How Can You Market Your Business Properly?

Although newer and newer innovations are coming out on the business front to help companies operate in this rather volatile business environment, there is still a substantial amount of confusion relating to how to market your business properly. Production isn’t as hard as it used to be – there’s a standard procedure to making a product or delivering a service…it’s become an automated procedure (even for the customized services). Taking the finances down hasn’t changed much either – there is, again, a process to complete the entire accounting and financial procedure very feasibly. So, it’s evident that marketing has undoubtedly become one of the more variable components of every modern-day business.

Before explaining how marketing has changed, it’s key to understand what marketing is in the first place. In my personal opinion, marketing is the process of pulling in consumers’ interest in a particular product and service you are selling, attempting to intellectually, emotionally, and mentally stimulate them to increase their loyalty to the product and the brand of the company itself. Essentially, marketing should always end up with a call to action, something that wakes up the consumer and tells them to do something very plainly – in most cases, this involves actually purchasing the product or service. This definition of marketing isn’t the most “up-to-date” because of all the new technological inventions and innovations (like address validation software which uses postal code map technology) that are coming out in the business environment, but it is the most fundamental one. People will definitely utilize at least a portion or “the gist” of this concept for years to come.

Now, let’s move on to the big question – how can we properly market the modern-day contemporary business. First off, let’s establish that it’s not an easy task – it requires substantial research and analysis before even proceeding. You have to understand exactly what product you’re selling and the benefits or advantages of purchasing said commodity. If you blindly believe that this product will yield you positive results because of its “alleged” quality and value, then you probably won’t be successful. It’s all about understanding the value-add from the perspective of the consumer. Spend a bit of primary research time testing out the product with a sample consumer base – what parts of the product to they like? Dislike? Any other comments that they input should be taken down and referred to at a later basis – these will all be useful in marketing the good or service to them.

These are just tips to understand how marketing should actually take place – companies run into this process blindly with no real goal. However, with the proper procedure, it’s possible to break down each step of the marketing process to maximize your ROI.


I was informed recently that my blog has been listed as one of the must-read blogs in the field of economics. While I don’t know much about how this ranking was done, it did boost my ego quite a bit and I thought I would post the link:

When I started blogging some time ago, I did not know how much I would enjoy it. While my schedule has become quite busy, particularly since taking on the role of director of the Financial Literacy Center, I am trying to keep up and write as much and as often as I can. Both the financial crisis and the financial reforms have offered a lot of material to reflect upon and to write about, so I am not short on topics, even though I write exclusively on subjects related to financial literacy.

But I am posting this short blog to thank my readers for their support and also to encourage them to continue reading. Have a good rest of the summer to all. I am getting ready to go to Italy, one of my favorite vacation places, and I will write more from there.

Financial education: What works?

I am just back from Denver, where I attended a conference titled “Implications of a Quarter Century of Research in Personal Finance,” organized by the National Endowment for Financial Education and Tahira Hira from Iowa State University. A group of researchers met over three days to discuss what we have learned so far on this important topic. I headed a team that addressed the question, “What learning strategies, interventions, and delivery methods hold the most promise for effective financial education outcomes?”

As we reviewed the many papers that have been written on this topic, we faced the difficulties commonly encountered when looking at the existing work. Navigating the bulk of existing literature and figuring out the common findings is a challenge, but our analysis of that extensive literature led us to what we called a “cautious optimism” about the effects of financial education. Along with this optimism, we are mindful of several difficulties inherent in evaluating financial education interventions. First is the issue of self-selection: i.e., are the people who attend financial education programs those with an existing interest in the subject, and is it their interest or the content of a program that motivates them to make certain financial decisions? Second is the dearth of details regarding program content, frequency, delivery method, and goals (to improve knowledge or change behavior or to satisfy a legal requirement) of the programs that are reviewed in the literature. This lack of information makes it hard to evaluate what makes a program effective (or ineffective). Third, one has to be mindful of the size of the intervention. Small interventions, for example, providing information on a particular issue cannot transform naïve investors into Warren Buffetts.

The team identified places where financial education seems most effective and methods to make financial education more effective. The most effective place for financial education was concluded to be the workplace; important methodology was judged to be that relating to adult education and to informal learning.

There are many (some obvious) reasons why the workplace is an ideal venue in which to provide financial education. First, this is where many adults are and also where many important financial decisions are made, e.g., how much to contribute to a retirement account, how to invest retirement wealth, whether to annuitize retirement wealth, and the list goes on. There are also benefits to employers in making sure that workers save for retirement and avoid financial problems, as financial problems and/or worries can affect worker productivity and morale. One benefit to both employers and employees, which in my view is not discussed enough, is that financial education can make people aware of and able to take advantages of benefits an employer offers (for example, employer matches of retirement contributions) or better understand and take advantage of tax-favored assets.

Financial education has normally been conceived of as being delivered in a classroom, but one has to think more broadly and creatively about adult education. In contrast to young students, adults have a rich set of experiences that shape how they view their financial situation. Additionally, financial education can be made more effective with reference to theories of learning that offer important suggestions and insights. One such theory is Mezirow’s transformative learning theory. This theory has been around for over 30 years and has been used as a framework to help make sense of learning and teaching in numerous disciplines—health and medical education, intercultural relations, psychology, environmental sciences, higher education, instructional technology, archaeology, human resource development, just to mention a few. I mention the importance of theory here because, in my view, one of the reasons why financial education has not been as effective as it could be or has not been given the attention it deserves is because it is not considered within a rigorous and theoretical framework.

Even within such a framework, it is possible to incorporate different ways of learning, including informal learning. Informal learning is increasingly becoming recognized as significant to workplace education. Instead of having employees participate in traditional workshops or training sessions, employers are creating conditions in which workers can learn from each others. Financial educators, policy makers, and program planners will do well to recognize that financial education efforts can be successful outside of the formal settings that are the traditional venue for financial education.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, to run a successful conference you need to have good people, good papers, and good food. Having provided, I hope, a little glimpse of the energetic discussion that went on throughout the meetings in Denver (as well as the informal learning that occurred outside of the meeting rooms!), let me turn to the topic of food. Our meals were a blend of French and Italian cuisine. We went to a wonderful French bistro one night where we tried pâté, saucissons, onion soup, and a wonderful pistachio-crusted trout. The Brown Palace hotel, where we stayed, provided us with succulent breakfasts. At a lunch one day we had gourmet pizza. Some were surprised by this lunch choice. Not me. Give me pizza, and I am happy!