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Do Definitions Tell You How To Create A Better Business?

When talking to people about what they think is involved in marketing, CRM, ecommerce, direct marketing, web development, web design and graphic design it is quite clear that most people have a confused and jumbled view about what they all are, what they cover, which is most important and which is easiest to understand.

It is nearly always the case that someone understands what is meant by graphic design – not a surprise, perhaps, as it has been around the longest and has ...

marketing, CRM, ecommerce, direct marketing, web development, web design, graphic design

When talking to people about what they think is involved in marketing, CRM, ecommerce, direct marketing, web development, web design and graphic design it is quite clear that most people have a confused and jumbled view about what they all are, what they cover, which is most important and which is easiest to understand.

It is nearly always the case that someone understands what is meant by graphic design – not a surprise, perhaps, as it has been around the longest and has it’s roots in “old technology”. Not only that research has shown that only 7 to 11% of all communication is verbal, the rest being non-verbal as messages can be communicated through “graphical” factors such as gesture; body language or posture; facial expression and eye gaze, clothing, hairstyles, architecture, symbols and graphics. So definitely not a surprise – we are very visual.

It is nearly always the case that people also believe they understand what is meant by web design – though many people blur it with web development. Again, probably not surprising, but, actually, probably not helpful either. Why not? Because if you don’t have a real ‘definition’ for something (definition = clarity and differentiation from other concepts) then you don’t know what you are buying. And, guess what, if you don’t know what you are buying you can be “ripped off”.

So we thought we would be boringly helpful and using Wikipedia and a range of other sources definitions (only so we are not accused of slanting the evidence) try to explain what marketing, CRM, ecommerce, direct marketing, web development, web design and graphic design really are.

We also thought we’d arrange them in what we regard as their order of importance to the success of your business – which is pretty much in reverse order to most people’s understanding of what they are and see if anyone can be bothered to read what could be “possibly the most boring and convoluted article ever” and challenge these views.

1. MARKETING: The most widely accepted definition of marketing on a global scale comes from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the UK which is the largest marketing body in the world in terms of membership. The definition claims marketing to be the "management process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably". Thus, operative marketing involves the processes of market research, new product development, product life cycle management, pricing, channel management as well as promotion……… It is one of the company's management tools to ensure that products and services are developed according to market requirements, and that they are profitable.

2. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) includes the methodologies, technology and capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships. The general purpose of CRM is to enable organizations to better manage their customers through the introduction of reliable systems, processes and procedures. Customer Relationship Management is a corporate level strategy which focuses on creating and maintaining lasting relationships with its customers. Although there are several commercial CRM software packages on the market which support CRM strategy, it is not a technology itself, rather, an holistic change in an organization's philosophy which places emphasis on the customer………. A successful CRM strategy cannot be implemented by simply installing and integrating a software package and will not happen over night. Changes must occur at all levels including policies and processes, front of house customer service, employee training, marketing, systems and information management; all aspects of the business must be reshaped to be customer driven.

3. ELECTRONIC COMMERCE, EC, e-commerce or ecommerce consists primarily of the distributing, buying, selling, marketing, and servicing of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks.......... It can involve electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, e-marketing, online marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, automated inventory management systems, and automated data-collection systems. It typically uses electronic communications technology such as the Internet, extranets, e-mail, ebooks, databases, and mobile phones………. Internet marketing is a component of electronic commerce. Internet marketing can include information management, public relations, customer service, and sales.

4. DIRECT MARKETING is a discipline within marketing that involves the planned recording, analysis and tracking of individual customers' (business-to-business or consumer) responses and transactions for the purpose of developing and prolonging mutually profitable customer relationships………. DM uses non-addressable media as well as addressable ones. The important thing is that it seeks a response and it is this which the recipient, usually a marketer, bases their future actions, or contact strategy, on. In fact all DM is done through media, it's just that many, e.g. email, telemarketing, SMS, are "addressable". It usually is not taken to include face-to-face contact. Direct marketing is attractive to many marketers, because in many cases its effectiveness can be measured directly.

5. WEB DEVELOPMENT incorporates all areas of creating a web site for the World Wide Web. This includes web design (graphic design, XHTML, CSS, usability and semantics), programming, server administration, content management, marketing, testing and deployment. The term also refers to the "back end", that is, programming and server administration. There is usually more than one member that works on a given development team, each specialising in his or her own field. A web developer typically has more database, cgi, and engineering experience and develops the interface between the front and back end, undertaking programming tasks for a web site. This can include e-commerce applications or implementing a site search tool, for example.

6. WEB DESIGN is the design of web pages, websites and web applications using HTML, CSS and images. A web designer designs web pages. Usually a designer will produce a mock-up of a page in a graphics application (for example, Adobe Photoshop). Once you have approved the design, a designer can produce an HTML template, CSS files and all of the images needed to produce the web site.

7. GRAPHIC DESIGN is the applied art of arranging image and text to communicate a message. You can apply it in any media, such as print, digital media, motion pictures, animation, product decoration, packaging, and signs.

 

How To Choose A Shopping Cart Vendor For Your E-Commerce Site

E-commerce has exploded on the internet and many successful businesses exist solely on the web. And why not? With a virtual storefront, the overhead costs of running a business are greatly reduced. Therefore, with effective marketing, these businesses can hang on during the difficult early stages of a new business and are less dominated by cash flow while trying to stay afloat.

One of the major reasons for the surge in online purchasing has been the convenience and securi...

E-commerce has exploded on the internet and many successful businesses exist solely on the web. And why not? With a virtual storefront, the overhead costs of running a business are greatly reduced. Therefore, with effective marketing, these businesses can hang on during the difficult early stages of a new business and are less dominated by cash flow while trying to stay afloat.

One of the major reasons for the surge in online purchasing has been the convenience and security of the shopping cart feature on e-commerce sites. The virtual interface of putting things into a 'cart' has, at once, a comfortable familiarity and whimsy. It really is an elegant system that has won the confidence of the online shopper through its proven security.

There are many different vendors of shopping cart services. So how does one go about choosing the right one for their e-commerce site?

The very first thing you have to do is to decide exactly what, and how much product you are going to be selling. Are you selling 1 item? A line of similar items? A catalog full of many different products, and if so, then how will your site present this catalog?

What will be your volume of sales this year? Next year? In five years? Some shopping cart services are great for lower volume sales with less product variety and no catalog. Other shopping cart services allow for complex, high volume sales and catalog features.

In terms of cost of the cart service, you need to find the shopping cart option that matches your selling volume.

PayPal offers a fantastic, free-to-set-up shopping cart that is great for lower volume sales. Your fees to them are a percentage of each of your sales. In addition, you can automatically take major credit card payments without setting up credit card merchant services. This saves you $300-$400 right off the bat.

For high volume sales you may pay less going with a shopping cart vendor that charges you a monthly fee rather than a percentage of your sales.

You also need to look at the purchase process the shopping cart service offers. Potential customers abandoning the purchase because they weren't shown the shipping costs before they were required to give their credit card information, for example, can be devastating to sales. The simpler, clearer and shorter the process from cart to sale, the better. At no point should the potential ciustomer feel that there is a surprise ahead.

Finally, the look of the shopping cart needs to fit the visual theme of your site. Most shopping cart services have several variations on a basic look. Make sure one of those variations works.

Basic services will range anywhere from $10 to $30 per month. Remember to add in the cost of credit card merchant services if you want to accept credit card customers. And this is highly recommended. The downside of online purchases is that the customer must wait for the item to be shipped. Having to wait even longer for a money order to be received, or worse, a check to clear, on top of shipping time reduces the convenience of online shopping to the point where sales could be lost.

 

How To Save A Small eCommerce Business From Being Killed By The Mega Retailers

Remember the last time you bought an electronic item such as a DVD player or VCR? Where did you go to buy it? If you are like most consumers, you wanted the best possible price.

drop shipping, wholesale, free ebook, dropship, drop ship, home business, home based business, work from home

Copyright 2006 Brad Beiermann Ph.D.

Remember the last time you bought an electronic item such as a DVD player or VCR? Where did you go to buy it? If you are like most consumers, you wanted the best possible price. You might have also been brand conscious by purchasing an item with a recognized manufacturer's name synonymous with quality. Like most consumers, you probably did not want to wait forever to get it.

You might have also been brand conscious by purchasing an item with a recognized manufacturer's name synonymous with quality. Like most consumers, you probably did not want to wait forever to get it. You might have hopped in the car and headed to the local mega retailer and bought the item.

Everyone loves great deal. A good brand with quality. A low price...and the ability to take it home right now! Does this sound like you or a least someone you know? Trust is important to us as consumers. We want to make sure no one takes us for a rip-off ride. We want to avoid the embarrassment and not look like the dumb shopper that bought a piece of junk for a high price. As a result, we have conditioned ourselves to certain buying habits. One of those habits is shopping for a name brand that is well known and trusted. Consequently, many folks start their own online e-commerce retail sites feeling these are often the types of product they need to carry. They think the well know brands can inherently bring some of the consumer trust (and sales) to their product offerings. While that might be true to a certain extent, this does not always result in a stable online business with healthy margins. Thus, they have fallen victim to the "brand name myth" in online retail.

The Brand Name Myth Unveiled

What is the brand name myth? We have already started to describe it, but here is a brief description of the brand name myth -- There are countless start-up online retail businesses who have been led to believe they should sell big brand name products as a core product offering for their retail website. After all, most consumers are familiar with big brand names (i.e. Kodak, Adidas, Sony...etc.) and have grown to trust and follow their favorite brand name products. In fact some of the largest and most successful retail businesses in the world sell the big brands. So, the popular way of thinking suggests that big brand name products are what a new online business should sell. Why? Again, the big brand name products are popular, well known, trusted and carry a name of quality. Unfortunately, this has often resulted in a losing battle for numerous small online businesses. How? In a few words...intense competition, brutal price wars and extreme market saturation. These businesses basically entered into the commodity business without knowing what hit them! Many of them are no longer in business. Would you like to avoid this situation...Certainly!

Press Release Paralysis

There is one other limiting factor about big brand name products you should know about. The ability to press release a business is greatly limited with big brand name products. That's right. Suppose a small start-up online business plans on selling the latest big brand name cameras as part of their online store. They would like to advertise their new product offering to the world, and get the word out about their online business. A press release is great way of doing this without spending a bunch of money. However, they quickly find no editor willing to publish their press release. There might be a couple of reasons for the rejection:

1) The camera manufacturer might not allow press releases of their licensed name by other parties, or if they do allow a release

2) The product has already been press released many times by other companies. As a result, the product press release is no longer news worthy.

Being the smart online business owner, do you want to avoid these situations?...If so, let's look at how to get started on the right foot.

How Can I Avoid The Brand Name Myth?

The Internet retail world presents a much different level of retail challenge versus the traditional brick and mortar retail business. Customers can do comparative shopping on the internet with just a few clicks of the mouse rather than driving around from store to store in their car. So, this means within seconds they can be at a competing retail site looking for similar products at a cheaper price. As an Internet retailer, you want a business that gives you some immunity to these scenarios.

Fortunately, there are many techniques and best practices that can be used to keep consumers on your site. One of these best practices involves creating a niche business. You can get the benefits of a niche business by carrying things that are unique to the marketplace. Having an online business with the "You can only find it here" advantage gives you some immunity to the competition. Selling the big brand names you find at mega retailers does not provide you with the business uniqueness you need. You can do this by creating your own product. However, not everybody wants to go down that path. Rather, another option would be finding a wholesale drop shipper with a unique product offering that has not saturated the market. Where can you find a wholesale drop shipper of unique products that are simply not found at all the mega retailers? The Hienote Drop Ship List Directory is a great starting place. At Hienote Inc., our focus has been on finding wholesalers with unique products that can be drop shipped in single item quantities. We offer an online directory of the drop shippers, found by our research staff. The drop shippers in the directory is always changing as we add new one every week. You can get immediate access to the products that can help you carve a niche for your online business. In niche marketing, you focus on traits that make your business unique. Likewise, we have placed a similar focus on creating a directory of drop shippers with unique, unusual and fresh product offerings.

By avoiding the commodity big brand names, you can be in a position to do as many product press releases as you want. This will allow you to get more focused buyers to your site and can result in more sales. Getting free publicity for your products is one of the key ways to getting the needed advertising without spending any money upfront. With brand name items you simply cannot do this, which severely paralyzes your marketing efforts. This is why many online business experts have recommended selling niche based products vs. the commodity big brand name products.




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