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E-Portfolio Assignment – Key Account Manager RFP Analysis

19 Nov

The assignment included for review is an RFP process analysis that was recently completed for a Business Development class. To complete the assignment I, along with my two teammates, interviewed an account manager to gather insight into the RFP process used by her company. From analysis of information given by the key account manager, some best practices regarding the RFP process have been developed. They include:

  1. Be concise – The initial review of an RFP response is commonly a quick scan, not a thorough and thoughtful analysis. This leads to responses being rejected on the basis of how they look rather than the content. Therefore it is important to be quick and to the point. If the agency has what the prospect is looking for, it will be seen immediately.
  2. Customize the response – Almost every agency has standard language to describe their philosophy, their capabilities and their process. Agencies should never “mail it in” by simply cutting and pasting from a previous submission. Every question is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the category, the audience, and the prospect. Whenever possible, responses should be framed in a way that demonstrates knowledge of the client’s brand, market environment or audience.
  3. Address the prospect’s criteria, not your own agenda – everything you say should be relevant to the client and the assignment by addressing the specific criteria the client has identified as most important.
  4. Demonstrate your creativity and professionalism in the response – the RFP response is an opportunity to establish your agency as a professional resource that can solve a business problem and help them sell a product or service. But the RFP response is also an opportunity to provide a statement of your agency’s style and creativity as well as your salesmanship.

Through this I have learned how the RFP process works and can apply this understanding to an RFP response should I ever encounter one in my career. The best practices listed above will help guide me through creating an effective RFP response and how to incorporate all of the key elements to my advantage.

See link below for full copy of the key account manager RFP Analysis:

Key Account Manager Interview Report e-portfolio adaptation-3

Privacy Policies

6 Dec

Online privacy is a hot topic as of late. Privacy policies are continually changing and it can be a very confusing and disconcerting for individuals who want to participate on social media sites and other online forums but fear breaches in their privacy. The two sides of the debate are that we are protected enough by the policies and laws put forth by the government and the other side stating that our privacy is not protected enough and the government needs to step in more to deal with it.

Privacy is Adequately Protected

Bills and laws have been developed and passed specifically to protect privacy. Most recently Bill C51 was put through which controls who has access to information online and ensures that only people with correct authorization are able to use the information. It also acts as a standard for ensuring that information is not being misused outside of the guidelines. Bill C52 states that only under certain circumstances can your data and information be legally obtained. The personal information protection act covers accountability, consent, limits use and then destruction of information after it has been used for the original purpose, accuracy safeguards, identifying purpose of data, and limiting collection. These laws and bill protect our privacy and it is up to individuals to ensure that websites they are using have adequate privacy policies.

Privacy is not Adequately Protected

The Internet has radically changed the world of information. It has become increasingly difficult to protect people, as most information is now found online. Users feel they need more protection and this has lead to companies such as Google to revise their privacy policy. Google changed the way they store information and edited the wording of the policy so that it is easier to understand. Because the Internet is a global community, there are concerns with the fact that there are differing privacy laws depending on the country. Users feel there needs to be more protection across all countries to ensure information is protected on at least some basic level all around the world. The right for users to have ownership of information in emails and online accounts is forefront in the debate.

My Conclusion

I believe that users of the Internet need to be more accountable for protecting their own privacy. Individuals need to self-monitor the information that they put online keeping in mind the ramifications should that information be obtained and used illegally. Hackers are constantly just looking for loopholes and if you are putting the information out there, it is available for them to grab. Obviously government does need to have a firm stance on keeping peoples information private. With the online world changing so rapidly, these laws and regulations need to be constantly updated to ensure they are effective. Privacy policies need to be made more transparent and written in language that is easy to understand. And it is up to individuals to be aware of what their rights are and what information is not protected. In the end, it is best to limit the amount of personal information you post online.

 

Cause Marketing

6 Dec

Cause Marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Some argue that cause marketing is a mutually beneficial partnership and others believe it is a predatory scam.

Cause Marketing is Mutually Beneficial

As stated above, cause marketing is when corporations partner with non-profits to support a cause. The corporation creates awareness and raises funds that support that specific cause. Product sales and consumer willingness to pay for products have a positive relationship with cause marketing. 72% of Canadian consumers are more likely to purchase goods from a company supporting a cause or supporting the community.  And along the same line, 74% of Canadians prefer to work for a socially responsible company. So if a company participates in cause marketing, their employees most likely have higher levels of morale and motivation compared to companies who do not. Cause Marketing also lends more credibility to the non-profit and increases the potential for donations and financial support. In the end it works out to being a win-win-win situation. The company makes more profits, non-profit organizations get more exposure, and customers feel good about themselves for supporting a cause.

Cause Marketing is a Sham

When companies are participating in a cause marketing campaign, their main motivation is profit and not helping out. Companies tend to only choose causes that are “in fashion” therefore more marketable and more profitable. Bigger companies are ignoring less attractive charities because they know they cannot profit as much from supporting them. Cause marketing is also leading to some issues being overblown and exaggerated, such as breast cancer, when in fact there are other diseases impacting women more. Companies participating in cause marketing are usually not transparent as to how much of the money being raised is actually being given to the non-profit. For example, McDonalds only donated one cent from each happy meal sale to the Ronald McDonald house. The average consumer would assume that a much higher percentage of the sale would be going towards the cause. This has also lead to people contributing less to other causes now because they think they are participating enough just by purchasing products being offered through cause marketing relationships.

My Conclusion

I think the sentiment behind cause marketing is a noble one but most companies have lost sight of what it should be about, which is truly helping out a cause. Companies should be more transparent with their activities (how they are actually involved in the cause, what portion of profits is actually going towards the cause, etc.) and choose to partner with non-profits that fit with company values and branding. Companies should not just be partnering with the non-profit that will generate the most revenue. I think it is very important that the non-profit gains exposure and increased awareness as a result of the cause marketing campaign. Consumers must be educated about how they are helping and learn from the campaign. It is important for companies to support charities and give back to the community. Cause marketing is a way for all parties to benefit and can be aligned so as to create long lasting and profitable relationships.

Traditional versus Social Media

29 Nov

Traditional & Social Media

Traditional media spans several different areas that include television, radio, magazines and newspapers. It used to be that individuals turned to one of these media to gain the latest information with regards to news throughout the world, but lately have tuned into other mediums for information. There are however, still portions of the population that are unfamiliar and intimidated by the influx of social media and who continue to respond most favorably to the mediums of television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. As well, there are some definite benefits to a company using traditional media, which are hard to replicate with the use of social media. According to Vision Critical (2012) traditional media “[reigns] supreme for purchasing decisions” amongst consumers. It is the traditional media resources such as newspapers at 86% usage, television at 83% and magazines at a high 73% are the sources Canadians go to for accurate and trustworthy information.

Social Media has grown to include websites, social media aspects such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to communicate and create an online presence. Social media provides information quickly and accurately to consumers on the go. It provides individuals with access to information from their phone, Ipads or other technological devices. Social media has become a more trusted medium amongst the younger generation of consumers when it comes to accessing information. According to Vision Critical (2012), 18-34 year olds are two times as likely as individuals ages 35-54 to use social media such as Facebook for credible information. That is approximately 22% of 18-34 have more believability towards social media outlets than their counterparts at 12%.

How Traditional Media is Adjusting

Traditional media systems utilized the funnel system that focused on finding the consumers, converting them and keeping them. To help deal with the newly integrated social media system, the funnel system had to be re-adjusted. Social media funnels focus first on attracting new members through word of mouth, converting customers and finding others. An interesting point written in a blog by Constant Contact (2012) is the need still for both types of media. They suggested that the newly popularized social media contexts are indeed not a replacement of traditional media and shouldn’t be considered as one. They suggested that while social media has indeed gained popularity over the years it is merely a tool that should be used in conjunction with traditional media, not on its own.

Traditional media is also adjusting to the newly developing social media spectrum by using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs as a form of customer service interaction. According to SelfGrowth (2012) businesses are turning social media into an avenue that will help the business grow rather than solely a marketing technique. Businesses realize that social mediums help customers interact with the business by providing feedback and suggestions related to their products. Results from the CMO Survey conducted in February 2012 predict that within the next five years, marketers are expected to spend 19.5% of their total budgets on social media, which is three times what the current levels are. Also, the number of individuals employed in-house to work directly on social media has increased 70% from approximately five employees to nine employees. (CMO Survey, 2011).

It seems that the only way traditional media can respond to social media according to Chloesmedia (n.d.) is by adapting to it to ensure that companies do not lose profits and retain their current audiences. Companies such as newspapers are posting their content on the web for public view. Although this conversion to online media means helping the consumer’s out with their need for fast “on the go” information, there are questions as to the profit actually realized by traditional media outlets who are attempting to switch to online.

Should we be Concerned About the Effects of Online Piracy

29 Nov

There are many differing views regarding piracy. On one extreme are individuals who think pirating content is perfectly acceptable and a way of modern life. On the other extreme are those who feel that pirating anything online is theft and acts of doing so should be punished in the same manner as when physical property is stolen.

 

Pirating Laws Need to be Enforced

 Copyright is essential for business success. It allows companies and individuals to create work without fear of it being copied and distributed illegally. The current laws in Canada are very vague in stating what is and what is not acceptable in terms of pirating. The act of pirating content online is causing significant losses to the economy. Ipsos/Oxford Economics stated that more than $1.8 billion and 12,600 full-time equivalent jobs were lost across the entire Canadian economy in 2009-10 as a result of movie piracy alone. When the question was put forth to our class if we had ever pirated something, every single person raised their hand. Over 75% of Canadians admit to pirating something in the last year alone. This is problem that will not go away unless laws are enforced. The Canadian government has begun taking steps to remedy this by passing Bill C11 (Copyright Modernization Act), which is the fourth effort to revamp copyright law in Canada in the last seven years.

 

Piracy Isn’t Something We Should Worry About

 The new generation of consumers seems much less worried about the effects of piracy and for the most part feel that online pirating is a perfectly legitimate means of obtaining music, movies, and television shows. This is in part because the new generation of teens and young adults, have so many new interests but rarely have the money to partake in all of them. We are in an era of instant gratification, which lends perfectly to pirating online. It can be argued that piracy is helping new artists become discovered as their talents are more easily shared. The loss of revenues to artists because of decreased record sales is being more than made up for in revenues generated by putting on live shows and concerts. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Common are actually supporting free file sharing so that more is made available for the masses. Adobe actually broke fiscal records in 2011 with revenues of $4.21 billion being reported despite their Creative Suite being the most downloaded software being torrented 5-7 million times. The economic effects of pirated music and movies is grossly over-exaggerated because there has been no adequate way developed to actually quantify the effects over the whole industry.

 

My Conclusion 

I think it is time that industries begin looking at ways to prevent pirating from occurring as opposed to legal enforcement after the fact. It should be a proactive and not a reactive approach to the problem. If there were a simple solution to the situation then the problem would not be as visible as it is currently. It comes down to the fact that pirating is indeed theft and should be viewed as theft. People need to be educated about it and the negative impact it has on the different industries. Individuals work very hard to produce software, music, movies, etc. and do not deserve to have it taken from them without compensation.

Are food marketers to blame for obesity?

28 Nov

There are two extreme sides to the debate of whether or not food marketers are to blame for North America’s obesity epidemic, specifically in children ages six to 19 years of age.

Food Marketers Are Not Responsible

On one side is the food marketers themselves who claim they are taking adequate steps to stay within ethical boundaries in regards to the processes and content of their communications to the public. Food marketers claim that they are exceeding set laws and regulations even though it reduces their bottom line and all products marketed and sold meet set nutritional standards. Some of the steps that they are taking to protect society include openly labeling food and beverages with calorie counts, sodium content, and sugar content. By adding all relevant nutritional value, consumers cannot claim ignorance in regards to ingredients and content. As well, many companies such as Coco Cola have implemented health programs into their business strategy and have eliminated the sale of sugary drinks in highschools.

Food marketers believe that it is unfair to ban/tax “junk food” as it is a matter of personal choices and freedoms to choose what you eat. The obesity epidemic is in large part the fault of parents and other role models such as teachers, who should be demonstrating and enforcing healthy eating habits. It is argued that children are too young to decide what they should be eating and it is a parent’s responsibility to make the right choices for them. A six-year-old child reasonably does not have their own money to go into a fast food restaurant and purchase fast-food, their parents make that choice for them.  Therefore, it is up to the government to step in and educate people on what constitutes healthy behavior including eating right and the proper amounts of exercise. And up to parents and educators to instill healthy behaviors from a young age so that children are able to make the best choices for their health.

Food Marketers Are Responsible

 The other side of the argument is that food marketers continuously use deceptive labeling practices in regards to serving sizes where calorie count, fat content, and sugar content are labeled in ways that mislead the consumer. Fast food companies ensure that they are located in high-traffic areas and use excessive amounts of advertising ($4.2 billion a year) just in marketing to children. Average serving sizes at fast food restaurants have increased from 800 to 1100 calories per visit. These factors combined with the fact that fast food is consistently cheaper and more convenient than healthy food to purchase has led to the obesity epidemic.

The practice of food marketers promoting the idea that fast food and “junk food” can be a part of a healthy diet has mislead consumers as to what healthy eating actually consists of. Children are targeted from such a young age that they become addicted to fast food and continue the unhealthy eating patterns into adulthood.  All of this has lead to an increase of 4.5% to 7% in childhood obesity in children ages 6 to 19 years. The rate of overall obesity in America has doubled compared to what it was 30 years ago. Currently 25% of Americans are classified as being obese

 

My Conclusion

 It is a situation in which neither consumers nor food marketers can be single-handedly blamed. Parents play such a significant role in teaching and guiding their children as to what constitutes healthy eating and lifestyle and they seem to be failing in this respect more and more. The majority of parents choose the cheaper, most convenient way to feed their kids, which almost always includes fast food. This needs to be addressed through educating parents and teachers about how children should be fed and the negative effects of not having a proper diet. As well, exercise levels need to be increased because not getting enough physical activity plays just as important a part of becoming overweight. These are areas where parents and educators are responsible.

Food marketers need to cease deceptive labeling practices. Serving sizes need to be realistic and not mislead consumers into thinking the whole bag of chips is 300 calories when really only the 50 gram serving size (or 1/5 the bag) is 300 calories. Advertising directly to children needs to be decreased so that parents do not need to consistently battle with what their children think they want (based on flashy fast food marketing) and what they should be eating.

Consumers cannot entirely put the blame on food marketers because what you choose to eat is a personal decision. Food marketers should ensure that it is ultimately an informed decision and not a manipulated one.