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Our Solutions News Blog was envisioned to gather and share information from the very best to help you and your business to become more effective.

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One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
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Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.
Thursday, 15 December 2011 10:46

Colour CAD.. Affordable & Easy

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Colour CAD printing has now evolved to the point where it's affordable and high quality ColourWave printing adds amazing warmth and contrast to just about any of your drawings. Essentially what you see on your computer is what you'll get. Plus you can also plot onto Tyvek or Copy Tuff paper for waterproof drawings. Share &/or CommentΓû║
Thursday, 15 December 2011 10:29

Point of Purchase Displays.. Increase Your Sales

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Since an estimated 70% of purchase decisions are made within the retail store itself, effective point-of-purchase displays can have a dramatic impact on sales for a particular product, especially when introducing a new product to existing customers.

One marketing technique, point-of-purchase (POP) advertising for consumers, can be a useful source of pre-purchase information for the existing customer, and the customer is more receptive to POP promotions when making a purchase. For example, apparel shoppers found that of eight product information sources, POP information was rated third most useful. POP is useful because it has the ability to reach potential buyers at the time and place of the potential purchase displays are more productive than media advertising as they offer precise target marketing.

POP such as displays, signs, bins, floor stands, and devices that are promotional, are used to advertise and merchandise a service or product at a specific location. It can be advertising that is built around impulse purchasing and that utilizes display designed to catch a shopper's eye particularly at the place where payment is made, such as a checkout counter.

POP advertising has a definite impact of in-store displays, with over a 500 percent average increase in unit sales of selected supermarket products. Also, end-of-aisle displays have a much greater impact on unit sales than did expanded shelf space, even when the product is not on sale.

MAJOR FUNCTIONS
POP can elevate the status or visibility of a product in-store through the use of large signs, banners and cut-out style displays. This is the most commonly used form of POP. By setting off a brand, age group, or even an entire product category, POP can be used to create a more effective selling environment.

POP is often used to house and dispense a product, sometimes in areas of the store that are separate from the product's category.

Some elaborate displays provide automated sales demonstration, often with the use of videos.

POP can guide shoppers to the location of a product, convey price or product information, and promote contests or other tie-ins.

STRATEGIC ISSUES
Research... The best sources of information are the retailers themselves. Collect data from existing surveys and find out all you can about what your competition is doing. Survey retailers to obtain customer information on a store-by- store basis. Test your POP in sample retail environments that represent your market conditions.

Establishing goals... The principle objectives should be set before any specific POP options are considered.

Partnering with retailers... Critical to the success of any POP strategy is the cooperation you receive from the location they will be implemented. There can be tremendous competition for floor space, so if you are placing POP in a secondary location, obtain permission from local management.

Maintaining POP... Do not neglect your POP. A poor looking display will surely drive away any potential consumer.

Measuring results... It is very difficult to test the effectiveness of a POP campaign. To get an accurate test, barcoding and scanners make it possible to monitor sales of items purchased anywhere in the store. QR codes can also be used to validate interest.

Term of campaign... The length of a POP campaign is based on your marketing objectives, the retail environment, and the extent of competitive activity. Establishing a timetable is critical, because this will determine everything from the type of POP to be created to materials and costs.

Budget... POP budgets are usually calculated on a per-placement basis. For temporary POP, spend an amount equal to 5 percent of the merchandise displayed. In other words, if the display holds $100 worth of goods, you'd spend $5 per display. For permanent displays, the accepted range is 15 to 20 percent. Of course, many factors can push these percentages up or down.

Distribution and setup... Once finished POP is produced, the next step is to assemble the various elements, get them to the stores, and set them up. That can be harder than it sounds. You need to decide the best way of ensuring that everything is done according t plan. Make it a point to educate at the point-of-purchase. Educational materials are essential for the success of the product or service being targeted at the the consumer.

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Friday, 26 August 2011 14:13

What If the Light Bulb.. Produced More than Light?

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Aug. 4, 2011 - Talk about a light bulb moment. A professor of engineering at Edinburgh University recently demonstrated for the first time to a wide audience his technology that uses common every day lights to transmit data.

Harald Haas streamed a video through a desk lamp at Ted Global 2011 at Scotland's Edinburgh International Conference Center in July.

If commercialized, the technology not only creates a vast new application for light, but also dramatically expands our now limited wireless capacity. Imagine downloading your email from any of the14 billion light bulbs installed in the world.

Haas' technology swaps out our current way of transmitting data - through radio frequency - with a new approach using visible light from LED light bulbs. This is significant because we are running out of radio frequency spectrum as our appetite for wireless communication grows, Haas says. The visible light spectrum, on the other hand, is enormous, with about 10,000 times more capacity than radio frequency. Using light instead of radio frequency would give us a lot more capacity for our cell phones, wireless computers and other devices.

The energy implications are even more interesting.? Click Here to read the full story. Share &/or CommentΓû║

Friday, 26 August 2011 14:00

How To Turn Green Legacy.. Into A Gold Brand

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A few months back, an interesting story caught my eye. It documented the green claims being made by Malt-O-Meal around their plastic bag packaging.

According to Malt-O-Meal, their bags created less environmental impact than the competition's boxes. They had, in fact, created a website titled 'Bag The Box' to tout these environmental claims.

From a strictly green perspective, this was a bit of a head scratcher: some of Malt-O-Meal's cereals do come in boxes; the bagged cereal bags are heavy plastic, with environmental baggage of their own; and the bags were introduced as cost-reduction measures years ago - it's not like Malt-O-Meal woke up one morning and decided to make the world a better place one bag at a time.

Digging deeper, I discovered Malt-O-Meal actually had a very credible green policy outside the bag. Their manufacturing plants have conservation programs, they're involved in the US EPA's SmartWay transport initiative, they purchase renewable energy, save water and waste, and use Energy Star equipment to cut down on power.

But it was the bag, and the potential greenwash that came with it, that made the news. So was it good news for the brand, or bad? Click Here to read the full story. Share &/or CommentΓû║

Friday, 26 August 2011 13:49

10 Tips.. To Help You Stand Apart from The Competition

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The word sales may not be in your job description, but in today's competitive marketplace, it probably should be. Whether you're selling yourself for a job or promotion; your ideas for a new project; or a product to a potential customereveryone sells some of the time. Our tips will help you make your next sales pitch more effective.
  • Know your audience... The more you know about a potential customer or employer, the more you can tailor your presentation to what's important to them. Leverage your personal network and the web to get up to speed quickly. Nothing builds rapport like a relevant, customized presentation.
  • Make a great impression... Practice your presentation until you feel prepared for success. It'll help boost your confidence, reduce any anxiety you feel, and help you remain upbeat and positive. Your personal appearance should be neat and professional. If you provide printed handouts, make sure they look professional too. Custom, colour handouts make a better impression than generic, black-and-white.
  • Listen and learn... Good salespeople spend at least half of their time listening; asking questions and listening some more. They adapt their sales pitch to include what's most relevant to their audience. Techniques to improve your listening skills include observing body language, taking notes, and just plain concentrating on what's being saidinstead of your response.
  • Create connection... Provide opportunities for a prospective buyer to connect with what you're selling. If it's a product, let them try it out and see how it works. If it's an intangible like a service or an idea, provide endorsements or references from industry leaders or other trusted sources.
  • Summarize your key selling points... Ask yourself what about your offering would benefit your potential customer most. Consider your competition and what sets you apart. Be bold. Lead with your strengths. Remember to emphasize benefits over features. Benefits are the reasons prospects become customers.
  • Make it risk free... Put yourself in your customer's shoes. People are naturally excited by new opportunities and ideas, but they're also cautious about something they've never tried. Make it easy for a prospective customer to take a chance on you. Provide references or testimonials from trusted sources. Offer a free trial, free training, an unconditional guarantee, or another assurance to reduce risk.
  • Add an incentive... Why should a potential customer buy now? Incentives help move sales forward. Price incentives are powerful, but offers of training or additional services are also effective. Other incentives are convenience, location, availability, timeframe, guarantees, trials, bundles, discounts on future purchases, etc. Knowing what's important to your prospect(s) will help you design a more effective incentive.
  • Close the sale... When you've answered all the questions, countered objections, presented your offering, and reviewed the situation as objectively as you can, ask your prospect if there is anything else you can provide to help them make their decision. If appropriate, ask your prospect what their expectations are for start-up, the first week, and six months after purchase. Make a note of their response and address any concerns. After the sale be sure to meet or exceed their expectations and you'll be well positioned for continued success.
  • Follow up... Good follow-up is common sense, but it's surprising how often it's neglected. That's why it helps you stand out. Write a thank you note. Make a phone call to check on delivery or how your product or service is performing. Selling is about relationships. Good ones lead directly to more sales and referrals.
  • Ask for feedback... The easiest time to ask for feedback is when you're doing well, but don't hesitate to ask any time. Customers and prospects may be reluctant to bring up small things on their own. But if you ask how things could improve, they'll tell you. It'll help you do even better and stay ahead of your competition.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011 15:10

Marketing Woes/Wows

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The most recent Signs of the Times national survey finds that:
  • Small business owners optimism is growing -- Six in ten (63%) small business owners are confident in the long-term success of their business, compared to a little more than half (54%) in 2010.
  • Younger business owners are even more assured about the future - The vast majority of small business owners age 18-35 (85%) are confident in the long-term success of their business compared to other age groups (35-54 at 56%; 55 and above at 63%).
  • While many small business owners plan to reach existing and potential customers online and through social media, more than half (53%) will turn to more traditional channels like newsletters and direct mail.
  • Tactics to Reach Potential and Existing Customers:
    • > Plan to increase communication via newsletters, direct mail, etc. 53%
    • > Plan to create or improve company's online presence (website, banner ads, SEO) 52%
    • > Plan to utilize social media and networking websites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) 45%
  • Traditional advertising/marketing tools continue to be popular with small business owners:
    • > Business cards 78%
    • > Yellow pages 54%
    • > Brochures 50%
    • > Flyers 44%
    • > Direct Mailers 44%
    • > Newspaper ads 42%
    • > Out-of-store signs/banners/posters 30%
    • > In-store signs/banners/posters 28%
    • > Coupons 28%
  • The majority of small business owners (91%) believe that the quality of a company's marketing/advertising materials reflects the quality of its products and services. Despite this connection, nearly a quarter (23%) say their own marketing/advertising materials do not reflect the quality of their products and services.
  • Just over a third (35%) of small business owners plan to split their resources evenly between Web-based marketing and traditional advertising materials, while another third (36%) will focus the most resources on Web-based marketing/advertising opportunities. Nearly three in 10 (29%) plan to focus the most resources on traditional marketing and advertising.
  • Two in ten small business owners (22%) say social media is a critical tool for marketing their business and half (50%) have experimented with it for that purpose. Younger small business owners (ages 18-35) are more likely to use social media than their older counterparts. A full third (33%) say social media is a critical tool for marketing their business, compared to owners overall. Share &/or Comment Γû║
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 14:01

Cambie Corridor.. Rezoned for High Density

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On May 11, 2011 Vancouver council voted in favour of increasing density along the entire Cambie Corridor. The plan calls for buildings up to 12 storeys, with even higher buildings around Oakridge Centre and Marine/Cambie area. An additional 15,000 to 20,000 people will live along the corridor once development is complete (around 20 years or so). Further, office space is as part of the plan and at least 20% of the larger developments will be earmarked for social housing.

This is a great first step for the city of Vancouver as it starts to embrace density outside Downtown and Uptown neighbourhoods. Now it's time that the residents of Vancouver embrace it as well. As expected the decision yesterday was met with the usual won't somebody please think of the children response from many area residents. The concept of change must be foreign to them, boy are they in for a rude awakening. As real estate prices  remain high in Vancouver, increased density is the option. Sure real estate prices might dip, but as soon as they do people from all over the world start pouring their money into our housing.

This decision should have been made a long time ago, or at the very least once the Canada Line was approved. However, just like anything,council first had to convince the naive residents in the area that arrival of rapid transit in their neighbourhoods will not mean more density. Fast forward five years or so and council has done what needs to be done.

Change isn't easy, I understand that. However, people need to come to the realization that the  future of Vancouver will bring more high density neigbourhoods outside the downtown core. It's starting to happen in East Vancouver and now it's coming to the west and south side. The next 20 years we'll see a lot more growth outside the core. Click Here to read the full story. Share &/or Comment►

Friday, 27 May 2011 16:34

Report Reveals.. Trends in Sustainable Purchasing

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The first annual Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report has been released, the most comprehensive discussion of municipal sustainable purchasing and ethical sourcing in Canada to date.

Vancouver, May 18, 2011 - Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing recently released the first annual Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report, the most comprehensive discussion of municipal sustainable purchasing and ethical sourcing in Canada to date.

Beyond revealing key trends across the country and valuable best practices, the report offers a national snapshot of how Canadian municipalities are implementing sustainable purchasing programs. Complete with a listing of common program barriers and recommended solutions, the report is a valuable resource for municipal decision-makers looking to implement impactful sustainable purchasing programming. Click Here to find out more. Click Here to download the report summary.  Share &/or Comment►

Friday, 27 May 2011 16:17

Towers on Cambie.. Vancouver's Top Planner Explains

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Vancouver is well-known for its approach to urbanism, and using densification towards creating a more liveable city. In reality, however, this popularity is focused on the relatively small area of Vancouver's downtown core and the neighbourhoods immediately surrounding it. Moreover, emphasis is often placed on the city's podium-towers as the future of sustainable urbanism.

The vote Tuesday by city council to approve the Cambie Corridor Plan, allowing mid-rise towers of up to 12 stories along that key artery -- and taller towers at Marine Drive and Oakridge intersections -- shows a different version of what the future may hold. More recent developments in Vancouver outside the downtown core, such as Olympic Village, have successfully deployed a mid-rise urbanism, and the Cambie Corridor Plan builds off many of the lessons learned from such projects, instead of the renowned downtown peninsula.

Recently, I conversed with Vancouver's director of planning, Brent Toderian, about the Cambie Corridor Plan, and what it means for the future of Vancouver and the City's approach to urban planning. Click Here to read the summary. Share &/or Comment Γû║

Thursday, 07 April 2011 11:36

B2B Marketing.. Traditional and Digital Working Together

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December 2010 -- According to Google's report "2011 B2B Marketing Outlook," traditional marketing makes up the majority (66%) of B2B marketing budgets this year, despite the growth of digital advertising. The survey, conducted for Google in fall 2010 by Ipsos OTX, in fact finds that traditional media accounts for the top three items in a B2B marketer's average budget:
  • Γû║ Trade shows and events (28%)
  • Γû║ Magazines/trade publications (13%)
  • Γû║ Direct mail (9%)

With this said, more than 80% of marketers are employing digital marketing methods.  The top digital expenditures of the typical B2B budget:

  • Γû║ Email marketing (8%)
  • Γû║ Search engine marketing (5%)
  • Γû║ Search engine optimization (5%)
  • Γû║ The report also finds that 77% of B2B marketers state they expect their budgets to stay the same or increase in 2011.

According to American Business Media, "A majority of B2B marketers said that combining digital with traditional and using multiple media in a campaign improves effectiveness. Six in 10 marketers said offline efforts affect online activity. 'When efforts across the marketing continuum are well coordinated … we see all boats rise,' a General Electric Co. marketing executive said in the survey." Share &/or Comment ►