order these tins and use them for marketing.

Why bother with tins?

Now, you may be thinking why you should use tins instead of your more conventional marketing methods, such as flyers or brochures. To highlight why you should bother with tins, think about what you want your marketing to do. Ultimately, you want it to leave an impression, make an impact, and hopefully make a few sales for your business.

Conventional marketing is a risky game. In this extremely competitive business world, everybody is ramming flyers and brochures down the throats of the public. The end result is your average man on the street ending up with a handful of marketing material that all looks similar. What do you think they do with all these flyers? Well, in case you are in the dark, most of them will chuck them in the bin without even reading them. That's just a hard truth that needs to be acknowledged.

So, why tins?

Because tins are a completely different form of marketing. They provide a nice, refreshing change to the man on the street when they are bombarded with flyers and brochures. If you are walking down the street and ten people hand you a flyer, and one hands you a neat little mint tin, what is going to grab your attention?

That's right, the tin will. Why? Because it stands out from all of that background marketing noise. It's novel, it's different, and it's actually useful to the average Joe. At the end of the day, who doesn't love a free tin of mints?

A tin is also much less likely to make it to the bin before it is read, unlike your flyer or brochure. Instead, every time it's taken out of a pocket for another mint (or whatever else), there your company logo and contact details will be, seeping in to the mind of your potential future customers. Plus, a tin of mints can last a little while, and the tin can be re-used, so the window of opportunity of your business being noticed is much greater. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to acknowledge that fact.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Integrated Business Management Systems

Within the scope of this article, an integrated management system is considered as a management system encompassing ISO 14001 plus at least one other management system - in a growing number of cases this means ISO9001 and/or ISO18001. Such systems can run concurrently with each other within an organization and are capable of being audited seamlessly to a recognized standard.

Management system integration is still concerned with elements of procedural compliance and considers the broad criteria required to effectively operate a business, such as;

• Management roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
• Business processes
• Deployment of resources, skills, knowledge and technology

These aspects are integrated to ensure that the business delivers its aims and objectives. The objectives of the business include elements of quality, the environment and occupational health and safety. These objectives will often match the requirements of customers and stakeholders;

• Safe and reliable products and services
• Return on investment
• Reliability of supply
• Profitable business
• Fitness for purpose
• Legal compliance
• Environmentally safe product
• Positive image
• Value for money
• Growth

In many ways, these requirements are not met merely through environmental responsibility but by a much wider range of employer care and responsibility. This is key to understanding why organizations integrate management systems in the first place.

Two principal reasons for management system integration are;

1. Reduce costs to the business and add value to processes

Costs referenced herein relate to the most efficient use of management time, including better use of auditors' time. The reduction in management time has significant internal cost benefits, for example, more efficient maintenance of the management systems. The burden on management time within the organization can be reduced if all management system elements can be addressed at the same time.

For example, fees incurred to carry out routine system surveillance can be minimized by conducting a review and audit of the environmental management system (ISO 14001) alongside the quality management systems review for ISO 9001.

2. Reduce business risk

Most forward thinking organizations look at three primary components when considering business risk;

• Quality - what are the risks of supplying products or services that do not meet customer requirements and do not keep up to date with changes - the basic concept of continuous improvement. ISO 9001:2008 reduces this risk.
• Environment - what are the risks of not complying with legislation? News and social media has heightened customer awareness of environmental issues and poor practices and a business risks adverse publicity if it is perceived as not taking its environmental responsibilities seriously. ISO 14001:2004 reduces these risks.
• Occupational Health and Safety - what are the risks of causing injury to the workforce through negligent work practices? These risks range from loss of productive time to civil or criminal proceedings against an employer, with associated financial penalties and reputational damage. OHSAS 18001:2007 manages these risks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How To Find Customers For Your Business And Market Effectively To Them

The question of how to find customers still looms large for every business that opens. No matter what type of business a person has, in order to be successful they need to reach their target market plus effectively promote the company to these consumers.

The first step in finding customers is actually knowing who the target market is. For example, a technology company is not recommended to pitch their latest and most advanced gadget to individuals who don't use computers. They need to advertise themselves in areas where there are individuals who use the latest technology. Many of these consumers are online already using technology. In such a case, the company may want to create a free application and offer it to the public.

In doing so, the company asks for the email addresses of the individuals who are interested in the application. With such details, they have an email list started and can send the news of their advanced gadget to these interested individuals.

Of course, these promotional techniques vary according to the product and this above scenario is just an example. The answer to how to find customers depends on what the company is offering. Other methods of finding the customers include using social media networks to browse profiles; utilizing business directories if a company deals in wholesale or business services; sponsoring events for relevant charities or causes; attending meetings with potentially interested consumers; joining forums that discuss topics relevant to the business; and the list goes on.

With any of these methods of finding customers, it is important to keep in mind that a company will only find consumers if they are in areas where the two find a common ground. For example, a single individual with no children is not as likely to be found looking at large family sized vehicles as would the parents of four children.

Once an entrepreneur finds the customers, they need to start marketing a small business in such a way that catches the attention of the consumers. The right words, advertisements, and free offers often work. Marketing in business isn't usually focused on one area so several types of promotion is generally advised.

The budget for the marketing has to be realistic. For this reason, a person must research the costs for marketing and may utilize as many free promotional tools as possible while still being effective.

Marketing a small business takes careful planning and good strategies. It is important to relay to the potential customers why a company is unique and why that business should be chosen over others.