First, Best, or Different
Flash Navigation
 
First, Best, or Different

Niche Marketing Matters
By John Bradley Jackson

Is Social Media Evil?

March 19th, 2012

There are some who believe that social media is the root of all evil, or at the very least it is making us dumber.   Whether you love to tweet, post, and blog or dislike social media altogether, it is undeniable that it has taken the world by storm.  Rapid social changes are occurring right before our eyes.  Though it has made our lives easier in many ways, opponents of this technology are quick to point out its flaws.

One issue is the kind of text we are reading and writing now. Many of us probably communicate via text as much as spoken word on a day-to-day basis.  Between Facebook, twitter, blogging, and text messages, most of us have multiple conversations that are typed out on a keyboard.  What this is troubling to those who value the written word is the developing slang and overall disregard for grammar and punctuation.  Likewise, it’s become common to gloss over any sizeable amount of text and look for the bolded statements that will give us information quickly.  We want lean, witty one-liners instead of buckling down and reading an article or book.

Not only are our conversations increasingly in the form of typed fragments, but we are also spending more and more time logged into social media sites.   In the past, would those hours have been spent in solitude?  Or perhaps people would have used that extra time to call their old friends instead of passively looking through their new picture album on Facebook.  Maybe they would use that time to meet up with their close buddies at a coffee shop or a park to throw a ball around.  Though it’s hard to say how we would actually be spending our time without social media, it’s clear that it has taken the place of a variety of activities.

Even when we’re not actively sending emails and updating statuses, we are still connected to the digital world.  How often do you even turn your phone off while you sleep?  We live in a time where we are increasingly “plugged in” to our web of social connections.  By leaving our iPhones on our nightstands, we are allowing ourselves to become even more consumed by this technology.  In terms of accessibility, we are more connected than ever before.  At any point in the day, we expected to be able to connect with any of our friends, family members, or co-workers immediately.

Our dependence on social media seems to have created a new kind of anxious disorder.  Have you ever been to a party and noticed half of the attendees are on their phones? It’s been argued, and rightfully so, that our eyes no longer know what to do when they’re not directed towards screen.  Even when we are amongst those whom we would consider to be friends, we feel our eyeballs itching to make contact.

Are we better off than before the digital world consumed us?

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
All rights reserved

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Value Proposition

March 18th, 2012

A value proposition states why a customer should pay money for your product and service.  Therefore, in order to define a value proposition for your product or service, it is important to get inside the minds of your intended customers.

Value propositions are a promise of value to your customers.  This promise is based on trust.  If they buy your product, and the promise you made turns out to be false or misleading, you will have lost that customer forever.  Only promise what you can realistically deliver.

To craft a powerful and unique value proposition, you must first answer a few questions.  Most importantly, what will be the end result for your customer?  What kind of need does your product or service fulfill?  Will your product or service help a customer’s business, home, or love life?

To find this out, ask your current clients what makes your product or service valuable to them.  If you don’t have any current clients, try to ask customers of a similar product or service.  Why would they choose your product or service over a competitor’s?

When creating a value proposition, focus solely on the target customer.  Forget about your boss, suppliers, or other partners in the process.  Never forget that your product or service is ultimately there to serve a certain segment of the population, even if others are involved in the creation, marketing, or money-making processes.

There a couple different approaches to writing a value proposition.  The simplest way is to list all the benefits your product or services claims to provide.  A more effective way is to compare your product or service with your competitors’ and highlight the ways in which your product or service is superior.

It is critical to figure out what are the most important attributes of your product or service.  That is, what is it about your product or service that most appeals to your customers?  Once you have found these most valued attributes, you know what to focus your attention on when creating a value proposition.

In an article called “Why They Should Buy”, author Kirsten Korosec says it is important to take your value proposition and turn it into a meaningful marketing slogan for your customers.  Often when we create value propositions, they are in “company speak” and may not connect with your target clients.

Effective value propositions are good for marketing because they are short, simple, and appeal to the customers’ core needs.  You want your customers to understand, believe, and remember your value proposition.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
All rights reserved

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Negotiation and the Gender Divide

March 6th, 2012

Though there are many exceptions to the rule, most women don’t like to negotiate.  According to Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, authors of “Women Don’t Ask”, women are more likely to equate negotiation with “going to the dentist.”  By contrast, many men speak of the act of negotiation as similar to “winning a ballgame.”  Why is there such a gender divide?  It has to do with our existing (and mostly outdated) social norms as well as many women’s self-fulfilling prophecies when it comes to negotiation.

Babcock and Laschever say that 2.5 times more women than men feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating.  They are much less likely to aggressively negotiate starting salaries, raises, or the price of a car.  Women stand to miss out on a great deal of income over their lifetime if they fail to negotiate their salaries.

Women’s low expectations are often their downfall.  In a climate where women already don’t earn as much as their male counterparts, it is especially important for women to negotiate salaries and raises.  The days of sticking with one company, or let alone one career path, are over.  In today’s environment, we can change jobs, companies, and fields of work multiple times throughout our lifetimes.

How can we motivate women to negotiate more?  A study released in 2010 by UCLA and University of Washington professors suggests that women who use fear as a motivation tool can negotiate more effectively.  In the study, men and women played a simple game and were told they would be paid a negotiable amount based on their performance.  The subjects would watch videos designed to make participants feel angry, fearful, or neutral.  Men made to feel fearful were actually less likely to initiate negotiation, while fearful women were more likely to instigate negotiation and ended up with more money.

Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most influential women in the 20th century, said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  The key to conquering something we find intimidating is to simply lean into the discomfort and practice what scares us.  If you find negotiation to be anxiety-provoking, desensitize yourself by negotiating small things first.

Find opportunities to be assertive and decisive, with your coworkers, family members, and strangers. Yet, seek to understand the other party’s needs. Strive for an agreement that allows him or her to get what they want, while you get what you want. A great deal allows both parties to walk away happy with the prospect of doing business again.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
All rights reserved

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Busy People Are Happier People

March 4th, 2012

We enjoy being busy.  We may complain about our hectic, fast-paced lives, but most of us wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we didn’t have a reason to be doing anything.  We like to keep our minds engaged in something, even if it is something as simple as browsing the internet or watching TV.

Christopher Hsee and his researchers from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago published studies that they believe demonstrate that busier people are happier people.

According to the July 2010 study published by Psychological Science, people like to find ways to occupy their time, and also like to attribute a purpose or meaning behind the activity.  In other words, we don’t like to be bored.

In an experiment, college-aged subjects were given two surveys, with a 15 minute break after the first survey was completed.  During that 15 minute break, students could either drop off the first survey nearby, or walk to a further location that would fill the time of the 15 break.  The experiment was conducted a few different ways, but ultimately the students who walked a further distance during the break reported feeling happier than students who did not.  In short, busier people are happier people.

Even more interesting, we like to attribute a meaning or purpose to our activities.  If we can justify a reason for doing something, we are more likely to do it.  In multiple variations of the experiments, students were offered different types of chocolate at each drop-off location.  If students were offered the same type of incentive at either locations, most students chose the lazier option (of dropping off the survey nearby).  If students could justify walking further for a certain kind of chocolate, they were more likely to choose the busier option (of walking to the location during the 15 minute break).  In either scenario, subjects were happier when they chose the busy option, and walked during the 15 minute break.

What does this say about us?  We are naturally lazy and tend to choose the idle option because we know we should conserve our energy.  But if we can find even a simple justification for doing so, we like to stay busy and occupied with our time.  Evolutionarily, we may well be designed to keep busy to ensure our species’ continuing progress.

For more information check out this article: http://news.discovery.com/human/busy-people-happiness.html

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
All rights reserved

 

Did you like this? Share it: