Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's go Outside

I haven't seen much news on billboards recently. I'm talking about the kind of signage you see when you are either stuck in traffic or zipping down the interstate at 80.. oh, never mind.

Outdoor advertising, unless outlawed due to community standards and zoning laws, will be around in one form or another as long as we have eyes and cars. And if your eyes aren't working, don't get behind the wheel. (Sorry, it's Friday afternoon).

Here's an example of a billboard that stands out.

Read more by clicking here.

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Successful Newspapers are selling their on line ads

Many forms of traditional media are still strong including radio that studies show over 90% of the U.S. population still listens to the radio weekly.

Newspapers are facing a tougher time, but those that adapt, instead of fight technology are doing fine too. This story is from

Click on the charts to make them bigger.

Newspaper Online Advertising Spending Jumps 19%, Print Ads Down 9%

Advertising expenditures for newspaper websites in 2007 increased 18.8%, to $3.2 billion - accounting for 7.5% of all newspaper ad spending last year (up from 5.7% in 2006), according to preliminary estimates from the Newspaper Association of America.

Print ad exenditures were down 9.4% in the same period, however, and total (combined print and online) newspaper ad expenditures were down 7.9% for the year.

The following table breaks down online and print newspaper ad expenditures, by quarter, for 2007 and 2006:


In the fourth quarter of 2007, advertising expenditures for newspaper websites increased to $847 million, up 13.6% compared with the same period a year earlier.

That was the thirteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for online newspaper advertising since NAA started reporting online ad spending in 2004.

Advertising expenditures at newspapers and their websites, combined, totaled $12.6 billion for the fourth quarter; spending for print ads in newspapers totaled $11.7 billion.

Those figures are down from the fourth quarter of 2006, when total advertising expenditures were $14 billion, and print ad spend was $13.2 billion.

The following table breaks down newspaper print ad expenditures, by segment and quarter, for 2007 and 2006:


About the data: The NAA website has quarterly and annual ad spending numbers in their entirety.

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Remembering CKLW 20/20 News posted this look back on his blog:

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News in the News

As the options for getting information such as news increase, so does the consumers appetite for fast coverage.

Yesterday at 12noon, during the AdFed meeting I was attending, the news director from WANE-TV, did a live recap of the latest headlines. Included was the announcement that Hillary Clinton was going to be making a campaign stop sometime Friday in our town, but details were not yet available as to when or where.

45 minutes later, the news director was able to give us an update, due to a message he received on his Blackberry.

Newspapers that are published daily are often filled with incomplete or outdated information on breaking stories. Perhaps they need to return to (or start if they never did) investigative reporting that digs deeper than publishing press releases and police blotter reports.

Where does an advertiser go to reach the masses who want news and information? Take a look at this report from my email today:

The Troubled News Media

This fifth edition of the annual report "The State of the News Media 2008,"tracing the revolution of news by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, can certainly not be summarized in a "Research Brief." However, the content is so encompassing, and the analysis so probing, that it begs excerpting to compel interested readers to pursue the complete study through the link provided.

The recently released study opens by saying "The state of the American news media in 2008 is more troubled than a year ago. And the problems, increasingly, appear to be different than many experts have predicted."

Concluding this brief summary, the report says that an analysis of more than 70,000 stories from 48 separate news outlets in five media sectors in 2007 offers an empirical look at the content of the American media. Among the findings overall:

  • The agenda of the American news media is quite narrow
  • Rather than cover the world, only two countries in 2007 received notable coverage, both closely related to the war - Iran and Pakistan
  • Geopolitical events in the rest of the world made up less than 6% of coverage studied that includes Afghanistan, Korea, China, Russia, Israel and everywhere else combined
  • The media and the public often disagreed about which stories were important in 2007. Citizens wanted more coverage of bread and butter issues, such as rising gas prices, toy recalls, and the legislative battle over children's health insurance, and less coverage of the crisis in Pakistan, certain aspects of the Iraq debate, and of other distant places in the world.
  • The media also showed a marked short attention span in 2007

Each news medium is examined in more detail, and the complete study may be freely accessed here.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Internet time surpasses TV time

At least in the land down under. This report is from Click on the charts to see bigger versions.

Internet Surpasses TV in Australia, Mobile Approaches Saturation Point

In 2007, internet use in Australia surpassed TV watching for the first time - 13.7 hours per week vs. 13.3 hours - and mobile use quickly approached saturation, according to Nielsen Online’s 10th Australian Internet and Technology Report.

TV use in 2006 was at 13.8 hours per week, compared with 12.5 hours of internet use; 2005 levels were even further apart (13.2 hours vs. 8.9):


Media Consumption

  • Australians are awake for around 112 hours per week, and they spend on average 84.4 hours per week across a range of media and leisure activities, up from 71.4 hours in the previous 12 months.
  • Men spend 2.5 more hours per week online and 1.5 more hours watching television than women.
  • Women spend about an hour more per week reading and 1.6 hours more listening to the radio online.
  • Cross-media consumption is on the rise:
    • More than half (58%) of Australians internet users said they have watched TV while online.
    • 48% of respondents have used the internet while listening to the radio.

Traditionally, internet use has not displaced other media, according to Tony Marlow, associate research director, Asia Pacific, Nielsen Online. “In recent years Australians have been increasingly consuming more than one medium at a time, commonly resulting in a fragmented span of attention,” he said.

“While use of the internet continued to grow this year, for the first time ever this was not accompanied by an increase for TV consumption - a possible early warning sign that we are approaching the feared media saturation point.”

Internet Penetration

Australian internet participation (80%) has also reached saturation levels, Nielsen said, increasing just 1% in the past year. (global penetration is 20%):

  • Broadband connections are now found in 84% of Australian internet users’ homes. (up 10 points in 12 months and up 30 points in two years).
  • Broadband technology penetration will grow to 90% by the end of 2008.
  • Most Australian internet users have home access (92%) and one-third (34%) access the internet from work.

Popular online activities:


  • Email is the most popular online activity - used by 98% of those online - followed by banking and accessing news, sport and weather updates (72% each).
  • Both accommodation bookings and instant messaging are services which will undergo 20% growth in the next year, Nielsen predicts.

Mobile Phone Saturation

Mobile phone ownership is already reaching saturation levels - 92% of Australian internet users own a mobile phone - but despite the increase in mobile handset capabilities, actual use of functions still varies, Nielsen said:

  • Just under half (45%) of those with a mobile internet-capable phone have used the device to go online.
  • Camera functionality is widely used - by 84% of respondents.
  • Mapping/directions information access is the biggest area of mobile content access growth - Nielsen predicts 144% growth, reaching 39% of users by the end of 2008.

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Creative Website, will it sell? is a fun website, but does it sell?

Does it matter?

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Name your price

Sometimes, price is negotiable. Very Negotiable.

Today, after my monthly AdFed meeting, I spoke with a media buyer about an idea that we can do for just about any price they feel is fair. It will cost us nothing, tangible or intangible. So I can name my price, they can name their price and we can create a win/win situation for all.

Haggling is not common in American culture anymore except when buying a car. But it is making a comeback in certain interesting sectors. Read more from the New York Times:

Haggling Makes a Comeback

Shoppers are discovering an upside to the down economy. They are getting price breaks by reviving an age-old retail strategy: haggling.

A bargaining culture once confined largely to car showrooms and jewelry stores is taking root in major stores like Best Buy, Circuit City and Home Depot, as well as mom-and-pop operations.

Savvy consumers, empowered by the Internet and encouraged by a slowing economy, are finding that they can dicker on prices, not just on clearance items or big-ticket products like televisions but also on lower-cost goods like cameras, audio speakers, couches, rugs and even clothing.

The change is not particularly overt, and most store policies on bargaining are informal. Some major retailers, however, are quietly telling their salespeople that negotiating is acceptable.

"We want to work with the customer, and if that happens to mean negotiating a price, then we're willing to look at that," said Kathryn Gallagher, a spokeswoman for Home Depot.

In the last year, she said, the store has adopted an "entrepreneurial spirit" campaign to give salespeople and managers more latitude on prices in order to retain customers.

The sluggish economy is punctuating a cultural shift enabled by wired consumers accustomed to comparing prices and bargaining online, said Nancy F. Koehn, a retail historian at the Harvard Business School.

Haggling was common before department stores began setting fixed prices in the 1850s. But the shift to bargaining in malls and on Main Street is a considerable change from even 10 years ago, Koehn said, when studies showed that consumers did not like to bargain and did not consider themselves good at it. "Call it the eBay phenomenon," Koehn said.

"The recession is helping to push these seedlings to the surface," she added. "It's a real turnabout on the part of the buyer and the seller."

John D. Morris, an apparel industry analyst for Wachovia, said that the ailing economy was not necessarily forcing all retailers to negotiate. But he says he believes that when there is an opportunity for negotiation, the shopper has the upper hand.

"This is one of the periods where the customer is empowered," Morris said. "The retailer knows that the customer is enduring tough times -- and is more willing to be the one who blinks first in that stare-down match."

While tough times give people more incentive to change their behavior, it is the wealth of information about products made available on the Internet that gives consumers the know-how to try it. People now can quickly amass information on product availability and pricing, helping them develop strategies to get the best deal.

Michael Roskell, 33, a technology project manager from Jersey City, N.J., said he and a friend from high school periodically visit electronics stores. While Roskell expresses interest in buying an item, his friend acts as though he is dissatisfied with the price and threatens to leave.

"We play good cop, bad cop," Roskell said.

In February, he said, the friends got $20 off a pair of $250 speakers at 6th Avenue Electronics in the New York area. Earlier, he and the same friend negotiated to buy two 46-inch high-definition Sony televisions at P.C. Richard & Son, a New York-area electronics chain.

List price: $4,300. Price after negotiation: $3,305.50.

"My parents never did this," Roskell said. "But once you get it, you realize there's a whole economy built on this."

The strategy can even work when buying pants. At least it did for David Achee of Maplewood, N.J., who said he went to a Polo Ralph Lauren store in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan last month and became interested in a pair of pants on the clearance rack for $75. He told the salesperson that he had seen a similar pair on the Internet for $65, adding that he thought the pair on the rack looked worn (even though he did not really think so). He got the pants for around $50, he said.

Among his other tactics, he said, he sometimes threatens to walk out of a store and go to a competitor, as he did recently to get a price break on a drum set at a music store. But, mainly, he relies on researching prices and coming armed with information -- prices he finds on the Internet and in ads from competitors.

"You can negotiate, but you have to do your research," said Achee, who works for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "When I'm bargaining, I'm bargaining with information."

Information from the Internet helped Amber Kendall, 24, and her husband, Matt, when they shopped for a camera last October. The couple, who live in Boston, found the Canon camera they wanted online for $350, then used the Internet price to bargain with Ritz Camera, where the price was $400. Then they used the Ritz Camera offer to get the same price at Microcenter, where they preferred the warranty offer.

The technological influences are not just on the consumer side. Retail industry analysts said corporate retailers have begun using computer systems that let them do real-time pricing and profit analysis. Such systems tell a company what price it can set and still make money, and they illuminate the trade-off between lowering prices and raising sales volumes, said Andy Hargreaves, a retail industry analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.

Hargreaves did a little negotiating himself recently. At Best Buy last November, he bargained down the price of a 50-inch Samsung plasma television.

"They gave me a number. I gave them another number, and he gave me a final number," he said, noting that he got a $100 price break in addition to the $200 sale discount. "A lot of people don't realize you can go into Best Buy and ask them for a lower price."

Frederick Stinchfield, 23, was a Best Buy salesman in Minnetonka, Minn., until last January. He said about one-quarter of customers tried to bargain. Much of the time, he said, he was able to oblige them, particularly in circumstances where a customer buying electronics (like a camera) also bought an accessory (like a camera bag) with a higher markup. He said the cash registers at Best Buy were set up so that prices could be reset at checkout.

Salespeople and managers had the latitude to drop prices, though some were more likely to do so than others.

His advice for bargainer hunters? "If you get denied once, go looking for someone else who looks nice," said Stinchfield, who now works for the federal government in Washington. He added: "Come armed with information, and you will be rewarded." Priya Raghubir, a marketing professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, said that retailers willing to haggle were making a calculated gamble that acceding to lower prices means establishing customer loyalty. The retail mantra is "customer lifetime value," meaning any single sale might not be that profitable, but an enduring relationship with a shopper would be.

There is just one problem with the theory, Raghubir said. It does not prove true over time.

Rather than retaining customers, the rise in haggling is making shoppers highly price-conscious and loyal ultimately to the least expensive offer, not to a brand or a retailer.

Home Depot, among others, begs to differ. Gallagher, the company spokeswoman, said that by allowing salespeople and store managers to make some pricing decisions, the company was creating a friendly environment that feels more like a local store than a monolithic corporate superstore. (She declined to say how much leeway individual salespeople or managers have.)

Raghubir says that retailers are realizing that customers are going to keep pressing them on price, because whatever reticence customers had about bargaining has evaporated.

"In the past, when you tried to get yourself a deal and it was an embarrassing thing -- the kind of thing you did if you couldn't afford to pay," she said. "Now it's about being a smart shopper."

(Source: The New York Times, 03/22/08)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Small business marketing on a limited budget

An excellent list of marketing tips from the people at Small Fuel. I personally stay away from doing #3 unless you can create a brochure that is both general enough and specific enough which is a tough mix. I prefer to customize nearly everything and so I have templates that I modify for particular target markets, or even better yet, modify for a specific potential client.

Read on:

7 Long-Term Marketing Strategies on a Budget

marketing long term
Marketing and advertising expenses are usually areas where small business owners proceed with caution, and that’s understandable. Smaller businesses have smaller marketing budgets, and each dollar is that much more important.

Many small business owners rely purely on local referrals and word of mouth for new business (both are good sources), but with a little creativity and a small investment you can implement a few long-term marketing strategies that don’t require as much constant activity and work.

Here are a few long-term ways to spread the word about your business, without spending too much money:

1. Leverage Your Business Cards

A great business card is a mini-marketing strategy that is both cost-effective and has strong impact. It’s a fast portrait of your business, listing who you are, what you do and how people can contact you. Business cards offer long-term potential, too, because many individuals tuck them away for future reference or even collect them. To maximize the long-term effect, make sure you place stacks of them in local chambers of commerce and other areas with your target market.

2. Create a Web Presence

Many small businesses try to get financial strength before investing in solid web presence, especially in small or rural towns. A good website offers plenty of marketing appeal, though, working 24/7 to let people know what you have to offer. A small site is affordable, too, with a long-lived return on investment. Most websites pay for themselves within a year or less. Don’t forget to add your website address to your business card.

3. Design Quality Brochures

The modest brochure is usually one area where people cut corners. They opt for cheap fliers tucked between local newspapers or stuffed in mailboxes. Invest instead in a well-made four-color brochure with attractive images and compelling text. It may mean the difference between an interested individual and the recycling bin. Leave brochures in stores related to but not in direct competition with your business, and potential clients will pick them up over a period of time.

4. Advertise with Your Car

A new trend picking up steam having a vehicle customized with a business logo and contact information using printed magnets or stick-ons. The cost of having your car personalized may seem a little pricey, but your car will be noticed wherever you go for as long as you own it. Make sure to park where you’ll be easily spotted, too!

5. Start an Email Newsletter

Building an email list that you contact regularly can be one of the single most valuable long-term strategies for a small business. It can help acquaint potential customers to you, and will help keep older clients in the loop. If you don’t have an active email list, I recommend you start one right away. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even start a business blog.

6. Build a Company Folder

Put together a folder containing a few leaflets about your company mission, products and services, a business card, a CD of your portfolio and maybe a discount coupon or a small gift. Folders haven’t gone out of style. Visit places of business to introduce yourself personally – and leave them with your folder to look through later on. These tactics work especially well for businesses that have expensive or premium products.

7. Write a Cornerstone Article

Writing a key article or press release is a great way to cement your company’s market position. Your article should contain some interesting information, it should provide some value, and it should show why your company is unique. Once you’re finished writing, you can distribute it online and in local publications. If you write something really great it will generate interest for a long time to come.

Caution with business expenses is good, so apply some critical thinking to your marketing strategies before you choose a method:

  • Decide which marketing will work best for your business with the least cost.
  • Know which marketing tactics will help you stand out against your competitors.
  • Invest in good-quality products, it will show you have a successful business
When marketing your business, apply your confidence, too. You believe that your business is good, don’t you? Show it. Tell people. Back up your marketing with drive and determination. The feeling that you’re serious about your business and that you’re here to stay will shine through.

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Macy's Turns Green for Earth Week

In my 2nd story about Macy's today, we have this news about how they are jumping on the band wagon for saving our environment?

But are they still going to use print advertising? Are they cutting down on their packaging materials that end up in landfills? Or is Macy's just using Earth Week (It used to be just Earth Day), as another advertising campaign theme? Read more in this story from Mediapost:

MACY'S--STRUGGLING WITH DECLINING SALES AND a tough climate for middle-of-the-road department stores--is hoping a greener profile will help. In honor of Earth Week, the company is partnering with the National Parks Foundation to raise funds for parks around the country.

Called "Turn Over A New Leaf," kicking off April 20 and running through April 27, the campaign is "designed to support, educate and inspire sustainability and eco-friendly practices in everyday life," says the retailer.

While it gets harder and harder for such marketing efforts to break through the clutter of green claims, experts say that Macy's effort may go over well with consumers for two reasons. The first is its link with an independent organization, especially one as well-known as the National Parks Foundation.

"We are really at the point of eco-saturation," says Raphael Bemporad, a principal at BBMG, a branding agency in New York. "Green buzzwords have become ubiquitous, and they just don't mean anything. And that's created a backlash of skepticism among consumers." So while many consumers will no doubt think Macy's (along with many other companies) is just blowing green smoke, the link to a reputable nonprofit carries considerably more heft.

And second, relatively few department stores have staked much of a claim in the environmentally correct space, "leaving lots of room for companies that want to be pioneers there," he says.

For retailers, most environmental claims have focused on food--including the debate over organics or the use of energy, whether that's Wal-Mart pushing CFL light bulbs or Safeway touting its solar initiatives.

But apparel is something of a void, primarily due to the fact that so little clothing can make genuine eco-friendly claims--only a fraction of the world's fabrics are grown organically, and much of the clothing Americans wear is stitched in places with less-than-progressive labor and trade policies, and consumers don't complain much about it.

But that may be changing. "People's ideas of corporate responsibility are moving beyond what's green and what's sustainable," he says. "It's starting to include a greater sense of social impact and fair trade. It's evolving into something more holistic than just plain green."

BBMG, for example, found in a survey it conducted late last year that nine out of 10 people think of themselves as "conscious consumers." About 90% say they are more likely to buy from companies that promote efficient energy practices, and 87% say they are more likely to buy from companies committed to environmentally sound practices, all things being equal. But only 65% of respondents say that the term "green" describes them well.

During Earth Week, Macy's says it will highlight eco-friendly clothes and products from leading vendors like Origins, Hush Puppies, DKNY and Macy's brands, including Style & Co. Sport and Haven by Hotel Collection.

The chain says it will donate all ticket proceeds from One Good Turn, on its national charity days, to the NPF. (Customers purchase $5 tickets to One Good Turn, which provides them with 20% off most apparel, and 10% off select home furnishings.) The two-day pass is good for both April 26 and 27.

That makes the NPF the "first charity in Macy's history to be the sole beneficiary of a national charity-shopping event," says a spokesperson. Typically, Macy's uses charity-shopping days to benefit local groups, in conjunction with new store openings. Its national event, usually held in the fall, has benefited many local and national charities, including the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women effort. Last fall, Macy's raised $9.5 million.

The promotion also includes the sale of a natural cotton reusable tote bag for $3.95, with $1 from each purchase going to the NPF. For the celebration of the actual Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) the company is handing out saplings to the first 100 shoppers at each store.

Macy's will support the effort with print, radio, and TV advertising, highlighting the One Good Turn event.

Online, the company is promoting two sweepstakes to support the effort, with prizes including a hybrid SUV as well as trips to the Florida Everglades and other national parks.

Of course, whether Macy's promotion will actually convince shoppers its heart is in the right place is hard to say. Certainly, consumers are much harder to convince than they have been in the past. "Marketing is only one part of what a company does, and if shoppers don't believe that doing the right thing is truly in a company's DNA, they won't buy it. They want to see evidence of a deeper commitment."

Sarah Mahoney can be reached at

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Random Entertainment Marketing Stats

Straight out of my email:

Volume 2 Issue 3
March 26, 2008

Subliminal exposure to the Disney Channel logo made a subject group "behave more honestly" than those subliminally exposed to the E! Channel logo, according to a Duke University/University of Waterloo study.


33 million Americans age 12 or older (13%) listen to an Internet radio station at least once a week, up from 29 million in 2007, report Arbitron and Edison Media Research.


41% of TV owners have a high-definition set, but only 56% of this group subscribe to an HD service package, says ABI Research.


31% of iPhone owners watch mobile TV or video, versus a 4.6% market average, says M:Metrics.


Introducing portable media players with Internet browsing capabilities will create additional opportunity for advertisers, says Jupiter Research, which expects marketers to spend $2.2 billion on mobile messaging, display ads, and search optimization by 2012.

Entertainment Marketing Letter (EML) brings entertainment/media companies together with brands. Download a free sample issue and discover how EML's twice-monthly news, reports on new marketing technologies, contacts, research and case studies can help you build exciting new promotional partnerships

EML Datafile Info:
Editor: Terence Keegan
Publisher: Ira Mayer

EML 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

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Macy's & Music +the Donald

Macy's Department Store's have been under fire for rebranding and eliminating some of the other well known chains under their wing. A lot of attention and uproar occurred when they renamed Chicago's legendary Marshal Field's and rebranded it New York's Macy's.

One thing they have been able to do recently, is create some snazzy TV ads. In case you haven't seen the latest featuring Carlos Santana, Mariah Carey and Donald Trump, Click Here. And for more, read this story from AdWeek:

In our celebrity-besotted age, it counts as a miracle of sorts that Macy's has managed to make the use of celebs in commercials seem fresh. You may recall last year's spot in which various celebrities primped their branded areas of the store (The Donald with his ties, The Martha with her domestic goods, etc.) as the doors were about to open for the day.

In this new spot (from JWT in New York), the principal focus is on Carlos Santana, the guitarist who has reinvented himself as a shoe designer, of all things. Mariah Carey, whose fragrance line is sold at the store, makes a good interlocutor for Santana, having regained her girlish charm after a rough patch. When Santana informs us that "shoes are like women -- they inspire beautiful music," you may wish he'd stuck to playing the guitar.

There are nice moments here, though, as when Martha Stewart starts grooving to Santana's tune (closing her eyes and swaying) or when Trump plays the unmusical heavy ("My ties are beautiful. They don't need music."). It's probably in the nature of things that a sequel won't seem as inventive as the original, and this spot isn't as much fun as the first Macy's celeb-centric spot. But it's quite fun enough to underscore the point that Macy's has all sorts of non-generic merchandise.

Even if you don't care about these particular celebs (or about celebs in general), you come away feeling that Macy's has merchandise with personality.-
-Mark Dolliver

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grandpa, What's a phone book?

I was taking the trash out to the curb and noticed as I was walking back to the house a yellow plastic bag leaning against our front door. I went to see what was inside and there was our brand new Yellow Book!

I almost took it out to the curb with the rest of the trash, then I decided to use it for work, after all, those of us in advertising use the phone book for leads. What else is it good for? I mean really?

Even the phone book companies are online:

Internet Yellow Pages Battle Heats up between,

Due in part to new strategic partnerships, shifts took place among the top Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) sites in 2007, with Network becoming the IYP search market leader in Q4 2007, according to a comScore study of national IYP search activity. forged multiple partnerships in 2007, including with and, helping it take the top position in total IYP searches.

“In the highly competitive IYP search market, partnerships played a significant role in determining the 2007 landscape,” said Serge Matta, SVP of comScore. “Yellowpages Network was one of the key beneficiaries of this strategy, since partnerships helped it secure a leading position in the market.”


According to comScore analysis and findings:

  • Network (20.2% share) edged out Network (20.0% share) in Q4 2007 to lead the IYP search market.
  • Like Yellowpages, Superpages’ new partnerships provided a boost to its search activity, with the new relationship and the Infospace FindIt/ acquisition contributing to its gains.
  • However, Superpages discontinued its affiliation with both and MSN Yellowpages, offsetting the positive impact of the new relationships.
  • Although Superpages registered an increased number of total searches in 2007, it did not grow as fast as the market, and as a result its share fell slightly.
  • Certain top IYP providers experienced growth in 2007 by capitalizing on changes in their partner and affiliate relationships:
    • Yellow Book Network, which more than doubled its share from 4% to nearly 9%, benefited in part from its new relationship with
    • Microsoft Sites recorded an increase in IYP searches after it began redirecting searches to Microsoft Maps beginning in December, subsequent to the dissolution of its partnership with Superpages.

R.H. Donnelley, the only truly regional local search provider among the top 8 US IYP sites, had a relatively modest national IYP search market share of 3.3%; however, within its 14-state region, it actually led the market in Q4 2007 with a 22% market share, comScore said.


Yellow Book Network and R.H. Donnelley traffic more than doubled from December 2006 to December 2007, driven by a combination of new relationships and organic visitor growth, comScore said.

Contributing to growth at Yellow Book Network were partnerships with Infospace and; R.H. Donnelley’s growth can be largely attributed to its acquisition of, according to the report.

(This story was from Click on the charts to make them bigger)

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Recessions & Restaurants

It's not just a question of "Do you want fries with that?" It's a question of making the feeding both our bodies and our cars, when the prices are going up and our paychecks aren't.

Subway dropped the price on their footlongs 25% this week, here's more news on the food front:

Restaurants Facing New Challenges

A combined one-two punch of recession and changing consumer behavior is producing one of the toughest business environments in decades for the restaurant industry, according to a new report from The NPD Group, titled "Why This Downturn Will Be Different for Restaurants."

During two of the four recession-related downturns in the industry during the last three decades (1983 and 1990-91), the growth of restaurant traffic slowed, but did not actually decrease. During the 2001-03 recession, traffic growth slowed more substantially, but stayed in the positive column except for 2002, when it declined by less than 1 percent.

But in 1979, when exceptionally high inflation came into play, restaurants experienced a nearly 4 percent drop in traffic, followed by another dip of over 1 percent in '80.

While energy and food inflation have not yet come close to reaching the levels they reached in '79-'80, NPD's analysts say that today's economic dynamics are more similar to that period than to those of the other recent recessions.

They also point out that 2007 restaurant traffic saw no organic growth last year. Traffic was up by just 0.7 percent -- and that was driven primarily by unit expansion, which suggests that traffic was flat on a comparable-store basis. This was the smallest traffic gain since the 2000-03 recession.

Obviously, inflation and economic uncertainty are forcing consumer spending cutbacks. And although supermarket food inflation is higher than it's been in 17 years, restaurant meals still cost about three times as much.

Customer traffic may stay positive in '08, "but will likely come in below '07 levels," says Bonnie Riggs, author of the report.

Riggs says that the economic stimulus package may help, as a package did in 2001. "While it was a short-term boost, it did keep the industry in a positive position," she notes.

But this time, the economic downturn is being exacerbated by existing trends that are having a negative impact on restaurants. "While the economy is a major factor here, this particular slowdown goes beyond just plain economics," Riggs says. "NPD is seeing consumer behavior at restaurants changing" as a result of shifting lifestyles.

One factor is a slowdown in the growth of women entering the workforce. "Over the last several decades, the restaurant industry's growth was heavily driven by a greater percentage of women joining the workforce, but that trend is over," comments Harry Balzer, VP and author of NPD Group's annual "Eating Patterns in America" report. This trend "may be more of a long-term issue for the industry than the current economic situation," he adds.

Population survey data show that the number of women ages 25 to 54 in the workforce jumped from 31 percent in 1948 to 76.8 percent by 1999. But this growth has hit a plateau since, and a "relatively flat trajectory" is also expected going forward, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Other factors contributing to restaurant challenges:

-- While dinner traffic held up during previous recessions, the number of restaurant diners was in decline before the economy headed south. Restaurant breakfasts and snacks are increasing, but it's difficult to grow in the face of lost main-meal revenue.

-- There is much greater competition now from ready-to-eat, frozen and other meals available in supermarkets.

Despite the challenges ahead for 2008, opportunities do exist. Riggs says restaurant operators and marketers need to understand what drives consumer behavior and how they manage their costs when they visit a restaurant.

What can restaurants do?

Understand what drives consumer behavior and how they manage their costs when they visit a restaurant, and look for new ways to offer value and make the restaurant experience as pleasant as possible, says Riggs.

"In the current environment, there are more restaurant companies going after fewer dollars. To drive traffic, they're going to have to establish a competitive point of difference in terms of a value proposition," she notes.

And given that many majors are already competing head to head with pricing tactics like price/value menus, they may need to look at how to add food quality/variety and service differentiators into the price/value relationship, she adds.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 03/19/08)

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Permission Based Marketing vs. Spam included the following survey in an email to me.

I signed up for emails from

I can also unsubscribe to their email if I change my mind.

This is called permission based email marketing. Permission based marketing has been around forever. Catalogs that your mailman used to stuff in your mailbox were a form of permission based marketing. Business Reply cards are another.

If you are going to use email in your marketing, make sure it is permission based with an opt-out option, otherwise you'll be one of those annoying spammers.

(By the way, since March 8th, G-mail has filtered 2563 emails into my spam e-mail box!)

For more on why spammers spam, click here.

Email Marketers in Trouble as ‘Spam’ Definition Evolves to Mean ‘Unwanted’

The definition of spam has effectively changed from “unsolicited commercial email,” an idea based on permission, to a perception-based definition - i.e., it’s unwanted - according to the “Spam Complainers Survey” by Q Interactive and MarketingSherpa.

The survey sought to determine consumers’ perceptions of what spam is, why they report emails as spam and what they think happens when the “report spam” button is clicked.

Below, some of the survey findings.

From Unsolicited to Unwanted

Most consumers don’t accurately comprehend the meaning of “spam”:

  • Over half of survey participants - 56% - consider marketing messages from known senders to be spam if the message is “just not interesting to me.”
  • 50% of respondents consider “too frequent emails from companies I know” to be spam.
  • 31% cite “emails that were once useful but aren’t relevant anymore.”

Regarding the use of the “report spam” button - the primary tool that internet service providers (ISPs) provide consumers to counter spam - nearly half of respondents (48%) provided a reason other than “did not sign up for email” for reporting an email as spam.

Respondents cited various non-permission-based reasons for hitting the spam button:

  • “The email was not of interest to me” (41%).
  • “I receive too much email from the sender” (25%).
  • “I receive too much email from all senders” (20%).

Consequences of Reporting Spam Unclear

Confusion is pervasive among consumers regarding what they believe will happen as a result of clicking the “report spam” button:

  • Over half of respondents, 56%, reported that it will “filter all email from that sender.”
  • 21% said it will notify the sender that the recipient did not find that specific email useful so the sender will “do a better job of mailing me” in the future.
  • 47% said they would be unsubscribed from the list by clicking “report spam,” whereas 53% do not think that’s the case.

Not surprisingly, accompanying such confusion is the frequent misuse of the “report spam” button:

  • A large number of consumers, 43%, forgo advertiser-supplied unsubscribe links in email and simply use the ISP’s “report spam” button to unsubscribe from an advertiser’s list - regardless of whether the email fits the consumer’s definition of spam.
  • A full one in five consumers (21%) use the “report spam” button to unsubscribe from email that they specifically do not consider spam.

Broken System

“What this survey uncovered is a major disconnect in consumers’ understanding and use of the ‘report spam’ button, as well as consumers’ definition of spam from ‘I didn’t sign up for it’ to ‘I don’t like it’—all of which signal that the current system of email spam filtering is a broken process,” said Matt Wise, president and chief executive officer of Q Interactive.

“Spam complaints are the primary metric that ISPs use to determine email delivery. This study shows that consumers don’t really understand how the complaint system works and that emailers don’t understand how consumers define spam,” said Stefan Tornquist, research director, MarketingSherpa.

Q Interactive suggests that ISPs’ “report spam” button be replaced with those that more clearly indicate consumers’ intentions, such as an “unsubscribe” button and an “undesired” button.

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Non-Profit Organizations, Are you Missing Out?

I sit on a marketing advisory board for a youth organization, the Board of Directors for a local civic organization, the Board of Directors of the Advertising Federation and only one out of three of these organizations accepts credit card payments on-line.

What about the organizations you are a part of? Read this from

‘Wired Wealthy’ Donors a Missed Opportunity for Nonprofits

The “wired wealthy” donor donates on average $11,000 a year, and more than half say online giving is their preferred channel, but they find nonprofits’ websites to lack inspiration, connection, and opportunity for deeper engagement, according to a recent study.

Below, some of the findings issued from the study by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research.

Eight in ten donors surveyed have made donations online, citing benefits of speed and efficiency, credit card miles, and donation-tracking abilities:

  • 72% said donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs.
  • 53% cited credit card-based frequent-flyer miles or other reward as a benefit.
  • 48% said online giving makes it easier to track donations over time.
  • 46% said five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online.
  • 68% said online giving lets charities respond more quickly in the event of an emergency or crisis.

Donors have been online for an average of 12 years, and are online an average of 18 hours a week; they buy products (92%), use YouTube (52%) and download/listen to music (43% do so). Some 17% are concerned about security issues.

Demands and Expectations Met, But Not Exceeded

High-dollar donors expect a simple and secure giving process and access to financials in support of giving decisions, but they also would like to be inspired, connected, and engaged.

Yet just four in ten said that most charity websites are inspiring, and the same proportion said those websites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission. Less than half (48%) thought the websites were well-designed.

Information Not Easy to Find

Nonprofit/charity websites often don’t provide easy access to information:

  • 62% said most charities make it easy to find contact information (e.g., mailing address, phone number).
  • 53% said most charity websites make it easy to get the information needed to decide whether to give.
  • 34% said information found on the website was “very useful” in their decision making process - 46% said the information was “somewhat useful.”

Email a Lost Opportunity

  • Nearly three in four respondents (74%) said it is appropriate for a charity to send an email reminder about annual gift renewal - 56% approve of an urgent fundraising email asking for a donation.
  • The same amount said they would be more likely to give again if they received an email about how their donation was spent and what happened as a result.
  • 65% of those surveyed said they always open and glance at emails from causes they support.
  • 46% said charity emails do a good job of making the donor feel connected.
  • 43% of respondents said emails they receive from charities are generally well written and inspiring.

Valuable Information

Other information donors said they find valuable:

  • Personal stories by people whose lives had been transformed by the charity (64% said so)
  • Volunteer information (62%)
  • Reviews and summaries of recent news coverage of the cause or charity (69%)

About the study: More than 3,000 donors from 23 major nonprofit organizations were surveyed in the fall of 2007; donors represented approximately 1% of the participating charities’ email files but accounted for nearly 32% of their annual gifts. The “Wired Wealth” are those who donate a minimum of $1,000 dollars annually to a single cause and give an average of $10,896 to various charities each year, with a median gift of $4,500. Giving figures are based on actual giving histories as reported by participating organizations.

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Website news

A quick update on a website address:

Jim Meisenheimer, sent me a note today about his new website,

Jim has a very practical approach to sales basics and is one of the few folks I would recomend spending money with for sales training materials. I have a couple of his books and cd sets and you can get yours by going to his new website.

Jim also has some free material you can sample. Thanks Jim!

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Fast Food Price Wars

Better share, or else you might look like Jared before he shed the pounds:

Subway Restaurants Offers Footlongs For $5
Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 5:00 AM ET
THE PROMOTION, WHICH BEGAN MONDAY, gives consumers up to a 25% discount off the footlong subs.

The Milford, Conn.-based company says a footlong sub could be dinner for a man, lunch and dinner for a woman, a shared lunch for a mother and her kids or a snack for a teenager.

--Nina M. Lentini

A Snack for a teenager?!?! Come on now.....Shame on you...

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Going Grocery Shopping?

From my email was this tid bit of info on Grocery Shoppers:

Top 10 Reasons For Choosing A Grocery Store

Lowest everyday prices 27%
Close to home 18%
Less expensive 8%
Large stock/selection 7%
Close to work 6%
Best advertised specials 6%
Best meats/poultry 5%
Best produce 3%
Carry brands I like 3%
My brand on sale 2%

Source: 2008 Vertis Customer Focus: Retail 2008

For more details click here and read these details..

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Direct Mail Tips

From my email:

7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Direct Mail Campaign
By Circulation Management

Postal rate hikes are not the only increase in expenditures publishers are facing—there are also paper, production and printing costs to deal with. Following the tips listed here will put you well on your way to a more cost-efficient campaign—and higher ROI. Sound good?

Try these money saving suggestions to help minimize the cost of your next direct mail campaign.

1. Gang-Run Printing If you are printing multiple versions of a four-color brochure, running more than one version on the same press sheet can save you a lot of money. When you put the brochure out for a quote, be as thorough and descriptive as possible, making sure to list the number, quantity and changes per version. This will enable your printer to plan out the job and minimize the number of plate changes and make-readies that you incur. With a typical make-ready costing $800 and an average plate costing $175, you can see how the savings can quickly add up.

2. Using a Fifth Color If you've designed a brochure that includes copy changes reversing out of a four-color background (a headline, for example), consider changing that background to a PMS fifth color. By doing this, each version change will only affect one plate instead of all four plates. This will more than offset the increase in cost of changing to a five-color brochure. For example, if you want to print a million brochures with 10 different versions, instead of using a complete four-color change on one side, consider printing five-colors over five-colors with a one-color change on one side. The savings with the five-color version would be approximately $4,400.

3. Piggyback on a Larger Print Run If you want to test a format that is very expensive to produce in small test quantities, find out if one of your vendors is running that particular format in a large quantity for another client and then, with that client's permission, run your test piece as a plate change off their larger run. By doing this your printer can split the savings between the two clients.

4. Minor Size Changes Equal Major Cost Savings It always pays to talk to your vendors about alternative size possibilities in order to achieve a better fit on press. Particularly in web printing, you are dealing with fixed cutoff dimensions, combined with variable width dimensions. As a result, a slight tweaking one way or another can have a dramatic effect on press efficiency. In one case, a publisher designed a brochure at 16" x 27", but the printer recommended changing the size to 17" x 25-7/8". In doing so, the printer was able to achieve a perfect fit on a half-web press, instead of running sheet-fed, which reduced the publisher's cost by $3,500 on a quantity of 60,000 brochures.

5. Your Printer’s House Sheet On a typical printing job, paper can easily account for 50 percent of the total cost. Even a minor reduction in the cost of paper can produce big benefits. One way to accomplish this is to ask your printers to give you a price on the paper you are requesting, as well as a comparable alternative among their house sheets. The primary benefit is that since the printer buys this paper in very large quantities, they can offer it to you at a very attractive price. Another benefit is that the printer already has the paper on hand, thereby eliminating special order lead time and possible minimum order requirements. If you are printing one million 11" x 17" brochures, using your printer's house sheet could save you as much as $1,200 over a comparable paper.

6. Personalization at a Lower Cost If you are producing a direct-mail piece that includes the personalization of an address block and some additional copy, you should explore various production methods to determine which is the most cost-effective process that will give you the quality and amount of personalization you need. Consider producing a double postcard as a cut sheet/ink-jet product instead of a continuous form/laser product. Cut sheet refers to printing on a sheet-fed or web press, where the paper is cut into individual sheets and then fed through an inkjet machine to personalize it. Continuous form refers to printing roll-to-roll on a web press and then feeding the rolls of preprinted paper through high-speed laser equipment to personalize the entire form. Particularly in smaller quantities, the cut sheet/ink-jet approach can save money without compromising quality. On the other hand, if you're using an 8-1/2" x 11" letter with full variable imaging, continuous/laser would most likely be the best process. Double postcards are commonly used to generate subscriptions. Half the postcard is used to sell, and the other half acts as a subscription reply card. It's an easy piece to produce at a low cost. Printers note it's an ideal piece for magazine acquisition mailings.

7. Maximize Postal Discounts The USPS's MERLIN program—an acronym for Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument—is a tool that is used to assist with the acceptance of business mail. The MERLIN program helps mailers qualify for automation discounts and meet acceptance requirements for bulk mailings. The last phone call any mailer wants to receive is one from their mailhouse informing them that their mail piece has failed the MERLIN test. This will result in a loss of your automation discount and cost you approximately seven cents per piece. For example, a run of 200,000 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" postcards printed on seven-point card stock, instead of nine-point stock, would fail MERLIN and result in a surcharge of $14,000.

---Source: Circulation Management (

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Radio Merger News

The Justice Department gave the green light to the merger of XM & Sirius, and now the Federal Communication Commission is expected to put their rubber stamp of approval on it with a couple of thin strings.

What does it mean to the Advertising business? Virtually nothing. Satellite Radio now has a chance of surviving by this consolidation, which gives consumers more choices. However in reality, there will be less choices as the merger may eliminate come of the channels now offered by XM & Sirius.

Also, the early promise of Satellite Radio was that it was supposed to be commercial free. But they discovered that they could not compete financially, or should I say stay afloat financially with just subscriber fees. And because it is a national broadcasting system, localism is not included.

There will always be a need for local content for listeners that want to know what's going on in their towns and advertisers that want to reach the consumers that are local. So like I said, this will have virtually no effect on the Advertising Business. There are bigger media changes on the horizon that are coming fast.

For more check out these stories on the XM/Sirius Merger from Hear 2.0 and
The Bigger Media Changes also from Hear 2.o.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

You're invited!

Okay, I've been posting all these networking tips from Scott Ginsberg, the Name Tag Guy, but haven't done much about inviting you to any networking meetings!

The following came in my email, and I would recommend checking this event out. Read on:

Hello everyone;

Spring is here and this week offers a great opportunity to Network with business professionals in our local business community. Come and join us for business Networking with a purpose! You can grow your business and make new friends at the True Business Networking Group Meeting this Thursday March 27th 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at Tri-State University, Fort Wayne.

For more information about our group or this meeting visit us online at

We hope to see you Thursday!

Co-Host Andrew Zelt

Co-Host Linda Piersimoni

Feel free to contact either one of us if you need help or have questions.

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Survey says....

Some days I feel like Richard Dawson of the old T.V. Show Family Feud. These came in my email from the fine folks at E.P.M. Their contact information is at the bottom of this posting:

Volume 2 Issue 3
March 24, 2008

From the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau: 67 million women were employed in the U.S. in 2006, 75% of them full-time.


Women comprise 46% of the total U.S. labor force, a figure that is expected to stay level through 2014.


46% of employed Asian women and 39% of employed white women worked in management, professional and related occupations.


Almost one third of Black and Hispanic women work in sales and office occupations.


Median weekly earnings of full-time working women was $600 in 2006 - or 81% of men's $743.

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.

And there's more:

Volume 3 Issue 12 - March 24, 2008


20% of Americans aged 55 and older think Web content is made for people their age, finds BurstMedia.


Baby Boomers (85%) are more likely than Matures, born before 1946 (70%), to turn to friends and family for information when they have a medical concern, says Focalyst.


Americans who watch online videos spend 120 minutes per month, on average, watching online videos and download more than 50 videos a month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.


People are more frustrated by talking to a representative with a thick accent (20%) than they are with long hold times (17%) when contacting customer service, says Opinion Research Corporation.


Americans spent $44.4 billion on shoes in 2007, up 2% from the prior year despite zero growth in men's shoes, reports NPD Group.

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

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What are you going to drink?

Traditional soft drinks are continuing their decline. McDonald's introduced Sweet Tea when there was a foot of snow on the ground in January this year. Recent commercials on TV have been attacking the extra calories that are added in some "energy drink waters".

Here's the latest news from the bottlers:

Soft-Drink Sales Volume Slipped Faster Last Year

A decline in U.S. soft-drink sales volume accelerated sharply last year, as Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and other beverage companies failed to overcome flagging consumer interest in big soda brands and grappled with rising commodity costs that pushed the prices of those drinks higher.

Beverage Digest, an industry publication and data service that tracks soft-drink sales in supermarkets and other retail outlets, vending machines and restaurants. The decline was considerably worse than 0.6 percent and 0.2 percent slips in 2006 and 2005, respectively, and erased gains in soda sales made since 2000.

The accelerated drop appeared to be due to price increases of about 5 percent in the past year that have made soft drinks less attractive, coupled with continually growing consumer interest in newer drink categories like enhanced waters and teas, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. While Coke and Pepsi market those drinks, too, they make up a smaller percentage of overall volume than carbonated soft drinks.

"These companies have to redouble their efforts to find new beverages and new ways to replace the lost soda volume," Mr. Sicher said.

The carbonated soft-drink volume results would have been "at least several tenths of a percentage point worse" had they not included sales of energy drinks, Mr. Sicher noted. While energy-drink sales pale in size to sales of big soft-drink brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, they represent one of the fastest-growing beverage segments.

The retail value of the U.S. carbonated soft-drink industry rose 2.7 percent to $72 billion, reflecting both the price increases on soft drinks and the growth of energy drinks, which are premium-priced. U.S. annual per capita consumption of soft drinks remains the highest in the world, at 789 eight-ounce servings last year, down from 849 eight-ounce servings in 2000.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's soft-drink volumes fell 2.7 percent each, and each company's share of the U.S. carbonated soft-drink market slipped 0.1 percentage point -- to 42.8 percent for Coke, the U.S.'s largest seller of soft drinks, and 31.1 percent for second-largest Pepsi. The third-largest soft-drink maker, Cadbury Schweppes PLC, also saw its sales volume drop, but its market share rose 0.1 percentage point to 15 percent. Volume for Cott Corp., the fourth-largest beverage maker, which produces private-label beverages for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers, fell 8.5 percent and its market share slipped 0.3 percentage point.

Among the top 10 selling soda brands, only Diet Mountain Dew, marketed by PepsiCo, and Diet Dr Pepper, marketed by Cadbury, posted volume growth. The top two brands, Coca-Cola Classic and Pepsi-Cola, continued to slide, with Coke volume slipping 3 percent and Pepsi volume falling 4.8 percent. Some smaller brands posted healthy growth: volume of Coca-Cola Zero, a diet cola, rose 37.5 percent.

Dan Schafer, a Coke spokesman, said the company is making headway on accelerating carbonated soft-drink sales.

"Our sparkling-beverage category showed sequential improvement during the year," he said. "We're confident we've got the right strategies."

Dave DeCecco, a spokesman for PepsiCo, which dominates noncarbonated-drink sales, said the company is continuing to expand its overall beverage portfolio.

"In 2007 we outperformed our nearest competitor, and we expect to gain share in 2008," he said.

The slipping soda sales and a slowdown in volume growth of bottled water mean that overall beverage sales slowed for the major companies, Beverage Digest said. Coke's combined carbonated and noncarbonated drink volume slipped 0.5 percent, while PepsiCo's overall volume rose 0.1 percent, thanks largely to strong growth of its Lipton tea brand.

The U.S. market for nonalcoholic beverages -- including soda, bottled water, sports drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and other drinks -- rose just 1.3 percent, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., an industry consulting firm.

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 03/13/08)

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