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Monday, October 31, 2011

7 Famous Brands That Use QR Codes For Marketing and Brand Awareness

Recently   I am coming  across very often with many tweets, comments, blog and forum posts about how  QR codes suck and how ineffective they are in terms of marketing and brand awareness. These tweets especially come from so called “social media guys” and “marketing gurus” which makes me to chuckle a bit and shake my head! So you’ve probably heard of them or have seen them as well: that  little squares made up of various black and white boxes. The first QR code was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994. Back then nobody could imagine that as soon as in around 15 years this invention will cause a real marketing boom all over the world. The use cases of QR Codes are a lot and every day new and new companies are involving them in their marketing  strategies. Below are presented 7 internationally  famous brands which also use QR Codes as their smart business marketing tools:

1) International betting exchange company, Betfair, used the opportunity to strategically place their QR Code on players'… uniforms at the Test London 2012 beach volleyball tournament! That part of the uniform commands attention and the audience could capture the codes on their smartphones and be directed to the Betfair website.

2) Back in 2010, Calvin Klein replaced three of its billboards — two in downtown New York and one on Sunset Boulevard in LA — not with another racy montage of scantily clad models, but with a bright red QR code under the words “Get It Uncensored.” If you scanned the Calvin Klein QR Code it would take you to a Calvin Klein “racy” movie.

3) 2011 Ford Explorer magazine used QR Code with Kevin Hart.

4) Tissot Models Wearing QR Code Shirts at MotoGP Race

5) American Heart Association QR Code Kroger sign! After you scan the QR Code you’re sent to the American Heart Association local information mobile site.

6) Starbucks thinks seriously to increase coffee sales via QR code campaign. The company has placed the QR codes in its locations all over the U.S. Users can also find the mobile bar codes in magazines such as People, in newspapers and on outdoor ads in major U.S. cities. When consumers scan the QR codes, they are redirected to a mobile landing page where they can watch a video on Starbucks’ Caffe Verona blend.

7) Luxury Travelers Scan Porsche’s QR Codes Printed On Airplane Tickets
Porsche has teamed up with various airlines to print QR codes on the back of boarding passes. Passengers who scan the 2-D barcodes via their mobile devices will be directed to a customized page promoting the latest Porsche models featuring videos and other information about the luxury cars.

When creating a QR code strategy and generating your own QR Code, be sure to consider each customer touch point. Identify where your target market exists and the best way to communicate with them. Placement is key, so understand your audience’s mindset when they scan your code and how you can tailor your message to meet them where they already are.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top 5 Most Traded Commodities in The World

When economists say commodities, they mean goods for which there is demand, butcommodity-trading which are supplied without qualitative differentiation across the market. Commodities are usually produced by a large number of companies around the world. Lumber, oil, sugar and electricity could all be considered commodities, while Levi's jeans would not be, as consumers consider them to be distinct from jeans sold by other firms.
There are a great number of both agricultural and industrial commodities now being traded in the commodities market. And here is the list of top 5 most traded commodities in the world:
1. Crude Oil
Crude oil or also known as petroleum is the term for ‘’unprocessed’’ oil, the stuff that comes out of the ground, which  is in fact the most traded commodity in the world.  Territories in the Middle East export 58% of all crude petroleum. Saudi Arabia exports over twice the US dollar value of any other territory, measured in net terms. The United Arab Emirates has the highest per person export earnings from crude petroleum. Other important exporters of crude oil are Norway, Venezuela, Nigeria and Mexico.
2. Coffee
kopi1Amazingly   coffee is the second most  traded commodity in the world. It is estimated that 1.6 billion cups of coffee are drunk worldwide everyday! It is produced in Latin America, South East Asia and Africa and the main consumers are United States and Europe. Today Brazil is responsible for about a third of all coffee production, making it by far the heavyweight champion of the coffee-producing world. Indonesia and its archipelago is most notable as the world’s largest producer of robusta beans, which is my favorite one. Smile
3. Natural Gas
Natural gas is traded a lot because it is the only thing used everywhere from cooking to heating water in winters. It has a volatile marketing style because of its price fluctuation. Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas. It is interesting to note that Canada is the second major exporter followed by Norway. The world’s largest proven natural gas reserves are in Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
4. Gold
The fourth most traded commodity in the world is gold. It has always been valuable, the reason is may be the beautiful color or maybe it is rare,  for many women may be it’s the important part of them  or anything else. Additionally, to inform you South Africa no longer holds the title of the world’s largest gold producer. Currently China is the world’s top gold producing country. Next goes Australia.
5. Brent Oil
Brent oil is the second most traded oil in the market after crude oil, and 5th most traded69198Brent oil prices increase commodity in the list. This oil is basically taken from the North Sea and Norway and areas like Europe and Africa use Brent oil more as compared to crude oil. It is used to price two thirds of the world's internationally traded crude oil supplies. According to the CIA World Factbook estimate for 2010 the world consumes about 87 million barrels of oil each day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fads or Trends?

untitledDo you know what do blogs,  tattoos, Rubik's cube, and H1N1 Swine Flu have in common? Well, they all are fads! That handled pet game called Tamagotchi was also a fad, when the player was given the task of raising a pet to good health throughout its life and attend to its needs, such as feeding it, cleaning up its excrement, punishing Tamagotchi or I don’t know. Did you played that game? Smile I remember all my friends once where so damn involved in that. Or, do you remember about Swine flu or so called H1N1? Back in 2009 seemed everyone was speaking about it, and then suddenly all rumors about it were forgotten and life continued to go on.

A fad is something that seems to appear suddenly. It quickly becomes enormously popular, and then disappears just as suddenly as it came. Mostly word of mouth is used to bring people in to try it or to create a buzz around it! Although trend is also characterized to appear very suddenly, it’s not considered to disappear. At a first glance they often may resemble each other and seem like they are the same. For every  marketer or businessman who are trying to build a business over the long term, it’s very important to know the difference between fad and trend. It can save a lot of money, as well as credibility in case you don’t jump into every fad and start to chase it too quickly. 

tech-trends-mobileCV_100614As mentioned above the first main difference between fad and trend is sustainability- fad appears  and disappears suddenly and trend  can have a long-term influence on its particular market. Secondly, another  difference between fad and trend is their usage in different industries. Fad, as  a rule becomes particular in one industry. Tamagotchi, for example is a game: people play it, have fun and that’s all about that. When it comes to cell phones or portable devices their trend overcame just the  the cell phone or portable device industry. Fashion, wireless communication, photography have their big role in cell phone or portable device production.  People buy cell phones that match the latest clothes fashion, have good quality camera with some extra features or have wireless connection access. Cell phones are trends! P.S. the new iPhone 5 is going to be launched today on October 14!

Fads and trends become integrated into our lives very quickly. No doubt, using a fad can bring you  a quick money, but that’s not for large companies and those who’re trying to  have long-term business. The thing is that these businesses simply can not afford to be wrong. Instead, these companies follow trends. The trick to this  is to get aboard at the right time. The key to that is good information sources. The first and the main recommendation to all marketers and businessmen is to  read and listen. Yes, read and listen!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why do people like or follow brands on social media?

1315271767lyd95eAs an active social media user and freelance marketer with more than 3 years of experience I have  been always interested in different motivations of people liking or following brands on social media. It’s an interesting and important question to ask, especially if you are about to start a social media marketing campaign or already have one.

Many people like brands on Facebook or follow them on Twitter not because of referrals, news updates and even for interesting content. The most popular reason, however, is special offers and deals that attract many followers to follow brands on social media! According to an Infographic recently posted by guys, the second reason is  that  they're already current customers, and third- the brand's interesting content. The customer experience is essential for people to feel and have a connection with a product or brand. This is the case in general, and I guess it’s logical it also is in a social media context.

About brand’s interesting content I want to speak a little bit more in this post. Brands today must take into consideration issues that they may previously have wanted to distance themselves from. People are a lot smarter than they are sometimes given credit for by marketers, and especially so when watching the purse strings, and they will make up their own mind if they want to buy a product or not. Recently I have found  also many business pages rewarding people, with the chance to win an iPad, in exchange for hitting the Like button on their Facebook pageHot smile As  a matter of fact this is not social proof of your awesomeness: it’s social proof of the awesomeness of the iPad! Think of some creative ways and share always quality content  that will answer your followers’ specific needs and create interactions!

Keep in mind also that measuring your core fans of your business fan pages is also important. To calculate the core fan count, the average number of posts-per-contributing fan is calculated. Ask any aspiring entrepreneur how many Facebook fans they want and you're liable to hear numbers upwards of ten thousand, or even one million, but few people ever consider about their interaction or ‘’wrong’’ interaction that can quickly bring Facebook page to its virtual knees.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What is the difference between marketing and PR (Public Relations)?

Recently I had a conversation with a young and motivated entrepreneur on ‘’how to do PR’’, and during the conversation I realized that he doesn’t have the idea of PR at all. Often meeting people from different fields who are much or less tied with marketing, I see that not all can find the difference between marketing and PR. 

The concept of public relations (PR) means by its nature that you can not ‘’buy’’ PR in newspapers and magazines, either have reporter to say what exactly you want  to hear from them. That is marketing: actually one of the tools of marketing; advertising. Marketing and public relations (PR) are two distinct business functions which are both important in  your business development, depending on what stage your business is at.

The main difference between marketing and PR is that: marketing is limited to outward messages
, mostly for the purpose of selling,  while PR involves all forms of communication  enhancing awareness of your product or service. I agree with all those who insist that PR is critical for entrepreneurs and start-ups, but, well, let’s sum up what you can get with each:

With marketing you get:
  • defined target market that you know who to promote your products and services towards
  • identified competitors  with their strategies that help to you stay ahead by remaining competitive
  • complete creative control over your advertisements and guaranteed date that they will run
With PR you get:
  • credibility, mass media and large audience that help you to market your products and services by a third-part endorsement towards large audience
  • a story that runs once or twice
  • less or no control over them and no guarantees and it can be time-consuming
Marketing and PR together
Many marketing and public relations departments of successful companies work in hand as they both work to keep the company and its products in a favorable light. As a rule these two business functions work better if they are clearly complementary – a strongly positive reputation makes the marketer’s job easier, while marketing activity affects a company’s reputation.
Reading this,  many people now would ask me also ‘’ What if a company has experienced some bad press, how these two functions can do together in that case?’’. The answer is simple. Many PR professionals would agree with me if I say that doing a charity or organizing a fundraiser could be a good choice for the company to create some  buzz around it. In addition, many marketers in the same time would work on new strategies that for every product sold, they will donate a percentage for fundraiser. The outcome I guess  is clear: the public may be more apt to purchase products from this company rather than others  because a portion of the profit is going towards a good cause.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Four Things I Like About Coca Cola’s Marketing

Coca-colaThe Coca-Cola company traces it’s beginning to 1886, when an Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John Pemberton, began to produce Coca-Cola syrup for sale in fountain drinks. Today it is the biggest company in the  soft-drink industry enjoying the largest share in the market.  ‘’Coca-Cola’’ is the second most common international word after "OK". People drink it in all over the world.

With it’s creativity and a great number of strong marketing strategies this company is always outstanding and respected by it’s customers. Here are my favorite 4 things about Coca-Cola’s marketing, as far as I am following it.

#1 Creative Curiosity

One core honor that Coca Cola advertising has is that they are always curious, about happenings, latest developments and how to incorporate this hot trends into their marketing. Whether relying on young women as their spokespersons (during the early 1900’s),  on Santa (1930’s-1960’s), or  on polar bears (2000), their ads are always  fantastic, colorful,  memory provoking and always curious about trends.  That is why, they’ve remained at the fore-front of soft-drink industry since time being.

#2 Coca Cola for everyone!

As you know Coca Cola segments different income levels by packaging  and its bottles come in a vast type of sizes and volumes for every country. The company offers soft drinks available for people with different amount of incomes, so it has returnable small glass bottles for people with low income, non returnable bottle packaging for the mediocre and for people with a high-level of income Coca Cola offers Coke tin.

#3 Strong competition

Since Coke’s major competitor is Pepsi Co., the company’s marketing team is focused neutralizing the competition and always giving correspondent replies to Pepsi. For instance when Pepsi launched Crystal Pepsi then Coca Cola launched Diet Coke. Which is stronger in Crystal Pepsi VS Diet Coke competition is a matter of research Smile  but I know just one thing in 2010 the sales of Diet Coke have overtaken those of Pepsi-Cola in US, making it  number 2 carbonated soft drink in America behind Coca-Cola.

#4 Coke knows how to speak to the children!

Back in 2004, in order to launch HI-C, the new drink of Coca-Cola, an acidulate taste drunk with a straw, the firm  placed 2 millions of edible tattoos in adverts which were positioned in adolescents magazines. The principle of this funny of tattooing: once stuck on the skin, the child can lick and link it until it disappears! This is  a powerful gadget for the children who can thus shock their mom while raising their tattooing while consuming even more sugar, before that sweet Hi-C hits the market finally.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

5 Marketing Myths That Are Killing Business

In this post I want to present you five most common misconceptions about marketing contagion. Many  people waste tons of money and  pretty much time on their marketing, without taking into consideration these simple facts about marketing, that  is  sometimes really harmful for a business, especially the one with a good potential.
Myth 1: Marketing is advertising
Marketing is educating your potential customers or your target group about your products and services. Whether you are doing it through advertising, direct marketing, social media, strategic partnership or whatever it is, the key is to reach your target audience. Likewise, advertising can be important to marketing, or unsuitable with it, depending on your company, its  goals and its budget actually.
Myth 2: Internet marketing is what I need for a good marketing plan
Internet marketing is a wonderful tool for all companies today. The ability to market your services for a free or low-cost, sell anything online and provide a clear cut communication for your customers is a great way to get your message out. Anyway, the internet marketing is not the only trick to be succeeded, or at least it is very weak. In case of integrated marketing, when marketers create an integrated communicated strategy involving television, radio,  print advertising, public relations, events, and PR, is what that makes  internet marketing outstanding. All these activities make a big sense to your customers when they visit your website, like your Facebook pages and etc., so it’s worth not to overlook them.
Myth 4: Pricing our products to cover full costs will make us profitable
This is probably one the most myths about marketing I have meet, which is very important to overcome.  One of my favorite pricing and marketing professors  Gorge Cressman says, "When we price to cover costs, there is an underlying assumption that customers value us for our costs. Then the logical conclusions would be that we should increase costs so we can increase price, and customers will love us even more!"
Marketers should instead determine how many customers will ascribe how much value to their offerings, then ask, "Given our cost structure, what volume changes are necessary to make price changes profitable?"
Myth 4: The media and advertising are needed to create buzz.
Well buddy, you are right, media and advertising are important to create a buzz, unless you are using them in time. When used either too early or too much, the media and advertising can squelch buzz before it ignites. Don’t forget to take this into consideration!
Myth 5: Partnerships and alliances work only for big companies 
The last myth about marketing: partnerships and alliances work only for big companies. As a rule,  these are extremely important relationships for all companies to pursue a set of goals or to meet  a critical business needs while keeping the status of independent organizations. In other words strategic alliances and partnerships, most time competitors, are designed for growing product and service offerings, gaining access to new markets, and working together on new product developments. Another good point with partnerships and alliances  is to deliver your customers the products and services of your partners when you can’t do it all. All in all, it is bad to lose the trust of your customer, right?
Conclusion: Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably. All the ways you can think of to execute these for your company are marketing activities, which require enough investment in time, creativity, resources, and energy. The more you are eager to invest, the more your business is successful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome To My Marketing Blog!

Marketing is of interest to everyone, whether you are marketing a company, services, an event, a person or  an organization. It is no longer a company department charged with limited number of tasks- it's a company-wide undertaking which requires  a lot of efforts and time to achieve your goals and make a sense in this fast growing  world.
In the upcoming weeks and months you will have the opportunity to to read my interests and ideas in marketing  context. My name is Artash and I am in my 4th year at the Armenian State University of Economics. My interest in  marketing goes back a long way to my school ages, when I was  following all interesting commercials and marketing  strategies of some popular companies at  that time. My hope about this blog is to not be painful  to me to write and to you to read. My interests include but are not limited to music, sports, traveling,  and wine. I’m sure these topics will be addressed in later posts as well…I’m from Armenia and live in one of the beautiful cities in the world- Jermuk, which I feel captures my passion to nature and clean enviroment!
This was the start of my journey,  so get pumped, excited, and ready to start taking action on what you will be learning from me here.Smile Until next time!
Artash Arakelyan 298891_216288088430267_150992104959866_603841_214317775_n