Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Buzzwords That Make Us Buy

Often, the people choosing those words know a lot about how to get in your head. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at the marketing curriculum at a business school: there’s increasing emphasis on studies of “consumer behavior,” and many of the faculty have backgrounds in psychology. For marketers, it’s all about choosing the words that appeal to basic psychological impulses.

To find out the sorts of buzzwords that these marketing minds use to get you to spend your money, we spoke to marketing professors at some of the nation’s top business schools.

1)  Limited Time
2)  Invitation Only
3)  Free
4)  New & Improved
5)  Money Back Guaranteed
6)  Doctor Recommended
7)  4 out of 5  or  Expert Endorsement
8)  Official
9)  i_____
10) Technological and/or showing expertise or sophistication


“Limited Time”

This is a something that’s as old as marketing itself, but it’s been taken to its logical conclusion with the emergence of Groupon and other daily deal sites, which go so far as to include a big countdown clock next to a deal.

“It creates this notion of scarcity, that you’re going to miss out on something,” says Ravi Dhar, a professor of both marketing and psychology at Yale University. “That creates a sense of urgency, and it’s a signal of value.”

It’s a remarkably simple concept: If you can plant the notion that something is scarce or limited, customers will assign more value to it. No wonder everyone from Google to Yelp are creating daily deal sites of their own, and Groupon has introduced Groupon Now, where deals only last a few hours.


“Invitation Only”

Speaking of Google, the company has to be pleased with the early returns on its new social network, Google+. The service has been around for just two weeks, but according to one estimate it already has around 20 million users. While early reviews and buzz about the service have contributed to the quick uptake, we’d imagine it also has something to do with Google’s decision to initially make the service invitation-only. That has sparked a frenzy of people desperately trying to score an invite to the service, even if they don’t actually know what it does.

“[Exclusivity] is related to the idea of scarcity,” says Dhar. “It’s like a club, everyone wants to be able to get in. Gilt did the same thing.”



There’s a reason that companies like to offer “buy one, get one free” deals: Besides the fact that the promotion allows them to move a significant quantity of a product, it also means that they get to use the word “free” in their marketing while still making money.

“Having the word ‘free’ somewhere in your ad attracts attention and creates a positive feeling,” says Dhar. “It seems like nothing is better than free.”


“New and Improved”

Everyone wants to be one the cutting edge, which is part of the reason you see people lined up outside the Apple Store whenever the latest iteration of the iPhone comes out. For this reason, marketers are always eager to position their product as new – even if the actual improvements are minimal.

“When you use terms like ‘new and improved,’ research shows that you will boost sales considerably,” says Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “In fact, the Federal Trade Commission usually limits firms to six months after a major change to the product [to describe something as ‘new’].”

Perner, who specializes in the study of consumer behavior, says that such strategies are particularly effective in this country.

“That’s the case in the U.S., which tends to be very much into innovation and improvement, but not as much in more traditional societies,” he says.


“Money-Back Guarantee”

Stores or companies that promise a money-back guarantee obviously have to make good on that promise if a product is defective, but irrespective of the service element, it’s an effective marketing technique that helps companies allay any doubts a consumer may have about a product.

“They can give them with impunity, because people rarely get around to returning a product,” says Perner. “And a money-back guarantee may actually influence people to like the product more [after purchase], in addition to being likely to increase initial sales.”


“Doctor Recommended”

People might not trust every company that tries to sell them something, but they certainly trust their doctor. So if you can get a doctor to recommend your product – especially if it has a supposed medical benefit – you’re a lot more likely to win the trust of a would-be consumer.

“There’s something called expertise heuristics – people have more faith in the advice of people that are experts,” explains Michel Tuan Pham, a professor of marketing at the Columbia Business School who specializes in customer and consumer psychology.

Perner adds that having such an expert endorsement also gives the impression that an objective third party has given the product a stamp of approval.

“There’s this idea that doctors are supposed to be impartial,” he says.


“4 Out of 5… orExpert Endorsement

Getting a doctor or dentist to recommend your product is good. Getting four out five doctors or dentists to recommend it is great.

In addition to carrying the weight of an expert endorsement, Pham says that this phrase implies widespread social approval.

“It’s the social proof heuristic: Consumers are more likely to purchase things that they see other people buying,” he explains.



Every professional sports team, and most major sporting events, have a load of official sponsors. W.B. Mason, for instance, is the official office supplier of a few Major League Baseball teams, including both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

That doesn’t mean that the Red Sox can only get paper from W.B. Mason, but it does mean that the company gets premium advertising placement with the team (including an ad right on the Green Monster) and can use the team logo in its own advertising. In the process, it gets to improve its own brand by association with an established and well-regarded franchise.

“Brands will want to associate themselves with, for instance, the U.S. Open, which has the image of a Grand Slam event,” says Gita Johar, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School with expertise in consumer psychology. “Through their association with the event, they get the halo benefit.”

Still, she says it’s unclear how much of this halo benefit official sponsors really get, noting studies that show that most consumers have trouble remembering the official sponsors of events and teams.



Just as companies become official sponsors to experience the halo effect of a team or event’s brand, so too will companies use certain phrases or words to get the residual benefits of a competitor’s brand.

“Following in Apple's footsteps, a number of companies have begun naming their products with the “i” prefix, as Apple did with the iPhone, iPad, iMac, etc.,” says Adam Alter, an assistant professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “There’s nothing inherently appealing about the letter “i” as a prefix, but it’s become associated with Apple’s products, many of which are market leaders.

Just look at SDI Technologies, which makes the iHome docks for iPods; the name makes it seem like it makes official Apple products, when in fact it’s just a third-party manufacturer.


“Full-HD Frame Sequential Technology”

OK, so the above phrase – which refers to a high-definition television that uses a specific type of 3D video – isn’t exactly a common buzzword. But it’s an example of the kind of technical jargon that many manufacturers and technology companies employ, and it’s as much about informing you as it is about getting you to buy a product.

“One of the cues that appeals to people when they’re processing information rapidly is apparent expertise or sophistication,” says Alter. “They may not know what ‘Full-HD Frame Sequential technology’ means, but it sounds impressive and the product sounds advanced… Put simply, jargon-laden phrases that imply sophistication appeal to the majority of people who process information superficially (because the product sounds impressive, even if they’re not quite sure why), and to the minority who pay more attention (because those phrases actually describe the product in a meaningful way).”

When a company takes out an advertisement, they do not have much space to convince you to buy products.  If it's a broadcast spot, they might have 30 seconds to a minute; a print ad, maybe half a page unless they can afford a full-pager. That means they have to choose every word carefully to make the most impact. These word choices have been offered by experts in the field. Use them to create interest in your business or to simply become more aware of verbiage used by businesses that touch your lifr/.

Source: Mainstreet.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Safer Home Cleaning Products Are Not Just Nice To Have--They Are a Must!

Guest article by Mary Lee

Ideas like going green, living healthier lifestyles and using safer, more natural products seem nice but most of us don't give it much thought. We choose consumable goods like household cleaners and personal care products based on smells we like, stores that are convenient and of course, most importantly, the lowest price.

But what if it did really matter? What if the choices the you made about the consumable goods in your home had not only short-term risks of accidental poisoning but also serious long-term impacts on predisposing your family toward diseases like cancer, MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and more. IF that were the case, then it could be worth it to be careful about what consumable goods you allow into your home.

I vividly remember (what is now over 30 years ago) what was to be the last week of going to the babysitter everyday while mom worked. We were there so often that we affectionately called the sitter "Auntie." I was going to be starting school as a Kindergartener in the Fall and my mom had weeks of vacation time to spend with us during her Summer break from teaching that was just about to begin. My older sister and I were playing chase that afternoon with Auntie's two children. We blurted out, "You can't catch me!" and "Oh, yes I can" as we started running circles after each other on the tile floor of the babysitter's two story home. The chase came to an abrupt halt when my sister (who was in the lead by far) slipped on something wet that had gotten all over the floor outside of the bathroom. As she slid into the substance, it splashed back at me and I stopped short while my sister screamed and cried in pain right before me.

Auntie threw us in the tub to rinse us off as fast as possible. It wasn't working though. The burning just wouldn't stop. From the tub, we ran screaming into the backseat of the babysitter's car. I remember peaking over the seat and seeing the little holes eaten into Auntie's pantyhose. My sister was screaming and sobbing as the chemical had eaten through her clothes and skin as well. We ran into the ER and were quickly stripped naked and directed to showers and I remember it seemed so hot and so rough and my dear sister was crying so loud. She was screaming as her skin was peeling off her backside and elbow where she slid into the chemical.

It was a long summer of healing. That summer didn't feel so much like a vacation at all.

A defective bottle of a powerfully corrosive bathroom/drain cleaner had burst open and spilled all over the floor that day at Auntie's house and, unfortunately, we didn't notice until my sister slid right into it. It spilled into our lives, too, to influence my sister to become a physician, to work in the ER and also with wound care AND to influence me to help people create safer homes where harsh, caustic chemicals like that never even make it through the front door.

Today I am proud to be a home safety consultant with an Idaho-based Wellness company and part of an incredible Support Team of like-minded, caring people at EveVenture. If you want more info about how to affordably convert your home to safer cleaning products, I invite you to ask me for more info at: www.evsaferhomes.com/peggy.

For More Great EveVenture Community Articles About the Value of Safer Home Cleaning Products, visit:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Vid-e-Ode to Moms Taking on the Chemical Industry

Moms have done more to make the world a safer place from toxic chemicals than any Member of Congress or President has been able to do thus far. Laws do not protect us as they should. Bravo to Moms who work for healthier changes and Safer Homes!

This animated video is humorous but also serious. It will probably make you laugh and then after it sets in -- it may make you mad.
Please watch the video, then visit Safer Homes to request information so that you can take some very simple, sure steps towards making your home healthier . Be sure to share the video with your friends and family and urge them to get active too. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gas Prices Eat Up $365.00 a Month on Average

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Round-trip airfare from New York to Los Angeles. More than a dozen dinners for two at Applebee's. Two 16 GB iPod nanos.

These are just a few of the things you could have bought if you weren't spending $368.09 a month on gasoline.

That's the average amount American households spent on gas in April, according to an exclusive analysis of data by the Oil Price Information Service for CNNMoney.

Gasoline prices and taxes by state
Prices at the pump can vary widely among states The study, which compared average gas prices with median incomes nationwide, also showed that U.S. households spent nearly 9% of their total income on gas last month.

That's more than double what the average American family spent just two years ago, when gas prices were hovering around $2.05 a gallon.

"Gas prices have just skyrocketed," said Fred Rozell, director of retail pricing at OPIS.

After surging nearly 30% this year, the national average price for regular gasoline is less than 2 cents away from $4 a gallon. That's still below the all-time high of $4.114, but prices in many parts of the country have already risen to new records well above that level.

For drivers in some states, the pinch of high gas prices is particularly painful.
Mississippi tops the list, with the average household spening over 14% of their total income on gas last month.
Paying for gas forces painful sacrifices.
While gas in the state is relatively cheap, Mississippians have some of the lowest incomes in the nation, with the median household earning $36,646 a year.

In addition, many drivers in Mississippi commute long distances and have older cars that lack fuel efficiency, said Rozell.
At an average price of $3.64 a gallon, households in Mississippi spent $434.52 on gas in April.

The Cost of Selling Gas

In New York, where a large chunk of the population lives in urban areas with mass transit, households spent only 5.5% of their income on gas. That's despite an average gas price of $3.99 a gallon in April.

The only other region where drivers spend less income on gas is Washington D.C., where the average household spent just $89 on gas in April, or about 2% of total income.

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter May 6, 2011
SOURCE: http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/05/news/economy/gas_prices_income_spending/index.htm

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cost of Living

Ever wonder what the cost of living is in comparison to where you currently live?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

EveVenture Supports USA National Poison Prevention Week (March 20-26)

In conjunction with Poison Prevention Week, EveVenture Referral Specialists all across the country are sharing the message of creating safer homes and reducing the risk of accidental poisonings.

According to http://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov, "More than 90 percent of the time, poisonings happen in people’s homes.1 The majority of these poisonings occur in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.2"  Our simple, daily shopping decisions can have a huge impact on home safety and the health of our families.

People are often surprised that safer products can actually be more effective and more affordable. At EveVenture, we not only advocate home safety, we provide tangible, real solutions that the everyday family can quickly and easily implement.

Most consumers are surprised by the unnecessary chemicals that fill their homes and by the cumulative health impacts of those harsh, caustic ingredients. These chemicals reside not only in home cleaning products but also in personal care products, cosmetics, and more.

I once heard an anecdotal story of a woman who carefully prepared her Easter ham   each year "just like mom did" by cutting off about 1 inch from either side of the ham before placing it in the baking pan. After years of this mode of preparation, a sibling finally informed her that the only reason their mother had done this was to fit the ham in her small baking dish. How silly! Yet how many of us mindlessly manage our homes "just like mom did" without making the most of the resources available today?

We owe it to our families and ourselves to take a good hard look at our shopping decisions. We need to know that chlorine bleach, ammonia, aerosols, formaldehyde, abrasives, phosphates and fillers are not only unnecessary but also harmful to our families both in terms of posing accidental poisoning risks as well as harming our indoor air quality and our environment.

So what can you do?
  • Get informed about the safer shopping options available today that can eliminate the risk of accidental poisonings
  • And, if you ever suspect someone has ingested poison, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. They have an emergency checklist available here online.

SOURCE: http://www.eveventureblog.com/
RESOURCES: PoisonPrevention.org
 1. Bronstein AC,  Spyker DA Cantilena LR, Green JL, Rumack BH, Giffin SL. 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 26th Annual Report. 2009. Clinical Toxicology (2009) 47, 911–1084.

2. Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March in Texas

Oh, my goodness, how I love March in Texas!

I saw my first BlueBonnet today!  I got so excited that my son had serious doubts about my sanity. The Indian Paintbrushes are springing up all over (no pun intended) and the weather has been perfect!

We survived the Ides of March (thank God) and I pray for no friends like Brutus!

And now it is St. Patrick's Day followed soon by the Feast of St. Joseph on the 19th.

Many blessings to all my blogging buddies!
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

5 Questions to Ask When Looking at Work from Home Businesses

You've seen the ads. They pop up unexpectedly. Maybe you enter a search phrase on Google. Perhaps a friend tells you they saw a website online. Other times, you will find that interesting little something in your email and decide its "okay to check it out." 

Some of the biggest questions on our minds when we see those ads are:
• Can I REALLY make money with this?
• What if it's a scam?
• How can I tell if it's the real thing?
• Why do they want money to get started?

There are 5 DIFFERENT questions that can help you.
The correct answer to these questions doesn't mean overnight success. However, getting the right answers means you are less likely to get burned, lose money, and waste your time. The right answers also give you better odds at success.

1. What credentials does your company have and how long have they been in business?
Look for companies with 10 or more years under their belt. Ask if they will give you credentials. Do they supply a copy of a recent growth chart? A business presentation should include factual information easily verified. Look for credentials (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, awards, news articles, scientific journal data, etc.)

2. Is this a "job" or a "business" opportunity?
You should ask this question because it's important to know the difference. Are YOU looking for a job or a business of your own? If a company is offering you a job, you should have no start up cost involved. A work at home job is simply a paycheck to paycheck type of income that allows you to stay home. Typically, there are few legitimate ways to get a "real" job on the internet. Some companies allow already employed persons to telecommute.

Be careful of companies who "appear" to be a job. You may discover it is actually an offer to show you a list of companies who might have work from home jobs. Sadly, these types of schemes charge you a fee for the list. Other types of ads or websites charge you to show you HOW to work from home. Don't be fooled. These are not job offers.

If you are looking at a legitimate business opportunity, you will find there is usually an investment. Sometimes the investment will cover a product kit or maybe it covers training materials. Franchising can have larger investments. Occasionally, you find opportunities that charge a licensing fee. This fee allows you to represent the company. Many times it can be hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started. The investment will depend on the type of business. In this author's experience, you CAN have a legitimate home business with unlimited income potential without the huge investment.

3. Can I Really Make Money?
This question is also stated another way: Do I have what it takes? Basically the answer to the question depends on two things. The first is the company's compensation plan. Is it set up so that you can move step by step to your income goals? Does the company share annual income statistics so you can see what the highest, lowest, and average amount of income is companywide? Many companies don't want you to see what other people are making and won't show you. Look for a company that shows you that information. It's important for you to know what is possible from Day 1.

Secondly, depend on yourself and what you know about YOU. If the person who shows you a business presentation isn't making the kind of money YOU want to earn, don't take that as a sign of what the company, the franchise or the opportunity can offer overall. Remember each person is different and your business success ratios will be different from another owner’s. Everyone has different “drive” and moves accordingly.

4. What type of support and training do you offer and is there a charge?
Many home businesses have a really great product and business model. Yet, many people fail when they try their hand at it. What is missing? Why do so many fail? It's the level of coaching, support and resources that make all the difference. Check to see if the business you are looking at offers free or inexpensive ways to get your business up and running. Is the training free? Do you get a business coach? If working online, will you have to pay for a website? What about tech support? Is tech support and website maintenance included at no extra charge?

5. Will I have to Sell Products, Keep Inventory? How Much is this Going to Cost?
A business that is legitimate is going to be selling products or services. If there is not a product or service involved, it is likely a scam. So, if you do not want to physically exchange goods for money, take orders, deliver products or provide customer service for a company, you may NOT be looking for a business. If you want to be in business FOR yourself, you will need to be involved with products or provide services in some manner.

Some businesses don't require selling, stocking or delivering. You can endorse their product, their company and open accounts or memberships for them. You are in an agreement with them as an independent contractor. Ideally, if you could combine this method with working on the internet, you would be in a 100% home based atmosphere and you would have a very low start up cost because there is NO product or inventory to sell. You'd want to use the company's merchandise yourself so you'd be credible when you setup accounts for them. In that case, a low requirement to use their products for yourself and your family would not be unreasonable. It makes sense. There's little to no new money coming out of your budget when you do that. If you combined this type of an opportunity with all of the 4 points above, you would have a very good starting point and foundation for being your own boss without a large investment.

I have been with my company for 7 years. I know it is possible to find all of these things and to generate reliable income with an integrity based company.  Feel free to request complimentary information
I hope these 5 Questions to Ask When Looking at Work from Home Businesses has been helpful! 

This article was written by EveVenture's in-house Social Media Marketing Expert Krissy G. Mayse. Copyright 2011.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart Sued for Selling Toxic Baby Shampoo

Baby Shampoo
If you purchased Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or Wal-Mart brand Equate Tearless Baby Wash, you may want to stop using it. A class action lawsuit has been approved that claims these products may contain a toxin linked to cancer. 

Note: I have set up an online response to the many questions I have been getting about de-toxing our lives -- starting with our own bodies and homes. Feel free to check it out and ask any questions you might have. I have been working in this field of public health for 7 years now -- If I do not know the answer I can find it.  :-)

The class action lawsuit accuses Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart Stores of selling shampoo and baby wash that allegedly contains Q-15 and methylene chloride,  an ingredient banned by the FDA in cosmetics because it’s linked to cancer. The law firm that filed the lawsuit is also investigating Target’s Night-time Bath and Body Wash, which is not currently named in the suit.

A third Johnson & Johnson plant is now also under investigation for alleged quality concerns. The new Johnson & Johnson plant is one that manufactures Pepcid and Mylanta among other products. You can read the details on that investigation at Legafi.

SOURCE: Top Class Actions  http://www.topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/617-johnson-a-johnson-and-wal-mart-sued-for-selling-toxic-baby-shampoo

 Top Class Actions will keep you informed of the Johnson & Johnson class action lawsuit. If/when it settles they'll include it in our free monthly newsletter. Please make sure to sign up for it -- go to link above.