Saturday, February 16, 2008

More on the future of radio advertising

Recently I tossed out a challenge regarding radio and television advertising methods in the months and years to come. To simplify what I wrote a few days ago, it means never stopping the music for commercials, instead do live messages over song intros. Read the details here.

Anthony Juliano who writes the SoundBite Back blog independent of his work at the Asher Agency here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, (where we are both residents) sent me a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other publications this week about something that Clear Channel tried to do with their radio station advertising departments.

(About a week ago at a meeting that included Tim Borne, Chairman of the Asher Agency, I started to explain my concept and how to apply it to television broadcasting.)

Here are a few excerpts of the WSJ story:

"...In 2004, Clear Channel Communications Inc. introduced a program called "Less Is More" to boost its flagging ad sales. The goal was to generate more revenue by selling shorter ads at a higher price. The company also hoped more listeners would tune in to its radio stations, attracted by the shorter ad breaks..."

To which I say is good in theory, but the execution was lacking. Here's more:

"...The idea behind the shorter ads was that if the ad breaks moved along briskly, listeners wouldn't tire as easily and switch stations. And many Clear Channel stations have won more listeners in recent years, which the company attributes in part to the strategy. A few months after "Less Is More" rolled out, the company said audiences had expanded in 64% of its top 50 markets.

The initiative also succeeded in winning wider acceptance for shorter radio ads, which includes 30-second spots, 10-second spots and even one-second mentions known as "blinks." In 2004, a Clear Channel spokeswoman says, shorter- length spots represented less than 5% of total time sold at its stations, and they now account for 35% to 40%...."

So perhaps it DID work to some degree of shorter commercials which could mean shorter commercial breaks, and less likelihood of listeners punching the button for another station.

There are a couple of flaws with this though. Generally speaking, studies have shown that a listener does not care the length of a commercial, just how many are played in a row. This is not even a conscious awareness, but sub-conscious feeling that was triggered in part by the changes from one commercial to the next.

A station can play 3 minutes of 60 second commercials, or 3 minutes of 30 second commercials (6 ads) and even though they take the same amount of time, the second option will be more likely to cause tune out. Even if someone does not switch stations, the impact of more than three commercial messages diminishes greatly.

And this was part of the problem that Clear Channel ran into. More from the WSJ:

"..."Less Is More" also came with limits, such as how many minutes of advertising could run an hour. Now, radio buyers say, those limits are being relaxed somewhat, with more ad time being introduced at some stations. Clear Channel says that in some markets, it's experimenting with fewer but longer ad breaks, and that it is willing to tinker with its formula until it gets the right mix...."

You can read the entire WSJ story here.

We already have ratings documentation that non-stop music will generate increased listenership. Now we need to reintroduce the advertising in such a way, that it does not fall back into the traditional "start and stop" methods of mixing music and commercials that are slowly losing their audiences.

And this idea was experimented with in another fashion in the summer of 2006 in Boston with WFNX, a modern rock station that offered Snapple exclusivity for all their commercial messages.

Trade publication FMQB told us the story, "...Snapple and WFNX will work together to create nontraditional on-air messaging that both engages WFNX listeners and supports the Snapple brand. Short messages and event announcements will be seamlessly woven into WFNX's music programming in the form of hundreds of recorded audio "collages," live DJ reads, bumpers and sweepers...".

Your thoughts are always welcome.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, February 15, 2008

The internet..more than porn...

If you thought it was just dirty old men or kids that were using the internet....

You are behind the times. But don't just take my word for it.....

Web, Store and Call Center Integral Part of Shopping

According to a recent survey relesed by Sterling Commerce, higher-income consumers, college graduates and younger consumers have made cross-channel shopping a standard, indicating to retailers that achieving cross-channel execution can increase consumer loyalty and share of wallet. Consumers are using the Web as a first touch-point and channel-hop to complete their purchases, making integration across channels essential to retail success.

The survey found that 64% of all respondents went online before making a purchase in the past three months. That percentage was even higher for "high-value" consumers, such as those:

  • With household incomes of about $75,000 (81%)
  • College graduates (78%)
  • Consumers age 25 to 34 (77%)

The cross-channel activities deemed most important by the respondents were:

  • The ability to return merchandise to a store even if it was purchased via telephone or online is "very important/important to 81%."
  • 56% say the ability to pick up merchandise at a store after ordering online is "very important/important."
  • Store pickups are particularly important to 69% of younger adults (25 to 34 years old).
  • The availability of gift registry information in the store, online and over the telephone is "very important/important" to 56% of the respondents. 66% of the younger adults recognize this as important.

Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive for Sterling Commerce, comments that "...this survey shows... consumers are demanding new levels of convenience only found when different shopping channels support each other seamlessly."

The retailer has the opportunity to gain customer loyalty and share of wallet, concludes the study, as shoppers are hopping channels to gain more value out of their interactions with a retailer.

57% of the survey respondents say the Web is becoming an important first touch-point, often serving as a research tool before a store purchase. 24% of respondents reported using a coupon or rebate offer found online. 18% consumers checked an online gift registry as part of the purchase process.

The percentages are higher for the "high-value" consumer groups:

  • Among those with incomes of $75,000 or more, 77 percent conducted research online in advance of an in-store purchase, 32 percent used a coupon or rebate found online, and 25 percent checked an online gift registry within the past three months.
  • Among those who are college graduates, 74 percent conducted research online in advance of an in-store purchase, 31 percent used a coupon or rebate found online, and 21 percent checked an online gift registry within the past three months.

And, the study finds that consumers also are expecting away-from-home access to the Web to enhance their shopping experience.

  • 37% consider it important to have access to an online kiosk while shopping in the store to conduct product research.
  • 36% consider it important to have access to their online account while shopping in a store to view items they have tagged online
  • 32% consider it important for call center personnel to have a record of what they have been researching online

For more on this study and Sterling Commerce, please go here.

Sphere: Related Content

Subway is sticking with a winner

Too often we see companies change their advertising campaigns just to "freshin' things up a bit". And what happens is they lose their identity. (Can you imagine the Golden Arches of McDonald's becoming the Purple Arches? Or grown men wearing the red Wendy's wig? Oops, never mind.)

It's hard to believe that it was ten years ago when Jared became the Subway spokesperson. Subway has been riding that train for awhile with a few detours, but as long as they stick with Jared, and he sticks with them, it's a winning combination.

Here's the latest from Mediapost:

Subway Spokesman Jared Taking A 10-Year Victory Tour

Jared Fogle--who has been the Subway's main pitchman since he lost 245 pounds in 1998 by eating Subway sandwiches and exercising--is hitting the road on a 12-city tour to promote a new childhood obesity-prevention plan. The Three-Point Plan offers funding for school nutrition and fitness programs and gives parents the tools to make healthy foods choices for their children. Subway plans to raise $2 million through donations and fund-raising efforts. The six-month journey--called "Tour de Pants"--will make stops at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, NASCAR events and American Heart Association walks. People can take pictures of Fogle with his "fat pants," collect an Upper Deck Fogle trading card and obtain tips for healthy eating when dining out. The campaign includes a sweepstakes at for a chance to appear in a taping of a Subway commercial with Fogle. - Read the whole story...

Sphere: Related Content

How to turn a disaster into a.....

Well, what is about to happen at Starbucks on February 26th, could either turn out to be fatal, or a resurrection of the ailing coffee giant.

Here's the announcement from their website:

"...Launching the next phase of Starbucks ongoing efforts to transform the company and renew its focus on the customer, Starbucks today announced an historic in-store education and training event for its more than 135,000 store partners (employees) across the United States. The company will close each of its nearly 7,100 company-operated stores in the U.S. on Tuesday, February 26 at 5:30 p.m. local time to conduct a nationwide education event, designed to energize partners and transform the customer experience. Stores with evening hours will re-open at 8:30 p.m....."

Several questions pop into my marketing head:

  1. Can they really re-train their employees in three hours to be the best in the business?
  2. Is this simply a publicity stunt to gather attention?
  3. Will the coffee or service be any better at 8:30pm compared to 5:30pm (after the training)?
  4. What about the other real reasons people visit a coffee shop that Starbucks still doesn't address?
  5. Why tell the world you're a screw up and we need to fix ourselves?
  6. What happens when my expectations are still not met after this training stunt?
  7. I was in a Starbucks yesterday, and they didn't tell me about this upcoming event. I found out about it after a phone call from one of their competitors told me about it today. I was even at the Starbucks website earlier today and didn't see anything about this.
  8. What if my local Starbucks is already doing a great job?

Maybe, this will work for them, but I have my doubts. History will tell us the results a year from now.

Sphere: Related Content

Dunkin' Donut's Unhappy Franchisees

There used to be a franchise in my town named, Mister Donut. He's long gone.

Then came Tom's Donut's. They still have a few stores.

Krispy Kreme came along with their purple cow form of marketing and became my wife's favorite. (I recall a shocking scene with her last year when we stayed at a hotel located next to a Krispy Kreme store. Until then, I never knew she was a KK freak.)

Anyway, in the world of donut's my favorite, after the demise of Mister Donut, has been Dunkin' Donuts. Well it seems that there is a bit of unhappiness in the Dunkin' Donut world. And I wonder what you think about the marketing strategy?

The short version is Dunkin' Donuts products are now available at places other than Dunkin' Donuts. And the DD franchisees say this cuts into their profits. DD headquarters say it should help the DD franchisees, since it promotes the brand and thus creates more demand, and their franchisees should benefit.

Hmmmm. Krispy Kreme sells their donuts everywhere. Starbucks sells some of their products at your grocery store. McDonalds sells their food only at McDonalds. Why?

But wait, there is more to this story than selling DD products at your grocery store. Click on the website links in the previous paragraphs and you'll notice a difference in what McD's, SB, KK, are doing on line vs. the DD website.

DD sells their stuff on line. That's the real BIG PICTURE, All the other places help you find a location to buy your food in person....

Maybe Barry Labov could help them.

Mediapost has more on this story:

"...DUNKIN' DONUTS FRANCHISEES IN NEW England and New York are publicly opposing the company's partnership marketing strategies involving P&G, Sara Lee and Hess, asserting they will "ultimately devalue the iconic coffee brand," that franchisees' cash flow is down and shows "little sign of improving," and that the partnerships will have a negative impact on Northeast markets.

In a statement released on Thursday, the DD Independent Franchise Owners (DDIFO) said 98% of surveyed franchise owners oppose the Sara Lee partnership that calls for the installation of self-service stations in office building break rooms, cafeterias and other venues with large food-service operations...." (READ MORE)

Sphere: Related Content

Tax Refund Checks...Money to Burn?

It all depends on the individual getting the check and what their wants and needs are, but here's an overall summary of what we as a nation will do with our tax refunds:

Heads Up, Retail And Financial Services

Consumers plan to spend 40.6% of tax rebate checks when they are distributed later this year, which will provide an immediate $42.9 billion boost to the economy.

Here's what they plan to do with their share:

Purchase something: $42.0 billion

Pay debt: $30.0 billion

Save it: $19.8 billion

Pay medical bills: $4.6 billion

Invest it: $4.4 billion

Other: $3.9 billion

Source: National Retail Federation

Sphere: Related Content

A lively discussion on the future of Radio

And now, a voice from the other side: Mark Ramsey.

He challenges the views of the Radio Advertising Bureau.

(Here's a link to the future of advertising on the radio which I'm still waiting for someone to take me up on.)

Here's Mark's words:

A lesson for RAB's Jeff Haley

The RAB needs to learn more about its industry.

In his comments at the RAB this week, chief Jeff Haley said this about radio's translation to new media:

Print and video are different experiences when they move to digital – Radio is not. The Rolling Stones sound like The Rolling Stones no matter the channel.

This is not just wrong, but shockingly so.

Jeff, any time you move from one medium to another you change the message. This is Marshall McLuhan 101.

The issue is not whether the Rolling Stones sound like the Rolling Stones across media (although it's interesting that you picked a band best known for its output in the 60's and 70's), the issue is what it means to be "radio" when you exist across media and where each medium has different potentialities that extend well beyond audio alone.

A book is different from a movie is different from a play.

What is "radio" in a medium with pictures and video?

What is "radio" in a medium where consumers create the content?

What is "radio" in a medium where community and social interaction are part of the product rather than simply part of the audience?

What is "radio" in a medium where almost any company or any individual can string together their own playlist that is equal to yours?

The folks at RAB either need to take a class in Media - or talk to a few 12-year-olds.

Sphere: Related Content

How to nurture the Creative Process

In the stress filled world of marketing, advertising, and business in general, it's extremely important to keep your sense of humor.

It's important to encourage an atmosphere that creates smiles. The creative process shuts down when there is too much tension.

Harvey Mackay's latest email also describes the health benefits:

Humor is not just funny business

The late Norman Cousins was a famous magazine editor and author when, at mid-life, he came down with what doctors believed was an incurable illness.

Cousins began an exhaustive study of the illness on his own and in the process, proved to himself and others that laughter can be a major contributor to healing. This is because of the flow of endorphins from the adrenaline system every time you laugh or feel good.

To keep the endorphins flowing, Cousins watched every Marx Brothers movie he could put his hands on. He went to great lengths to maintain a positive frame of mind. It worked.

Cured miraculously, Cousins spent the last part of his life as a lecturer at the UCLA School of Medicine, working with medical students. He was fond of telling the students there that "the control center of your life is your attitude. Negative attitudes lead to illness, low self-esteem and depression. Positive attitudes lead to hope, love, caring, fun and endorphin flow from the adrenaline system."

Cousins proved that a big dose of positive thinking and laughter on a daily basis could contribute as much to your continued health and well being as a basket full of pills.

Laughter and humor are not only good for people, but they are healthy for companies. That's why February is National Laugh Friendly month. I've always thought that kidding around at work is a good thing, which is why I've encouraged it for years at our envelope manufacturing company. We don't start a sales meeting without a good, tasteful joke.

Last fall, I saw the results of a study done by a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher who examined how humor affects the working environment.

Chris Robert, assistant professor of management in MU's College of Business, said that humor—particularly joking around about things associated with the job—actually has a positive impact in the workplace. Occasional humor among colleagues, he said, enhances creativity, department cohesiveness and overall performance.

"Humor is pretty important," said Robert. "It's not just clowning around and having fun. It has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded."

I remember seeing a short article in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago that confirmed a belief I've held for years. I've always felt that humor is the unrecognized indicator of any business' true condition. The magazine pointed out how humor was the great, hidden metric for measuring a company's healthiness or lack thereof. It's seldom recognized or thought of when analyzing businesses.

In life in general, jokes are used to relieve anxiety, to mask hostility, to defuse potentially incendiary situations, and to expose truths that make people uneasy. That's why political jokes are a staple of late night comedy shows and standup comic routines. That's why the powerful are often lampooned in variety-show sketches and in newspaper editorial cartoons.

Everyone knows and can recognize the difference between humor that's affectionate and humor that's a dig. Every organization, every team, every group has malcontents and naysayers who drag down esprit de corps. It's a good idea, especially in business, to eliminate such people. Their negativity ultimately infects others and hurts morale, and, as a corollary, productivity.

Good managers monitor humor. You can learn plenty about your employees through company skits, cartoons posted on bulletin boards, jokes circulated via email, caustic remarks made in meetings, and nicknames assigned to managers. You have only to look at classic movies like "Mister Roberts," or "The Caine Mutiny" to see what devastating effects a bad boss can have on morale.

Managers who are remote never learn this lesson. They ignore company humor. They fail to circulate. They never walk through the plant, factory or office. When they shun close contact with employees, even those in the most basic positions, they cut themselves off from real knowledge: how the enterprise is doing in the hearts and minds of its most important constituents—the people working for it.

When you really get right down to it, fostering positive company-wide humor should be part of management's responsibility. Good managers pay attention to what their employees are saying, doing and feeling. A good sense of humor never hurts anyone.

Mackay's Moral: Humor in business is no joke.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Sad News for Sears-Mart

Valentines day news wasn't very "love-ly" for Sears Holdings. Mediapost gives us this story:

Sears Cuts Jobs, Tries To Breathe New Life Into Kmart, Kenmore by Sarah Mahoney, Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 5:00 AM

THINGS HAVEN'T BEEN GREAT AT Sears Holdings Corp., what with the falling sales, executive turmoil, demoralizing press coverage, and Wednesday's announcement that it would cut 200 jobs at its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters.

The 200 jobs--about 4% of Sears' 5,000 headquarters employees--are reportedly to come from the a sector renamed "Support" in a recent reorganization, a division that includes marketing, as well as store operations, customer strategy and finance.

But both of its Sears and Kmart divisions are looking for new ways to connect with consumers: Kenmore unveiled new appliances at the International Builders' Show, including the Kenmore Elite Oasis washer and Oasis SteamCare, as well as a new antimicrobial technology for refrigerators.

The new versions of the Oasis, which will be in stores next month, are even greener than the previous models. Sears says both models surpass Energy Star standards, and reach Tier II Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) ratings. "The Oasis washer saves 63% more water and 65% more energy than comparable laundry pairs on the market," it says. And the Oasis is available in both topload and frontload format. "Our studies show that a majority of homeowners still prefer top load options due to their capacity and price," the company says.

And in what it describes as a "breakthrough in refrigeration technology," it also took the wraps off a new frill for the fridge: Crisper drawers made from Microban antimicrobial product protection. The substance will "deliver peace of mind to busy parents and homeowners," it says, "and continuously inhibit the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria." It will be available in more than 750 models, beginning in April.

Kenmore continues to be one of Sears' most durable brands, despite an industry-wide slump in appliance sales, linked to the soft real-estate environment.

And Kmart, which like Sears has been struggling with declining same-store sales, says it's undertaking a nationwide search for "the country's next style guru, to serve as a fashion ambassador for the brand." The winner will appear in Kmart's national ad campaign, and spend a day working with the company's Soho-based designers, and will receive $10,000 in Kmart gift cards.

To win, contestants have to upload a photo of themselves at, and will be judged within four style segments: casual, classic, trendy or sporty.

Kmart, which carries such exclusive brands as Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, and Route 66, recently introduced three new lines: Piper & Blue, for juniors; a Hispanic-tailored collection for young men called Limon & Sal, and Wckd, for both young men and women.

Sarah Mahoney can be reached at

Sphere: Related Content

More on line growth

This time it's from the magazine business. Here's the scoop:

Magazines See 2007 Boom On Web
by Erik Sass
Print is thriving--online. The top 320 magazine Web sites received on average 67.5 million unique visitors per month during the fourth quarter of 2007, an 8.1% jump from the same period in 2006, according to Web data collected by Nielsen Online and compiled by the Magazine Publishers of America. That's a faster rate of growth than the Internet overall, where the total U.S. online population rose 2.4% year-over-year. - Read the whole story...

Sphere: Related Content

It can read your mind and your heart

From "across the pond" is this story from Scotland that there is now a machine that measures the emotional impact of advertising!?!?

Do we really need this? Let's just remember to stick to the basics of human relations and apply that to our advertising and marketing efforts.

Here's the story...

Sphere: Related Content

Hillary Endorses Obama?

You HAVE to Click Here to read the story behind this picture....

Sphere: Related Content

Labov & Beyond brings business concepts to Life!

5 years ago, I saw the debut performance of a Live Presentation of the Umbrella Story. Today, I saw it again and I'm signed up to see the entire series.

This is not some boring text book (as you can see), but an interactive workshop production featuring the marketing students of Taylor University and Barry Labov.

I have purchased and given away copies of the book and encourage you to take the time, invest in yourself and sign up for the remaining 5 presentations in the series, being presented at the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

From the Chamber Blog,

"...The next seminar takes place on February 28 from 7:30 - 9 a.m. with "Conviction" and boy are we looking forward to it. "Conviction" tells the TRUE story of Buck, a real business owner who made the conscious decision to trust his employees. And here's the kicker: they were all ex-convicts! Learn how to transform your business and your life with this next presentation. It is not to be missed!..."

Click here for more information and pictures!

Sphere: Related Content

Jerry Yang of Yahoo Speaks Out

The future of business growth involves the internet. Your companies marketing must include being "on-line". That's why I continue covering Microsoft's hostile take-over bid of Yahoo.

Here's the latest from Adweek:

Yahoo!'s Jerry Yang takes a stand, tells shareholders to reject bids from Microsoft.

Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang is urging his company's shareholders to reject any overtures from Microsoft, just as reports emerge that the embattled portal is seeking an alliance with News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media.

In a letter issued to stockholders on Feb. 13, Yang trumpeted what he sees as Yahoo!'s many strengths -- including its huge user base, powerful global brand and online advertising prowess -- which in his view amount to compelling reasons why the company should not accept Microsoft's unsolicited $44.6 billion bid to purchase the company outright. He again declared that the Microsoft offer "undervalued" Yahoo!.

"[Yahoo!'s] assets -- our brand and its audience, our relationships with marketers, our financial strength, our technology and our strategic investments -- are the core of our value and our leadership position in the industry," wrote Yang. "We have a huge market opportunity -- and are uniquely positioned to capitalize on it."

Yang did allude to some urgency for Yahoo!, as he pointed to the huge growth projections for online advertising through the remainder of the decade, and a "unique window of time" during which the company can capture that growth and increase its value. But he also touted Yahoo!'s improved position since he came back on board last June. "Today, Yahoo! is a faster-moving, better-organized, more nimble company than it was just a few months ago," he wrote. "We have accomplished a great deal in a very short time -- and we are focused on building this momentum."

While not getting specific, Yang implied that Yahoo! was looking at alternative "strategic options" to help Yahoo! stave off Microsoft's advances. Several reports have emerged, which claim that Yahoo! is exploring a relationship with News Corp.'s MySpace to help counter Microsoft's proposal. Neither company would comment, though reports said that News Corp. would not look to buy Yahoo! outright, but instead would explore merging MySpace and Yahoo! in some fashion while making a significant capital investment in the company.

Sphere: Related Content

3 Rights that don't make a wrong

I was digging through some writings from a few years ago and wanted to share them again.

First, how about the right way to start your business:

...Never confuse the foundation with the design of your project. These words of wisdom can be applied to almost anything, but what brought it to mind was a pallet of paving bricks in my backyard. (READ MORE)

Next, there is the right way to brainstorm:

...How many right ways are there? If you limit yourself to just one right answer, then you have stopped looking for "righter" answers. (READ MORE)

And finally, the right formula for advertising:


Sphere: Related Content

Show some love today and everyday

Another great email in my inbox today from Art Sobczak today on relationships which is what marketing is all about building and maintaining:

I'm Thinking About YOU, Scott

Hi Scott,

I'm thinking about you today,
Valentine's Day.

Yes, today is especially a day all about

Well, I'm thinking about you mostly to
give you an idea that can help you build
better relationships with your customers,
and turn more of the nonbuying prospects
in your database into customers.

It's pretty simple: Call people and tell them
you are thinking about them.

What? That’s it?


Why not? Who does not react warmly when
they are told they are being thought about.
(Unless of course it's a creepy stalker, a bill
collector, or the IRS.)

Well, OK, maybe it's not THAT simple. There is
just a bit more. The key to success is in
doing it correctly so it has the intended impact.

First, let me tell you how I became a big
proponent of the "Thinking About You" call.

I've long made fun of openings--mostly
to existing customers, and prospects you want
to stay in touch with--that are valueless.

See if you’ve been guilty of any of these.

The Probation Officer Approach:
"Just checking in with you..."

The Baseball Opening:
"Just wanted to touch base with you..."

The I've Got Too Much Time on My Hands Call
"Thought I'd give you a call to see
how it's going..."

Oh, sure, some could argue these are courtesy
calls. Customer relation calls. It shows you

Well, perhaps the intent is there, but if you just
show up on the phone with no value to share, like
the mooching cousin showing up on your doorstep
looking for a place to spend the night, it's a
nuisance call, plain and simple. You are taking
up their time without anything of value in return.

Now don't get me wrong. There is tremendous
value in touching your prospects and customers.
(By phone, silly. You know what I mean.) But
you want them to say they got something
from the call.

You do not want them to think, "Oh, it's the
industrial supply rep again. Just checking to
see if I have an order for him."

Instead, you want them to feel,

"Oh, every time Allison calls, she has something
for me that I can use. I love hearing from her."

Which brings me back to the "Thinking of
you" call. You need to grab their attention
right away, and then deliver the goods. And
perhaps get a sale, or move the sale forward,
or at the very least, strengthen the relationship.

What To Do and Say
Here's exactly how to do it.

Call with some news, an idea, something you
heard or saw that could benefit them, a
sale or promotion they could take advantage
of...anything that would cause them to say,
"Oh, that's interesting stuff."

For example,

“Hi Jim, it’s Pat at Universal Services. I was reading
some new performance reports, and I started
thinking about you. I realized that you might be
interested in what these reports had to say, because
of what you mentioned on our last call about...”

“'Kyle, it's KrisAnn at with Jensen Engineering.
I was thinking about you, and some of the points
you made about your specific hydraulic needs
during our last conversation. I have a few ideas I’d
like to run by you.”

"Hey Dan, Stan Phelps at Hill Street Construction.
I heard some interesting information about a few
new concrete processes, and you came to mind
as someone who could really profit from it. . ."

So, make those calls and let people know you are
thinking about them. And, without exception, have a
Value Added Point. Doing so will help create, build
and strengthen relationships.


Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones
which strike deepest in the gratefully and appreciating heart".

Washington Irving

Go and have your best week ever!


Contact Info
Art Sobczak
Business By Phone Inc.
13254 Stevens St.
Omaha, NE, 68137

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beyond the Apparent....

I am reading the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

It is about the first two seconds, when our brains act, react and make judgments before we consciously realize it.

I have worked for Managers that went through a whole litany of tests and interviews to determine who to hire; and Managers that would disqualify a candidate within 5 minutes of an interview. It seemed that the more extensive the testing, the worse the hires!

There are reactions that can affect your success that you may not be aware of. I did an experiment for awhile asking people to pick their favorite business card from two different designs I had created. It's all part of your marketing too.

Anthony Juliano (SoundBite Back blog) sent me an email with a link to a story that was in today's New York Times that deals with a related subject, mimicking the behavior of someone that you want to trust you. Here's the beginning of the story :

Artful persuasion depends on eye contact, but not just any kind. If one person prefers brief glances and the other is busy staring deeply, then it may not matter how good the jokes are or how much they both loved “Juno.” Rhythm counts. Voice cadence does, too. People who speak in loud, animated bursts tend to feed off others who do the same, just as those who are lower key tend to relax in a cool stream of measured tones.

“Myself, I’m very conscious of people’s body position,” said Ray Allieri of Wellesley, Mass., a former telecommunications executive with 20 years in marketing and sales. “If they’re leaning back in their chair, I do that, and if they’re forward on their elbows, I tend to move forward,”

Psychologists have been studying the art of persuasion for nearly a century, analyzing activities like political propaganda, television campaigns and door-to-door sales. Many factors influence people’s susceptibility to an appeal, studies suggest, including their perception of how exclusive an opportunity is and whether their neighbors are buying it. (READ MORE)

Sphere: Related Content

The Future of Advertising on Radio & TV that WORKS

Yesterday I promised that I would provide the answer to the problem of people switching stations or channels when commercials come on.

It requires breaking the mold that we are stuck in as far as the way airtime is bought and sold.

It involves stepping back in time when advertising was not treated as an interruption.

It involves taking risks that will result in real results and a win/win situation for everyone.

Since I work in radio, I'll focus on that medium.

Recently we had a local radio station go commercial free for a good 6 months or more. And they promoted the hell out of it. It worked in the ratings game. When the results were announced, the fall 2007 ratings for that radio station jumped to near the top of the heap.

But here's where the problem lies. They are now playing commercials in the traditional method.
That means you stop the music, play between 2 and 10 minutes of commercials and then play another bunch of back to back music until it's time to stop and do it again.

I used to work on the air when we started introducing "Commercial free music blocks", and I knew it was a bad idea 25 years ago. It taught and conditioned listeners that commercials are "bad".

Here is the solution. The best of both worlds.

  1. Non-stop Music.
  2. "Live" commercial announcements that are 10 seconds to 30 seconds long and done over the intro of the song. Not a music bed, but the actual song that is being played.
You eliminate commercial stop sets that are tune out factors and now your listeners have no reason to switch stations, (as long as they like your music selection).

You have eliminated bad commercials that ramble on and on and on and on and.... and replace them with a message from the air personality that is believable.

Is there anybody that has the guts to do this? Let me know, and I'll show you how to do this and make lots of money and put lots of smiles on lots and lots of faces!

That's a lot of lot's! Here's my number: 260-710-7078

Sphere: Related Content

Super Serve Your Customers is part of your Marketing

I was reading this tip from my email today, that was written specifically for radio advertising sales reps, and realized that you can apply it to almost any business....

Read it for yourself, and see how you can translate it into your line of work.

Remember, the better you serve your current customers, the less you'll have to spend to replace them with new customers!

Read on:

Sales Tip from the RAB Training Academy: How Well Do You Know Your Products?
By Doc Holliday, RAB Training Specialist, Radio Training Academy

Take the time to make an inventory list of every single sales opportunity you have with your station. How many commercials per hour do you have to sell? What are their lengths? What features are sponsorable, and what does each sponsorship package offer? How about special programming opportunities, event opportunities, and Website opportunities?

Next to each sales opportunity, list the types of client needs for which it is appropriate: branding, sampling, cause marketing, lifestyle targeting, demo targeting, brand maintenance, employment recruitment, new product introductions, grand openings, etc. They are all needs you uncover every day.

Being constantly aware of your products and how to apply them to your client's needs gives you the ability to be first in line with relevant ideas and solutions.

Sphere: Related Content

Freedom of Speech

Are Blogs a "real" media?

Is a blog a way to Advertise?

Or create Public Relations?

Or Market yourself?

The answer is yes to all of the above.

Locally, we have over 1300 blogs on the network that call Fort Wayne home. My guess is that there are only 300 of those blogs that are active. Some are personal in nature. Some are political. Some are geared to a hobby. Some are connected to a business. However, there are some important facts about blogs and the internet. The TV writers strike drove even more people to alternative forms of entertainment and you are looking at the medium that gained the most. The Web.

Newspapers are continuing their decline as they adapt to the demands of their readers and advertising clients by increasing their web presence.

Former Newscaster Keith Edwards started blogging after leaving Indiana's News Center last year. Watch election coverage on CNN and the other networks and have your laptop fired up so you can chime in the discussion.

The free speech that was once limited to those that had a transmitter, or printing press is now available to anyone with an internet connection.

This blog has been linked to by the Wall Street Journal and other national news sources. And do you know what my cost for developing this site along with the others that I maintain is? Next to nothing dollar-wise. Time and a little bit of know-how is my primary investment.

So, who Blogs?

Look at this from BIG Research:

Study: Bloggers Younger, More Educated and Ethnically Diverse

Bloggers are younger and better educated but earn less than the general U.S. adult (18+) population - and they are more likely to be single, male, and actively engaged in new media, according to a study by BIGresearch.

Of those who blog occasionally or regularly (26% of the population):

  • 53.7% are male.
  • Nearly half (44.7%) are married.
  • One in 10 (10.4%) are students.
  • 28.4% hold a professional or managerial position.

Bloggers have a lower average income than most adults ($55,819 vs. $56,811) and are better educated (14.3 years of education vs. 14.2).

They also tend to be younger, with an average age of 37.6, compared with 44.8 for the US adult population:


Media Use

Use of new media and technology is more prominent among bloggers:


Yet bloggers also rely on traditional media, with magazines ranking as the highest trigger for an online search, cited by 51.6%, followed by reading articles and watching broadcast TV:



Ethnic minorities are highly represented among bloggers:

  • 12.2% of bloggers are African American/Black (compared with 11.4% of the general population)
  • 20% are Hispanic (vs. 14.8).
  • 3.7% are Asian (vs. 2.0%).

White/Caucasians are 76.1% of all adults, but among those who blog regularly or occasionally, just 69.7% are white.

Political Affiliation

Of all registered voters, 24.6% say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of these:

  • 37.6% are Libertarians.
  • 26.9% are Democrats.
  • 25.7% are Independents.
  • 22.9% are Republicans.

“Bloggers are a diverse group and not who you would expect,” said Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch. “This diversity provides political bloggers with a forum to discuss issues or maybe be influenced by others, while candidates have an opportunity to reach interested voters.”

About the survey: The Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11), from which this data is culled, polled 15,727 participants. It is conducted bi-annually. A summary of the blogger-related findings are available via BIGresearch.

Sphere: Related Content

On Line or Out Of Business?

Here in the USA we are behind the rest of the world as far as % of folks shopping On Line according to this info from Nielsen.

Maybe because we have a better infrastructure for traditional retail than other parts of the world.
But, if your business is not online, you are basically invisible to those who currently use the internet to look for stuff, even if they are not buying on line.

And if you are designing a website for your business, then find a way for your web visitors to buy from you on-line. Otherwise it could be a waste of cyberspace!

Here's the info from Nielsen:

85% Of World's Online Population Shopped On The Web

According to the latest Nielsen Global Online Survey on internet shopping habits, more than 85% of the world's online population has used the internet to make a purchase, increasing the market for online shopping by 40% in the past two years.

Bruce Paul, VP, Customized Research, Nielsen US, said "When The Nielsen Company conducted its first global survey into internet shopping trends two years ago, approximately 10% of the world's population (627 million) had shopped online. Within two years, this number has increased by approximately 40% to 875 million."

Globally, more than half of internet users have made at least one purchase online in the past month, according to Nielsen.

Among internet users, the highest percentage shopping online is in South Korea, where 99% of those with internet access have used it to shop, and 79% of these internet users have shopped in the past month. Other prolific shoppers are in the last month are:

  • the UK 76%
  • Switzerland 67%
  • the US 57%.

Internet Users Who Have Ever Purchased Online


% of Internet Users



the UK




North America


the US


Asia Pacific




Latin America




Global Total


Source: ?The Nielsen Company, 2007/Marketing Charts, January 2008


Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Future of Radio

The annual Radio Advertising Buraeu national convention is going on in Atlanta. Here's the letter sent to members from Jeff Haley, RAB President & CEO:

A Case for Optimism

By Jeff Haley, RAB President & CEO

As the RAB commences its annual conference in Atlanta this week, I thought it important to reflect on what I believe to be the foundation for success in our business and why I am confident that the best days for Radio lie ahead.

For me, two clear and simple facts stand out as guiding principles for all media, but especially Radio. These are the central tenets of what we do.

First, Radio operates in the public trust. A basis of all democracies is the belief that some things exist for the benefit of all. The airways we broadcast through, and the first amendment rights we exercise daily, are the cornerstones of our business. Our use of those airways is a privilege and a responsibility. Radio succeeds exceedingly well every single day in meeting this responsibility. Radio responds and serves its communities quickly, efficiently, effectively and passionately in times of crisis and joy. Together, we all share in this privilege and shoulder this responsibility, and we should understand and remember the nearly 100 year history of Radio and its amazing success in doing so. We serve our listeners and all our constituencies by pursuing profit, but at the same time we act in the fulfillment of our public trust.

Second, Radio is a service business. We create no tangible assets. Our capital expenditures are a proudly thin part of our infrastructure. Like any service business our assets are our people. In addition to our responsibility to serve the public trust, we have an equivalent responsibility to serve our customers. Our collective action in serving those customers determines our success and our reputation. The beauty of the service business is that there our no outside limits on how we provide that service, or the degree of effort we put forth in doing so, the potential scope of our success is truly infinite. There are as many ways to affect performance and reputation as there are people in Radio. We are the product. Advertisers buy audience and, together, we develop measures that hold us accountable, but what drives those measures and what meets the grade is, in the final analysis, all up to us. We can shape and change our product to meet the needs of our customers and our listeners, or not. It is simply up to us.

Remembering and concentrating on the core focus of our mission, the operation of service businesses in the public trust, is for me a source of great optimism. We serve a public function that is greater than profit alone, and our success and reputation is based solely on the collective output of individual efforts. Radio is not simply a collection of hard assets like land or buildings. If our success is defined by our individual efforts and the scope and degree of that success is up to us, our efforts, our talent and our leadership; I am compelled to be optimistic. I believe that positive attitudes change everything. My response to difficulty is rooted in the strength that comes from an optimistic outlook. This is not naiveté. I do not reject or ignore the pessimistic viewpoint. I do, however, choose to respond to adversity through a positive viewpoint, because I believe doing so creates the power to change things for the better. I propose that our response to those who doubt the great future of Radio is to send a bold signal of our success. Let's embrace digital technology fully. Let's fight back against the misperceptions about Radio that are perpetrated everyday. Let's declare our leadership in audio entertainment.

Let's be passionate and enthusiastic. Let's believe.

Sphere: Related Content

Rename Harrison Square?

This is of local interest.

Branding is an important part of becoming Top of Mind.

Becoming one of the top 2 or 3 gives you a shot at customers coming to you.

Word of Mouth spreads once people have you Top of Mind.

And your business grows if you do everything else right.

Or you can fade away and no one will ever know you existed.

Sphere: Related Content

Starbucks switches WI-FI providers

First the news from the San Fransisco Chronicle, then my take on the whole marketing mistakes that continues to plague Starbucks:

Millions of AT&T DSL subscribers and Starbucks customers soon will get free Wi-Fi access at 7,000 Starbucks locations as part of new deal announced by the two companies Monday.

AT&T, the largest provider of broadband in the country, will replace T-Mobile as the hotspot provider for Starbucks. The deal expands an existing partnership, which involved AT&T providing back-end support for services such as connecting Starbucks registers.

The terms of the deal were not announced.

The transition, which involves swapping out equipment, will begin April 1 and continue through the end of the year.

Under the agreement, about 12 million AT&T subscribers who take DSL service at the 1.5-megabit-per-second tier or higher will receive free Wi-Fi access at Starbucks stores. Users will log on with their AT&T Yahoo DSL sign-in to receive service.

The addition of Starbucks brings the number of AT&T hotspots to 17,000 in the United States, including McDonald's and Barnes & Noble locations. Last month, AT&T said it was offering most of its DSL subscribers free access to its then-10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

"Life is about wireless mobility. It's about being connected wherever you are," said AT&T spokesman John Britton. "This is 17,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots. That's a lot of opportunities to stay connected."

T-Mobile customers still will be able to log on to the network through a partnership with AT&T.

Starbucks customers who buy a prepaid Starbucks card will receive two hours of free service. The card, which can be purchased for $5 or more, must be activated and have a balance to receive free Wi-Fi service.

AT&T also is cutting the price of hotspot service for outside users. For two hours, users will pay $3.99. Monthly membership will be sold for $19.99, and will include access to AT&T's 70,000 hotspots around the world. Previously, T-Mobile was charging $6 per hour, $9.99 for a day pass, or $39.99 a month for unlimited access.

The partnership is the second headline deal for Starbucks that it hopes will bring in more foot traffic. Apple announced last year that it would extend free Wi-Fi access to its iTunes store to Starbucks customers.

"Our new relationship with AT&T gives us the opportunity to expand and enhance the range of digital entertainment experiences for our customers as well as our partners, including the continued rollout of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks," said Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment.

AT&T stock was up 50 cents or 1.37 percent to finish at $36.87 a share Monday. Starbucks shares rose 26 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $18.52.

Once and only once did I pay to log on to the Internet while sitting at a Starbucks. This is one reason why I do not hang out at Starbucks. Why should I pay for something that I can get free at every other coffee shop in town?

Laptop computers are now outselling desktops. Coffee Shops that don't offer free wireless are giving their customers a reason to NOT visit and spend money with them.

They are going through a reorganization effort at Starbucks to try and revive the brand, but switching from one paid service to another paid service is still out of touch with the folks they should be reaching out to.

Now if I lived in Switzerland, I'd have free wireless at Starbucks according to their website:

All Starbucks Coffeehouses in Switzerland (with the exception of the Coffeehouse at Zurich Airport) now offer high-speed wireless internet access free of charge – surf the web with the same comfort and speed you have at home or at work.

What do you think?

Sphere: Related Content

Innovative ways to use commercials

NBC and Kay Jewelers are getting attention for the way they are scheduling commercials with a story wrapped into a commercial break.

This really is not a new concept as we have seen magazines do something like this on occasion with multiple ads woven around a story on multiple pages. I've seen this concept with billboards at least a couple of times.

And it can work in radio too.

However, what do we do to get around the commercial skipping, fast-forwarding, and button-pushing-to change-the station-when-the commercials-come-on?

I'll have some answers, Tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's the details of the Kay Jewelers campaign from Mediapost:

Kay Jewelers Promo Busts Commercial Pod
by Wayne Friedman, Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 5:00 AM ET
NBC WILL RAMP UP A special short-form Valentine's Day promotion sponsored by Kay Jewelers. A short-form romantic story will run for about 40 seconds in a typical prime-time commercial pod. Then, other commercials will play. This will be followed by a 20-second response/conclusion to the story and a 10-second spot from Kay Jewelers.

Five different stories air--one each night--leading up to Valentine's Day. The short-form content ran during "Outrageous Moments" on Sunday and on "Deal or No Deal" on Monday. It will also run on "Deal" on Wednesday and Thursday; and during "The Biggest Loser" on Wednesday.

In one story, a man with a heart condition gets better with his girlfriend's help. An avid Boston Red Sox fan, he lures her to Fenway Park (as a prospective contestant of "Deal or No Deal") and proposes marriage.

"They are like [commercial] pod busters," says Jim Vescera, executive vice president of on-air advertising of NBC. "It's something we have been planning for some time. We thought, what would make sense to hold viewers from surfing?"

Couples were culled from a campaign started on NBC's women-oriented Web site, iVillage. The stories will have an afterlife on, where they will be extended to up to five minutes in length.

The deal to do the episodes was not predicated on getting a sponsor. Vince Manze, president of program planning, scheduling and strategy for NBC, initiated the Valentine's Day short-form idea. "We would have done them anyway," says Vescera. "There is real entertainment value here. It plays as a programming element, not advertising."

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do you know who you are?

In the eyes of your customers, which is what marketing is all about. I recently talked to a doctor about his practice and while he was very impressive with his credentials, no one cares about the lambskin, they care about getting healthy.

I know it is a blow to the ego but, it's what counts. And your marketing message needs to be about what counts in the hearts and minds of your customers/clients.

Focus on them and they will focus on you. And make sure your marketing reflects that concept.

Sphere: Related Content