Marketing Chocolate

Throughout history, chocolate has been marketed differently to different consumer types. Some companies like to show their customers that their chocolate has the most weight, by using digital scales and then showing what the price computing scales read on the actual package label. Yet, other companies prefer to create an upscale image, by making their products seem rich and indulgent. This article discusses the different ways to market chocolate.

1. Make a product that is meant for the everyday consumer. This type of chocolate is made for those who want an average chocolate bar. The packaging is usually very simple and the prices are the same or lower than the rest of the competition.

2. Create a rich and luxurious image for the product. This type of chocolate is set above the rest in price. It usually has gold packaging and has a look that is different from all of the competitors.

3. Organic products are becoming more and more popular, so making chocolate to appease this type of consumer is a new marketing technique. In order for a chocolate to be organic, it must be approved by the USDA and some companies then go on to get certified organic by other more strict organizations.

4. Companies also want to reach out to the adventurous chocolate eater by using exotic ingredients in the chocolate. These types of chocolates usually have bold colors on the package label, to emphasize the exotic ingredients that are in the chocolate. Exotic ingredients may include, spices like cayenne pepper, or different fruits like passion fruit or mango.

5. Sugar free chocolate appearances to those who have diabetes or anyone who wants to reduce their sugar intake. The diet industry has really taken off in the past ten years and as such, so has the diet chocolate industry. People with diabetes or consumers who are watching their weight are able to eat chocolate that is made without sugar. This chocolate is usually made with artificial sweeteners and the packaging reflects this change. The wrapping and labeling on this kind of chocolate bar is usually lighter, to indicate that it is lighter in calories and sugar, therefore, making it a light chocolate bar.

6. Finally, there is marketing towards children, in which companies make a product that is fun with packaging that has bright colors. There are many chocolate producing companies whose target market is children. In order to attract children anywhere from two to sixteen, they make their labels appear bright and cheerful. These companies also make their companies seem fun and sometimes quirky to attract children to other products they may offer.

Chocolate has been a part of the everyday consumers' lives for hundreds of years. It is only in the recent past that the consumer market for chocolate has been segmented into so many different components. The consumer market is also constantly changing, so it will be interesting to see what new markets come about in the next few decades and how the chocolate industry will deal with these future changes in the chocolate market.

Online Advertising: Remnant Traffic

What is “remnant traffic”, and why it is good for advertising?

‘Remnant traffic’ myths.
There are a multitude of myths and misconceptions concerning different aspects of online advertising which are still misleading for both Internet users and advertisers alike. One of these misconceptions is the definition of ‘remnant traffic’. Some advertising networks and agencies have their own glossary open for public use, where remnant traffic is often defined as “the most inexpensive ad inventory traffic by disreputable sites or empty ‘parked domains’ advertising inappropriate content”. Is remnant traffic really as bad as we are led to believe?

In order to understand what remnant traffic truly is let’s look more closely at what the traffic is the remnant of.

Premium traffic: The easiest way to understand is to imagine the banner of a famous brand on a top website’s homepage. In fact premium traffic is the “cream” of a website’s audience. Websites that provide premium traffic are guaranteeing to the advertiser that the audience will note the ad. They will primarily display the banner at notable places so ALL visitors to the site will see it.

This gives us our opposing definition of ‘remnant traffic’. First of all this term had been considered as the unsold inventory of our big brand advertiser above. Another stereotype is that historically remnant traffic was thought of as sold by low traffic ‘unpopular’ websites only, as they have no hope of attracting big name brands as advertisers. In the absence of alternatives these low traffic sites place banners from blind networks, which offer inexpensive ads often of doubtful content and quality.

Thus there formed a situation where premium traffic is considered as top websites traffic and remnant traffic is the traffic of the other less popular resources online. That would sound quite reasonable if it wasn’t found to be largely untrue under detailed consideration. In order to sort out the fact from the fiction let’s look at the nearest relation of online ads – advertising on TV, radio and traditional print media.

As it turns out there was already a very close definition of ‘remnant advertising’ in TV, radio and print media.

Is there ‘remnant advertising’ in the other media?
TV remnant advertising is advertising at any time except prime-time. The further from prime-time an advert is shown, the more discounts a channel offers to advertisers. Discounts on TV may reach 90% for unsold inventory. Discounts on radio are also prevalent and depend on time of broadcast and usual audience listening figures. These discounts may range from 25% to 75%.

Another rule operates for printed media as they are selling physical advertising space. Advertising space nearer the middle of the newspaper is priced vastly differently from a front page advert cost. In this case a direct comparison can be made between advertising on the front page of a newspaper with a banner on the homepage of a popular website.

The win-win nature of remnant advertising was accepted long ago in traditional media advertising and so the approach to premium and remnant ads was formed as the market matured. It is obvious and logical that those media may offer discounts up to 90% for unsold time or space. This is called remnant advertising. In this case both the channel and the advertiser are gaining. The channel covers 100% of scheduled advertising inventory; the advertiser is placing his advert with resources required with a great discount. So as we can see the place for remnant advertising was found in traditional media. Further remnant advertising is working effectively and not giving rise to the rejection of potential participants whether they be advertisers, advertising agencies or publishers.

‘Remnant traffic’ as it is.
Now let’s return to the Internet. If you look through the homepage of any top website, you will usually see only big-brand advertising in all the most notable places. Obviously this is premium traffic, somewhat analogous of prime-time on TV or magazines’ or newspapers’ front pages. If however you leave the page and return to it once or twice, the displayed advertising begins to change before your very eyes from a big brand to smaller or less well known advertisers or brands.

It turns out that as well as TV channels sell their prime-time, large websites sell impressions with a ‘first demonstration’ privilege. By refreshing a page several times we leafed through the big brand premium ad traffic and may now in fact see true ‘remnant advertising’ on a popular website. So that means top sites also have remnant traffic don’t they? Undoubtedly they do and they monetize it as well as traditional media do with their remnant advertising through great discounts. Separately it should be noted that this is the same mythical remnant traffic, which some networks and agencies associate with something inexpensive, negative and full of inappropriate content. These terms are obviously mismatched with the reality of remnant ads on top websites. On these top websites, remnant inventory may still be very expensive and high quality both for ad placement and ad content. Thus we have dispelled this particular myth.

But what should small low-traffic sites do? They do not attract huge site traffic numbers and thus cannot place premium class brand advertising. Are there any alternatives except the placement of inexpensive ad of sometimes very doubtful content, as described at the beginning of this article’s?

Can we benefit from using ‘remnant traffic’?
There are currently four main alternatives each with different pros and cons:

(a)You may place contextual advertising from one of the big search engines. Such services offer banner display advertising too. Among the advantages we should mention flexibility and adaptability of ad settings, rotations, localization etc. The disadvantages include delays with site verification and authorization to collaborate this program and delays with revenue payouts for displayed ads. Example: Google AdSense

(b)You may place a banner from one of the ‘blind’ ad networks. The principal advantages are that it is fast, simple and will generate money for anybody without exception. The disadvantages are lower revenues and the very real possibility of the appearance of inappropriate or shocking advertising content. Example: Clicksor

(c)You may register at a specialized remnant traffic ad network. These networks specialize in monetization of remnant traffic only. Both medium and high traffic sites use their services to fill their remnant ad inventory. The principal advantages are a generally high return in comparison with the alternatives and guaranteed clear and appropriate ad content. The main disadvantage is the current inability to monetize Chinese, Korean or Indian traffic sufficiently using these ad networks. Thus this alternative should be chosen in the case of sites with predominantly European or US traffic. Example: Fidelity Media

(d)You may place social (or philanthropic) advertising. The advantages are worthwhile ads, wholly appropriate content and you can improve your karma by doing social good. Disadvantage: it is generally free and thus not for profit. Example: Ad Council

Hopefully after considering these options there will be an obvious conclusion so do not hesitate to experiment. Earn money from your website and don’t get fooled by pseudo-authoritative statements that your traffic is worthless to advertisers. In most cases it is simply not true.

Investing in Your Mental Well-Being

Hmm … where did I leave those keys? What did I come in here for? What was I going to say? Or in my case – 'you just asked me that question dad', to which I think, I do not remember getting an answer, in fact, I do not even remember asking the question.

Being mentally responsive and perceptive is something a lot of people take for granted and does not give a second thought to. Unfortunately, your memory is a precious thing that needs to be taken care of and kept 'in shape'. Believe it or not, we do not realize how valuable our memory really is until it is taken from us as we get older, or for some, when stricken with health issues.

Taking care of your mind means you will need to invest in things that keep it sharp and responsive. Believe it or not, it is as easy as having regular sleep patterns, uninterrupted rest, exercise, less stress and mental challenges. All of which, can cause a loss of mental alertness when ignored.

Investing in yourself is a foreign concept, especially for those with busy schedules and families to tend to. For example, mothers are unselfish and unwavering when it comes to their children. When a new mothers will tend to their babies while everyone else is eating. If she is lucky she will eat with the babies still in her arms or after everyone has gone to bed.

Improving your concentration and focus should be something you work at every day. If you do it consistently, it will definitely prove rewarding. Experts suggest that investing in certain food and brain fitness items will go a long way to sharpening your mind. Brain fitness is an actual term that means "the capacity of a person to meet the various cognitive demands of life."

To get your brain fit again, try:

  • Word searches
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Mind teasers
  • Sudoku
  • Scrabble
  • Taking a course in something new
  • Reading books that make you think

When I read the part about taking a course in something new, I suddenly understood why my children used to come home from school saying that their heads hurt. Learning a lot of new things is taxing and tiring, but education is an investment in their mental capacity, and should not be ignored. Teaching others is also something that keeps your mind sharp and thinking. Teaching a new college the ways of the office, walking a volunteer through what you do on a daily basis or helping your children with their math homework. All of these are good for you and should be thought of as investing in yourself.

In addition to brain exercises, physical fitness helps you maintain mental stability and focus. Studies have shown, and I have personal experiences that prove, that aerobic exercising several times a week will improve your self-esteem. Regular exercise clears your mind of everything else that was there and allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. Investing in a pair of running shoes and tackling a new and challenging sport will certainly pay off in more ways than one.

The phrase, you are what you eat, certainly applies when it comes to investing in your mental wellbeing. A deficiency in Vitamin B and Omega 3 Fatty Acids can lead to poor cognitive functions.

There are certain foods, seeds and natural health alternatives that have been linked to mental stamina. It is well worth looking into these items and investing in them. Some include:

  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Flaxseed

Antioxidant-rich foods are not only tasty, they're also good for mental stamina. They include:

  • Fruit: black plums, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet cherries, avocado, oranges, grapefruits and grapes
  • Vegetables: dark green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, spinach and kale

In the end, investing in your mental health will not only result in a sound mind and body, it will also make a happier you. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Concentration is the secret of strength." Go ahead, invest in your mental wellness for a sharper more efficient you.

Porter’s Five Forces Model And Internet Competition

According to Porter’s Five Forces Model, in my opinion, competition has increased overall as a result of the internet and e-Commerce. The internet and IT has made it possible to both focus on the top and bottom lines and market share is expanded and costs are cut. Many products and services exist just online, major companies have gone online to successfully augment the brick and mortar corporations, and the playing field is all the way to edges of cyberspace, wherever that is. We will further evaluate this stepping through all five forces.

Buyer power is higher when buyers have more choices. Businesses are forced to add value to their products and services to get loyalty. Many loyalty programs include excellent services that customers demand on-line. Customers want to solve their problems and many times they are more successful on-line than on-phone. Also, we see internet savvy businesses springing up offering more valuable goods and services at lower costs. Now with the advent of eBay, many people are assuming roles as drop shippers. Individuals can have a thriving business selling goods of larger companies without having to carry inventory.

Supplier power is higher when buyers have fewer choices from whom to buy. As mentioned earlier, drop shipping has increased the amount of suppliers available. All an individual has to do is form and agreement to sell products for the company. The company takes care of all the logistics. The same is true of associates programs that Amazon.com and Google.com offer. Associates allow a webmaster to earn money by recommending products from others. This increases supplier offerings.

Threat of substitute products or services is high when there are many product alternatives. This is different than having many suppliers. Examples of alternatives are exchanging brand names, substituting credit card capabilities, and looking at better values from cheaper sources. The internet allows this with the “global economy”. I can substitute my product by purchasing from companies overseas where labor, services and products are cheaper, but of comparable quality.

Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competition to enter the market. Well, what have we been talking about? Now, small operations can open shop with less than $10.00 per month and make a lot of money. As inventive as people are, there are always opportunities to do improve a product or service or just create and sell something new. Recently, many new entrants have made even more money authoring Ebooks that tell others how to do what they did. Rivalry among competitors is high when competition is more intense within industries.

On-line book stores and catalog companies are an excellent example. Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are very competitive. However, there are many also smaller niche affiliate bookstores that when combined take a great deal of market share. They offer even more competition. However, both major bookstores have used IT to create value for their customers. These values include associates programs, ease of payment and shipping and many, many others.

The internet offers avenues of competition to existing companies and opportunities for start ups. Now businesses can enter the market on-line with few barriers to entry. Porter’s Five Forces Model can help demonstrate the attractiveness of starting your on-line business. A business person should use the model to identify competition, make a plan, and implement the process.