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Top 5 Quality Management Software Myths – Busted!

As technology continues to evolve and individuals become more technologically sophisticated, companies must keep up with technology’s rapid pace by sourcing cutting edge tools to manage both customers and internal processes. Managing quality and processes manually is a daunting task without the proper tools and may lead to a myriad of problems, including delays in project timelines, poor customer satisfaction, a lack of team motivation, and poor resource allocation. To address these and other issues, the use of an electronic quality management system (QMS) is highly recommended to save time and costs associated with process documentation, non-conformance management, and risk reduction. This article sheds light on the top five myths relating to quality management software, especially useful if you use a paper-based system and are not exactly sure of how electronic QMS will help you.

Myth 1: Electronic Quality Systems are only for big companies

This prevalent myth asserts that an electronic QMS is designed and meant only for large organizations with multiple sites. The fact is, that in such a competitive environment, it is mandatory for every organization to track and control documents, manage non-conformances, and adhere to regulatory requirements – whatever the company size, amount of locations, or number of employees. All companies must demonstrate the highest standards and quality to auditors if they are to be certified to a standard that meets industry regulations, as well as customer demands. Achieving these goals can be easy with an electronic QMS that ensures continuous improvement, critical information security, issue visibility, quick problem resolution, and fast regulatory approvals

in order to effectively and efficiently market new products.

Myth 2: Deploying an Electronic Quality System can cost companies huge sums of money

The demand for quality management software has increased the competition amongst vendors. Companies can select an electronic QMS at an affordable price. Many vendors now offer less-expensive, cost effective quality management software through services such as on demand / SaaS, where the software is hosted on the

vendor’s server. Additionally, this reduces the cost of ownership by over 60% and makes the implementation possible in days, rather than weeks, all for a small monthly fee.

Myth 3: Only Technical Personnel can use Quality Management Software

It is a common misconception that anything relating to software is in the realm of an organization’s technical team. It gives rise to this myth that only IT departments / technical personnel of companies can handle and use electronic quality systems. The fact is, there are quality management programs which are designed for everyday users who are familiar with internet usage – programs designed to be user-friendly and intuitive. In essence, anyone who can surf the internet can easily use a well-designed electronic QMS system. Further, quality management software is far easier to use than a paper-based system, as the QMS software will typically include help manuals and technical support. Moreover, deploying software through an on demand service doesn’t even require an IT department, as the vendor has a support team that installs and implements the software.

Myth 4: Poor to no return on investment on Quality Management Software

When considering the use of a QMS, senior management will usually question the QMS’s potential return on investment. Various studies show that using software for quality management can save administrative time, reduce printing costs, improve production cycles, speed up change control processes, and improve speed of response – all of which adds up to a considerable return on investment. One of the biggest costs relates to risk; a good QMS will substantially reduce the risk of incorrect documentation like specifications or inspections being used and can thus provide a difficult to quantify, yet significant savings. Depending on the scope of implementation, a QMS can offer return on investment in as little as 12 months.

Myth 5: Risk of losing data with an Electronic Quality Management System

One of the more persistent myths associated with QMS systems involves the perception that the electronic storage of data is somehow riskier than retaining paper versions of the data. In fact, electronic documents are far safer than any other methods of documentation. Ask yourself a question: Do you back up the files in your cabinet every day? Probably not, but with an electronic QMS, you can create a backup of all your data every night, therefore ensuring that your data is always safe and secure. Do you have a copy of your paper system off site? With an electronic QMS, this is normal – or at least it should be.

When you are looking for ways to save administrative costs, increase employee productivity, improve business performance, and speed up the customer response process, an electronic QMS is a must-have. Deploying a QMS through on-demand / SaaS solution is a hassle-free and cost-effective route for small and medium sized enterprises.

Source by Kanupriya Bhatli

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Tips For The Chip Van Insurance

by sinnga kilam 0 Comments

The progress of the food industry, especially the business sector that provides its services through chip vans is on the rise. So, if you are also an owner, we suggest that you make sure that you get the right type of insurance to cover your fish and chip. This will help you stay on the safe side in case of an accident or other tragedies. Given below are some tips that can help you with your chip van insurance.

First of all, if you are going to get your catering business insured for the first time, we suggest that you get several quotes from different van underwriters. How does the process go? As soon as you have filled in your insurance details, they will be sent to a panel of brokers. After carefully reviewing your details, they will send a quote to you. In other words, you will need to fill in an online form to get the quote delivered to you.

Types of Insurance Available

Now, let us take a look at different types of insurance that you can choose from:

Breakdown cover: while this is not essential, you may want to consider it as the downtime can cost you a good deal of money.

Third Party: Actually, this is the minimum as far as the law goes and it covers damage that may occur to the third parties.

Fire and Theft: just like the third party, this cover includes coverage for the damage that may result from fire or theft.

Comprehensive: it will provide coverage for third party theft, fire and any damage to your vehicles.

Tips to Cut Down on your Monthly or yearly Insurance Premium

Add to the Excess

In case you don’t know, the Excess is the amount of money that you can be held liable for if you get involved in an accident. What you need to do is add to this amount. By doing so, you will take additional responsibility and hold yourself accountable for a bigger sum if an accident happens. The majority of brokers will look at it as an indicator of lower risk. As a result, you will get a lower quote. Therefore, increasing the Excess amount is a great idea.

Limit the Miles:

In this scenario, if you don’t travel long distances on a daily basis, you can let your broker know about it and he may lower the insurance premium that you will pay. This is because you may be less likely to have an accident. So, the insurance provider will have a lower chances of receiving a claim. So, this will be a win-win situation for both you and your insurer.

Security:

When your van is not in use, you can add more security for keeping you more secure. However, make sure that the added security is approved by the insurance industry of your area prior to the purchase and installation.

So, these are a few tips that may help you with your chip van insurance. If you follow these tips, you may be able to enjoy lower insurance premiums.

Source by Shalini Madhav

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3 Online Dating Profile Samples To Get You Noticed

Writing an online dating profile can be difficult for many people using a dating website. There are many generic dating examples online that sound the same. Many dating members are searching on how to write the perfect online dating profile. Here are 3 creative examples that I’ve concocted, which can inspire a single guy or single girl on any dating website!

First Example:

“Hello to everyone reading this! I’m new to the online dating scene and have heard good and bad things about it. I never assume anything before finding out all the facts on my own. I am newly single and want to move slowly back into dating. If you are someone who likes to take things slow and use their slow cooker, send me a message!

“My adventurous side has me watching anything on storm watching and would love to try it with someone who knows what they are doing. It’s always great to learn new things and have a list of things I’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. It would be nice to meet someone who wants to learn new hobbies and interests from each other. I am a chef by profession and artist by the weekend. I am a self-taught artist who enjoys dabbling in paint, ceramics and anything unusual.

“If you are a risk-taker and would like to know more, I would enjoy receiving a message from you. Tell me what you find risky. Have a creative week and watch out for that storm!”

Second Example:

“I really don’t want to bore you to tears by writing about what a great catch I am. I’m sure you’ve read many dating profiles that have told you they are perfect for you! I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words don’t you think? It would be great to meet face to face for coffee and see where it goes from there.

“I’m not scared to let you know that I have flaws. I’m a perfectionist and can use a whole package of good paper trying to handwrite something. With the internet world taking over, it’s nice to write an actual handwritten letter to family and friends. I know that recycling is huge so don’t worry, I do use the paper I’ve scrapped for other things! You would think because I’m a perfectionist that I have the perfect job. That, I have not perfected yet. I’m still looking for my true calling and am taking part-time classes at the University after work.

“If you are honest and are looking to meet someone for casual dating, make sure to email me. I am looking to date but if it leads to something more, it’s always a good thing. Don’t forget to tell me something about yourself!”

Third Example:

“I’m a person who enjoys meeting new people all the time. I love to socialize, embrace life and am a lot of fun if I say so myself! Online dating has been quite the adventure and I am still looking for that special someone. If you are looking for someone genuine, I’m your man! I don’t have patience for people who pretend to be something they are not.

“I’m honest, forgiving and love to laugh. If you can make me laugh, I would be interested in speaking to you. There are too many people who take life seriously and don’t make time to enjoy the finest pleasures. That would include taking in the outdoors, sitting in front of a fireplace and eating gummy worms on a regular basis for me!

“Tell me what your idea of having fun is. I enjoy the weekends out when I am not working in the week and would love to have someone accompany me. It could be an evening of taking in the local comedy scene or local bands. Drop me an email and we’ll chat soon!”

Source by Yaro Babiy

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Is Ron Mueller the Next Matthew Lesko?

His name may sound kind of familiar, but His wardrobe gives him away every time – his trademark “question mark suit;” you know the one covered with neon question marks, his mismatched bright socks, wild bow ties and a seemingly inexhaustible collection of eyeglasses in every color of the rainbow.

Matthew Lesko Is the best-selling author and infomercial host, who has published over 70 books showing everyday people how to get free services and products from the federal government. He has had two New York Times best-sellers and two national best sellers, Getting Yours and Information USA.

Twenty years ago, Matthew Lesko was working out of his bedroom with one phone line helping Fortune 500 companies get information on commodities. One day he had an idea: why not publish the names and numbers of federal programs that offer free and low cost services and money programs for taxpayers.

Ron Mueller is doing for the home-based entrepreneur, with the 5th edition of his #1 New York Times best selling book, “Home Business Tax Savings Made Easy!,” (formerly titled, “It’s How Much You KEEP that counts, not how much you make!”) what Matthew Lesko has done for the public with his grant information; which is to take the laws written by congress and the IRS and place them in one easy to find, easy to read reference guide.

Ron Mueller uses everyday language to convey his simple message, as a w-2 employee, without a home-based business, you are overpaying your taxes week after week, month after month, year after year. Every American should willingly pay our taxes we just don’t need to over pay them.

So are all those tax breaks, so frequently touted by & to would-be entrepreneurs, for real or what? Unequivocally YES! They are most assuredly for real, they’re NOT “loopholes,” “tax dodges,” or “tax avoidance schemes.” They’re honest, ethical, legal tax breaks, which are Authorized by Congress, Published in the IRS Code, and Approved by the Federal Tax Court.

One of the common misconceptions many home-based entrepreneurs share however is that their accountant or tax-preparer has received specialized training in home business tax laws.

According to Dr. Mueller, that be couldn’t further from the truth, “An understanding of home-based business tax law is not taught in most accounting schools, and isn’t even tested on the CPA exam! So, simply finding a person with CPA after their name is no indication whether they do, or don’t, know ANYTHING about home-based business tax law. In most cases they will only know if self-taught.”

“If I need surgery I would seek out a specialist. I now know that I need to do the same thing for tax preparation. The right surgeon can save my life. The right tax advisor can save my financial life.”

How important is this guide to the average American? Quite simply stated by best-selling author and entrepreneur, Robert Allen, in the introduction to, “Home Business Tax Savings Made Easy,” “everyone with a home-based business needs this book. Anyone without a home-based business needs it even more.”

Dr. Mueller spent 12 months researching every tax code, congressional law or federal court ruling that pertains to home-based businesses and then another 6 months translating all of that into plain English.

Why?

Because everyone thinks they pay too much in taxes, but most people are unwilling to do anything about. This book removes the, “I didn’t know” excuse from our vocab.

If you’re a Network Marketing Professional who’s not using the information contained in the pages of “Home Business Tax Savings Made Easy,” to explain to your potential business partners the exact nature of their tax advantages – you’re working way too hard.

Let’s get real – What’s the #1 reason most people are looking to join your business in the first place? Correct, they need more money – usually right away! Not now – RIGHT Now.

Imagine being able to flip to page 169 & showing your prospective partner how they can change the number of allowances on their w-4 and increase their take home pay as soon as their next pay period. If you believe that this would be invaluable to your business then you need to own this book.

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking this book is solely for Network Marketers. If you own & operate, or are looking to own & operate any type of business, full or part-time, from your home, this book belongs in your reference library as well!

Source by Derrick Carpenter

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5 Successful Dating Tips from Movie "Hitch"

by sinnga kilam 0 Comments

To excel in the dating game it is important to be guided by the player and they don’t come much better than date doctor Alex Hitchens in short ‘Hitch’. So we took his word as a piece of gospel when he said that ‘With no guile and no game there is no girl’. These are few of the tips from his movie ‘Hitch’ to help you guys to see the forest through the sleaze.

Principle 1: No woman wakes up saying god I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today

No species after bacteria existed on the planet that doesn’t require admiration from the fellow species. Women are on the top of this ladder so not only they want it but also all of it. Did I say women are high on vanity chart (don’t tell your prospect this).

If she tell you that she is going through a very bad time or need personal space or Hitch personal favorite that I’m really into my career right now. What she really meant is get off me now or try harder stupid. Which one is it for you to decide?

Principle 2: 90% of what you say is ain’t coming out of your mouth.

Body language plays a major role initially so try to be better at it. For a fact 60% of all human communication is body language and 30%is your tone so basically 90% of what you say ain’t coming out of your mouth. People keep on preparing and worrying about the 10% of it while neglecting the rest 90%, which play a major role in securing the first date. Work on the 90% and let the 10% be taken care on the first date.

Principal 3: Beautiful doesn’t know what she wants until she sees it.

Well this is true for all of us but more for those busty beautifuls who until now spend all their faculties on building those curves as elegant as a F1 track. Testimony to that ask Christian Kerembu or Celine Dion. Take your pick whom do you prefer.

Principle 4: Be what you are, you have something to offer to her which no other man can.

The most common mistake that most guys commit is try to be somebody else to impress the women of their dreams. Most fail at it without guessing so try to be what you are. You cannot use what you do not have, so if you are shy then be shy.

She may not want the whole true but she does want to see the real you. She may not want to see all at once but she does want to see it. So be yourself as she said yes to you when she could have said no.

Principle 5: Give her space and maintain a vision

On first date, key is to hang back and give her plenty of space. If she lingers on a photograph move on but maintain vision. Domestic dreams on private time when you are with her be with her. Women respond when you respond to them. Therefore, when she speaks just listen to her as when your turn will come you will have better things to say than I like your mouth. Please stop imagining how she looks naked.

So get off from the couch now and try few of these tonight in the club and have time of your life.

Source by Chris Fanning

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Useful Acting Tips for Amateur Actors

by sinnga kilam 0 Comments

If you want to become a professional actor, you must improve your acting skills. This article will tell you some important acting tips that will be of great use to you. The tips are mentioned below:

First of all you should know your script. It is important that you read the whole script and not just your own lines. Read it again and again till you are able to comprehend it thoroughly. By this you will understand and identify the reason for your lines and it will be easier for you to remember the lines. And as a result you will react to the right lines and with right expressions.

In a live performance, you should get involved into your character and the scene as much as you can. This will help you to discover how your character elements come across to others. The more you feel the character the more realistic the experience becomes for you as well as for the audience.

Listen keenly to what other actors are saying in the scene. You must give the impression that what your character is listening is simply of that moment. This will enable you to react properly with your lines. It is advisable that you resist the excitement to be speedy with your lines, just to prove you know them.

Remember, the best way to improve your acting is to realize that when you first deliver your lines, it will usually be the easiest attempt for you and not the best one for that part of the scene. So you should look ahead of your initial choice and explore what more you can do to meliorate the scene.

Learn to breathe properly and practice it at least 20 minutes once in a day. Also learn few stress relief techniques. For example, you inhale as much as you can and exhale for about twice the time you spent inhaling. Such breathing exercise will help you to relax and overcome the stage fear.

Be professional when you deal with your colleagues. You should come in time on the day of shooting. This gives you some warm up time before the show gets started. And, more importantly you will be seen as a sincere and devoted actor by others.

Be fearless and do not get deterred with harsh criticism. Just be honest with yourself and give your performance with full devotion and concentration.

Now the last but the most important tip—learn the fine art of acting. The surest way to learn acting is practicing it. Yes, after all practice makes perfect. The more you act the more and better you learn. And also you will get many opportunities to work with different actors and directors.

So follow these acting tips and reach the pinnacle of glory in the acting field.

Source by Jack Tracy

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My Opinion About Life

A famous philosopher once said,

“Life is too deep for words,

So don’t try to describe it,

Just Live It.”

I agree to his opinion. Life is not such a sort of word which can be described in alphabets. It needs volumes and volumes to explain Life. Many Philosophers, Scholars and Literary Personalities have tried their level best to define life. Some say life is like fire, some say it’s like an ice-cream. A very famous Greek Philosopher Hericulates says,

“Life is the name of war,

This war makes a common man,

a King or a Slave.”

Similarly, Carl Sandburg says,

“Life is like an onion:

You peel it off one layer at a time,

and sometimes you weep.”

So, this was a brief glimpse to the views of some great people about life.

Now I would like to introduce you with my own opinion and idea about life.

Life is like a blend of different shades and colors. It has a lot of faces. We can’t have a single opinion about it. If we look at it from one point of view or observe its face from one side, it appears to us very pleasant and enjoyable. But at the same time, its opposite side is very ugly and sad. I take these different shades of life similar to the four seasons of year i-e. Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn and divide the life span of a person in four periods.

The Spring, which is a very life giving season, is actually the Childhood period of men’s life. About spring someone has said,

“Spring unlocks the laughing

beauty of Nature.”

The childhood of a person is very innocent, without any sort of worries and tensions and hence it is very bright and is, therefore, the Spring of Life.

The Summer, although with its blazing warmth and scorching heat still gives vigor and zeal to life. The teenage duration is also very adventurous and one uses all his abilities either in the right or wrong direction. In other words, it is very enthusiastic period of life.

Next one is Winter season which due to its coldness brings fadedness to one’s life. The duration of life aging from 30’s to the boundary of old age is a natural period in which the charms of life began to vanish. But still in this period of age, a little struggle and enthusiasm remains the companion of an individual.

Autumn season which is a symbol of gloominess and sadness is the representative of late old age of a person when he just passes his days of life like a flickering flame of candle which is on the mercy of blowing winds. All his emotions turn cold and silently wait for the closing of his chapter of life and thinks keenly on this point that

“Our lives are like a candle in the wind.”

So, this was all which I have experienced yet about life. My opinion about life, either it is right or wrong, is very close to the reality which I have observed from my surroundings. It however changes with the mood of a person, if you are happy i-e. everything is going as per your plan then life seems to be a silky piece of fabric which folds the way you do but if it doesn’t favor you then you feel autumn around you, your mood your likes/dislikes change accordingly.

I believe that if a person watches only his own way in life and avoids any overlap of fortune with others (which is very difficult) he will conquer his life and steer it any way he wants. Jealousy is the key that unlocks the negative competition instead race among fellows and suddenly spring changes to autumn. Childhood is spring because the factor of jealousy is not into play, a child doesn’t know to be jealous.

Life is a word having meaning as wide as the depth of oceans and the grains of sand on the shores of seas. So, to say that this is the ultimate reality or meaning of life would be totally wrong. Paper can be ended and inks can be finished but the true meaning of life can never be defined.

Source by Muhammad Usman Choudhary

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Editing – The Most Important Step in the Writing Process

Whether you’re writing an essay, a book, a marketing brochure or website content, the most important step of the writing process isn’t in the planning of what you’re going to write, and it’s not in the choice of tone, style or language; the most important step is in fact the editing. As a writer therefore it’s important to appreciate the significance of the editing process and to some extent be able to edit your own work.

The editing process is a systematic way to get the best out of your writing; it involves recognising weaknesses in your use of language, plot, characterisation, dialogue etcetera, as well as identifying the strong areas and realising themes that can be expanded. The editing process should also include the basic proofreading elements of checking for spelling mistakes and grammar errors.

It is often difficult for a writer to edit their own work well as the more time they spend on their writing the closer they become to it. An editor requires a certain amount of distance from the work they are editing to ensure they can get the best from the text they are working on. It is often the case that a fresh pair of eyes will quickly pick up inconsistencies or errors that the writer has missed, because the writer knows what they are expecting to read and their mind generally fills in the blanks or skims over the mistakes. This is why using a professional copy editor is often preferable to trying to edit yourself. This doesn’t however mean that a writer cannot be involved in the editing process; in fact it is often better if the process is a joint effort between writer and editor, allowing for the editor to make suggestions or prompt the writer to think of alternative ways to convey their message. The writer can subsequently develop their own work, in their own style as a result of the editor’s comments.

Many writers find that although their first draft of a manuscript, poem or essay, holds all of the basic elements that they which to express in their work, it may be many edits down the line before they are finally happy with the finished result. This is not a reflection of the writer’s natural ability or technical skill, indeed a good writer is one who is willing to edit, edit and edit again; this commitment to a project will pay dividends in the end, causing a writer to produce work that far surpasses the efforts of a first draft.

Source by Jo M Roberts

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Successfully Resolve Customer Service Problems to Retain Customer Loyalty

It seems that as our technology improves, the business/customer relationship is declining. With online technical and sales support, the personal side of customer relations is not as prevalent. There is no longer any loyalty to a business and its products and services. This trend can cause a significant decrease in sales. One way to counteract this trend is to resolve customer service problems successfully and efficiently in order to retain customer loyalty.

The following list outlines simple but effective methods of successfully resolving customer service problems:

Create a Customer Complaint Department: The best way to deal with customer complaints effectively and efficiently is to have experts who are able to manage irate customers with their problems

Be Polite and Courteous: If a customer walks into a business or calls, it is important that the customer service representative takes the time to show that they care and are willing to listen and help. Empathize with the customer’s problem. An angry customer will calm down if they feel they are valued and respected. Be positive.

Record the Problem: Writing the complaint down and the actions that will be taken helps avoid any misunderstandings. It also shows the customer that the matter is important to the business.

Provide Solutions or Methods of Resolving the Problem: Don’t list business policies and practices. This will only infuriate the customer. Work with the customer to come up with a solution that will satisfy the customer. If possible, don’t pass the problem off to another representative or transfer the call to someone else. If you do, make sure the new representative has all of the pertinent information so the customer does not have to repeat himself.

Empathize, Don’t Apologize: A direct apology will assign blame to the company. It is better to empathize using such phrases as: ‘I am sorry you have had such a difficult time with our product.’ It will show that you care about the customer’s situation. Try to understand the customer’s feelings and point of view. Understanding will go a long way in satisfying the customer.

Keep Your Promises: Make sure that you don’t make promises that you can’t keep. It will reflect badly on the company and make you look incompetent. The customer will also appreciate reliable service.

Produce Positive Results: Always follow through with your plan to resolve the problem. Bad or poor quality service will cause you to lose customers. The key to maintaining customers is to always follow through with your promise.

Offer loyalty Incentives: If the problem cannot be adequately resolved, offer a customer an incentive so they will continue being a loyal customer. This can include giving them a replacement product or service along with a gift or discount on their next purchase. Everyone loves free things. It will make the customer feel appreciated.

Think of customer complaints as lessons for improving customer care. The solution to great customer service is being able to identify the type of customer you are dealing with. To reap the rewards of customer loyalty, the customer needs to be put first when there is a problem. Showing the customer you care and are willing to resolve the problem efficiently and effectively will go a long way in retaining customer loyalty. Customer loyalty cannot be established immediately, but the investment is well worth it. A happy and satisfied customer is essential to achieving a successful and long term business.

Source by Amy Nutt

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Life Cycle Marketing Philosophy and Strategy

Why Use Life-Cycle Marketing?

For many companies, the current recession has made one fact abundantly clear: Doing business the same old way simply will not work. Old methods of sales and marketing are too inefficient, too costly, and they may be a risk to the business itself. Postponing a change in marketing strategy one more year is no longer an option. Web, Direct Mail, Email, Social Media, traditional, and digital advertising must all be in a business’ marketing strategy. Simply stated: Life-Cycle Marketing ensures businesses get the right message, to the right person, using the right media, at exactly the right time.

Consider The Following:

“Purchasing decisions include many factors that most consumers are not even aware of. Five steps are involved in nearly every purchase made: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and finally post purchase behavior. Even the simplest purchases can include any or all of these steps.” (Brown, 2005)

“Purchases are further influenced by such things as personal, psychological, and social issues. A good market researcher will study the thought process undergone by consumers, compare it with their demographic data, and use the resulting information to market their products.” (Armstrong et al, 2005)

Marketing Factors: Consumer Buying Behavior

February 01, 2006 by S. L. O’Brien

Life-Cycle marketers use analytics to predict when customers are most likely to buy. They then reach out with incentives aimed at encouraging the consumer to buy from them. Timing and message are keys. Instead of wasting marketing dollars trying to reach a large audience, many of which have no interest at all in the offer, the Life-Cycle marketer targets an audience where he or she is most likely to succeed.

The benefits of a Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy extend beyond higher conversion rates. The collection of useful, measurable data will allow a business to develop trends, segments, and behavioral patterns that can be used for more precise targeting. Thus, marketing efforts will become more specific to the consumers’ needs. Their level of trust and appreciation will increase, improving loyalty and soon advocacy.

What is Life-Cycle Marketing?

Life-Cycle Marketing transcends traditional thinking about customers and prospects. Instead of focusing on individual campaigns aimed at the masses, Life-Cycle Marketing instead considers the individual prospect/customer, keeping in mind where they are in relationship to the sale, and communicating with them accordingly. To be effective, A Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy must capture views of the customer as he or she moves through the life-cycle stages: Reach, Acquire, Convert, Retain, and Advocate.

1. The Reach Phase is the starting point. Reach refers to the potential target audience. It can relate to current customers and prospective customers alike. Reach is what advertisers and marketers do to gain their attention. It is getting in front of leads, turning them into prospects. Reach can be exciting. It is the glitz, the ad, the website, the wow, the bang. Reach works best when customers understand a business’ brand, service, or product.

Reach will target the audience at a point when they are most likely to be affected by the message. Advertising, direct mail, variable data direct mail, social media, email or other methods may work well. Unlike many campaigns, all the methods employed during this phase will be coded and measured. The ultimate goal of reach is to acquire prospects, but just in case that does not happen, Reach will gather valuable information to be used in future campaigns.

2. The goal of the Acquire Phase is customer participation. Did the prospect interact with the company? Did they walk in the store, call, email, visit a website? Acquiring a prospect happens the moment a lead shows interest. We know how they responded (e.g. signing up for a newsletter, filling out a credit application, taking a survey, requesting a coupon, downloading a demo or any other action). We have a bona-fide prospect, but actually making the sale could still be in question.

Acquire will define the methods and processes required to handle this phase of the customer life-cycle. Responses will be personalized (age, gender, point of interest, and others), using information gained from the prospect. As in the Reach phase, all Acquire outreach will be coded and tracked so trending data can be collected.

3. The Convert Phase is the point at which the sale is made, and the prospect has been converted into a customer. It may take several actions on both sides of the process before the prospect actually converts.

Convert is the phase where customer segmentation begins. What did they buy? Where do they live? What additional products or services did similar buyers purchase? Age, gender, buying power, the need for additional services, and other factors determine your next move as a marketer. The closer a company can get to its customers at this point, the greater the opportunity to sell them again.

After all, it is more efficient to keep existing customers than to constantly be looking for new ones.

4. The Retain Phase is the process of nurturing the relationship and encouraging repeat sales. It is far easier, and less costly, to sell additional products and services to an existing customer than it is to find new leads.

Current customers have already made the decision to buy. They already have a relationship with a company. They have decided to trust a sales team, product or process. The importance of maintaining, if not enhancing, this trust cannot be overstated.

Retain is where the Life-Cycle Marketing strategy truly enhances business. Knowing that the customer will stray if we neglect him or her, it is imperative we maintain contact. Working closely with management applications to create trending models and tracking mechanisms will help a company retain customers.

5. The Advocacy Phase is the completion of the cycle, returning business to a better beginning. These leads have the word of a friend, a loyal customer, fresh in their minds.

Customers with the greatest life-time value are the ones who advocate on a company’s behalf. They tell their family and friends. They suggest products on social websites. They run fan clubs. They tattoo a company logo on their bodies. Just ask Harley-Davidson how that is working out for them.

Advocating is simply the best marketing tool possible. Advocates will get the attention they need, and if necessary, the tools to do what they do best… sell a company to their network.

How does a company use Life-Cycle Marketing?

Once a company has decided to pursue a Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy it must have clear understanding of each phase of the process. Each phase of the strategy builds upon the previous phase, creating an ongoing cycle with predicted expectations and measurable results.

• To begin successfully putting a Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy into action, marketers must have a clear understanding of their current business status and their long term goals.

• They need to capture the right data to identify both their profitable and unprofitable customers, understanding their behavior to given offers, incentives and messaging. With that information, they must structure a plan to contact customers at the optimal point when they are ready to act.

• Marketers must have in place an active tool that allows them to check results against objectives and to act accordingly.

• Test, tweak, measure, act. Then, test, tweak, measure, act. It is a never-ending process, but is that not true of all marketing? The difference is decisions made in a Life-Cycle Marketing program are based on facts, not hunches and wishful thinking.

To realize the maximum benefit fully from a Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy, marketers should:

  • Utilize the life-cycle stage as a means to narrow data collection.
  • Create rules and personas for each customer segment.
  • Stop thinking campaign, start thinking relationship building.

What about the impact (ROI) of a Life-Cycle Marketing Strategy?

Like any other investment a company will undertake, Life-Cycle Marketing should be implemented with clear goals and expectations for its return on that investment. Unlike traditional thinking where an offer is sent and the direct result of that offer is measured, the Life-Cycle Strategy looks at the whole picture. As the strategy itself implies, marketing is conducted over the life-cycle of the customer. In the same fashion, ROI needs to be evaluated over that same span.

Important Considerations:

Findings from a study conducted by about.com

• Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers.

• Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater than non-repeat customers.

• It costs six times more to sell something to a prospect than to sell that same thing to a customer.

Like all good relationships, Life-Cycle Marketing relationships take time to develop, and their value should be assessed over time using a variety of measures. Doing this is not always easy, but for the companies that embrace this strategy, the rewards are worth the effort.

Source by Mike Feldkamp

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