Home Blog Page 466

The Invention of Automobiles and Cars Made in America

Who invented cars?

This query does not have a straightforward answer. The history of the automobile may be very wealthy and dates back to the fifteenth century when Leonardo da Vinci was creating designs and models for transport vehicles. There are lots of several types of cars – steam, electric, and gasoline – as properly as numerous styles.

Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of opinion. If we had to give credit to one inventor, it could in all probability be Karl Benz from Germany. Possibly. Many recommend that he created the first true car within the years 1885/1886.

The designs and models of car have come a good distance from three-wheeled automobiles to four-wheeled limousine. There are numerous various varieties of cars – steam, electrical, and gasoline – in addition to countless styles.

What automobiles are made in America?

Automobiles which can be made in America embody the Chevrolet brand, Ford, Chrysler, GM, to name a few. There are additionally some Japanese brands made in America like Toyota, and Honda. BMW additionally has a plant in America.

There was a time that this was a simple query to answer. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler have been all American cars, made for essentially the most part within the United States. Now Chrysler is owned by Fiat, and tons of standard Ford and Common Motors automobiles are made in Mexico and Canada. Conventional imported automobiles have manufacturing or meeting plants from the Carolinas to California.

You may buy a Honda Accord made in Ohio, a Toyota Camry made in Kentucky, a Buick Lucerne made in Michigan or a Ford Taurus made in Illinois. Arguably the Buick and Ford are more American than Toyota and Honda.

Which automobiles get the most effective miles per gallon?

There are numerous strategies to find out what the gasoline mileage of your car is. Always remember that your vehicles gasoline mileage can be measured in freeway miles and metropolis miles. The freeway miles are normally greater due to the cause of there are less stops on the highway. The best way to search out is to ask your seller or retailer you purchased your automotive from.

The easy reply can be to look in your homeowners car manual. You can also fill your automobile up, then reset your odometer and drive like regular until you need fuel again. The next time you go out for gas, write down what quantity of gallons of fuel your automobile took. Now to get the MPG you merely divide the miles by the gallons of gas.

In December 2008, the United States realized that it had been in a recession for over a year. Whereas the news was not exactly a shock to many who have watched shares tumble, 401 (k) s shrink and housing gross sales dip, the new recession label does have an effect on the shopping habits of Americans. One of many potential victims of this recession will most definitely be automotive sales, especially hybrid automobile sales.

Over the summer, when fuel costs have been reaching ever increased, towards $ 5 a gallon, the premium consumers paid for a hybrid vehicle might simply be offset with gas savings. Now, as gasoline costs have tumbled nearer to $ 2.50 and as low as $ 1.45 in certain areas, that premium appears much less and fewer value it for potential new car buyers.

The invention of cars and those made in America could be a matter of opinion. This all depends upon who and where you ask.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Invention-of-Automobiles-and-Cars-Made-in-America&id=4149414

Used Cars by Owner – Little Tips For Selling Your Car

Trading in a used car to a dealership is essentially giving it away. Typically, used cars by owners were listed in newspapers or thrift ads, but today the internet is the way to get the most money for your car.

However, if you are not familiar with the process, it can be a tedious mess. Here is the way to do it right and get that used car sold.

Gather all the documents you will need to see the car. Any service records, repairs, new tires, warranties, etc .. should be copied and arranged neatly. Do not forget to get the car title, if you do not have one.

Wash and wax the car. Clean out clutter from the trunk, floorboards, and seats. Wipe any dust off the interior. The tires and rims should be cleaned, too. Once the car is cleaned, take multiple pictures of the exterior and interior.

Consider Investing A Little Money:
A small investment can make a big difference. When a person is shopping for a car, anything that they will have to fix is ​​always a deterrent.

A vehicle history report can add credibility to the car. If you do not want to invest the money in a Carfax report, be sure to encourage the buyer to. All they need is the cars VIN.

Find comparable prices. A Kelly Blue Book can give you an initial price guide. But, you should also check out the "used cars by owners" on the internet. Used car dealership ads are another great resource. Find out what your state regulations are for selling a used car.

Write An Ad:
Think about the positives. For example: low mileage, new tires, MPG of the car, clean interior, scratch free, new paint, leather seats, sunroof, power features, engine features, trunk space, seating, maintenance, car alarm, keyless entry, etc .. Clearly state what payment method (s) you are willing to take.

List The Car:
Some online used car listing sites are free. The average price of paid sites is around $ 20.00- $ 30.00. Do not just list the car on one site. Instead, list the car on all the free sites and pay for a few ads. Vehix, Autotrader, Craiglist, eBay, Cars.com, and Carsdirect are great places to start.

Now, you will be getting buyers!

A buyer might want to see the car. It is really not recommended to give out your work or home address. Instead, arrange a meeting in a very public place, during daylight hours. Most people are harmless, but you never know. There are some crazy folks in the world.

Sometimes, the person will ask if they can carry the car to their private mechanic. Unless, you know the person, this can be a bad situation. There are a lot of car thieves that prey on the used cars by owners system. So, instead of agreeing to let them take the car, you should offer to drop the car off at any reputable mechanic shop that they choose. Be sure not to be rude. Just blame it on insurance purposes.

Once you get an offer, it is up to you if you want to negotiate, or firmly stick a bottom line price. Then, all that is left is saying goodbye to your car.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Used-Cars-by-Owner—Little-Tips-For-Selling-Your-Car&id=1601670

The KWP2000 Protocol in Automotive Diagnostic Applications

The KWP2000 protocol has become a de facto standard in automotive diagnostic applications. It is standardized as ISO 14230-3. KWP2000 describes the implementation of various diagnostic services you can accethrough the protocol. You can run KWP2000 on several transport layers such as K-line (serial) or CAN.

Transport Protocol

As KWP2000 uses messages of variable byte lengths, a transport protocol is necessary on layers with only a well defined (short) message length, such as CAN. The transport protocol splits a long KWP2000 message into pieces that can be transferred over the network and reassembles those pieces to recover the original message.

KWP2000 runs on CAN on various transport protocols such as ISO TP (ISO 15765-2), TP 1.6, TP 2. 0 (Volkswagen), and SAE J1939-21. For KWP2000, the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports only the ISO TP (standardized in ISO 15765-2) and manufacturer-specific VW TP 2.0 transport protocols.

Diagnostic Services

The diagnostic services available in KWP2000 are grouped in functional units and identified by a one-byte code (ServiceId). The standard does not define all codes; for some codes, the standard refers to other SAE or ISO standards, and some are reserved for manufacturer-specific extensions. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports the following services:

• Diagnostic Management

• Data Transmission

• Stored Data Transmission (Diagnostic Trouble Codes)

• Input/Output Control

• Remote Activation of Routine

Upload/Download and Extended services are not part of the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set.

Diagnostic Service Format

Diagnostic services have a common message format. Each service defines a Request Message, Positive Response Message, and Negative Response Message. The Request Message has the ServiceId as first byte, plus additional service-defined parameters. The Positive Response Message has an echo of the ServiceId with bit 6 set as first byte, plus the service-defined response parameters.

The Negative Response Message is usually a three-byte message: it has the Negative Response ServiceId as first byte, an echo of the original ServiceId as second byte, and a ResponseCode as third byte. The only exception to this format is the negative response to an EscapeCode service; here, the third byte is an echo of the user-defined service code, and the fourth byte is the ResponseCode. The KWP2000 standard partly defines the ResponseCodes, but there is room left for manufacturer-specific extensions. For some of the ResponseCodes, KWP2000 defines an error handling procedure. Because both positive and negative responses have an echo of the requested service, you can always assign the responses to their corresponding request.


KWP2000 expects a diagnostic session to be started with StartDiagnosticSession and terminated with StopDiagnosticSession. However, StartDiagnosticSession has a DiagnosticMode parameter that determines the diagnostic session type. Depending on this type, the ECU may or may not support other diagnostic services, or operate in a restricted mode where not all ECU functions are available. The DiagnosticMode parameter values are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard. For a diagnostic session to remain active, it must execute the TesterPresent service periodically if no other service is executed. If the TesterPresent service is missing for a certain period of time, the diagnostic session is terminated, and the ECU returns to normal operation mode.


A GetSeed/Unlock mechanism may protect some diagnostic services. However, the applicable services are left to the manufacturer and not defined by the standard.You can execute the GetSeed/Unlock mechanism through the SecurityAccess service. This defines several levels of security, but the manufacturer assigns these levels to certain services.

Read/Write Memory

Use the Read/WriteMemoryByAddress services to upload/download data to certain memory addresses on an ECU. The address is a three-byte quantity in KWP2000 and a five-byte quantity (four-byte address and one-byte extension) in the calibration protocols. The Upload/Download functional unit services are highly manufacturer specific and not well defined in the standard, so they are not a good way to provide a general upload/download mechanism.


Use the ReadDataByLocal/CommonIdentifier services to access ECU data in a way similar to a DAQ list. A Local/CommonIdentifier describes a list of ECU quantities that are then transferred from the ECU to the tester. The transfer can be either single value or periodic, with a slow, medium, or fast transfer rate. The transfer rates are manufacturer specific; you can use the SetDataRates service to set them, but this setting is manufacturer specific. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports single-point measurements.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes

A major diagnostic feature is the readout of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). KWP2000 defines several services that access DTCs based on their group or status.

Input/Output Control

KWP2000 defines services to modify internal or external ECU signals. One example is redirecting ECU sensor inputs to stimulated signals. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

Remote Activation of a Routine

These services are similar to the ActionService and DiagService functions of CCP. You can invoke an ECU internal routine identified by a Local/CommonIdentifier or a memory address. Contrary to the CCP case, execution of this routine can be asynchronous; that is, there are separate Start, Stop, and RequestResult services. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

External References

For more information about the KWP2000 Standard, refer to the ISO 14230-3 standard.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-KWP2000-Protocol-in-Automotive-Diagnostic-Applications&id=7420277

What Items to Take to Car Dealer When Buying a Car

Many people have asked us. "What should I take to the car dealership?"

That is a great question. You definitely should not go to the dealership empty handed. This article lists the items you will need to take to make your new car purchase.

If you are going to the dealer to buy your car you will want to take the following:

1. A Valid Driver's license or another valid proof of identity such as a passport.

2. Proof of auto insurance – You will need to show the dealer proof of auto insurance. Having some form auto insurance is a requirement. There are many options available to obtain auto insurance coverage. It is also better to be safe than sorry.

3. Proof of residence – Typically something such as a utility bill will suffice to prove your residency. If you are uncertain call the dealer ahead of time to find out what will be acceptable.

4. Your check book (or some form of payment) – This one is obvious as you are going to have to make payment arrangements and most likely provide the dealer with money to cover the down payment and / or tax, title, and license.

5. Trade-in information – If you have a vehicle to trade-in you will have to provide certain documents to hand it over to the dealership. If you own the car outright you will need to bring the Title documents. If you still owe money on the car you will need to bring in the lender information so that the dealer can verify the current pay-off amount. You will also need the registration information.

You may not need every one of these items at a certain dealership but having all of them available will make for a smooth buying experience.

Get more Car Buying and Car Loan advice by visiting CarLoanPal.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Items-to-Take-to-Car-Dealer-When-Buying-a-Car&id=5166006

The Automobile in Melody

Historical events are captured in the music of the era. ‘Over There,’ ‘How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm after They’ve Seen Paree, and ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ were some of the Doughboy songs of World War I. Al Jolson singing ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime’, and ‘Dust Bowl Blues’ marked the Great Depression. ‘Fightin Side of Me’ revealed the nation’s conflict over Vietnam in the ’60s. So it is only natural that the automobile, which changed American life forever would be immortalized in song and it was.

At first the automobile was only for the wealthy and this was reflected in early sheet music. Even though there were no lyrics, ‘The Swagger’ and ‘Up Broadway’ featured fashionably dressed urban couples with an automobile. Then came the song ‘The Auto Man’ with the lyrics implying that ownership of an automobile indicated wealth and prestige. But along came Henry Ford who pledged to manufacture an automobile that the man on the street could afford and he kept his promise. In October 1908 the first Model T’s, priced at $850, rolled off the assembly line. Over nineteen years of production, its price would drop to $260. The Model T was referred to as the Tin Lizzie and the Flivver and became the subject of many songs. Lizzie is a nickname for Elizabeth and was a popular name for horses at that time.

So then they sang:

Old Zeke Perkins sold his hogs the other day,

The gosh-darned fool threw his money right away;

Rode into town, sittin on a board,

Came home ridin’ in a brand-new Ford!

However, the roads were still designed for horses and did not easily accommodate the speed of the new tin horse so in 1912 along came the song, “Bump, Bump, Bump in Your Automobile.” While the song lyrics emphasized the poor road conditions, one line inferred that women were attracted to male car owners with the words “Molly May said she loved Willie Green. Best of all she loved Willie’s machine.” This theme was repeated in many of the early automobile songs.

And the poor road conditions often resulted in mechanical breakdowns that popularized the tune, ‘Get Out and Get Under’ with the cover sheet depicting a well dressed man under a cabriolet with his legs extended, wrench in hand and his fashionably dressed lady friend in the passenger seat looking down anxiously. The freedom provided by this new invention also carried over to courting customs allowing more opportunities for intimacy and privacy triggering some social anxiety about the relationships between unmarried couples. This together with the liberation of single women in the Roaring 20’s inspired tunes such as ‘Up and Down the Eight Mile Road,’ 1926.

There were also songs about particular models like ‘Cole 30 Flyer’ with the lyrics ‘You will win me Bill, heart and soul, if you buy a Cole.’ These may well have been early attempts at product-placement advertising. Since Ford was producing most of the automobiles of the era, they were popular song subjects. In 1928 when the Model A was introduced, Walter O’Keefe wrote ‘Henry’s Made a Lady out of Lizzie’. Abner Silver and Jack Meskell followed with ‘Poor Lizzie, what will become of you now that your sister is here.’

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Automobile-in-Melody&id=2346723

Small Business Marketing – Three Tips To Infuse More Style Into Your Marketing Strategies

“The Bold and the Beautiful” isn’t just the name of a daytime television show. It also describes how you must put your personality to work if you want to grow your business into six and seven figures.

Take a look at the superstar women entrepreneurs in your industry and you’ll see what I mean. They aren’t wall flowers when it comes to flaunting their quirky personalities’ strengths in their marketing strategies.

In fact, these women entrepreneurs have cleverly discovered that by shining a spotlight on their innate characteristics they put their business in the spotlight…and reap the rewards.

So how does the woman business owner know which parts of her complex personality will help create winning impact marketing? What if she chooses the wrong parts and ends up looking foolish?

That’s where the Branding with Archetypes(TM) system comes in. Once you have discovered your business archetype (which a Branding with Archetypes ten-minute assessment helps you easily do) you start to see how traits you’ve possessed all along are now an important part of your marketing strategies.

Let’s look at woman business owner, Helen, for example. Before Branding with Archetypes, Helen knew she had a quirky sense of humor and a cheerfully contrary way of looking at things. But she thought those traits were faults that needed to be hidden away in favor of being “business like.”

Sure, right…uh huh…

Problem was that by hiding away her authentic nature, Helen was also hiding her gifts, talents and the opportunity to build a money-and-soul-style business. In short, she was hiding away a vital part of her soul.

Her business was practically nonexistent. (No wonder, since if SHE wasn’t showing up in her business, how could she expect her clients to?!)

Helen wasn’t surprised to discover that her archetype was the Wise Jester. After learning this she realized she had a talent for writing marketing copy that was infused with humor and that created a sense of camaraderie with her reader.

Not long after these discoveries she started her web-based copy writing business, dubbing it Cracker Jack Websites. (Now, doesn’t that name say “Get it done and make it fun!” to you?!)

Helen specializes in soft-topic copy writing preferred by coaches, holistic practitioners and other from-the-heart business owners. Her business is booming and she’s having fun. Her clients are relieved to find someone who can write from the heart without being hard sell.

Even if you don’t know which archetype you are in your business, you can start to infuse more personality and style into your marketing strategies. Here are three simple tips to get started now:

#1. What part of your personality do you most often try to hide?

Quirky sense of humor? Maybe your love of risky sports like hang-gliding over mountain peaks? Or you’re known for being bold and ahead of the pack. Or perhaps you secretly channel spirit guides but fear your corporate clients will find out.

Whatever personality trait you possess that got you in trouble when you were a kid in school is probably precisely the one that needs to show up as a key branding component in your impact marketing.

#2. Brainstorm a list of words and phrases that represent that personality trait.

Remember, “tame is lame” so go for words and phrases that may feel outlandish or outrageous.

#3. Cut loose and let your personality show in your next email, newsletter, web page sales letter or flyer.

Now, now, don’t gulp. This is actually pretty easy once you give yourself permission to cut loose a little. A little goes a long way so you won’t have to do too much to have your personality really stand out.

The basics of marketing a small business are pretty simple to figure out but it takes a bold and beautiful soul to reach deep within and let the innermost being speak through in her marketing!

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Small-Business-Marketing—Three-Tips-To-Infuse-More-Style-Into-Your-Marketing-Strategies&id=1042469

How to Service a Car

Car servicing is something that every auto owner has to indulge in at least some time of the year. The best method to service your car is to go to your car service station and have the servicing done methodically; according to your car maker. Consider this. You car is up and running smoothly but the mileage figures show that you need to have it serviced. Certainly, this is the right thing to do but have you wondered what actually goes in to make you pay that servicing bill every 6 months?

Servicing your car is a simple DIY job that you can learn quickly and easily save some good money.

If you have never serviced your car before personally, here’s your resource-

Servicing Basics

Car servicing essentially means inspecting the car thoroughly for any damaged components, and replacing some parts periodically that wear out over time. The parts that require inspection are the tire pressures, the brake fluid levels, air filters, oil filters, spark plugs, wheel balancing and alignment, battery fluid levels, etc.

If you review carefully it is certainly possible to do all this by yourself, as below-

You will need a complete car tool kit as provided by your car maker when you purchased the vehicle. This will usually consist of all the spanners that you might need.

The correct grade engine oil. Engine oil needs to be replaced every 5000 miles (This figure will change as per the car type and make. Check your car manual for your car.) The type and grade of oil required for your car can be found in your car manual.

To get started, a typical car servicing will involve the following steps-

o Hosting your car up to check the underbody. This can be done on a ramp or using a jack. A quick inspection of the underbody will let you know if there is any damage.

o When you are done with this, you will now need to replace the engine oil. Always remember that the engine oil should never be checked or replaced while the engine is running. To proceed, you will need to unscrew a bolt that is just below the engine oil chamber and drain the oil in to a pan. When all the oil has been drained you will need to screw the nut back in tightly. You can also change the oil filter and it is usually just adjacent to the oil chamber. Use the correct type and size as specified for your car.

o You can lower the car now and fill the new engine oil. Be sure that you do not pour excess oil over the dipstick mark as this is going to be very difficult to drain off. Wait patiently for the oil levels to settle.

o The other things you will need to check include the spark plugs. Spark plugs need to be cleaned periodically. Unscrew the spark plugs from the engine and clean them with a soft cloth. You will need to shine the plug contact points using sandpaper. Fit them back in, and now check out the air filter. Cleaning the air filter is easy and you can use your vacuum cleaner to do the job.

o You will also need to check out the suspension. Bump the car and observe how long it takes to settle. Ideally this will take no more than 3 bumps. Also check out for any spills, or leaks coming out of the shock absorbers.

o Now you will need to check out levels of brake fluids and top them up if necessary. Also, inspect the brake shoe condition by removing the wheel and inspecting the braking unit. If worn out, you can easily change them on your own.

With this done you are completed with the major servicing part of the car. The remaining things include oiling your doors and the hinges, checking if your lights are working, testing if your seat belts are working, and measuring the tire pressures (front and rear).

This might seem a long list to do but if you observe a typical car servicing process you will understand the nuances within no time. An easy way to proceed is by creating a check list for the different things will need to do. This way you can be sure of not missing out on any parts that need to be serviced.

Completely servicing your car will need a few hours but you will end up saving a lot of money. Besides, it’s fun too and a lot of learning.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Service-a-Car&id=1809637

The Impact of the Automobile Industry in Our Life

Imagine what our lives would be if there were no vehicles in our life? You would have to walk a long way, ride a horse or a carriage. Visiting family and friends would be a difficult, no proper roads would have been constructed and we would have to limit our travels anywhere.

It is really hard to imagine what our lives would be without the thing that we now take for granted. Let’s keep in mind that the automobile has really changed the way we live our live.

With the onset of the machine age, the world has seen a new turning era, which we are all thankful for today. The automobile has a great impact on how we live and work, transporting us and our goods anywhere. A network of highways have been built, fuel stations have emerged and people can choose to stay far away. It has made the world smaller for us.

The American automobile culture has been featured in songs, poetry, films and literature. It has become a part of our day to day life. It also has a great impact on our economy as well. Cities have grown, suburbs have popped up and going anywhere is possible.

No other invention has touched a great aspect of our society as much as automobiles have. Our entire lifestyle has completely change, it has altered our economy and redefined our everyday life. Without automobiles, our world wouldn’t be anything like it is today.

The automobile industry has become a crucial element in today’s economy of many industrialized nations. The production and sales of automotive are the major indicators of the economy status of most countries. The special requirements of mass production of automotive has a great influence on the design and development of highly innovative machine tools, which engineers strive to refine now and then.

Now, let’s talk about the employment opportunities that it brings with it. Being a part of this industry is a dream for most people. There are also so many career options in this industry as well. From auto technician jobs, store manager job, automotive mechanic jobs to automotive service manager jobs, there are so many that you can try for.

It is a thriving industry and it is attracting more and more diversified professionals. There are millions who are employed in this industry every year. You can try your luck if you are really interested.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Impact-of-the-Automobile-Industry-in-Our-Life&id=5201900

Electric Automobiles

Electric automobiles are vehicles that derive their power from electric motors. Many people may think that they are a fairly new invention, when actually, some of the earliest automobiles produced were already powered by electric motors that were fueled by batteries. However, due to the rapid development of internal combustion engines, electric vehicles were driven out of the market.

Electric motor systems are environmentally friendly and emits less pollution than combustion engines. They are also very energy-efficient. In fact, 75 percent of the energy stored in a battery reaches the wheels of an automobile, while only 20 percent of the chemical energy derived from gasoline is used by the wheels in an internal combustion engine.

Another advantage of electric automobiles is that they can provide power at the speed of an engine. This ensures strong acceleration performance for the electric vehicle.

The important factor that determines the cost and performance of electric automobiles are the batteries. Today, advancements in electric automotive technology have produced a number of battery types such as advanced lead-acid batteries, lithium polymer batteries and nickel metal hydride. However, even if an electric motor is extremely efficient, the capacity of the batteries is still very limited. For instance, the best batteries can store only a fraction of the energy of a gallon of gasoline in the same volume. The apparent solution to this is recharging. However, charging the battery fully may take a long time.

Electric automobiles still have a long way to go before they reach the mainstream market. Technology continues to improve and new innovations are constantly being introduced. Currently, hybrid vehicles like the gasoline-electric hybrid are enjoying considerable success. With the continued advancement in electric automobile technology, it may not be long before we see a more efficient and powerful electric automobile, and this time, they are likely to be on the market for good.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Electric-Automobiles&id=222387

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Empty Pockets, Full Marketing Plan

As business owners, we try to do more with less, but few of us really succeed. Despite our best efforts, it seems we’re always running short…short on money, short on people, short on time. When those unlimited short-falls occur, marketing is often one of the first functions to be sacrificed on the altar of the bottom line. A potentially ‘fatal error’ – and one that may be the key to why more than 90% of new businesses wind up dead-on-arrival within a year of start-up.

For this reason, developing cost-effective, business-building marketing initiatives is the single largest challenge facing success-minded business owners today.

Defining Terms – What Is Marketing?

Why is Marketing so important to any business, no matter what size? To understand the answer, it’s important to first understand just what marketing is…

The process of identifying the particular needs and wants of a particular target market and then taking action to satisfy those needs better than competition.

Frequently mis-understood and often thought of as mere ‘window dressing,’ Marketing is in reality the foundation of any business success. It’s where ‘the rubber hits the road’ because – when all is said and done – Marketing is all about the customer. No marketing or bad marketing means no customers. And no customers means no business… fast.

So, true customer-led companies (that is to say successful ones!) shouldn’t make any decisions on any aspect of their businesses – whether it be product design, or pricing, promotion, supply chain, or distribution channels – without factoring in the marketing fundamentals of understanding the customer and their needs.

Searching For The Holy Grail

Given the critical nature of Marketing but the often-sobering limitations of company resources, savvy business managers are always on the alert for smarter marketing initiatives – low on cost, high on results. It would be great if a quick-fix solution or magic wand existed that you could wave to achieve instantaneous and permament marketing success. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist.

Instead of A Quick Fix, A Lasting Solution

However! For business owners who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get to work to build and maintain a solid marketing foundation, a wide range of low-cost and no-cost strategies can help you achieve long-term marketing and, therefore, business success.

And the good news is that whoever you are and whatever your industry, there are Five Marketing Resources every company already has – yes, yours included – that you can leverage as great, business-building marketing resources, starting today. Use these five existing company resources effectively and you’ll see consistent customer – and bottom line – growth.

Resource #1 – Positioning: Prime Real Estate in the Mind

Positioning is the way you want customers to perceive, think and feel about your brand or business vs. competition. It’s the ‘mental piece of property’ that you and you alone lay claim to in the mind of a customer. Large companies may have time and the luxury of costly advertising on their side to help promote their brands… but, with less money to spend and no time to lose, those of us with fewer resources must ‘work smarter’ to identify and solidify that one particular “sweet spot” that we, and we alone can…and want…to own in the market place.

That is exactly what a well-crafted positioning can do.

Smart positioning helps level the playing field for businesses with less resources. After all, if you aren’t exactly sure what your company stands for… how can your customer be sure? With that in mind, businesses without well-defined positioning statements are not in the driver’s seat or the winners circle.

One reason is that consumers often think “parts is parts.” Without positioning to differentiate you in a meaningful way, you often end up competing on price alone… a precarious position at best. Your product/service is thus reduced to ‘commodity’ status, virtually indistinguishable from the competition. That’s definitely not good for business!

Assume the Position!

The question, then, is how to achieve a unique market position? Large companies may spend millions, but you can’t… and you don’t have to. To position your brand or business where you want it to be – head and shoulders above competition – you must carefully identify what your business has to offer by defining the six core positioning elements that make up the core of your specific brand.

Keep in mind that crafting and fine-tuning a brand position may take days, weeks, or even months, remember, too, that every journey starts with a first step, and that includes the journey to the type of smarter, more effective marketing that strong positioning and powerful branding can offer you. So let’s take a moment to cover the very basics.

The Six Core Elements of Positioning

NEED – Positioning based on need addresses a problem in the market that needs a solution and/or a need that is not currently being met adequately that your brand can meet. A prime example is Starbucks, the single largest global coffee chain in the world. Starbucks identified a need in the market not only for a better-tasting cup of coffee (a functional need), but also for a coffee “experience” (an emotional need). Just go have a cup of java and experience it for yourself!

TARGET MARKET – Positioning based on your target group speaks to the most likely prospects for your brand that share a similar set of needs and concerns. In the world of computers, Apple has positioned itself as young, progressive, and hip to appeal to those computer users who think of themselves as young, progressive, and hip, too. While the company never quite says it, Apple definitely implies “We’re not your grandfather’s computer.”

COMPETITIVE FRAMEWORK – This defines “what” your brand is. Often referred to as a ‘Standard of Identity” or “Category,” the best brands actually change their Competitive Framework (CF) to more of a “Perceptual Competitive Framework.” This is why Asia-based Santa Fe Moving Company changed their name to Santa Fe Relocation. By broadening their competitive framework, Santa Fe can also broaden the services that fit in to that CF as well. They go from simply moving “things” to providing services around all activities related to relocating businesses, employees, or families: look-see visits, doing home and school searches, helping with visa-immigration documents, etc.

BENEFIT – What do YOU offer that the other guy doesn’t? What is the most meaningful promise you can offer to consumers that is unique to you… and that you can absolutely, positively fulfill to the highest level of satisfaction? In the automotive industry, for example, Swedish maker Volvo ‘owns’ safety as its core benefit. This primary benefit of the Volvo brand packs a double-punch. It represents not only a functional benefit – a safely-designed car – but an emotional benefit, too: “I’m taking better care of my family by buying a safe car – I’m a good parent.”

REASON WHY – Customers are suspicious of promises and will naturally doubt whether or not you can deliver. To overcome that suspicion, you need to present a powerful Reason Why (RW). Your Reasons Why can be fact-based such as “made with 100% Hershey’s Cocoa” as the reason for a great taste. The RW could be design-based, such as having four blades like a Schick razor in order to provide a closer shave. Or, the RW can even be experience-based such as “4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest toothpaste to their patients.” Basically, a reason why is a reason to buy.

CHARACTER – Businesses and brands – just like people – are seen as individuals with specific character traits and personalities. Consumers seek out trustworthy brands and businesses the same way they’d seek out honest individuals. Consumer-magnetic attributes are people-friendly qualities such as thoughtful, friendly, helpful and creative. The Body Shop positions their health and beauty aids company as ‘a white hat’ in business: humanistic, environmentally-friendly, and socially conscious.

Resource #2 – CUSTOMERS: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

No one wants to buy from a stranger. We want to invest our money with someone we trust to meet our needs, surpass our expectations, and give us more value for our purchasing dollars. So sales success… and marketing success before that… depends upon your ability to create a dialogue and build a relationship with customers and prospects.

Often, business owners assume they know their customers and their customer’s needs. This is especially true for established companies who have been serving the same customer base for a long time. They forget that times change and people change. And needs change, too, because the marketplace and competition are constantly evolving. What your customer wants from you today may not be want they want from you tomorrow. This makes it essential that customer relationship-building is an ongoing part of your business operation and a veritable marketing resource fountain of ideas.

Information Gathering and Relationship Building

The first step in establishing a relationship is getting to know your customer… but how? Most owners don’t have the resources for a full-blown market research initiative and don’t have the time to sit down and have coffee with every potential customer who walks through the door or visits a company website. However most business people do have time for:

o DIY Focus Groups – Informal, in-house research sessions are ideal for testing new products, understanding attitudes, and getting immediate feedback.

o “Man on the Street” Interview – Intercept prospects, new customers, and returning buyers alike to interview them about their current needs.

o Treat Complaints Like Gold – A dissatisfied customer is your best resource for information on how to make your business better.

o Make it easy for customers to complain so that you can get honest opinions to help you fix what’s ‘broken.’

o Track complaints and watch for trends – otherwise you can fall into the trap of making changes based on the comments of just one or two people.

o Silver and Gold – There’s a saying that when it comes to new and old friends, “One is silver and the other is gold.” While it’s important to continue to grow your business with new prospects, it’s equally (if not more) important to nurture relationships with existing customers. Ensure that employees appreciate and understand the value of existing customers and the benefit of turning a one-time buyer into a customer for life.

Studies indicate that it costs 6-9 times more to attract a new client than to keep an existing client happy. So it pays to provide continuous two-way communications to build and maintain your client base.

Resource #3: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES – If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

(and if you don’t, well, that’s alright, too…)

I often wonder if people who work at battery companies or household appliance companies every really try to open up the packages they come in themselves… The number of times I’ve cut a finger trying to open up one of those tough plastic packages…

I’m always surprised at how many clients tell me they rarely use the products they market. This is an enormous mistake. There’s nothing like personal experience to help you form an opinion. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to use your products and services regularly. They are a continuous source of marketing information! Of course, sometimes you can’t really use the products. I was training in a pharmaceutical company once and was giving the folks a hard time about not using their products regularly when a very polite 25-year-old gently pointed out to me that he was marketing prescription arthritis medicine!

But, if you can, you should try to use your products or services regularly yourself. Give them a ‘test drive’ and look at them with the fresh eyes of a prospect. Your never-used-this-before perspective will help you scrutinize every aspect of what you sell so you can improve.

Don’t Kid Yourself

This is no time to lie to yourself! Be honest about your product’s or service’s superiority over the competition. Are you really selling a better mousetrap? Do you sincerely – without a shadow of a doubt – have superiority that is visible and noticeable immediately? If you do have superiority that is noticeably different to your customer in a single use, then get it in the hands of potential customers – even if you have to give it away for free the first time. If it’s that good, customers will be back for more.

Here’s another question: can you quantify your claim of superiority?

Luxury hotel chains will often say their point of differentiation is superior service…. Maybe… maybe not. Either way, it’s extremely difficult to quantify that claim. If you ask a client what the point of difference is among the big hotels, they may say service, but they may also respond with something that defines ‘service’ in a more quantifiable way, like “better food,” or “softer beds,” or “location to shopping malls.”

If you find that you don’t have superiority or your superiority is hard to prove, create a meaningful point of difference, and focus on it. For example, offer something that the customer can’t get from anybody else in your geographic area. Find a niche in the market place and cater to those people who need that particular niche filled. Turn that into a competitive advantage and make it ownable/exclusive.

Resource #4 – YOUR TEAM: Marketing Miracles On and Off the Job

No matter how big or small your company, everyone has a “team” of people they can enlist to help market their businesses. Whether a staff of thousands or a handful of friends and relatives, getting everyone to understand your brand and what it stands for means those people become brand ambassadors. In short, everybody’s job description should include the word “Marketing.”

Do your employees know the full extent of your company’s offerings and your desired positioning so that they can be your company’s biggest cheerleaders? Each member of your team represents a walking/talking potential billboard for your company. They’re literally ‘free media’ for you, providing on-demand marketing for your business every time they shake someone’s hand and introduce themselves.

Think how many hundreds or thousands of people all of your employees get in touch throughout any given year – both personally and professionally. Then think about the first question usually asked of someone when they are just meeting: “Where do you work?” You can turn that seemingly inconsequential question into a potential business-building one by training your employees to speak effectively about your business to others.

Remember: employees can’t represent the company well if they don’t understand what you do. Ensure that they have the key message you want them to get across by giving it to them ‘pre-digested.’ You may have heard the term ‘elevator speech.’ It’s marketing shorthand for a 20-second synopsis of your brand that could be delivered in the time it takes to go from floor to floor in an elevator. Everyone on your team should be trained and ready to deliver that message in a convincing way.

One for All and All For One

When it comes to bringing in new business, be an ‘equal opportunity employer.’ Offer incentives for all staff and team members to bring in new business, even if they are not in sales or marketing. The incentives can be modest (buy them lunch) or more substantial (a small percentage of new revenues as a

bonus when a new client signs up). You can have different rewards for employees who generate a good marketing idea, successful referrals, great customer service, etc.

It doesn’t have to cost very much but it can be extremely motivating and helps drive home the marketing mindset you are trying to instill throughout your entire Team.

Resource #5 – COMPETITORS: Love ‘Em and Learn From ‘Em

It may seem counter-intuitive, but your competitors – “the enemy” – can actually play a helpful role in developing a marketing strategy for you that could ultimately put them out of business! In order to set a success strategy, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor. There’s why athletic teams watch and analyze the competition before they play against them…to assess their strategies, figure out how they operate it, and then turn that information into a winning game plan.

Successful sports franchises do it and so do successful multi-billion dollar corporations.

You can, too. You can use competitive knowledge to craft a better marketing strategy and win in the marketplace. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to acquire that knowledge, either.

More Than Just A Name

You may know your competitors by name, but do you know the product benefits they emphasize, whether they are meeting the needs of your niche, or how they are perceived by their customers? It takes more than looking at a web page or checking out an ad in the Sunday newspaper to answer these questions.

To truly know your competition and to leverage that knowledge to your advantage, you should have a strong grasp of all aspects of their operation, including marketing plans and positioning. Companies that can afford to do so, hire other companies to conduct market research into how competitors are doing business. However, even the most financially strapped enterprise can troll for information inexpensively:

o Create an in-house “clipping” service – designate a member of your staff to gather website info, newspaper ads, and other materials on a daily or weekly basis

o Become a Subscriber – opt-in to your competitors’ mailings. They’re free and filled with exactly what you need to know.

If your budget allows, you can create a rewards system and offer incentives to staffers who bring in useful competitive information. You can also consider becoming a consumer yourself. Use competitive products and services often to get a sense of the level of quality and service ‘the other guy’ (or gal) is delivering. The goal is to uncover not only what’s being done wrong and what’s being done right.

Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Bath Water

Don’t be too quick to assume your competition isn’t any good. Their customers obviously think differently… so, take some time to find out why. Be objective. You will learn a lot more and possibly find winning ways that you can emulate or – better – that you can beat.

An Abundance of Marketing Assets!

So, there you have it – the five marketing assets your business already has that you can leverage to market your brand every single day. And the good news is: the few ideas shared above are just the tip of the iceberg – with a little ingenuity, there are dozens of additional low-cost or no-cost ideas out there just waiting for you to market your brand effectively. That’s smart marketing!

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Marketing-on-a-Shoestring-Budget—Empty-Pockets,-Full-Marketing-Plan&id=3574273