Marketing That is Working Right Now – Customer Research

What is working right now in this tough market as the best, reasonable cost mix for any organization is finding out who your customer types are (profile them), and then do the following:
- Events
- News Releases (not necessarily to the press)
- Web Promotion
- Radio Advertising
- E-blast Newsletters
- Direct Mail Advertising

All must be highly targeted at your top purchasing demographics and done as a campaign – not a series of unconnected media activity. It works right now!

The strategy starts by figuring out exactly who your buyers are and creating unique events for them, and people just like them. This article will cover customer research and future articles will cover the events and the media mix shown above.

Who are Your Customers? Once You Find Out, You Can Find More Just Like Them.
Find out the demographics and other information about your best customers. Check with your top sales people, look at customer records, hold focus groups with your customers, call them, poll them, find out as much as you can about the following:
- What is their household income?
- What is their age?
- Where do they live?
- Single, married, kids?
- Have they bought before?
- Why did they buy your product or service?
- Was there a particular benefit, feature, message that brought them to you?
- What media do they use: Which TV channels, radio stations, websites, magazines and newspapers, etc.?
- How did they hear about you? Careful! This is tenuous at best. Most won’t remember or won’t tell you accurately for a number of reasons but if most say the same thing it might be reliable.
- What are their favorite charities?

You’re looking for trends, not private or individual information.

After you figure out your best customer data, create customer profiles so you can use the information to:
- Create events to appeal directly to them
- Decide when is the best time to have an event and advertise
- Figure out where to have events
- Position your product or service vs. the competition
- Create a message to use to write news releases and other copy
- Target web sites you can use to use to promote (including social networking sites and groups)
- Promote on specific radio stations
- Get potential addresses to use for direct mail

Next article, Unique Events!

Global Online Marketing Profile 2010 Forecast – The Netherlands

Market Opportunity

The root of the Netherlands’ economy lies upon its free capitalistic market. The Netherlands’ economic freedom score is 77, making its economy the 12th freest in the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom. It has the 16th largest economy in the world and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita.

According to the CIA Factbook, the GDP is currently 670.2 billion USD and the Purchasing Power Parity is 2.8 billion USD while the Dutch are experiencing 1.8% real growth, 4.5% unemployment, and 1.6% inflation rates. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek reports the average disposable income of Dutch households amounted to 28.5 thousand euro in 2004. The real disposable income of Dutch households rose by nearly 4 percent in 2007. Households spending exceeded household income by 2 billion euro. In 2006, Dutch households spent 6 billion more than they received in income.

With a population of 16.7 million, the country has been one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the four largest investors in the United States. The increasing ties of the Netherlands with global trade are reflected in the increasing shares of exports and imports in GDP. Data from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek shows that exports rose from to 77% of GDP in 2008 in addition to imports rising to 68%. Despite its small size, the Netherlands ranks seventh in the world in total value of its corporations. Furthermore, its online retail market is amongst Western Europe’s largest, with the Netherlands also ranked as one of Europe’s top five e-commerce nations states techpubinc.com.

The Netherlands began circulating the euro currency on January 1, 2002. The Euro remains strong against the US Dollar, with 1 Euro equaling 1.4114 USD. Because of the weakening of the US dollar for the last two years, the Euro has appreciated vis-à-vis US dollar (x-rates.com). So steeply has the greenback fallen in value against the Euro that economists are talking about the dollar losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, a position it has held since 1945.

Best Industry Segments

The Dutch industry is diversified, with a variety of businesses that range from manufacturing, mining, and energy production to construction and chemical manufacturing. The government initiated many programs to encourage the development of new industries, specifically, aerospace industry, biotechnology, and microelectronics. Figures from Eurostat indicate that, in 2007, the Netherlands was the EU’s third top exporting country after Germany and France. Dutch exports also grew substantially in 2007. If the current trend continues, the Netherlands will move up to take second position in 2008. Relative to other countries, the Netherlands exported large volumes of food products, gas oil and natural gas.

Regulatory and Tariff Landscape

Along with the United States, the Netherlands has consistently been one of the main advocates of international free trade and the reduction of duties and tariffs on goods and services. The average tariff rate is low. The Netherlands’ trade policy is the same as that of other members of the European Union. The common EU weighted average tariff rate was 2.1% in 2005 according to the Heritage Foundation. The EU policy upholds non-tariff barriers in agricultural and manufacturing subsidies, import restrictions for some goods and services, market access restrictions in some services sectors, non-transparent and restrictive regulations and standards, and inconsistent customs administration across EU members. Supplementary biotechnology and pharmaceuticals rules exceed EU policy.

In order for many products in the European Economic Area (EEA) market to pass the consumer safety, health, and environmental requirements, it must receive a CE marking. By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer asserts that the item meets all the essential “Health and Safety” requirements of the relevant European Directive(s) that provide for the CE marking. Examples of European Directives requiring CE marking include toy safety, machinery, low-voltage equipment, medical devices and electromagnetic compatibility.

Online Marketing

Based on statistics from internetworldstats.com, there are currently 13,791,800 Internet users in the Netherlands, with a penetration rate of 82.9%. The Netherlands is ranked 7th among the top internet countries in the European Union yet 2nd behind Greenland with the highest internet penetration rate. Over the span of eight years (2000-2008), user growth stands at 253.6%. In terms of type of connection, the Netherlands exhibits a positive trend towards broadband internet adoption. It can be located 4th on the list in broadband penetration, leading the OECD along with Iceland, Finland, and Norway. Despite the wide availability of Internet connections, nearly 4 million people (about 25% of the population) have never used the Internet at all according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Online Language Preferences

The two official languages of the Netherlands are Dutch and Frisian. However, Dutch is the mother tongue of almost all people in the Netherlands. The 500,000 inhabitants of Friesland, a province of the Netherlands, speak Frisian. Most of Dutch people speak at least one foreign language, mostly English that is taught at school during the basic education. Many Dutch people speak also German, which is similar to Dutch language and some of them speak French. Like any other country, internet users prefer to search in their native language, Dutch.

Search Engine Profile

Data from a checkit.nl shows Google Netherlands (Google.nl) overwhelmingly leads the way as the top search engine with 95%. Ilse.nl and live.nl take the second and third spot, respectively.

Summary

Netherlands being the small country is a big player in the world’s trade and the global transfer of capital. Its thriving and open economy serves as an inviting potential global trading partner to other countries. The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Based on the current and future potential of the market, Global eMarketer ranks the Netherlands as a Tier I market for global online market opportunity.

Email Marketing For Newbies – 5 Reasons to Always Stay in Touch With Your Customers

Email marketing can take your online business and raise it up a notch, or a few notches. Newbies will quickly learn that this technique unlocks the door to a great deal of potential. Here are 5 reasons why you should always be staying in touch with your customers through email marketing. Be sure to consider them before you ignore your outreach efforts once again.

1. Stay in their minds – One thing that people don’t realize with email marketing is that you don’t always have to be pushing for a sale. Just staying at the forefront of a person’s mind can go a long way. Then, when they are ready to make a purchase your online business will be there waiting. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to forget about your website or move on to another website.

2. Increase your reputation – You can use email marketing to send out tips, guides and other informative articles. If you do this consistently, the people on your list will view you as being much more credible and reliable. You have been providing them with high quality, free information and in return your reputation will soar. Your prospects will then be more likely to make purchases, and customers will be more likely to buy again or refer you to friends and colleagues.

3. Directly provoke sales – Of course you can also use email marketing to directly provoke and ask for sales. Maybe you have a new product that you just released. You can offer the people on your list an exclusive discount on that product to get them to try it right away. Or you can inform them of other sales, discounts or promotional opportunities that will directly increase the sales you see.

4. Find out what they want – If you use email marketing effectively you will basically be conducting market research that can help take your online business to the next level. If you carefully track how people respond and view your emails, you can see what pieces of content are the most popular, which are ignored, what types of emails people are most interested in and so forth. Then you can fine tune what you offer to perfectly match what your list members and your prospects are actually looking for.

5. It’s cheaper than anything else – Email marketing is cheaper than any other form of communication. It’s cheaper to conduct and it produces the highest ROI (Return On Investment) as well. Therefore instead of hiring new team members to conduct tons of phone calls, or instead of printing up tons of postcards and letters, use email marketing as your main form of outreach. You’ll see savings in both time and money, and you’ll see improvements in your results as well.

Do you want to learn more about creating and developing an online business, especially if you’re a newbie? We have just completed our brand new guide on the basics of website design.