Small Business Integrated Marketing: More Focus Is Needed, Especially in the B-To-B Space

Small businesses who operate in the business-to-business space do a lot of things right, but marketing is not one of them. This article will explain why this is the case and explore associated pitfalls and opportunities, as well as give you a definition of b-to-b (business-to-business) marketing and suggest some effective solutions to the problem.Typically, companies with 20 to 100 employees or so who are in manufacturing, distribution, professional services and the like do not have a marketing manager, and rightly so; these firms are simply too small to justify that position. So the president or general manager is responsible for marketing. This doesn’t work very well because that person has more important things to do such as keeping the place running and keeping the doors open. So, there’s little or no time for marketing planning or to implement a plan consistently.First let’s define “marketing” as it applies to the b-to-b space. Simply put, marketing is not advertising. Advertising is part of marketing, but a small part.The correct definition of b-to-b marketing is that it’s the integration and orchestration of all of the tactics that go into bringing a product or service to market: marketing research and competitive analysis; face-to-face selling; online support including an optimized website with an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy; downloadable white papers and how-to’s; email marketing; trade shows; sales lead generation; a customer retention strategy; sales tools such as brochures and literature and testimonials; online and offline press and publicity. You get the idea: it’s not just advertising.Most small business owners and general managers know they should be doing something to generate business other than shove their salespeople out the door. But they don’t get around to those other things, meaning marketing. Suddenly a year has gone by and their sales and market share have suffered. So they scramble to do something like build a new website or try some online advertising. But they have no plan. As the saying goes, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”On the other hand, with a well-crafted marketing and advertising plan the business can actually have a strategy to develop a consistent market presence, generate sales leads, create a better brand and retain existing customers. But can the business afford to do this, and how does it get done?The first part of the answer is, they can’t afford to not put a marketing plan in place because their market is full of competitors who can and will beat them in the marketing arena. It’s a market-share battleground out there and the best marketer wins.Another argument for investing in an integrated marketing plan is this: companies pay for legal, IT and accounting services, right? Marketing expertise is no different.In terms of cost, it comes down to needs. If there hasn’t been a formal marketing plan in place for some time and if the company doesn’t know where it stands in terms of its status (market share, perception etc.), some research will be needed and a marketing plan should be developed.The plan will comprise three main components: the company’s business objectives; its sales and marketing strategies; and the tactics and media spend necessary to achieve the objectives. Depending on where the company goes to get this done, the cost will probably be between $3,000 and $7,500 for a plan. Then the plan must be implemented.Where does a company go to get this done? For smaller businesses, it’s best to avoid larger ad agencies; those with 50 employees and above. They’ll want to work with big marketing budgets, say, $500,000 at minimum. It’s also better to work with an agency that specializes in the b-to-b space; they understand the integration referred to above. While it’s handy if the agency is local, it doesn’t have to be. It’s more important that the agency is a good fit for the company.Another alternative is to contract a good b-to-b marketing consultant to do your research and draft your marketing plan. But have the second step lined up, too: an agency who can implement the plan, ideally a smaller agency specializing in b-to-b marketing. Check their work and get referrals from their clients.Whatever route you choose, make sure the firm you choose is very knowledgeable in the online space. Today, almost all marketing in the b-to-b space occurs online: information gathering and downloads of white papers and how-to’s; organic search results, online ads, web engagement, SEO, email marketing, press, articles, etc.Actually, this is good news since online marketing and the analytics associated with it are far less costly than the traditional methods b-to-b marketers have been used to such as trade magazines, lavish literature, direct mail and trade shows (not that those traditional tactics should be abandoned.)So what is the cost for a full-blown integrated marketing plan, media spending and implementation-management by an agency or a consultant?The best budgeting method is the “task method”, meaning determining what tasks need to be done considering your market circumstances, then assigning costs to those tasks and their associated media. It varies by company. That’s something a good marketing agency can do for you. If you have a very limited budget a good agency can develop your plan and focus on its most critical tasks, working with a first-year budget as small as $50,000.But a full-blown integrated marketing-media plan is highly recommended if you want to be a market leader. As a rule of thumb, the higher your gross sales, the less you’ll pay as a percentage of your sales. Roughly, if you’re a smaller company, say, sales of $5 million or so, count on spending about three percent of your gross sales, or about $150,000. At $10 million in sales, perhaps two percent, or $200,000. At $20 million, probably between one and two percent, so about $300,000.One thing is certain: a well-planned and well-implemented b-to-b marketing and advertising plan with a strong online component pays off. It helps you compete better for market dominance. However, marketing planning and implementation takes focus, consistency and the help of professionals.

Say Yes to Design and Multimedia Outsourcing

Current trend in multimedia and design outsourcingIn the recent age, web based global technological interaction has become the trend and most of the successful businesses have gained success through a strong web presence. This trend is so strong nowadays that it has become a must for the businesses to possess unique and interesting websites to enhance their business communication with their consumers. All the businesses need are decent websites that offer related information and useful content wanted by the existing and the potential customers. And in order to create a unique web site, you need to get the website designed by some professional web designers in addition; you can also include multimedia content in the website.Multimedia content usually refers to a mix of dynamic audio-visual content like audio, video, still image, animation and so on, along with static text. From web pages to company presentations and business newsletters, the use of design and multimedia is extensive.


Why should you outsourceFor many companies, the need for having design and multimedia contents is quite seasonal and it is definitely not a good choice to appoint a part of your IT division just for this type of task if you do not have a regular flow of work for them. Therefore, this designing and multimedia content creation is usually outsourced to many companies where multimedia generating and designing are not included in the core Information system (like it is in the printing and media industry). And if you have already tried to get it done by any local design company, you probably have already experienced the expensive quotes from the local design studios.In order to keep focus on the core IT procedures and to get cost effective design solutions for the multimedia contents, many companies nowadays prefer to pick a suitable offshore design studio or a designer to get their work done. In a nutshell, the major benefits of outsourcing your graphic design and multimedia content creation are:• Cost effective solution offering competitive rate structure
• Wide range of skilled and qualified graphic designers and multimedia creators
• Complete consultation for your design and multimedia needs
• Fast and reliable service.
• Easy and continuous communication enabling quick response to feedback.There are many services offered by the offshore designers like creating web pages or any sort of multimedia content. The range of services offered by the offshore design and multimedia teams/individuals are quite wide. In the current market, the most common set of services are as follows:


Graphic Design
• Company Brochure, Newsletters, Web/Print Media Advertisements, Product Catalogues,
• Logo design,
• Banner design for WebPages,
• Other web graphics and static webpage design,
• Official envelopes, business letterheads, visiting cards etc.
• Design of calendars, posters, diaries or other promotional materials.Multimedia Content
• Flash intro for Websites or Presentations
• Websites Based on Flash
• Flash Animations and Games
• 2D or 3D Multimedia Games
• Official Presentations
• Interactive or electronic catalogue
• Audio and Video Editing
• Web based brochure and business profile

Modern Electronic Gadgets and Their Advantages

Today, no one can imagine a life without the electronic gadgets. These gadgets have so many uses and perform several functions. Often these gadgets are available in different and latest designs. There is a wide variety of gadgets including smart phones, music players, home appliances and more. These gadgets work with technology and are quick in their working. Most of them are easy to use and clean. The ease of using these gadgets, make us dependent on them. Most of the times, we feel helpless without these gadgets.Some indispensable home appliances include fans, Air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and more, without which we cannot imagine our lives today. With the advancement in technology, several new gadgets have entered into the market, which has made human being’s work much easier than before. Owing to this, modern gadgets have become a part and parcel of our lives and we can’t think of living without them for even a day.


Benefits of Modern GadgetsThere are endless benefits that a gadget can offer to us. Usually gadgets are compact in size and can be easily brought at home. For example a coffee machine has a compact design which can fit any kitchen space. Moreover it also helps you make a number of coffee cups in minutes without having to stand. There are several other gadgets which also perform great and are designed to assist people and make their work easier.Where to shop for Modern GadgetsYou can shop great electronic gadget at online stores. The online stores usually offer a wide variety of electronic gadgets as compared to the local stores. The price online is also less as compared to the retail stores and you can save a lot of money. Besides saving a lot of money you also save time as you can simply order your gadgets online and instantly move to other important things.Gadgets reviews are available onlineBefore buying a gadget online you should do an online research first. You should read about the product reviews before purchasing it online. Various online websites offer reviews on the latest gadgets available. Exact product description and specifications are mentioned on the website which let the customers know about the product and make a wise choice.How to shop online for Modern GadgetsOnline shopping is a very easy process. You just need to browse a website to look for a gadget you require. Enter the name of the gadget into the search engine you will see a list of gadgets stores that sell gadgets. Every store has a different selection of the gadgets. You should look at different gadget stores before making a choice.Convenience in online shoppingOnline shopping is a convenient option when it comes to buying electronic gadgets. You can make a research by browsing different online electronic stores. All kinds of gadgets are available online at very low prices. You can easily compare prices offered by different online gadget stores. The advance innovation of search engine lets you check prices and compare with just a few clicks. Moreover, online stores also give you the freedom to determine which online store offers the best quality gadget at the most affordable item.


Online shopping has become a popular shopping method ever since the internet users have increased. There are a number of customers looking for convenient online shopping ways and online shopping gives you an easy access to a wide variety of gadgets. There is a reason why online stores are becoming popular these days and improving every single day. Advantages of online shopping are an additional knowledge for all the online shoppers that are useful before shopping online.

Traveling With Electronic and Electrical Appliances

Whether they’re traveling for business or for leisure, every international guest that stays at a hotel or a bed-and-breakfast inn brings along an electronic or electrical appliance to use during the trip. Almost always there’s a mobile phone or smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop in their luggage. Most laptops or phones have dual-voltage capability and only need corresponding travel adapter plugs that fit into the sockets of the country they’re visiting. The following information should help travelers choose the right adaptor plugs to bring along in their trip.About Electronic and Electrical AppliancesThough both categories of appliances run on electricity, electronic appliances often need transformers with specific outputs, such as a power converter that accepts an input of 110 to 120 volts and only outputs 220 volts. Appliances with electronic circuits or chips, such as clock radios, battery chargers, and computers, should be used for short periods of time, preferably less than three hours. Plugging in these electronic appliances for long might cause overheating and lead to fires.


Meanwhile, electrical appliances that provide simple heating functions, such as a flat-iron, water heater, or hair dryer, must be used with a converter or transformer with the corresponding wattage for no more than an hour at a time. The sockets available in bathrooms of hotels and inns in European countries maybe labeled as 220 to 240 volts AC, but these were designed for use with low-wattage appliances such as shavers and electric toothbrushes that need around five to ten watts. They’re not fit for use with a hair dryer, a travel iron, or a phone charger for long hours.Identifying Dual-Voltage Appliances and WattageIf you want to know whether your appliance is dual-voltage, simply check its package for a 120/240 label or look at its plug for any embossed electrical information. These appliances won’t need a converter or power transformer. However, you may still need to find their wattage. When only the voltage and amperage are given, the formula to find the wattage of an appliance simply multiplies the volts with the amps. For instance, 120V multiplied by 0.5A equals 60W, which means an appliance that needs 120 volts at 0.5 amps should run at 60 watts of electricity.Travel Adapter Plugs and Power Output StandardsMost homes and businesses in the United States, Canada and Mexico use 100 to 120 volts of power with around 60 Gigahertz of alternating currents. The rest of the world outputs 200 to 250 volts at around 50 Gigahertz of alternating currents per cycle. Most travel adapter plugs used in North and South America have two parallel flat prongs for the non-earthed types while the earthed type has a grounding pin below.


In some countries in Europe, the plugs must have two rounded pins parallel to each other. Grounded types have a third pin or flat prong below the pair. Great Britain, in particular, uses a double-rounded pin plug with a flat prong for grounding. In France and Belgium, their plugs have grounding clips instead along with the two-pronged structure. In Australia, the prongs were arranged in a V-shape set at an angle to each other.