Friday, December 28, 2007

I resolve to....

Lose weight? Give up Smokes? Sleep less? Sleep More? Get a new job? Whatever you and others are resolving to do in 2008, someone is there to help you (and make some money too):

LOSING WEIGHT AND QUITTING SMOKING aren't just some of the most common resolutions Americans make every year--they are some of the most lucrative.

Typically, health and fitness resolutions are the most common:, a goal-setting Web site, predicts that 28% of all resolutions will fall in this "lose weight, quit smoking, get to the gym more" category, compared with 27% last year.

But thanks to economic worries, "we expect people to focus a lot of time and energy improving their careers and getting out of debt," the company says. It expects resolutions related to debt reduction to increase sharply as a percentage of all finance-related resolutions (to 52%, up from 26% last year). And it says resolutions related to saving money will rise, from 11% to 24% of all finance-related resolutions.

Another big jump: Career-related changes, which it expects account for 21% of all New Year's resolutions--up from just 12% last year.

Read the rest here.

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2 ways to succeed

It used to be (so I'm told), "Build it and they will come". In the 1960's we had less advertising messages clamoring for our attention and far fewer media options to use for advertising.
We had ABC, CBS and NBC as our three TV choices. Period. Maybe 5 radio stations in our town. Now Arbitron lists over 20 radio stations and our television choices are now ranging from 30 to 200+ in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The landscape has changed but the rules remain the same. You can succeed as a short term flash in the pan, overnight sensation and plan on disappearing after a few weeks, months or years. Or there is the other more profitable, approach to success. This 2nd method follows the Golden Rule of treating everyone the way you would want to be treated. Don't compromise your standards or cut corners. Apologize when something goes wrong. And be real. It lasts longer. Set your measurements for growth in years and decades, not hours and weeks.
The folks at Maple Creative wrote about an example of the second way to succeed on their blog:

A to Z of Marketing: Y - Yuengling

Yes, I like a good beer, especially one with character. Nothing compares to an ice cold, complex ale with a great aroma and a long finish. But that's not why I am telling you about Yuengling.

This is America's oldest beer, brewed in a very humble (take that to mean real) location--Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It remains a family-owned business, dating back to 1829, and is run by a real, hands-on, shirtsleeves-rolled-up sort of owner, Dick Yuengling. He is not a paper-thin, glamorous PR superstar. How cool is that!

And that is a perfect segue into the marketing significance. The story here is that Yuengling is real. It is genuine. The brand and its products reflect the personality, commitment and style of its owners. Yeungling is a brand that is rooted in reality. And in today's over-hyped, glitz-and-glamour, built-to-flip world, real brands are refreshing. Yuengling has steadliy grown its sales over the past decade (more than 25% in fact) without flashy advertising and without hype.

So how has this brand become noteworthy? How has Yuengling grown? Why do I even know about it? (Aside from the fact that I have a couple good friends from Eastern Pa.) Why does my buddy Kerry refer to it as "that golden nectar"? Well, there are a few good reasons.

Primarily, the company has been consistently dedicated to making a great quality of beer. That's the first part. Secondly, Yuengling has had the courage and vision to innovate. No, they have not changed rapidly or whimsically; instead they have changed strategically. For example, to survive Prohibition, it switched production to "almost beer." And when competitors began mass producing lighter beers, Yuengling spotted an opening and filled the niche by introducing more flavorful, richer brews. Finally, Yuengling has benefited from some well-deserved and long overdue earned media coverage. The chart above shows the huge rise in awareness of this brand when a New York Times feature was published (May 2005).

So what's the lesson here? Reality reigns supreme. Consistently great brands prevail. Slow, steady growth sustains companies and brands over decades. That's real success. And that is real great beer!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Advice for a new year

This time it is from an email from Art Sobczak:

This Week's Tip:
Questions to Ask Yourself for
Your Best Year Ever in 2008

Early Happy New Year!

Today's issue is a New Year's tradition.
It's usually one of our most popular issues of
the year, and most-visited in the archives.

If you're serious about having your best year ever
in 2008, TODAY is the best time to start. I do suggest
you take some time to sit down with these questions
Think about your answers. Challenge yourself. Write
them down. Them go to work!

It's quite simple: if you want to be better in 2008,
YOU need to do more than simply WANT it. You need to
make some changes. Start now.


What are you going to do to improve your industry and
product knowledge in 2008?

How many inactive customers will you revive and turn
into regular customers again? What do you need to do
to make that happen?

What will you do to ensure you're protecting your
best customers, and adding more value to the
relationships? How will you sell even more to them?

How many new customers will you bring on this year?
How do you plan to do that, specifically?

What will you do to improve your physical health in 2008?

What, specifically, are your sales and production
goals for 2008? How does that break down into quarterly
and monthly goals?

How much more money will you make in 2008? How will
that happen? What will you need to do, today, to take the
first steps in that direction?

What will you need to do to increase THAT number by an
additional 10%

What are you going to do every day to keep your
attitude at a high level?

How much time are you going to spend, daily, to
improve your own sales skills? What will you do?

How many referrals did you get in 2007? How will you get
them? From whom? What will you do to turn them into sales?

Speaking of referrals, will you please forward this issue
to two others who would also benefit from these weekly Tips?
(OK, that's one of mine.)

In which areas will you improve your personal, family, and
spiritual life?

How are you going to maximize the use of your time?
Where will you cut out the time-wasters in each day?

What have you been putting off that you will take
care of within the next two weeks?

Who can you help to feel special every day?

What challenge, wish or desire--that you've never
attempted before--will you finally achieve in 2008?
How will you do that? Why?

Where are you going to write all of this down so you
can review and revise your plans regularly?

What will it LOOK like when you accomplish everything
you've just been thinking about?

How good will it FEEL?

What will it SOUND like when you achieve these things?

Why COULDN'T you do all of this?

Any answer to that last one is not a reason, but rather
a self-imposed limitation, excuse, or lack of desire
or effort. The biggest deterrent to success looks us
in the mirror every day.

I don't know about you, but I've gotta go--I'm not done
yet working on my own answers. 2007 was my best year
ever, and I'm going to be sure that 2008 beats that.

Now, go out and plan to have, no, COMMIT to ...



"Leap, and the net will appear."
Julie Cameron

"Everything you want is out there waiting for you to
ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have
to take action to get it."
Jack Canfield

"Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty,
fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars."
Joan L. Curcio

"Your actions, and your action alone, determines
your worth."
Johann G. Fichte

"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.'
Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools
you may have at your command, and better tools will
be found as you go along."
Napoleon Hill

Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How do you sell into a market that is not yet established?

From the email files today came this:

Educate Your Market Before Entering It
by Glenn Mangurian

How do you sell into a market that is not yet established? This is one of several dilemmas that emerging companies face as they create the next new thing.

Marketing skills have been honed on creating new products for established markets and marketing established products to new markets. Increasingly product development is about creating markets where customers don’t yet realize they have a need.

Emerging and established companies must educate the new markets before they can sell into them. Increasingly, potentially powerful products fail to get market traction because company marketers are blinded by the promise of their ideas.

In today’s go-go competitive marketplace they fall prey to five traps of marketing:

Trap 1: We built it, but no one came. Thousands of entrepreneurs are dreaming up new ideas to win big through the Internet. Each believes he is on to the next “killer app” and all he needs is capital to build it and sell to customers knocking down his door.

But getting beyond the idea stage requires answering some basic questions: Who are our potential customers and early adopters? What need do they have that my product could fill? If they don’t know they have a need, how will we create that awareness? Do we have the time, patience and competence to educate the market? Once they understand their need and the availability of our product, why should they be willing to spend money to get it?

Getting early market traction requires a combination of careful targeting, effective and educational selling, a compelling value proposition, willingness to do what is necessary to create a market success and referenceable customers.

The best way to sell something to someone who doesn’t know they need it is to attach it to something they already buy and offer it at little additional cost. Seeking complimentary relationships early can accelerate market traction.

Trap 2: They bought it, but they didn’t know how to use it. Most new products are over-engineered for completeness and under-designed for usability. That combination is dangerous for first-time customers who learned they have a need but may not have the patience to figure how to use the product.

Emerging companies should assume that first-time users won’t know how to use their products and are likely to get frustrated quickly if they are left alone to figure it out. While marketers may be able to hold the hands of a few, they face major challenges during initial market expansion.

An alternative approach is to resist the over-engineering of the product from the start. Most products are initially designed to include features for differing markets. That approach is fine if you are jumping into an established mass market. On the other hand, if you are trying to create a market that doesn’t exist, it is likely to render the product too complex to use at the start. It might be better to design to fit target niche markets. It is easier to design for simplicity if you are focused on specific target customers than on diverse and often conflicting needs of a mass market.

Trap 3: They used it, but they didn’t generate value. Companies must understand not only what business need their products fill, but also what their customers have to do to generate value from the products. In today’s competitive environment new products are not likely to get past early trials unless there is a perceived cause and effect relationship between use and value. Before companies can roll out a new product they need to know how early customers measure value, set up support systems to monitor value creation and then build that evidence into future promotion activities.

Trap 4: We promoted it to many, but few actually tried it. A product’s early adopter success does not translate into mass market readiness. All the issues that forced you to choose a target niche market at launch are likely still present for other segments.

Rather than promote to a mass market, the product should be offered to adjacent niche markets. Adjacent markets are those that have similar characteristics to the initial target but offer access to a new customer base. Adjacency marketing is necessary until a critical mass of segments have been captured to tip the readiness of the overall market for broad acceptance.

Trap 5: We created the market, but we don’t own it. If you create a market, competitors will eventually enter and it will be difficult to sustain leadership.

Much has been written about the advantages of first mover status. This is worthless if there are low barriers to entry, low switching costs and you have an inferior product. To sustain leadership, plan to renew your product and its value proposition while you are trying to capture market share.

Leading edge companies need to master the creation of new markets that don’t exist. They must first establish a solid base of market acceptance on which to grow. This involves converting an idea into a powerful value proposition, creating market beachhead and scaling through adjacency marketing. Otherwise, it will be left at the starting line with no race to run in.

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You cannot do it!

Seth Godin wrote on his blog about the benefits of exclusion when you are a business or organization. You can read it below. But first, think about how you can be more exclusive.

For nearly 5 years, I have worked for a company that grew from 5 radio stations to 6 radio stations. More is better! Wrong. Unless you are able to handle the "more", it may be better to be less. We did it and it has paid off. The last effort we made to be successful with 6 radio stations was to have a separate sales staff of 3 to 5 for each station. That's 18 to 30 sales people on the streets, generating revenue. Should have worked except the overhead was too much and the 80/20 rule kicked in. Except it was more like the 90/10 rule. Also there simply are not enough quality sales people in our community to support the size of staff we were trying to assemble. Many managers came and went and discovered this.

The 80/20 theory is that 80% of your revenue is produced by 20% of your efforts, or sales staff, and we could figure out which 80% to reduce we would be more cost efficient. We had 3 or 4 people bringing in the money to run the entire organization. Last year we reduced our stations to 3. This year we slashed the sales force from around 15 down to 5. And the results have been tremendous. It is easy to look at sales performance and determine who is producing. We will add one more person about every 6 months, IF we can find the right person.

Now each individual person cannot be all things to all people. You have a limited number of hours in a week (168). The key is to determine which area you want to be exclusive in and who you want to exclude. Then stick to it. You CAN do it! Now here's Seth:


When I was in college, the Dean tried to put together an advisory group of students. Nobody he invited joined--it wasn't worth the time. Then he named it, "The Group of 100" and in just a few days, it was filled. The easiest way to have insiders is to have outsiders.

Credit card companies have made billions by selling a card that others can't get.

Politicians stand up and talk about their (exclusive) religion, or pit one special interest group against another.

And of course, the best nightclubs have the biggest velvet ropes and the pickiest doormen.

Limiting the supply of your service, or the quantity of your product, or being aggressive in who you sell to (and who you don't) are all time-tested ways to build a killer brand. Humans like being insiders, and will work hard to create their own imaginary demarcations to demonstrate that they've made it inside.

Populism is almost always a hard sell, it seems.

When Tiffany's lowered prices and quality and tried to reach out to the masses, they almost went bankrupt.

The Net seems to be turning some of this upside down. Twitter and Yahoo mail and eBay are completely populist. Hotornot, flickr and other websites have embraced this idea as well. (Worth noting that gmail started as a totally insider service, with a limited number of invites, shared person to person).

It's interesting to take a second to look at wikipedia. It started with the most populist, inclusionary point of view of all, but over time, people being people, a hierarchy and inner circle has been created. The exclusion is based on effort and skill, not race or income, but it's still exclusionary. And at its best, it makes the site work. When it fails, it limits discussion, reinforces small thinking and enrages the outsiders.

The first thing I'd ask myself before launching a product, a service, or a candidate is, "who are we leaving out?" If the answer is no one, be prepared for uncharted waters. The future of marketing (at least the big successes) is going to be fueled by those with the guts to embrace the masses. The profits, at least in the short run, may well be found by those that embrace exclusion.

One last thing: while people are delighted to be included (and seem to enjoy excluding others), the benefits they feel are dwarfed by the anger and disappointment of those excluded. It's something that people remember for their entire lives.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Actions Speak Louder Than......

From my Christmas Eve email came these words from Roy Williams Monday Morning Memo:

I'm a big believer in the power of words. But when words aren't backed by corresponding actions, talk is cheap.

Have you ever felt a disconnection between what a company promised you in their ads and what they actually delivered?

I carry a list of companies in my head called the "Never Again As Long As I Live" list. I'll bet you have one, too.

Was it the advertising of these companies that put them on our lists? Of course not. It was their actions.

One dumb decision can undo years of good advertising.

What decisions have you made that send signals to your customers?

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. What are you saying in your ads?
2. Who are you being in your store?
3. Is there a disconnect?

A dog doesn't have to growl to let me know it's dangerous. Just bare you teeth, doggie. I'll understand. This small, direct signal from the dog overrides all the assurances of its owner: "He won't bite, he's a friendly dog. I've had him for 10 years. His breed never bites. It's been proven. Here, watch this. See, he didn't bite me and he won't bite you either. What are you afraid of? Here are some testimonials from other people who have petted him. Did you know this dog was voted Most Pettable Dog of 2007? He won't bite you, he likes you. Trust me. We care about our customers."

What is advertising but the assurances of a dog owner?

Talk, when it costs you nothing, is cheap.

"Here are ten, hundred-dollar bills. Put them in your pocket. If this dog so much as snaps at you, they're yours. He wasn't baring his teeth to scare you. He was smiling at you."

Wow. A smiling dog. I think I'll pet him.

Actions are powerful signals when they agree with your words.

These action-signals gain credibility to the degree they cost you one or more of the following:

1. Material Wealth
2. Time & Energy
3. Opportunity
4. Power & Control
5. Reputation & Prestige
6. Safety & Well Being

What do your signals cost you? What are you risking?

Words that cost you little have little meaning.

Tom Wanek is an authority on how to use signals and counter-signals in business. Tom has agreed to speak for one very special hour on the subject during the next Free Public Seminar in Austin, Texas.

Prepare to be amazed.

Roy H. Williams

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Secret Revealed

In this article from Forbes, how to reach Moms and why!

How To Market To The Modern Mom
Lisa LaMotta, 12.18.07, 1:40 PM ET

Marketers know that mothers make most household purchasing decisions. By some estimates, moms in the U.S. spend $2.1 trillion a year--about 15% of the country's entire economy.

What marketers may not know, however, is that this segment is still ripe for the picking.

"Moms have their own language," says Nancy Lowman LaBadie, an executive vice president at Marina Maher Communications, a public relations agency that handles many of Procter & Gamble's female-focused products, such as Secret deodorant, Dawn dish soap and Clairol hair color. "I think companies who learn [that language], understand it and connect with it will reap the rewards."

Yet things get lost in translation. According to a recent survey of 3,500 U.S. mothers by BSM Media, 65% of mothers feel that they are "under-served" by advertisers--either because mom-focused ads don't resonate with moms or because the ads aren't aimed at moms at all. Strike the right nerve, though, and there's a mountain of money to be made.

In Pictures: How To Market To The Modern Mom

First, consider the medium. Print magazines tend to be more effective at catching a mom's eye than newspapers. Moms read an average of 4.1 magazines a month, according to BSM Media. Radio works, too: Moms spend a lot of time in the car.

Moms are also increasingly online: 71% use the Internet to research purchases. By contrast, only about 20% comb newspaper ads.

How-to videos hit home. In May, BSM Media launched, a YouTube for moms featuring videos on subjects like infant massage and how to tell your boss that you're pregnant. And this summer, computer giant Hewlett-Packard launched 10 videos on how to take digital pictures--say, of fast-moving kids--to help promote its cameras and photo printers.

"[Moms] don't use a camera because it has eight mega-pixels, but because it captures their memories," says Karen Cage, a spokesperson for HP. "Making that technology understandable and approachable is beneficial to the consumer."

On the Web, don't just rely on banner ads--moms want to engage in a conversation. A good deal of action happens at social networks like Maya's Mom and Café Mom, and at mom-centric blogs like BlogHer.

"We recognize that we don't always do a really good job via advertising or providing a comfortable dealer experience [to women and moms]," says Christopher Barger, director of global communications technology for General Motors. "We have been looking at how we can use [online] social media to improve our efforts there."

Better yet, offer an experience. That's what GM did last month when it chauffeurred around 75 moms in its cars for a weekend in Newport, R.I., in conjunction with a weekly podcast called Manic Mommies (produced by two moms). One participant remarked: "I appreciate that they recognize moms as an important-enough sector to treat us with first-class service."

When it comes to marketing, not all moms are created equal, so craft your messages accordingly. Take one key segment: Gen-X moms, between ages 26 and 41. Gen-Xers don't want to conquer the world (as perhaps their own Baby Boomer moms did), but are looking for balance among work, family and leisure. Products and services that make life simpler tend to resonate.

Finally, remember that moms want a better world for their kids. Show that your company cares, and you might hook a few more matronly customers. Flavored-water outfit HINT recently teamed up with a slew of causes--including AIDS Walk New York and Ladies Who Launch--to promote its brand among moms. And Sunkist brought its lemons into the limelight by giving away 11,000 pre-formed lemonade stands, collecting $800,000 in lemonade sales for multiple charities.

Says Lowman LaBadie: "Moms are going to bond with brands that take the welfare of their families into consideration."

In Pictures: How To Market To The Modern Mom

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