Friday, October 31, 2008

Green Investing Part 3: Finding and Assessing

Finish Rich has a few useful suggestions for finding and evaluating Green Investments. If you are eligible for a 401(k) plan at work, find out if your “investment menu” includes a green fund. If it doesn’t, speak to your plan administrator and express your interest in having an SRI or a green fund added to your choices.

Begin researching a few green funds Many green funds have posted double-digit returns, and some were up over 30 percent in 2007. This does not mean you should invest your entire retirement savings in a green fund. Many of these funds are narrowly focused and volatile. Others are more broadly diversified. So before you invest, do your research carefully and consider green investing as a piece of your overall financial plan and diversification. A great place to start your research is at Morningstar, which evaluates funds, their diversification, and their levels of risk.

Find out how your current investment holdings perform in terms of sustainability by visiting Climate Counts, a nonprofit organization that brings together companies and consumers in the fight against global warming. Climate Counts provides a scorecard for companies in eight sectors based on their commitment to fighting global warming.

Find a financial planner who specializes in socially responsible investing. Go to Social Investments Forum, and click on “individual investors” to find a financial services directory and other tools.

Next: Green Investing Part 4: Top Performing Green Funds and Resources

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Green Investing Part 2: The "Green Wave"

According to an article entitled, Finish Rich, "the financial consequences of a changing climate and the global crisis it is presenting are staggering in their implications for both corporations and consumers. Those that adapt to become “eco-conscious” will flourish financially—and those that don’t may be financially devastated. The fact is, companies are already dedicating billions of dollars annually to becoming eco-friendly, and many of these companies are quickly returning millions of dollars.

As (bestselling author) David Bach points out in GO GREEN, LIVE RICH, the emerging “green economy” presents the single greatest investment opportunity of the 21 st Century. “Green investing is finally coming into its own, which is great news for the environment—and your ability to build wealth,” he says. “Green investing is simple, it’s about investing in opportunities, companies, and services that both support and promote efforts to reduce CO2 output, improve the environment, and turn the tide on global warming.”

To catch the “green investment wave,” Bach suggests investing in the new breed of SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) index funds and exchange-traded mutual funds (ETFs) that screen out companies that engage in ethically and environmentally destructive practices and screen in those that have embraced sustainability and have demonstrated a strong sense of environmental and social responsibility. While the number of “green funds” available will explode in the coming years, many of the funds already available have outperformed the S&P 500, proving that investing green is a viable strategy."

Next: Green Investing Part 3, Finding and Assessing

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Green Investing Part 1: Objective Research and Analysis

Despite wild fluctuations in the stock market, Green is becoming a major economic power. However to be a successful investor in this area you must remain objective. Emotions are often harmful to the value of an investor's portfolio, this is particularly true in Green investing. For many investing in Green businesses, decisions are based on their hopes rather than on objective research and analysis. A successful (Green) approach to investing implies more than the ability to recognize a good concept or anticipate a trend, to be a bottom line investor you must also research and analyze a company's finances and business practices. Examine the management, the uniqueness and positioning of the product, the industry, and the competition. Consider also the future growth prospects for the company and the industry. Above all, effective analysis must review the plan for integrating green technologies or concepts into sustainable profitability.

Investors may also want to consider Green Chips, (exchange traded funds or "baskets" of green energy companies). Although sustainable energy gets a lot of attention, there are many smaller opportunities that offer favorable rates of return. Assess risk by anticipating obstacles, and the individual set of pros and cons that come with each investment. To help minimize your risk, diversify your portfolio.

When eco-convictions hold sway over analysis, invest only what you can afford to lose. When analyzing a Green investment, research the details and remain objective.

Next: Green Investing Part 2: The Green Wave

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Making Mobile Marketing Work for Your Business: Interactive Digital Marketing For the Young and the Not So Young

New media is enabling marketers to target a wide-ranging group of highly interactive and motivated consumers. This is the first in a series of seven posts on mobile marketing. This post reviews some of the key features of the digital environment that are fueling mobile's growth.

As reported in a recent Adage article, "Interactive- and digital-marketing budgets have experienced a healthy increase. The first quarterly Epsilon CMO Survey reveals that nearly two-thirds of chief marketing officers said their interactive/digital marketing budgets have increased in the past year, while 60% have seen their traditional advertising budgets go south. The findings reflect marketers' growing need to better target their campaigns, according to Steve Cone, CMO of Epsilon. The results show that because of the economy, companies are really trying to identify the consumers that are very active in communicating with each other through social computing, blogging or podcasting. The more popular interactive and digital channels that marketers said they are keen to start experimenting with are social computing (42%), which includes word-of-mouth, social-networking sites and viral advertising; blogs (35%); podcasting (31%); and mobile devices (29%), which include phones and PDAs. The study found that some marketers have already started incorporating these tactics, with 19% of respondents already using blogs, 18% making use of podcasting and 22% using mobile devices as part of their marketing mixes. Blogging is a major activity among a relatively educated, affluent and not-as-young-as-you-would-imagine age group. And when you're talking about podcasting and mobile devices, that's a younger demographic. Marketers are trying to target the broadest age range of consumers, and that's reflected in how these break down from top to bottom. You can find hundreds of thousands of people who are really active in these areas, and they are going to be extremely receptive to offers of relevance. The study also revealed that CMOs are relying on analytics, CRM techniques and other measurable marketing strategies when determining who they want to go after."

Of all digital media, mobile is the channel that is growing most rapidly. As reported in Mobile Marketer "It’s no exaggeration to say that mobile advertising is about to revolutionize the way that marketers reach out to consumers for branding or customer acquisition or customer retention purposes. A well-targeted mobile ad campaign will strengthen bonds between brand and consumer." Mobile Web usage was up 29.4 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second. There are many reasons why Mobile marketing is destined to keep growing including the fact that mobile is a less expensive, targeted channel in an uncluttered medium.

As reported in a recent Mobile Marketer article, "A common theme voiced by mobile marketers is that to get high response rates from young consumers, they have to issue a simple, [clear]direct call-to-action that is tied to an appealing incentive and with the need to be informed that they have the ability to opt out at any time. The call-to-action must [offer] a direct incentive that is related to some type of prize or reward. The messaging of the campaign should be very straightforward and feed control to the respondent."

While the youth demographic may be the most receptive to mobile campaigns, other groups are catching on quickly. According to Dan Miller, the executive vice president of Neighborhood America. “Mobile phones are the one common device that we have with us all the time, and the youth demographic is key, but its appeal is extending across all demographics. Over time, mobile is appealing to broader and broader demographics, from older people and high-end, high net worth all the way down to blue-collar workers—the complete socio-economic spectrum...”

Digital marketing is tapping into new communication trends. In this downturn, the metrics that come with digital tactics are crucial and a significant reason why this demand is increasing. The way you approach the call to action is also important, particularly with younger audiences. However, as noted above, interactive digital's base is not exclusive to the young as it is growing accross many age demographics. In the digital marketing milieu, mobile is emerging as the hottest commodity in the expanding digital marketing universe.

Next: Understanding the Differences Between Mobile and Online Marketing / Research Your Target / Presentation Tips / Design Tips / Applications and Video / Key Success Factors