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Extreme Sampling – Process Testing in Promotional Marketing

“Dad. I think I just flushed my underwear down the toilet.”

I just sat there … looking at my nine-year old son, searching for words that seemed stuck in a mental quagmire of wonder and disbelief.

Finally, as nonchalantly as I could, I asked, “So … how did that happen?”

“Well, when I sat on my pen it broke and got ink on my underwear. So I thought if I put some soap in the toilet and flushed it … the turbo action would be just like the washing machine and get the ink out. I forgot the toilet like, eats everything you put in it.”

Wouldn’t it be great to be nine again? We could just test out … no wait, implement any idea that came to our mind knowing we were backed by the full faith and credit of mom and dad. But, in the world you and I live in, a creative or logistical faux pas costs real money and carries real consequences.

I used to believe Extreme Sampling involved two steps.
1) Product Testing.
2) Instruction Scrutiny.

I was wrong.

My son’s exercise in creative thinking caused me to re-think my position and now I believe there are three steps to Extreme Sampling. Step 3 is, “Process Testing”. Process Testing is where you focus on logistics, distribution and final outcomes. In short, you conduct a trial run to the best of your ability to prevent, “Flushing your underwear down the toilet.”

Case in point. I recently sent a client some waterless tattoo samples. The client tested them and found that they worked perfectly. They ordered 50k. Unfortunately, they did not test them through the bindery equipment on which the tattoos would be affixed to a card. Turns out the tattoos were too thin for the machinery to pick up and place properly. This could have been remedied by using a thicker stock … had we known. Instead, they’re affixing them by hand, which costs more. (Insert flush sound here).

Forcing yourself to test the process will help you think it through and avoid problems. For instance, that umbrella you want to give everyone at the conference. You’ve tested the product and scrutinized the instructions. Now let’s test the process. The conference is in a city to which most people will fly. Grab your suitcase. Will that 4 foot umbrella fit?

Daily, marketers fail to test the process and find out too late that the product, premium or incentive … won’t fit in the bag, the box, the envelope or the suitcase. Or they find out at the worst possible moment, that leaving the chocolate parting-gift in the van, in the sun, all day … was a no-no.

Here’s a few things to think about regarding step #3 of Extreme Sampling:

Carton Weight: Having UPS deliver five 40 pound cartons to your office is one thing. But can the person in your office who is in charge of getting those cartons to the event – lift 40 pound boxes? We often under-pack cartons for our clients based on how much weight THEY want to lift.

Effects of Heat/Cold: Can it melt or freeze? Do you need to keep something cool or warm at the event prior to distribution? And for how long? Our chocolate vendor ships with ice packs to prevent melting in transit. But if the chocolate is not stored correctly once you get it, well, you’re flushing your underwear down the toilet. Will those snow globes freeze and break? Will the deodorant in the personal care packs liquefy in the heat?

Time/Timing: Your logo glowing at a night event on a t-shirt, tattoo or hat will look really cool. But, if you’re placing your bets on a solar-powered, glow-in-the-dark item, make sure your event has daylight hours built in so the product has a time to charge up.

Fulfillment: If you are going to have a fulfillment center do anything with a product …make sure you give them samples to test before you place an order.

Rules & Regulations: If you’re distributing your item at a conference, will the item be accepted by the airlines in checked or carry on luggage? If you’re mailing your item, does it conform to postal or other delivery rules and regs? Some stadiums have rules banning noise makers. Some fairgrounds have rules banning balloons. Contrary to the creative thought process, when you stand to loose money or worse, your job – it’s better to ask for permission than to beg for forgiveness.

I’d share more but I just spotted Junior headed out back with a lawn chair, balloons and my helium tank. I’m sure the word ‘”tether” isn’t something he’s thought of … yet.

Internet Marketing Mentoring Strategies – Is You Marketing A Messy?

Odds are, if you’re not making any money form your marketing campaigns, than you’re probably all over the place. A solid marketing campaign should be clean and efficient. So how do you tell the difference between an organized campaign and a chaotic mess? Well that’s what I’m here to help you out with. This based on my 5+ years of experience and I hope you find this helpful.

The #1 Problem – Consistency

Consistency – or lack there of. To make sure I’m consistent with my marketing efforts I used a DAILY marketing schedule and I stick to this religiously. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, the sky could be falling for all I care, if it’s on my daily list, it needs to get done, PERIOD! Don’t let “how you feel” dictate your actions, your actions should be results driven. I know that doing tasks ABC will produce results XYZ…so you better believe I’m doing ABC…I’m singing the alphabet every damn morning. Consistency is the life blood to your business.

Problem #2 – Targeting

Whatever product or service you sell, think about all the potential markets you can target. Let’s take acne for example: when I think acne, I think teenager having the worst breakouts ever…but acne is not only a “teenager” issue. There are plenty if adults who struggle with acne every single day. Make sure to cater your marketing efforts to as many different niche customers as possible. If you write an article about teen acne and how you can help, than write another about adult acne and how you can help.

What I’m getting at is this: if your marketing efforts are too narrow, than you’re leaving tons of money on the table. Conversely, if your marketing is too broad, than you may be spreading yourself thin in your efforts to cater to everyone. You need understand your market and understand how to best reach them.

Problem #3 – Money

We’re not all made of money. Not all of us have a million dollar marketing budget. Knowing this, novice marketers try tons of different marketing strategies at once and their back in that (lost) mess again. Don’t go throwing crap on the wall and hoping something sticks. That’s not the way to go about it. Sit down and look at what it is that your are doing. Pick just 2 or 3 marketing methods and concentrate on these until you’ve mastered them. To the point where you’ve streamlined them. Don’t let your lack of funds stunt your business growth by trying to doing every possible strategy you can think of. Just chose a few strategies and be consistent in your efforts. When you make your first sale, roll it back into your marketing budget. Rinse and repeat and before you know it, your bringing in the cash! I hope my Internet Marketing Mentoring strategies will help you get your marketing off the ground and give you tons of consistent traffic to your site.

What Is Marketing On Facebook? A Quick Overview of Marketing With Fan Pages for Small Business

Facebook has are over 500 million users, and it is estimated that at least 50% of them – that’s 250 million people – login to their accounts on a daily basis. It is a no-brainer that your business should be on Facebook connecting with a targeted audience of users who want to buy your products and services.

Imagine what would happen to your business if you connected with only a tiny percentage of those millions of Facebook users? Think of what it could mean for your sales figures if you carved out even 1% of that daily market… that would be 5 million people. Now, that’s a lot of people.

Developing Marketing Campaigns

A number of years ago, there wasn’t a realistic process available to sell your products and services on Facebook. But, all of that has changed. You can now launch your products and services quickly and easily, allowing your offerings to go viral in record time, just by putting up and promoting a fan page.

Definition of Marketing with Facebook Pages

Fan pages are exactly what they sound like – pages that are designed around a specific topic that you’re a fan of or are niche marketing in. Using some of the new services, Facebook can become your advertising medium of choice, and a boon for small businesses with limited budgets. You can build a business fan page by hand if you have some web design experience.

Some tips to remember:

1. Header should be 518px x 100px

2. Aweber blends in real nice for your opt-in box which is an autoresponder that allows you to stay in touch with your subscribers over the long-term.

3. It’s easier to use a third-party vendor like Photobucket to store your pictures than on Facebook.

4. YouTube videos work really well. Make a video using Animoto which is free and easy to use.

What Facebook Marketing Is

The definition of Facebook marketing is to find people interested in your product and convert them into customers. With the viral nature of this medium, employing fan pages makes it easy to combine it with inexpensive advertising on Facebook to quickly grow a list of loyal customers.

Marketing on Facebook Automatically

If you want to go automatic consider two places, – one is called Fan Page engine which has templates and a point-click interface, and a a new service that’s just launched called FB Launchpad has brought cutting-edge technology to building Facebook fan pages. With this new service you can build a page that puts hidden “like” content, sliding tabs that are animated which you won’t see in any other fan page template engine.