Are Charts of Financial Planners Buying and Selling an Indication of Market Direction?

Most people know that financial planners or broker-dealers are not likely to be churning their clients like wire houses, so this means that their trades would indicate a better trend of market dynamics then the day-to-day fluctuations in the market caused by program trading or straight stock brokers at wire houses. There are many charts that technical traders watch that help them see trends in the market, the question is; are charts of financial planner’s trades of buying and selling a decent indicator of future trends in market direction?One technical analyst who writes a column for one of the major newspapers in the financial sections states: “The theory behind using this indicator is that people tend to be bullish after they buy, and bearish when they sell.” Thus, if the financial planners are making lots of “buy-trades” they are bullish and tend to recommend a bullish outlook or perhaps call a buy-signal for their clients. Whereas, when making “sell-trades” they are telling their clients that the market is weak and thus, not telling them to buy yet?
 
Yes, perfectly logical or one could say “During the time they buy or sell,” and for a short duration afterward. Yet, I take issue with this because many investment advisors during let’s say December will be selling their junk to take the tax losses to save on income tax for their clients. And they plan on replacing these sales into better upside bets for the potential uptick, into solid companies or into safety.
 
Therefore, if they are selling for tax losses, then re-invest that money in another category, are they really “Bearish” during that period? I say, NO. If this is the case, then the financial planners will be both buying and selling in the same couple of days as they reposition portfolios.
 
So, your chart of this will have changes, but those changes will not indicate much of anything, and cannot be used as an adequate predictor of monthly, or quarterly trends in the overall market, and I am sure there are other cases which will cause this chart to give false readings.
 
Indeed, whereas I agree with this as a valuable chart, I also realize that there are other scenarios that play out during December each year as investment advisors protect their investors from tax hits. Now then, if we use such charts in a “café” of charts to look at trends in the market for technical analysis of when to buy at the bottom or sell at the top, it is of value. But investor beware, there is a lot more to this game than just looking at one type of chart. [read; "The Black Swam" for instance].
 
Well, we all know that the market and the economy are not the same and yes, it is a lot about perception, trust, confidence, and fear. Along with technical analysis, mathematics, policy, politics, currency, interest, regulations, taxes, etc.. I guess, it does make sense to study a little psychology and philosophy along with it all. I’d warn both technical analysts and day-traders not to over educate yourselves; so perhaps all this is worthy of some more thinking?
 
If you are seeking advice on financial matters please contact a licensed Financial Planner. I am not in the Securities Industry, have no licenses and am not a reliable source of information. I only call it how I see it.

Are QR Codes Good for Marketing?

It seems like those small square shape symbols, are popping up everywhere. We are finding them in direct mail pieces, magazine advertisements, product labels, and even T-shirts. QR codes ( Quick Response Code) are two-dimensional barcodes and have been around for quite some time, they were originally used in the automotive manufacturing industry in Japan for tracking vehicle parts, since they have significantly greater storage than that of a traditional barcode.

QR codes can be scanned by a smartphone through an application that is available as a free App, which scans and reads the code, opening the web browser on the devise to a specific URL, initiating any of a wide range of actions on the devise, such as launch a website, a Facebook page, view a coupon, a video, dial a phone number, capture contact info of the phone user, etc.

These codes offer a unique way to connect the print component to online media, engaging your target audience in an interactive way and allowing for outstanding response tracking analysis.

Ways to incorporate QR codes in to your marketing these codes can be placed just about anywhere, as long as the surface is relatively flat and the print method will ensure good quality reproduction. So depending on your marketing campaign, you can placed them on your actual product labels, books, signage, banners, T-shirts, mugs, flyers, to name just a few. In order for them to support your marketing efforts enhancing response, they must be properly incorporated in your marketing mix. Take a look at your marketing plan and find the place where QR codes can increase your target audience engagement in a productive way.

Some examples of putting QR codes to good use, directing smartphone users to a URL such as:
• A sign up page,
• a catalog or price page
• a video that shows a demo, testimonial, etc
• a recording with testimonials, event schedules, etc.
• an instant discount coupon
• a contest

A few good QR codes good practices:

• Do some research and make sure your audience is at least 90% smartphone user
• Tell the scanner what will happen when the code is scanned, such as “scan me for video demo”.
• Make the code at least 1″ x 1″ to make sure it can be read properly
• Create a re-directed landing page that can be changed without changing the code
• Consider a plan B for those people who are not (yet) Smartphone users
• Test them before you send them to print

QR codes are not the next marketing shiny object. In today’s mobile society, mobile phone advertising is here to stay and where 1 out of 10 mobile phone users own an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, the use of QR codes for marketing purposes is a fast growing trend. If you have a great use for your QR code I would love to hear from you. If you are not quite sure how to make it work fro you just get in touch with us, we’ll be happy to help you set up a highly profitable campaign incorporating these powerful response vehicles.

Get a Better Direct Marketing Response Rate Using Storytelling Techniques

One of the most famous direct response ads of all times is John Caples’ masterful “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play! –” Written in 1925 to advertise the U.S. School of Music’s correspondence course, it remains a timeless classic of direct response marketing, and a powerful demonstration of how the art of storytelling can improve direct marketing response rates.Anatomy of a Successful Direct Response AdBy today’s standards, it’s quite long – much longer, in fact, than most modern audiences will sit still for. But it weaves a magic spell over the reader, drawing you into the tale of the man who was laughed at and who eventually had the last laugh, thanks to the U.S. School of Music’s correspondence course.The ad successfully uses the following storytelling techniques:
The headline instantly touches on an emotional nerve. “They laughed – ” How many of us have been laughed at by the faceless, nameless “they”? Pretty much everyone at one time or another has been on the receiving end of derisive laughter! And who doesn’t want it to end? Caples, one of the best copywriters of all time, draws the reader right into the story.
A setup: The story is told and we view the events unfolding through dialogue and story.
The punchline: We’re already emotionally invested in our hero. Will he play and confirm what the crowd thinks, that he’s just a bumbling fool, an inept musician? No! He sits and plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It’s a well chosen work for the ad. Not only is it a beautiful work, it is one familiar to most people who can immediately hear it in their minds. It’s also a difficult piece but one that a skilled amateur could certainly play. In other words, it’s a stretch but not a crazy stretch to imagine that you can play such a work.
And the call to action: The ad ends with a strong call to action, a free booklet, and the standard direct marketing components to enable easy and fast responses to the ad.Using Storytelling Techniques in Your Marketing MaterialsTo run such a long print advertisement in a newspaper or magazine today would be costly. But what about the internet? So many so-called ‘squeeze pages’ for E books and information products ramble on with hysterical, hard hitting copy, yet fail to tell a compelling story.People naturally gravitate towards stories. There’s a reason that stories such as myths, folklore and legends have passed down to use throughout the ages. The human mind and heart wants to latch onto the emotional resonance in a story. Our brains are hard wired to find and make sense of the story in what we are told. Finding your product, service, or company story and weaving a magic tale around it evokes an emotional response, tapping into the customer’s right-brained, intuitive, creative mind. Skillfully including product features, as Caples does in this ad, then taps into the logical left-brained mind and completes and seals the sale.Look with a fresh eye at what you’re selling. Whether it’s a piece of exquisite artwork or plumbing supplies, what story does it tell?
You don’t have to make up a tale like Caples did in his ad. One of the most successful company “stories” I heard about was a car wash chain in California who spun a great story around their new recycling equipment that cleaned and recycled water from the car wash, thus reducing their environmental impact and saving water, something very important to drought-conscious Californians. The funny thing is that recycling gray water was mandated by law, so the car wash wasn’t doing anything differently from what their competitors were doing – they just figured out how to tell a better story about it!
Think about your brand as if it were a myth or an archetype. If that’s too highfalutin for you, think about it like a Disney fairy tale. Are you Cinderella rising from rags to riches or are you Hansel and Gretel, using cleverness and creativity to save the day for your clients? There are many branding with archetypes workshops and books. See if anything resonates or appeals to you.
Ask a sympathetic friend to spend some time listening to you tell the story of how your product developed. Or use the stuffed animal exercise. Take a stuffed animal, sit it on your desk, and pretend to talk to it (or speak aloud to it as long as your family won’t think you’re crazy). Write down what you say, then let it ‘cool’ and don’t read it for several days. Go back to it. Does your brand story speak coherently and from the heart? Evoke emotion? Weave a story the way Caples did? No – then revise, rewrite, and try again.The power of storytelling is an ancient power that can be harnessed to improve direct marketing response rates. Don’t settle for humdrum, feature-heavy copy on your websites, brochures, postcards and more. Weave a magic spell with words and create a compelling tale that draws customers in. Once they’re into the story, they can’t help but want to know what happens next, and respond not merely with logic but with brand loyalty.The entire ad, including the full copy, of the famous 1925 John Caples ad may be found at Power Writing.