Saturday, May 03, 2008

Starbucks Music Marketing

So what is Starbucks?

Is it coffee beans?

Is it a made to order latte?

Is it a hang-out?

Is it music?

Check this out from

How Starbucks Is Changing Its Tune

Lombard Departure Signals Coffee Chain Will Be More Digitally Focused and Will Become More Distributor Than Music Producer

LOS ANGELES ( -- Goodbye, Starbucks the music producer and talent spotter. Hello, Starbucks the would-be tastemaker, digital-media operator and iTunes marketing partner.
Ken Lombard, Starbucks' entertainment president, is leaving the company.
Ken Lombard, Starbucks' entertainment president, is leaving the company.

The coffee chain restructured its entertainment division late last week, most notably by announcing the departure of Ken Lombard, the division's president, and his replacement with Chris Bruzzo, its chief technology officer.

Facing weaker-than-forecasted earnings, slowing sales and an economic climate that CEO Howard Schultz told investors is "the weakest in our company's history," Starbucks has de-emphasized noncore businesses such as egg muffins and entertainment and tried to put the focus back on beans. But given that it sold 4.4 million CDs last year, it always seemed unlikely Starbucks would abandon the music market entirely.

It hasn't. What it has done is walk away from the strategy Mr. Lombard helped frame and execute. It will no longer aim to discover new artists or produce records. Its Hear Music record label, which was formed in March 2007 as part of a larger effort to forge relationships directly with artists and distribute their recordings at Starbucks locations, will now be run entirely by the Concord Music Group, which had been a partner in the division.

Did what he had to
Mr. Bruzzo could not be reached for comment, and the company is in a quiet period in the run-up to its earnings announcement. Mr. Lombard himself, reached on his cellphone late Friday, would say only that he had "a tremendous amount of relationships at Starbucks and a great love for the company" but cited a nondisclosure agreement that precluded his talking about his vision for entertainment at the company or his next move.

One executive familiar with Starbucks' reorganization said Mr. Lombard had done "what he was asked to do; it's not that he was doing anything wrong. It's a refocusing of the business. It's going to be a different business than he was doing before."

The new entertainment business, it seems, is going to be focused less on jewel cases than on digital wares. On Friday, the company disclosed that AT&T Wi-Fi service would be available at more than 7,000 U.S. company-operated stores by May 1. That announcement, coupled with Mr. Bruzzo's expanded role, augurs a Starbucks that will increasingly be a place to download all kinds of music, rather than just mellow -- and increasingly, mainstream -- acts such as Hear Music artists Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.

Last October, all 10,000 Starbucks coffee shops began a monthlong promotion offering customers free iTunes cards to download specific songs from Apple's iTunes music service. Its purpose was two-fold: First, re-establish Starbucks as the Oprah-like tastemaking force it was when it helped esoteric jazz and rock acts gain prominence several years ago. Second, get customers used to using Starbucks' Wi-Fi network to buy music on iTunes.

Before joining Starbucks, Mr. Bruzzo was employed by Amazon, and part of his mandate, Amazon executives said, was to help turn it into a digital-entertainment company -- something it was much closer to becoming than Starbucks was.

Physical retailer selling digital?
One of those executives remarked that it almost makes more sense to sell CDs along with lattes than it does to hawk MP3s. One person who'd worked with Mr. Bruzzo at Amazon asked: "How does Starbucks become a 'digital' entertainment company when its product is really physical? What do people go to for?"
Ray Charles' album 'Genius Loves Company' sold 5.5 million copies worldwide -- and 25% of those were sold at Starbucks. Unfortunately for the coffee chain, none of its subsequent music offerings matched that home run.
Ray Charles' album 'Genius Loves Company' sold 5.5 million copies worldwide -- and 25% of those were sold at Starbucks. Unfortunately for the coffee chain, none of its subsequent music offerings matched that home run.

Under Mr. Lombard's tenure, Starbucks enjoyed nearly unprecedented success selling its first collaboration with an artist, Ray Charles. His "Genius Loves Company" sold 5.5 million copies worldwide (the first multi-platinum album of his career), and 25% of them were sold at Starbucks. However, none of the offerings that followed matched that home run. And not all of Concord's acts have chosen to align with Hear Music, preferring instead to simply market their wares through the coffee chain rather than collaborate with Starbucks on albums. For example, Brazilian composer, arranger and pianist Sergio Mendes* will release his new album this June not via Hear Records but simply as a Concord Music Group artist whose work is available at Starbucks, among other retailers on and offline.

"They're certainly important on a retail-sales front," said Brad Gelfond, VP-brand partnerships and asset development at Warner Bros. Records, "and especially so if the artist is in that 'Starbucks zeitgeist' -- 30- something, tasteful, maybe female."

Mr. Gelfond added that when Warner recording artist Alanis Morrissette releases her new album in June, it will be available for sale at Starbucks, though, unlike the acoustic version of her multimillion- selling album "Jagged Little Pill," not exclusively at Starbucks.

How important will Starbucks be to its success?

"I don't know," he joked. "I drink tea."

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Brand Building Relationships

Here's another list regarding Branding:

Top 10 Brands Ranked For Excellence In Shopper Marketing

Procter & Gamble

2| Unilever

3| Clorox Co|

4| Nestlé

5| Kraft Foods

6| Coca-Cola

7| Frito-Lay

8| Campbell Soup

9| ConAgra

10| Pepsi-Cola

Source: The Hub

And Here's the story from Mediapost:

P&G Tops First 'Excellence In Shopper Marketing' List
by Nina M. Lentini
[Retail] Chris Hoyt of Hoyt & Company says that the relationship between brand marketers and their agencies is critical to success in Shopper Marketing. "To be 'best practice,' both brand marketers and agencies must walk in lockstep and each must be capable of filling the voids where the other is weak until the weaknesses are addressed," he said. - Read the whole story...

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Gender Differences on Social Media


More Women Than Men on Social Networks, Have More Friends Than Men Do

More women are on social networks and on average have slightly more “friends” than do men, even though men tend to be more focused on acquiring “friends” than building relationships with them, according to a Rapleaf study of 30.74 million social networkers.

Rapleaf examined the number of friends that men and women have on Bebo, Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, LiveJournal, MySpace, Flickr, among others.

The following are highlights of the study of people with at least one social-network friend:


  • Of those with at least one friend, 53.57% are female and 46.43% are male.
  • Social Networkers (those with 1-100 friends):
    • Constitute about 80% of the sample set.
    • Women have on average 62 friends.
    • Men have on average 57 friends.
    • Women are more likely to be “Social Networkers.”
  • Connectors (100-1,000 friends):
    • Constitute about 19% of the sample set.
    • Women have on average 185 friends.
    • Men have on average 172 friends.
      Women are more likely to be “Connectors.”
  • Super Connectors (1,000-10,000 friends):
    • Constitute 0.66% of the sample set.
    • Women have on average 1,837 friends.
    • Men have on average 1,944 friends.
    • Men are more like to be “Super Connectors.”
  • Uber Connectors (10,000+ friends)
    • Constitute 0.02% of the sample set.
    • Women have on average 24,077 friends.
    • Men have on average 24,584 friends.
    • Men are more likely to be “Uber Connectors.”

A prior Rapleaf study found that women spend more time on social networks than men do. And though on average women also have slightly more friends than men do, the difference isn’t substantial. Rapleaf therefore theorizes that women are spending more time on social networks building and nurturing relationships, whereas men are likely spending more time acquiring relationships (a transactional approach) than nurturing them.

Rapleaf provides search services to businesses and consumers seeking information about people on social webs.

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Harvey's ABC's of Selling-7

Welcome to day 7 of these gems from Harvey Mackay:

The ABCs of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

Not long ago, I was listening as one of my grandchildren practiced his ABCs. He had a little picture book that helped him remember what the letters stood for, and he studied it intently, determined to be the first in his class to know all the letters and words. With his determination, I knew he would master the alphabet in no time at all.

As he worked, I started thinking about what those letters mean to me, after a lifetime in sales and years of helping young hopefuls get started in their careers. I didn't draw pictures, but these are the words my alphabet book would include:

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

Deliver more than you promise.

Education is for life—never stop learning.

Follow up and follow through. Never leave a customer hanging.

Goals give you a reason to go to work every day. When you reach your goals, set higher ones!

As a former manager of mine once said, "Never let our goals hold you back!"

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Fun Facts

From my email this week. I challenge you to use one of these in casual conversation between now and Monday!

Volume 3 Issue 17 - April 28, 2008


37% of Americans aged 12 and up have an MP3 player, including 8% who own both an iPod and another brand, say Edison Media Research and Arbitron.


24% of workers who are late to work make up an excuse, reports


Americans spend an average of 39 hours researching homes before they buy and 10 hours researching major home improvement projects, but just 5 hours researching their home loan or mortgage, says Zillow.


Sales of toys for infants reached $343 million in 2007, up 36% from the prior year, according to Packaged Facts.


26% of newly hired chief financial officers wish they could spend more time with external investors and analysts, while 11% wish they could spend less time with them, reports McKinsey Quarterly.

EPM Datafile Info:
Publisher: Ira Mayer

The EPM 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's up with Radio?

A few years ago, when deregulation in the broadcasting world opened the door for companies to buy lots and lots of radio stations, including several in the same market, radio and TV became an attractive investment vehicle.

We saw the loss of many small town stations as they were "moved to the bigger towns". Here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we have 8 commercial stations that are licensed to Fort Wayne, along with another 9 or 10 that claim to be Fort Wayne stations that are actually licensed to smaller, neighboring towns.

Congress is currently looking at the concept of broadcast outlets serving the town they are licensed to, and there is also news regarding the future of radio because of stories like this one:

Size matters...and small is in The March 8% drop in radio revenues was by no means across the board. CL King analyst Jim Boyle notes that the average big market was down 10%, but the average small market was up 3%. "The best predictor for radio revenue is market size, not regional or group differences," he says.

(You can click on the headline to see the complete story.)

But when we get down to the basics of radio as a vehicle to invite people to do business with you, and take out the stock brokers, ad agencies and media buyers that rely on secondary indicators of the success such as ratings, we see why smaller market radio still works.

Maybe the Big Boys will come around and see radio for what it really is, and that is something much more local and personal than a stock ticker symbol.

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Harvey's ABC's of Selling-6

And no, F does not stand for Friday. Read on:

The ABCs of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

Not long ago, I was listening as one of my grandchildren practiced his ABCs. He had a little picture book that helped him remember what the letters stood for, and he studied it intently, determined to be the first in his class to know all the letters and words. With his determination, I knew he would master the alphabet in no time at all.

As he worked, I started thinking about what those letters mean to me, after a lifetime in sales and years of helping young hopefuls get started in their careers. I didn't draw pictures, but these are the words my alphabet book would include:

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

Deliver more than you promise.

Education is for life—never stop learning.

Follow up and follow through. Never leave a customer hanging.

This is where I have seen lots and lots of sales people get an "F". I once knew a woman that made 250 in person prospecting calls each week, but only had a 5% closing ratio because she rarely did timely follow up.

Look, most of us struggle with the balance of looking for new business and servicing existing clients. I believe the key is simple. Simply develop a system. There's plenty of software programs out there, pen and paper and a calender works too.

By the way, this series of sales tips is going to continue 7 days a week, so check back on Saturday and Sunday for more wisdom from Harvey Mackay!

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Eating our tax check

From my email:
Restaurants Hoping History Repeats Itself

If consumers respond to the tax rebates as they did in 2001, the last time tax rebates were issued, restaurants will benefit, according to a report from The NPD Group, a leading market research company. Studies of what happened after households started receiving their rebate checks between July and September 2001 found that initially much of the money went into savings or to pay debt. Then, spending went to clothing stores and restaurants. In general, there was a lag time between when consumers received their checks and when they started spending at restaurants. "It's likely that consumers will behave in the same way they did after receiving their 2001 tax rebate, and the restaurant industry should at the very least enjoy a short-term boost," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. "The 2008 tax rebate is considerably larger and is getting into consumers' hands much earlier than the 2001 rebate, which also bodes well for the restaurant industry." According to NPD, during the period of time consumers began receiving and spending their checks in 2001, visits to restaurants rose 2 percent, driven by quick service restaurants (QSR) and casual dining. While midscale traffic was still off a bit, losses were nowhere near as severe as those noted in the first half of the year. All restaurant segments were able to benefit from consumers increasing their spending at restaurants. There are some economists who argue that 2008 is vastly different from 2001 and that consumers may act differently this time, pointing out credit card debt, gasoline prices, and food costs are at an all-time high this time around. "NPD has tracked consumer behavior since 1976 and, historically, their behavior does not dramatically shift," says Riggs. "It's been a tough year so far for consumers, and my educated guess is that they will want to reward themselves with a nice meal out." (Source: The NPD Group, 04/28/08)

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Next Thursday is a big day in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Start your day with an Umbrella. It's the final story in the Umbrella Series presented by Barry Labov and his staff at Labov & Beyond, along with the Taylor University Players!

There's a special buy 1, get 2 free offer below, and tell em where you heard about this!

That's from 7:30 to 9am at the Chamber.

Afterwards, the Business Expo is going on, also downtown at the Grand Wayne Center. Doors open at 10.

Click here for all those details!

Sounds like a job for...Salesforce!

Thurs., May 8, 7:30 9 a.m.

Chamber of Commerce

Business owners, executives, managers and anyone interested in learning about some of today’s hottest business topics

To register
Rita Chalfant

Join The Chamber, Taylor University and LaBov & Beyond Marketing Communications for SalesForce. In one hour and twelve minutes you'll learn how to build a team, how to fight fair and how to be true to yourself in business and in your personal life.

For the price of one admission you can bring two colleagues. Performance begins at 7:30 a.m. By 9 a.m., you'll return to the office with a fresh outlook and a few breakthrough ideas you can apply that day.

The recent Umbrella Series performance at the Chamber yielded record attendance. Please confirm your reservation now.

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Tis the season to sport a baby belly

This week, my wife and I visited one of our favorite eating spots and our waitress and 4 others were all expecting.

Looking back on my own personal history, 2 out of 3 of my kids were in the womb in May, so now is the time to pass on this bit of info:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Over-the-Fence Influencing 2/3 of Moms and Moms-to-Be

New research by BabyCenter and the Keller Fay Group, shows that today's pregnant women and new moms engage in one-third more word of mouth conversations per day than the total public or women, and 60% of conversations among the studied group carry with them a recommendation to buy, try, or consider the brands under discussion.

This group has an average of 109 word of mouth conversations per week about products, services and brands, most of which are positive and considered highly credible by other moms. The Word of Mouth Marketing Study, conducted among 1,721 pregnant women and new mothers in the first quarter of 2008, shows that positive brand sentiment outweighs negative by a 10:1 margin. Among the mom segment, word of mouth about shopping, retail and apparel is highly impactful, with 69 percent likely to purchase based on what was heard.

Half or more of all moms surveyed report having at least one conversation per day about technology, financial services, health care, food/dining, media/entertainment, packaged goods, shopping and retail experiences. Eight of the top ten most talked about brands listed in the study are retailer, consumer electronic or soft drink brands.

On average, pregnant and new moms engage in seven conversations per week about technology and eight conversations per week about both beverages and shopping-related topics. Within these conversations they mention five technology brands, six beverage brands and eight retailer brands on average.

The top 10 most talked about brands, as noted in a summary by Marketing Charts, are:

  • Target
  • Wal•Mart
  • Verizon
  • AT&T/Cingular
  • Coke
  • Apple Computer
  • Pampers
  • Sprint/Nextel
  • Gerber
  • Pepsi

The majority of discussions about brands and products occur in person, but much of this talk is stimulated and informed by content moms have been exposed to through media channels such as the Internet and TV. Among pregnant and new moms, the Internet is the #1 driver of word of mouth, beating out all other forms of media, including TV, magazines and outdoor.

Percent of Brand Mentions Involving One or More References to Marketing Activity


% of Pregnant & New Moms





Coupon circular


Direct mail/email


In-store display/Video


Product package






Product sample




Billboard ad


Source: Keller Fay Group, April 2008

Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president, BabyCenter, said "Moms have a natural desire to share ideas and information with each other. For marketers, having the validated insight that the Internet is the leading media driver of word of mouth can help them shape their media and marketing budgets... plans and ...messaging."

Close to 1 in 5 pregnant and new moms were identified as word of mouth leaders based on their recommending behavior and size of social network. This number is 60 percent higher than the total public and 45 percent higher total women.

Ed Keller, CEO, the Keller Fay Group, said "...If you want to reach a group of highly engaged consumers who are actively engaged in word of mouth to learn and share consumer experiences, this is a ‘must reach' group of consumers."

For more information, please visit BabyCenter here, or Keller Fay here.

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Marketing News From Mediapost

A few quick hits from my email. Click on the underlined words for the full story:

April Sales Down As Consumers Swerve To Avoid SUVs, Trucks
by Karl Greenberg
[Automotive] But, says's Jesse Toprak, sales of full-sized trucks and body-on-frame SUVs, paradoxically, won't be down as much because they've taken such a huge hit in recent months. "I think the biggest hit for those categories already occurred so it will be more minor drops. Single digits for both," he predicts. - Read the whole story...

Dockers Makes A Play For The Younger, More Viral Crowd
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] "Viewers can search and upload the commercial and interact with the brand," says Jennifer Cooper, CEO of Mixercast. "Then they can create their ad, it gets circulated through the platform, and in two months, the winning spot gets to appear on 'The Tonight Show.' It's a complete, 360-degree campaign--instead of just running a 30-second spot, it turns into a two-month-long event." - Read the whole story...

Harley Targets Younger Consumer With Sub-Brand
by Karl Greenberg
[Automotive] The importance of the brand's mystique is reflected in the acronym for Harley-Davidson's national owners club--"HOG" (Harley-Davidson Owners Group). "But looking forward, that only takes you so far because Boomers are aging," notes IceOlogy's Wes Brown. "They have ridden that wave, but they can't ride it 'til it hits the shore." - Read the whole story...

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Harvey's ABC's of Selling-5

Over the course of 26 days, I'm going to share with you an article that Harvey Mackay wrote, 1 letter at a time:

The ABCs of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

Not long ago, I was listening as one of my grandchildren practiced his ABCs. He had a little picture book that helped him remember what the letters stood for, and he studied it intently, determined to be the first in his class to know all the letters and words. With his determination, I knew he would master the alphabet in no time at all.

As he worked, I started thinking about what those letters mean to me, after a lifetime in sales and years of helping young hopefuls get started in their careers. I didn't draw pictures, but these are the words my alphabet book would include:

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

Deliver more than you promise.

Education is for life—never stop learning.

And it doesn't have to be college. There's enough books, cd's seminars, etc.

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2008 American Consumer Preview Part 10

Note: This is the last 2008 American Consumer Preview. For the first 9, click here.

Money's coming!

Is it coming your way?

With the announcement that the tax checks were arriving in folks bank accounts this week, I hope you planned a convincing campaign to get people to spend the money with you!

Here's where the money is going:

Rebate Checks Should Jump-Start Retail Sales

Federal tax rebates will give retail sales a significant and much needed boost in the next two quarters, according to a report by TNS Retail Forward.

TNS Retail Forward estimates that households will spend as much as $42 billion -- of the $105.7 billion tax rebate total -- at retail stores from May through the end of the year, with most of the incremental retail spending occurring in the third quarter.

Year-to-year growth for the second quarter is forecast at 3.5 percent with the tax rebates, instead of 2.0 percent without the rebate impact. Third quarter growth is forecast at 6.0 percent instead of 3.0 percent without the tax rebate impact. The sales forecast is for retail sales excluding autos and gasoline as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"Retailers and suppliers should maximize their efforts to benefit from the tax rebates because growth prospects otherwise look bleak through the end of the year," commented Frank Badillo, Senior Economist at TNS Retail Forward. "Growth remains threatened by lingering fallout from the credit crunch, which is dampening investment and raising job insecurity. Also weighing heavily on growth is persisting inflation -- largely in food and fuel -- that is taking a toll worldwide and complicating efforts by central bankers to reignite growth," he added.

How much and where U.S. shoppers spend in the coming months will vary by income segment. TNS Retail Forward ShopperScape research indicates that down-market to mid-market shoppers, who are most likely to receive and spend a tax rebate, will remain focused on value and everyday purchases.

Mid-to-up-market households will be more inclined to make big ticket purchases, which will likely benefit sales of consumer electronics and some home furnishings. TNS Retail Forward expects homegoods sector sales will likely remain weak while discount department stores, supercenters, warehouse clubs and other value-focused retailers will fare best. The outlook will be mixed for softgoods retailers, with some improving while others languish.

According to the ShopperScape survey, how tax rebates will be spent (more than one answer possible): Pay credit card or other bills, 32 percent; put it into savings, 30 percent; use it for everyday expenses (e.g., groceries, gasoline, etc.), 23 percent; use it for a special purchase (e.g., vacation, jewelry, or big-ticket consumer electronics items such as a computer or HDTV), 19 percent; pay down mortgage debt, 4 percent; make charitable donations, 3 percent; other, 7 percent; do not expect to get a rebate check, 9 percent.

"While the impact of the tax rebates is significant, it is unlikely that these rebates will lead to a sustained economic rebound," Badillo added.

(Source: TNS Retail Forward, 04/28/08)

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Grills Gone Wild

No, that headline is not a typo. Grill's Gone Wild is an annual promotion we do on one of our radio stations, giving away 104 pounds of meat and a grill to cook it on.

As I glance outside at this moment, I see my grill wanting some loving attention, and now I'm not the only one that likes to cook outside:

Fire Up Those Grills!

Thirty-one percent of American grill owners are grilling more than they were one year ago because they're "trying to eat healthier," according to the 19th Annual Weber GrillWatch Survey.

More than one-third (39 percent) of survey respondents said they are grilling leaner meats, more vegetables (38 percent), more poultry (34 percent) and more fish (22 percent) than they did one year ago. Six percent are grilling more meat substitutes such as veggie burgers and tofu, and 5 percent are grilling more fruit.

Grilling trends upward
More than half (57 percent) of all grill owners said they grill throughout the year. Among owners of different grill types, those who use outdoor electric grills (65 percent), gas stand-ups (61 percent) and smokers most often (60 percent) are more likely to define their grilling season as year-round than charcoal grill owners at 53 percent.

For the first time, researchers asked how many hours a week Americans grill during their grilling season. While the overall average of all respondents was 4.4, one-third said they spend five or more hours grilling each week. Sixty-seven percent said they spend up to four hours. Seventy-one percent reported they fire up their grill at least once a week during their grilling season, up from 69 percent last year, and 47 percent said they fire it up "at least a few times per week" compared to 43 percent last year.

While 95 percent said they grill dinner "on a regular basis," 37 percent said they now grill lunch on a regular basis, and 2 percent grill breakfast or brunch regularly.

American grill owners also reported they entertain family or friends in their home an average of 10.7 times a year, slightly more than the non-grill owner average at 9.6 times. In addition, grill owners used their grills seven out of the 10.7 times they entertained during the year.

Grill ownership results
Charcoal grill ownership continues to trend upward -- 53 percent of grill owners said they have one, up from 50 percent last year and 47 percent in 2005. On the flip side, gas grill ownership is on the decline with 63 percent ownership versus 70 percent ownership in 2005.

Ownership of smokers and outdoor electric grills has stayed relatively constant during the past two years at 17 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Whereas gas grills are still preferred over charcoal as the grill type used most often (56 percent versus 38 percent), the number of Americans who declared they use charcoal most often has steadily increased during the last three years (38 percent this year versus last year's 36 percent and 2005's 32 percent). Twenty-three percent of respondents said they equally use both gas and charcoal.

Once again this year, almost one-third, 29 percent, of American grillers reported they own multiple grills. Among owners of different grill types, those who own smokers are most likely to own multiple grills -- 75 percent said they own more than one, followed by outdoor electric grill owners at 57 percent.

Cooking on the grill
While Weber GrillWatch Survey respondents said hot dogs (81 percent) and burgers (75 percent) are the easiest foods to grill, they said fish is the most challenging (44 percent) followed by shellfish (38 percent).

When asked which foods they'd like to know how to cook better on the grill, respondents most often cited beef roasts (24 percent) and beef brisket (20 percent). These were followed by whole chicken and whole turkey at 19 percent each; ribs and pizza at 18 percent each; pork roast/tenderloin at 16 percent, and cakes at 14 percent.

Accessorize, accessorize
American grillers have purchased a wide variety of grilling accessories during the last year. Wire brushes and tongs top the list at 35 percent each, followed by grill lighter tools (28 percent), forks (25 percent), and grilling mitts (22 percent). Younger grill owners under age 35 are the most robust purchasers of grilling accessories.

Grill gifting
Nearly one in four grill owners (22 percent) have purchased an outdoor grill for someone as a gift. Birthdays are the top occasion at 37 percent, followed by Christmas (23 percent, up from last year’s 18 percent), which outpaces last year's second most popular occasion of Father's Day (20 percent). Fourteen percent of respondents said they have purchased a grill as a housewarming present.

Most popular grilling holidays
Americans fire up their grills on just about every major holiday. The Fourth of July again tops the list at 86 percent, followed by Labor Day (74 percent), birthdays (73 percent), and Memorial Day (69 percent). Fifty-two percent of grill owners cook outside on Father's Day compared to 45 percent on Mother’s Day.

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When Brands Bubbles Burst

As I was falling asleep last night, this was the topic being debated on CNN. Laura Ries found a way to look at it from a marketing/branding slant. Take a look:

An Achy Breaky Branding Blunder


She was named Destiny Hope Cyrus because her parents knew she would do great things. And that is exactly what the girl now better known as Miley Cyrus and/or Hannah Montana has done.

Miley has become an international pre-teen sensation and mega-brand for the Disney Company. She is only 15 years old but Miley is predicted to be a billionaire by her 18th birthday. Not too bad, all your typical teenager brings home is average grades and acne.

Miley Cyrus’ Empire includes:
- Hit Disney channel TV show: Hannah Montana
- 2 multiplatinum albums
- Sold-out concert tour and concert film
- Upcoming movie (due 2009)
- Book deal with Disney (reportedly seven figures)
- Merchandise including lunch boxes, bed sheets and MP3 players

Miley Cyrus is a teenager and a billion dollar franchise. That is a tough combination to manage from a business, branding and personal perspective. You have three forces at odds with one another.



Disney is in it for the short term. Disney’s goal is to milk the Miley brand as fast and as furious as it can. Why? Because of the short shelf life of a pop-princess. A pre-teen act has 3 to 5 years maximum before the kids grow up or their fans move on.

Disney can treat Miley like an ordinary brand. Ordinary brands in ordinary categories can develop, grow and mature over decades. (Like Red Bull introduced in 1987. )But in 20 years, Miley will probably be lucky enough to get a call back on a third-rate reality cable television show.

Miley Cyrus will grow out of her role as Hannah Montana brand before you know it. She has maybe 3 good years left. Nothing can stop time or puberty.

Ideally Disney would keep Miley in a bubble. With a short shelf life, nobody wants any major slip-ups.

Today Miley is incredibly important to Disney. But five years from now, they will have created another star to replace her.


Miley’s parents

While they are happy to make money now, Miley’s parents, who also manage her career, are also wisely keeping an eye on the future. Her Dad (Billy Ray Cyrus) knows all too well the realities of being a one-hit wonder.

Team Cyrus has to be very worried about how Miley can sustain her fame past 18 years old. It is not easy. There are very few Justin Timberlakes and Britney Spears who go from Mickey Mouse Club to mainstream stardom. Most fade into oblivion.

I imagine it was team Cyrus who wanted to do the Vanity Fair shoot. Vanity Fair is an upscale, sophisticated, cultural, adult magazine. It is the magazine that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes gave their first baby photo to. And the one Bono was a celebrity editor of last summer.

The thinking goes like this: Appearing in Vanity Fair would give Miley her own credibility and authenticity with an influential adult audience apart from Disney. The photographer, Annie Leibovitz, is one of the most respected artistic photographers of our time and her images would lend an edgy, sophisticated look to young Miley. Clearly Disney would be against this; they want Miley to always be Hannah Montana and stick to Seventeen magazine at the raciest.

Miley Cyrus

Let’s not forget, Miley is a teenager. And as any parent will tell you, teenagers are not the most predictable or reliable of creatures. But for Miley and Disney things have gone perfectly.

The clean-cut, church-going, modestly-dressed Miley has been a dream come true for Disney and parents alike. But you could have said that about Britney Spears 10 years ago. So it goes to show you, you just never know. And sometimes delayed rebellion is far worse than one can imagine.


Britney jumped from Mickey Mouse club to "baby one more time" to this Rolling Stones cover when she was 17. And we have all seen the photos of her today.


Was the Vanity Fair shoot a good idea?

No. From the very start this strategy was flawed.

A few months ago Miley turned 15 years old. She is at the height of her success. Vanity Fair is the wrong magazine, Annie Leibovitz is the wrong photographer and the back-bearing shot was the wrong photograph.

But that was the point of the picture and it shouldn’t be such a shock. An adult magazine wants adult photos. The shot of Miley is a beautiful, artistic, edgy, mature photo commonly found in the book. Vanity Fair does not publish publicity shots, it is known for pushing boundaries. When you play with fire, you can’t complain when you get burned.

The time to move to Vanity Fair is when Miley turns 21. Then you have a story to tell of her move into adulthood. Managing the transition is not easy. Start too young and it is child porn. Start too old and it is creepy.

Will this hurt her brand?

It certainly didn’t help. But it is unlikely to do any long-term damage to the Miley Cyrus brand because:

1: There is nobody else out there for teens to adore. The lack of competition is the best thing she’s got going for her. Hillary Duff is in her 20’s. The Cheetah Girls are in their 20’s. And her biggest competition Jamie Lynn Spears (Nickelodeon star and Britney’s sister) got pregnant last year at just 16 years old.

2: The photo of Miley was shocking but not pornographic. It caused so much attention not because of its raciness, but because it was the opposite of her brand image.

Like I said, being the opposite and looking grown-up was probably the intent of Team Cyrus, but the photo obviously went too far. Although other girls have gone farther, quicker, parents thought that Miley would be different and wouldn’t try to grow up so fast like most other pop-stars.

3: She was not on the cover. Not being on the magazine's cover and being mostly covered is Miley's saving grace. This will allow the controversy to blow off relatively quickly as long as she doesn’t hitting the clubs with Paris Hilton or doing cocaine with Amy Winehouse. And her parents don't book her the cover of Maxim magazine.

Miley immediately issued a statement saying she is “embarrassed” by the photos; so she is likely to get sympathy. Her managers and parents on the other hand will get hell.

While it is good for Miley she is not on the cover. It is bad for Vanity Fair. All this free publicity and they are unlikely to reap any rewards or much of a spike in newsstand sales.

The Future?

While it lasts, Miley needs to enjoy the Hannah Montana ride. Her future is uncertain. If she is like the Olsen Twins, she won’t make it into adult stardom. If she is like Lindsay Lohan, she will make it and then throw it all away by doing drugs. If she is like Madonna, she will be as famous 25 years into her career as she was when she started. The secret to Madonna’s success is that she starts a trend, she fades from view and then she returns reincarnated. Hard to do, but when it works, it is pure magic.

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Re-defining Branding

What you are about to see is a slide show that you can click through to see how media, marketing, advertising and branding are changing right before our eyes.

Remember no matter what changes with technology, each of us still have the same 24 hours a day that our grandparents had. Yet the speed of technology and how it is affecting the younger generations, (compared to say, the over 55 year olds?), is hard to keep up with.

Is it any wonder that A.D.D. and other disorders are more common today compared to 50 years ago?

Even my kids that are in their teens and early 20's have placed self-imposed limits on how much tech they are going to use in their daily lives.

The real revolution is that there are more and more choices for getting information, entertainment, social interaction, and each of these options are also more and more interactive which levels the playing field. It also means that each option will likely have a smaller number of users/readers/listeners/viewers, simply because of time limiting factors and the explosion of options.

Well, enough from me, here's the slide show I promised, from David Armano. Click here to go to his site for more goodies:

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Dumbing down and Smarting up

Yesterday I gave my daughter my copy of Seth Godin's Purple Cow. If you haven't read it yet. Do so. This week.

One of the thoughts behind the Purple Cow is that you need to be remarkable. Exceptional. Not Perfect, but something that will break out of the ordinary of the plain old black & white (or brown & white) cows and that can separate you from the rest.

Now about the Dumbing Down concept. Last week at the Labov & Beyond Seminar ( Next Thursday is the next and last chapter of the Umbrella series), Barry Labov mentioned how some businesses get repeat business from dissatisfied customers due to the "Suck Factor". You may suck, but your competitors suck even more, so you win by default.

Smarting up is the opposite. It is the Purple Cow. It is also the subject of this tidbit from

How Can You Give Customers a Little Thrill?

"When looking for good ideas about customer service, ask around," writes Paul Williams in a post at the MarketingProfs' Daily Fix blog. "Exceptional services experiences are rarely forgotten." He even asked his parents for their input on the topic, and they came up with two experiences that made a lasting impression:

  • While vacationing on St. Thomas in the 1970s, they made dinner reservations at the Cafe Brittany. On their arrival the couple found two matchbooks embossed with their names. "The restaurant made custom matches for every reservation," explains Williams. "My mom still has them."
  • Following LASIK surgery performed by Dr. Peter Polack of Ocala, Fla., his mother received a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble with a card that read, "Enjoy your new eyesight!"

According to Williams, these examples have three things in common:

  • They're an unexpected surprise.
  • They have relevance for the customer.
  • They foster a fond remembrance of the brand.

The Po!nt: Asks Williams, "How can you offer your customers an unexpected surprise, something relevant, and something that helps them remember your brand?"

Source: Daily Fix. Click here for the post.

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Remember the Heinz Ketchup commercials that featured the song Carly Simon made famous about Anticipation? The concept was that it was "the Ketchup worth waiting for". And the reason you had to wait was because the Ketchup was so thick, (and rich with flavor), that the faster pouring ketchups were inferior.

Heinz ought to bring back that campaign. You should consider building anticipation into your advertising. With more on the subject, read this from

Yummy! I Can't Wait!

Consumers are notoriously impatient. They want everything and they want it now. But what if they are forced to—gasp!—wait in line? Or—shudder!—wait for delivery? Does delaying consumption negatively impact a person's enjoyment of the product?

Good news! The opposite might actually be true, if you play your marketing cards right. Researchers at Arizona State University found that delays can actually add to the customer experience—if the person anticipates consumption to be pleasant.

(OK. Hold off eating that chocolate bar for a minute. Now, bite. See what we mean?) The delay allows the consumer to savor their anticipation of the product, which adds to their experience.

What does this mean for marketers? It's best to build a yummy factor into the customer experience as much as possible. In particular, design ways to enhance customer anticipation when a delay is necessary. For example, a restaurant might design a waiting area next to the kitchen, where the sights and aromas of the food arouse diners' anticipation.

Or when savvy marketers help consumers anticipate consumption pleasure ("New spring styles on sale this Saturday only!"), they just might make the customer's product experience more enjoyable, too.

The Po!nt: Don't forget the yummy factor in promotions. Imagery that marketers provide about how good product consumption will be may enhance a customer's savoring of the product experience—and their enjoyment of it once they receive it.

Source: "The Effect of a Delay between Choice and Consumption on Consumption Enjoyment" by Stephen M. Nowlis, Naomi Mandel, and Deborah Brown McCabe. Journal of Consumer Research, 2004. Click here for a PDF of the report.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Harvey's ABC's of Selling-4

Wednesday's update from Harvey Mackay:

The ABCs of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

Not long ago, I was listening as one of my grandchildren practiced his ABCs. He had a little picture book that helped him remember what the letters stood for, and he studied it intently, determined to be the first in his class to know all the letters and words. With his determination, I knew he would master the alphabet in no time at all.

As he worked, I started thinking about what those letters mean to me, after a lifetime in sales and years of helping young hopefuls get started in their careers. I didn't draw pictures, but these are the words my alphabet book would include:

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

Deliver more than you promise.

And NEVER, do the opposite!

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Newspaper Circulation Numbers Released

I have friends in the paper business. I sit with one of them on the board of directors of our local AdFed. And I would not want to be in her shoes.

Another job I would not want to have is selling Yellow Page Advertising. But today, let's stick to the newsprint biz with this report from Mediapost:

Bad Read: Newspaper Circs Fall Again
by Erik Sass, Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 7:45 AM ET
newspapers The long slide in newspaper circulations continued with the release Monday of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations showing an overall circulation decline of 3.6% in the six months ending March 2008, compared to the same period one year ago.

This is the steepest drop yet (up from a 3% drop in September), and it's the ninth straight report where newspaper circs have declined. Since March 2004, total daily circulations have fallen almost 10%, from about 50.8 million to about 46.2 million.

The news is now so bad, and delivered with such regularity, that the Newspaper Association of America--which used to crunch the ABC numbers for total circulation figures--no longer bothers to do so. The percent and overall figures are the result of independent analysis.

In most cases, daily and Sunday circs both declined, with Sunday declines generally larger. That's especially bad news because advertisers consider Sunday editions key to reaching consumers.

Among big national papers, The New York Times saw daily circulation fall 3.9% to about 1.08 million, as Sunday circulation tumbled 9.3% to about 1.48 million. At the Los Angeles Times, daily circulation fell 5.2% and Sunday 6%. The Washington Post's daily circ fell 3.6% and Sunday 4.4%. At the Chicago Tribune, daily and Sunday circ both fell 4.5%.

Big regional papers also suffered.

The Houston Chronicle's daily circ fell 1.8%, as Sunday fell 6.6%.The Dallas Morning News daily circ fell 10.6%, and Sunday declined 7.6%. The San Francisco Chronicle's daily circ fell 14.1%, as Sunday plummeted 16.6%. The Phoenix Republic's daily circ fell 5%, while Sunday dipped by 5.6%. The Denver Post/Rocky Mountain News saw its combined daily circ fall 11.4%, as Sunday dropped 15%.

No part of the country was spared.

The Miami Herald's combined daily circulation fell 9.4%, as Sunday slipped 7.6%. Likewise, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's daily circ fell 8.6%, a Sunday slipped 5.1%. The Boston Globe's daily circulation fell 8.4%, and Sunday dropped 6.5%. The Detroit Free Press saw daily circulation fall 6.7%, Sunday 5.2%. The Philadelphia Inquirer's daily circ fell 5.1%, while Sunday dropped 6.3%. At the Newark Star Ledger, daily circ fell 7.4%, and Sunday dipped by 12.3%. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer's daily circ slipped 4.2%, as Sunday fell 3.3%. There were a few exceptions to the general gloom: USA Today and The Wall Street Journal both saw circulation creep up slightly, gaining less than 1% each.

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SoundBite Back Bits

I chose to live and work in Indiana's 2nd largest city, Fort Wayne.

Awhile ago I had lunch with Anthony Juliano, another media professional that writes something everyday on his blog entitled SoundBite Back.

I get an update each night in my email, via feedburner.

You can get updates sent to your email of Anthony's Blog, or this Blog, or nearly any blog you want via feedburner.

Here's a couple of Bits from Anthony:

SoundBite Back

Sometimes the best marketing ideas are the simplest ones

Posted: 29 Apr 2008 08:14 PM CDT

Like this. How will people spend their economic stimulus checks? It's hard to say, but it's almost certain that after reading this news, a lot more people are planning on spending some of their windfall at Kroger and with other retailers who are handing out a little something extra.

Photo: sufinawaz on stock.xchng

Vintage political ads: the good--and bad--old days

Posted: 29 Apr 2008 04:57 PM CDT

Despite the battle on the Democratic side, this campaign season hasn't yielded much in the way of landmark political advertising. A compilation of old political ads on, however, shows that every election year offers the chance of spots that are good, bad, and ugly. For every "Daisy Girl" or Willie Horton ad that shakes things up, there's an Adalai Stevenson or "Ike" Eisenhower jingle to drag things back to earth. It's good to know that while things may not have gotten any better, they haven't necessarily gotten much worse, either.

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Small Business Branding

Another excellent article from Mason at Small Fuel:

Branding for Small Business: Good or Bad?

April 26, 2008 | Written By Mason Hipp

Is branding good or bad for small business?For as long as I’ve been in the field of marketing, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether branding is useful for small businesses.

Many people argue that a business owner has more important things to worry about than creating a brand, and that it’s best to wait until you are established before branding yourself.

On the other hand, many are of the opinion that you will never be able to establish yourself and become successful unless you invest in branding.

So, which is the right answer?

Is branding necessary for the success of your small business, or is it a waste of your time and money?

What is branding anyway?

Before we get any further into this discussion, I think it’s important to establish some definitions. There are two in particular that I’d like to settle on.


The word brand means a lot of things to a lot of people, so for the purposes of this article, I’m going to stick with my favorite definition. The reason I like this definition so much is that it makes sense, it is all inclusive, and it doesn’t require any caveats. It is also a definition that most of the experts agree on.

“A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer”

What does that mean? Basically, any perceptions, memories, images, or ideas that your consumers have about your company, that’s your brand. Think about Apple—new, trendy, simple—that’s their brand. Microsoft on the other hand has a geeky and corporate brand.


Branding, while similar to ‘brand’ is a slightly different thing. Branding is an action.This is a subtle distinction, but I think it’s rather important for small business.

Branding is the act of building positive perceptions in the mind of your consumers

Branding is what happens when you’re out at a trade show and have big signs. Branding is buying an ad with your picture or logo on it so people will see your company. Corporate sponsorship = branding.

Why Branding Stinks for Small Business

If you’re in small business, there are several reasons you shouldn’t spend time or money branding.

The first is argument against branding is simple—it costs too much. Both time and money are at a premium in small business, and since there isn’t much of either, what you have shouldn’t be wasted on things that don’t have a direct return on investment. Income is king, and everything you spend should bring in more money.

The second major argument says that small businesses can’t have brands. The logic goes as follows: in order to have a brand people need to see your logo and remember you. Big businesses spend millions of dollars so they will be remembered, but what chance is there that a small business can ever have their image stick in the mind of the consumers?

The second argument against branding doesn’t really hold much ground in my mind, since the solution is pretty simple. Smaller company, smaller budget, smaller brand. You might not ever be remembered by the whole of the USA, but you can probably get your image to stick in a 5 mile radius around your company, or in your local networking groups.

Why Branding is Awesome for Small Business

There may be several arguments against branding a small business, but there are an equal number of counter arguments.

The first pro-branding argument is the obvious one: branding doesn’t have cost that much. There are many ways to put your image out into the community without spending a lot of money.

In my mind this has a lot of weight, and can be completely true, depending on your situation of course.

The second argument says that to avoid branding and focus only on sales is taking very short term view of your business. Branding is a long term process, and having a good brand at the start will help create a solid business for you into the future. Starbucks started as a single shop and built their whole company on a fabulous brand.

The final argument for branding a small business is that having a professionally designed brand will show that you’re, well, a professional. Credibility is the key to making sales, and by having a poor or non-existent brand you will be throwing away your money, even if it is spent on “direct income generation”.

The Best Plan of Action

I’ll come right out and say this first: if you had to put me in one of two camps, pro-branding or anti-branding, I’d definitely be in the pro-branding group. I think ignoring something as big as how your company looks and how people perceive it is a big mistake.

That said, there are a lot of important things to consider with small business, and I agree whole-heartedly with many of the anti-branding arguments. I’ve seen many small businesses spend so much time and money branding that they slowly withered away and died.

Time and money are clearly critical to small business and spending all, or even most of it, on branding will be a poor decision.

Creating an awesome brand, however, will build immediate credibility for your small business and can boost the sales from all of your other activities.

So what’s the final verdict?

I recommend spending enough time or money to create a professional and credible brand, but not spending much on “branding-only campaigns” until your company can really afford it.

What are your thoughts?

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This type of Connecting I'm talking about is actually more commonly known as Networking.

Here's two examples of what happened today:

1. I visit a former client of mine about an advertising proposal. Not what he's looking for, so I decide to dig deeper and have some homework to do. I ask him before I leave if he is still working with XXX who developed his website. He mentions he needs to redo his site and I tell him who I am going to refer to him.

45 minutes later, I am meeting with a referral from my website developer friend and Mr. Website, happens to walk in, and I tell him about my earlier meeting. Mr. Website, hops in his car to meet with the guy that needs a new website. We'll find out later how this turns out.

2. At the suggestion of a friend at a local ad agency and fellow blogger, a few months ago I created the Fort Wayne Forum. It's a website that's open to anyone in Fort Wayne Indiana to connect and design and take the forum in whatever direction they want, as long as it is clean and polite.

This morning, I notice a new member has joined, and it is a name I remember from a few years ago. I welcome him aboard and want to promote him to you too. His name is Jim and this is his profile:

I'm a self-employed writer and producer of commercial music, native to Fort Wayne... married, two grown kids. Working in my studio alone, I use a couple of online forums as my water cooler. Check out my tunes at the website.
If you are looking for an excellent jingle, or musical image, check out his website and contact him.

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Both sides of the Coin

One of my favorite arguments, (or discussions),is when I'm talking with someone and they use "absolute" terminology. Words like, Always & Never.

For every Absolute, there is usually an exception. Which nullifies the Absolute.

Statistics need to always be used with caution and in the proper context. And we also should see what the editorial slant is of the person writing/talking.

All this is due to a comment on what I shared with you yesterday on Baby Boomer Myths. Chuck Nyren responded in the comments section to this blog, that "the real myth is that any of these are myths."

Chuck makes some very good points on his blog which you can read by clicking here.

I know boomers that are more adept at technology than their grandkids, who are supposed to be the wiz kids; just like I know folks in their 60's that hate computers.

I'll leave it to those that do the research to separate fact from fiction. Just beware of the absolutes.

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Harvey's ABC's of Selling-3

Day three of our series from Harvey Mackay:

The ABCs of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

Not long ago, I was listening as one of my grandchildren practiced his ABCs. He had a little picture book that helped him remember what the letters stood for, and he studied it intently, determined to be the first in his class to know all the letters and words. With his determination, I knew he would master the alphabet in no time at all.

As he worked, I started thinking about what those letters mean to me, after a lifetime in sales and years of helping young hopefuls get started in their careers. I didn't draw pictures, but these are the words my alphabet book would include:

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

This takes looking at the long term, big picture. I heard a recent statistic that showed dissatisfied customers that you turned around and took care of, were nearly 10 points more loyal than those that were always "satisfied".

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