Monthly Archives: January 2017

Architectural Ironmongery Work

The art of architectural ironmongery is timeless; as it has been utilized since hundreds of years ago. The simplest ironmongery product like a door-hinge has been used even centuries before to guard heavy doors and is used even today in modern architecture. Each metal work in any building is called ironmongery.

Ironmongery is a term used to describe products that are made from iron, or products with fittings made of iron, for use in construction. Other words used for ironmongery are architectural metal work or architectural ironmongery. A variety of building structures such as homes, hotels, etc. use them during different phases of construction. However, it is mostly used in handles, banisters and railings.

A house or a building is built in various stages. The architects are consulted to make purchases for different areas in a building or a house. A building formation starts from laying the foundation of the building followed by erecting the walls and making the roof. The art of ironmongery takes place after the completion of initial building work.

Architectural ironmongery can be roughly divided into three types; Pre-Pack Hardware, Iron Window Hardware and Iron Door Hardware. These three categories include: latches, door bolts, bow handle bolts, Breton bolts, tower bolts and door bolts, Suffolk latches, swivel locking bars, turn buttons, wire hasps and staples, tee hinges, etc.

After a building is erected, the purchase of ironmongery products takes place. The installation of the ironmongery products takes place post the completion of the structure of the building. The ironmongery products includes door handles and knobs, hinges, cabinet fittings, and door locks, which are collectively or individually used in banisters, railings, doors and windows.

All ironmongery products are fundamentally reliable and durable, yet care needs to be taken while choosing the supplier. The help from ironmongers can be taken from online and local ironmongery stores. Many different ironmongery products are available, both in modern and traditional styles. It blends in well with every look, be it antique, ultra modern or contemporary. The elegant, classy or modern look of the building determines the type of the ironmongery used. Try and opt for the one that appropriately goes with your desired look and impression.

Ironmongery works provide expediency to life. The importance of ironmongery can be gauged from the fact that the metal work of any building is usually the first thing that catches your eye and makes a lasting impression. They are also important for security and safety purposes of any building. In addition they add to the overall value and the look of the building.

So, incorporating ironmongery in any building has become the need of the day. It may be slightly expensive but it is compensated by the fact that it is long lasting. Invest in ironmongery wisely because it is bound to stay with you for a while with its intrinsic long lasting characteristics.

Architectural Ironmongery Work

The art of architectural ironmongery is timeless; as it has been utilized since hundreds of years ago. The simplest ironmongery product like a door-hinge has been used even centuries before to guard heavy doors and is used even today in modern architecture. Each metal work in any building is called ironmongery.

Ironmongery is a term used to describe products that are made from iron, or products with fittings made of iron, for use in construction. Other words used for ironmongery are architectural metal work or architectural ironmongery. A variety of building structures such as homes, hotels, etc. use them during different phases of construction. However, it is mostly used in handles, banisters and railings.

A house or a building is built in various stages. The architects are consulted to make purchases for different areas in a building or a house. A building formation starts from laying the foundation of the building followed by erecting the walls and making the roof. The art of ironmongery takes place after the completion of initial building work.

Architectural ironmongery can be roughly divided into three types; Pre-Pack Hardware, Iron Window Hardware and Iron Door Hardware. These three categories include: latches, door bolts, bow handle bolts, Breton bolts, tower bolts and door bolts, Suffolk latches, swivel locking bars, turn buttons, wire hasps and staples, tee hinges, etc.

After a building is erected, the purchase of ironmongery products takes place. The installation of the ironmongery products takes place post the completion of the structure of the building. The ironmongery products includes door handles and knobs, hinges, cabinet fittings, and door locks, which are collectively or individually used in banisters, railings, doors and windows.

All ironmongery products are fundamentally reliable and durable, yet care needs to be taken while choosing the supplier. The help from ironmongers can be taken from online and local ironmongery stores. Many different ironmongery products are available, both in modern and traditional styles. It blends in well with every look, be it antique, ultra modern or contemporary. The elegant, classy or modern look of the building determines the type of the ironmongery used. Try and opt for the one that appropriately goes with your desired look and impression.

Ironmongery works provide expediency to life. The importance of ironmongery can be gauged from the fact that the metal work of any building is usually the first thing that catches your eye and makes a lasting impression. They are also important for security and safety purposes of any building. In addition they add to the overall value and the look of the building.

So, incorporating ironmongery in any building has become the need of the day. It may be slightly expensive but it is compensated by the fact that it is long lasting. Invest in ironmongery wisely because it is bound to stay with you for a while with its intrinsic long lasting characteristics.

Importance of a Digital Media Agency for Global Businesses

There are many businesses around the world, which are considering the importance of digital marketing domain as a vital way to promote their trades online and find potential customers around the world. Nowadays, many small to large level enterprises are moving online and adopting the benefits of digital media marketing. For this purpose, they are availing services of top-notch digital media agencies in the market. It helps them advertise their businesses over the web and increase clientele across the globe. Here, a digital agency plays can play a significant role to promote the client's business and take it to the next level of success easily.

Introduction to a Digital Media Agency

Digital media agency is a right step for global businesses, where they get the complete solution for the online branding of their trades. Also, a digital marketing agency helps businesses plan their online marketing campaigns and promote them successfully over the web. A modern digital agency is more effective for online advertisement of business rather traditional digital options like television and print media. Nowadays, every business needs the back of online digital agencies to give a quick growth of the trade over the web. Here, the digital firm can help businesses by fulfilling their digital marketing requirements like website development, designing, SEO activities, PPC, and much more. For managing all the tasks, digital agencies outsource the work to the experts in the market and manage the client's project smartly. Thus, a digital marketing firm takes the challenge seriously and delivers the optimum result for the businesses under the stipulated time frame.

Types of Digital Agencies

In the competitive digital media industry, you can find different types of digital agencies which can serve you the best digital services for online branding of your business.

Integrated Digital Marketing

It is the agency which keeps track of online branding results of the client's business. For this, they make the right use of client's data, analytics, and other online marketing platforms. Also, the agency plans right strategies to improve the client's website traffic online and track the clicks on it via different sources like mobile, email, and other organic searches of search engines.

Digital Campaign

This agency follows digital advertisement strategies for marketing of client's business and its products or services. Here, the agency makes the digital campaign so attractive that inspires the viewers to take an interest in it.

Digital Solutions

The modern concept of a digital media agency model is being adopted by businesses of all levels these days. This agency offers the avenues to provide a digital impression to the business model and plan an effective marketing campaign to promote it over the web through digital means.

Tips to find the best digital agency in the market:

  • Do verification of its market value and years of experience in the industry.
  • Explore the type of digital services provided by the agency for successful advertisement of client's business.
  • Check for reviews and feedback of the agency's clients.
  • Is there any team of digital media experts'?
  • Check for the qualification and digital media experience of the agency's personnel.

Thus, above are few necessary tips, which you should follow wisely before availing services of any digital media agency in the market.

10 Costly Sound Proofing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake 1: Hiring an Expensive Acoustical Consultant

Most people should be able to isolate and solve noise problems themselves without ever retaining an acoustical consultant.

If you are considering a consultant, unless you have a big budget, it's important to do a little homework and learn something about your noise problems and how they might be solved.

A consultant will approach any problem you have in a very scientific and systematic fashion. There is nothing wrong this except that it is time consuming and consultants bill by the hour. Also acoustical consultants are not cheap. So rather than having a highly paid professional sniffing around trying to determine the source of your problem, roll up your sleeves and do some detective work yourself. You can crawl around in a basement or ceiling or meet with your neighbors in an attempt to determine sources of noise pollution without spending a cent. A consultant will charge a lot of money to do these things for you.

If you do decide to bring in a consultant at some stage it will be far more cost effective if you have determined 1) the source of the noise pollution, 2) some of your options for dealing with the noise and 3) the extent to which the various noises bother you. The consultant will not know which noise causes you the most stress. You've got to give this careful consideration. The interesting thing about soundproofing is that because noises mask each other, removing one noise often makes another appear louder and more annoying. As you make your home more soundproof it will be quieter but ironically this will mean that you can hear other noises. You need to think carefully about these issues and draw up a noise priority list based. This list should illustrate which noise pollution impacts the most on your quality of life. Always put sleep interference at the top of your list. Noises which interfere with a good night's sleep can be the most troublesome and stressful and can impact directly on your health.

Mistake 2: Trying to Get Even With Your Noisy Neighbors

A lot of noise pollution is caused by noisy neighbors. It's normal to assume that any neighbor who makes an annoying noise must be inconsiderate. In reality most neighbors are actually reasonable people and they might be quite unaware that they are creating a noise problem. So as a first step try having a friendly conversation with your neighbor. Use language like: I need your help with something which you are probably not even aware of. Your dog seems like a great pet and friend but sometimes he barks during the early hours of the morning and it wakes me up. I can not get back to sleep which means I'm very tired during the rest of the day. I know it's normal for dogs to bark – the solution might be as simple as keeping him inside or in another part of the yard at night. Do you mind if we discuss this some more, perhaps you could come over for a coffee and I'll show you where my bedroom is and why it affects me so much.

It is important to keep the discussion friendly even though you might feel very annoyed with your neighbor. People with barking dogs are usually aware of the problem and secretly hope that no one will complain. This means that they also expect that one day they will have to do something about the issue.

Under no circumstances should you consider retaliating by making your own noise, this will never solve the problem and could result in the police becoming involved.

Mistake 3: Buying "Any" Soundproofing Material

There are many different types of noise pollution. The type of material and the techniques you need to use to solve your problem will require a good understanding of the exact noise source and problem. The simplest noise variables are how high pitched the sound is (eg bird chirping) or how deep it is (eg stereo sub-woofer or boom cars). Other important variables are how loud the noise seems, where it is coming from, the sorts of building material that it is passing through (eg windows, walls and floors) and whether the noise if continuous or intermittent. These are not difficult things to determine, but you do need to do a little homework and preparation and you certainly need to know these things before you buy any soundproofing materials.

You need to be able to describe your noise problem very clearly, know its source and know what type of solution you are seeking. You also need to know what sorts of solutions you can use eg do you lease your apartment and therefore must not make any permanent changes to the structure?

Mistake 4: Listening to "Wives Tales "

Beware that some materials and techniques just do not work despite the endless exposure that they seem to attract. What's more frightening is that using the wrong material or technique could actually make your problem worse, for example some materials will actually appear to make a noise louder or change it to something even more irritating.

Aside from the obvious myths around egg crates and plastic window film which are essentially useless as soundproofing materials, other materials and techniques to be suspicious of include:

· Old carpet

· Cardboard

· Special paints

· Fibreglass batts eg the type used for thermal insulation

· Rubber eg old rubber mattresses and floor mats

· Any type of mattress secured to a floor or wall

· Dry cellulose fibre pumped into walls or floors

· Timber sheets (unless they are uncoupled)

· Corrugated or pyramid shaped foam like the type used in recording studios – this does not stop noise passing through walls, it simply dampens noise which is already in the room.

In short you need a credible, unbiased guide to solving your noise problems. The alternative is trying to sift through the science, logic and truth behind each material and technique and then learning how and where to install the material. Even if you had the time to attempt this self education, it is a very frustrating process and there is no way of knowing whether you really have really reached the right conclusion until after you've completed the job. You could end up spending more time and lots of money on methods and materials which do not properly solve your problem.

Mistake 5: Coping When you are Exhausted & Annoyed

Noise pollution can drive you to despair and can literally impact on the health and happiness of you and your family. As a matter of urgency you should consider finding an immediate "compromise solution" to your problem. The most rational, cheapest and fastest compromise is a set of high tech ear plugs. People often think that I am joking when I say this. I'm not. These days it is possible to buy very comfortable and very effective high tech ear plugs which are designed to reduce significant noise. You can buy one or more pairs and start catching up on your sleep and thinking time. Once you have reclaimed your sanity you will be in a far better state of mind to embark on manageable longer term solutions to your noise pollution problems.

Mistake 6: Replacing "Float" Glass with "Laminated" Glass

Laminated glass does give some additional benefit but not as much as you might think. In addition laminated glass is expensive. You would actually achieve a much better effect if you left the existing sheet of glass in your window and secured a second slightly thicker piece of normal (float) glass to your window frame with an air cavity of an inch or two between the two panes. A four inch (100mm) separation between the sheets of glass and some moisture absorbing powder in the cavity gives excellent results and can be done on a budget. This technique is definitely easier than replacing existing window glass with a new laminated pane.

Mistake 7: Complaining to Local Authorities about the Noise

I hate to say it, but most things involving complaints to Local Authorities are time consuming, costly, demoralising and often get you no closer to solving your problem. Anyone who has ever locked horns with any type of bureaucracy will tell you that even when you have a valid complaint the bureaucracy will take forever to do anything. In the meantime you still have to put up with the noise problem and you get more and more stressed and feel more and more like you have lost control over your private world.

I've heard of people who have been asked by local Council to keep a diary of their noise problem for a whole year! Unfortunately most organisations like local government or even the police do not have the noise measuring equipment or proper understanding of noise and environmental laws to properly enforce them anyway.

So instead, put all of your energy into things that you have control over and look for quick wins which will build your confidence and restore your quality of life. The ear plug advice in Mistake No. 5 is a simple example of a quick and inexpensive win over annoying noise pollution.

Mistake 8: Taking A "Best Guess " on Installation Techniques

Even if you have bought effective soundproofing material, most of the effectiveness of the material will actually come from correct installation.

There are two installation considerations:

1) Correctly securing the soundproofing material.

A common reason why soundproofing material fails is because it is not properly isolated from the surfaces which are transmitting the problem noise. For example many people purchase floating floors in an attempt to reduce noise transmission between levels. This often fails because the floating floor is not adequately isolated from the original floor. Floating floor manufactures usually provide a cheap thin membrane to put down on the existing floor before installing the floating floor. The manufactures usually assure you that you are doing the right thing. Sadly it seems few floating floor retailers know very much about soundproofing. What's more it seems that few retailers of any of the products commonly used in soundproofing systems really have a good understanding of soundproofing science and the hidden traps.

2) Correctly placing the soundproofing material.

Even if the soundproofing material is correctly installed and secured, unless it is installed in the right place it might not solve the noise problem. For example a product called mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a very effective soundproofing material. If MLV were used to reduce sound transmission between two levels of a dwelling, it would work very well if secured to the ceiling of the lower dwelling ie under the noisy floor but it would have poorer performance if installed on top of the noisy floor.

A great help to domestic soundproofing is reliable do-it-yourself information which is clearly laid out with simply diagrams and unbiased materials reviews.

Mistake 9: Not Following the Right SoundProofing Technique

Again this mistake relates to having reliable unbiased do-it-yourself information which is clearly laid out and which you can carefully follow.

Remember a properly placed piece of soundproofing can fail if you lose your way during the installation process. There is a lot of data to suggest that a small break in any soundproofing "system" can results in profound reduction in its performance.

This is not something you have to worry about if you are patient person and you are prepared to be careful and follow a good set of instructions. Again, more reason enough to ensure that your mind is in the right place, that you are calm and are not rushing desperately and erratically to get rid of the noise pollution. See Mistake 5.

Mistake 10: Thinking Gaps are Bad so Cavities Must be Too.

Many people believe that the secret to solving noise problems is filling or packing spaces.

It's true that the first step in any soundproofing plan is making things airtight but this is very different to filling spaces in walls, floors or windows. The truth is air in an airtight cavity can be an excellent soundproofing "material" in certain circumstances. To make the most of air cavities their size and number need to be carefully considered.

So as with all the points raised above, be careful not to rush into pumping, pouring or packing any cavities until you are very clear what it is you are trying to achieve – but definitely aim to make all walls, doors, windows and floors airtight .

Gang Etiquette

Today I'll just talk a little bit about the basics of gangs and their signs and symbols. Gangs are everywhere in our nation and are a growing problem. Almost every police department has a unit dedicated to this cause.

So what really is a gang? It's a its an organized group of three or more people with common names, signs, colors, symbols and who engage in violent and / or illegal behavior. Many of these members have a past of troubled family life. They've often been abused and have not been taught the value of human life. These individuals find acceptance and support in the gangs they join.

Here are some warning signs you know someone that may be in a gang …

– Change in hair / dress new friends with same hair / dress
– Secretive behavior about friends / activities new interest in graffiti symbols
– No explanation for routine changes change in frequented places
– Suspected drug use by changes in mood new discipline problems
– Increase of possessions such as money, hats and cloths
– Phone threats to family new fear of police new sense of bravery

You can, however, do some prevention work in order to keep it from going that far with your child. Here are a few tips …

– Insist on meeting their friends and parents
– Know where they're going, who with, where to and when they'll be back
– Set rules and enforce them
– Encourage out of school legitimate interests

So what are some of these gangs? We'll start with the Almighty Latin King Nation. They appeared in Chicago in the 1940's to support each other against racism and other social issues of that time. They're still Chicago's largest gang. Original members were Puerto Rican but now it has evolved to all races to join but are mostly made up on Spanish, Latvian, Italian, Portuguese, Mexican and South American.

What separates this group is that they preach Latin pride and some chapters have made a religion called Kingdism. They have meetings to recite their gang pledge and pray to rise to the call of Inca. They also use these meetings to discuss gang retaliation, drugs or breaking gang rules. This gang is more structured and organized than most other gangs. They also celebrate January 6th as "Kings Holy Day" and the first week in March as "Kings Week". In their gang symbol, the five points on the crown stand for love, respect, sacrifice, honor and obedience. This group identifies with the colors yellow or gold. The Chicago Police Department estimates about 25,000 members in Chicago alone.

Bloods:
This gang is based primarily in Los Angeles. They are one of the most widely known gangs due to wide media exposure in the 1980s. This gang is no longer racially specific. They usually align themselves with the People Nation. They're a rival of the Crips and often refuse to use the letter C in their writings. This gang began in 1971 and wear their colors (red) on the right side, such as red shoelaces, red belt or a red bandana in their back right pocket.

Crips:
This gang originated in Los Angeles in 1969. Crips are established in 199 areas of LA. This gang aligns themselves with the Folk Nation. This gang has also spread throughout the US and are multiracial and extremely violent. They associate themselves with the color and refuse to use the letter B in their writings. They also call each other "cuzz" and call themselves "blood killas". They also wear British Knight (BK) tennis shoes.

MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha originated in El Salvador but migrated to Southern California. This is one of the largest, most known gangs in the US today. They added the 13 to pay homage to California prison gang, the Mexican Mafia. They quickly became the most violent gang because their originating members had experience in training for guerrilla warfare. They can also be found in Honduras and Guatemala. In 2002, gang members boarded a public bus and executed 28 people, including children. Due to their homeland, they often have access to high tech weapons and firearms and often engage in firearms trafficking. Many of these members cover themselves in tattoos. Members also wear Dodgers baseball caps with tan or Dickies and long sleeve shirts with the top button fastened. They were also deemed the Worlds Most Dangerous Gang by National Geographic.

Gangs in today's society are growing, even though some cells are declining in certain georgraphic areas due to changes in economy and other social matters. Some gangs are worldwide and some are focus in the US. All gangs are violent and involved in illegal activities. If you suspect gang activity in your area, contact 911 or your local police department.

Setting Cap Stones – Installation Techniques

One of the biggest areas of failure in masonry wall construction is the cap stone or lack of one. This article will deal with the proper installation of a cap stone and leave inferior design (lack of one) for another day!

For centuries the cap stone was the proper termination method for sound masonry construction. With the modern technology available today you can be assured a leak proof termination to your new masonry walls with a cap stone system that protects the masonry wall from unwanted water infiltration.

What are cap stones? – Simply, cap stone are cut stones that 'cap' or terminate the top of a masonry wall such as garden walls, parapet walls, firewalls, etc.

After the masonry has reached it final height the collar joint (the joint between the inner and outer masonry walls or wythes) is carefully filled, smoothed and brushed. Then a sheet of copper flashing is cut to the desired length and width of the wall.

Some contractors lie this directly onto the wall and lay their cap stones on top of it. Others may use a bituminous coating to cover the top of the entire wall prior to laying the copper flashing in place. Butt joints in the flashing are covered with a bituminous coating approx. 12 "- 16" from the joint and a top piece of flashing is lapped over the joint. Either way is acceptable but the bituminous coating offers an additional layer of protection.

Why use copper flashing? – Copper is used because it has a strong history of holding up to the elements. In this situation any leaking that occurs through the cap stone or joints will drop to the copper flashing and flow out from under the stone and down the wall face, keeping it from the interior of the wall.

You can also crimp the flashing with drip edges and locking seams for the joints if you so desire. Each increase in details adds increased cost to the project but also increases the durability of the wall.

Setting the stones – Now that the flashing is in place and secure you begin to set the cap stones by placing a full bed of mortar on top of the flashing where you will place your first stone.

Smooth and level the mortar bed as needed and set your stone into place. Then level you stone with a mason's level cut your joints beneath the stone making sure all voids are filled and then continue the same process for each additional stone. As you proceed with each additional stone, leave the head joints (the joints between each individual stone which is 3/8 "- ½") open.

Filling the head joints – Now that the stones are in place it's time to come back and tuck-point (fill in with mortar) all the head joints. Some stone will stain very easily from the cements used in mortar so test your stone. If needed, tape the stone on either side of the joint until you have completely filled (tuck-pointed) and 'tooled' that joint, at which time you remove the tape and brush the joint clean.

Your tuck-pointing mortar will be the same mortar that you used to 'bed' the stones with but will be 'stiffer'. This will allow you to compress the mortar into the joint with a tuck-pointing tool assuring a tight and full joint. When you 'tool it' (finish the joint with a concave joint tool) you will compress the joint even further and as you 'slick it' you draw the cements to the surface of the joint giving you a water proof seal between each stone.

Following these few tips and suggestions you can have cap stones that will provide a lifetime of protection from water entry for your new masonry wall.

Seven Critical Success Drivers – Why New Products Win

The challenge in successful product innovation is to design a playbook, blueprint, or process by which new-product projects can move from the idea stage through to a successful launch and beyond, quickly and effectively. Before charging into designing this playbook, let's first understand the secrets to success – what separates successful innovation projects from the failures, the critical success factors that make the difference between winning and losing.

Some are fairly obvious, but before you dismiss them as "too obvious", recognize that most firms still neglect them. As we probe each success driver, reflect on how you can benefit from each, and how you can translate each into an operational facet of your new-product system or playbook.

1. A unique, superior product is the number one driver of new-product profitability.

Delivering products with unique benefits and real value to users – bold innovations – separates winners from losers more often than any other single factor. Such superior products have five times the success rate, over four times the market share, and four times the profitability of products lacking this ingredient.

The definition of "what is unique and superior" and "what is a benefit" is from the customer's perspective – so it must be based on an in-depth understanding of different customer needs, wants, problems, likes, and dislikes:

  • Determine the customer needs at the outset – build in voice-of-customer (VoC) research early in your projects. Wants are usually fairly obvious, and easy for the customer to talk about. But spotting needs, particularly unmet and unarticulated needs, is more of a challenge, but often yields a breakthrough new product.
  • Do a competitive product analysis. If you can spot the competitors' product weaknesses, then you're halfway to beating them. The goal is product superiority and that means superiority over the current or future competitive offering. Never assume the competitor's current product will be the competitive benchmark by the time you hit the market!
  • Build in multiple test iterations to test and verify your assumptions about your winning-product design. Test the concept with users – and make sure they indicate a favorable response. That is, even before serious development work begins, start testing the product!

2. Building in the voice of the customer into a market-driven, customer-focused new-product process.

But the great majority of companies miss the mark here, with insufficient VoC and no fact-based customer insights (in more than 75 percent of projects, according to one investigation). A thorough understanding of customers 'or users' needs and wants, the competitive situation, and the nature of the market is an essential component of new product success.

Research has shown that top performing companies: work closely with customers and users to identify needs / problems, work with lead or innovative users to generate ideas, determine product definition via market research, interface with users throughout development, and seek market input to help design the Launch Plan.

Strong market focus must prevail throughout the entire new-product project, and should be considered throughout the new-product process:

  • Idea generation: Devote more resources to market -oriented idea-generation activities. The best ideas come from customers!
  • The design of the product: Use market research as an input to the design decisions to help guide the project team before they charge into the design of the new product.
  • Before pushing ahead into development: Be sure to test the product concept with the customer by presentation a representation of the product, and gauging the customer's interest, liking, and purchase intent.
  • Throughout the entire project: Customer inputs should not cease at the completion of the pre-development market studies. Keep bringing the customer into the process to view facets of the product verifying all assumptions about the winning design.

3. Doing the homework and front-end loading the project – due diligence done before product development gets under way.

The best innovators are much more proficient when it comes to completing activities in the "fuzzy front end" of projects – they do their homework:

  • Initial screening – the first decision to get into the project
  • Preliminary market assessment – the first and quick market study
  • Preliminary technical assessment – a technical appraisal of the project
  • Preliminary operations assessment – manufacturing and operations issues
  • Detailed market study, market research, and VoC research
  • Concept testing – testing the concept with the customer or user
  • Value assessment – determining the value or economic worth of the product to the customer
  • Business and financial analysis – just before the decision to "Go to Development" (building the business case).

Best innovators also strike an appropriate balance between market / business-oriented tasks, and conduct more homework prior to the initiation of product design and development. Furthermore, the quality of execution of the pre-development steps is closely tied to the product's financial performance.

"More homework means longer development times" is a frequently voiced complaint, and a valid one. But experience has shown that homework pays for itself in reduced development times as well as improved success rates:

  • Evidence points to a much higher likelihood of product failure if the homework is omitted.
  • Better project definition (the result of solid homework) actually speeds up the development process.
  • More homework up front anticipates changes to product design and encourages them to occur earlier in the process (rather than later when they are more costly)

Cutting out homework drives your success rate way down, and cutting out homework to save time today will cost you wasted time tomorrow. Make it a rule: No significant project should move into the Development stage without the actions described above completed, and done in a quality way. And devote the necessary resources to get the work done; that is, front-end load the project!

4. Getting sharp and early product and project definition means higher success rates and faster to market.

Securing sharp, early, stable, and fact-based product definition before Development begins is one of the strongest drivers of cycle-time reduction and new-product success. Best innovators clearly define the benefits to be delivered to the customer, they clearly identify the target market, the product concept is clearly defined, and the product features, attributes, and specifications are clearly defined.

Build in an integrated product and project definition step or check-point before the door is opened to a full development program. This integrated definition must be fact based: developed with inputs and agreement from the functional areas involved: Marketing, R & D, Engineering, Operations, etc. This definition has six components:

  1. the project scope
  2. target market definition
  3. product concept
  4. benefits to be delivered (the value proposition)
  5. positioning strategy
  6. product features, attributes, performance requirements, and high-level specs

Acknowledging a stable product definition is a challenge – even the best innovators struggle. Markets can be quite fluid and dynamic, so build in the necessary front-end homework, pin down the integrated product innovation as best you can before Development begins, specify in advance which part of the product requirements and specs are "known and fixed" versus which as "fluid, uncertain, and variable", and build steps into your development process to gather data so that the "variable parts" of your product definition can be pinned down as development proceeds.

5. Spiral development – put something in front of the customer early and often – gets the product right.

Spiral development is the way that fast-paced teams handle the dynamic information process with fluid, changing information. Many businesses use too rigid and linear a process for product development. By proceeding in a linear and rigid process, the project team and business set themselves up for failure.

Smart project teams and businesses practice spiral development. Best innovator businesses are 6 times more likely to interface with customers and users throughout the entire Development stage. They build in a series of iterative steps , or "loops, whereby successive versions of the product are shown to the customer to seek feedback and verification.

Use spirals – a series of "build -test-feedback-and-revise" iterations. This approach is based on the fact that customers do not really know what they are looking for until they see it or experience it – so get something in front of the customer in front of the customer or user fast (and keep repeating these tests all the way through to formal product testing).

6. A well-conceived, properly executed launch is central to new-product success.

Not only must your product be superior, but its benefits must be communicated and marketed aggressively. A quality launch is strongly linked to new-product profitability. Best innovators do the necessary market research – understanding buyer / customer behavior – in order to better craft the launch plan. They also conduct a test market or trial sell to validate the marketability of the new product and also test elements of the market launch plan. Best innovators also undertake a solid pre-launch business analysis, and most importantly, they execute the launch more proficiently – by a ratio of 3: 1 when compared to poor innovators.

Do not assume good products sell themselves, and do not treat the launch as an afterthought. A well-integrated and properly targeted launch does not occur by accident, however; it is the result of a fine- tuned marketing plan, properly backed and resourced, and proficiently executed.

Marketing planning- moving from marketing objectives to strategy and marketing programs – is a complex process. But this complex process must be woven into your new-product system.

Four important points regarding new-product launch and the marketing plan:

  1. The development of the market launch plan is an integral part of the new-product process: It is as central to the new = product process as the development of the physical product.
  2. The development of the market launch plan must begin early in the new-product project. It should not be left as an afterthought to be undertaken as the product nears commercialization.
  3. A market launch plan is only as good as the market intelligence upon which it is based. Market studies designed to yield information crucial to marketing planning must be built into the new-product project.
  4. Those who will execute the launch – the sales force, technical support people, other front-line personnel – must be engaged in the development of the market launch plan, and some should therefore be members of the project team. This ensures valuable input and insight into the design of the launch effort, availability of resources when needed, and buy-in by those who must execute the product and its launch (elements so critical to a successful launch).

7. Speed ​​counts! There are many good ways to accelerate development projects, but not at the expense of quality of execution.

Speed ​​to market is an admirable goal, and there are many apparently valid reasons that cycle-time reduction should be a priority:

  • Speed yields competitive advantage: First in will win!
  • Speed yields higher profitability.
  • Speed means fewer surprises.

Speed ​​is important, but not as vital as one might have assumed. Speed is only an interim objective – a means to an end. The ultimate goal, of course, is profitability. But many of the practices naively employed in order to reduce time-to-market ultimately cost the company money. They achieve the interim objective – bringing the product quickly to market – but fail at the ultimate objective: profitability.

Be careful in the overzealous pursuit of speed and cycle-time reduction. There are ways to reduce cycle time, however, that are totally consistent with sound management practice and are also derived from the critical success drivers outlined. Here are five sensible ways to increase the odds of winning but also to reduce time-to-market!

  1. Prioritize and focus: The best way to slow projects down is to dissipate your limited resources and people across too many projects. By concentrating resources on the truly deserving projects, not only will the work be done better, it will be done faster. But focus means tough choices: It means killing other and perhaps worthwhile projects. And that requires good decision-making and the right criteria for making Go / Kill decisions.
  2. Do it right the first time: Build in quality of execution at every stage of the project. The best way to save time is by avoiding having to recycle back and do it a second time. Quality of execution pays off not only in terms of better results but also by reducing delays.
  3. Front-end homework and definition: Doing the upfront homework and getting clear product and project definition, based on facts rather than hearsay and speculation, saves time downstream: That means less recycling back to get the facts or redefine the product requirements, and sharper technical targets to work toward.
  4. Organize around a true cross-functional team with empowerment: Multi-functional teams are essential for timely development and are a topic in the next chapter. Rip apart a badly developed project and you will unfailingly find 75 percent of slippage attributable to: (1) 'siloing', or sending memos up and down vertical organizational 'silos' or 'stovepipes' for decisions; and (2) "sequential problem solving". Sadly, the typical project resembles a relay race, with each function or department carrying the baton for its portion of the race, then handing off to the next runner or department.
  5. Parallel processing: The relay-race, sequential, or series approach to product development is antiquated and inappropriate for today's fast-paced projects. Given the time pressures of projects, coupled with the need for a complete and quality process, a more appropriate model is a rugby game or parallel processing. With parallel processing, activities are undertaken concurrently (rather than sequentially); thus, more activities are undertaken in an elapsed period of time. The new-product process must be multidisciplinary with each part of the team (Marketing, R & D, Operations, Engineering, Sales) working together and undertaking its parallel or concurrent activity. Note that the play is a lot more complex using a parallel rugby scheme, hence the need for a disciplined playbook.

Building the Success Drivers into Your Playbook

Many businesses have "operating procedures" or guides on how to do things right. Imagine you are crafting a new-product guidebook or set of operating procedures for how to do a new-product project right – for example, an "idea-to-launch playbook" or a stage-and-gate system to drive new products to market.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing Today

Marketing is essential to any business and is generally referred to as the most important aspect of any business strategy. Large companies spend millions of dollars to hire reputed agencies to handle the marketing of their business whereas smaller companies rely on more creative and cost efficient methods. In the extremely competitive world of today, social media marketing is the new 'in' thing and definitely here to stay. In a nutshell, it means using social media such as blogs, community sites, video sharing sites etc. to market a product or a business.

Certain popular websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube which have more than five million visitors everyday are considered to be an important hub for marketing. Promoting your business using these sites is a very attractive business proposition since they offer a huge amount of steady traffic everyday. In today's world, social networking is extremely successful and social media marketing is very important to a business because of the sheer number of people that access these sites regularly.

The reasons why this type of marketing is so important, or rather, essential for a business are many. Firstly it is a low cost investment when compared to the other options available, offering many links to your site for free. Social media is generally free to use but marketing the same thing through conventional methods would cost you thousands of dollars. These sites get a lot of traffic and they in turn generate traffic to your site. Also it acts like a word-of-mouth concept that people tend to believe when compared to commercial advertising.

To make a lasting impact on the user and build a successful business any entrepreneur should be adept in social media marketing. There are a number of factors to keep in mind while promoting your business online so as to maximize its potential and achieve realistic real time sales. Lehman Hailey believes marketing through social media is a potent method that will make your site profitable over time.

Following are a few pointers that an entrepreneur would do well to remember while utilizing the immense scope of this type of marketing. Firstly, one should always try to give a clear account of the company's product or the contents of the business instead of exaggerating and claiming the impossible because this discourages people from visiting your site whereas a more realistic picture generates slow but steady traffic over time. Secondly, it is important to post as many links as you can wherever there is a provision to do so.

Any business becomes profitable only if the end product promised by the company or the entrepreneur is really as good as advertised and produces customer satisfaction. There is no sure-shot formula for success using marketing since it only gives more visibility to the business and the end sales depend only on the efficiency of the product. However, social media marketing is an important tool that, when properly used is a highly beneficial and promising enterprise.

Marketing With a Blended Marketing Strategy For Maximum Visibility

Marketing in general is a vast and complex beast which requires knowledge and effort to truly master and leverage it to its full potential to grow your brand, let alone your business. Any good internet marketing strategy can effectively help you build your business online. However, as many internet entrepreneurs look to expand their online presence and grow their businesses further, I find that many of them fail to create a complete marketing and business development strategy, focusing the majority of their efforts online. Sadly, this is a HUGE mistake on their part.

Over the course of my career as an entrepreneur, business owner and web designer, I've conducted business with many individuals and businesses all wanting to increase their reach, develop a stronger brand awareness and build a strong internet presence. Yet through all their questions, two common fears continually rang through during my discussions with many of them. They either feared the idea of ​​taking on a major internet campaign or they felt that internet marketing would replace their tried and true traditional marketing methods. Both these fears have their roots in the fact that the vast majority of them simply lacked the proper knowledge necessary to see that both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy should compliment each other providing reciprocal support of their various strengths. I like to refer to this more complete picture of a marketing strategy as "blended marketing".

Why Do I Need to Do Marketing

If you plan to generate any kind of income online you need to gain an understanding that your blog or website is simply and extension of your true business. You must develop your business model first before you can properly identify how to apply your blog / website as a useful tool in your overall marketing and business development strategy. Any successful business has a marketing strategy to grow their business. You can not simply set up a blog or website and expect the business to come rushing in. You must have a strategy in place to help bring in the interested buyers you desire.

Gain a Little Perspective

As a successful internet entrepreneur and internet marketing expert myself, I've been using a blended marketing strategy for well over a decade to maximize my reach, increase my exposure and better market to my target audience to grow my online business. I'd like to share with you how a blended marketing strategy can benefit you and provide you with some techniques I use when constructing your blended marketing plan.

To help you gain a better perspective on the concept of blended marketing I suggest you have a quick read of Rena Bernstein's post over at Social Media Today entitled "Integrating Social Media with Traditional Advertising to Gain Higher Returns". It is a great read and provides valuable insight into the benefits as well as examples on how effective it can be if done correctly.

What is Blended Marketing

Blended marketing is essentially a mix of both internet marketing and traditional offline marketing methods to create a more complete, overall marketing and business development strategy. Many businesses fail to integrate both internet marketing and traditional marketing strategies together. By taking advantage of the strengths of both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy, you will better position yourself and / or your business for greater success.

The idea of ​​a blended marketing strategy is to create a complete marketing strategy which takes advantage of the various strengths of both an internet marketing strategy and a traditional marketing strategy where you work to increase your search engine rankings and internet exposure, while at the same time increasing your reach and exposure offline as well.

Different aspects of a blended marketing strategy can be for example, utilizing an email marketing campaign in conjunction with a direct mail campaign to provide a specific promotion to a select group of recipients. Some email marketing systems provide a service where they will also send a direct mail piece to your email list provided you have addresses for each recipient in your list. This is just a high level example of how a blended marketing strategy can work to ensure broader reach from multiple fronts.

Benefits of a Blended Marketing

The benefits of a blended marketing strategy are vast allowing you truly grow your business at a much more rapid pace than if you did not have one. A blended marketing strategy allows you to:

  1. Gain Greater Exposure
  2. Market to the Same Audience Through Multiple Online and Offline Marketing Efforts
  3. Track the Effectiveness of Various Campaign Efforts
  4. Identify the Strengths of both Online and Offline Marketing Strategies
  5. Create Multiple Promotions for Various Marketing Strategies
  6. Generate Multiple Sources to Feed Your Sales Funnel
  7. Create Brand Awareness Online and Offline
  8. Market Products / Services Both Online and Offline
  9. Present Yourself as a Strong, Stable Business
  10. Increase Sales

These are just a few of the many benefits in which a blended marketing strategy can provide.

Creating a Blended Marketing Strategy

Creating a blended marketing strategy is not all that difficult if you know your target audience and have identified how to reach them. From that point, you can craft a marketing strategy that will allow you to reach your target audience through multiple fronts to ensure your message is heard.

The first step is to conduct market research (yes you have to do this and you can not skip this step). When conducting market research you need to identify:

  1. Who Your Target Audience Is
  2. Where They Hang Out
  3. How to Reach Them
  4. What are Their Needs
  5. How You Can Fill Their Need
  6. Will They Buy

Identifying a market for whatever you are offering is essential to the success of any business whether online or off.

The second step is to begin crafting your blended marketing strategy to incorporate the various resources available to reach your market. This is where the fun begins! Be creative with this and make sure you explore all possible options to get your message out to market. For example, you may want to include the various resources to syndicate your content not just for online purposes but also for offline purposes, such as industry magazines and journals. If you are creating an email marketing campaign, how will you mirror this effort offline through direct mail pieces? If you are going to utilize the Third Tribe concept for your online marketing, what real-world business networking and industry convention events are you going to attend to create brand awareness? Consider how you are going to integrate social media into your blended marketing and how can you drive people to follow you from your offline efforts?

The best way to create a blended marketing strategy is to mirror your online marketing efforts with potential real-world offline efforts that my accomplish the same if not similar task as your online efforts. Simply ask yourself: "Self, what offline marketing effort would be similar to this online marketing effort" then make a list of all related marketing strategies and decide which to integrate into your complete blended marketing strategy. Dedicate a lot of quality time to this process, because the more time you spend on market research and development to create your blended marketing strategy, the more effective your blended marketing strategy will be.

I hope you found this information useful and will apply what you've learned to create your own blended marketing strategy for whatever your business maybe.

To Your Success!

How to Become an Email Service Provider

Email Service provider should have the setup to send mass mails. There are many open source applications like Gmail, Exim and Postfix for this purpose. But these applications has its own limitations which restricts you from becoming a good email service provider.

– You can not have a pool of ips from which you can send mails randomly
– Can not follow the throttling limit set by various ISP's
– No bounce processing mechanism
– Email authentication methods like DK and DKIM not flexible enough to implement
– Limitation in the number of mails that can be send
– Problems in using server resource correctly

All of the above drawbacks can be removed if you are going for paid mail service application like ecelerity, ironport, PowerMTA etc. These application along with an interface for users to create email template (HTML mail templates), auto-responders and schedule mail campaigns will make you a good email service provider.

Since there is a tight competition nowadays, as there are many providers you should provide value added service like campaign monitor through which customers can come to know how many of their mails has got delivered to inbox, bounced etc. The web interface should be clean and easy to navigate, also you should have a strong technical support team who can constantly monitor the service and ensure high deliverability. High deliverability is closely related with the application you have chosen and most of the paid ones have the following advantages over open-source mail applications.

– Lakh's of mails per hour
– Highly efficient in implementing email authentication methods like DK, DKIM etc
– IPWarmup methods helps in getting good IP reputation
– Can set throttling limits as per the rules of ISP's
– Effective Bounce mail processing methods
– Flexible filters so that you can decide what all mails should go out and what should not
– Efficient usage of server resource
– Graphical representation of email delivery status
– Pool of ips can allocated to your clients so that their mails are send out randomly from these ips.