The Ultimate Marketing Machine
A Strategy & Execution Case
In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.
Yet in most companies the organizational structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago. Hidebound hierarchies from another era are still commonplace.
Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts. But in our research and our work with hundreds of global marketing organizations, we’ve found that those CMOs are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist.
Marketing leaders instead must ask, “What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?” Any Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.
To understand what separates the strategies and structures of superior marketing organizations from the rest, EffectiveBrands (now Millward Brown Vermeer)—in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, Spencer Stuart, Forbes, MetrixLab, and Adobe—initiated Marketing2020, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive marketing leadership study ever undertaken. Co-author Keith Weed, the CMO of Unilever, is the chairman of the initiative’s advisory board. Todate the study has included in-depth qualitative interviews with more than 350 CEOs, CMOs, and agency heads, and over a dozen CMO roundtables in cities worldwide. We also conducted online quantitative surveys of 10,000-plus marketers from 92 countries. The surveys encompassed more than 80 questions focusing on marketers’ data analytics capabilities, brand strategy, cross-functional and global interactions, and employee training.
We divided the survey respondents into two groups, overperformers, and underperformers, on the basis of their companies’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors’. We then compared those two groups’ strategies, structures, and capabilities. Some of what we found should come as no surprise: Companies that are sophisticated in their use of data grow faster, for instance. Nevertheless, the research shed new light on the constellation of brand attributes required for superior marketing performance and on the nature of the organizations that achieve it. It’s clear that “marketing” is no longer a discrete entity (and woe to the company whose marketing is still siloed) but now extends throughout the firm, tapping virtually every function. And while the titles, roles, and responsibilities of marketing leaders vary widely among companies and industries, the challenges they face—and what they must do to succeed—are deeply similar.
Highlights from the Survey
Building Needed Capabilities
% of respondents who said that their organization’s training program was tailored to the specific needs of their business
The framework that follows describes the broad traits of high-performing organizations, as well as specific drivers of organizational effectiveness. Let’s look first at the shared principles of high performers’ marketing approaches.
Big data, deep insights.
Marketers today are awash in customer data, and most are finding narrow ways to use that information—to, say, improve the targeting of messages. Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them. These marketers understand consumers’ basic drives—such as the desire to achieve, to find a partner, and to nurture a child—motivations we call “universal human truths.”
The Nike+ suite of personal fitness products and services, for instance, combines a deep understanding of what makes athletes tick with troves of data. Nike+ incorporates sensor technologies embedded in running shoes and wearable devices that connect with the web, apps for tablets and smartphones, training programs, and social networks. In addition to tracking running routes and times, Nike+ provides motivational feedback and links users to communities of friends, like-minded athletes, and even coaches. Users receive personalized coaching programs that monitor their progress. An aspiring first-time half-marathon runner, say, and a seasoned runner rebounding from an injury will receive very different coaching. People are rewarded for good performance, can post their accomplishments on social media, and can compare their performance with—and learn from—others in the Nike+ community.
Top brands excel at delivering all three manifestations of brand purpose—functional benefits, or the job the customer buys the brand to do (think of the pick-me-up Starbucks coffee provides); emotional benefits, or how it satisfies a customer’s emotional needs (drinking coffee is a social occasion); and societal benefits, such as sustainability (when coffee is sourced through fair trade). Consider the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which defines a set of guiding principles for sustainable growth that emphasize improving health, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods. The plan lies at the heart of all Unilever’s brand strategies, as well as its employee and operational strategies.
In addition to engaging customers and inspiring employees, a powerful and clear brand purpose improves alignment throughout the organization and ensures consistent messaging across touchpoints. AkzoNobel’s Dulux, one of the world’s leading paint brands, offers a case in point. In 2006, AkzoNobel was operating a heavily decentralized business structured around local markets, with each local business setting its own brand and business goals and developing its own marketing mix. Not surprisingly, the outcome was inconsistent brand positioning and results; Dulux soared in some markets and floundered in others. In 2008, Dulux’s new global brand team pursued a sweeping program to understand how people perceived the brand across markets, paint’s purpose in their lives, and the human truths that inspired people to color their environments. From China, to India, to the UK, to Brazil, a consistent theme emerged: The colors around us powerfully influence how we feel. Dulux wasn’t selling cans of paint; it was selling “tins of optimism.” This new definition of Dulux’s brand purpose led to a marketing campaign, “Let’s Color.” It enlists volunteers, which now include more than 80% of AkzoNobel employees, and donates paint (more than half a million liters so far) to revitalize run-down urban neighborhoods, from the favelas of Rio to the streets of Jodhpur. In addition to aligning the once-decentralized marketing organization, Dulux’s purpose-driven approach has expanded its share in many markets.
Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”
McCormick, the spices and flavorings firm, emphasizes both depth and breadth in delivering on its promise to “push the art, science, and passion of flavor.” It creates a consistent experience for consumers across numerous physical and digital touchpoints, such as product packaging, branded content like cookbooks, retail stores, and even an interactive service, FlavorPrint, that learns each customer’s taste preferences and makes tailored recipe recommendations. FlavorPrint does for recipes what Netflix has done for movies; its algorithm distills each recipe into a unique flavor profile, which can be matched to a consumer’s taste-preference profile. FlavorPrint can then generate customized e-mails, shopping lists, and recipes optimized for tablets and mobile devices.
Organizing for Growth
Marketing has become too important to be left just to the marketers in a company. We say this not to disparage marketers but to underscore how holistic marketing now is. To deliver a seamless experience, one informed by data and imbued with brand purpose, all employees in the company, from store clerks and phone center reps to IT specialists and the marketing team itself, must share a common vision.
Our research has identified five drivers of organizational effectiveness. The leaders of high-performing companies connect marketing to the business strategy and to the rest of the organization; inspire their organizations by engaging all levels with the brand purpose; focus their people on a few key priorities; organize agile, cross-functional teams; and build the internal capabilities needed for success.
In our work with marketing organizations, we have seen case after case of dysfunctional teamwork, suboptimal collaboration, and lack of shared purpose and trust.
Despite cultural and geographic obstacles, our high-performing marketers avoid such breakdowns for the most part. Their leaders excel at linking their departments to general management and other functions. They create a tight relationship with the CEO, making certain that marketing goals support company goals; bridge organizational silos by integrating marketing and other disciplines; and ensure that global, regional, and local marketing teams work interdependently.
Marketing historically has marched to its own drummer, at best unevenly supporting strategy handed down from headquarters and, more commonly, pursuing brand or marketing goals (such as growing brand equity) that were not directly related to the overall business strategy. Today high-performing marketing leaders don’t just align their department’s activities with company strategy; they actively engage in creating it. From 2006 to 2013, our surveys show, marketing’s influence on strategy development increased by 20 percentage points. And when marketing demonstrates that it is fighting for the same business objectives as its peers, trust and communication strengthen across all functions and, as we shall see, enable the collaboration required for high performance.
Another way companies foster connections is by putting marketing and other functions under a single leader. Motorola’s Eduardo Conrado is the senior VP of both marketing and IT. A year after Antonio Lucio was appointed CMO of Visa, he was invited to also lead HR and tighten the alignment between the company’s strategy and how employees were recruited, developed, retained, and rewarded. CoauthCo-author Weed leads communications and sustainability, as well as marketing, at Unilever. And Herschend Family Entertainment, owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and various theme parks, has recently expanded CMO Eric Lent’s role to chief marketing and consumer technology officer.
Marketing has become too important to be left just to the marketers. All employees, from store clerks to IT specialists, must be engaged in it.
Inspiration is one of the most underused drivers of effective marketing—and one of the most powerful. Our research shows that high-performing marketers are more likely to engage customers and employees with their brand purpose—and that employees in those organizations are more likely to express pride in the brand.
Inspiration strengthens commitment, of course, but when it’s rooted in a respected brand purpose, all employees will be motivated by the same mission. This enhances collaboration and, as more and more employees come into contact with customers, also helps ensure consistent customer experiences. The payoff is that everyone in the company becomes a de facto member of tCo-authoring team.
The key to inspiring the organization is to do internally what marketing does best externally: create irresistible messages and programs that get everyone on board. At Dulux, that involved handing paint and brushes to thousands of employees and setting them loose on neighborhoods around the world. Unilever’s leadership conducts a quarterly live broadcast with most of the company’s 6,500 marketers to celebrate best brand practices and introduce new tools. In addition, Unilever holds a series of globally coordinated and locally delivered internal and external communications events, called Big Moments, to engage employees and opinion leaders companywide directly with the broader purpose of making sustainable living commonplace. Research shows this has led to a significant increase in employee commitment. Nike has a marketing staffer whose sole job is to tell the original Nike story to all new employees.
Inspiration is so important that many companies, Unilever among them, have begun measuring employees’ brand engagement as a key performance indicator. Google does this by assessing employees’ “Googliness” in performance appraisals to determine how fully people embrace the company’s culture and purpose. And Zappos famously offers new hires $3,000 to leave after four weeks, effectively cutting loose anyone who is not inspired by the company’s obsessive customer focus.
When we asked eight global marketing executives in one organization to list their top five marketing objectives, only two goals made it onto everyone’s list. The remainder was a motley assortment of personal or local objectives. Such misalignment, our data show, increases the farther teams are from an organization’s center of power. With marketing activities ever more dispersed across global companies, that risk must be carefully managed.
By a wide margin, respondents in overperforming companies agreed with the statements “Local marketing understands the global strategy” and “Global marketing understands the local marketing reality.” Winning companies were more likely to measure brands’ success against key performance indicators such as revenue growth and profit and to tie incentives at the local level directly to those KPIs. Ironically, almost all companies were meticulous in planning and executing consumer communication campaigns but failed to devote the same care to internal communications about strategy. That’s a dangerous oversight.
Marc Schroeder, the global marketing head for PepsiCo’s Quaker brand, understood the need for internal cohesiveness when he led a cross-regional “marketing council” to develop and communicate the brand’s first global growth strategy. The council defined a purposeful positioning, nailed down the brand’s global objectives, set a prioritized growth agenda, created clear lines of accountability and incentives, and adopted a performance dashboard that tracked industry measures such as market share and revenue growth. The council communicated the strategy through regional and local team meetings, including those with agencies and retail customers worldwide, and hosted a first-ever global brand stewardship event to educate colleagues. As a result of those efforts, all Quaker marketing plans are now explicitly linked to one overall strategy.
Organizing for agility.
Our research consistently shows that organizational structure, roles, and processes are among the toughest leadership challenges—and that the need for clarity about them is consistently underestimated or even ignored.
We have helped design dozens of marketing organizations. Typically we enter the scene after a traditional business consultancy has done preliminary strategy, cost, and head-count analyses, and our role is to work with the CMO to create and implement a new structure, operating model, and capability-building program. Though we believe there is no ideal organizational blueprint, our experience does suggest a set of operational and design principles that any organization can apply.
Today marketing organizations must leverage global scale but also be nimble, able to plan and execute in a matter of weeks or a few months—and, increasingly, instantaneously. Oreo famously took to Twitter during the blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl, reminding consumers, “You can still dunk in the dark,” making the brand a trending topic during one of the world’s biggest sporting events. That the tweet was designed and approved in minutes was no accident; Oreo deliberately organized and empowered its marketing team for the occasion, bringing agency and brand teams together in a “mission control” room and authorizing them to engage with their audience in real time.
Complex matrixed organizational structures—like those captured in traditional, rigid “Christmas tree” org charts—are giving way to networked organizations characterized by flexible roles, fluid responsibilities, and more relaxed sign-off processes designed for speed. The new structures allow leaders to tap talent as needed from across the organization and assemble teams for specific, often short-term, marketing initiatives. The teams may form, execute, and disband in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the task.
New marketing roles.
As companies expand internationally, they inevitably reorganize to better balance the benefits of global scale with the need for local relevance. Our research shows that, as a result, the vast majority of brands are led much more centrally today than they were a few years ago. Companies are removing middle, often regional, layers and creating specialized “centers of excellence” that guide strategy and share best practices while drawing on needed resources wherever, and at whatever level, they exist in the organization. As companies pursue this approach, roles and processes need to be adapted.
Marketing organizations traditionally have been populated by generalists, but particularly with the rise of social and digital marketing, a profusion of new specialist roles—such as digital privacy analysts and native content editors—are emerging. We have found it useful to categorize marketing roles not by title (as the variety seems infinite) but as belonging to one of three broad types: “think” marketers, who apply analytic capabilities to tasks like data mining, media-mix modeling, and ROI optimization; “do” marketers, who develop content and design and lead production; and “feel” marketers, who focus on consumer interaction and engagement in roles from customer service to social media and online communities.
The networked organization.
A broad array of skills and organizational tiers and functions are represented within each category. CMOs and other marketing executives such as chief experience officers and global brand managers increasingly operate as the orchestrators, assembling cross-functional teams from these three classes of talent to tackle initiatives. Orchestrators brief the teams, ensure that they have the capabilities and resources they need, and oversee performance tracking. To populate a team, the orchestrator and team leader draw from marketing and other functions as well as from outside agencies and consulting firms, balancing the mix of think, do, and feel capabilities in accordance with the team’s mission.
Companies are using this model to create task forces for a range of marketing programs, from integrating online and physical retail experiences to introducing new products. When Unilever launched Project Sunlight—a consumer-engagement program connected with its sustainable living initiative—the team drew talent from seven expertise areas. The international cable company Liberty Global uses task forces to optimize the customer experience at key engagement points—such as when customers receive a bill. These teams are led by managers from a variety of marketing and nonmarketing functions, have different durations, and draw from each of the three talent pools in different measure.
The task-force model is both agile and disciplined. It requires a culture in which central leadership is confident that local teams understand the strategy and will collaborate to execute it. This works well only when everyone in the organization is inspired by the brand purpose and is clear about the goals. Google, Nike, Red Bull, and Amazon all embrace this philosophy. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos captured the ethos when he said at a shareholders’ meeting, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
As we have shown, thï¿¼e most effective marketers lead by connecting, inspiring, focusing, and organizing for agility. But none of those activities can be fully accomplished, or sustained, without the continual building of capabilities. Our research shows pronounced differences in training between high- and low-performing companies, in terms of both quantity and quality.
At a minimum the marketing staff needs expertise in traditional marketing and communications functions—market research, competitive intelligence, media planning, and so forth. But we’ve seen that sometimes even those basic capabilities are lacking. Courses to onboard new staff and teach targeted skills are just the price of entry. The best marketing organizations, including those at Coca-Cola, Unilever, and the Japanese beauty company Shiseido, have invested in dedicated internal marketing academies to create a single marketing language and way of doing marketing.
Senior managers across the company can benefit from programs for sharing expertise on consumer habits, competitor strategy, and retail dynamics. Virgin, Starbucks, and other corporations have created intensive “immersion” programs for this purpose. Executives at the director level can profit from advanced courses that focus on strategic considerations such as portfolio management and partnering. We find that senior leaders often gain a lot in digital and social media training, as they’re frequently less well versed in those areas than their junior colleagues are. Appreciating this, companies including Unilever and Diageo have taken their senior leaders to Facebook for training. We’ve collaborated with partners at Google, MSN, and AOL to develop similar programs, including “reverse mentoring,” which pairs very senior managers with younger staffers. Even the CMO can benefit from continued, targeted training. Visa’s Antonio Lucio, for instance, hired a digital native to teach him about social media and monitor his progress.
Underperforming marketers, on the other hand, underinvest in training. Their employees receive just over half a day of training a year, on average, while overperformers give people nearly two full days of tailored, practical training by external experts. At first blush, the Marketing2020 study reveals what you might expect: Marketers must leverage customer insight, imbue their brands with a brand purpose, and deliver a rich customer experience. They must connect, inspire, focus, organize, and build, as detailed here. The finding that’s striking—and should serve as both a warning and a call to arms—is that most organizations haven’t been able to put all those pieces together. Our data show that only half of even high-performing organizations excel on some of these capabilities. But that shouldn’t be discouraging; rather, it illuminates where there’s work to do. Regardless of how marketing delivers its messages in the future, the fundamental human motivations that marketers must satisfy won’t change. The challenge now is to create organizations that can truly speak to those needs.
Helping People Help Themselves
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder https://markethive.com/joanbeaulieu
We Are Tooting Our Own Horn!
Markethive is a Game Changer in Inbound Marketing.
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PS: Dr. Raymond Jewell is a leading Economist specializing in the Small and Home Based Business Marketplace. He is a Alpha Founder with Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Dr. Jewell is a professional Network Marketer and represents several companies successfully. He can be reached through Markethive.
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder
Quick question, are you using Pinterest to market your business? For big companies, running contests on Pinterest serves as the greatest way to have your brand exposed to a large audience. This process makes it possible for the company to attract new followers and also serves as an excellent base which you can use to engage with your current followers.
Here we are going to look at a few businesses that run successful Pinterest accounts and run successful Pinterest contests.
Why Pinterest Contests?
- There are several reasons why as a big company you need to run a contest on Pinterest:
- Pinterest is the third largest and most popular social media site in the world in terms of traffic
- Recent studies suggest that as of July 2012, Pinterest accumulated over 15 million users
- Statistically, Pinterest platform retains and engages users as much as 2 to 3 times more efficiently that twitter or Facebook were at similar times in their own histories
- Over 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins, this proves how viral Pinterest community is and users gain much more exposure
- As of January 2012, reports indicate that Pinterest accounted for 3.6% of referral traffic
- Reports also indicate that shoppers referred by Pinterest have a 10% more buying probability than visitors who have been directed by other social networks including Twitter and Facebook
- Companies using Pinterest contests have their brands engage with consumers in personal yet cost-effective ways
Contests are a great venture that help companies effectively collect customer information, customer preference and customer feedback. This is valuable data that gets put into action and greatly enhances the companies’ offerings and acquisition of a bigger customer base.
How to Set Up a Business Account
Companies in all industries are using Pinterest as a strategic social media platform that generates leads and helps the company keep in-touch with customer needs and wants. If you want to set up a business account, there are two ways you can use.
If you have been running a Pinterest account for your business, it is easy for you to convert your account or you can decide to create a new account.
Converting Your Personal Account to a Business Account: when you want to convert your personal account and turn it into a business account, just proceed and login into your Pinterest account and peruse the Pinterest for Business Section.
There is a big red button that you can use in the conversion of your existence personal account and change it into a business account. This button elevates you to the next level which you can use to modify your current Pinterest account details.
Creating a New Business Account
You can also opt to sign up for a new business account. The process is similar to that of account conversion; however this process will see you creating a new username. Sometimes, if you want to reach a wider audience, you should consider converting your personal account into a business account.
Here are a few things you need to comprehend before you commence with the conversions:
Does your personal account have lots of followers? If you have a-lot of followers, it’s not necessary that you start building your followers from scratch again by creating a new account.
NB: Big companies have come to appreciate the role of social media in their businesses. They therefore use platforms such as Pinterest to spread their positive side by conducting promotions and giving good deals to their followers.
Companies also use Pinterest to see what followers and their customers’ at large think about their products and services so that they can stay ahead of the game and remain profitable.
Free Marketing Tools at MarketHive for any Business.
You can see my profile at: http://hive.pe/bp
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Contact me: Skype: joanbeaulieu2
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder
Free Tools for Your Online Business
As a business owner, you want the best for your business but sometimes the budget can get in the way. Never fear, because today there are countless online tools, apps and solutions that you can use to run your online business. Let's not waste any time going into the free tools for your online business. There are over 100 free tools in the list and I saved the best for last so be sure and go through the entire list or start with the last.
1) Get an EIN — Even if you aren't going to have employees, it's important to set yourself up so that you don't have your identity stolen. If you're in the USA you can easily get an EIN right now in just a couple of minutes, completely free. This is the number that you'll give, instead of your social security number, to affiliate programs, clients, or anytime someone wants a federal ID number.
2) Score.org –– This is an excellent source of information for anyone who wants to start any type of business. You can get so many guides for free such as a business plan start up, financial templates, marketing plans and even a competitive analysis planning template.
3) Free Legal Forms — Everyone needs legal forms from contracts to other legal documents. Here you can create many of the legal forms you need (free).
4) Disclosure Policy Generator — You will need a disclosure on your website or blog if you are going to sell anything. This disclosure generator is completely free.
6) Quick MBA — Need to learn something real fast about a business topic in any subject from accounting to strategy then Quick MBA is a great website to seek accurate information.
7) Khanacademy.org — Want to learn almost anything from experts? You can do it at Khan Academy. This is great if you're a computer programmer and want to brush up on your skills without having to pay to do it.
8) Google Learn — If you want to learn how to grow your business online, you can learn how to do it the free way with Learn with Google Beta. You can learn about marketing your business online as well as managing your business online.
9) Free Online Marketing Courses — Several colleges actually offer free online courses in marketing. You don't get credit, but you can use this in your business to make it better. Check out the free learning tools at UC Berkeley.
10) Enloop.com — You can create one business plan in a PDF version completely free using this software. If you want to get more in-depth you'll need to upgrade but for most people the free version will suffice.
11) Google Mail — Everyone knows about Gmail.com and if you don't use it, you should. You can do a lot more with it than you think. For instance, you can check other email accounts, and send as other email accounts, using your Gmail.com account to collect them. All free, of course.
12) Google Documents — Found inside Google Drive, you can upload, save, alter, and collaborate on many different types of documents. This is a great way to work with an entire team and ensure everyone has the most recent version.
13) Google Forms — A fabulous way to collect information and have it all entered right into a handy downloadable excel file. Google Forms can be emailed, embedded into websites and more. They are automatically saved to your Google Drive upon completion. This can be found inside your Google Drive.
14) Google Calendar — Underrated and unappreciated the Google Calendar is amazing. You can have more than one in an account, share them, collaborate, invite others, and more with your Google Calendars. You can even set them up to sync with your mobile device, send you reminder emails and you can get a popup reminder so you never miss an appointment.
15) Google Drive — This is where you can save documents, backups, and files. Everyone has some free space for each Google account created. It's unlikely you'll ever use all your free space so you may as well use what you've been given. If you are currently signed into Google, the link will take you to your Google Drive.
16) Google Sites — Need to create a fast website to share with others? Look no further than Google Sites to help you with your endeavor. Pick from a variety of templates, or start with a blank one. Follow the steps given and you'll have your site up before you know it.
17) Google + Hangouts — There is a lot to learn about Google Hangouts, you can do them privately, on air, and a multitude of ways that boggle the mind. You can use them in so many ways for your business that there isn't room in this report to list them. Check it out for yourself.
18) Google Analytics — They say that nothing is ever done until the paperwork is done. In online business, nothing is done without reviewing the metrics. The best way to do so is still free.
19) Google Sketch Up — If you need 3D modeling for any reason then Google Sketch Up is for your business. There is a free version which is awesome, as well as a pro version that's way less expensive than other like 3D modeling programs.
20) Google Alerts — Everyone needs to monitor their online reputation and one way to do so is with Google Alerts. You can also use it to monitor any topic, name, person, place, or event being discussed across the Internet.
21) Dropbox.com — If you need offsite storage solutions, and you really do, then Dropbox should be one of the first ones you try, especially since it's free. What's more is that you get more space for each person you invite to use the service.
22) OpenOffice.org — This free productivity suite is an excellent way to get any word-processing type activities completed without having to buy an expensive program.
23) Apptivo.com — You can get started with this online project management system using the free version which allows for unlimited users, up to 40 standard apps, still has online support, and the ability to send invoices even with a mobile app. It also integrates with Google Apps. When you have more income you can upgrade relatively inexpensively.
24) Freshbooks.com — This is an online invoicing and time tracking software, it is not really an accounting tool, but you can use it in conjunction with other tools and as long as you have less than 3 clients this one is free.
25) Nutcache.com — Invoicing and time management is now fun and free. This free service works in many languages, is safe and secure, and is definitely free. If you are one of the first ones to sign up for this time tracking and invoicing service you will never pay.
26) Wave Accounting — This amazing accounting suite offers everything you need to keep track of your income 100% free. It's also super easy to use. It offers invoicing and more. All free.
27) Expensify.com — If you need to create expense reports in your line of work, this couldn't be more simple and useful. Keep track of expenses and receipts in an organized manner. This software integrates with other solutions.
28) PayPal.com — It's free to get started with PayPal and you only pay a percentage of income as you receive it. This is a great way to accept payment for services or products that you sell.
29) Square Up — This is a mobile payment processing app that you use on your smart phone. It's free to get started as you only pay a percentage of sales. If you want to sell online, or in a store, or anywhere Square works.
30) Appointlet.com — You can use this appointment manager free for an unlimited number of monthly appointments and 1 service. You won't be able to brand yet, but you can get started organizing your meetings and calendar. It works with Google Calendar.
31) Doodle.com — A group scheduling app that enables you to send a group invite that allows everyone to collaborate on when the meeting will take place. This helps avoid the back and forth emails that can get everyone confused.
32) Survey Monkey — Want to ask your customers questions and get organized answers that are easy to collect, interpret and use? Then Survey Monkey is a great solution. You can use a limited version for free with up to 10 questions and 100 responses.
33) Evernote — This software works with all your devices to keep track of everything you want to keep track of it, be it notes for a project, recipes for dinner, a grocery list, whatever it is, you can organize all your files and find them easily and remember everything.
34) Boomerang — Want to write an email now but send it later? You can do that with Boomerang for Gmail.com. It gives you a "send later" button in your Gmail and you can tell it when to send an email. The basic plan is free and there are upgrades available.
35) Trello.com – Trello is a great way to remember ideas, collect supplies, and get your thought process in order. Organizing anything you want to do is easy with Trello. You can track all your to-dos in one place, and they have a mobile version.
36) Mural.ly — Need a vision board to help you brainstorm so you can visually see what you need to do? For a basic plan costing nothing you can get this drag and drop collaboration board today. For people who work better with a visual plan this is a great way to be more productive.
37) Cooapp.com –– If you need help keeping your team on the same page then this app can work for you. It keeps track of the work stream, separates out "water cooler" talk, and even has built in time tracking, agenda management and more.
38) ProjectLibre.org — This open source project management application and software touts itself a replacement for Microsoft Project and it's completely free. You can choose to use the cloud-based version and have professionals install it for you and set it up for a price, but if you understand the technical aspects you can use this free.
39) DropTask.com — You can use it free for some of the features to help manage your daily to-do list better.
40) KeePass.info — Can't remember passwords? Neither can anyone else. With KeePass, you only need to remember one password. Yes, it's free too. Amazing and very useful for someone who has many different passwords they're trying to remember.
41) Quackit.com — Need a little help with HTML so you can tinker with the code on your website or blog? This site can help you with everything from creating linkable button images to tables.
42) Rapportive.com — Works with Gmail so that you can see who you are talking to at all times. It shows their latest Tweets, gives you links to their social media accounts, and allows you to remember and get to know your connections better by putting it all in one spot inside your email.
43) Tweepz.com — Want to see who is Tweeting on any topic, location or skill set? Try using Tweepz. You can get inspiration if you're lacking sufficient information about any topic. It’s also a great way to find movers and shakers to follow on Twitter.
44) Social Mention — Use this tool to find out who is mentioning you on the social media. You can follow the buzz about any topic which can also help you come up with content for your niche.
45) Tweet Alarm — Want to be notified when someone tweets about you, your niche, or a special interest? Well, right now you can do that for free with Tweet Alarm. This can save you a lot of time using Twitter for researching topics.
46) Pin Alerts — Like Tweet Alarm this is a way to be notified when someone pins something from your website. It's a great way to keep track of whether your Pinterest marketing is working.
47) Mention — Want to find out how many times you're mentioned throughout all social media? You can sign up as one user with one account and get up to 100 mentions per month for free.
48) HootSuite.com — Keep your social media better organized and measure the results of your efforts from one dashboard. Many people use HootSuite with great success and you can start out free.
49) SocialMention.com — Go to the website and simply type in your keywords, name, Twitter handle, a hashtag or other words into the window, then choose where you want to search. Click search and you're in the know about the trends and buzz of the day.
50) Tregia.com — Want to know what another website is doing to get so many visitors and be so successful. You can use this free tool to analyze any website that you want to. It's not cheating, it's smart business to check out your competition. You can also use it to get tips to make your own website better.
51) Nutshellmail.com — It's important to monitor the buzz about your business and your competition, now you can do it in your email. Nutshellmail, sends you an email on the schedule you check that visually shows you the activity in your social media accounts.
52) Populr — You can open a free account and publish unlimited pages, collaborations and more. Create one page sites, sales pages, point up to three domains to it, and more quickly and it can all be done for free.
53) Streak.com — This is a great app that lets you organize your emails inside your Gmail.com so you can keep track of potential deals better. It also offers email scheduling and more. If you need your inbox more organized so you don't lose out on any deals, then Streak is for you.
54) FreeCRM.com — You can use the free version which offers no support, and has banner advertising on it, however you can have five users and 2500 contacts, plus it has good basic features. It's a great way to get started with customer relationship management.
55) Zoho CRM — Use a limited account with all the features you need to get started with a great customer relationship management tool. Upgrading isn't hard or expensive and the tool really works.
56) Opecrx.org – In every way you can imagine, this powerful free tool can help you manage your customers. It offers a true professional CRM suit with truly limitless possibilities. If you can follow the considerable directions and understand more than the average person about the technical aspects this is a bargain.
57) Gravatar.com — This is a great service to sign up for, and it's free. You simply sign up and enter all your email addresses, with corresponding headshots of yourself. When you sign onto blogs that use Gravatar.com you'll always have the right picture of yourself.
58) HelloSign.com — Doing business online still requires documents to be signed. Stop worrying about doing it in the mail, and you don't have to pay for an expensive software or service to ensure documents are legally signed. Starting out you can get three signatures a month, and premium versions are available.
59) EchoSign.com — This is also free, and works with Adobe documents. You can get everything signed fast, online, on your mobile device, and never have to print out a thing. You can sign up to five contracts per month (free).
60) MailChimp.com — Need to send out a newsletter but don't have the funds right now to pay? With Mailchimp.com you can have up to 2000 newsletter subscribers before you have to pay a dime. Some people claim you cannot use MailChimp for affiliate links but the truth is, you can as long as they're not on their substantial blacklist. Upgrades aren't that expensive either.
61) HARO – Do you want to be a source, or need a source? You can sign up free with HARO which stands for Help a Reporter Out.
62) Skype.com — Even with all the other applications come out, Skype is still a winner when it comes to offering free clear, phone quality one-on-one talking ability over the Internet. You can't beat it.
63) Free Conference Call – This free service allows you to arrange group phone meetings fast and easy.
64) Youtube.com — You need to set up a business account on YouTube.com so that you can share your videos easily with your audience. It's not only free, but if you play your cards right, it can be an additional moneymaker.
65) Linkedin.com — If you don't have a Linkedin.com account yet, you must set one up. The basic version is free and there is no reason why you need the advanced version, ever. You can do anything you need to do with the free Linkedin.com business social networking application.
66) Facebook.com — A true marvel when it comes to what you can do with it for free, Facebook is a must have for any start up business owner who wants to get the word out about their business. Starting a page or a group for your business on Facebook is necessary today.
67) Twitter.com — The popular micro social media network is free, and will always be free for anyone to sign up and use for business or personal uses.
68) Tumblr.com — This micro blogging platform is a very popular way to post multimedia content to the web.
69) WordPress.com — A free blogging site run by the popular WordPress. Remember this is different from self-hosted WordPress but it's a good way to start as you can always buy a domain and move it to your own hosting later.
70) Blogger.com — This is another tool from Google which enables users to create a blog quickly. They even make it possible for you to earn money through Google AdSense.
71) Sociopal.com — Sign up for free to get your business on Facebook, Twitter and start a blog at the same time. In addition, you can get help with marketing. What could be more simple?
72) Jing — This is a great way to share your screen and create instant videos to share with others or better explain a process. You simply sign up free, and download the program, and then start sharing.
73) Greenshot –Try this free tool to take screenshots of particular areas on your desktop. For instance you may need to capture the full screen then edit and annotate to highlight and help teach someone a process, Greenshot works easily for this purpose.
74) Gimp.org — This free open source graphics software is almost as good as big name versions and it's totally free. People say if you can use Photoshop you can use Gimp for the same actions. It won't hurt to try it, since it's free and you are always going to need graphics for your business.
75) Pixlr.com — It's hard to believe this gem is free, but it is. You can edit photos in a number of ways and make them really stand out without understanding complicated graphics software.
76) Canva.com — Another, free application that works great to create banners, presentations, and other types of graphics for you to use across the web on your blog or social media. You'll be asking yourself the entire time you're using this, is it really free? Why, yes, yes it is free.
77) ChartGizmo.com — This is a free software application that enables you to create awesome charts and diagrams from your data. Plus, even though it's free there is a nice manual to teach you how to use it.
78) Creative Docs — You can download this software and use it free to create awesome documents with a kick. It works with Windows and is a free download. You can create polygons, Bezier curves, different styles and more to make your documents, flyers and posters pop.
79) Draw.io — This is a software program that allows you to create diagrams and save them to your computer, Dropbox or Google Drive automatically. If you need visual representation of any type of content you can create it easily and intuitively with Draw.io.
80) FlowChart.com — Currently in Beta, so it's free to use to create awesome flow charts. Everyone needs a flowchart occasionally, and this is a great way to create one for your business.
81) Tableau Public — Want to visualize your information in a new way? Tableau public allows you to create visual representations of your data for free. Create interactive graphs, and make it easier for your audience to interact with your data.
82) Fring.com — Need to have chats with customers, or your team on the go? This is a great way to do it. You get free talk, text and video calls with this mobile application.
83) Weebly.com— If you need a website you can get a basic site up and running, fast. Then upgrade later. The website builder is an easy to use drag and drop builder. You sign up free and then choose the focus of your site, a brochure site, a blog or a store. Then, choose a theme and get started. It's simple and fast to get online. Once you start earning money, you can easily upgrade to a site with your own domain for as little as 3 dollars a month.
84) WordPress.org — This is a free open source website builder. To use it, you will need to pay for a domain name, as well as hosting. You can get inexpensive hosting through Mom Webs, and they'll actually throw in a free domain name for you and load your first instance of WordPress too.
85) Google Publisher Plugin For WordPress — Is a custom plug in created for and by Google to support webmasters using AdSense and other Webmaster Tools. It's still in Beta Release and it's a good time to try it since it's free. Although, it's likely to remain free. It's Google.
86) WP-Drafts For Friends — This WordPress plugin allows you to set a time where people can see a preview of your draft posts with a special link even if they're not users of your site. This is a great way to enable people to give you some tips before you publish it to the world, or give special people a sneak peak.
87) AGV Antivirus — This is a free antivirus software that you can use to protect your computer from receiving infected files. It works with many web browsers and the free version works fine for most people.
88) Microsoft Security Essentials — If you have a Windows based computer then this is a great free antivirus tool for you to use. It works really good, is completely free, and there is no need for other antivirus software when you use it.
89) All In One WP Security & Fire Wall — You need to keep your WordPress site safe from intruders and this will do the job.
90) Audacity — A free open source, recording software that you can use for editing sound, recording, and podcasting. It works across operating system platforms and works exceptionally well. This is a good choice for any business owner who wants to add podcasting to their content mix.
91) Odiogo — This is a great way to put a voice to your blog posts, making every single blog post on your website just like a podcast. Works great with TypePad, Blogger, WordPress and others.
92) Sparkol.com Videoscribe — This is a great way to do fast explainer videos. You've seen them, with the hand writing the words. The free version can be used forever, and while it has less to offer than the upgraded paid version, you can get by just fine with the free version for a long time.
93) AnyMeeting.com — This is a great program as long as you don't mind a few advertisements. They're not intrusive so it's a good option when you want a full featured online web meeting / webinar application and don't have the money up front.
94) Managemeet.com — This is a great tool to use if you need to have business meetings, collaborate with others and want to do it face-to-face without the travel involved. It's free to use as long as you don't plan to save the meeting or charge for attendance.
95) MeetingBurner.com — This is a great way to host, record, and participate in a webinar or meeting for 10 people are less, with no ads.
96) Zoho Meeting — This is a great meeting software that you can use for 1 on 1 purposes only for up to 1 hour each time for free.
97) MoneyPress: Amazon Edition – Would you like to sell Amazon items right off your WordPress site and make a commission? Use this plugin to make it super fast and easy.
98) WP e-Commerce — This is a free shopping cart plugin for your WordPress website. It's very easy to install and figure out how to use it to make an attractive store right on your WordPress site and take payments via PayPal.
99) 1FreeCart.com — This is a free shopping cart, that also has a free affiliate program application with it. The free version does have ads on it, but you can always upgrade later.
100) PayGear.com — This is a full featured shopping cart, with affiliate marketing tools, that you can get free. You are only charged a percentage of sales. You can even upgrade later to a paid plan so that your fees never get too high if your sales should take off.
101) MembersGear.com — This is a free membership software package that you can download and use in conjunction with PayGear. You never pay unless you make a sale. They do offer paid upgrades including an inexpensive plugin to help the membership software work with WordPress.
102) Cafe Press — Want to sell premiums from your website like T-shirts, hats, mugs and so forth? You can set up your store free with CafePress.com. It even has a built-in option to offer an affiliate program.
103) WebStore.com — If you ever wanted to sell on eBay.com but didn't want to pay the high fees you can now sell at Webstore.com and avoid those fees. It's a little "wild-wild-west" but it does work.
104) VistaPrint.com — You can get free business cards from VistaPrint. You might wonder how this is helpful when you run an online business, but it is very help. You never know when you'll run into someone that you want to do business with. Having the card will help you break the ice.
105) MarketHive — Is a FREE multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk. It's primary purpose is to empower the average Jane and Joe to lofty heights as entrepreneurs. Markethive not only invites you to become a member of the Entrepreneur Social Network, but to receive Inbound Marketing tools for your agendas and campaigns giving you the Unfair Advantage on the Internet. These tools include: Auto-responders, Blog Caster (publish your blogs to millions of Social Networks), Blog Swipping, Connect your Blogs (Press Releases) to unlimited WordPress blogs, Lead generation, Conference rooms (HEAR THAT?..your own conference room!), Capture pages, Email Capture Plugins, Daily live workshops, WP Subscribe Plugin, Tiny URL, Website Rotator, Lead Page Plugins, Lead Capture Pages
As you can see there is a wide variety of free software, education, code, and more that can help with setting up a website, email marketing, affiliate marketing, podcasting, blogging, selling products, hosting webinars, using social media, and anything you need to do for and with your business. When you are starting a business on a shoestring, an Internet business is the best kind to start due to all the free applications and tools that are available. What are you waiting for?
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder
Email Marketing Vs. Social Media: Which is Best For Your Business?
Robert Bly is a legendary B2B copywriter. He uses social media in his marketing efforts, but just to build his email list. It is his belief that email marketing trumps social media as far as sales and profit generation are concerned.
Social media is great for building relationships.
It is not so great for driving revenue. People want to be engaged and entertained on Facebook and Twitter. They are not there to be sold to. So if your social media efforts are going to be successful building your business, you have to give away a lot of great content, solve problems and answer questions.
With email, you have a one-to-one conversation.
Yes, autoresponders make it easy to send an email to thousands of people at once. But each one of those list members feels that you are talking to them individually. This is a very intimate setting, and why email marketing works so well to generate sales.
Besides, there are 3 times as many email accounts as
there are Twitter and Facebook users … combined!
Believe it or not, not everyone is on all of the big social networks. But do you know anyone who does not have an email address?
You should also consider this. Every web search made on every search engine every single day is just a drop in the bucket compared to email traffic. All web searches made on any platform in a single day equal just 1/100 of daily email traffic. People check their email inboxes, but they may or may not be surfing around on social networks.
Email is also personal and sales oriented. Studies continue to show that consumers prefer email as a way for a company to talk to them, especially over social network interaction. Email also gets more attention from your customers and prospects than any social media.
Your prospects and leads, customers and clients probably spend a lot more time on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest than they do checking email. However, you may or may not grab their attention on crowded social media channels. You have their attention 100% in their in-box, when they allow you to market to them.
If all you are trying to do is build relationships and goodwill, social media is perfect for that. If you expect your business to grow and profit, email marketing is far and away the preferred channel. With an average return on investment of $43 for every $1 spent, email marketing is the hands-down marketing winner for most businesses.
Free Marketing Tools at MarketHive for any Business.
You can see my profile at: https://markethive.com/joanbeaulieu
and register for Zero Cost
Contact me: Skype: joanbeaulieu2
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder
Every business involved with selling, whether its a multinational conglomeration, work at home mum, crowd funding project needs to be marketed. Small businesses, charities and home workers often struggle with this area, due to lack of funds ,resources and knowledge of what they need to do.
Marketing costs can run at thousands per month, but do you need this amount of funds and will it guarantee success. Searching online you will find free marketing solutions, so how can a free system provide you with similar results,with a system that costs you money.
In this day and age very few if any people are prepared to work for nothing, so one way of raising money is to offer a share in the future profits , this is often refereed to as crowd funding.
I am involved with a marketing system which is developed in this way by a small team of developers, supported by fellow marketers who have a financial share of the advertising profits, they both test and use the system, The system is free for users, who also have options to share in the profits.
Marketing is about spreading the word and with the exponential expansion of social media, MarketHive is offering not only a social media base for business, but also all the free tools for business, such as blogs, auto-responders, capture pages, videos, WordPress apps and the like which are essentials for business.
I invite you to take a look at this innovative marketing solution
Joan Beaulieu Markethive Alpha Founder