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Why Concept Testing in New Product Development is Important

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Concept testing is a great way for companies to get in touch with customers’ needs and generate innovative ideas when it comes to new product development. Here are some of the reasons why concept testing in new product development will help your company’s success.

What is Concept Testing?

Concept testing is the process of collecting qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate consumer responses to a new product development idea. Researchers rely on an array of methods to solicit customer responses, employing surveys, written statements, images, or graphics to gauge customer responses to a new product concept. The data collected provides companies and product manufacturers with important information that can save them time and money in the long run on development and marketing costs. In other words, concept testing in new product development essentially allows companies to ‘pitch’ new product ideas to potential customer bases, soliciting customer feedback and reactions.

Coming up with a new idea for a product is an arduous process in and of itself. Multiple ideas are pitched and thrown out while only a select few make it to the concept testing stage. Concept testing in new product development is an absolutely essential way for developers and researchers to determine what aspects of a new product need to be altered or eliminated in order to appeal to customers, allowing companies to cut down on unnecessary production, labor, and marketing costs.

When Does Concept Testing Occur?

Concept testing in new product development occurs before a product is introduced to the market. Thus, developers can work out any ‘glitches’ with a product before spending time and money on manufacturing and advertising costs. Concept testing doesn’t only allow for researchers to evaluate customer responses to the product itself, however. Researchers can also evaluate best practices involved in marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s important to recognize that concept testing focuses predominantly on the product concept or idea; it is not necessarily the same as marketing or advertising texting.

Concept testing in new product development also allows researchers and develops to stay attuned to changing market trends. Through the data collected, researchers can evaluate what types of products customers are interested in, or can identify an unfulfilled niche in product development, thus anticipating customer needs. Concept testing helps companies get closer to the customers they serve because customers will provide helpful and genuine feedback regarding the new product or service the company is pitching. As businesses and organizations look to launch a new product or invest in the development of a new product idea, concept testing is a valuable way for companies to identify the unique perceptions, wants, and needs of the intended market.

All Feedback is Good Feedback

Of course, some product concepts will solicit unfavorable responses, in which case businesses and organizations will have to go back to the drawing board, as it were, either tweaking their concept ideas based on the feedback provided, or scrapping the idea altogether. Few new product companies receive overwhelmingly positive reviews by test audiences, so the majority of concept testing projects understand that it’s a process of revision, revision, revision, until the concept is just right.

The feedback that companies and organizations get from concept testing in new product development aids them in creating the best possible products, or in investing in the best possible product idea to appeal to their customers. Sometimes, companies will research various markets, depending on how large a market-base they are looking for. Both small and large companies participate in concept testing because the advantages it provides far outweigh the expenses associated with it.

Competitive Markets

Businesses are perhaps in more competition with one another than they have ever been before. As the world becomes increasingly more globalized and online shopping is quickly becoming the norm, companies find themselves having to come up with new and smarter ways to develop and market new products. Concept testing in new product development helps companies differentiate between a good idea and a great one, helping them to offer customers only the best new products. It’s a consumer’s world out there, after all, and companies need not only to be accountable to their customers, but also to be highly aware of consumer perceptions, needs, and desires. The way that people do business has certainly changed with the onset of the new millennium, and companies must keep up with the trends in order to stay competitive.

Concept testing in new product development is a great way for companies and organizations to assess customer trends and desires when at the preliminary stages of a product’s development.

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Segmentation

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You might be surprised to learn that many companies, especially young companies, do not take the time to think of their customers in terms of separate groups. This process, called customer segmentation, or sometimes market segmentation, is a very powerful tool that allows you to target your customers according to their unique needs, and to maximize customer engagement with your brand. If your business is growing and you want to understand how you can better understand and respond to your customers, then you need to learn the basics of customer segmentation.

Learning People’s Habits

Customer segmentation can happen along many different lines—you might care about how your customers are divided by age, demographic, lifestyle, or any number of other factors. However, the most straightforward, and most immediately lucrative, way to segment your customers is by purchasing habits—specifically, how often do they purchase your products?

Some customers, for example, already love your products and buy them often. These are your most lucrative customers, and identifying them will be very good for your business. By making these loyal customers feel special—say, by giving them extra perks, such as discounts or special offers—you encourage them to remain loyal to your brand. If these customers account for a significant portion of your profits, you want to encourage them to stay loyal.

On the opposite end, some customers are actively bad for business. It is possible for a customer to become a drain on your resources in a number of different ways. Perhaps they abuse your customer service lines, or they regularly seek refunds. Identifying these customers allows you to dissuade them from continuing to engage with your brand—send them elsewhere, and refocus your resources on the customers who matter.

Finding the Middle Ground

In between your best and worst customers, you will find numerous other groups that you can approach in different ways. For example, some people will buy your products occasionally, but also seek out your competitors—they aren’t loyal to you, but they aren’t loyal to anyone else, either. By identifying their needs, you can learn how to better appeal to them to encourage some of them to become more loyal.

Another group to be aware of is those who have engaged with your brand in the past, but have stopped. Their lapsed interest does not necessarily mean that they dislike your brand. Other factors may have led them to another brand, or they might just have stopped buying products like yours altogether. Customer segmentation allows you to find ways to re-engage some of these customers, which can actually be one of the most effective ways to grow your customer base.

Finally, there are new customers who have yet to decided whether they want your product. Yes, even though they aren’t technically customers yet, you should still account for them in your customer segmentation (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-customer-segmentation.htm)! The goal here is to learn how these potential customers are becoming aware of your brand, and to figure out how to appeal specifically to their needs and encourage them to try your product. Perhaps new customers most often learn of your brand through one of your products in particular, then go on to try others. In that case, you want to make the introductory product as friendly as possible to new customers.

What’s Next

What this article has described so far is only one possible way to segment your customer base. The truth is, every business is different and has different needs. You will likely find other ways to divide your customers that will be useful for your business. The key is to find identifying factors among your customers that you will be able to use as the basis for action.

For example, you can track what customers of a certain group tend to like, and then develop promotions to encourage members of that same segment to try the products that are popular with that segment. Sometimes, it’s as simple as noticing that many people who buy A also buy B, and then create a deal for people who buy A and B together. You show your customers that you have identified their interests, and you encourage them to engage further with your brand.

As you can see, customer segmentation is a versatile tool that every entrepreneur should have access to.

Twitter Marketing Service – An Effective Solution to Enhance Your Business

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Are you searching for an effective solution for enhancing your business? Opt for twitter marketing – an online social networking service for enabling your target audience to read and send short 140 character messages called tweets. Users can access Twitter through mobile apps as well as the official website. Twitter has more than 300 million active users, sending about 500 million tweets per day. Hence, it can be safely said that twitter provides a lot of marketing potential. If you are interested to boost your business through Twitter, you can easily contact twitter marketing service provider to steer you in the right direction and raise your brand awareness. This will help you to engage with your customers who are using twitter accounts on a daily basis.

Most of the twitter marketing service providers create and publish twitter marketing messages that are often scheduled 7 days in advance. Whether you want to generate new sales, engage with your target audience and be a part of trending conversations, twitter marketers make use of content, hashtag report and keywords for targeting your customers and getting data insight. You can get elevated brand voice by establishing as well as maintaining Twitter channels for your industry. Besides, you can communicate with users who like to know about the products and services offered by you. Industry experiences are often combined by the twitter marketers for engaging customers at the right moment and at the right content through various interest categories for building your brand authority. Be it audience targeting and segmentation, analysis of engagement pattern, competitive intelligence, conversation marketing, trend monitoring, social listening, social outreach, advertising, keyword and hashtag analysis, gender, location & keyword targeting, twitter marketing solution offers you all.

twitter-marketing-service-an-effective-solution-to-enhance-your-businessLet’s check out a few twitter marketing solutions in this regard:

Content Development – You can get optimized content development matching your consumer interest through twitter marketing. Whether it is on-page content, stories, articles, blogs or any other content, twitter marketers can offer you an increase in conversions throughout various channels and devices using technology enable insights. Development of creative content from advertisements to social media helps to engage twitter users and gets them converted to target audiences. The channels through which content marketing is done in Twitter include promoted tweets, accounts, updates and more.

Keyword Forecasting – Identifying the apt keywords helps you to boost your business revenue. By using proprietary technology, search traffic can be predicted while informing content advertising tactics for clients. Effective content cannot be developed until the right keywords are identified. Customer algorithms are often analyzed with keywords, hashtags, influencers and retargeting. Keyword forecast helps to identify how your target audience can leverage search and would behave online. Moreover, this helps the marketers to augment the online reach of personalized content, providing effective ROI.

Digital PR Solutions – If you opt for digital PR solution, you can get branded content for reaching your target audience and influencers wherever they consume media. Often traditional public relations are combined with digital forefront for establishing greater brand authority. This helps to enhance your overall brand visibility, ultimately driving customer engagement. Some of the Twitter advertising solutions include real-time social trend targeting, sponsored tweets, promoted accounts, cross-device retargeting, advanced data-layering, dynamic targeting and more. A good number of people can be brought from Twitter to your website by using a website card, allowing users to preview image, relate context and get clear call-to-action in timeline. A conversion tracking is often included in campaign for measuring all activities on Twitter like sign-up, purchase and more. The twitter marketers make use of website card for growing site traffic, enhancing your online purchase and driving specific actions.

Choose twitter marketing services and build your brand awareness in an effective way. Digital analysis of data and content solution for social media marketing offer you the ability to build connections with your current social networks. Whether you want to build brand advocacy, develop your social community, launch your new product or advertise an event, twitter marketing service can support a wide array of initiatives aligning to performance metrics. Get benefited from advanced data analysis and customer intent mapping for establishing the right connections with industry influencers, prospective clients and organizations on the same wave length. Get a customized Twitter marketing plan, including consistent content development, posting, checking and reputation management. Rely on this social media platform and unlock the power of Twitter for your business(https://www.thebalance.com/twitter-101-for-small-business-2531755). Get one-on-one consultation and leverage Twitter marketing solution for your business in the best possible way.

The Five Most Common Types of SEO Services for Startups

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Marketing a startup is different that marketing an established business. The majority of the startups knows SEO can play an important role in their success. But they don’t understand a basic SEO strategy will not help them get the success they desire. SEO has become more complex and it is more than playing with keywords.

Handling SEO internally can be less advantageous. And so you need an San Francisco, New York or Seattle SEO agency that can help your audience discover your startup. Thus, here are 5 most common types of SEO services offered to startups.

  1.       Keyword Research

It is the most important element of SEO project. Before writing down a plan to improve Google rankings, you must know which keywords to target. In general, you need to target 1-2 keywords with each page.

The keywords you target should relate closely to your business niche. For example, if your business offers roof repairs and replacements, the targeted keywords can be “Repair roof”, “Fix roof” or any other synonyms.

While selecting the keywords, the SEO agency will look for search volume for each keyword; the more the better.

The Five Most Common Types of SEO Services for Startups

  1.       Page Creation

Once you have the keyword list ready, you need to create pages for relevant keywords. Without relevant page on your website, you will not be able to achieve higher ranking in search engine results.

While creating pages relevant to keywords, you need to focus on these important things

  • Every page on the website should have unique content with the right placement of keywords.
  • The content on the page should be interesting enough to ensure higher search engine ranking and a lower bounce rate.
  • Keep page URL’s closer to the domain. Avoid nesting pages in directory paths
  • The page content should be long enough

Ensure the SEO agency you choose does a high-quality job when creating a page for keywords.

  1.       Page Optimization

Besides creating interesting and unique page content, you need to also optimize the page for search engines. After all search engines are computer programs so they need some helping hand for a better understanding of the content on the page.

A good SEO agency will take all steps to ensure the technical underpinnings are done at the right place so that search engine spiders are able to read and index content on the page in the best way. Some of the page optimizations activities performed by SEO agency are

  • Including synonyms of keywords in the page content
  • Creating keyword related <title> tags for all pages
  • Optimize anchor text of links on all pages
  • Add notation to images so that search engine spiders/bots understand the visual content
  1.       Link Building

Just keywords are not enough to get good search engine rankings. There are several pages on the Internet that offer similar content. So how does Google algorithm rank pages with similar content?

The answer is it looks for quality backlinks. Google considers inbound and outbound links while giving page ranks.

When your SEO service provider talks about backlinking, ensure they are focusing on quality instead of quantity. The best backlinking projects are handled manually which ensures good ranking for your website.

  1.       Technical Audit

A technical audit is a critical element of SEO as it finds out what is holding back organic performance of the site. A good SEO agency will perform a technical audit after applying all SEO techniques to your website to boost your rankings.

The technical audit paper generally mentions what needs to be done and explain actions that need to be taken and explain why they are important.

Startups have new websites with lots of pages and new content. A technical audit will take a closer look at all elements of SEO and optimize elements like page content, categories, tags, and content types such as audio, video, and podcasts.

Time is precious for startup and every entrepreneur understands they have less time to establish them as a reckoning force in the market. Instead of wasting time on managing everything internally(without guarantee of success), it is always a good idea to employ the services of an SEO agency that has all expertise, experience, and tools to improve your search engine rankings that can help you reach a wider audience.

Do you know any other SEO aspect that startups should focus on?

Five Things You Must Know About Branding Your Startup

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Starting a new business includes a lot of hard work. Every day you have to juggle between many tasks; meeting investors, recruiting people, sweet talking with clients and managing contractors. With so much daily commitment, you are left with very less time for important stuff. But, if you want your startup to grow healthily, you will need a unique identity.

Brand reputation and position is something that is built up slowly and earned over a time. Having said that, the actions you take at the initial stages of branding will dictate where your brand will move ahead in the future. It is important to get things right from scratch. Here are some important things you should know about branding your startup with the help of a branding agency in Seattle, New York or Los Angeles.

Five Things You Must Know About Branding Your Startup

  1.       Define Your Brand Clearly

The majority of the startup founders has a clear idea about things they are trying to accomplish. However, when someone asks them what their company does, they come up with an explanation of conceptual solutions rich with technical jargons that are not easy to understand. This is not good.

The best way for effective branding is coming up with a simple descriptive sentence. It’s okay if the sentence is not long enough and does not convey everything you do. The point is to achieve clarity while communicating your brand. For example, the branding of Nike has just three recognizable words – Just Do It. It does not say anything about their shoe business. The tag line has become a communication model for the company that is relevant to all fitness enthusiasts.

  1.       Craft a Visual Identity for Your Brand

“Picture speaks a thousand words” and it holds true for branding. Your Logo is the first visual your customer gets about the company. Your logo should represent your business in some way.

The famous Amazon logo has an arrow starting from alphabet “A” to alphabet “Z” which also looks like a smiley that tells customers the company wants its customer to be happy. So you need to make sure, your startup logo tells some story to your customer.

  1.       Brand Positioning

Positioning means giving information about your business. In simple words, it’s communicating what you stand for a specific customer segment in the market. Your brand positioning should clearly tell what problem in the industry/society your startup is trying to solve.

Brand positioning is different from taglines. Positioning statements are more for internal use. For example, when zipcar.com was launched in 2001, its brand positioning statement was “To urban-dwelling, educated techno-savvy consumers, when you use Zipcar car-sharing service instead of owning a car, you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.”

The above brand positioning clearly states the target market and the problem the startup was trying to solve.

  1.       Bringing Customer to the Brand

Today, you need a strong presence in the mass media to get recognition for your brand. You can give advertisements in the newspaper, but that is not enough. Your customer is dispersed across different marketing channels and you need to explore every marketing channel you know where your customer exists.

You can use SEO, Social Media and YouTube to get attention of your customers. Given the short attention span of customers, startups need to develop a strong brand marketing plan and put in consistent efforts to stay in the limelight so that your brand in always in front of your customers until it becomes memorable and easily recognizable.

  1.       Customer Service That Supports Marketing Efforts

Every brand that stands strong today is able to achieve the position only because of exceptional customer service. For example, if you Google about Amazon’s customer service, you will find several examples where the CEO, Jeff Bezos gives high importance to every issue faced by customers. There are examples of customers amazed by the action taken by the online retail giant just to make the customer happy.

Your customer service needs to back up claims made in marketing campaigns. If it does not, your brand will attract negative reviews that can be disastrous. Make sure your operations team always reads about the action taken by the marketing team to build your brand. Never forget, you need to always put customers first.

Do you recognize any other branding elements that need to focus by startups?

Develop a Strategic Medical Marketing Plan for Your Medical Practice

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The landscape of the healthcare industry is changing. Patients play more active role in their care choices and you are required to provide them better information to help them make informed choices. But, how would they know until someone tells them?  This makes marketing more important for your medical practice.

Medical marketing is not only about advertising your services. It also involves patient communications, fine tuning processes that will improve patient experience and adding a non-clinical perspective of patient care and services.  Here are some tips for medical marketing services providers to develop a strategic marketing plan that will help medical practices.

Develop a Strategic Medical Marketing Plan for Your Medical Practice

Important Elements of Strategic Medical Marketing Plan

Your strategic medical marketing plan should have the ability to interact with your patients and potential customers on different platforms.  Multi-channel marketing is the best way to communicate with your audience. Here are some important elements of the medical marketing ( http://www.ehow.com/list_7232478_medical-marketing-strategies.html ) plan you should focus on.

Responsive Website Design

A responsive website design means the site should respond to a user’s behavior and the device environment that includes platform, screen size and orientation.  Today’s user accesses the internet from various devices that includes laptop, smartphones and iPad.  The website should be able to automatically switch to suit the screen resolution, scripting and adjust image sizes accordingly. In other words, the website design should have the ability to adjust to the user’s preferences.  The website should be easy to navigate even on the small screen.

Social Media Marketing

Hospitals need to take a deeper look at social media marketing to meet their target patient demographics. Several leading healthcare organizations are already using social media to successfully connect with patients. As per the Journal of Medical Internet Research, around 95% of hospitals are having a Facebook page while 50% hospitals have Twitter account.

The healthcare industry can learn a lot from the hospitality industry about using social media effectively and engage their customer base in conversation.  There are several examples of using social media effectively to reach and resolve patient issues.

One such example is of Ohio State University Medical Center, which monitors Twitter and other social media platforms for posts by patients referencing their hospital and/or doctors. In one instance, one of their patients had posted complaint about wait time to see the physician. A staff member of the Ohio State University Medical Center responded directly to the patient on Twitter and contacted appropriate hospital staffer who arranged for a medical representative to meet the patient and diffuse the situation.

Email Marketing

Email lists are powerful tools of marketing for the healthcare industry.  You can easily grow your hospital brand by offering content rich email marketing program on a regular basis. Your audience mainly includes patients, referring physicians and donors. The email marketing program can be effectively used to drive prospective patients to your clinic/hospital. It helps to inform and make people aware of the services you offer and stay visible until they need it.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising aka PPC are good ways to save time and also effective to gain patients.  There are several paid advertising tools such as Google AdWords, Facebook Local Awareness Ads, and LinkedIn Ads that bring more recognition, referrals and patients as well.

One of the good thing about PPC is you can always control the costs.  Depending on your marketing strategy, costs can be as low as $1 per day with Facebook and $0.30 using AdWords.

Postcard Marketing

Postcards can be effective medical marketing tools. Direct mail marketing still holds importance in this digital age of marketing. The simple reason is today’s consumer is bombarded with too much digital marketing content and postcard come across as a unique marketing tool.

One plus-point of postcard marketing is despite inflation; postage rates are still affordable. Postcards are direct in their message delivery as there is no envelope masking the contents. You can easily gain the attention of the targeted consumer base by designing attention grasping, friendly postcards.

Marketing is important for every business, including healthcare and medical practitioners.  And Medical marketing when done in the right way can have a direct influence on patient’s choice and also help in hospital branding.

Tips to Improvise Direct Mail Fundraising Campaigns

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Though non-profit organizations are not selling anything or don’t need publicity for their public service, they do need some marketing to reach their prospective donors and gather funds. And the best way to market the initiatives of a non-profit organization is to send out simple yet heartwarming postcards and newsletters. Hence, this direct mail solution is the most feasible option for any kind of non-profit event. In this article we are going to discuss how to use mail for fundraising events i.e. direct mail fundraising campaigns.

Why Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is one of the oldest but most effective means of marketing products, services and even non-profit initiatives. Postcards, newsletters, letters, brochures, calendars, flyers; there are a number of ways a non-profit organization can convey its message to its donors. It is preferred by almost all organizations even to this day, and the reason for direct mail’s everlasting success even during the times of emails, smartphones and social media is pretty simple; it is emotional. People have a certain emotional attachment to mail as it brings back the nostalgia of this once loved routine, eagerly checking for mails in mailboxes. In addition to being emotional, mails can also be customized, targeted, personalized and are cheap when compared to other alternatives like newspaper, radio and TV adverts.

Tips to Improvise Direct Mail Fundraising CampaignsTips to Improvise Direct Mail Fundraising Campaigns

If your organization is hosting a fundraising event and if you are planning to send an invite to all your prospective donors via direct mail, follow the below mentioned tips to make it a successful direct mail fundraising campaign.

1. Preparing your Mailing List- Before you decide on aspects such as content, design, budget and postage, make sure you have a refined list of all the donors you want to reach out to. Based on their previous contributions and promises, prepare a refined mailing list that only includes those donors who are likely to donate this time. This increases your conversion rates, adds value to your fundraising event and also reduces the number of redundant mails and costs incurred.

2. Type of Direct Mail- As mentioned above, there are a number of ways you can convey your message using mail- postcards, newsletters, letters, brochures, flyers etc. In order to have a successful direct mail fundraising campaign, choose the type that will stand out in your donor’s mailbox. Your campaign’s primary objective must be to grab your donor’s attention and not end up as junk mail in trash. Attractive postcards and newsletters without envelopes are normally the ideal choice for fundraisers.

3. Outline and Design- With a bunch of other mail, your postcard or newsletter has to stand out and grab the reader’s attention in a few seconds. Outline of the entire mail piece, content distribution, its design, choice of colors, fonts- every little detail plays a major role in influencing your prospective donors. So in order to make your direct mail fundraising (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_mail_fundraising) successful, attention to detail and design is a must. Also ensure the paper quality is good enough to make the invite presentable and dignified.

4. Content- Though looks play a major role in grabbing attention, it is the content inside that makes all the difference once your mail gets picked up. Donors expect a lot of information such as the cause supported by the fundraiser, annual reports of the organization etc. Make sure to furnish every little information that’s worth mentioning and use bold fonts for headlines and other outliners.

5. Acknowledgement- Once the donors seem interested in the fundraiser and officially confirm their participation, it is a courteous gesture to send them a thank you card and acknowledge their contribution. Keep them well informed about the event and also mention how this contribution will further strengthen the relationship between the donor and the organization.

6. Contact Information- Lastly, to keep your direct mail fundraising campaign effective and successful, furnish the mail piece with all the relevant details, contact number & address and links to social media pages. Hand addressed mails are very popular in the non-profit organizations as they add value to the mail piece and make it look more personal.

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