п»їEffective Tactics for Managing Consultant-Client Relationships
In order for consultants to be the most effective, a strong relationship must be formed between the consultant and the client. However, throughout the consultation process, political and ethical issues arise that can either hinder or help the relationship, and therefore, hinder or help the overall strategy. The way in which the consultant handles these political and ethical issues can strengthen or weaken the consultant-client relationship and lead to a successful or unsuccessful program.
Smeltzer, Watson, and Barker developed the Model of the Communication Consultant/Client Relationship, which consists of 24 steps that explore various aspects of the relationships between consultants and their clients. The model is based on the premise that consultants often must work in environments where political and ethical issues are raised simultaneously (Smeltzer, Watson, & Barker, 1984, p. 126). While ethical consultants “do not simply try to determine what actions are in their own best interest, but rather what actions are right or best for all parties concerned,” political issues “are concerned with the kind of actions that are most often beneficial or harmful to a person as an individual, and which advance one’s own interests (p. 126).
After the first two basic steps of the model of marketing oneself as a consultant and having the initial meeting with the client, the third step of the model is to have the client state the problem (Smeltzer, et. al., 1984, p. 127). This is the first stage that possible political and ethical considerations usually arise. “Politically, the consultant may want to see only the part of the problem which is in the domain of his or her professional expertise. Ethically, the consultant must decide if the important problem areas are outside his or her area of expertise” (p. 127). During this stage of the process, consultants must also decide whether to limit his or her investigation to the problem identified by the client, or to investigate other areas within the organization that could also indirectly affect the issue at hand. Of course, this could increase the length of time spent on the project, and the consultant may discover that other problems must be solved before the requested problem is solved (p. 128), however, this is both a political and ethical decision the consultant will have to make prior to beginning the project.
In the fourth, fifth and sixth steps of the model, the consultant must analyze and obtain data to determine problem-solving strategies. Ethically, the consultant must determine how much information is needed to develop an effective strategy for the client (Smeltzer, et. al., 1984, p. 127), and politically, the consultant must determine how much time and effort should be spend to attempt to gather the necessary data to make a sound decision (p. 128). For instance, the consultant may appear to be more professional if he or she does not require extra time to assemble more data, but ethically, if the consultant knows that a more sound decision could be made with access to more data, extra time should be taken to gather the necessary data. In the seventh step of the model, determining the possible strategies that can be used to deal with the problem, “there may be a difference between the strategy which would be the most profitable for the consultant and that which would be most effective (p. 128). In this case, the consultant would have to choose whether to select an effective strategy that may not show results right away, and a less effective strategy that may show immediate results. Being open with the client at the early stage of the process, and explaining why the consultant has opted to use the most effective strategy that is slow to show results in the short-run, can actually help strengthen the client-consultant relationship in the long-run.
The eighth step in the model addresses the various degrees of the consultant-client relationship, and “the extent to which the consultant should take over the tasks and responsibilities of the client” (Smeltzer, et. al., 1984, p. 128). In this stage of the process, the consultant and client must determine what the ultimate goal of the consultant is—whether to teach tasks, or complete them, and on what level in regards to dependency, involvement, and ownership (p.129 – 130). Dependency is the extent to which the consultant wants the client to be dependent on them. The consultant must also evaluate the client and be open and honest with the client in regards to the client’s competency level and ability to be independent (p. 129). Some clients may desire a high level of involvement in the decision-making process when determining which strategy is right for the company (p. 129). While this could be helpful, it could also cause conflict if they client requests a particular strategy that the consultant believes will be ineffective. Politically, selecting the client’s choice may have better results initially, but if the program fails, the consultant could still be held responsible, even though it was the client’s idea. Ethically, if the consultant feels as if the strategy is not in the best interest of the client, he or she should explain why, although this may result in an undesirable situation, such as high tension or the termination of the relationship. Lastly, the client and consultant must determine the level of ownership of the program and implemented strategies (p. 130). For instance, who would take credit for the success or failure of the program, and at what point? In steps 9 through 16, time and resources are evaluated for the project and the proposal is presented to the client.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Consultant Program
Steps 17 and 18 of the model begin the evaluation process of the consultant program. During this phase, the consultant must decide how extensive an evaluation to conduct, determine “what aspects of the evaluation should be used by the consultant for personal self-development and what should be used for organizational improvement,” and must separate objective data from subjective data (Smeltzer, et. al., 1984, p. 131). After the evaluation has been completed, the consultant must provide the client with feedback—Step 19 (p. 132). While presenting feedback may seem like a pretty straight-forward process, again, both political and ethical issues must be taken into consideration during this stage of the process. The consultant must be committed to sharing all feedback—both positive and negative results—because that is the only way the client will grow in the long run. “…special problems develop when one is aware of certain information and contemplates the possibility of withholding it. In some situations, it may be both morally and politically judicious to withhold information (i.e. confidential information from employees), but in other situations the decision is not easy) (p. 132).
Step 20 and 21 of the model describe the process of terminating the agreed upon strategy and discussing future actions. There will come a time when the strategy that a consultant has implemented has been exhausted. While many consultants see “certain actions need to be implemented, there may be a tendency to make it part of the present strategy rather than making a new proposal,” this is not always the best option (Smeltzer, et. al., 1984, p. 132). When the agreed-upon program is completed, the consultant should evaluate the effectiveness of the program with the client. At that time, if either party feels as if there is more work to be done, the client and consultant must make the decision whether to continue the relationship, at which point a new proposal should be written by the consultant (Steps 22, 23, and 24) (p. 133). If the client and consultant agree to continue the relationship, the consultant should be aware that he or she will likely face many of the same problems, but on a different level. “In fact, some of the questions become even more complicated as the relationship between a client and consultant grows and develops” (p. 133). If the relationship is terminated, materials should be returned to either the client or consultant based on prior determinations. Decisions pertaining to the use of materials and ideas after the client-consultant relationship has ended should be determined prior to the implementation of the program.
In the consultant-client relationship, there will always be instances where ethical and political issues must be taken into consideration. These considerations can lead to a strong relationship between the consultant and the client, as well as the successful implementation of the strategy, supported by objective results. However, making the wrong decision, or a decision that is not ethically or politically sound, can lead to a weak consultant-client relationship and a failed strategy. That said, even when ethically and politically sound decisions are made, there are times when the consultant-client relationship must be terminated due to a difference in ideas about where the organization should go; disagreements about the level of dependency, involvement or ownership of the organization or the strategy; or at times, simply because the contract has come to an end. Regardless of the end result, it is imperative that the consultant make a valiant effort to continuously make ethically and politically sound decisions throughout the entire relationship with the client to ensure optimal results.
Smeltzer, L., Watson, K., & Barker, L. (1984). The communication consultant/client relationship: An analysis of ethical and political issues. Communication, 13(1), 125.
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п»їThe Scope of Internet advertising and Online Ads
Advertisements are always required to promote any kind of business. Ads put into the minds of the people that certain company is producing or selling so and so goods.
Traditionally newspapers, radio, TV were used. Nowadays most of such work is done on internet. If you place online ads certain advantages can be achieved e.g. they are cost effective, have larger coverage, can be sent anywhere in small span of time. Its usage is increasing day by day.
To place online ads you always do not require latest audio and visual flash to attract customers. Everything depends on your requirement. You should note a few points for better online advertising.
Use of company’s website to advertise: Try more to make use of company’s website for promoting price, promoting new products etc. People will know more of your company’s name. The main purpose of online advertisements is to entice the site visitor to click to the target web site. You don’t require making complete sale through the ad itself.
Focussed ad: Ad should convey a single and clear message about the product so that website visitors can decide their interest.
Time span: The ad should be small. People do not like to watch long advertisements. They get irritated watching long ads. Therefore, they should be short containing complete information.
Good quality: Try to avoid large texts, bright colours, pop-ups in the ad as the can be hurting or scary.
Effective landing page: Landing page should be such that the visitor is confirmed that he has reached the right place. Restate the benefit and offers. Presents clear call to action, finally make the registration procedure very simple.
If you apply these ideas, your online advertisement will be more successful.
Online business should have professional ads online:
Only having an attractive website does not yield profit. To increase your sales and website hits, you have to spread out on the internet. Internet users should know that you are running an online service or business of some products.
Common types of ads on the internet:
Banner ads: One of most the common ways is the banner ads the only difference being that banners are online. Banner ads may appear to be static but they quickly grab attention of the visitor.
Classified ads: They are different ads of similar types placed together. You can look for them in newspapers. They are a very good way to promote business service. Classified ads serve as one stop shop for both sellers and buyers. You can find different ads on one website. Choose a popular site for your purpose, because they are visited by more number of people. Here every seller can place his ad in the right place. Hence, it is easier for clients to find them.
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п»їMirai DDoS Attacks Illustrate Vulnerability of IoT Devices
IoT manufacturers should take heed from the recent Mirai DDoS attacks.
Late last year, a widespread attack on Dyn DNS “Managed DNS” infrastructure wreaked havoc across the internet and brought down a number of major websites, including PayPal, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, GitHub, and Reddit. Instead of going after the sites directly, Mirai targeted the web’s domain name system (DNS), which acts as an “address book” that matches common domain names, such as Amazon.com, with their corresponding DNS addresses, which are what browsers use to locate the site’s web server and load its content. The source of the attack was an open source malware strain called Mirai, which works by infecting vulnerable IoT devices, such as routers, printers, webcams, even DVRs.
How does Mirai infect IoT devices?
The Mirai malware takes advantage of a very serious vulnerability in IoT devices: the fact that most users do not change the default passwords their devices are shipped with, either because they don’t know how, they don’t realize the importance of doing so, or both. In some cases, the login credentials may be encoded in the device’s firmware, making it difficult or impossible for end users to change them. Meanwhile, manufacturer default passwords are widely available online. There are 68 user name and password combinations in the Mirai botnet source code, many of which are used for multiple IoT devices made by the same manufacturers. Therefore, just one set of credentials could allow a hacker to access hundreds, possibly thousands of devices.
Hackers use Mirai to scan the internet for specific devices, then attempt to access them using their manufacturer default credentials. Once hackers access a device, they turn it into a “zombie” – often without the device’s owner even realizing it. Once a large number of “zombie” devices have been amassed, they are used to flood specific web servers with so many junk requests that they slow to a crawl or crash.
IoT Manufacturers Have Been Put on Notice
Cyber security issues have plagued the IoT industry for years, and as these devices proliferate, cyber attacks that involve connected devices are becoming more frequent and more serious. Yet, as discussed in a previous blog, only 10% of organizations have a cyber security plan to address the Internet of Things, and 68% have no methods for testing IoT devices. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of consumers report being “very” or “highly concerned” about IoT security.
As a result of the Mirai malware attack, Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai voluntarily recalled its home webcams, and it’s possible that we’ll see more recalls if and when Mirai rears its head again. Of course, IoT manufacturers could and must take proactive steps to prevent these sorts of attacks in the first place. IoT devices should be configured to require users to change the default credentials the first time they log in, preferably to a strong password, and manufacturers should never hard-code credentials into a device’s firmware.
Unfortunately, the Mirai malware isn’t going anywhere, and if IoT manufacturers do not step up to the plate, it could be altered for use in even more insidious attacks in the future.
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п»їViral Marketing Campaigns Drive Targeted Traffic
Viral marketing is a great way to use the power and nature of the Internet to reach a large number of people quickly and drive a continually growing flood of targeted web traffic to your website. With a successful viral marketing campaign, your website traffic could go from almost nothing to thousands of hits or even hundreds of thousands of hits per day almost overnight.
Viral marketing is a term used for marketing campaigns that grow and spread like a human or computer virus. In a successful viral campaign, people pass the marketing material on socially so that the marketing campaign grows like a snowball rolling down hill.
The basic idea of viral marketing is that you can increase your sales by increasing your targeted website traffic and you can increase your targeted web traffic by giving away or spreading something for free that people will pass on to their friends, family, or business associates like a virus.
Viral campaigns may spread through emails or eBooks that people pass on or through articles or viral videos that people pass on.
Microsoft's Hotmail service was probably one of the biggest early successes of viral marketing. Free web-based email is common today, but it was a new concept in 1996 when Microsoft first promoted Hotmail by adding a short advertising teaser at the end of its users' email messages. Who would have ever expected how big the results of this marketing campaign could be?
But as huge as the success of Microsoft's viral marketing campaign was for Hotmail, it only set the stage for what was to come during the 2004 American presidential campaign. Who can forget JibJab's flash animation political parody of George Bush and John Kerry singing, "This Land Is Your Land?"
By marrying the concept of flash video on the Web to viral marketing, JibJab took the Internet by storm. According to Internet statistician ComScore Media Metrix, the viral video received over 10.4 million unique hits in July 2004 - more than three times as many visitors as the official campaign websites of the two presidential candidates!
Now you may never experience the phenomenal success that JibJab did with one of your viral marketing campaigns, but the concept is simple and easily implemented. It works on the idea that if people like something or can profit from something, they will pass it on to their friends, family, and associates.
Viral marketing can be as simple as writing an article and having it published in article directories where newsletter publishers and webmasters may pick it up and republish it. Be sure to include an author bio or resource box at the bottom of every article that includes your name, your website link, and a call to action that entices people to click on your link. Webmasters and publishers are always looking for great content, so be sure to provide value.
Alternatively, you could send a funny, informative, or controversial newsletter to your subscriber list. Be sure to encourage people to pass your newsletter on with a short note at the bottom of your newsletter.
When people click through to your website, you would like to capture their email address and get their permission to contact them. Otherwise, they will often surf away, never to be seen again on your website.
Squeeze pages (pages primarily designed to get subscribers) are one proven way to do this, and offering people a free eBook or free report is a great way to get people to subscribe to your newsletter.
Want to kick your viral marketing campaign into even higher gear? Grant people the rights to give away the free eBook or report to their own customers or contacts. Be sure to brand the eBook or report with links to your website, so that anyone who receives it from others will find their way back to your website. Also, if you let your customers rebrand some of the links with their affiliate links or other links, they will really be motivated to pass the eBook or report on!
The Internet is perfect for viral marketing. This is one of the most powerful marketing techniques you can use on the Internet. Because many distribution channels are free (e.g., email and article directories) or relatively low cost (web hosting), viral marketing can be an incredibly cost-effective marketing technique. Once you have launched your marketing campaign, it can potentially grow and spread for years all by itself, making viral marketing possibly the most effective Internet marketing technique of all.
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п»їSay No to Article Rewriting Software ONLY Manual Article Rewriting
It is rightly said that on the web content is the king. That is why most of the experts’ advice the website owners to write as many articles as possible and float them on their website so that they can stay ahead of their rivals. Relevant contents on the web not only enhance traffic movements to the site, but also help in higher revenue generation. And that also is one of the main reasons why many website owners are going in a big way for article rewriting.
Importance of Article Marketing for Promotion of Online Business
Article marketing is very important for website and online business promotion. A qualitative, educative and informative service can help enhancing the process of article marketing quite substantially. At the same time such services will not only bank on writing fresh articles but rewriting articles as well.
Dependence on Instant Solution Software and Its Impact
Many webmasters take the short cut way to success.
In the process they try to find out success by resorting to automated software to bring out ready solutions to their problems and fulfill their requirements;
Process involved in using the article rewriting software is writing one original article while allowing the software to spin around creating a number of rewrites; and
Such software is often used for rewriting web content.
Why Dependence on Automatic Article Rewriting Software?
One of the questions is that why many webmasters and online businessmen depend largely on automatic article rewriting software. Many reasons are there for such issues.
Writing or rewriting articles is one of the strenuous and tedious tasks as the writer has to find out the right words and expressions for making the contents effective;
Flow of language and message is very important in such rewriting and that is retained by the software; and
The software also has the capability to completely change the article in a way that it won’t be recognizable.
Inherent Dangers of Using Software for Article Rewriting
While rewriting web content or article can still be useful there is always the potential danger of its being marked as duplicate content by the search engine and rejection by the web directory. Reason is that with all the spinning the article can be changed only to the extent of 30%-40% only and that may not be sufficient to dupe the article directories or search engine robots.
Articles Manually Created by Professional Writer is Best
On the other hand a rewriting created by a professional writer belonging to a reputable and reliable article rewriting and writing services can create something very near to original without being marked as duplicate.
That effectively means that by resorting to software for rewriting articles, neither the effort nor the tension of the website owner is reduced. Instead he or she has to review all of them over and over again to ensure that they are not rejected as duplicate contents spelling disaster for their website.
Taking the help of an experienced and competent article writing service could be the real solution to the problem.
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п»їDistribution and Marketing Strategies - A Creative Thai Case Study
Improving your profit potential requires you to clearly differentiate your business, improve productivity, have correct pricing strategies and establish effective customer retention programs. Customer retention programs are included as part of distribution and marketing strategies as it is important that your sales and marketing staff are as fully committed to this vital issue as well as any specific customer service department you may have.
Getting bigger margins for each and every sale you make is the name of the game. This usually means that either you have to sell more at a higher price or make more at a lower cost whilst maintaining your existing price.
If you can manufacture your products and services more efficiently then you can improve your margins otherwise the key factor or variable is your selling price. However, many business owners are reticent to increase their prices for fear of losing market share to their competitors. It is more common to see businesses lowering or discounting their prices in order to improve sales and market share but be aware that this has very short term viability. Competitors will match you sooner or later and then you will have no where to go!
If you really believe in the quality of your products and services then focus on your customers and not your competition - provide your customers with the very best service, advice, quality product and delivery systems in order to differentiate yourself and justify your pricing strategy.
Creative Distribution and Marketing Strategies from a Thai Village!
An excellent example of this pricing strategy comes from a newly established Thai silk cooperative based in a small, rural village near the Cambodian border. The world market for Thai silk is dominated by some very large operations who have almost unlimited supplies of Thai silk available to sell at wholesale or highly discounted prices.
The small cooperative could never match the supply quantities of their competitors nor their very low prices. Instead with their unique, handmade silks they established their prices 15-20% higher than their much larger and more established competitors.
The cooperative then focused their attention on promoting the fact that their supplies of silk were not only unique but extremely limited due to the labor intensive processes of spinning, natural dyeing and weaving required to make their totally original silk fabrics.
They also provide their customers with a wonderful story about the reasons for their business operation and created an excellent personalized service via their customer focused website.
The cooperatives distribution strategy for their high quality silk fabrics included world-wide free shipping. In addition, they created an extraordinary offer of allowing their customers to have their fabrics delivered before asking for any payments and only if the customers were totally satisfied with their purchase - otherwise they could return the fabrics at no cost to the customer.
In order to further their market differentiation they provide services that their competitors do not offer. this small cooperative recognized that their competitor websites only focused on Thai silk and this was another opportunity to achieve differentiation.
Their website provides practical advice and guidance on a wide range of topics from leadership, work ethics, online shopping and work place recognition programs. These topics are all relevant to their site as they use examples related to their cooperative or their village as illustrations. These "extra customer care" articles are designed to provide readers with interesting and helpful ideas.
All these strategies show the strong belief these Thai village people have in the quality and value of their product offer and by developing a real perception of value that truly differentiated themselves from their competitors they have initiated what will be a very interesting business model.
If you have valued the steps and ideas presented in this article you will appreciate the need to get fresh perspectives on your business and the urgent need to ask yourself some key questions in order to maximize your business profit potential.
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