Friday, December 21, 2007

Read beyond the headlines

A headline may only tell part of the story or be completely misleading (Thus the success of Jay Leno's Headlines feature on the Tonight show which returns after the new year.)

Yet as I read the information below the headline in the following story, I saw that more and more businesses want to be involved with the Internet, not the printed phone book like the headline implies. Read it for yourself:

AT&T Study: Small Businesses Sticking To Traditional Media
by Aaron Baar, Friday, Dec 21, 2007 5:00 AM ET
MEET THE NEW MEDIA. SAME as the old media--at least when it comes to small businesses. According to an independent study commissioned by AT&T, the majority of small-business owners see directory advertising as their most effective marketing tool.

According to the survey of 1,000 businesses with 25 employees or less, nearly two-thirds (63%) still advertise in a printed directory.

In addition, 72% of those small businesses said they would spend the same amount on printed directory advertising in the coming year. Eleven percent said they would spend more. Nineteen percent said they would spend more next year on newspaper and magazine ads, which were cited as the second-most effective marketing tool by the small businesses.

While only about 23% of the respondents said they currently use online advertising (and two-thirds said they have their own Web sites), some 53% of them said they expected to buy online advertising featuring video over the next two to three years, according to the survey.

"Small businesses still see strong value [in directory advertising], but they're also eager to get online," Bob Mueller, executive director of business operations for AT&T, tells Marketing Daily. "The fact is, consumers are using all sorts of places to get their local information."

Obviously, AT&T, which publishes the well-known Yellow Pages directory, has a vested interest in the survey. But to eliminate bias, the company contracted Western Wats Data Collection Agency in Utah to conduct the survey, Mueller says.

The small-businesses survey is intended to back up research from The Kelsey Group, in which 61% of Americans say they still use a printed directory to find local information, Mueller says. That survey found that 13% of consumers used search engines to find local information, while 7% used Internet directories (e.g.,

The results of both surveys show that businesses and consumers looking for local information are still turning to the tried-and-true book. Mueller says. The top five categories for directory searches are: restaurants, physicians, auto parts suppliers, auto repair shops and pizza, Mueller says.

Accordingly, small businesses have intentions of moving more of their marketing dollars to Internet-based services. According to the survey, 20% said they expected to spend more on Internet directories, and 38% expected to spend more on Internet banner ads. When it comes to search-word marketing, 43% said they spent more this year than last year, and 34% said they expected to increase search word spending next year.

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Focus on the basics

Sometimes with the busyness of our day to day activities, we get distracted from our primary focus. Or perhaps you have been so busy that you never determined what your primary focus should be. A third possibility is that your world has changed and you should re-think and re-focus on what you are needing to do for the future.

If any of these scenarios are true for you, then, take some time and think, plan, observe, and focus on the basics. I recently came across another blog that has some good ideas including the following which came in my email today:

5 Things People Want to See Before the Sale

guy looking through telescope
Over the years I’ve spent marketing small businesses, I’ve learned that there are five basic things people want to see before they buy anything. Businesses that constantly show all five during the sales process do remarkably well, whereas companies who can’t or won’t show them tend to do a lot worse.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to show your potential buyers:

1. An explanation of how buying will benefit them.

The first and most important thing you need to show potential buyers is why they will benefit from your product. If you don’t show that to them quickly, it’s not likely you’ll have their attention to show them anything else.

People want to know what’s in it for them, how they’re going to benefit, and why they should part with their hard-earned cash. Not only do they want to know that, but they want it explained clearly and specifically so they don’t have to spend time figuring it out for themselves.

2. A reason to buy from you, and not someone else.

Most markets are so competitive that it’s hard to convince anyone that you’re the only choice. Most people intend to try several companies before even thinking about picking one, so you need to explain why your company deserves their business. And you need to explain it well.

Taking it one step further, it’s often a good idea to offer some intangible benefits that your competition can never offer—something that is unique to your company (think customer experience). With that, you can position yourself ahead of the competition without worrying about them copying or stealing your benefits (but do watch out for their intangible benefits).

3. Testimonials and customer feedback

As much as I might wish it were effective, bragging about your own company doesn’t really work well. Getting other people to brag about you, however, is much more useful. Humans are social creatures by nature, and most of the time people want to check with others to see if they’re making a “good choice” according to society. A raw and honest group of testimonials can sometimes convince them that they are making a good choice by purchasing from you.

As the marketer and salesman for your company (most of us small business owners are) you have to corroborate your testimonials in a way that provides a believable picture of what society thinks about you. If you can convince other people that society looks upon you positively, than you are one step closer to the sale.

4. A portfolio, sample, or other type of test product.

Even with testimonials and clear benefits, most people still won’t be ready to buy from you. Think about it—would you buy a car without test-driving it first?

Offering a sample or preview of your work will help them get rid of quality concerns and any other negative ideas they might have. It also gives them a chance to get to know your company a little better, which brings them yet another step closer to buying.

5. A method of recourse if things don’t work out.

It’s a fact that no business can satisfy everyone; and your potential customers know it. Most potential buyers are well aware of the chance for things to go sour, and they don’t want to get into a situation where they have no way out. The best way to address this concern is to offer a solid guarantee or return policy. Once you have that in place, they will be much happier buying from you.

If it’s not feasible to offer a guarantee or return in your industry, then I recommend loading up on your portfolio or samples. That way people can get a really good idea about what they’re getting themselves into, and will be less likely to walk away from the sale because of your no-return policy.

Show them proof

As much as you can, try to show each of the five different parts, as opposed to just saying them. In sales, words are a flimsy way to prove a point. Potential buyers are very skeptical about what salespeople say (and for good reason), so it’s important that you show as much physical and social evidence as you can.

Action Plan: Think about where you first engage your potential buyers, and then try to picture all of the other places you’re likely to interact with them before the sale. How many of the five things do you show them before asking them to buy? Are there ways to make it easier for them to see all of the information? Use this brain-storming session to fit a few more of these into your sales process, or to strengthen the weak ones if you already have all five.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Did you know?

Nearly 95% of the U.S. watches television at least once a month. And those in the media and tech world often think that changes are happening very fast compared to 10, 20, 40 years ago. Yet, we better rethink what the general public is aware of as the following demonstrates. There is a simple lesson to remember when thinking about change: Until it affects an individual personally, there is no reason for that individual to pay attention to the changes that are going on around us. That's why there are still an incredible number of people that do not have cell phones, email, or a home computer. It will take time for certain changes to occur in our lives and how long it takes depends on the impact of an individuals lifestyle.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Half Of The Population Unaware Of Digital TV Transition in 2009

According to the CTAM Pulse, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted last month by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, forty-eight percent of U.S. households are aware of the planned digital TV transition, compared to just 29 percent from a survey taken in July 2005

After February 17, 2009, the nation's broadcast television stations will begin broadcasting exclusively in digital. Any consumer receiving broadcast TV over the air on an analog TV set must take some action for that TV to continue receiving programs from the local TV stations. Those options include:

  • Obtaining a digital-to-analog converter
  • Subscribing to cable TV or other multichannel video service
  • Replacing the analog set with one equipped with a digital TV tuner

Major findings of the CTAM survey show that:

  • Groups most familiar with the transition are subscribers to broadband services (45 percent), digital cable service (40 percent), and basic cable service (39 percent);
  • Seventeen percent of survey respondents - representing more than 19 million homes - don't have any televisions connected to a video service provider.
  • Forty-seven percent of respondents said they do not know when the digital transition will occur, and 26 percent believe it will take place sometime other than the designated year 2009.

Char Beales, President and CEO, CTAM, said "In the months ahead, cable companies will reassure their customers... analog sets will continue to display the new broadcast digital TV signals, ...(as well as)... aggressively communicating with all consumers to alert them to the transition... help them understand... how they can benefit from this further transition to digital television technology."

Of those who are aware of the DTV transition,

  • 38 percent said they'd learned about it from TV
  • 26 percent had read of it in the newspaper
  • 20 percent had heard about it from friends or family
  • Fifty percent of households that watch TV exclusively over the air said they don't know where to turn for information about the transition

25 percent of "connected" households - or 23.3 million homes - said they also have at least one or more "unconnected" sets in their homes:

  • 40 percent of them said they use those sets to watch broadcast TV programs only
  • 22 percent use them to watch DVDs
  • 16 percent use them for video games

The Complete CTAM Pulse report is available on the CTAM Web site here.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just what do women want?

From my email came the following today:

Volume 1 Issue 12
December 19, 2007

Fold-down rear seats, for storage, are the #1 feature women (62%) want in a car, according to Roadside assistance, thought to be a major selling point, is cited by fewer than half of one percent.


Diamonds are still a girl's best friend: 96% of women expect a diamond when they get engaged, with 5% of diamonds purchased over the Internet, reports Fortune.


Older heterosexual couples are the fastest growing segment of the living-together population in the U.S., says the Center For Family & Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University.


Women aged 26-59 (67%) are most likely to participate in retail loyalty programs, but only 14% feel their membership in such programs earns them preferential treatment, according to Colloquy, a loyalty marketing consulting organization.


62% of women say they watch sports most often on TV, compared to 42% who cite soap operas, says BIGresearch.

Marketing To Women (MTW) delivers research, market intelligence and business leads that demonstrate the best strategies for brands, media, non-profits and service providers to connect with today's women. Download a free sample issue to discover how the monthly MTW can lead you to more successful advertising and promotion campaigns.

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Now playing while you pump.... (part 2)

3 weeks ago I shared a story about a radio network that plays music and commercials at gas stations. Now we can watch our favorite shows, (if the writers strike ends), while we are filling our tanks. Just another way to distract us from the $50 to $75 we just spent on gas.

CBS To Appear On Gas Station TV
by Erik Sass, Wednesday, Dec 19, 2007 8:00 AM ET
AS WITH OTHER KINDS OF place-based video, the major TV networks are pairing off with companies that operate digital video displays at gas pumps, reaching consumers during the two-to-three minutes of down time it takes to fill their gas tanks. The latest deal brings CBS content to Gas Station TV, which currently operates about 5,000 such displays in 300 cities around the country. GSTV also gets content from ESPN. GSTV claims to reach 30 million gas station customers a month in big markets like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. In addition to providing recognizable content to GSTV, the deal increases exposure for CBS shows--part of the network's larger "Outernet" strategy, which includes distribution of content via place-based video networks.

CBS isn't alone in seeking place-based distribution. In the gas station video market, NBC is providing content to the FuelCast Network, and ABC News partnered with a third competitor, PumpTopTV.

More broadly, CBS is providing content to Healium, a video network serving waiting rooms in doctors' offices, and has struck deals with American Airlines, Royal Caribbean, Starwood Hotels, Indoor Direct, Mall of America, Simon Malls and Ripple TV. It also purchased SignStorey, an in-store video network that has been rebranded the "CBS Outernet."

Meanwhile, NBC has partnered with Channel One, an in-school video network that delivers a 12-minute news broadcast; Premier Retail Networks' "Supermarket Checkout TV," at more than 1,000 stores; and Clear Channel Taxi Media in New York City. A third deal is in the works to display NBCU content, including ads, on PATH commuter trains running between New York and New Jersey.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Local Blogging

Is there a directory or forum in your town for locals to find a local blog? Here in Fort Wayne, our local Public Radio station is doing a series on local blogging. The following is from Fort Wayne Observed:

Audio of Public Radio's Fort Wayne "blogosphere" story

WBOI FM broadcast Don Clemmer's story on the Fort Wayne blogosphere.

Jeannette Dillon and Don Clemmer have provided Fort Wayne Observed with an mp3 of the first broadcast segment from Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

You may listen to the segment by clicking here.

Second segment of the NIPR blog feature

Click here to listen to the second part of Don Clemmer's story on the Fort Wayne blogosphere which was first broadcast on Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

From NIPR's introduction:

In part one of our two part series exploring Fort Wayne’s blogosphere we learned that Fort Wayne actually has one of the strongest blogospheres in the country. In part two, local bloggers discuss blog behavior, politics and the media.

New Generation Radio’s Don Clemmer reports for Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

I have a list of Local blogs on the right hand side of my other blog you can access here.

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The path to Success

I came across this the other day...

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15 Sales Tips To Start Selling Smarter In 2008

Jim Meinsenheimer. I've bought his stuff. I get his weekly (free) newsletter. And I recommend him to others. No shortcuts, no tricks, just good reminders of what works in sales. Here's his advice for 2008 from todays email:

15 Sales Tips To Start Selling Smarter In 2008

Here are 15 sales tips you can use to sell smarter during 2008. With the right sales motivation, you can become as successful as you want to be!

However, you must come to grips with this fact. If you aren't outrageously successful at this moment, thinking about it won't make it happen.

The end of the year is a busy time of the year for most of us, I know it is for me. I'm looking at where I've been this year, where I am at this moment, and where I want to be at the end of 2008.

Here is a short list of 15 sales tips you can use to make 2008 your best sales year ever:

1. Analyze what worked for you during 2007.

2. Likewise - analyze what didn't work for you during 2007.

3. Establish personal and professional goals in writing for 2008 - goal-setting is critical for sales success.

4. Put these goals on a white board in your office - the bigger the white board the better. If you can't see your goals you're less to stay focused on them throughout the new year.

5. Create written action plans, and the emphasis is written, for all goals with specific completion dates - these dates should be added to your electronic calendar.

6. Call your biggest and best customers and thank them, again, for their business.

7. Get the biggest trash can liner you can find and toss away everything that isn't absolutely essential to your success. Go through your office, your car, and your briefcase. Clutter has no place in an organized office. It just gets in the way, even blocks, your momentum.

8. Ask yourself, "What is holding you back?" It's a serious question which deserves some serious thought. It's stupid to do the same stupid things over and over!

9. Ask your sales manager what his priorities are for 2008. Don't assume you know what they are. Listen carefully to his response.

10. You should also ask your best customers the same question. Ask them what their challenges are for the new year. Ask them how they're planning to grow their business in the new year. Ask them how they're planning to measure success with their suppliers. These questions and others found in my book titled, "The 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers" will give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

11. Allocate 30 minutes a day to reading about your profession - okay listening to CDs is acceptable. This requires discipline. You will become an expert and a giant in your industry if you do this. If you don't, you'll just be in step with the mediocrity brigade. This sales tips is easy to say and hard to do. Do it and you'll be rewarded with more sales and of course added wisdom.

12. Get involved with a mastermind group which means starting one if you have to. My group, Masters Speakers International, of course we had to give it a sexy name, has been meeting four times a year for 10 years. My time with this group of talented people has made a huge difference in my life and in my business.

13. I can't tell you how many e-mails I receive saying, "as soon as I start making more money, I'm going to start buying some of your products." Unfortunately, good intentions won't make you outrageously successful. Investing in yourself is a requirement, not something that depends on your income. Your personal business Library is a good predictor of your future success. You can't put a price on a good idea. And it takes a steady stream of good ideas to become outrageously successful.

14. Here's another sales tip - don't try to do everything yourself. You'd be absolutely amazed at what you can outsource for a very reasonable price. The next time you have a small project you wish you could give to somebody else, go to and see what they can do for you. You just might be surprised!

15. Finally, it's impossible to be good at everything. If there is something that you are not good at and you need to be good at it, for Pete's sake hire a sales coach. A good sales coach won't cost you anything. Yup, a good coach doesn't cost, he pays. A good coach can help convert your sales weaknesses into sales strengths. If you like what you read in my Newsletters, you'll love what I can do for you as your sales coach. You can get more information here.

Look - you can use these 15 sales tips to start selling more in 2008! You deserve it!

It sad but true, not everybody wants to be outrageously successful.

Some people don't want to be accountable for their results - they prefer a pity party. Some people prefer mediocrity over superiority. Why would anyone ever think like that?

Some people postpone living to sometime in the future, when in fact the only time we are guaranteed is today.

We live in a great country, we really do. Sure things aren't always hunky-dory. But you sure do have to admit that America has unlimited opportunities for those who have desire, focus, ** discipline **, commitment, passion, and a great deal of enthusiasm for life and for business.

Van VanBebber says, in The Wall Street Journal, "We should all save and study more, and spend and weigh less." That's pretty good advice as we head into the New Year.

His advice, however, requires a great deal of self-discipline. Are you up for it?

Becoming outrageously successful also requires a great deal of self-discipline.

Do you have what it takes to do what it takes to become outrageously successful?

Here's your choice - you have it or you've had it!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Fail your way to success

A few years ago, I was introduced to Roy Williams, the self proclaimed WIZARD OF ADS, through a couple of former co-workers. Among the things he does is a Monday Morning Memo. Today's was worth sharing with you:

Time and Chance.

Concorde was a child of the 60s. Flying 11 miles above the earth at twice the speed of sound, this jet was literally faster than a rifle bullet. London to New York in 2 hours and 53 minutes.

The Concorde isn’t flown anymore.

During a routine take-off in July, 2000, Concorde blew a tire after hitting a small piece of metal on a runway in Paris. A chunk of the tire knocked a hole in the wing, spilling fuel down the side of the plane just as it was lifting off. Ninety seconds later, the plane exploded in the air.

The public was terrified. The Concorde fleet was grounded.

After reinforcing the wings with bulletproof Kevlar and installing puncture-proof tires, the senior executives of Concorde’s parent company boarded the plane in September, 2001 and flew halfway across the Atlantic and back to demonstrate their confidence in the plane’s safety. While they were in the air, terrorists flew commercial jets into the World Trade Center.

Now everyone was afraid to travel.

Having already been out of operation for 14 months, Concorde was unable to recover from this second financial whammy.

Solomon, known for his good advice, said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

Then he followed this eye-of-the-tiger pitch by saying in the next verse,
“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong, 

nor does food come to the wise 

or wealth to the brilliant 

or favor to the learned; 

but time and chance happen to them all.”
– Ecclesiastes chapter 9

Robbie Burns agreed with Solomon’s assessment of time and chance. Apologizing to a mouse whose burrow he accidentally uncovered while plowing his field, he said most famously in 1785: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I share these things with you because I know some of you are facing failure. Don’t let it bother you. Failure, like success, is a temporary condition. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

FAILURE: Because sometimes your very best just isn’t good enough.

Amen. Now we’re done with it. Turn your face to the rising sun.

Tigers are happiest when they’re chasing their dinner.
Even when they fail to catch it, the chase is fun.

Let your tiger run.

Roy H. Williams

“Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.” - Tom Peters

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again… who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

Now that we've given you permission to fail with chin held high,
would you like to plan for outrageous success in 2008?

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It's all in your head....

Your attitude, that is. Not just your attitude, but those around you. Everyone of us is a salesperson. When I was a disc jockey, I was selling the song I was playing or the contest we were running. Your receptionist, your delivery driver, your (fill in the blank), what ever the title you and others have, you are a salesperson, as in a representative of your company and that can help or hurt the selling and buying process.

Despite the fact that you may not like "sales" and that's why your title doesn't say "sales", it is the buying and selling of goods and services that pays you and everyone around you. Sales is not bad, but there are some bad sales people. And my job and yours too is to rise above that and be one of the good guys and gals in the sales world.

The preceding was inspired by the following email I got today from Steve Clark:

Sales Jobs Still Seen With Contempt

A recent study conducted by Development Dimensions International, a human resources company, found that 41 percent of consumers surveyed rated the sales profession below mediocre. And one in five consumers surveyed said they believe salespeople’s expertise is getting worse.

Not only do consumers see salespeople as incompetent they see sales as an undesirable profession. Survey results reported that 46 percent of those surveyed say they would be ashamed to call themselves a salesperson. (I wonder how many salespeople feel the same way)

The good news in all of this is that buyers still rank salespeople as their number two source of product information. Second to only the internet but ahead of family and friends. Says Bradford Thomas, the company’s sales practice team manager, “In a given week, people make dozens or hundreds of purchase decisions but see the process as a necessary evil. It’s something people have to do but they are not always that jazzed about it. They’re dealing with salespeople way more that they want to.”

How about you? Are you perceived in your marketplace as a welcomed guest or an unwanted pest?

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Preventing the "crash and burn"

I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. Just when I get it set up the way I like it, it goes wacky. I've had three laptops in 5 years. I may need a new one again, but instead I'm doing my best to make do and part of that is to move things to the web instead of just my computer.

My handwriting sucks, so I type most everything including my "To Do Lists". I have found a couple of websites that you can use to manage your important information. The key for me was the ability to customize with the information I wanted, along with the ability to print a paper copy, and it had to be priced right. (That means free!) Here's what I found:

Popular, but not quite what I need.
Too simple, not enough features.
This might be the one I end up using. But there is some learning to needs to be done and I don't want to learn another program right now.
This is what I decided on for now. I can create the lists that I want, access them anywhere, print as I want. This is as close to what I am used to having except it is stored on line instead of my computer.

Any comments or suggesttions would be welcomed.

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