Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dealing with Bad News

This Tip came in a recent email from

Every once in awhile, a friend, colleague, client, or prospect will have bad news pop up in their life.

How you handle it can make or break your relationship:

How to Talk With People in Desperate Situations

by Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

Your business survives and thrives through communication that demonstrates your professional competence and your genuine care. Fortunately, you learn what to say for most standard conversations with co-workers, prospects, and clients, such as:

  • Sales presentations

  • Defusing disgruntled customers

  • Job interviews

  • Making a pitch to financial backers

  • Disciplining an employee

  • Requesting a referral

  • Explaining a new benefits plan

For these and similar interactions, you learn the right language from your supervisors, role models, and others. These encounters don't intimidate you.

However, some of the people we deal with professionally will experience traumatic events that threaten their well-being and happiness. Examples:

  • Serious illness, for themselves or family

  • House fires

  • Divorce

  • Car accidents

  • Children breaking the law

  • Death of a relative

  • Job loss

  • Placing a family member in a nursing home

  • Bankruptcy

  • Home foreclosure

Wow--even reading this list of sad situations makes your stomach tighten. Because you feel awkward and unqualified to help, you might decide: "She's having a tough time for sure. But unfortunately, I really wouldn't know what to say. Maybe it's just best for me to stay away. I'll leave the comforting to clergy and counselors."

I disagree. Every business expert I respect and emulate underscores what Terry Brock, President of Achievement Systems in Orlando, Florida calls the "R factor--Relationships." Well, relationships are not very valuable if they're valid only during good times. In fact, the real test of a relationship's benefit comes when your associates suffer unexpected calamities.

So here are four tips on "what to say when you don't know what to say." They worked well for me during more than two decades in management. They still do now that I am an entrepreneur.

First: When you approach a person in trouble, realize that you may not have to say anything that's creative and memorable. Sometimes, words may not even be necessary at all. Just your presence says enough. The fact that you show up conveys a powerful message itself. While others allow their timidity to keep them away from an uncomfortable setting, you have arrived with friendship and support.

Consider this: Chances are good that the person you visit may not remember your exact comments after you leave. More importantly, though, they will remember that you came to the hospital, funeral home, or residence.

Second: Show up primarily as a listener, not a talker. Usually a troubled person needs to talk about the situation, more than you might guess.

To illustrate, picture yourself at a funeral home during visitation with a woman whose husband has died. For the bereaved, good memories are suddenly more important than ever, because those memories prolong the life of the deceased. Encourage the flow of memories. Here's how:

"I know you two traveled a lot. What were your favorite vacation spots?"

"I've never heard. . .tell me how you two met."

"Your husband was known for his community service. What charitable cause meant the most to him?"

With prompters like those, you will generate thoughts of earlier, happier times. Listen attentively, and indicate occasionally that you want the person to keep talking: "I'm glad to know your children live nearby. Any grandchildren?"

Third: Offer practical, specific help. Yes, distressed people welcome "Call me if you need me" or "If there's anything I can do, let me know." Even so, you shift to a higher level when you move beyond generalities.

"While the shop is repairing your car, want to car pool with me?"

"With you spending so much time at the hospital, would you like the children to stay a couple of nights at my house?"

"What if I come to the nursing home one day next week, so you can go out for lunch?"

Fourth: Check back with your burdened friend within ten days. A traditional response pattern has dozens of people dropping by immediately for the first two or three days of a catastrophe, then disappearing because they have paid their respects. Loneliness, fear, and sorrow grow when silence starts. Your return presence will bring special meaning.

Reconsider these four suggestions again:

  • The words you choose are far less significant than the power of your presence.

  • Get your colleague to talk about the problem while you listen intently.

  • Offer specific, practical help.

  • Check back within ten days after the initial bad news.

Not really that difficult, is it? So avoid muttering, "I wouldn't know what to say," follow these guidelines, and you will enrich the relationships you have been building.

Bill Lampton, Ph.D.--author of The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication-change Your Life! -- helps organizations "Learn More. . .Earn More" through his speeches, seminars, and coaching. Visit his Web site: Call Dr. Lampton: 678-316-4300

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Don't play follow the leader

I've been helping a friend launch a brand new business. There are different rules and recommendations that I'm giving him compared to some of the established, bigger businesses that I work with.

Small Fuel wrote about this subject this week:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

5 Ways Big Business Marketing Can Hurt Small Business

Big businesses use marketing tactics and strategies which make them billions of dollars every year (and in a few cases, every month). Because corporate marketing is so pervasive and effective, it can be tempting for small business owners to believe that they have to follow suit, investing substantial sums of time and money developing massive marketing campaigns.

But breaking the bank to get the world’s attention isn’t necessarily in the best interest of your small business – and can actually hurt you in the long run.

In this article I’ve gathered a few small-scale marketing nuggets that have worked well for me over the years, and serve as reminders that big business marketing tactics don’t always work well for small business.

Trying to Reach Everyone Weakens Your Position

Sure, you may have a product that everyone can use ad benefit from, but if you take your small business budget and try to launch a marketing campaign that hits a wide range of demographics, all you will succeed in doing is making a series of tiny splashes in a very big pond. As a smaller player, your power comes in reaching deep into a niche or specific demographic and establishing a foothold there.

What You Should Do Instead: Rather than trying to tell the world how much your company has to offer, win over a slice of the world – and then use the revenues from the niche you dominate to help you tap into others.

When I began specifically targeting freelance web writers, I saw my sales go up – and rolled that money into targeting my next niche. Focusing on a specific niche has also helped me build a following of like-minded people, which is a great resource for building momentum.

Spending on Big Ads Drains Your Bank Account

Big business has the means to spend millions of dollars plastering their brand everywhere in sight, with a focus on building brand awareness over the long haul as people inevitably stumble across their advertisements over and over again. Trying to do the same with your small business, however, is a recipe for disaster. While advertising can be effective, don’t presume that “if you print it, they will come.”

What You Should Do Instead: Ensure you can measure every aspect of your advertising and squeeze the most out of every marketing dollar you spend there. Thinking lean will keep you from overspending in an area where you’re not getting a high return.

I use Google Analytics as well as software that allows me to split test my web pages and email content. On a day-to-day basis I can identify exactly what’s performing best and optimize it for tomorrow.

Trying to Impress Everyone Can Backfire

When a big business wants to prove its dominance, it pulls out the big guns by boasting about its huge revenues, monster market share and #1 rankings. Even if your small business has a lot of success behind it, it can be risky to use these “bragging rights” tactics to your advantage. All it takes is for your competitors – especially the bigger ones – to score a big win, overshadow your claims, and put you in your place.

What You Should Do Instead: Forget about impressing potential customers and focus on winning them over instead. Illustrate your company’s value via the successes of your customers and create a story that’s a lot more memorable – and compelling – than any appearance of “We’re #1” could ever be.

My product pages use this tactic by putting the emphasis on how my buyers benefited, rather than simply what features my products offer. The message “This product works!” comes across, and no one can steal that thunder. You can leverage that too, by capturing success stories & working them in to your marketing.

Only Using Traditional Media Can Slow Your Growth

Large companies depend on traditional media channels such as magazines, television and radio to build their brand image. The challenge with traditional media is that it can be extremely difficult to get visible in what tends to be an exclusive (and expensive) arena. If you limit yourself to advertising or telling your story in the mainstream only, you may be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to building your brand.

What You Should Do Instead: Leverage social media by identifying websites and blogs in the niche you want to target and get on their radar. Social media sites are hungry for content, stories and personalities that will help them connect with their audience, and they are more likely to give you the “face time” that can build buzz in a fraction of the time.

The easiest way to do this is to write for blogs that cater to your audience, and develop relationships with them so that they are more likely to mention you and put in a good word (and you should do the same for them). By providing value to their project, you can get a lot of value in return.

Ignoring Customer Service Kills Long-Term Success

This tip may sound odd, but a lot of big businesses do this. They think that revenue comes only as a result of advertising campaigns, and that pouring more money into ads and gimmicks is the best means to generate more sales. While this is true to a point, it can be ineffective and limiting, because it creates a situation where you always have to stoke the fire to get results. To really build your business, you want to move away towards one-off marketing efforts.

What You Should Do Instead: Rather than throw another log on the fire, light a fire under your customers by investing in unbelievable customer service. The goal: create self-sustaining marketing assets (translation: raving fan customers) who spread the word about your company and its offerings far more effectively than you could on your own.

Remember that repeat customers – and enthusiastic referrers – are the lifeblood of small business. In an effort to increase repeat purchases and product enthusiasm, I focus on over-delivering. When you give more than the customer expects, even one time, they will talk about it again and again.

You Don’t Have To Be Big To Win Big

Small businesses pull the carpet out from larger ones all the time – not because they have massive marketing muscle behind them, but because they make savvy moves that get the most out of every marketing dollar. Take a look at all of these tips and think of a small business you know of that leverages them effectively, and then model their strategies to boost your revenues as well. You don’t have to be big to win big – so show the market what you’re made of.

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Kido Factos

Spending time with kids this weekend? Here's some helpful hints?

Volume 2 Issue 5
May 14, 2008


38% of kids said they visited a non-existent website in a Sesame Workshop study questioning if kids exaggerate.


58% of Latino teens would prefer to meet singer Shakira rather than President Bush, finds Intelligence Group.


Male college students want a tech gift for graduation (58%), whereas female college students prefer to be gifted with a vacation trip (40%), according to Decision Analyst research for Circuit City. Only 1.5% of upcoming graduates don't want anything.


28% of 14-21 year olds follow their dreams, such as becoming a rock star or NBA player, regardless of how unrealistic they are, finds Alloy Media & Marketing.


Female college students, on average, talk to mom or dad on their cell phone seven times a week and male students speak to their parents five times per week, according to SurveyU.

Youth Markets Alert (YMA) identifies the latest trends among U.S. children, tweens and teens. Download a free sample issue to discover how twice-monthly case studies, research, contacts, and industry sector analysis connect you with young Americans' $200 billion in spending power.

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Update: I need a proofreader at times. The other day I posted this with some minors typos and one big mistake. I referred to Craig as Chuck.

Craig was kind enough to thank me and tell me about my error at the same time.

And now, one more time, here's the edited version of Leo Burnett & Craig Graber:

I bought another book this month from Jeff Gitomer. Not because I need more reading material, but because, I like Jeff's writing and I wanted the free gifts.

There were something like 20, 30, 50 or more special offers that I would get the link to, if I bought the book.

One of those was to a guy I'd never heard of before, Craig Garber. Now I'm on his mailing list. (My choice, by the way.)

Today I wanted to share with you, in its entirety the latest email from Craig. And if you subscribe, tell him I sent you.

Hi Scott,

Leo Burnett was the founder of the Chicago ad agency that
ultimately became Leo Burnett Worldwide, one of the world's
biggest and oldest ad agencies. Burnett was personally
responsible for creating some of the most well-known
consumer branding campaigns, like the Jolly Green Giant...
the Marlboro Man... Charlie The Tuna... Morris the Cat...
and Tony The Tiger.

Burnett was a genius, an outstanding ad man, and a pillar
of ethics.

He once said, "If you don't get noticed, you don't have
anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in
getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without

Now this isn't so easy to do, and as a result, most people
go far overboard in their efforts to get noticed (which you
need to do), but... they go overboard in the wrong
direction. They think, "Sensationalism" is directly
related to getting noticed. And the thing is,
sensationalism IS directly related to getting noticed, but
it has nothing to do with "getting paid," which, in the
end... is what you REALLY want out of "getting noticed,"
isn't it?

So for example, in "real life," you'll have men and women
going overboard in their personal appearance to "get
noticed," but does it really bring them closer to their
goal? No doubt, the woman with a 38DD chest gets much more
notice than the woman with the 34C cup size, but does it
bring her what she wants?

For the very small minority, sometimes yes... but I believe
it doesn't for the majority.

And it's the same thing with your sales copy.

Being wild and crazy isn't how you want to get noticed, and
saying things like "Incredible!"... "Unbelievable!"... and
"Amazing!"... falls over your readers heads like water over
a ducks back at this point.

(Unless your target market is "absolute idiots," and unless
you're goal is to "make a sale," and not to "build a
business." And in case you don't know this, the savvy of
your marketplace IS directly related to your ability to
retain them as customers.)

Tapping into their hopes, fears and dreams with reassuring
optimism, and giving them hope, is the way to get noticed.
In fact, ultimately, hope... is really all we have to
offer, no matter what you're selling. Remember this.

If you want to see a cool video of Leo Burnett giving a
speech, you can find it on YouTube at

Oh, one more thing and this is important: The people who
handle my website, are frustrated because I don't use the
word "copywriting" often enough in these tips. However,
I've always felt the quality of my messages far outweighs
any "search terms" I'm trying to optimize for, with respect
to getting traffic. And call me old school, but as a
creative, the thought of compromising the integrity of the
messages I'm delivering, to suit the media I'm delivering
them over, just doesn't sit right with me.

Who knows, maybe I'm the idiot?

In any case, here's what I'd like you to do: I'd like your
help here. If you get something out of being on this
list... and if you feel the relationship you and I share,
is one of the better online relationships you have, then do
me a favor so I can shut my "web people" up: Please forward
this message to as many people as you possibly can over the
next 24 hours, and encourage them to sign up to these daily
tips by going to my home page at
or to my blog at

I believe I'll be able to tell my "web people" they are
dead-wrong, and that I'll never have to "plot" or
"pre-scheme" what I'm writing.

And in the off chance they're right... let me say this:
copywriting, copywriting, copywriting.


Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. Get TWO FRE.E copywriting critiques, SIX real-life
examples! In this month's Seductive Selling Newsletter,
I've got six ad examples included, so you can see exactly
how to get noticed... and maybe even more important -- how
NOT to! Test-drive it fre.e and get 15 bonus gifts (watch
the video about this) right here:

If you enjoyed this, pass it on to a few of your friends
and business associates, and if you have any comments about
today's message, it's important you leave them right here
on my blog:

(c) Copyright, Craig Garber & 2008

Craig Garber (R)
3959 Van Dyke Road #253
Lutz, Florida 33558 USA
813-909-2214 Phone
954-337-2369 Fax

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Harvey's ABC's of Selling-21

I hope you have enjoyed these gems as much as I have as we wind down this series:

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!

Humanize your selling strategy by learning everything you can about your customers.

I is the least important letter in selling.

Join trade organizations and community groups that will help you both professionally and personally, such as Toastmasters, chamber of commerce or Junior Achievement.

Know your competitors and their products as well as you know your own.

Listen to your customers or they'll start talking to someone else.

Maybe is the worst answer a customer can give. No is better than maybe. Find out what you can do to turn it into a yes.

Networking is among the most important skills a salesperson can develop. Someone you know knows someone you need to know.

Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your antennae up.

Price is not the only reason customers buy your product, but it is a good reason.

Quality can never be sacrificed if you want to keep your customers satisfied.

Relationships are precious: They take time to develop and are worth every minute you invest in them.

Service is spelled "serve us" in companies that want to stay in business for a long time.

Trust is central to doing business with anyone. Without it, you have another word that begins with T: Trouble.

Unlimited potential is possible whether you sell computers or candy. You are the only one who can limit your potential.

As I told a former salesperson of mine, it's hard to go full speed ahead, when you have one foot on the break.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Analyzing the Idolizing

I refuse to watch certain shows on TV with (or without) my wife. The Bachelor for example. Others I find myself getting drawn into. This years American Idol was in that second category. And I see, I fit into the demo too according to this from

Nielsen Measures the American Idol Phenomenon

A week before the finale of American Idol’s seventh season, the Nielsen Company reported TV, advertising, mobile, music and online data trends about FOX’s runaway hit and its contestants.

Highlights of the data issued:

  • TV Ratings. People age 35-49 watched American Idol Season 7 the most, making up almost 29% of the total audience. The most-watched episode this season was the premiere episode on Tuesday, 1/15/08, averaging 33 million viewers.
  • Advertising. During 2007, American Idol featured 4,349 product placement occurrences. So far in 2008, the number of placements is surging - the program racked up 3,291 occurrences the first three months of 2008 alone.
  • Mobile. The average American Idol participant voted via text message 38 times in April 2008.
  • Music. Kelly Clarkson is the best-selling American Idol contestant with album and digital download sales of 18.9 million. Carrie Underwood is second with album and digital download sales of 15.7 million.
  • Online. Male contestants David Cook, David Archuleta and Jason Castro dominate the show’s consumer discussion online with 14.3% and 12.5% and 10.5% buzz volume, respectively. The most popular American Idol contestant from opinions and feedback from Hey! Nielsen’s online panel is Carrie Underwood. Web traffic to American Idol websites saw the most unique visitors in March 2007.

TV Ratings

American Idol’s highest viewership was Season 5, when more than 30 million people watched on average, compared with 12 million the first season and 27 million this season.

The East Central part of the United States has the highest viewing levels above the national average, while the Southwest has the lowest viewing levels below average:


People age 35-49 watched American Idol Season 7 the most, making up almost 29% of the total audience:


The most-watched episode this season was the premiere episode on Tuesday, 1/15/08 averaging 33 million viewers.

The most watched American Idol episode ever was the final hour of Season 2 on Wednesday, 5/21/2003; more than 38 million viewers tuned in live to watch the face off between winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken.


Top Advertisers

Coca-Cola was the top American Idol season 7 advertiser for the first quarter of 2008, followed by AT&T and Ford. Procter & Gamble and Apple rounded out the top five:


All five of these companies have advertised on American Idol since 2002 and, with the exception of Apple, all of them also held slots among the top five American Idol advertisers in season 6 (Jan. 16 - March 23, 2007).

Product Placements

During season 6 (Jan. 16 - May 23, 2007), American Idol featured 4,349 product placement occurrences. As of March 31, 2008, the number of placements featured during season 7 was surging—American Idol had already racked up 3,291 occurrences:


Coca-Cola and AT&T Wireless were the top two featured brands on American Idol during the first quarter of 2008. In season 6, Cingular Wireless rounded out the top three - but in early 2008, Ford claimed the third slot.

Coca-Cola, which has an ongoing advertising association with American Idol, far outpaced all other brands’ product placements on the program, beating second-place AT&T Wireless by more than 2,000 occurrences during both season 6 and the first quarter of 2008 (season 7).

During both seasons 6 and the portion of season 7 included in this analysis (Jan. 15 - March 31, 2008), product placements on American Idol appeared most often in foreground shots. In season 6, there were 3,030 foreground placements on the program; in the first three months of 2008, there were 2,154 foreground occurrences.

In season 6, background placements (372 occurrences) and prop placements (234 occurrences) rounded out the top three, while in the first quarter of 2008, call to action placements (310 occurrences) and wardrobe placements (206 occurrences) claimed second and third place, respectively.

For coverage of mobile, music and online data, see Nielsen’s release.

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Microsoft ,Yahoo, Whocares, Etc.

Just in case you want to read about the battle of the giants, Here's the stories and links from Mediapost today:

Icahn Moves Forward With Proxy Battle
Financial Times
Carl Icahn launched his proxy fight against the Yahoo board in a letter to chairman Roy Bostock on Thursday. Icahn said Yahoo "had completely botched" negotiations with Microsoft, and listed 10 replacements to stand against the board at the company's annual shareholder meeting on July 3. Icahn said he would move forward with a proxy battle unless Yahoo agreed to sell to Microsoft for $33 per share, which he described as a superior option for shareholders than remaining independent. However, Microsoft, as yet, has given no indication that it still wants to purchase Yahoo.

Meanwhile, the billionaire investor continues to up his stake in the Web giant: In the letter, Icahn confirmed that he's purchased more than 59 million Yahoo shares during the past 10 days-around 4% of the company-and was now seeking clearance from the FTC to up his stake to $2.5 billion of Yahoo stock, or 7% of the company. Hedge Fund Paulson & Co also revealed that it bought more than 50 million Yahoo shares in support of Icahn.

Later Thursday, Yahoo's Bostock issued a response to Icahn's letter clearly stating that the company's board does not believe it's in the best interest of shareholders to wage a proxy battle "for the express purpose of trying to force a sale of Yahoo to a formerly interested buyer who has publicly stated that they have moved on." - Read the whole story...

A 'Benedict Arnold' In Icahn's Board
D: All Things Digital
Only one name in the "amazingly Internet-experience-free" proxy slate served up by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, actually has a lot of related Web experience, said BoomTown's Kara Swisher, and that would be Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the man who sold to-yes-Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock in 1999.

A man with an impeccable sense of timing, Cuban sold the Internet broadcasting company a year after its "faux blockbuster" IPO, just as its shares were starting to slip. Then, just before the Internet bubble burst in 2000, Cuban unloaded all his Yahoo stock, becoming one of the biggest Web 1.0 success stories., meanwhile, never became much of anything; it's now just another domain that redirects to

It's sweet irony indeed that Cuban should now come back to Yahoo as "the only major Internet figure apparently willing to turn on the iconic Yahoo CEO and Co-Founder Jerry Yang"-the very man who made Cuban a billionaire. As Swisher said, "Calling Benedict Arnold!" - Read the whole story...

Yahoo Seeks 'Open' Search Alliance
New York Post
Yahoo, which never seems to budge unless it's prodded to by some sort of crisis, is scrambling to sew up a Google search partnership now that Carl Icahn has announced his proxy battle for control of the Yahoo board. Sources allege that Yahoo hopes to announce a new deal within the next week, adding that it won't be an exclusive partnership with Google.

Instead, Yahoo plans to allow the major search providers like MSN, AOL, and anyone else to bid for the right to serve Yahoo ads tied to keyword searches. Think of it as AdWords for search providers: Yahoo outsources to the system most likely to provide the best return on investment. chairman Kevin Lee said the arrangement would only provide the illusion of a level playing field. "Given the way the ecosystem is put together now, Google would probably be the winner in a vast majority of cases," he said. Media Link founder Michael Kassan agreed. "They can call it anything they want, but at the end of the day, it's still rigged so that Google wins every time," he said.

Three sources allege that Google General Counsel Kent Walker is charged with structuring the deal to minimize regulatory scrutiny. No matter what the arrangement, most critics agree that a Google-Yahoo partnership will command a thorough inspection, at the very least, given Google's dominance of the search market. - Read the whole story...

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Ideas from Others

Friday Fresh Ideas From the Folks at springwise:

It's time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! The latest Springwise newsletter is
now online
. Here's a quick run-down of the business concepts featured in this edition:

Spacious hotel room
SeatGuru for hotel rooms
Travel & tourism / Media & publishing

SeatGuru is one of our favourite examples of transparency tyranny. So
we were happy to hear about TripKick, a similar venture that's focusing
on hotel rooms and helps travellers find the best of the best.

Carrot dangling from a stickCrowd clout meets eco persuasion
Eco & sustainability / Non-profit & social cause

A new, San Francisco-based site called Carrotmob is using crowd
clout to reward the companies that do the most good, instead of going
after the companies that do the most evil.

Front cover of recent French Elle magazineAll-you-can-read digital magazines
Media & publishing / Eco & sustainability

French magazine distributor and kiosk retailer Relay now offers
eco-minded consumers a way to receive issues of up to 400
magazines on their computers for one fixed, monthly fee.

Therapy section at the Wellness WarehouseOne-stop shopping for wellness
Retail / Lifestyle & leisure

Cape Town-based Wellness Warehouse aims to provide South
African consumers with a total solution for healthy shopping, for
everything from salon treatments to mattresses.

Various consumer-designed bagsDIY handbag design lets consumers create
Fashion & beauty

In case there was any doubt the do-it-yourself design trend is here to
stay, a new site for designing handbags has now joined the ones
we've written about for creating custom dresses, duvets and lingerie.

Three people in a baking classLocal lessons, advertised & reviewed
Education / Marketing & advertising

Lifelong learners are always in search of new classes to take, but
finding them isn't always easy. TeachStreet is a new website
dedicated to helping teachers and students connect.

Rings on a fingerMarketplace for jewelry from ex-boyfriends
Fashion & beauty

Most women have some: earrings, necklaces, rings or other jewelry
given to them by an ex-boyfriend. A new site offers a place to unload
those relics from the past.

Woman holding a baby and a laptopMore work spaces for parents
Marketing & advertising

We've covered work space concepts in the past, including NYC's Two
Rooms, which lets parents work while their children play. Cubes &
Crayons brings the service to the hardworking parents of Silicon Valley.

People gardeningVacations that give back
Tourism & travel / Non-profit & social cause

More than just a time to renew body and spirit, vacations can also be
opportunities to try something new. For guests at Ritz-Carlton hotels,
they can be a time to give back to the local community.

Child-powered toy carKid-powered toys
Lifestyle & leisure / Style & design

SEE Toys (short for "safety, ecology, economy") are electronic toys that
never need batteries. Instead, they feature a hand crank that provides
15 minutes of fun in exchange for 60 seconds of cranking.

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Friday Fast Ones

Friday afternoon clickable links for you from me and Mediapost:

McDonald's Puts Its Arches On WNBA Jerseys In Regular Play
by Karl Greenberg
[Restaurants] During WNBA Tip-Off 2008 presented by McDonald's, the fast-food giant will display its logo on the court, on poll pads and on team chair-backs. McDonald's will also promote its brand through courtside signage, in-game advertisements and a variety of in-game promotions, along with prominent exposure on and during the promotion. - Read the whole story...

Women In Wealthy Homes Make 2 Of 3 Buying Decisions
by Karlene Lukovitz
[Research] Clearly, "winning over wealthy women is a do-or-die proposition for companies in industries as varied as travel, health care, financial services and home improvement," says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. Some companies clearly get it. For example, Marriott, Hilton, Visa and Home Depot each earned an unaided mention from 7% of respondents for being companies that do the best job of marketing to wealthy women. - Read the whole story...

Rising Prices Provide New Market Positioning For Grocery Chain
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] The company, which began a rebranding effort last fall, is offering an extended version of a gas gift card program it has been experimenting with for the last two years, in various markets. In a recent Chattanooga, Tenn., store test, more than 260 shoppers managed to pick up enough for the free gas card in just one shopping trip on the promotion's first day. - Read the whole story...

Hallmark Campaigns To 'Move Dad' In Father's Day Promo
by Laurie Sullivan
[Retail] The online and multi-city contest tour gives dads a platform rock out to MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," as featured in one of Hallmark's Cards with Sound, an innovation launched a few years ago and slowly gaining in awareness. The Hallmark MC Hammer television ad that debuted last year will air again beginning June 2. - Read the whole story...

Hyundai Drives Nearly New Sonata Into Sedan Headwind
by Karl Greenberg
[Automotive] The company says the car will bring in buyers from both domestic and import brands; and that the current gas prices should benefit sales. "We are looking to have this as a destination for people defecting from SUVs," says Hyundai's Michael Deitz, adding that owners of domestics will see the car as a move-up vehicle, a far cry from Hyundai's mid-1990s rep. - Read the whole story...

Targeting Gays, Lesbians Is A Win-Win, New Survey Shows
by Aaron Baar
[Strategy] While there was benefit within the community for targeting this minority population, there was little downside, according to Prime Access and PlanetOut's survey. Only 14% of straight consumers said having a gay-friendly brand had an adverse affect on their purchase decisions. For the most part, straight consumers barely noticed LGBT-targeted efforts. - Read the whole story...

Burger King Launches Recruitment Campaign

Anheuser-Busch Ends Import Right To Grolsch

AmEx: $25 Off At Best Buy, Borders, Fandango, SpaFinder

More Consumers To Spend Rebates At Pump

Brian Philips To Head FedEx Kinko's

Keith Houlemard Named Jordan Brand President

Hardee's Thumbs Nose At Value Menu Movement

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Racial Differences in Media Consumption

In the world of research, we look at gender, age, race, income and other dividing classifications that the world of political correctness is forbidden to do. releases lots of research from various sources and here is one that needs your attention.

As always, click on the charts to make them bigger...

Differences in Media Consumption among Racial Groups

Targeting advertising toward African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Whites requires distinct media plans, because these groups use traditional media differently - and their new-media adoption patterns also vary, according to an analysis by BIGresearch.

“Understanding how media consumption behaviors differ by race is fundamental for marketers wishing to increase ROI for advertising,” said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch.

Below, some of the findings from BIGresearch’s most recent Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11, Dec. ‘07) of 15,727 participants.


The types of TV shows watched most often differ by racial group:


Although movies are the most watched type of TV show among all categories, African Americans (66%) and Hispanics (63.6%) are more likely to regularly watch them than Asians (52.5%) and Whites (51.4%).

Dramas and police/detective shows round out the top three for types of shows watched most often - except for Asians who would rather catch a sporting event or a cartoon.


Radio formats listened to by the various groups vary even more than their TV watching:


New Media

Although cell phones are the form of new media used most for all segments, with 57% of Hispanics, 53% of African Americans, 53.9% of Asians and 49.4% of Whites regularly using, the similarities stop there.


Minorities have a higher regular usage of new media than Whites across all media types. They are more likely to use iPods, text on cell phones, play videogames, use video/picture phones, instant messaging online and watch videos on cell phones.

“Minorities are using new media in higher percentages, providing marketers with unique opportunities to create specific marketing plans that integrate non-traditional media options into their digital ad strategy,” Drenik said.

Internet Use

Differences among the various ethnic groups are apparent in how they use the internet for fun and entertainment:


Shopping tops the list for African Americans (40%), Asians (43.7%) and Whites (43.1%) - whereas Hispanics would rather check out movie news (42.7%).

About the data: BIGresearch’s syndicated Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM) is focused on consumers to gauge their consumption across media, products and services. The SIMM monitors more than 15,000 consumers twice each year. More findings are available from BIGresearch.

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Make it a Pizza Weekend!

As consumers are looking for ways to rearrange their budgets due to rising gas prices and other economic factors, there are some shifts in our eating habits going on.

First of all, there are more folks skipping the causaul restaurant scene in favor of buying the food at the supermarket and nuking it at home.

But now there is also a shift in when we eat our Pizza. I admit that personally, I eat less but that is due to a friend of mine that moved out of state. He and I would visit the Pizza Hut lunch buffet a couple times a month.

I did have pizza last weekend from a place called Papa Murphys. They make the pizza just the way you want it and then you take it home and bake it in your oven. Better than frozen and hot from the oven.

I'm not the only one that has made pizza a weekend experience:

Pizza Becoming More of a Weekend Treat

In what appears to be another sign that consumers are trimming back on restaurant spending, foodservice consultants Technomic found that consumers have shifted their pizza-ordering habits, cutting back on weekdays but ordering more often on weekends.

In 2006, Technomic found that 35 percent of consumers indicated that they would primarily order pizza for dinner during the week, and just over a quarter (28 percent) typically ordered pizza for dinner during the weekend.

Today's consumers, however, report that they order pizza for dinner on the weekend (32 percent) slightly more than they do during the week (29 percent).

"We believe that increasing consumption of pizza on weekends over weekdays is likely tied to consumers' desire for more economical options," noted Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic Information Services. "Instead of going out for a sit-down meal during the weekend and ordering pizza for dinner during the week, consumers are scaling back by having an affordable pizza meal on the weekend and preparing more weekday meals at home."

The survey was conducted for Technomic's new Pizza Consumer Trend Report. Other findings presented and interpreted in the report include:

-- When eating pizza, health and wellness is a concern for 69 percent of consumers, yet half these consumers do not let their concerns influence their consumption behavior. To appeal to those truly interested in healthier alternatives, pizza operators must not sacrifice taste, focusing instead upon ingredients that carry a health halo, such as those which are coined as all-natural, fresh and artisan.

-- Frozen pizza has become increasingly competitive with foodservice pizza, both in terms of overall quality and in providing an affordable pizza option. For foodservice pizza to compete, they will need to focus marketing efforts on what differentiates these products from retail options and why they provide an overall better value.

-- Consumer preferences, particularly for pizza crust and sauce, vary regionally and ethnically. For example, sweet sauces are favored by more consumers in the Northeast (25 percent) than among Southern (18 percent), Midwestern (17 percent) and Western (13 percent) consumers. Also, pesto-flavored sauce was preferred by 14 percent of all consumers; Asians, however, chose pesto more than any other ethnic group (24 percent).

(Source: Technomic, Inc., 05/07/08)

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Harvey's ABC's of Selling-20

Friday wisdom from Harvey:

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!

Humanize your selling strategy by learning everything you can about your customers.

I is the least important letter in selling.

Join trade organizations and community groups that will help you both professionally and personally, such as Toastmasters, chamber of commerce or Junior Achievement.

Know your competitors and their products as well as you know your own.

Listen to your customers or they'll start talking to someone else.

Maybe is the worst answer a customer can give. No is better than maybe. Find out what you can do to turn it into a yes.

Networking is among the most important skills a salesperson can develop. Someone you know knows someone you need to know.

Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your antennae up.

Price is not the only reason customers buy your product, but it is a good reason.

Quality can never be sacrificed if you want to keep your customers satisfied.

Relationships are precious: They take time to develop and are worth every minute you invest in them.

Service is spelled "serve us" in companies that want to stay in business for a long time.

Trust is central to doing business with anyone. Without it, you have another word that begins with T: Trouble.

The decision you have to make is simple, Do you want to be known as trustworthy?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pepsi or Coke?

As a member of the Pepsi Generation, I preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi-Cola over Coca-Cola.

A friend of mine that used to have Pepsi as one of his major accounts when he had an ad agency in town, filled me in on the differences between the two products.

Supposedly Coke dominates the fountain business (restaurants) because their syrup has a longer shelf life, and they can sell it cheaper because they sell in larger quantities per delivery, and less frequent deliveries, enables Coke to save on costs.

But on the can/bottle business, Pepsi wins because of taste. I haven't seen the numbers to back any of this up, but it does make sense.

And the battle between the two giants continues. Product placement during shows like American Idol helps Coke stay in front of their target consumer. Meanwhile Pepsi has revised their website.

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Net News

One of the items in the news recently has been the Microsoft and Yahoo! merger that so far isn't.

Meanwhile Google continues to grow and Grow and GROW and GROW and GROW...

If you are building a website, you pretty much can ignore all other search engines, because so many of them outsource their search to Google.

Meanwhile Google's dominance overall has reached another benchmark as mentioned in this story from Mediapost:

Google's Dominance: Industry Menace Or Catalyst For Change?
Information Week
The latest Hitwise data shows that Google's search market share is at an all-time high. Of course, that means that market share for Yahoo and MSN hit new lows -- which, as Thomas Claburn notes, is precisely why some in the industry remain concerned about the search giant's dominance.

Still, Claburn argues that while Google's chokehold on search is formidable, on some levels, it's beneficial for the entire Internet marketing and computing industries. "Google is alarming in the same way that Wal-Mart is alarming: It forces competitors to change," Claburn says.

He says that there's still room for companies like Microsoft, as well as small startups, to challenge Google on a number of fronts. "Microsoft will be a better [competitor], five years from now, when Ray Ozzie's vision for the company becomes more fully realized," Claburn says. "Yahoo may be one, if corporate raiders don't dismember it first. And maybe MySpace or Facebook will make their platform plays work. (Don't count Apple out, either.)" - Read the whole story...

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Advertising that reflects the product

From my email:

Toyota Prius respects the environment, proven here in billboard from Tiempo BBDO Spain that lets the tree behind it get some more space.

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Selling Benefits, not Features

Here's another bit of wisdom from Small Fuel from last month:

Sell Benefits, Deliver the Goods, and Get Happy Repeat Customers

Posted: 08 Apr 2008 03:57 PM CDT

benefits of paperclips
Knowing the benefits of your products or services and using them in your marketing campaigns is crucial to getting a good response. People buy what they want, not what they need. You need to convey to people that you can fulfill those desires if they buy your product or use your service.

But if your business makes promises that it doesn’t keep, you can guarantee that you’ll leave the customer feeling cheated and disappointed. Disappointed customers don’t buy twice or refer their friends.

It’s important to know the benefits you offer. It’s crucial to back up those benefits, too.

Exaggerating your product benefits is a marketing faux pas that many businesses make. Have you ever bought a “miracle” face cream that promised to make you look younger? Did it? Did you buy it again?

Or maybe you bought a hyped-up fabric softener that left you with plain old clothes—nothing soft and fluffy as promised. Did you choose that product again?

And how many of you have gone to restaurants that promise fast service… but sat there waiting for their meals?

People want benefits, and benefits is what you have to sell. But if you can’t back up the claims you make, all you’re doing is hurting your reputation with false advertising. Your clients are disenchanted, they don’t believe in you any more, and you just lost customers.

Know What You Really Sell

You’re selling more than your product or your service. You’re giving people great looks, more comfort or playful freedom. You’re providing good impressions, the envy of friends or better performance. You’re offering better organization or an easier way of living or a faster method of accomplishing a task.

You’re selling people a means to an end, a way to reach their goals or make something easier. What you sell isn’t important—it’s just a tool to help people get the benefits they really want.

So what are the benefits of your product or service?

The Benefits

Benefits are what your product or service achieves for people after they purchase. They are the improvements, the changes, the noticeable differences in a person’s life that occur from purchasing your product or service.

Let’s consider a simple box of Acco paper clips. Believe it or not, those little clips worth a buck or two can change your life. They can make your business better. They can set you on the path to success.

Well, alright, maybe that’s a little over the top, but the point is that if you buy a box of Acco clips, your life will be better, somehow. Acco clips are beneficial to you. They can:

  • Help you find what you need faster to save time
  • Keep your computer data save without magnetic erasure risk
  • Plastic clips don’t rust, so your papers stay clean
  • Lower your mailing costs
  • Fit your needs for sizing perfectly

Are you more interested now? Do Acco plastic clips sound like something that could help you? Would they improve your life?

Before people had Acco clips, they had messy, disorganized papers full of rust marks and higher mailing costs. After Acco clips, people achieved an organized life, fast and accurate filing and more money in their pockets.

But having good benefits is only the first step.

Deliver Your Benefits

Once you know the benefits of what you sell, the reasons that people are actually buying, it’s time to make sure you deliver them with your product or service. Are your potential customers looking for compliments or fame? Do they want to save money or gain more free time? Increased productivity? Cleaner houses? More customers? The real question is: how will you give them what they want?

Look at every benefit that your product offers. For every one, write down how you will make sure your product delivers that benefit. Write down how your product will change a person’s life or makes their day better.

Sell each of those benefits in your marketing, make sure people know what you offer. And then make sure your customers get each one of them. Don’t hype up what isn’t real, and make sure that your products or services can really do what you promise.

Once you master all of this, you’re guaranteed to have a lot of happy customers. Happy customers come back again and again.

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Local Media Critic reviews the Sunday paper

Many years ago, there was a guy named Rich Reynolds that lives in this area that used to due a local review of local media and send it out to fax machines.

This was before the internet days.

Rich is still around, only now he does his stuff online.

One thing I can say about Mr. Reynolds is that he takes his role as a "critic" literately.

He is not out to make friends, and he has annoyed many I'm sure.

While Rich tries to justify his criticisms, he really doesn't need to. A true critic offers their own opinion, and opinions are based on personal preferences.

Rich wants Fort Wayne Media to be more than it will ever be. He wants higher standards than what we as the citizens of Fort Wayne accept from the local media.

Many in the media have tried to ignore him. Yet every once in awhile he will write something that is hard to argue with.

For example his recent review of our Sunday Paper.
Here's the beginning:

We spent a little less than a half-hour reading the Sunday editions of the morning paper.

Sunday (May 11th) took us a bit longer – a minute or so longer.
Click here for the whole review if you wish.

I wish it wasn't true. I wish the newspaper business was as strong as it was 30 years ago. But that's not going to happen.

Instead, smart publishers are doing what they are doing in Fort Wayne. belongs to the newspaper.

I hope they can structure their business model to last another couple hundred years. Time will tell.

But the reason I point this out is that this is antidotal evidence of a change in media consumption.

And if you are using the media to advertise, you need to be aware of what is going on with the various advertising options.

Click here for a look at those advertising options.

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