Saturday, February 23, 2008

More than one way to skin a cat

Disclaimer: No Cats were harmed in to create this post. The picture to the left was found on the internet. It is not my cat. This has nothing to do with cats. It's just a weird expression. Whew.

Now on to the important stuff: There are often multiple options to consider when you need to spruce up your marketing. This article come from Small Fuel:

Has your marketing become old, boring, or dull? Is it no longer the powerhouse force that it used to be?

If that’s the case, this article might be just the thing for you. Read more for some simple ways to breathe some new life into your marketing efforts.

Give your campaign a new look

One of the easiest ways to refresh your marketing is to take an old campaign that worked well and give it a slick new look. Good graphic design isn’t very expensive these days, so you should be able to rev-up without breaking the bank.

Same look, new message

Do you have an awesome looking marketing campaign that’s worked well before? One way you might boost sagging results is by tweaking the message a bit—you could make it more specific, change the target a little, or maybe refine it based on new information.

Add a new incentive

A decent or good campaign can often be turned into an extraordinary one by offering the right type of incentive. Free information and trinkets seem to be all the rage, but you need to make sure your offer is relevant and valuable to your target audience in order for it to actually work well.

Personalize it

Some campaigns can work really well by adding a little personalization into the mix. Email marketing and direct mail are two that can be dramatically improved by a few personal words.

Turn one campaign into several

Often times results will dwindle and disappear because a marketing campaign is too general. One way to refresh a good general campaign is to segment it into several campaigns targeted at very specific markets. Results from doing this can be truly phenomenal.

Combine several marketing campaigns

Sometimes marketing that works well on its own can work even better when combined with another type of campaign. A great example of this is the mail-then-call combination, which is several times more effective than either of them alone.

Change the format

A number of campaigns, such as direct mail, can loose their effect after being run a few times (usually after you’ve exhausted quality contact lists). In these cases it can often times be a huge refresher to run roughly the same campaign in a different format. For example, if a print advertisement is no longer bringing in a lot of new business, perhaps you could try changing the publication or putting it online instead.

Focus on existing customers

Marketing campaigns that work well at bringing in new clients usually work well at getting new business out of older clients. These campaigns are also great for generating a lot of new referrals too.

Change the desired action

Most powerful marketing campaigns have a very specific desired action (like a phone call or email sign-up), and sometimes you can reinvigorate the campaign by changing that action. Easier actions get better response rates, whereas harder actions are usually more valuable. It’s up to you to determine what will work best for your small business.

Make your campaign seasonal

Given the large number of holidays, and the changing seasons, you can almost always find some way to put a seasonal spin on a campaign. A campaign that matches up with the current season or holiday shows people that it’s relevant and new, and can be considerably more effective.

Tie your marketing to a current event

In marketing, relevance and newness are very important. By tying your marketing to a current event you can clearly show that your are up with the times, and your marketing will benefit greatly from it.

Sensationalize your marketing campaign

Though I wouldn’t recommend trying this on all of your marketing at the same time, it can be a fun experiment on a single campaign. Often times, completely exaggerating your message will significantly improve results.

Make it a 2-stage campaign

Many small business marketing campaigns involve only one step from first-contact to desired action (for example, a postcard that has a phone number to call). Sometimes these campaigns can work significantly better if there is an intermediate step added. One example for that is a Pay-Per-Click ad that directs a customer to a website that directs a customer to a phone call.

Lower the word count

It’s been shown over and over again that having a shorter message works better than having a long one. Try editing an old campaign and deleting anything not strictly part of your core message—run the campaign again and you’ll be sure to notice an improvement.

Increase the imagery

Powerful images that correspond to your message can do wonders for refreshing a marketing campaign. Think about some previous campaigns that might benefit from some big pretty pictures, and then go ahead and try them out again. A good image can be worth a whole lot more than a thousand words.

That’s all for this list :) I know there are a lot of other good ways to refresh a marketing campaign, so feel free to add anything you think of to the comments.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, February 22, 2008

More on the Google & Microsoft relationship

There are all kinds of lessons about marketing that can be learned from the folks at Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, AOL, IBM, and nearly every other computer and internet oriented company. But for now, let's just look at the the latest news.

From my email, the Giant's continue to duke it out:

Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin called Microsoft Corp.'s takeover bid for Yahoo Inc. an "unnerving" maneuver that threatens innovation on the Internet. Brin reiterated the Internet search leader's position that a merger could violate antitrust laws and harm Internet users. Brin made the comment after an event at the Mountain View-based company's headquarters for the Google Lunar X Prize, a race to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the moon. Jordan Robertson of the AP reports. more »

Sphere: Related Content

Beer & Cheese?

Don't know if this will help sell beer but it is clever:

Sphere: Related Content

Starbucking it?

...More Starbucks news on Collective Wisdom. Apparently we can't stop ourselves. Maybe it's a caffeine addiction?

For all the stories and updates, just type Starbucks in the search box on the right side of this page.

Here's the latest from Mediapost:

REACTION TO THE UNUSUAL MOVE taken by Starbucks, to close for three hours next Tuesday for barista retraining is making for interesting dialog in the marketing world.

What do you think? Let us know for a Tuesday round-up!

In particular, the entries on make for lively reading, from current and former baristas, including one who asks: "Any baristas out there who resent this 'training session' or feel insulted somehow? As in, 'tell us something we don't know!' Unless entirely new methods of preparation are introduced, aren't you feeling like this is just a PR move? Somehow I imagine the three-hour training will be mainly a three-hour break." (READ MORE)

Sphere: Related Content

Try it, you'll like it!

Last month one of my radio stations did it's first "Meat remote". ROCK 104, WXKE, was at a local Kroger store for two hours while Kathy cooked up Sterling Silver Ribeyes which she handed out on toothpicks to anyone that came by and was enticed by the aroma.

We had fun, they sold steaks (and seasonings) and it worked. I bought some and cooked them at home for my wife and will again and again.

Can you offer samples to your potential customers? The cost is minimal, the results can be tremendous. But don't just take my word for it, listen to the king of sampling, Proctor and Gamble:

PROCTER & GAMBLE CEO A.J. Lafley gave a ringing endorsement Thursday to an industry initiative aimed at gauging how effective in-store marketing is in driving purchase decisions. Known as P.R.I.S.M., Lafley said the initiative offers the potential to provide details on which promotional materials were effective with shoppers. And it's a chance to use that information to determine whether P&G can persuade consumers to spend more per trip.

"P.R.I.S.M. will transform how we think about in-store consumer communications and behavior," he said at an investor event.

Lafley indicated that so far, P.R.I.S.M. has been more quantitative with details on shopper frequency and store traffic, such as how much consumers are putting in their baskets.

P&G spends some $10 billion a year on in-store initiatives, Lafley said--partly because research shows that 70% of final purchase decisions are made at the shelves. "We're confident we can improve the productivity of this investment," he said. (READ MORE from Mediapost)

Sphere: Related Content

Where does the money go?

Recently the F.C.C. has been making some dough by fining broadcasting outlets for airing stuff that "breaks the rules".

I was just wondering, into what government account does this cash go into? Do we get a tax cut?

Okay, I know that is silly, but I do wonder about these things on a snowy Friday.

Here's the latest:

THE FCC IS EXPECTED TO slap News Corp. with a $1.2 million fine for a 2003 episode of "Married by America." The issue is nudity, although some images were pixelated. This is the second indecency notice this week. On Tuesday, it handed down fines to ABC stations for an "NYPD Blue" episode in 2003.

Sphere: Related Content

Creating Win/Win Buy/Sell Relationships

From my email comes this bit of Sales Training:

Daily Sales Tip: Manipulation or Persuasion?

Manipulation is getting prospects or customers to do something for your benefit. Persuasion is getting them to do something for your mutual benefit.

What's the difference? Manipulation is usually bad. It's done to serve your own interests without any regard to what you're doing for the prospect or customer.

Persuasion is good because it's done for the best interests of you and the prospect or customer. Here are some tips that may increase your persuasive powers:

Persisting. Persuaders realize that 80% of sales are made on the fifth call or later. They recognize that one of their most persuasive abilities is the refusal to give up. They understand that more than 75% of salespeople quit after calling on a prospect three times. Persuaders are in the elite 20% of the sales force that close 80% of the sales.

Personalizing. Persuaders recognize that a prospect wants to know one thing: "What's in it for me?" They add persuasion by personalizing every part of their presentation to meet prospects' own personal needs and wants.

Proving. Facts and testimonials are very persuasive. Persuaders recognize that third-party endorsements go a long way to building credibility. They're prepared to prove every claim they make with hard data, test results and performance records.

Positive. The best persuaders are positive about themselves, the company they represent, the products or services they're selling, and the prospects they're attempting to persuade. Enthusiasm is contagious. They persuade with power because they get customers and prospects feeling the same way.

Source: Adapted from Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want, by sales trainer/consultant David Lakhani

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More on Brand Keys Loyalty Index

This is the third installment of analysis of a report that was released recently.

On Monday, I talked about the Coffee Battle between Starbucks, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts. (READ MORE).

Yesterday, I presented a list of #1's in each category surveyed. (READ MORE).

Before we look at the report I have for you today, I want to share with you why this matters.

A few years ago, my company hired TOMA Research, and they did a Top Of Mind Awareness (T.O.M.A.) study in Fort Wayne to measure where companies ranked in our community. This was eye opening to the hundreds of business owners that came to the seminar to discover their results. The TOMA study was similar to the Brand Study that Brand Keys did.

You need to be distinguishable among the multitudes of choices your customers have. I recall last summer when the owner of a local car repair chain was complaining that there are now more than 20 local radio stations to chose from. I asked him how many local auto repair shops there were in town and handed him the phone book. (There are a few hundred).

This is where your BRAND comes in. Don't just be another one, Be You and Brand You.

Now let's look at this third installment:

Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Underscores Commoditization

The main takeaway from the just-released results of the 2008 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) is that brands are more indistinguishable than ever, according to Robert Passikoff.

"Ties between brands used to be the exception, but there are more ties than there have ever been. This speaks to commoditization," says Passikoff, founder of the Brand Keys consultancy and creator of the CLEI system. "Many brands are now just placeholders. It's nice to be number one, but people don't perceive any differences between number one and number two in many cases. People know the brand names, but they don't know what the brands stand for."

Brand Keys has used CLEI annually since 1997 to measure U.S. customers' relationships with brands. The strength of that bond is a leading indicator that has been shown to accurately predict consumers' behavior in the marketplace and the brand's sales and profitability six to eight months out, according to the firm. This year's CLEI ranks 382 brands across 57 categories.

Two brands tied for first place in 17 categories: airlines (JetBlue/Southwest); OTC allergy medicines (Benadryl/Tylenol); athletic footwear (Air Jordan/New Balance); banks (Wachovia/Washington Mutual); bottled water (Aquafina/Fiji); mass merchandiser cosmetics (Mary Kay/Maybelline); diapers (Wal-Mart White Cloud/Playskool); gasoline (BP/Sunoco); LCD HDTV (Samsung/Panasonic); plasma HDTV (Pioneer/Panasonic); upscale hotels (Hyatt/Embassy Suites); long-distance phone service (AT&T/Verizon); online travel (Expedia/Orbitz); pizza (Domino's/Papa John's); quick-serve restaurants (McDonald's/Subway); home improvement stores (Lowe's/True Value); and wireless phone service (Verizon/AT&T).

There were also 52 instances of ties for other places within the categories. Lack of perceived differentiation seems particularly common in electronic categories. Among computers, Apple and Dell are clearly No. 1 and No. 2, but are followed by a series of tied brands (Gateway/HP tied for third, Fujitsu/Toshiba tied for fourth, IBM/Lenovo/Sony VAIO tied for fifth, and NEC/Panasonic/Compaq tied for sixth).

Among DVD players, Samsung and Sony are 1 and 2, while Panasonic, Pioneer and Toshiba are tied for third, and JVC and Sharp for fourth.

Among HDTVs, the first-place ties are just the beginning. In LCDs, RCA and Toshiba are tied for second, Sharp is No. 3, and JVC/Hitachi are tied for fourth. In plasma screens, Samsung, LG and Vizio hold the second, third and fourth places, followed by ties for fifth (Sony/Toshiba) and sixth (Dell/Philips/Hitachi).

Brand Keys added the mass-merchandise cosmetics and luxury cosmetics categories this year. In the latter category, Estee Lauder took first place, followed by Clinique/Lancome, Chanel and Shiseido.

Aside from the 13 brands added through the new cosmetics categories, 14 brands appeared in the rankings for the first time: Northwest Airlines, Vitamin Water and Volvic (bottled water), Wal-Mart White Cloud, Luv's, JVC and Sharp (within DVD players), National Grid (energy provider), Kayak (online travel), American Apparel, Radio Shack (electronics stores), Search (search engines) and McDonald's, which appeared for the first time in the coffee category.

"McDonald's got the coffee right and is now parlaying it into whole new lines of business," Passikoff notes. Meanwhile, Starbuck's--which lost first place to Dunkin' Donuts in the coffee category last year--is now No. 3, below both Dunkin' and McDonald's.

Other highlights:

* Toyota remained the No. 1 auto brand, as it has been since the study began.

* Air Jordan moved up significantly, apparently on the strength of its introduction of XX3 White/Titanium-University Blue, the 23rd iteration of the sneakers, being sold at 23 dealers for $230 a pair, all to tie in with Michael Jordan's famous number 23.

* Sam Adams is now the No. 1 regular (non-light) beer, having risen up the ranks on the strength of solid advertising that conveys the brand's authentic production-"a big deal to beer drinkers," observes Passikoff.

* W Hotels ranked No. 1 among luxury hotels for the first time. "They've done a lot of branding work on service and value, which are the key drivers for that category," he points out.

For the CLEI, Brand Keys interviews a representative sample of U.S. consumers using screening techniques to identify brand customers (most of whom are in the top 20% of the customer base). The interviews employ a combination of proprietary psychological assessments and statistical analyses to gauge emotional and rational elements of the bond with the brand.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 2/20/08)

Sphere: Related Content

Starbucks closed...Need Coffee NOW

There has been talk locally about how to take advantage of the 3 hour Starbucks deprivation that is scheduled between 5:30pm and 8:30pm on Tuesday the 26th.

Apparently, others around the country are planning to take advantage of the situation too.

The lesson to be learned is that you need to take advantage of doors when they swing open for you.

Are agile enough to leap through the doors in front of you? Or are you bogged down by committees?

Read this from Mediapost today:

MARKETING LOVES A VACUUM. IN the wake of Starbucks' announcement that it will close all of its 7,100 company-owned stores on Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in order to refocus more than 135,000 employees on its espresso standards, other coffee vendors are leaping to the fore.

Stew Leonard's, which roasts its 20 varieties of coffee in-house and brews more than 2,000 pounds of beans every day, on Wednesday said it will offer free cups of coffee, espresso and cappuccino while Starbucks is closed. Stew Leonard's is a family-owned and -operated fresh food store founded in 1969, with four stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn., and Yonkers, N.Y.

Stew Leonard Jr. said in a press release that he got the idea from Mike Perry, owner of Coffee Klatch Roasting in San Dimas, Calif., who was visiting Stew Leonard's stores. In a news release issued on Tuesday, that company said it would offer free coffee at its retail coffee shops in San Dimas and Rancho Cucamonga.

Even a Midwestern coffee shop is getting into the act.

Java Station Espresso Café in the Village of East Davenport, Iowa, will offer extended hours on Tuesday "to welcome all Starbucks customers who will find their local Starbucks closed."

"We usually close at 6 p.m. during the winter months--but realizing that Starbucks' specialty coffee and espresso customers will need a place to find their evening latte, cappuccino, and chai tea--we will stay open until 9 p.m.," said the owner in a press release.

Sphere: Related Content

Newspaper News

First the Bad News from Mediapost:

The Albuquerque Tribune publishes its final edition on Saturday, Feb. 23. Its owner, E.W. Scripps Co., tried to sell the newspaper without success. The closing will affect 38 editorial employees. Scripps bought the paper in 1923. Since 1933, the Tribune has been published as part of a joint operating agreement with The Albuquerque Journal, which enjoys a much higher circulation. (Mediapost)


SUN-TIMES MEDIA GROUP INC. WILL outsource its advertising production as it moves to cut newspaper expenses at its Chicago paper by $50 million in the first half of '08. Affinity Express Inc. will handle most of the company's print and online ad production, which will result in staff cuts.

And more:

Farther west, a dozen newspapers in the Bay Area will see across-the-board cuts, hopefully through buyouts versus layoffs. Sixteen newspapers are involved, including the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune. The 1,100 Bay Area News Group employees get two weeks to decide if they wish to apply for a buyout. If not enough employees respond, layoffs would probably begin in March. (Mediapost)

Here's some good news/bad news:

The Baltimore Sun is planning to launch a new free tabloid targeting younger readers called "b." The first daily issue is set to appear on April 14. With a mix of typical tabloid fare and lifestyle content, the newspaper plans to freshen its pages by inviting readers to submit their own stories, photos and video to the newspaper and its Web site.

This strategy could help achieve substantial savings, provided the publication reaches its goal of roughly one-third user-generated content. Cost is a key consideration, as the Baltimore Sun and other papers owned by the Tribune Co. have been instructed to trim a total 400-500 staff. (READ MORE)

And this may be good news:

NEWSPAPER WEB SITES ARE REACHING elusive younger readers, a new analysis by Scarborough Research indicates--giving a much-needed boost to the ailing newspaper business. The growth in online audiences is offsetting losses in print readership, at least somewhat. (READ MORE)

So, the reality is that the internet is changing habits and unless mass media figures out how to adapt, they face elimination.

I find it also interesting that when a manufacturing company has lay offs or shuts down due to out sourcing or changes in the marketplace, the politicians are all talking about saving jobs. Yet this is also going on under our noses.

Government involvement is NOT the answer. Smart, bright, forward thinkers are the answer.

For more on the connection between advertising, marketing and the media, read this.

Sphere: Related Content

Marketing through Networking Groups

One of the fundamental principles of marketing is to build a base of people who like you, who trust you, who do business with you, and/or refer others to do business with you.

That can be done through various forms of advertising and depending on your budget, you can reach different sizes of audiences to see or hear your message. Another way is not traditionally thought of as Advertising, but it does fall under the marketing umbrella, and that is Business Networking Groups.

Two years ago I wrote about my experience and this is an update.

This morning I gathered with some old friends that I have know for the past 4 years or so. There was my Realtor who sold our last house, our Mortgage broker who took care of the financing, the Banker that makes house calls, the son of a friend of mine that has their own home remodeling business, the guy who cleans our carpets, our C.P.A. along with many others.

I first developed relationships with these friends through an organized networking group called B.N.I. There are a few chapters in Fort Wayne and I was an active member for about 3 years. In the past 11 months, I have been a sub for one of the members that was unable to attend.

B.N.I. has a strict attendance policy. You are required to be there every week or send a sub. You also pay a membership fee. You receive certain tangible benefits as a member. They include:

  1. Exclusivity in your business classification. You are not competing against someone else in the same industry for leads and referrals. This builds loyalty.
  2. Training in networking and business. Each week, there is an educational segment. The content varies with each B.N.I. group. I took care of the education for about 21/2 years when I was a member of the group.
  3. Higher standards for membership than most "free" networking groups. Not everyone that wants to join is allowed. A little discrimination can be a good thing, when we are talking about setting standards for honesty, trustworthiness, etc. If you would not be a good friend, then you would not be a good member of a B.N.I. group. There have been times when we turned away a potential member.
  4. Actual leads and referrals to grow your business. B.N.I. has a system that I have not seen in most other groups that includes the passing of hand written leads and referrals on a form that is then tracked so you can follow up and the group knows how many leads and referrals are being passed. I know that the Banker and the Carpet Cleaner have substantially grown their businesses directly from the leads that come from the members of this group. Each business is different.
  5. People you can trust to use yourself in business. Like I said before, the room was filled with people I have spent my money with. Meeting each week helps you to know each other. There are others in the room that I do not personally use because I do not have the need, but they continue to get referrals from my because I trust them.
After I get permission from the members, I'll list them with contact information.

Here's the secret to the success:

It's all about the relationships. Just like any other form of marketing. Networking Groups that work the best are about building and protecting the trust in the group so that you build positive Word of Mouth.

You can't fake it. It has to be genuine.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Reach your Goals

2 months nearly history, 2008 marches forward. How are you doing?

How's your company, your department, your office, your desk?

Whether you own your own company, or are just filing a cubical, you have areas of your life and your future that only you can control.

That's what this post is about.

Marketing, Advertising, Branding, Results, Research, blah, blah, blah....... It's all about relationships.

And I want you to focus on the one person that you can control in any relationship. Actually, the only person you can control is you. And that's not as easy as it sounds.

So, before we move into month 3 of 2008, Take a look at this from Gary Ryan Blair:

"Can you imagine what you could do, if you did all that you can?"
-Gary Ryan Blair

A Three Step Plan that Guarantees Results In this lesson, I wanted to share with you a few ideas that you can use to immediately and dramatically improve your performance, and offer you a unique opportunity to fast track your results. More on that later!

The following three strategies are simple, and they are also extremely powerful, however, they require consistent and skillful application in order for your dreams to become reality.

Step One - Raise Your Standards

Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.

Simply put you MUST expect and demand more from yourself and from those around you. That means having zero tolerance for any behavior that robs you of potential and increased performance.

Begin the process of raising your standards by creating three lists:
• All the things you will no longer accept from yourself;

• All the things you will no longer tolerate from other people, and;

• All the things that you aspire to become!

Step Two - Change Your Limiting Beliefs

If you raise your standards but don't really believe you can meet them, than you've already sabotaged yourself. This is one of the biggest challenges people face when trying to make change in their lives.

Why? Because you won't even try; you'll be lacking that sense of certainty that allows you to tap the deepest capacity that's within you even as you read these words.

You must develop a sense of certainty that you can and will meet the new standards before you actually do.

Without taking control of your belief systems, you can raise your standards as much as you like, but you'll never have the conviction to back them up.

Step Three - Change Your Strategy

In order to keep your commitment, you need the best strategies for achieving results. One of my core beliefs is that if you set a higher standard, and you can get yourself to believe, then you certainly can figure out the strategies. You simply will find a way.

Gary Ryan Blair is President of The GoalsGuy. He helps business owners, corporate executives and sales professionals manage their time, set their priorities, and stay focused so they can achieve their goals, grow their business, and be more successful. Gary can be reached for speaking, coaching and media requests at 877-462-5748 or by sending an email to

Sphere: Related Content

#1 brands for Customer Loyalty

Yesterday I wrote about how McDonald's beat Starbuck's in a recent survey of Customer Loyalty. Both were beat by Dunkin' Donuts.

Just for your information and curiosity, here's the complete list of #1's:

Consumer connectivity and control, a changing media environment, and a wide variety of seemingly undifferentiated brands have caused an important shift in “drivers” (motivators) of consumer loyalty and brand engagement, according to a Brand Keys annual survey.

For the first time in 11 years, all but two of the 57 categories tracked have shown such a shift, and this year there were more “ties” (more than a single top brand) than in previous years.

The brands that consumers ranked first in meeting and exceeding their expectations for each category in 2008:

  • Airlines: JetBlue and Southwest
  • Allergy Medicine (OTC): Benadryl and Tylenol
  • Allergy Medicine (Rx): Clarinex and Zyrtec
  • Athletic Footwear: Air Jordan and New Balance
  • Automotive: Toyota
  • Banks: Wachovia and Washington Mutual
  • Beer (Light): Coors Light
  • Beer (regular): Sam Adams
  • Bottled Water: Aquafina and Fiji
  • Car Insurance: Geico
  • Car Rental (Airport Locations): Hertz
  • Car Rental (AO Locations): Avis
  • Casual Dining: Olive Garden
  • Cell Phones: Samsung
  • Clothing Catalogues: L.L.Bean
  • Coffee: Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Computers: Apple
  • Cosmetics (Luxury): Estee Lauder
  • Cosmetics (Mass Merchandiser): Maybelline
  • Credit Cards: Discover Card
  • Diapers: Playskool and Wal-Mart White Cloud
  • DVD Players: Samsung
  • Energy Provider: PSE&G
  • Evening News Show: ABC
  • Gasoline: BP and Sunoco
  • HDTV (LCD): Samsung
  • HDTV (Plasma): Panasonic and Pioneer
  • Hotels (Luxury): W Hotels
  • Hotels (Upscale): Embassy Suites and Hyatt
  • Hotels (Midscale): Comfort Inn
  • Hotels (Economy): Day’s Inn
  • Insurance Company: NY Life
  • Laundry Detergent: Tide
  • Long Distance Provider: AT&T and Verizon
  • Major League Sports: National Football League
  • Morning News Shows: Good Morning America (ABC) and The Today Show (NBC)
  • Mutual Funds: T. Rowe Price
  • MFP Office Copier: Konica Minolta
  • Online Books & Music:
  • Online Brokerage:
  • Online Travel Sites: and
  • OTC Pain Reliever: Tylenol
  • Parcel Delivery: UPS
  • Pizza: Domino’s and Papa John’s
  • Quick-Serve Restaurants: McDonald’s and Subway
  • Retail Stores (Apparel): Victoria’s Secret
  • Retail Stores (Discount): Wal-Mart
  • Retail Stores (Department): Macy’s
  • Retail Stores (Electronics): Best Buy
  • Retail Stores (Office Supply): Staples
  • Retail Stores (Home Improvement): Lowe’s and True Value
  • Satellite Radio: XM
  • Search Engines: Google
  • Soft Drinks (Diet): Diet Pepsi
  • Soft Dinks (Regular): Pepsi
  • Toothpaste: Crest
  • Wireless Phone Service: AT&T and Verizon

About the data: The 11th Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index tracked customer loyalty in 57 product and service categories. It was compiled by Brand Keys, which interviewed 26,000 consumers (age 18-65), drawn from the nine US Census Regions, to find the top brands in each self-selected category. They were interviewed face-to-face and by phone, to account for 15% of the population who are cell phone-only consumers.

Sphere: Related Content

Female Behavior

Can you trust statistics? We recently had several political polls proved wrong during the current presidential primary process. And in todays random fact file, they have two contradictory surveys... guess it depends on who specifically you ask.

Volume 2 Issue 2
February 20, 2008

Choose your fact I: 43% of women vs. 53% of men have visited a video site such as YouTube, compared to 27% of women who did so a year ago, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Study.

Choose your fact II: Women 18-34 are half as likely as men to watch videos on sites such as YouTube, reports Nielsen Online

76% of college students have engaged in hookups -- casual sexual behavior with no expectations of an on-going relationship, says Stanford University's Paula England.

Almost one in three American women who gave birth in 2005 did so by Cesarean section, according to the U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The figure was one in five 10 years prior.

Viewers downloaded 1.1 million copies of Suze Orman's book "Women & Money" in the week after Oprah Winfrey announced the title would be available for free on her website. Another 19,000 copies were downloaded in Spanish, reports the Associated Press.

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.

MTW Datafile Info:
Editor: Ellen Neuborne
Publisher: Ira Mayer

MTW Datafile is an EPM Communications, Inc. service.
(c)Copyright 2008 EPM Communications, Inc.

160 Mercer Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10012 | P: (212) 941-0099 | F: (212) 941-1622

Sphere: Related Content

How to make your customers feel "ripped off"

I discovered a new marketing blog through my free subscription to

This website is about Collective Wisdom. That's because some of the best ideas come from others and unlike Mr. Obama did recently, I will grab other peoples ideas and give them their due credit.

This is from Ryan Karpeles Blog Living Light Bulbs.


We all hate additional fees. The processing fee at Ticketmaster. The $3 Pepsi on the airplane. The exorbitant wi-fi charge at hotels. And apparently, the recently instituted "$2 top-off fee" at Dollar Rent A Car. That's right. Dollar now charges you two additional dollars, even if you return the car with a full tank of gas. Here's the exact wording from their confirmation email:

"Gasoline Policy: Vehicle must be returned with full tank or local refueling charge applies. If car is returned full a $2.00 top off fee will be applied."
Not only is this obnoxious, but it's also unfair to the customer. There's no way around it. You either pay $2, or you get stuck with the bloated "local refueling charges" (which are always higher than the market cost of gasoline). The ironic part is that the $2 means almost nothing. It's the principle that matters. If Dollar raised its initial rate by two bucks and got rid of this policy, you probably wouldn't notice.
Rather than nickel and dime your customers every step of the way, try a different approach. Bump up your prices a little and give away the extra stuff for "free."
A $3 Pepsi on a $600 flight is sure to tick a few people off. But a $603 flight with complimentary Pepsi will probably make some passengers a whole lot happier. Before you enact a bunch of new policies to make an extra buck, think about what kind of message you're sending. There's probably a lot better way to accomplish the same thing.

Sphere: Related Content

Why do I need a website?

This is a subject that I preach about to just about every business owner I talk to. You need to be where your customers are. And that includes on the Internet. Even if you are a local merchant and all of your customers are within a 5 mile radius.

Phone Books are becoming old fashioned. They are being used less and less by the younger generations. No, make that ALL GENERATIONS.

Our furnace was making loud noises over the weekend. The phone book that I found in our house was two years old and didn't have the listings I was looking for. So I went to the internet and found a current listing of HVAC contractors that service the brand I have in my house.

This week I spent $700 and signed up for a service contract with the company that I found on the web. I drive by them everyday, but it wasn't until I had an immediate need that I sought them out. I even stopped by as a walk-in customer to schedule a service call. (One thing they didn't do, is ask me why I contacted them, so they are not tracking their marketing).

Joesph Dager who runs Business 901 sent the following in his email today. (You can also get a free copy of an e-book on Duct Tape Marketing, by clicking on the link in the Free Book Column on the right side of this page.)

How to Do Business on the WorldWideWeb

Even When Your Target Is the Guy Next Door?

When I talk to many small business owners about the Internet and ways to use it to grow their business, I often encounter this response, "That's just for people trying to sell stuff to people all over the world," or "I tried that and it didn't work for me."

Whenever I hear that type of talk from small business owners, I cringe. Let me get to the point. You must be on the Internet. You must find ways to use Internet based tools such as email to enhance your marketing efforts.

Most of the Internet resistance that small business owners harbor stem from a couple of places. First of all they may have bought into the initial Internet hype that made it sound as though any business could set up a web site and start raking in cash.

The other perception that keeps businesses off of the net is the belief that since they are only trying to do business in their community or maybe even their tiny little neighborhood the Internet and Internet based tools have nothing to offer.

Let me say it again. "You can use the World Wide Web even if your market is the Guy Next Door."The cost of developing a web site and web hosting have become so inexpensive there is no excuse to pass on this form of marketing.

The first thing you must understand is how most people use the web. While there are some folks who fire up their computer to go shopping, most people use the Internet as a tool to gather information. Now they may use that information to make a purchase decision but first they will gather.

So it stands to reason that as increasing numbers of people turn to their computers for research purposes, the businesses that are ready and waiting to provide that information stand to gain over those who fail to meet this need.

I know many people, myself included, who use the Internet like a giant phone book. It is easier for me to locate a local business or service with a few clicks than to plow through a phone book.

As regional web directories and search portals grow in popularity, gaining listings in them will be more important than a Yellow Page listing. (See recommended resource for information on regional directories).

Most businesses should look at their web sites as a way to provide information and customer service first and as a way to generate leads and perhaps sales second.

A web site also allows you to enhance your advertising efforts by placing free detailed information, reports and beneficial content in a place where anyone can retrieve it. The web lets even the local neighborhood store deliver information on things such as special offerings, coupons and client previews.

Smart marketers will use a web site to get customer feedback. A web site is a great place to store all of your company's printed sales and technical literature.

The ways to use a web site in your business are endless. A web site is not the end all of marketing it is simply another very powerful marketing tool. To ignore it is to limit the ways in which a client or potential client can build a relationship with your firm...and that would be a costly mistake.

Sphere: Related Content

You don't have to speak Spanish

One of my radio stations used to do a nightly Spanish language music program. At the time, it was the only daily (nightly) local media outlet for 3 hours each evening.

Now we have a full time Hispanic Music station in town.

Who advertises? Sure there are some Hispanic businesses, but there are lot's of non-Hispanic businesses that want to reach out to the Spanish speaking population and invite them to spend their money in their store.

But guess what? You don't have to speak Spanish to get the Hispanic population in your town to do business with you.

Take a look at this report:

English-Speaking Hispanics Represent Two-Thirds of Hispanic Boomers

Marketers and advertisers have recognized the importance of Hispanic consumers for some time but have segmented within the Hispanic community primarily on the basis of language -- creating Spanish language ads and communication for the unacculturated, Spanish-speaking population while relying on their mainstream communication to reach more-acculturated, English-speaking Hispanics. Recently, however, marketers have started to realize that messages aimed at the general market may not resonate with more-acculturated Hispanics. A new report from Focalyst focuses on the 7 million Hispanic Boomers in the U.S. and examines whether marketers are missing important segments by using language as the defining characteristic.

There are more trailing Hispanic Boomers (64%) than in the General Market (57%), meaning that they have additional years before many will be reaching the age when critical insurance and financial decisions are made. Employment among Bicultural Hispanic Boomers is about equal to the General Market, however they earn 23% less income on average. Hispanic Boomers live in larger households (3.3 vs. 2.9 for the General Market), often made up of younger children, adult children, or older relatives. With extended families, Bicultural households have the largest household composition (3.6 people). Acculturated Boomers are the most likely to be a caregiver for a family member, with 14% recently taking on this role. Besides supporting larger households, a quarter of Hispanic Boomers are providing substantial financial support to someone outside of their homes. Acculturated Hispanic Boomers are more likely to aspire to continue their education (28%), while Bicultural Hispanics are almost twice as likely to desire to start a new business than the general market Boomer.

(Source: Radio Business Report, 2/7/08)

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Don't be like Herb Tarlick

From Jim Meisenheimer's newsletter:

What Buyers Think About Salespeople

What buyers think about salespeople isn't particularly good, at least according to a recently study.

Here are some of the results of a study conducted by Development Dimensions International.

"Salespeople have become the second choice for information among consumers, losing out to the Internet. Two-thirds of Canadian buyers believe salespeople's expertise is getting worse."

Losing to a living and breathing competitor is one thing. But losing to the internet sets off a loud alarm and I hope you're hearing it.

"More than 90 per cent of customers would like their salesperson to be more of a resource to them. Sixty-one per cent said sales representatives were transaction-oriented only and did not understand customer needs."

Yikes - more than 90% of customers want their salespeople to be more of a resource. How's that possible when 90% of all salespeople forego asking any questions and immediately start talking about product features and pricing.

"Some of the terms used to describe them in the survey of corporate buyers included "leeches," "rashes," and "charm school graduates" with a "snake-oil" reputation."

Imagine leaving a sales call and having buyers thinking these things about you. What if 90% of the salespeople are calling on 90% of the customers. It could mean some of your customers are thinking some of these things about you.

"Buyers are saying you need to know about our business, what's happening in the market . . . and that means the salesperson has to invest in the relationship," says Allan Smith - Western Manager for DDI.

Okay - so the selling landscape is loaded with challenges for you.

It's never been a level playing field and it isn't one now.

The fact is, and this study supports this, that a lot of salespeople don't get it.

A lot of salespeople aren't establishing credibility and building relationships.

A lot of salespeople show up and throw up on their sales prospects and customers.

A lot of salespeople don't ask the right questions and then make amateurish assumptions about the customer's problems.

A lot of salespeople just talk too much. When in reality, the less you say the smarter you'll sound. Yeah - that's a Meisenheimerism!

I've made all the mistakes a sales person can make.

Then I read a book. The book was about asking questions. It changed my life forever.

I became obsessed with asking questions and eventually wrote my own book on asking the best questions.

When I look back on the last 19.5 years the one thing I did right that helped me earn millions of dollars was to employ my ears before I engaged my mouth.

The more I knew about my sales prospects and customers - the more I could help them.

As soon as I started asking my questions my sales took off and so did my income.

Finally - it doesn't take brains to ask intelligent questions, it simply takes some discipline.

Check out the end of this letter if you want to learn the easiest and best way to establish credibility and build lifetime relationships with your sales prospects and customers.

The road to selling success is paved with my 12 Best Questions.

Start selling more today and everyday . . .

Jim Meisenheimer
Publisher - Start Selling More Newsletter

19.5 years . . .

508 corporate customers . . .

83.3% repeat business . . .

(800) 266-1268

PS - You can get more information about my best selling book titled, The 12 Best Questions to Ask Customers - using this link!

If you can't see this link in your browser just cut and paste this:

Sphere: Related Content

Just a thought

First the news reported by Mediapost:

Greener: 'Outside' Chucks Inserts Cards
Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008 9:00 AM ET
Outside Magazine is chucking those pesky insert subscription cards as part of its effort to go green. It will encourage people to go online and communicate with the magazine. The pub's goal is to "establish a paperless relationship," according to Paul Rolnick, consumer marketing director.

How about really "greening it up" by not using any paper and just do an online magazine? Just a thought........

Sphere: Related Content

Microsoft & Yahoo...another viewpoint

This is from Adrants:

We welcome guest columnist Sean X Cummings who, in response to the ongoing Yahoo/Microsoft acquisition dance along with Google's response, has several things to say about the deal and how the pace of technology growth is out pacing the ability of some marketers to keep ups with and master the influx of new media.

The Microsoft/Yahoo deal is often analyzed on the differences between technology companies, and media companies, offline, and online, threats to companies within that world, and outside, and those who interfere. Much of this misses more fundamental issues.

The reality is that the promise of digital, from an advertiser's perspective, has largely not been realized. And whereas Microsoft is not as beholden to it, Yahoo is. The devices are becoming ubiquitous; cell phones, web, widgets, blogs, social media applications and more. But they are prevalent only because of proactive consumer adoption. A device becoming ubiquitous does not make the medium ubiquitous, nor standardize the creative content of the media delivered to them. They are not all equal, nor impact the consumer in the same way. We are still searching for the emotional impact of television on the consumer in digital. A digital medium where something can be done once, scaled with minimal marketing resources, and have the same societal impact. (READ THE REST)

Sphere: Related Content

Newspaper reports on their bottom line

I found it interesting that the Miami Herald would do a story on their own industry (and essentially themselves), that talks about the sobering truth of the future of newspaper journalism.

This came from Mediaweek:

Can Journalism Live Without Ads?
Beneath the somber tales of shrinking revenues and staff cuts is an even more somber reality about the news business: The nearly two-century-old marriage between consumer advertising and journalism is on the rocks. In the United States the union dates from the advent of the penny press in the 1830s, when newspaper owners realized that by slashing what they charged readers they could send their circulations soaring and get rich off advertising sales. News found a durable source of funding, and manufacturers hitched a ride into the homes of the burgeoning masses of American consumers. Edward Wasserman of the Miami Herald reports. more »

SoundBite Back wrote about this the other day.

Now for the truth about newspapers, television, radio, and the like, click here.

Sphere: Related Content

More on Making More Money

Earlier today, I wrote about how to earn more money without generating new customers.

The people at Small Fuel Marketing wrote about it too. Here's an abbreviated excerpt:

Despite the fact that most marketing focuses on getting new customers, one of the best ways to grow your business happens to be marketing to your current customer base. Your existing clients are already familiar with your business, and with a little help, will be more than happy to try new products and tell their friends about you.

Keep your clients happy

The first step in getting current clients to buy more is very basic, and very important. Your clients have to be happy. In fact, your clients have to really like dealing with your company.

Keep your customers in the loop

Almost all of us have at one point done an awesome job for a customer, only to forget to call them ever again. That’s not the right way to leverage your client base.

Encourage your customers to take action

The final step in leveraging your client base is to inspire them to go that last little step and make a purchase, or refer a friend. People are usually pretty lazy, and may not decide to do anything unless they have a pretty good reason—so you need to give them that reason.

I encourage you to read more.

Sphere: Related Content

Pro's and Con's of Mergers

How big is too big?

Is it okay for one company to dominate an industry?

Why does Google dominate the internet search business?

What happened to Yahoo! and what will become of them in the future?

Mergers are nothing new. They date back to Old Testament times when marriage was more than a union of man and woman, it was the joining of families, tribes, and these relationships are basically what we see going on today.

So why merge?

It could be to pool resources, to eliminate duplication, to allow collaboration.

It could be to wipe out the competition, to capture more of the marketplace.

Bigger companies often have more money for R & D. Bigger companies often have more overhead to manage and pay for.

My group of radio stations was out of balance for several years. The past 18 months, we have been able to get the teeter totter to balance out. Part of that involved selling off a couple stations in such a way that the new owners did not compete directly with our remaining stations. We called it "pruning". We did the same with our staff. Budgets now balance. It's good to be "right sized". Those that were let go were not earning their keep and it was obvious when you look at the numbers.

Now what about Google? In a special report from Mediaweek, here's what they have to say:

If you were to google the phrase "Google dominates," you would be greeted by at least 24,000 different links, while "Google dominates search" would yield some 1,400 results. Clearly, Google's supremacy is a hot topic.

Despite vigorous competition from formidable search players like Microsoft and Yahoo as well as also-rans like, Google's market share—namely, its percentage of total Web searches—continues to balloon. In the last three years, Google's share has climbed from 43 percent to a decisive 56 percent, per Nielsen Online. (READ MORE)

Note that "google" is a verb that means "to search for on the internet". Just like "Kleenex" is the term the public uses instead of a "facial tissue".

And here's a story on Microsoft taking over Yahoo! and what it means to to advertising world:

Some have questioned whether Microsoft's proposed $44.6 billion acquisition of Yahoo! would have a positive impact on the advertising industry. The concern is the deal is only about the big getting bigger.

Yet according to Yusuf Mehdi, senior vp of strategic partnerships at Microsoft, scale is key to the deal. In an interview late Wednesday afternoon, he laid out the case for why the ad industry needs a bigger Microsoft. (READ MORE)

Sphere: Related Content