The Advantage And Disadvantages Of Brochures In Marketing

Marketing is a way of delivering information and encouraging consumers to try your product. The most popular ways of marketing is through the television, radio, internet and print ads. One form of print ad marketing is through brochures. Brochure marketing is a popular choice among small and medium scaled businesses because they relatively cost lesser than the other options except internet marketing.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of brochure marketing. It is important that you have an idea about what they are to help you discern whether it will work for you or not. Advantages are:

Having a brochure for your business or your institution proves your credibility. If you have the budget to pay for your letterheads and your business cards, a brochure can do you more. Aside from using it to feature your products and services to attract potential customers and investors, you can also use it to show your achievements throughout the years or your objectives in achieving your goals if you are just starting.

It makes your clients realize that you are serious and you mean business. With the growing competition in the business world today, only a few realize the benefit of having a brochure. Doing so will show that you give importance to all your clients because not all of them have the time to watch TV, listen to the radio or surf the internet. Therefore, giving them a brochure allows you to give them the chance to read what you have to share in their most convenient time.

Giving away brochures saves your time from typing separate letters that you need to give away to your clients. By having them printed at the same time, you do not have to go through the hassle of encoding and printing one letter at a time just to give to those who show interest in your products.

They come in handy. If you want to tell your clients more about your business, all you have to do is to give them a brochure that they can read for a better and clearer understanding of your products and services.
Disadvantages

Brochures do not necessarily mean a closed deal. If you are in a real estate business or if you are in car dealership, giving away brochures does not necessarily mean that you already have the deal. However, it is one way to encourage potential clients to read through it but other than that, nothing follows.

Brochures are expensive to make and change. If you do not know how to make your own brochures and if you do not have the right equipments, you will not be able to come up with the quality that you expect. Having them changed because of missed information and corrections is the same as having a new brochure printed.

Sometimes, if you are introducing a new product that are not of interest to your potential client, they simply ask you to just leave the brochure on the table. No matter how informative they are and how good your intentions are, they make the brochures a kind way of asking you to leave them behind.

Mtc Global Group & Due Diligence – Checklist To Prevent Investment Fraud

Investigators and prosecutors cannot protect you from investment fraud. Even with secured, regulated investments you should always assume that fraud is a possibility. The front-line of defense against investment fraud is an educated and skeptical consumer. You must protect yourself. That is why due diligence is necessary.

The reason investment fraud succeeds is because people are lured into emotional decisions by the con artist without first completing their due diligence. Due diligence is what forces you to look behind the faade, uncover the facts, and make a well reasoned decision; however, due diligence takes time and effort. The sad reality is most people spend more time planning their vacation than they spend on investigating their investments.

Con artists are different. They do their homework first. They learn persuasion techniques designed to convince you to buy on faith without investigating. They study the characteristics of affinity groups to create a sense of trust and common bond. They have well-rehearsed answers to common questions. In short, they are professionals out to get you.

If its worthwhile for the con artist to spend so much time and energy preparing a strategy to scam you out of your money wouldnt it make sense for you to spend a little effort to prevent his success? Below is a step-by-step due diligence process to help protect your portfolio from investment fraud. Each step in the process becomes increasingly difficulty for the investment to pass and increasingly more cumbersome for you to apply. For that reason, start at the beginning because few investment frauds can pass even the most basic tests. This will keep things simple and only require you to implement the more detailed due diligence questions on rare occasions.

Investment Fraud Prevention The Business Common Sense Test

The first thing to notice about investment fraud is its usually promoted by promising a high return on your investment. Easy money, get-rich-quick returns are almost universally appealing to less experienced investors. It is a powerful sales tool. But do returns in excess of market rates pass the business common sense test our first test for investment fraud?

The reality is investing is nothing more than the application of capital to business. As a result, the return on your capital must be consistent with the laws of a competitive business environment. The high returns must make business sense.

Above market returns only make business sense if a competitive advantage exists that you can exploit but other potential competitors cannot. The reason is because excess return on capital (above market rates) will always attract sufficient new capital to lower those returns back in line with the expected risk. Its called competition, and the only time it doesnt hold true is when artificial barriers limit capital inflows or a proprietary investment edge exists that cant be exploited by competitors.

Below are two questions to help you address the business common sense test for any investment:

(1) How exactly does this investment strategy create above market returns? What is the competitive advantage?

Ask yourself if the answer you are given is complete, thorough, and makes business sense. Is the answer is glib, laced with jargon and techno-babble, or is it simple and straightforward? Do you understand the competitive advantage well enough to explain exactly how it works to someone else? If you cant explain it then you dont understand it.

(2) What are the barriers that will lock out competitors so that additional capital and supply doesnt force returns down to market level?

There must be a legitimate business reason that returns will remain excessive. Again, does the answer pass the common sense test or does the explanation sound like something from the Top 24 Warning Signs of Investment Fraud? Can you explain the reason why to a friend in every day language?

Fully exploring these two questions should eliminate most investment fraud right from the beginning. In order for an investment to pay you above market rates of return it must have a competitive advantage and barriers to competition. If it doesnt then it cant pass the business common sense test for legitimately offering above market rates of return.

How The Sales Person Reacts To Your Due Diligence Questions Is An Important Clue

As you begin asking due diligence questions it is important to notice the quality and tone of the sales persons response. This can provide you with vital clues to the quality of the investment he is peddling.

Serious questions are a symptom of a serious buyer and honest salespeople know it, welcome it, and respect it. They have nothing to hide so they will attempt to simplify their answers so you can understand the investment and make an informed decision. Buying investments should be a professional, businesslike experience not warm and fuzzy like a trusted friend nor too cold and abrasive like a distant competitor but just right like a professional you respect.

Watch out for the Friendly Fred fraud sales tactic where you feel too guilty to ask pointed questions because hes such a nice guy. After all, how could you not trust such a charming person? Alternatively, the salesperson might become cold and use intimidation tactics to make you feel stupid and derail you from getting the answers you deserve. Excessively warm and excessively cold sales tactics are designed to bring emotion into the sales decision and derail common sense. That is a key point.

Another tactic sometimes used by investment fraud promoters is to respond to your questions with techno-babble terminology so that you become too confused or intimidated to ask more questions. They might claim the investment is too technical to understand or get irritated with your questions. The purpose is to keep you from looking behind the faade and finding the truth.

What you want is a professional sales environment where a rational, fully informed decision can be made. You want to ask your questions and get straightforward answers. Never allow trust, friendship or emotion to get in the way of that task. Its your money and investing is serious business.

When you dont understand an investment it doesnt mean you are dumb: it just means the investment doesnt make sense. If they make you feel dumb, then go ahead and be dumb and get your questions answered anyway. Be like Columbo from the TV series and be dumb like a fox.

Never be intimidated or allow the con man to sidetrack you with flippant answers that lack substance. Con-artists are second only to politicians in evasion and double-speak. Dont allow their manipulative tactics to derail you from getting behind their faade. Never settle for anything less than a complete and detailed understanding that allows you to make a fully informed investment decision. Drill them until you get the answers you deserve.

Its your money. Youre taking the risk. You deserve to know what you are getting involved in. Accept nothing less.

Investment Fraud Protection: How Can I Lose Money?

If the proposed investment passes the business common sense test and your sales person is providing reasonable answers to your questions, then the next step in due diligence is to understand all the ways you can lose money with the investment.

Why? Because you cant understand an investment until you know the risks. Investment fraud is often sold on the basis of high returns with little or no risk, but this sales appeal is pure nonsense.

Every investment includes risk of loss and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or self-deceived. There is no such thing as a perfect investment. The investment business is a constant battle between risk and reward. You cant have one without the other.

Ive detected investment fraud in hedge funds just by noting track records that were too good to be true. Later discoveries by regulatory authorities verified my suspicions. Ive researched thousands of investment strategies and never found an exception to the rule that every investment has risk either in terms of purchasing power loss, opportunity cost, or outright capital loss. There are no exceptions. All investments have risk.

To discover the risk of loss ask the promoter the following questions and dont be surprised if you have to press hard to get a thorough answer:

(1) What are all the conditions under which this investment will lose money?

(2) What is the worst market environment for this investment strategy?

(3) What assumptions or correlations must remain valid for profits to continue?

(4) What crazy, impossible to imagine situations would result in losses if they actually occurred no matter how remote the possibility of their occurrence?

Until you uncover the risk inherent in the investment strategy then you dont understand the deal. If the risk doesnt appear, then the investment is probably not legitimate or you dont understand it.

Additionally, be wary of guarantees. The more an investment is touted with a guarantee the more I want to know what I am being guaranteed against. Guarantees are frequently marketing tactics designed to make you accept claims at face value, invoke trust, and make your decision easy so that you dont look deeper into the issues. Dont fall for it. There is no free lunch in the investing game.

Because investment fraud is often sold as low or no risk, one of the primary tasks in due diligence is to uncover all the ways you can lose money on the deal. You must know the risk because your objective as an investor is to balance risk with reward. The only way to do this is by fully understanding the risk before ever committing a dime.

Investment Fraud Prevention: Selling To Individual Investors

As a former money manager, I can tell you that selling to many small investors is the most difficult way to gather capital. If you are an individual investor being sold on the next great investment then ask the promoter why he is trying to attract capital from the little guy rather than large institutions?

Underlying this question is the logic that it doesnt make business sense for a legitimately great investment organization to bother with all the marketing costs and headaches of many small investors when they can attract all the capital needed with a lot less hassle by doing business with institutional investors.

This may not sound nice, but it is the business reality of money management and investing. Great investments will be marketed to large investors because it is the most cost efficient way to raise capital. The little guy is left with the retail level stuff.

The primary reason investment fraud is marketed to individual investors instead of institutions is because individual investors rarely do their due diligence; whereas, institutions nearly always do their due diligence. That makes small investors easier prey.

For that reason, be extra careful when sophisticated or non-traditional investments are marketed to individual, non-accredited, investors in denominations under $100,000. It is another warning sign that should prompt you into even more detailed due diligence as shown below.

Due Diligence Checklist for the Promoter

If an investment made it this far in the due diligence process then it probably merits investigating the background of the promoter as follows

(1) Verify that the person and company offering the investment are registered with your states securities regulator. You can contact the North American Securities Administrators Association for local securities regulators contact information. Request a copy of the offering from the regulator and determine if there are any complaints or actions recorded.

(2) Contact the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine if the company and promoter are registered.

(3) Determine the state in which the company is incorporated and use the National Association of Secretaries of State http://www.nass.org to find the contact information for the appropriate Secretary of State. Some states information may be limited to officers and directors lists, and other states may offer more complete information such as annual financial statement filings or business plans.

(4) Check with the Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org and state attorney general to see if there are any complaints filed against the company.

(5) Verify all claims of patents, trademarks, and large contracts. Large contract claims can be verified with the counter party and intellectual property claims can be verified whether completed Patent and Trademark Office.

(6) Search the internet using your favorite search engine by trying keywords such as the company name, promoter name, investment name and anything else you can think of. What is the buzz? Your goal is to find negative or contrary postings that might refute the promoters claims or make you aware of previously unforeseen problems.

(7) What are the track records, backgrounds, and histories of the person and company soliciting the investment?

(8) How long has the company been in business?

(9) Verify the company offices and address by physically inspecting for existence. Prestigious addresses can turn out to be little more than a mail drop location.

(10) What background information can you obtain about the officers, directors and other key personnel for the investment?

(11) Review recent financial statements for the company. Have they been independently audited by a reputable accounting firm or are the statements self-prepared?

(12) Can you obtain a contact list of other investors for further due diligence? Be wary of handpicked reference lists. Determine the credibility of the references by discussing their background, knowledge, and level of due diligence. Just because they are happy investors doesnt make the investment legitimate: they could be self-deceived.

(13) Are there any current or pending lawsuits or bankruptcies against the company or any of its officers or directors?

(14) Determine exactly how the promoter will be compensated by the company if you purchase the investment. How does this compensation compare to competing investments? Above market sales compensation is a symptom of potential fraud.

(15) Your local library can provide many other resources for researching companies and investments. For example, you can learn about the company, credit reports, lawsuits, judgments, liens and much more. Resources vary widely depending on your library so check with your local librarian.

Due Diligence Checklist for the Investment

Very few fraudulent investments should make it this far in the due diligence process. Most should be weeded out by now. However, here are a few more actions to add to your checklist to flush out the remaining few bad apples

(1) Verify that the investment offering is registered with your state securities regulator and/or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Depending on capital and shareholder requirements it may be exempt from SEC registration but should still be required to register with the state. Get a copy of the offering document and read it.

(2) Beware if the only written material you receive is a glossy brochure. Demand a prospectus and/or other legal disclosure documents as required by law.

(3) Make sure you will receive regular, written reports updating the investment. Review past issues of investor reporting for completeness, accuracy, and disclosure.

(4) Determine how the funds solicited for investment will be used? Will the funds be segregated from other accounts available to the business?

(5) What is the basis for the purchase price of the investment? Does it represent fair value?

(6) What does it cost to own this investment? Are there any annual fees, holding charges, custodial fees, or hidden charges? Let the promoter know you want a complete disclosure of every last penny required to own this investment.

(7) What is the liquidity of the investment? Can you sell it whenever you want to? Is there a ready market of buyers? What are the expected transaction costs when selling? What are the restrictions to selling?

(8) If youre not confident or lack experience in a particular investment then consider consulting with a third party such as your attorney, accountant or registered investment advisor for a second opinion before investing.

(9) Maintain a file with all correspondence and notes from conversations. Print a hard copy of all on-line solicitations noting the internet address (URL), time and date. Get all claims, guarantees, and terms of the deal in writing. If its not in writing then its not real.

How To Make Your Fortune With Door To Door Sales

A lot of people look down their nose at door to door sales but actual measurement shows it is a very effective way to sell.

Knocking on doors to sell is no more of an interruption than any other form of advertising. Even TV and radio advertising interrupts your shows or music. Like ll other advertising and sales, if you product or service is needed by the customer, they are glad you came by. If they don’t need what you are offering, they view you as a pest and an interruption. For example, if your toilet started dripping and flooding just before a pluming company knocked on your door, would you be glad they came by? Sure you would. That’s why raising interest quickly is so important in door to door sales.

A Great Way To Get Through

Door to door sales will get you through to a decision maker. You won’t get voice make, receptionists or other gatekeepers to stop you. If the door opens, you got through and you have a few seconds to raise interest and tell them how you can help them. Door to door sales allows you to get through to people you would never reach any other way. Door to door sales also gives you immediate customer feedback. If too many people don’t like your approach, your price or your product, you can change it quickly.

Undivided Attention

When someone answers the door, you have their undivided attention for a few precious seconds. There is no other form of advertising that provides this golden opportunity. TV commercials interrupt the show. Many people leave the room. Newspaper ads are an interruption for people trying to read the news. Telemarketing calls are taken while people eat, watch TV and do all kinds of things. Only door to door sales gives you their undivided attention.

Impulse Selling

Door to door sales gets impulse sales. Most other forms of advertising require a person to think now and act later. For example, TV ads require you to remember the name and number of the advertiser and decide to call them later. The same is true of billboards, radio ads etc. Only door to door sales puts a salesperson with an order form in front of a customer you have convinced to buy right now. That is the miracle and the magic of door to door sales.

No Cost To Try

Unlike all other forms of marketing, door to door sales costs nothing to try. If you can knock, you can sell. This allows small startup companies to compete with the big dogs and can bring in immediate cash to new businesses.

Easy To Evolve

Unlike other kinds of marketing that may take weeks and thousands of dollars to change, door to door sales is easy to evolve and improve. You can change your presentation, your price and your approach before you knock on the next door. The cost of this market research is zero. Give it a try and see who salutes it.

Used By Respectable Companies

Some people fee that door to door selling is only used by swindlers but some of the largest companies use this medium successfully such as AT & T, Time Warner and many others. Be proud if you sell door to door. You are in a good group of sales companies.

Door to door is as American as the front porch and as friendly as meeting your neighbors. It is a great way to market, and it should be a part of every salesperson’s sales tools.

Ooh Advertising Out-of-home Advertising Boosts Impact Of Other Media, Delivers Sales Lift

Marketers looking for evidence that out-of-home advertising can improve sales and amplify the effectiveness of their other advertising need look no further than a new study from Clear Channel Communications and MarketShare Partners.

The study, “How Out-of-Home Advertising Works,” examines the return on investment of using out-of-home advertising as an ingredient in a larger marketing mix. Specifically, the report finds OOH advertising provides a significant, incremental sales lift that equals, or is often greater than, other drivers.

“After careful analysis of thousands of marketing optimization models, and considering decades of research and applied marketing science, independent research from MarketShare Partners conclusively shows that OOH is an effective marketing vehicle and should be included as a component of the optimal marketing mix across a broad range of industries,” said Debbie Reichig, senior vice president of Business Development and Marketing at Clear Channel Outdoor.

So what can marketers expect from OOH advertising? Quite a lot, actually. A press release announcing the report outlines some of key benefits, including:

*Adding OOH in the media mix, for industries and products where it provides observable sales lift, makes other media more effective.

*OOH can provide a significantly higher sales lift in conjunction with TV when the creative messaging is coordinated across platforms.

*OOH can provide a significantly higher sales lift in conjunction with radio when there is a call to action.

As I’ve discussed before, out-of-home advertising using a medium such as digital signage networks is making great strides these days. Recent developments in technologies and techniques to count audience elevate the stature of OOH advertising in the minds of marketers and ad agencies alike.

The latest study from Clear Channel Communications and MarketShare Partners advances the medium further still. It not only demonstrates how OOH ads can provide a sales lift when used together with radio and TV advertising, but it makes specific recommendations on the optimum allocation of marketing resources to out of home.

The study finds the best allocation of marketing dollars to OOH advertising falls somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent of the total advertising budget for most products and brands.

While some may discount this study as self-serving -after all Clear Channel Communications recently announced its recommitment to OOH ad networks and is one of the largest purveyors of outdoor advertising in the world- to do so would be shortsighted in my opinion. Sure this company has an interest in OOH advertising, but both Clear Channel and MarketShare Partners have an equally strong interest in protecting their reputation in the industry. To do anything other than to look honestly and completely at OOH advertising in the report would be harmful to both enterprises.

I applaud the companies and the release of “How Out-of-Home Advertising Works.” The study offers the advertising and marketing communities key insights at this important stage in the development of OOH advertising on digital signage networks. Not only does the study demonstrate how OOH advertising can help marketers achieve their goals, it quantifies what portion of their ad budgets should be allocated to this medium to maximize the effectiveness of their advertising efforts.

Customer Intimacy And Empathy Are Keys to Innovation

“Above
all, we know that an entrepreneurial strategy has more chance of
success the more it starts with the users – their utilities, their
values, their realities … the test of an innovation is always what it
does for the user…it is by no means hunch or gamble. But it is also
not precisely science. Rather, it is judgment.” – Peter Drucker,
Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Just because a company is
spending money on research (such as markets, customers, or new
technologies) and development doesn’t mean they will get innovation.
Innovation, as with advertising, training, or many other organization
investments, depends on the quality of the investment as much as the
quantity of resources put in it. A high proportion of innovative new
products, services, and companies flop. That’s often because managers
build better mousetraps without first making sure there are any mice out
there. Or that people still want to catch them.

Many innovations
come from a deeper level of customer and market understanding. They go
beyond what current customers say they need. They solve problems that
customers either don’t realize they have or didn’t know could be solved.
These innovations create needs and performance gaps only once customers
start using them and get turned on to the possibilities.

Every
product and service we now take for granted was once silly, interesting,
or just an odd curiosity. What would we have said to a market
researcher asking about a video machine for our TV when there were few
movies to rent? How about CD players when there were no CDs to buy? What
about a bankcard to withdraw cash from an ATM? How about a personal
computer? In the fifties, how highly would we have rated the need for
jet planes when our business was conducted within a few hundred-mile
radius of our office?

These are a few examples of the thousands of
innovations that customer or market research and competitive
benchmarking would never have identified a need for. The companies who
pioneered these sorts of innovative breakthroughs had years of
spectacular revenue growth and market leadership.

Walking in Our Customer’s Shoes

“The
need for innovation on an unprecedented scale is a given. The question
is how. It seems that giving the market free rein, inside and outside
the firm, is the best – perhaps the only – satisfactory answer.” – Tom
Peters, Liberation Management: Necessary Disorganization for the
Nanosecond Nineties

Innovation is a hands-on issue. It calls
for an intimate understanding of our current customers and markets,
potential new customers or markets, team and organization competencies
and improvement opportunities, vision, values, and mission. We can’t
develop that intimacy from a distance. Studies, reports, surveys,
graphs, and measurements wouldn’t do it.

Effective innovation
depends on disciplined management systems and processes. But it starts
with people. People searching for creative ways to do things better,
different, or more effectively. People trying to understand how other
people use, or could use, the products or services their organization
could produce. That makes innovation a leadership issue.

Beyond
the management tools of surveys, focus groups, and the like, innovation
leaders find a multitude of ways to live in their customers’ world.
They’re learning how to learn from the market, not just market research.
Innovation leaders look for ways to align the organization’s product
and service development competencies with latent or unexpressed market
and customer needs. Since customers don’t know what’s possible, they
often can’t identify innovations that break with familiar patterns.

At
the other extreme, leaders recognize that their organizations are
constantly in danger of developing products and services with little or
no market appeal. So many new (or extended) products and services come
from empathic innovation. These are innovations that flow from a deep
empathy and understanding of the intended customers’ problems and
aspirations.

Through living in and empathizing with their
customers’ world, innovation leaders focus their organization’s
development capabilities on solving problems or meeting needs that
customers may not realize could be done.

As my first consulting
company, The Achieve Group, was working with current and prospective
Clients to move beyond the training field to organization improvement,
we stumbled across the need for senior management education, strategy
formulation, and implementation planning sessions. This came from
working closely with Clients struggling to get people in their
organization trained and using new approaches to customer service,
quality improvement, and teams. It became clear that how the senior
management group pulled everything together and led the effort was the
key stumbling block or stepping stone to the whole effort. After
experiments, pilots, and few failures, Achieve’s highly successful
executive retreat process evolved and developed to meet a need no one
had anticipated.