Why Consulting An Attorney Before You Take The Course Is Important
Working with an attorney is key in understanding how to proceed with your pre-bankruptcy counseling.
Filing for bankruptcy and trying to fulfill the pre-bankruptcy counselling requirements without an attorney is not recommended. Here are just a few reasons why having help from an attorney at all stages of the bankruptcy process is ideal for all applicants:
Your counseling has to be completed with a government-approved agency, as this is the only way it will count. Your lawyer will help you find one of these agencies so you can be sure the course you are taking is legitimate in the eyes of the court.
The budget that the credit counseling agency comes up with has to be filed with your bankruptcy petition, and failure to do so can jeopardize your case. Your attorney will take on the task of making sure this critical step isn’t missed.
The agency is responsible for helping you come up with a feasible budget for repaying your debts. While in most cases their job is to confirm that bankruptcy is your most viable option for financial freedom, you need to be aware that they may not come to that conclusion, and they may determine that bankruptcy is not best for you. If the courts agree with this, you may be forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7. An attorney who has seen these situations before can advise you on how to proceed.
Bankruptcy Is Designed To Help You
We’re here to show you how.
If you believe that bankruptcy may be able to help you get back on track with your finances, be sure to get in touch with us. We’ll provide you with a free one-hour consultation during which we will discuss your particular situation and how we might be able to assist you in getting the debt relief you need. Bankruptcy is a complicated process, but it’s our job to make things simple for you. Whether you don’t make enough income to pay your bills and are in need of an eviction lawyer or want to keep your promises to your creditors but need help with a debt repayment plan, Thacker & Dutton Law Firm can help you find a viable financial solution that works for your life situation.
Although most of you will probably need life insurance at some point in your life, be sure not to buy a policy simply because someone told you it was a good idea. The idea behind life insurance is to offer families financial security in the event of the death of a spouse or a parent.
Life insurance protection is designed to help pay for mortgages, a college education, facilitate funding retirement, provide charitable bequests and is obviously playing an essential part in estate planning. To put it simply, if other people are supported by your income and depend on it, you should really think about purchasing a life insurance.
Even if these needs do not concern you at the moment, you may still want to consider buying a small “starter” policy, if you suspect you will have such needs in the future. The reason for this is simple: the younger you are, the less expensive your life insurance will be.
We can hardly believe the images of the capsized Costa Concordia. It lies peacefully on its side, looking like a toy, with a beautiful Mediterranean island behind it. But this serene aftermath belies the tragedy that has unfolded, with dozens likely perishing. The cruise line’s PR machine is already in full gear, blaming the ship’s captain for “human error” by taking the vessel on a dangerous course. While it’s too early for anyone to proclaim a full understanding of a root cause, history can provide some guidance. It is likely that some combination of human error, policy violation, and inadequate controls will be involved.
So, what in heck does this have to do with digital marketing? Allow me a second to make the connection. Firms are being driven ever faster by a whirlwind of competitive forces and cultural pressures. Look at any forward-thinking company’s plans and you’ll see terms like agility, innovation and “first mover.” The culture of the social web has been one of constant and instant functional improvements to products and services. This leads to a frantic pace of new development, with firms fearing that any delay will result in fatal losses of opportunities.
Enabling this rapid pace of change is an entire industry of service providers, ready to turn up capabilities with a few mouse clicks and a credit card number. In fact, it has never been easier for a firm to provision a new web-based service. Many firms have seized this advantage, leading to quick domination of their market space. Their sites are showcases, feature-rich and user friendly. Unfortunately, many of these same firms have not paid commensurate attention to the controls needed to “run a safe ship.” In fact, there’s a toxic mix at hand, fueling potential service catastrophes. On one hand, an increasing number of non-technical business departments are involved in direct relationships with technology service providers. Adding to the problem, these providers are frequently start-ups, without the process maturity of more established, old-line technology companies.
The unfortunate results play out across mainstream and social media outlets: sites that are down for multiple days due to capacity problems; entire data centers failing due to maintenance operations that go awry; the endless stream of security breeches, resulting in compromised credit cards and private customer information. Many of these failures can be a “Titanic” event, resulting in lost revenue, lost customers, and severe reputational damage.
So what’s an agile, innovative enterprise to do? Long before the ascendancy of the Internet, technology professionals utilized a set of operational practices to ensure that service levels were met. Forward-thinking companies should familiarize themselves with these concepts and ensure that they are utilizing these practices as part of their web presence. Those firms or departments without the internal expertise to handle this type of assessment should utilize consulting assistance.
Availability–Is your site engineered to handle the failure of a component, server, network link or database? Is your data center engineered for high availability? Can your site scale to handle rapid increases in demand? Do you, and your service provider, have mature processes around change management, incident management and problem management?
Security–Has your environment been engineered in conjunction with security professionals? Do you and/or your service provider have mature intrusion prevention tools? Do you perform regular third party audits of your site for vulnerabilities?
Continuity–Does your site have an appropriate data backup plan? Do you have an alternate site available, if your primary site is down? Do you and your provider have a continuity plan that details how you will handle the failover to your alternate site?
There is no question that rapid introduction of new features and capabilities is necessary for firms competing in a Web 2.0 world. However, not having a basic set of well-designed operational controls is a tragedy waiting to happen. Your customers will be like cruise line passengers, lobster and champagne in hand, blissfully unaware that the ship is about to capsize.
“New Villages,” as they were dubbed in the latest issue of The Futurist magazine by a planner Robert McIntyre, are compact, pleasantly urban settlements situated considerably away from city centers. They present some of the charms and facilities of cities, owning to their density, but have the primarily rural surroundings that were a major factor which drew people out to the suburbs, as well as the friendly atmosphere of a small town where you know all your neighbors.
The concept of New Villages presents certain similarities with the so-called “transit villages” that can already be spotted around the country. Beginning in the mid-’90s, when architects and local planners showed more and more interest in pedestrian-friendly, urban developments, transit villages began to spring up outside cities along revitalized rail lines, from Mission Valley near San Diego, to Ballston and Bethesda outside Washington, D.C.
Such villages were very appealing to young city workers and empty-nest parents. Their most important characteristics: They were eminently walkable, densely constructed without the feeling of insufficient space, and provided an offer of a real community atmosphere with plenty of common spaces.
The basic difference between transit villages and New Villages is their location: while transit villages are in most cases reinvented older suburbs that are close to cities, New Villages are promised to reinvent the sprawl further out.
The demand for such developments is real, and it’s only going to get bigger as consumer preferences suddenly shift away from the McMansions preferred by most boomers. Results of a study by the nonprofit Congress for New Urbanism show that, although less than 25 percent of middle-aged Americans are interested in living in dense areas, 53 percent of 24-34 year olds would decide to live in transit-rich, walkable neighborhoods, if they had the luxury of choice.
The Holy Grail in marketing is the ability to identify, match, and attract customers to your product or service. For decades, marketers guessed at who their customers were. They conducted surveys and focus groups to segment audiences into big stereotype-focused pools, hoping the cohorts would be large enough, and meaningful enough to generate big business for the company. It was more art than science.
But now, with the ability to capture and analyze large amounts of data, we’ve turned the tables and are able to market using much more “science” than ever thought possible.
Of course, we have a name for this category of deep, analyzable information—we call it “Big Data.” At first it was a scary Abominable Snowman of a concept — delivery of way too much information to deliver actionable information to marketers. But now, with the help of some great analytics tools, and the rise of the “data scientist” within corporations, marketers have begun to tame the savage data beast.
So now it is time we marketers start using this data to a meaningful strategic advantage. Go on — you can do it. And, I’m going to give you the secret to success.
The single, most strategic advantage you have over your competition, is the ability to fit in to your customer’s lives. Don’t take your product and find a customer for it, listen to your customers, and make products they can use, relate to, and want to feel connected to. And, with all that Big Data hanging around, there’s no reason not to.
You see, your customers are the single most differentiated thing your brand has to offer. Your greatest fans — and their behaviors, will help you unlock your differentiated greatness. Think about the customers who lean toward Mac over PC, Southwest over Delta, and Sprint over AT&T. All these companies deliver quality goods and services, but it is the customer associations that separate these brands. It is their strategic advantage to know who their customers are, how they behave, and how they create strong bonds with brands.
It used to be that consumers aspired to be like brands. Marketers had huge sway over consumer behavior. Wearing a Polo shirt, using the toothpaste “4-out-of-5 Dentists Approve” or the chance to “Be Like Mike” was a way consumers could “fit in” to society. Consumers changed their behavior to join the in-crowd, based on what marketers told them to do. But now (blame it on the Internet, Gen Y, or “User Generated Content”) the tide has changed. Consumers are looking to brands that are just like them. They are not looking to brands to define who they are. The current generation is looking to associate itself with brands that reflect their personal brand, rather than the other way around.
So dive into all of that Big Data you have, and come out with an understanding of the other brands your consumers associate with, and why. Associated brands are one of the most powerful tools to understand how you might fit into your customers’ lives. Do they prefer Virgin or British Airways, Oracle vs. Salesforce, Mac vs. PC, Whole Foods vs Krogers, Sprint vs AT&T. And, who are you? With this data, you are on your way to finding a strategic advantage over the competition.
The leveraging of technology by savvy marketing departments has been one of the key corporate story lines of the last few years. All of the major technology trends (mobile, social, cloud, big data) are enablers and drivers of marketing strategies. Whether it’s advertising, brand management, ecommerce, customer service or market intelligence, the role of the CMO is heavily intertwined with these new technologies. With all of this convergence of marketing and technology, a tight relationship between CMO and CIO seems like a natural outcome. However, a trip back in time provides some perspective on why this relationship can often be strained and under-leveraged.
Many large corporate information technology (IT) departments have their roots in a much different era. Many of these organizations got their start in the 1960’s at a time when most systems were IBM mainframes doing batch processing. Initially, most applications focused on operational or administrative functions. Classic early examples are payroll, general ledger and accounts payable. It’s important to note that most early IT departments had only internal customers. In fact, a common name for these departments was Management Information Systems (MIS). Eventually, external customers were “touched” by corporate technology through printed bills and statements, a one-way interaction.
The 1980’s saw the emergence of two technologies that allowed external customers to directly interface with corporate systems. The first, ATM’s, in addition to cash withdrawal, allowed customers to do some rudimentary account inquiries. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems offered a variety of customer service, account management and transaction capabilities via a touch-tone phone. They were a crude forerunner of the web and smart phone based apps available today. Yet despite these new technologies, the major mission of IT groups remained internally focused systems.
The emergence of the Internet in the 1990’s started to shake up the established order. In the past, IT had looked at the Marketing department as an outlier and bit player in technology. They were those quirky folks who annoyingly demanded Apple products to handle their specialized graphics requirements. Suddenly, Marketing departments were playing a strong role in “corporate computing”, looking to set the agenda around web site development, software tools and the selection of hosting providers.
In many firms, this led to a turf battle and classic culture war. Marketing departments looked at IT groups as slow, plodding and uncreative. They saw the IT technology toolset as outdated and inflexible. They saw IT’s processes as cumbersome, bureaucratic and restrictive. IT, in turn, saw Marketing teams as inexperienced, reckless “cowboys”. They believed that their tools and providers were unproven. They saw Marketing moving down a path towards compliance, security and availability issues.
In many firms an uneasy truce developed. In some cases, Marketing and IT resolved their differences and moved forward in partnership on web initiatives. In other cases, Marketing took control of these initiatives, bringing on new external partners, and jettisoning their relationship with corporate IT.
Initially, with many systems have limited customer interactivity and minimal transactional capability, hooks into back end legacy systems were unnecessary. Eventually though, the need to have access to back end systems such as order tracking and inventory management, affirmed the need for better cooperation between IT and Marketing. The explosive ascendancy of smart phone apps and social media created further requirements for cooperation, and more flash points for tension. This new world further highlighted the cultural differences between the groups, with new tools, even faster development cycles, and even greater threats. And the threats were double-edged: Threats of missed competitive opportunities and threats of brand damage from security breeches or service disruptions.
Which brings us to the present. How should forward thinking CIO’s and CMO’s align their organizations and their priorities? What are the benefits of better alignment? What’s the downside to a minimized partnership?
Unsurprisingly, I’m going to suggest that the partnership needs to be strong and supportive. In fact, in many organizations, I believe the CMO will be the most important customer for the technology organization. Many of the classic internal applications such as operational systems are mature and unlikely to provide high ROI from further investments. Customer facing systems utilizing mobile and social media represent fresh ways to build your brand, service your clients and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
So why should CMO’s care about the technology organization and their relationship with the CIO? With SaaS becoming ever more popular and mature, there is a temptation for CMO’s to “go it alone”. This represents short sighted thinking that will ultimately backfire. The sophistication of apps demanded by today’s customer typically requires even greater reliance on the data and transactional capabilities traditionally supported by corporate IT. The need to provide reliable, high-performance access to these capabilities necessitates a strong CIO-CMO partnership. Separately, there is much that IT organizations can offer to Marketing teams in the way of process maturity. They can provide guidance and support in such domains as Quality Assurance, Testing, Vendor Management, Security and Business Continuity.
Here’s the catch. Both organizations will need to recognize each other’s value and also compromise on some historical cultural tendencies. In general, IT organizations will need to speed up their cycle time and reduce their level of bureaucracy. Marketing teams will need to apply more structure and add greater process maturity to their technology related functions. The end result can be an enterprise that moves forward briskly with innovative technology that doesn’t create reputation destroying events.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the head of marketing, and the head of technology rarely spoke. Perhaps they saw each other in the lunchroom, or crossed swords in the boardroom.
Typically, their only interchanges involved discussions over budgets—because they were both competing for the same slices of pie. At Forrester’s inaugural CIO-CMO Forum this past September, the company’s Sharyn Leaver kicked off the event by saying, “This is the first time we’ve brought CIOs and CMOs together in the same room — hope everyone comes out alive.”
You see, the perceptions of technology and marketing once seemed like total opposites—one espoused “science,” the other “art.” The right-brained folks were in marketing, the left-brain folks ruled the roost in technology.
But these days when both the CMO and the CIO need to be ”Chief Marketing Technologists,” we are finding the opposites attract, and the combination can be the only way of survival in today’s business environment where the consumer is king–a time many call the “Age of the Customer.”
With all of that “Big Data” being used in marketing automation, CRM, and behavior-tracking platforms, marketers are driven by access and analysis of massive amounts of structured, and unstructured data. Marketing is now a technology-powered discipline, making the marriage of technology and marketing at minimum, a marriage of convenience, and at its best, a relationship that is greater than the sum of its parts.
I recently organized a salon of chief marketing executives (at a local saloon of course). We spent most of our time discussing how to market in the “age of the customer.” It is a topic at the top of most marketer’s “keeps me up at night” list. There was much disagreement on the various approaches and strategies being implemented in the marketplace, and state of the industry; but one thing was clear: the role of marketing, and the role of technology is now one in the same. “I am nothing without technology. I’m a dinosaur waiting to become fossil fuel,” said one marketer as he downed another Sam Adams.
The technology group in today’s modern marketing world drives vendor identification, selection, and management. Technology drives innovation into new ways of accessing and analyzing customer data, and has become a partner in marketing strategy into what to do with all of that data.
“Where they used to be our budget nemesis—we’d always be fighting over who gets money for various programs, now we’re joined at the hip, going into the corporate suite to fund programs together,” said a VP of Marketing at a Fortune 1000 consumer goods company.
And the reality is, with the cost of marketing technology solutions costing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, the “technology” line item in many marketing budgets is now the single largest budget item. In fact, by 2017, Gartner says that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.
What was once considered an expense, technology has now become a strategic marketing advantage.
May the company with the best CIO-CMO relationship win.
Whether it’s selling or buying out a hotel or any other hospitality establishment such as a pub for sale, it is essential to look for a suitable hotel broker with a broad knowledge of the industry to provide assistance. A professional agent’s purpose is mainly to expedite the buying or selling process by being as insightful as possible as well as making sure the process is incident free. Choosing a single hotel broker to provide tangible results can be a daunting task considering that there are many self-proclaimed professionals in the industry. Thus, below are a few tips that can assist an individual in selecting a good broker among many potential hires.
Irrespective of the nature of the transaction, it is essential to choose a professional hotel agent who has a broad knowledge of the hospitality industry. As a result, when vetting potential brokers, the amount of experience each has to pertain to the transaction should take preference. The hospitality industry is a complicated field, and thus the broker should be adequately versed will all the loopholes involved so as to avoid any regrets for the deal makers in the future.
Experience alone doesn’t guarantee a suitable hotel broker. Therefore, it is also a good idea to look at the brokerage transactions that the firm has championed in the past successfully. Remember, numbers do not lie. Thus, if the company in question has a high number of successful brokerage deals under its belt; that signifies its competence in such matters. A good firm should not only have many brokerage deals for hotels, but it should also have dealt with a variety of other kinds of establishment such as pubs for sale both locally and international. With such elaborate deals, the company should have a good reputation for it capacity to handle different markets.
A very effective way of determining the competence of a hotel brokerage firm is by going through its customer reviews and feedback. Go through every potential broker’s website and look for comments left by previous clients who had dealings with the brokerage in the past. Nonetheless, it is advisable not to take the comments for the truth. If possible, contact individual customers who have given reviews of the brokerage to confirm whether or not the transactions actually took place.
Considering that brokerage fees remain uncontrolled, it is up to the deal maker to compare the reasonability of the fee charged against the benefits they stand to gain from the transaction. It is advisable to opt for the most reasonable fee that won’t have a significant impact on the transaction amount. Always compare offers from different brokers while contrasting between what each firm has to offer.
Like the good marketer you are, you’ve started to pore over all of that “Big Data” you have on your customers. Not surprisingly, 20% of your customers generate 80% of your revenue. Around 80% of your customer issues are coming from 20% of your customers. In social media, 80% of mentions are positive.
The 80/20 Rule is in effect everywhere.
So, you set a strategy. Your first inclination is to pay great attention to your great customers—to keep them, nourish them, and encourage them to keep being great.
The second thing you may look at are your “worst” customers—you know, the ones who don’t buy very much and tend to be “the complainers” who suck up a lot of Customer Service time, and your Social Media staff’s daily commitment.
On the surface, they look like they’re costing you a lot of money in manpower, and not generating a lot of revenue. So, you may want to ignore them by cutting down the amount of time and attention your service reps and community managers spend dealing with their whining and complaining.
I’ve heard this argument many times. “Ignore your worst customers! Why are you spending 80% of your customer service time on your worst 20%?”
Well, I say that would be a big mistake.
With today’s giant customer megaphone called the Internet, those complainers can create a negative networked effect that can be extremely harmful. Those 20% of bad mentions on the Internet could easily turn into 80% of what people are talking about you on the web, and translate into a 80% negative perception rate—making it difficult for even your best customers to ignore. And ultimately costing you more money than the cost of the manpower to deal with them.
Let’s face it, people who are ticked off at your brand turn to the Internet to vent, and they have a giant audience to hear them. They’re like a festering wound, the more you ignore it, the worse it gets. A friend of mine is a HUGE fan of Zappos. He bought into their brand of awesome customer service, which created a halo effect onto their products and pricing. He loved everything about them. Then, the other day his shoe order was stolen. UPS said they delivered it, but there was no sign of the package. As his neighbors shrugged their shoulders when asked if they had signed for it, he began to get angry. And worse yet, Zappos customer service was “slow” to respond. He began to boil over. So, my 20-something friend took to Facebook, and started venting. By the time Zappos had gotten back to him, the damage had been done. Right? Well, not so fast. Zappos expedited another package to him to be delivered the next day, and all is better. The hateful comments were retracted, and all is right with the positive perceptions of the Zappos brand.
You see, you’re far better off over-extending your generosity—through polite behavior and even gives of service and product, to at least defuse the negative language those complainers are spewing. Set a strategy—with boundaries that allows you to efficiently handle even the most pissed off customer. Treat them with respect, and they will deliver in kind (double entendre intended).
I say pay as much attention to the 20% of your best customers, as you do the 20% who do all of the complaining.
This may sound strange, but you may need to pay as much attention to your best customers, as you do your worst.
Be kind to the 20%. They’ll return the favor.
Throughout history, marketing is one of the most important technique to bring potential customers, and to get more sales in a business. It is the best strategy to raise a brand and make sales. Nowadays, there are two marketing strategies that a business pursue. The traditional marketing and the digital, or internet marketing. The traditional marketing has come since long years ago (may be from the start of business). Generally, traditional marketing refers to the business cards, radio, TV, billboards, and ads in newspapers or magazines. On the other hand, the digital marketing includes all systems or techniques of internet marketing. Social marketing, banner ads, and websites are some common digital marketing strategies.
This article is written to inform the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing. Also, this article will help you to understand that which one is the best marketing methods for modern business system.
You can separate Digital Marketing from Traditional marketing at various sides. C some points where the differences are significance that can be caught in the eyes every easily.
If you think of communication, you may see that traditional marketing adopt one way communication while the digital marketing adopt two way communication strategies. One way communication refers to the communication technique where a person, a business, or a product communicates with a large group of the target audience. On the other side, the digital marketings build up two, or multi-way communication system, where a company actively communicates with their clients both by talking and listening. To sum up, traditional marketing doesn’t give any opportunity to the customers to talk about the products, or services. On the other hand, digital marketing provide opportunity to the customers to talk about the service, or product of a company.
Traditional marketing provides fewer opportunities to interact with the customers. It needs longer time to plan to market a business’s products, or services. Letter, phone calls and advertising through the media are some ways of traditional marketing. Digital marketing provides an opportunity to interact with customers. So, a business can raise their brand awareness by providing immediate support to the customers.
One of the main reasons of transiting to the internet marketing is the scheduling. The techniques of creating an ad campaigns have changed a lot. Traditional marketing needs to be well-planned which also requires a long length of time to cover a campaign. On the other hand, scheduling for ad campaigns in digital marketing requires a little time. Though it requires a short length of time, but it can produce long lasting effect. Since the digital marketing is based on the customer feedbacks, you can edit your campaign time to time.
One of the significant differences between internet marketing and traditional marketing is the availability. If you pursue traditional marketing, you can only respond to your customers questions during the work hours. In the digital marketing system, most of the companies employ people on various shifts. So, a business can respond immediately to a customer query.
If you pursue traditional marketing, you will get fewer scopes to market your products. The traditional marketing doesn’t need to collect many resources, because the audience is very specific and targeted. On the other hand, digital marketing enables a business to reach a large number of people across the boarder of the country. So, there are lots of scope to market your business through digital marketing.
The advantages of both marketing cannot be said in a single paragraph. Both the strategies have many advantages. You cannot leave one marketing strategy to pursue another one. You cannot reach the boys and girls of under 18 years in digital marketing. Traditional marketing is very effective to increase brand awareness. Digital marketing is very essential to promote a business by interacting with customers.
To sum up, you cannot compare easily the traditional marketing and the internet marketing. Both marketing strategies are necessary to promote a business. Though many people think the for its effectiveness, you should consider both the marketing techniques to promote your business properly.