Functions and Purpose of a Stock Market

A mutual organization providing trading facilities to stockbrokers and traders to buy or sell stocks and other securities is known as Stock Market.

Stock Market trades in securities that include shares issued by companies, investment bonds and other products. A common location usually deals with record keeping. However, the stocks are traded at different places and on different electronic networks that are speedy and involve less transactional costs. Only the members are eligible to trade on a stock exchange.

A Stock Market is basically divided into two categories – Primary Market and Secondary Market. Primary market deals with the initial presentation and offering of stocks and bonds to investors while secondary market does the subsequent trading.

For companies, the most important source of raising money is the Stock Market. The business houses can trade here publicly and raise additional capital or funds by selling the shares owned by the company in the Stock Market. The flexibility and liquidity provided by the Stock Market allows investors to sell and buy securities easily. This characteristic of Stock Market attracts more investors towards it rather than going in for real estate investment.

If we go into the history, we will learn that the share prices have a great influence on the economy and the social atmosphere of a state. The wealth of households and their consumption greatly relies on the prices of shares held by them. Thus, the central banks always analyze the behavior of the Stock Market so that the financial system works smoothly.

It is beneficial to invest in shares as it leads to a more lucid savings scheme as compared to the idle deposits with banks or consumption of the savings. Investment in shares especially promotes economic sectors such as, agriculture, commerce and industry, eventually leading to economic growth and higher productivity levels.

It is generally observed that the companies whose shares are publicly-acquired gain more economic benefits than the privately-held companies. This is because the public companies have more scope to change owners and thus they are inclined towards improving their management standards and efficiency in order to satisfy the public shareholders, which ultimately leads to more returns to them.

Even a small stock investor can invest in shares as there is no investment limit in Share Market. Thus, it is the wish of a stock investor to decide about the investment amount. Here, a person buys the number of shares he can afford. On the contrary, there are a large number of business houses that require huge capital investment.

Sometimes, the government needs funds to finance infrastructure projects like water treatment plants and hospitals. In such cases, the government decides to sell a category of securities known as bonds. The Stock Market raises such bonds and the public buys them. It eventually leads to the provision of funds to the government. This prevents the need to directly tax the citizens.

The fluctuations in the share prices can be of great help in order to analyze the trend in the economy. This is due to the fact that the share prices rise and fall depending mainly on the market forces.



Make Money Regardless Of Market Direction

When it comes to trading the way I do direction hardly matters. Down is OK, up is always better, sideways is the best revenge.

When you trade options there are lots of ways to win: You can profit whether shares fall a little, when they climb higher or if they don’t do much at all. Contrast that with the standard method of investing which is to just out right buy a stock. You can only profit if it goes up.

Even when you first purchase a stock, you are already in the red. The purchase price (ask) is always higher than the sell price (bid). Plus there are commissions. Unless you are a floor trader who doesn’t pay commissions and can take advantage of arbitrage, there is no such thing as a sure winner.

That said there are ways to put the odds in your favor. Selling puts, when used in the proper manner, is one of the most misunderstood yet valuable transactions in the Market. For one thing, you immediately start in the black, by getting a cash credit to put a position on. You don’t even have to own the stock, you merely take on the possibility of owning it at a discount price. Think of it as shopping for a car. Do you ever pay sticker price?

The strategy I use involves either one of two types of trades- either sell a put with the possibility of owning the stock OR sell a call option against a stock I already own.

The key to all trading is to limit your risk, either by using technical analysis or stick to the highest quality “boring” household name companies that have been around for decades. In my case, using a combination of both these strategies increases the odds of success greatly.

That said you never want to overpay for a stock, even if it is a great company. But with simple charting observations, you can identify price points where the big money starts to come in to support.

Let’s take an example from one of my 25 list favorites, retail giant Walmart. Walmart is a holding in super investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and has increased its dividend payout for many years. All the makings of a great company.

In the chart shown here we can see just how to analyze this security and when the best time to enter a trade.

Notice what happens in this 1 year price chart when the stock falls to around 72.5. Whenever the price hits that value, the big money comes in to “support” Walmart at that price and the stock recovers. It already happened twice in the past year and recently did it again in the periodic market correction that started in July 2014. So my favorite strategy to implement here would be to sell the September 72.5 put, upon which I would immediately get a cash credit to my account. Since that cash is in my account it could be used as credit toward the purchase of the stock should it fall below 72.5 at expiration day.

This would obligate me to buy the shares at 72.5 should it fall below that level at expiration. But in each case that never happened, so the contracts expire worthless and I just pocket the cash I received for taking on that risk and walk away.

Now I would not do this trade when it hit around the 80 level because I would not get enough credit at the 72.5 strike price but I might do the 80 option, but there a good chance I will get assigned the stock. But again what is the risk? I still would own a great stock at a discount price, and I could write call options against the assigned shares (which usually pays more than the quarterly dividend). So I get paid while waiting to sell my shares at the price I bought.

I only “lose” if the stock falls off a cliff. But wait, isn’t that exactly the same risk as out right buying the stock? You bet your bile duct it is. However I still have the advantage in that I’m owning the stock at a lower cost basis than the investor who out right buys the stock. The cash I receive lowers my cost basis and therefore my risk vs. just buying it outright.

Even if you are a buy and hold person you can still profit by selling call options against your stock. Using simple charting techniques there are favorable times to do this which increases the chances you will not have to sell your shares. You just keep the immediate credit you get for selling the option.

No complicated mathematics, just clear simple observation of market psychology. If I could convinced you that selling puts is a safe and profitable strategy would you be willing to make it a part of your permanent investing future? Maybe you’ve thought of having a home business that generates cash with no product or selling involved.



Facebook Game – Bejeweled Blitz Review

It is rare that we hear a Facebook community that have not heard of Bejeweled Blitz before. Bejeweled Blitz is a great puzzle game that was made by Pop Cap, the same developers that brought you the 2009 award winning game Plants vs Zombies.

Gameplay

First thing I noticed in Bejeweled is that the gameplay has changed a bit after a few months never playing it. With the new added feature as earning gold coins and buying boosting for power ups.

Now we look at the basic gameplay. Bejeweled Blitz is like any typical puzzle game found in Facebook. However, what makes it most interesting here it that the game was originally made for home PC by Pop Cap and was brought to Facebook as a promotion to their company and other game lineup. This is a good strategy as Bejeweled is a game that is highly addictive and fun to play with. Rarely people will get bored with it, only frustrated and hair pulling at times.

The game works like any other puzzle game you know of. As your main goal to this game is to score as high as possible in just 1 minute under 1 round and yes, it is only 1 round. The game usually consists of various color gems around the screen and you need to get the gem in either 3 to 5 lines together to score. As you destroy the current gems, new one will be drop down for you to destroy.

With the given time of 1 minute the game started really slow at first, but once you reach to half the time provided, players will eventually start to panic and try to complete as many combination as they can. Along the way special power up will be available for the players and this is depending on players’ effort as well.

For the power up, players will need to combine at least 5 gems with the same combination in under 1 line, vertical or horizontal depending on the situation. There are 5 types of power up available for the game.

Flame Gem will make a big explosion to an area around it and destroy any gems around the area of explosion. Very useful if you have at least 2 to 3 of this gem together. To gain this gem one must get 4 gems in a line.

Star Gem, this is created by matching 5 gems in an “L” or “T” shape. The effect of Star Gem is to unleash its power by removing one column and one row of gems from the board.

Hypercube is the power up which players find it most useful. This is one power up that unleashes its power by destroying one color gem in the game. It is most useful feature is to combine with Flame Gem and Multiplier Gem, this allow player to get a lot of score points and also credits depending on the gem that you destroy.

Multiplier Gem is a gem that provides boost of score when use. Either comes with 2 times up to 4 times, depending on luck.

Gold Gem is the newest collection to the game. This gem allow player to get gold credits which allow players to buy extra boost to assist in this game.

After each round, players will be presented with a result of how they perform in the last game. Beat your high score and you will be rewarded with a medal that will allow you to show it to all your friends. Credits earn from previous games can be brought forward to purchase new power up (Boost)to be use in the next game and this boost will last at least 3 rounds before it is being reset.

Players are advice to use mouse for this game as it is more responsive and easier to navigate then using the touch pad.

Graphic

Bejeweled is a very colorful game as the gems are display in various shapes and color. Animation in this game is also very good as you will see explosion and lightning effects depending on the power up that you used.

Sound

Bejeweled Blitz has a very good sound in this game, but lacking on the music part a bit. Sound make by exploding and destroyed gems is very fun and once your counter reach to the last 10 second, players will be pressured to score as much as possible before it hits 0.

Conclusion

This is a very addictive game that will keep anyone playing for hours. Furthermore with score trees provided by the developers, this game will push players to beat their previous high score and also to get to the top of the ladder of top 10 players in the game.

Personal score to this game is 5 out of 5, well done Pop Cap.



Market Your Photography Business

Setting up your own photography business it easy, you don’t need office space in can be done from your own home. However this is not the easiest type of business to market, especially if you are new to the business. Quite often to market this type of business you need specialist contacts, and your newness to the business precludes you from having these contacts, unless of course your surname is Eastman.

Don’t underestimate the power of marketing, because it is the tool that can make or break your business. Marketing is the commercial aspect of transferring goods from one owner to another. Without this tool you are lost, but don’t despair, there are effective avenues you can explore to market your business successfully.

First of all you need to decide what form of business you are going to set up, there are only two basic types – Assignment photography and Stock photography.

Assignment photography covers jobs that you have been hired to photograph. In other words you have a specific target to photograph. An example of this type of photography is to cover Mr X’s wedding. This type of the photography is the bread and butter of photographers, however it is unlikely to win you the Pulitzer Prize for photography.

The photographs will have a limited appeal, in the case of Mr X’s wedding; no matter how technically perfect those photographs are, they are going to have a limited appeal. They are simply not marketable outside the field of the family of Mr X.

Stock photography, is exactly what the name suggest, you have a stock of photographs and you have to market them. You have taken the photographs without having a buyer. This type of photography is much more speculative, and you may waste a lot of resources. You may have to invest a great deal of time and or film, depending on whether you are using an SLR camera, or a Digital Camera. Non-professionals think these photographs occur when you are in the right place at the right time. In reality though, being in the correct place has an element of advantage, who can forget the child on fire from Napalm running out of a village in the Vietnam war; often they are a particular photograph taken out of a series of hundreds. Whilst these photographs are often more exciting to take, they can be boring as well, and you may never quite get that photograph that “Says it All”.

There are effective ways to market these stock photographs, which is wonderful for the beginner because you do not bear the cost of the marketing. There are several stock picture libraries on line. You submit your photographs to these libraries, and they then sell the rights for others to reproduce them. The price structure on this type of photography depends on its content and also where it is sold. It may go on the front page of an encyclopaedia with a print run of half a million, and it may go on someone’s private web site. There will be a different rate for the type of photograph and its market. When your photograph is sold the library will deduct a percentage of your commission for marketing and of course profit.

Most photographers when they start will combine these types of business to varying degrees. There are several ways that you can boost your marketing profile without actually spending any money. Join a local photography society is one way, another is to go to your local town hall and see if your local chamber of commerce has a group of professional photographers. Another more involved way to market your business and bring it into a higher profile with the local community is to offer to teach photography free of charge. Yes I know the chances are that you are working from home, but why not offer to do it in a local school.

The debate is still raging about SLR cameras versus digital, and it looks like it will for some time to come.

It is still fair to say that most photographers want great imaging, in a compact affordable package. Improved design techniques for the digital camera are now delivering a viable alternative to 35mm film, but one of the drawbacks to marketing this type of film, was the time consumed producing digital photographs at home. Home development often does not give a professional finish. There are now photo development agencies online which will give you great images. You upload the photographs on to your chosen site and they will print them and forward them on to you. This way you can ensure crystal clear prints to your instructions. Kodak gallery allows you to share your prints online afterwards by allowing you storage space, which means that you don’t even have to scan your pictures. Don’t forget to check out our other articles for great hints and tips for every step of your business development. Make your business work for you!

Whilst marketing is a very important aspect of the business, it does not compensate for lack of quality. Sharp clear prints sell, and others don’t. Make sure that you invest in good quality basics, such as a tripod. It is not necessary to invest in products you will use once a year, if you need them then hire them, especially when you are just starting. Even if you use digital, it is still a fact that the lens is more important than the camera. Make sure the equipment you buy is going to work for you. Extra time spent asking questions before you buy will pay dividends later, in terms of money saved. Everyone wastes money at some time or other, but being forethought and researching can reduce that substantially.



Chatuchak Market Of Thailand

Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market is a must-see. There is nothing like experiencing a market place spread across 35 acres of land with over 15,000 stall selling everything from Buddha statues to exotic pets and T-shirts.

Chatuchak Market is located right next to Chatuchak Park, which is at the northern end of Bangkok. The market is only open at the weekends and you should make sure you get there early, around 9.30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at the latest. You will find out that by noon the market is buzzing with people and you will get jostled quite a bit by the crowd. Make sure you keep a sharp eye on your wallet or purse otherwise you could end up losing it to the pickpockets in the marketplace.

An easy way to get to Chatuchak Market is taking the Skytrain and you have to get off on the last stop on the Sukkhumvit line which is going north. The stop is Mo Chit and you will clearly see the numerous stall as the Skytrain pulls into the station. From the Skytrain station, the market is a 5-minute walk. Alternatively, you can take the subway and get off at Kampangphet. The entrance of this MRT subway station is right in the middle of the market.

Make sure you carry a bottle of water and wear comfortable clothes and shoes. As you can get any and everything in Chatuchak Market, buy your gifts there as you will be able to pick up things for half the price of a conventional “touristy” shop. You will get the best bargains at Chatuchak Market for Thai silks, handicrafts, wooden carvings, jewelry and gems.



How To Market Luxury Homes Online

This article is for a realtor or for a home owner preparing to sell a luxury home.

If you are a real estate agent a significant and lucrative way to operate your business is to work to get listings. If you have the nicer listings in the area then all the better. If you have the inventory then other area agents have to work with you to sell your inventory. You, effectively have them working as your agents selling your inventory to their buyers. It is a great situation.

So how do you get more and better listings? This is the big question. What I recommend is to do something that is different and exciting for the home owner. After all it is the home owner that selects the listing agent. Therefore, if you properly impress the home owner with how you will market their home then you are well on your way to gaining more listings than your competition.

Now ask yourself this question. Is the home owner more concerned about the listing price or the time on the market? Most home owners want to get the highest price possible and are willing to keep the house on the market a bit longer than the agent may want to achieve a higher selling price. It is your job to define a price that is reasonable given the comparable sales and time on market. If the priority of the home owner needs the equity in the house fast then you and the home owner need to agree on an asking price that is at a point that encourages showings and offers. Let say that you and the home owner(s) are in roughly the same place relative to the asking price then what do you do now to get the listing?

You impress them with the marketing tools and approach that you can apply to the selling to their property.

Here are some ideas that you can use to impress the home owner with and increase significantly your chance of getting the listing.

A Dedicated Website

There is a service offered by Luxury Home Marketing has a nice website platform that can be used to quickly set up a website dedicated to showcasing a specific home. Another advantage of this platform is that it is very affordable. For the right home you can set up a website that explains the home and its special features, the area as it relates specifically to the property and all relevant information can be included in a neat and tidy online package.

Also, with a dedicated website the search engine terms can be specific and customized just for the specific property and specific area. This is a big advantage over your main site as it would not be easy (in fact it would be very difficult) to maximize the search terms for a specific property while still maintaining a proper cross section of significant search terms for your business and the other properties on your site.

With a dedicated website a realtor can specifically set up on-page content that helps to get specific targeted traffic to the website. Also, if you want to run a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program then, again, you can be specific with the search terms. The PPC can be specific and targeted. This is a big advantage that you can create over your main site.

A dedicated home showcasing website is sure to impress a home owner and it can be a deciding factor in getting a high-end listing.

Home Showcasing Voice Narrated Presentations

The next tool to use is an online video or online slide show. The feature to stress here with the home owner is the voice narration. As the listing agent you know the story of the high-end property better than anyone else. Your job is to tell that story to as many potential buyers as possible. To use the Internet to do this is a big advantage.

An online voice narrated slide show will work for the home owner 24/7 -even on weekends! This is a sure way to impress a home owner.

To get more listings it is important for you to develop tools that can showcase a home and then to present the home to the best possible audience. If you have a listing for a high-end home is likely to attract a sophisticated buyer. This type of buyer will be familiar with the Internet and this sophisticated buyer will expect a high-end property to be well presented.

Not only will you get more listings but you have move in the direction of selling the property faster and at a higher price as the home will be presented to more buyers and in a way that emphasizes the true value of the property.

Online Printable Brochures

It is important to offer the visitor to the dedicated website to an opportunity to print out a well designed brochure on the property. In our experience the most requested aspect of a realtor website are the printable brochures. Visitors like to print our the details of the key property they are interested in. They like to show these printouts to people for their opinion. A printable brochure should be a significant part of your marketing plan and can be easily integrated into your main site and the dedicated site.

Another related feature to showcase the high-end property is in online printable brochure on the area. This should compliment the entire marketing program for your luxury listings. A high-end buyer is buying the home and grounds, the area and even the life style. Your printable brochure on the area should integrate seamlessly with the marketing plan for all your high-end real estate listings.

The format for both the home brochure and the area brochure should be Portable Document Format (PDF). This has become the standard for online printing.

  • This also creates the following advantages:
  • The buyer only prints out the brochure if and when they want to.
  • There is no need to mail or fax or send it by e-mail. The potential buyer can download and print it out right from the website.
  • The buyer is immediately satisfied. The Internet is all about instant gratification. Give the visitor what they want and immediately when they want it.
  • The cost to print is the visitors cost. You have no mailing cost, no printing costs and no labor (after you have created it – which you should be doing anyway) to get the brochure into the potential buyer’s hands.
  • All branding information and contact information is in the brochure. If the potential buyer needs or wants to contact you then the information is right in front of them when they are looking at the brochure for the property.

In summary, a dedicated website with a multimedia slide show and printable brochures on the property and about the area are a powerful combination that will ensure a home owner of a high-end-luxury property will give you their full attention with you are being interviewed for the listing. Master the use of these tools and present them to the home owner and watch your ability to gain the high-commission listings increase significantly over the agents that do not.

Visit the website of Luxury Home Marketing at http://www.luxury-home-marketing.com/ to learn more and to see some examples of these high-end real estate showcasing tools.



Stock Market Profits – Trendlines

A trendline is a sloping line drawn between two prominent points on a chart. Rising trendlines or Up trendlines are usually drawn between two troughs (two low points) to illustrate price support while falling trend lines or Down trendlines are usually drawn between two peaks (high points) to illustrate upside price resistance.

Trendlines are often excellent places to start trading points with a low-risk entry, because a penetration of the trend line is a break of the trend, which provides an exit signal. The more times the price touches the trend line, the more significant and valid that trend line becomes. When trend lines first begin to form, they may require redrawing to be sure to connect significant lows and highs, but as a trend line matures, it will rarely need to be adjusted. The steeper a trend line’s angle, the less reliable it becomes.

USE OF TREND LINES:-

1) Once a trendline is decisively penetrated, if it not a very steep trendline, it generally signals a reversal of trend. Sometimes, it indicates a temporary interruption of the prevailing trend and the current-trend (up or down) remain in force with a lesser degree of ascent or descent.

When a trend line is broken, there is no way to understand to whether it is a reversal signal or it is a temporary interruption. You have to find out and judge other price patterns (e.g. if there is a rounding top/bottom or a head and shoulder formation etc. etc.) for understanding the signal arriving out of trend line violation.

2) W.D Gann favored a 45-degree trendline as a major trend indicator. This idea has been will accepted by many analysts.

3) Once a trend line is penetrated, it reverses its role as support and resistance. Once a Up trend line, i.e. a support trendline is penetrated, the Extended trendline acts as a resistance. Once a Down trendline, i.e. a resistance trendline is penetrated, it acts as a Support line.

The greater significance of a line as a support or resistance prior to its penetration, the greater it support or resistance role in reverse after the violation taken place.



Forex Scalper EA & Market

FOREX scalping is profitable when it is performed correctly. The FOREX scalper EA (Expert Advisor) is very risky still it is a very profitable way to trade the currency in FOREX market. Not all FOREX traders make money by FOREX scalper, some will gain tons of money and others may lose their shirts. Now the question arises: how can we stack the odds in our favor by using FOREX scalper EA?

There are three criteria to reduce the risk of losing stated below:

• Carefully chose the brokers

It is difficult to get the correct broker when you are using FOREX scalper EA because many brokers don’t like scalper EA and particularly object to the quick profit, since your profit means their loss. However, if your scalper moves in a market and out of a market very fast then broker doesn’t have the chance to cover their risks. So at the time of your profit they don’t want your business.

Then you may be having the question that how I can choose brokers. You should choose brokers who has a place in the ECN and who don’t rely on third party are happier to accept scalper strategy. Also you can ask the developer of your EA or who has recommendations from other scalping traders in FOREX forums.

• Manage your risk

Scalping strategies rely on many small trades and so many people who were new to FOREX trading assume that they are less risky than the system which trusts on a higher profit per trade. If you don’t want to wipe out of the game you should have a risk management.

• Understand the Scalper EA

To understand the scalper EA’s work is very important. Meaning, one should have a realistic expectation about things like number of time it will trade in a week, on a successful trade on average how much it will make, on an unsuccessful trade how much it will lose, the percentage of successful trades etc.

All of this helps one to optimize the risk and what you can expect in terms of your bottom line in the long term. Don’t rely on information from the developers or from the user in this respect. Because this is not the matter of trust it just depends on different variables to each individual. So, make sure you own back testing and demo testing before starting FOREX scalper EA.



Contactless Payments Could Drive Mobile Device Market

Carriers and device manufacturers search longingly for killer apps, and it seems that one is just about upon us. One of the next big things may be contactless payments, the ability to use a cell phone or similar handheld device to pay for products and services without actually having to break stride, stop and authorize the purchase.

In late June, according to a piece at Ars Technica, the Federal Reserve said a purchase of $15 doesn’t even require a receipt. The piece, which for the most part is a discussion of the considerable security ramifications of contactless payments, suggests that the category will get a big boost by the new, lower limit.

Contactless payments (or electronic wallets) will have a big impact on mobile device vendors. Of course, there is no shortage of drivers of cell and smartphones. The ability to use a phone to buy a CD or some groceries without stopping could make the mobile device category even hotter than it is today. In a press release that hypes a recently released report, Javelin Strategy & Research suggests that chips in mobile devices will spur 30 million additional users during the next half-decade.

If that’s so, it seems that contactless payments could become a major feature – perhaps the major non-voice feature – of mobile devices, not a handy add-on that some envision today. Moreover, in a mobile device environment characterized by its fragmentation – there are dozens of features aimed at relatively small pockets of consumers and corporate users – its seems that electronic payment capabilities could be a core function available in a high percentage of devices. It could be a valuable horizontal, not vertical, feature.

The compelling nature of contactless payments is a subtext of this feature on Nokia, which is actively researching the topic. The company recently participated in a trial with Visa, Mastercard and AT&T in New York City and near-field communications – a key underlying technology for contactless payments – is being widely tested. Indeed, this piece, which comments on a white paper from Atos Origin, suggests that contactless payments are an increasingly big deal in Europe.

Contactless payments – the antecedents of which, by the way, are already widely used in EZPass and other “closed” systems – could be a big deal because of their ubiquity. Unlike downloading music or video, using a cell or smartphone to pay for small purchases is something that will appeal to a huge number of people. Device makers know this, and certainly are working on the logistics and, of course, all-important security safeguards.



Marketing Audits, the Perfect Strategic Tool

Marketing audit, the missing link?

In order to survive in today’s highly unpredictable and competitive environment, business leaders cannot leave one stone unturned in their search for excellence! The marketing audit may just be the missing link!

A marketing audit is an invaluable instrument to help an organization to establish its unique competitive position and to identify its superior skills, resources and capabilities. This is a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage for your product, business unit and/or business.

Conducting a marketing audit is one of the best and most sensible decisions an entrepreneur and businessman (or -women!) can make.

What is a marketing audit?

Philip Kotler describes a marketing audit as a –

o comprehensive,

o systematic,

o independent, and

o periodic examination of an organization’s or business unit’s marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities with a view to identifying problem areas (and opportunities) and recommending a plan of action to improve the organization’s marketing performance.

The definition clearly confirms the strategic and operational relevance of a marketing audit, making it an indispensable research instrument – dissecting, analyzing, assessing, proposing, and advising.

About the audit process

The audit process should be thoroughly planned so that auditing time and cost are kept to a minimum, since carrying out a marketing audit can be quite expensive. It is usually done by highly skilled, experienced, and specialized marketing professionals. Kotler’s cardinal rule when conducting an audit is: “Do not rely solely on the organization’s managers for data and opinions. Employees, customers, retailers, agents, and other stakeholders must also be interviewed and be involved in the process.”

Asking the “right” questions is in actual fact the key to conducting a successful marketing audit. Questions unlock an individual’s or a group’s creative instincts and serve to stimulate the thought processes. If the right questions are asked in the right manner, refreshingly new marketing insights and ideas come to the fore.

The marketing audit also provides the auditor with a clearer picture of the organization’s marketing function and business environment. It will help him/her to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an organization’s internal and external (marketing) environment.

Some final thoughts

Unlike a financial audit, a marketing audit has a strong dualistic character. On the one hand it has a scientific and structured side, and on the other hand it has a “chaos” side that invites and provokes intuitive, creative and “out-of-the-box” thinking.

I believe that the marketing audit process should encourage “out-of-the-box” thinking, since competitive advantage rarely comes from sameness. When businesses offer the same product and service to the same market by performing the same kind of activities no business will prosper in the long run. Information obtained from a thorough and skillfully conducted marketing audit will enable management to develop a market focused strategy that is directed by its unique capabilities, ensuring sustainable competitive advantage for their product, business unit and/or business.

Lastly, the marketing audit plays an important role in developing a (successful) strategic marketing plan. A well conducted marketing audit can provide corporate and marketing decision-makers with quality information that is relevant, practical and constructive. As a strategic instrument, the marketing audit is indispensable when developing a marketing strategy.