Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hackers Leave Me Alone

A few months ago I was hacked. Never had it happen before that I am aware. It happened on Twitter. I received a direct message from someone that I follow on Twitter. It was a strange message and I went ahead and clicked on it to see what she was referring to. That was my first mistake. When I went to the Web site it was a nothing site. So I contacted my friend directly through Twitter to inquire about the email. She found that she had been hacked.

Evidently she contacted Twitter, because I received an email from them telling me to change my password. Unfortunately, I was so busy with projects I couldn't get to it right away. My second mistake. She contacted me a few days later saying that she had gotten a direct message from me through Twitter with some questionable content.

 And so it goes...after all the times that I didn't open an email or attachment for fear of getting a virus, I innocently did this once and got hacked. It never occured to me that I might get hacked in Twitter. Just proves we can get hacked anywhere.

 Another friend around that same time had her blackberry stolen. In it she had all of her passwords and important information. The person who stole it went into her Facebook account and hacked it good. All of her friends got a rude awakening. Her Facebook page had to be shut down immediately.

 My password has been changed on my Twitter account. My friend has a new Facebook page. But it makes me feel vulnerable and maybe more aware just how simple it is for someone to get into our lives. My Twitter account is for business tweeting. So, you won't get anything of a personal nature from me there. I've learned my lesson.  Drop everything to address a possible hack!
Cindy Neky
Contact Cindy
Marketing Pathways

What is Marketing?

There is a great deal of confusion as to what marketing really is. Even presidents of large corporations define it differently. Most of them do not understand the full scope of marketing and what all it entails.

According to the American Marketing Association the definition of marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Did you get all of that? The definition includes almost everything a business does and excludes very little. That may seem to be a little too all encompassing, but in fact, almost everything a business does is marketing.

Marketing can include, but is certainly not limited to:

* sales
* advertising
* public relations
* market research
* direct marketing
* social/media/viral
* packaging
* promotions
* customer service

You probably thought that marketing was part of sales. Actually, it is the other way around. Marketing is the large umbrella with all of the above bullet point actions underneath it.

Now we are all on the same page.  If it has to do with your product or service, it is probably some form of marketing.

Cindy Neky
Marketing Pathways
Contact Cindy

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New to Social Media? Need To Put On the Training Wheels?

Social Media... everyone is talking about it. Right now, you are participating in it.  

Facebook Fans are 60%, and Twitter followers are 79%, more likely to buy and recommend products and services they follow online than those they don't.  Good news for those businesses using social media. 

But how much do you know about using social media for your business? Did you even know that social media such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and blogging would be useful in getting the word out about your business? 

Recently I got a call from a business professional wondering what type of marketing plan he needed for the internet. It was good he was thinking about that, but it made me wonder later why it had taken him so long to get to this point. Fear? Not a user himself?

 Marketing on the internet is a must for all businesses, whether you sell to consumers or other businesses. The decision isn't whether to do it or not, the question should be how much to do. Larger companies have more manpower to keep the social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter up to date and current. And that really is the important part of social media. Not only is there an immediacy about the information you can deliver to your prospects and customers, but also an easier way to get to them.

The internet isn't just about a Web site any more. It is about getting information quickly to those who follow you or your business. If you haven't joined the social media craze because you haven't done it yourself you can try it out now. Put the training wheels on, so to speak. See what it does for you, so you can at least imagine what it might do for your clients.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, see my LinkedIn profile, and sign up for this blog I have added the links to the bottom of this article. Don't worry, I don't tweet (the word for sending out a message on Twitter) 100 times per day like some people do. What you will get is information on marketing that I feel will help you understand it or see the trends. No, I don't tweet about my personal life. So you won't hear about my children's latest important event.

This blog is another place where I put out information from my many years experience in marketing. Nothing too heavy, but things to consider for your business. Hopefully you will learn something from it.

If you are in business and you aren't on LInkedIn, you need to join today. This is a growing place for business people to get out information about themselves and what they are doing. It is much more business related than the other social media sites.  It is a great way to search for new leads and keep in contact with business acquaintances.

My business isn't on Facebook yet because of the type of clients I have. Many businesses do participate in Facebook.  It is better for consumer related products and services than for business to business selling. 

So there you have it. The opportunity for you to easily experience social media. Sign up today and soon you will be able to take off the training wheels.

For those of you already into social media, you can also sign up for those informative sites of mine below. The more the merrier!

Cindy Neky
Blog- Marketing Pathways Tidbits
LinkedIn- Cindy Neky

Even Simple PR Makes a Difference

Most people that I meet think that PR is a waste of time. That you can throw a lot of information to the press and see little for it. Some of this is true. Real public relations takes time, commitment and thought. It isn't just sending out a press release and hoping someone notices.

However, there is another part of PR that is simpler, but still effective. Ever read those notices in the paper that XYZ company just hired a new sales person? Or that the printer down the street added on to their building? We all have. At the time, most of us probably thought, "Gee, they must be doing pretty well." That is exactly what they want you to think. Ah, PR.

Even the simplest of announcements shows that your business is viable and doing well. The fact is, businesses hire when they have enough sales to support it. Of course, it could also mean that someone quit and you had to replace them. Either way, you need more help.

Don't underestimate the power of the simple announcements in PR. They can be very helpful to your business. With establishing a brand, you really need to get the name out there. The more people see even the simplest of mentions in the paper, on the radio, on the internet or TV, the more they will think of your business when it is time to buy your type of product or service.

Send out press releases for that new hire, special event, or other slightly newsworthy announcement. You never know who might see it.
Cindy Neky
Contact Cindy
Marketing Pathways

5 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas

Sometimes in our effort to come up with just the right marketing campaign, we forget some of the little things we can be doing that really don't cost all that much. Listed here are five simple and inexpensive marketing ideas.

1. Don't forget your current customers.  Studies show they are your best source of business. Give the top 10% (by sales or numbers) of your customers a phone call and not only thank them for their business, but ask them what else you can do to help them achieve their goals.

2. Ask for referrals.  Everyone talks about this, but how many of us actually do it? If your customers are happy, they will think of someone that want or need your help.

3. Don't forget to ask people to buy from you.  Sounds simple, but if you are advertising in any medium, you should be sure you ask the reader/prospect to buy your product or service, preferably today. 

4. Everyone should have a business card.  Make sure it is also a sales tool. It should be presentable and have the right information included. If you have a tag line, include it. If you have special hours that your competitors don't have, mention them.  Special items of interest that you want people to know about your business or about you can be on the card.  Think of it as a mini-brochure. 

5. Send your prospects a letter.  Yes, people still read letters.  Direct mail is still a valid form of marketing even in this age of electronic media.  Business professionals and consumers still like getting mail, and if the information you include is relevant and powerful, it will still be effective.

Marketing opportunities are everywhere; sometimes you just have to look for them.  That doesn't mean they have to cost a lot, so take some time and market your business today.

Cindy Neky
Contact Cindy
Marketing Pathways