Sunday Blog Post Roundup Vol. 5

What a week — the blog-o-sphere is on fire with good stuff to read.  Hang with me to the very end of this list, they are all excellent.

The Gold Queen posted a tip on how to “shuffle” leather.  It’s actually a type of currency arbitrage, and a good, easy tip.  Check the prices on your server before you jump in.

Croda at marketsforgold had two really good posts — one on how to get a guild bank (which actually points out there are some downsides to it) and one that shows exactly how they evaluate items for flipping potential, step by step.

Jim Younkin from Power Word: Gold posted a list of exactly what money making professions he’d recommend you have depending on how many characters you have to work with.

Mommar from Just My Two Copper didn’t use the words “business process” in his post, but that’s exactly what he was talking about when he posted about keeping a list of daily activities.

Faid from clockworkriot wrote two great inscription related posts.  The first was on preparation for MoP, and the second was on tactics for dealing with competition in the glyph market.

Staying on the topic of dealing with competition for a moment, on Phat Lewt’s Gold Blog, Mr. Lewt’s wrote a simple post about the basic ways gold earners track the activity of other sellers.

On ALT:ernative, The Godmother posted an excellent take on Blizzard’s new guild mentoring program.  I, however, took something else away from the post — her list of questions used when interviewing potential guild members.  I always say when I’m looking for people to work with, the only two really important qualifications are that they are cool and smart — most of the rest you can teach.

Focushot from Hunter Mastery shared a list of 10 gold making tips.  They are specific ideas for products you might not have considered.

Finally last but certainly NOT least, Cold from Cold’s Gold Factory gave his opinion on why the old gold earning cliche “buy low, sell normal” is a joke.  Also make sure to check out all the great posts that were entered into Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival for July.

 

Marketing: Brought to you by the Letter P

(Well, I just had to make that joke at some point.)

I didn’t finish my college degree until I was a working adult.  When I did go back to finish I selected a program in eBusiness, all the rage at the time.  None of my prior education was business oriented, so I was happy to go back and learn all the basics of business.  However when I saw that every student was required to take a marketing course, I was…. well, concerned.  I didn’t care about advertising.

What I didn’t understand is that marketing does not equal advertising.  Advertising, or promotion, is only one part of marketing.  The definition of marketing that I like is:

The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer.

That isn’t part of business, that IS business.  It’s what we do even in WoW when we undertake serious gold earning whether or not we realize it.

The Four Ps

Basic marketing courses break the overall marketing process into four parts, called the four Ps:

  • Product — defining exactly what you wish to sell and how you will produce it.
  • Price — determining the right price, including volume pricing, discounts, terms, etc.
  • Promotion — communicating with potential customers to raise awareness and interest in your product.
  • Place — how or where you will actually perform sales transactions with customers.  (Not the best name, but they needed it to start with P.  Think “distribution”.)

Each of the four Ps is interrelated — for example how you produce the product effects the price, and the price might effect who you want to promote the product to, etc.  Modern formulations try to be more “customer focused” by changing product to customer or service, promotion becomes communication, place becomes convenience, etc.  But for our purposes it’s all the same idea.

When you read about a gold earning idea one way to start to break it down, evaluate and understand it is to identify the four Ps within it.  This is a great way to start creating your business process activities and figuring out if there are any gaps in the plan.  Let’s see how this applies to you in WoW by evaluating the four Ps of one gold earning market people love to recommend and write about: mysterious fortune cards.

Well the first P is easy, right?  The product is mysterious fortune cards: all done.  Not so fast speedy — you need to define exactly how you will obtain the product.  For cards you would have two choices: make them or buy them.  You would then break each of those options down further to evaluate them.  What materials are required to make them, and where would you get the materials?  Where or from whom would you buy cards to resell?  You could even consider if you should sell cards only or make some of them into Fortune Cookies, where buyers would get stat food and a chance to win gold.

Pricing mysterious fortune cards optimally is not as easy as it might seem.  Obviously you need to know how much it will cost you to make or buy them.  But then you need to test or guess what price people would pay that would maximize your profit, because presumably the higher the price, the lower the volume will be.  Also, when you think about price, think about the quantity or quantities you want to sell in.  Do you want to sell single cards or stacks of 200?  Finally of course, what is the competition pricing at?  You’ll probably want to do some test marketing and adjust your prices based on your results.

In some ways there isn’t a lot of promotion in WoW.  A lot of the time the only promotion I do is to list an item on the auction house — that’s promotion, it how I communicate to my buyers.  Many of the fortune card advocate out there suggest that more promotion than that is required to maximize the potential of card selling.  By “barking” in trade channel and either selling directly to players, or just using trade to advertise listings on the auction house, they instill interest in buyers who might not otherwise look for cards.

Finally there is place.  Again, in most cases for me I sell things on the auction house.  But you might find it more effective to deliver fortune cards to players in person.  Or who knows, selling outside the capital cities might be worth doing, especially if you are selling cookies.  Perhaps you could start a COD business — card of the day club anyone?

It’s too bad this concept is so wordy, because it is easier to apply it than it is to explain it.  I hope the wonky-ness of this doesn’t turn you off from trying it mentally the next time you read about a potential new product to sell.  It is a powerful concept that can help you make sure you are getting the most from your gold earning ideas.

 

Sunday Blog Post Roundup: Vol. 2

This week’s Sunday blog post roundup brought to you by the letter g…

Breakfast Topic: How would you change the Auction House? by Robin Torres at WoW Insider

The good, the bad and the addons by Mommar on Just My Two Copper

The Psychology of Diablo III Loot Part 1: Anchoring the Auction House by jmadigan on The Psychology of Video Games

Mists of Pandaria: Tailoring Preview by perculia on Wowhead News

Enchanting without Greater Eternals/Illusion Dusts by Rades on Orcish Army Knife

 

Stocking Up: Ink

This topic has been covered at length by a number of bloggers, but they each take a slightly different approach.  I thought I’d let everyone know my thoughts and what I’m doing regarding preparing for Mists of Pandaria and Inscription inks.

For those who don’t remember or who didn’t go though it, ink trading undergoes a transition around the time of the big pre-expansion patch.  Now you can trade in blackfallow ink for all the lesser common inks used to make glyphs.  However in Mists blackfallow ink will be replaced as the “currency” with ink of dreams, which is created from new herbs. Right after MoP goes live, ink of dreams will be scarce and expensive.  So if you don’t have some of all the inks you need for glyph making stockpiled, you will find them hard to come by.

So what inks will you need?  Looking over what Wowhead knows so far about inscription, most glyphs in MoP will be created either from ink of dreams, or from the same set of inks used now, namely: ink of the sea, ethereal ink, shimmering ink, celestial ink, jadefire ink, lions ink, and midnight ink.

Currently, blackfallow ink is only used to create one glyph, and it doesn’t seem like that will change in MoP.  Its other uses are limited.  If you sell mysterious fortune cards, of course, you will need it.  But I don’t sell mysterious fortune cards, so I have to be more careful about how much blackfallow ink I stockpile.  (One important detailed note: Wowhead currently doesn’t show that you can trade ink of dreams for blackfallow ink.  I’m going to keep my eye on this, not sure if it’s just not there yet or if you really won’t be able to get it.)

Storage space is of course another issue.  My general stance against stockpiling in the past means that I don’t currently have access to a private guild bank for my main server/faction.

One option if you have a lot of storage space would be to stock herbs themselves.  This would give you the ability to use the herbs in other ways later, like for alchemy.  However, remember at some point you’ll lose the ability to use blackfallow ink to trade.  So if you stockpile thousands of whiptail, you will no longer be able to create lion’s ink from it at some point around the pre-expansion patch.  You would have to stockpile the lesser herbs to guarantee the later ability to make the lesser common inks.

Taking all this into account, here’s my plan.  I’m creating a stockpile with a smallish fixed amount of blackfallow ink, probably around 200.  Then I’m building up roughly equal supplies of the other  7 common inks used to make glyphs, with some extra ink of the sea and ethereal since they seem to be most widely used.  I’ll stop when I’m out of storage space.  To ensure I make all this ink for the lowest possible price, I’m using the process outlined in my recent post about how to use TSM: Shopping to buy all my herbs.

I’m also keeping my eyes open to any new news regarding MoP inscription because things always change as the release date approaches.

 

Quartz Addon for Professions?

I’m sure you could do this with the cast bar addon of your choice, but I just happen to use Quartz.  Purely by accident one day on my scribe I had quartz activated and I noticed that it performed a very useful function.

When I’m making a lot of ink using the “Create All” button, Quartz lets me know how long it will take in total and displays my overall progress along the way.  Simple, and very handy if you are someone who likes to multitask.

Now I’m off to make more ink!

Sunday Blog Post Roundup

Part of the process of jumping into blogging for me has been to subscribe to and read as many other related blogs as I can.  Every Sunday morning I’ll highlight some interesting posts from the past week that relate to gold earning, professions, or addons in WoW.

How to set up your alts for gold making by Basil Berntsen on WoW Insider

My GPS is “THIS” Big by Mommar on Just My Two Copper

NBI Award Winners by Syp on Bio Break

Addon Wars: AdiBags vs ArkInventory vs Blizz Bags by Aunaka on Aunaka Heals

Glyph thresholds by Foo on Foo’s WoW musings

Can’t Wait by Matticus on World of Matticus

Archeology Leveling Secondary Profit Sources by Cold on Cold’s Gold Factory

Five Fast Gold Making Tips : June by Farli on The Overcut

 

Reminder: Go to the Darkmoon Faire

Please excuse my tardiness.  It’s my first month blogging, and it didn’t occur to me right away to remind everyone that the Darkmoon Faire is in town this week.  This month the faire ends on Saturday, June 9th at 11:59 pm server time, and does not return again until Sunday July 1st at 12:00 am server time.

In case you’ve never tried the faire before, WoW Insider offers this wonderful guide that explains it all.

Besides being a good change of pace at this time when many players are experiencing an end of the expansion lack of enthusiasm, the faire is of special interest to anyone who has characters with professions below max level.  Faire vendors offer a special quest for each profession that you can complete once per month to receive prize tickets, tokens, gold/XP, reputation, and +5 skill points in the related profession.

  1. You need a minimum profession skill of 75 to obtain these quests.  So do that!
  2. Make sure you have trained sufficiently to receive the +5 skill.  For example, if you are 149/150 in cooking, visit the cooking trainer to raise your cap to 225 before you do the quest.
  3. Some of the quests require materials that you can’t obtain on  Darkmoon Island.  Here’s a list of what to take with you if you have these professions. (The other quests have no outside material requirements)
  4. Make sure you take the items you need to perform your professions if you don’t normally have them in your bags.  For example, grab that fishing pole!  (I’m not sure if you need the items for all other professions, but better safe than sorry.)
  5. Just like a daily quest, when you complete these quests you should make sure to remember to turn them in before the faire ends.  If you are holding a completed quest when the faire ends you lose a chance to complete it for the month.  You’ll be able to turn it when the faire comes back, but that will count as your completion for next month.

Profession quests (primary)

Profession quests (secondary)