Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Network Marketing Explained: Part 2

If you have read my previous post on network marketing (if you haven't, read here) you would have gained an understanding of it. I thought it wouldn't be enough to just to talk about something that I haven't witnessed or experienced so I decided to write from my experience.  

You may not realise but there are companies that actually use network marketing as well as marketing their products using traditional forms of advertising. One such company is Telecommunications group, Talk Talk. Talk Talk actually outsource promotions companies to help them expand their customer base.  

I happened to work for one such company. It was a direct sales company using a network marketing structure to achieve goals internally and for Talk Talk themselves. The company had it's own set of rules as far as training went. These rules were the foundations of the company in order for an individual to reach to the head of the company and eventually run their own business. The aim was to get as many people across the country to sign up to Talk Talk as possible.   The way the company managed to do this was by using a particular system combining excellent sales techniques and psychology. They used some of the best motivational techniques around to get the best from the employees or future business owners. They also managed to successfully incorporate a network structure based on performance. If I'm honest you would have been surprised by some of the techniques that were used and how susceptible people can be to a good offer.  

The advantage that my colleagues and I had over other methods of marketing were that we had the chance to get to the customer on a more personal level. We could tailor a package that would suit the customer,  that  otherwise might have probably ignored other methods of Talk Talk's marketing.  

The measure of success in this organisation was how many offices that my manager got his apprentices to run, be their own manager and repeat the business model. From starting with one London office the manager managed to promote another manager in most of the major cities in the country. He promoted managers to Birmingham,  Newcastle, Liverpool and a few others. More offices means more teams of people trying to become managers of their own offices selling Talk Talk, which means more contracts being sold so it's more money and custom for Talk Talk. It also means that more people become involved in the organisation with a view to become a manager in the long term.

Looking forward I believe that more organisations will use the successful examples of companies like the one I worked for. The rate at which the new custom to companies comes in, is really fast. I'll assume that Talk Talk get more custom this way than from referrals by television or any other methods of advertising, especially as around 10,000 people a month sign up to Talk Talk.

As for the individual, it is a great opportunity to make alot of money. The performance aspect of it means a harder work rate. The prospect of becoming a manager at the end of the program as long as making money whilst you learn how to become one is the main incentive.

Thanks for reading this post. For constructive feedback and criticism follow me on Twitter @Allenbusiness or on Google+ / LinkedIn...Anthony Allen.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Network Marketing Explained: A Growing Industry

Network marketing has become a big phenomenon within the marketing industry. It is significantly newer than some other more renowned forms of marketing but just as effective.  Many companies worldwide have adopted this method of marketing because of this. Network marketing has meant that companies can expand into different cities as well as countries a lot more quickly than your conventional organisation.  

The reasons why network marketing is so successful is because each company employing this strategy has some of the best, most valuable set of motivation and people management skills. Not only this, network marketing allows the opportunity to progress within the organisation rapidly and based on performance. Being performance based means that it is up to the individual to work hard to earn lots of money. This also means that the only people stopping their own financial and hierarchical progression are themselves.

Network marketing preaches the ideology of individual success within a collaborative environment. It may sound strange to put individual and collaborative in one sentence, however the basis of network marketing works in this way. To put it simply, the way an individual can succeed in a network marketing organisation is by learning the steps it takes to reach a senior position within the organisation right from the very beginning. What this individual must do is then repeat and teach the same actions to new people. Once the new people have learnt them, they regurgitate what they have learnt to someone else and so on. The better the individual is at training and assembling a team of 'new people' and getting them to perform well doing the specific duties, the quicker they can progress in the organisation.   

It is based on a four stage hierarchy where for three stages the fundamental roles do not change much, in terms of the duties. The four stages are as follows:

1.  Entry level - The new personnel in the business. Untrained. Learning the ropes

2.Team Leader - Doing so well at the entry level, you are promoted. You take on a little more responsibility as you get the next new person to be as good as you. After a llittle while you assemble a team and when they all start doing well, you get promoted again.

3.Assistant Manager - At this stage you will work closely with the manager whilst still doing your duties as a team leader. Your trainees are now doing the training and have become team leaders.

4. Head Personnel/Manager - Has the most control over everyone. Is responsible for motivating everyone to perform to the best of their ability. To get to this stage you would have needed to take on some managerial duties as an assistant manager. When the time is right the manager will promote you.

Just because the compulsory stages have been completed doesn't mean the opportunity stops there. There are normally roles beyond manager such as regional manager and other executive roles, but they vary from organisation to organisation.

This whole process goes on for the duration of the businesses operation. This allows for the business' employees to multiply rapidly under a big 'network' dedicated to the same cause. It also means, with more employees means more quicker expansion into different cities and countries. When you really sit and think about it, the way these organisations that operate using network marketing, is nothing short of genius.

Thanks for reading this post. For constructive feedback and criticism follow me on Twitter @Allenbusiness or on Google+ / LinkedIn...Anthony Allen. Remember to share too, it's much appreciated.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Does a social following translate into sales?

The stigma attached to a following   A social network following can be said to replicate the amount of interest gathered in a product, service or person. There are cases where this can be true and others where in reality, we are lead to believe otherwise. There are many people and businesses that could argue that a bigger social presence means that there is an increase in either the amount of sales or the amount of popular appeal. From reading this article you will realise that it is not necessarily that simple to judge based on a following or people just taking an interest.  

Facebook Likes 

The term 'likes' in social networking describes the ability to click a button that shows that the user is in favour of something. For example, if there was a picture of the colour red, painted onto a wall and people were in favour of it, they would click a button somewhere on the screen that says 'like' to show they are in favour of it, or put more simply, they like it. To my knowledge, Facebook was the first social network to use likes as an important part of their set up. There are many organisations, and celebrities that have fan pages on Facebook. The amount of likes on these pages can be perceived to be the same amount of people that are genuinely interested in a product service or celebrity. To the untrained business mind, it would make logical sense to say that the amount of social interest gained by a product would equate to the amount of people that would be potential users of this product. It is an understanable logic, however the interest mounted in the product could be huge and the sales per unit might not match up. For instance if a 500 ml bottle of Coca-Cola costs £1, but 1 million people 'like' the product on Facebook, it doesn't have to mean that the drink will sell one million units. The factors affecting people's decision making are things such as:  

Price: If a product costs a certain amount of money to buy, the assumption is that not everyone in the associated target market will be able to afford it.  

Convenience: This can also have a little to do with price because if a product is useful to a potential consumer, sometimes the cost of it may lead them to think "do I really need this?"  

Alternatives: Are there some much lesser known, cheaper alternatives that do almost or exactly the same job.  

Twitter Followers  

Followers on Twitter are people with a Twitter account who actively keep up to date with another users status updates. Twitter followers are similar to Facebook friends, the difference being that it is a less personal approach between one follower to another. It can be perceived that the amount of followers that an individual has, shows how socially appealing they are. People are socially appealing for different reasons. Some have a big Twitter following because they are outspoken, not afraid to say exactly what they feel. Others have many Twitter followers because they have naturally appealing personalities or regularly tweet about certain topics. For example I follow many entrepreneurs on Twitter because I hope to become one, one day, so I follow people relative to my interests. Another reason why people follow others is because they are celebrities and fans want to know about their lives.   Celebrities tend to have much more twitter followers than the local paper boy or lollipop lady. It's because they are exposed to much media exposure than the aforementioned. It is also because they have a greater public appeal and their lives appear to be more interesting. That is not necessarily true, but these celebrities have unknowingly become role models to a lot more people than the paper boy and as a result many people have taken an interest in their lives.    

Celebrity Examples  

Musicians have many followers on Twitter. As of when this article was written, Justin Bieber stands as the most followed celebrity in the world, also making him the most followed music artist. Nicki Minaj, a hugely popular rapper also has many, many Twitter followers.   Justin Bieber has 46 million Twitter followers and this could be the reason his last album has gone platinum in 3 countries, double platinum in two countries, triple platinum in another country and gold in 5 others.  Nicki Minaj has 17 million Twitter followers,  a lot less than Justin Bieber. Her sales seem to have the same trend but still less than Justin Bieber. She has gone only platinum in two countries, with her most recent album and gold in 3 others. It may seem she has been very successful, but when distributors such as major supermarket chains refuse to sell the album due to fear of financial loss, it can have an adverse effect on her sales. This in turn will hold her back from ever matching Justin Bieber in terms of sales.  She mentions these things in her interview 


A naive mind would assume that the amount of Twitter followers would add up to the amount of sales, whether it be concert ticket sales or album sales. This post was written just to make you, the reader see that belief from a different perspective. It was written so you could understand that there could be several factors that have affected her followers' decision to not convert her social popularity into album sales.   On the other hand in Justin Bieber's situation, the followers to sales conversion is much more of a positive one. Just like Nicki Minaj, there could be many external factors that affected his sales, although unlike Nicki Minaj, his followers may have had more of a positive effect on his sales.              

Thanks for reading this post. For constructive feedback and criticism follow me on Twitter @Allenbusiness or on Google+ / LinkdIn...Anthony Allen.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Social Networks and Gaming


The relationship between social networking and almost every industry is a formidable one. In the world of gaming, platform-wide, social networking is paramount.  it not only contributes to the sales of games but also, information, awareness and interactivity. Sometimes social media strategies are deliberately employed by the organisation, other times the company says little in the hope the people interacting do all the talking for them. If the game or the console has huge fan appeal such as a new console from Microsoft or Sony, or a game like in the Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto series, some of the best selling games ever, their reputation usually precedes them, leaving everything to the gamers and little for the organisation to do.  

These days you can find information about a game or console on almost any social network. In some way, somehow someone will be discussing it. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are some of the most popular sites in the business. According to the traffic monitoring website, Alexa, these sites feature in the top 10, with the most traffic, in the majority of countries around the world. Gamers use these platforms to interact with one another about their daily actions, including some of the games they are playing.  

Social Networking and the Gaming World

Many organisations use Facebook. The reasons why they set up Facebook vary. Some use Facebook solely to inform users about the organisations ethical positives. Others to promote products. It varies from organisation to organisation,  but it still spreads a message and is a means of interaction between the user and the organisation. Using Facebook, users will update the people in their social network via status' telling their network what they're doing. If a user has 300 friends on Facebook,  then that enables 300 friends to see what that person is doing. One could never estimate how many users will interact with the user once the status is updated, but one could pretty much guarantee that a number of people would have seen it. From a gamers perspective,  a status about a highly anticipated, upcoming game could possibly encourage people to interact with the author of the status for the sake of the common interest. The sharing factor about social networking also makes the amount of interaction increase. With one click of the 'share' button on most devices, users can spread information from one site, or one social network to another. An example of how a gamer would use this, is when they find clips of a game on Youtube website, then post the link or 'share' it to another site such as Facebook or Twitter. Cross social networking brings two types of audience together. It brings the audience from one social network to another, effectively acting as the digital word of mouth.   Gaming organisations also have their own social networking accounts. Game console manufacturers such as Sony and Nintendo have social networking accounts. I personally see Nintendo tweet using their Twitter account to promote the products developed by themselves. Popular game developers such as Rockstar, Activision and EA Sports have accounts to promote their products on. Even more specific,  are the actual games that the companies make Twitter accounts for. These accounts are likely to be regularly updated until the game has reached the declining stage in the product life cycle.  

Internal social networks  


The popularity of social networks a have inspired many console platforms to both replicate and enhance the gamers experience,  in order to help spread the word about a console or game. In my opinion no game console giant has done this more so than XBOX. XBOX has fully embraced the realm of social networking for two reasons.  One is because they have integrated popular social networking sites as applications on XBOX consoles. You can write Facebook status' from the console,  tweet on the Twitter and watch unlimited amounts of video on the Youtube application. The XBOX Live experience allows users to see what other gamers are playing and interact with them how they please, whether it be through video via Kinect or audio only, with the use of headsets. The system allows conference conversations for up to 5 people at once. Users can even message each other through a text based system using only XBOX to XBOX communication. All these features allow the user to be more social than ever and provide many different ways to socialise with friends.  

Playstation Network

Playstation Network, on Sony's Playstation 3 and handheld systems are very similar to what the XBOX offers, give or take away a few features. The big benefit of Sony having the Playstation Network, available on home and handheld console is that,  no matter what the choice of console users can still interact. For example, Sony allow users of the PS3 and the Playstation Vita to interact as both are part of the Playstation Network. When signed into the Playstation Network, users display what games they are playing. When a game is released such as how Grand Theft Auto 5 was on the 17th September, many people were online and shown to be playing it. The fact that as a user of the Playstation Network myself, I could see all these people playing the same game as me and it builds an atmosphere of social involvement,  which I guess is what it is designed to do. I could then message the players of Grand Theft Auto 5 to ask them for hints and tips to get through the game.  


Onto the last major player in the game, if you would excuse the pun, is Nintendo. They have their own fully integrated social network called 'Miiverse'. Miiverse is a totally new experience to the other social networks. The reason why is because it is actually a fully fledged social network much like Facebook or Twitter, the only difference is that it is completely exclusive to Wii U owners. Miiverse offers the user an experience that gives gamers their own forums categorised by the games released on Wii U. It means gamers can interact with people playing the same games as they are. They can post screen shots of how far they are in the game and ask how to get past these levels, bosses etc. Miiverse allows users to post artwork drawn on the Wii U gamepad and share it in their communities. Another impressive feature that Miiverse has, is the fact the it can be accessed through browsers many users on their home computers, such as Chrome and Internet Explorer, and also has an app for smartphones, to keep up with peers on the go. In addition to its own fully integrated social network, Miiverse also has a Youtube app. In all honesty there is no difference in the Youtube applications boasted by the 3 main home consoles.  

Many people across the world prefer the XBOX Live social experience to the other consoles available. Some say that this was a factor in them purchasing the console in the first place. However in my personal opinion, being an owner of all 3 of the major home consoles, Miiverse's social experience blows the XBOX Live experience out of the water because it's more like a conventional social network like the Twitter and Facebook's.    

As the world becomes increasingly immersed in everything social, opening the way they live their lives to many, it's highly likley that gaming will continue to use social networks in their own unique ways. I can predict that game consoles will continue to operate in this way. With a good business head and a minimal amount of knowledge of the industry, it is easy to tell that businesses will always, at least from here on, incorporate social networking into their consoles. The fact that gaming consoles nowadays do not only sell because of the games that they produce, like they did in previous gaming generations,  means that there are various extra factors that convince a potential customer into becoming a buyer of the product and then a loyal customer.  

Thanks for reading this post. For constructive feedback and criticism follow me on Twitter @Allenbusiness or on Google+ / LinkdIn 'Anthony Allen' or comment down below  

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bad Marketing Series 1, Part 1: The 'Wii U'

Marketing is one of the main and most important departments within the larger organisations. Of course all the departments work together, to turn ideas into products or services, but getting the return on the investment is the marketing departments responsibility. If the job is done well then it is likely the product or service in question will also do well in terms of organisational aims and objectives. The marketing department or agency (if outsourced) is usually given a budget to fulfill these aims and if the sales do not outweigh the money spent on the campaign then there is a problem. This article is the first article in a multi-part series displaying the sheer importance of the marketing of a product and how negligence can be costly, beginning with Nintendo's Wii U as the example.

Nintendo delved into the electronics market in 1974 after beginning as toy and card manufacturers at the close of the 18th century. As pioneers of the home and portable entertainment systems, Nintendo have found great success in this industry, not just because they are still existing where game console manufacturers, like Sega have collapsed, but because they have great quality games, consoles and great marketing campaigns. 

 In 2006 after big successes with many of their classic consoles Nintendo received the most recognised success with their, at the time, revolutionary 'Wii' console. The marketing for the Wii saw the console reach highs that not even Nintendo expected. Nintendo targeted the family as a whole, with the living room as the suggested destination for the console. The marketing campaigns for the Wii were mostly successful because they achieved what every marketing campaign is meant to. For a start the Wii campaigns clearly managed to communicate the enhanced features of the Wii, how it was meant to be enjoyed, who was meant to and where they were meant to. What made the console more appealing was the fact a fully functional motion sensor technology could be used to play. It had been done before in it's own right by Sony when they released eye toy for the Playstation 2, but not to the extent or the massive popularity that Wii managed to do it to. The Wii goes down in history as the 5th best selling console of all time, selling 100.4 million units worldwide and from a Nintendo standpoint, only being eclipsed by the Nintendo DS handheld console in terms of sales. 

At the 2011 E3 expo, where all the most successful gaming organisations and developers came together to showcase their current and future ventures, Nintendo introduced the Wii U as their succesor to the Wii. They showcased all the best points of the console; games available at launch, graphics and all. The real problem from the beginning was the issue of clarity. It was very clear within my social circles that many were unclear whether the highly promoted controller was actually the console itself, as it was the focal point of the launch advertisement, showcasing the prowess of the console. 

From the video above it isn't hard to see why some people are unsure about what the console actually is. If you have a sharp eye, have possibly done your own research or are an owner of the console you can spot the actual console as the little white box next to the television. The aim of the advert here is plainly obvious. It is to show the special features of the gamepad. Having said that, the gamepad saturates this advert to the point where many do not understand that there is a console outputting the best features of the gamepad, rather than a handheld console that you can play on your television. Had I been in charge of advertising this product I would have given the console itself some viewing time. Unlike the Wii campaigns, there is no clear target market being displayed, again adding to the confusion. By Nintendo's standards this campaign is shameful. It is adverts like this and subsequent ads that have lead to many people's lack of clarity over this product.

Less than a year after its release, potential buyers of this console still remain confused as to what it is, a home or handheld console. Nintendo admitted that the Wii U is making an excessive loss. Nintendo were already operating at a loss by releasing the console at the price they did, but from a sales perspective also. As a Nintendo loyalist myself I took the time out to research whether the console was handheld or otherwise, but as Nintendo like many other organisations, wanted to not only entice their core audience, but also build a new following, I don't think they went the right way about it. Maybe a little more clarity in their marketing campaigns are the missing pieces to the puzzle. I purchased the console a few days after the release with the expectation it would've sold out, however I was able to get one with ease for £309.99. In March I read an article in the newspaper, discussing the fact that a few months after the release of the console, retailers were forced to slash prices after dwindling sales. The supermarket Asda, were selling the console for a mere £150, less than half the price paid for it myself. This mishap is not just a poor reflection on Nintendo's product, it is also a likelihood that there is less profit to be made by the retailers, which means more retailers have become more unwilling to stock the console over fear of considerable losses. At the moment the Wii U has only sold a poor 3.61 million worldwide after nearly a year on the market. By Nintendo's colossal reputation and standards this is terrible and also shows exactly how badly the interest has waned in their products since the success of the original Wii. 

As it stands, the Wii U is currently not doing as well as expected with the current marketing campaign employed. In the near future, I hope Nintendo can find a solution to the main clarity issue that leaves an air of confusion and uncertainty to it's existing and it's potential customers. The fortcoming campaigns promoting this product need to be clearer to the audience. It is a possibility that Nintendo used this lack of clarity approach to marketing because they want the user to seek the information themselves. If this is the case, evidence suggests that they should change direction and make it is clear as possible, what the value of the console is to potential users concisely.

 Thanks for reading. Don't be afraid to give opinions and feedback. Follow me on Twitter @Allenbusiness

Friday, 2 August 2013

Instant Messaging & Social Networks: New players In the game

Instant Messengers and Social Networking: New players In The Game   As you may or may not already know, the world of social media and networking is forever changing. There are many ways people can contact each other without having to actually be face to face, or having to use classic methods such as the telephone. Text based social networks are thriving because of this. The way most popular social networks operate is in this way. Many people don't realise that instant messaging services are also included in the category of social networks. One could argue that it is apparent because users can communicate with one another without having to physically be face to face. As a youngster there were instant messaging services such as MSN, which many of my peers were using at the time on home computers with an internet connection. The rise and popularity of smartphones in more recent years have seen also the rise of many different instant messengers. In my personal opinion, the organisation that made the most of the trending technology was Research In Motion, the creators of the Blackberry smartphone range. They managed to build an empire with the smartphone's own features and most importantly their own instant messenger called 'Blackberry Messenger' more commonly known by the acronym 'BBM'.  

Fast forward a few years to the present day, the hype surrounding smartphones has grown enormously and Blackberry are no longer big players in the game with a definitive growth in iphone and android operated handset's. Along with these relatively newer players in the game have come a host of instant messenger services too. In the years that BlackBerry smartphone's began to decline in user base and sales, messengers like Whatsapp, which allows users to cross-communicate over all popular smartphone softwares began to expand. The fact that BBM users can only communicate within their own network means users have to use alternative methods like WhatsApp to engage with their peers. With this being a major downside on Blackberrys part, whatsapp is the most used instant messenger today.  

With the knowledge of becoming the second best player in the game Blackberry announced they would make BBM available on all smartphone platforms. It is a clever move by them because it means that the users who enjoyed the service before they stopped using BlackBerry phones can now once again, relive the good times using the service. The hype surrounding the announcement, while alternative smartphone users wait have spawned a new similar alternative. Almost in the genetic make up of BBM, iPhone users have taken to an instant messenger called 'PEEM'. In all fairness their timing was perfect because users are mostly former BBM users, just the impatient ones, who can't wait for BBM to be released. The way PEEM has spread onto most of the social networks I personally use shows the efficiency and speed users can spread messages to many people, in such a short time. People promoted information to connect with them on PEEM on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as on WhatsApp.  

One has to wonder, if the PEEM users are using the service as a pacifier until BBM is released or do BlackBerry have a new challenger that could potentially wipe out it's existence in terms of usage. Only time will tell.

Thanks for Reading.   For constructive feedback and opinions on this piece follow me on Twitter: @Allenbusiness