Saturday, May 24, 2008

No Email People

I wonder what they look like? 1 of your 4 friends don't use email, according to the average in this report from

21% of US Heads of Household Don’t Use Email, Internet

Some one-fifth of all heads of US households have never used email - and about 18% of US households (that is, 20 million of them) don’t have internet access, according to an annual phone survey of US households by Parks Associates (via Marketing Pilgrim).


“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the homes in the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, use a computer.”

More findings from the forthcoming Parks study based on the survey, “National Technology Scan”:

  • Age and education are factors in the digital divide: Half of those who have never used email are over 65, and 56% had no schooling beyond high school.
  • Just 7% of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to subscribe to an internet service within the next 12 months.
  • Nevertheless, there has been a steady decline in the number of disconnected households: At yearend 2006, 29% of all US households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value.

“Internet connections have slowly increased in US households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives.”

About the study: National Technology Scan (pdf) provides information on current adoption levels, demand, and the total available market for technology products and services in the US. The study provides comparative analysis with past adoption levels and overall trending patterns for strategic planning and forecasts of sales and revenues for product lines and services.

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Links to Research Sources

A couple of friends have asked me recently where I get the information for the posts on this website/blog, along with other good places for research.

So I'll let the cat out of the bag.

Just click on the blue underlined links and you can sign up for free news letters, or you'll be sent to the website.

Since I work in Media, I get various emails from Mediapost and Mediaweek. There are about 6 emails a day coming from them that I scan and sometimes pick a story or two.

Some info comes from Marketing Profs.

I also have access to the Radio Advertising Bureau, via a subscription from my company.

There are blogs that I subscribe to such as Anthony Juliano's SoundBite Back,

Church of the Customer

Chuck McKay

Customers Rock!

Jim Meisenheimer

Marketing Genesis


Wizard of Ads

(As I was researching this information, I discovered about 75% of my source material is from the Mediapost and Mediaweek emails, since they use different sources including the Wall Street Journal, AdAge, and others.)

Now if there is a specific question I have like how Geico advertises, I simply type those words into Google and Google does the search for me.

A couple more resources for you.

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Reading on the Web

Now, this makes sense to me. As more and more of us are doing our reading via the internet, we are going to familiar sources, websites that already have a brand name and thus crediability.

There is a particular genre that fits this web model and that is magazines. Read more from MediaPost:

1Q Web Audiences Up Impressive 11.9%

Consumer magazines attracted an average 70.7 million unique visitors per month in the first three months of 2008, according to the Magazine Publishers of America, which cited data from Nielsen Online covering 337 consumer magazines with an online presence. That represents an 11.9% increase over the total number of unique visitors (63.2 million) in the first quarter of 2007.

Overall, magazine Web sites now reach roughly 43.4% of the total American online population, which is pegged at about 163 million--up from 40.2% in 2007. Their reach represents about 23.5% of the total U.S. population of 300 million. The increase for magazine Web sites is more than triple the growth rate of the overall U.S. Internet population, which grew 3.7% over the same period.

Magazine Web site visitors accumulated an average of 497.3 million sessions per month in the first three months of 2008, up 16.3% from the figure for the same period last year. Time spent averaged 2.3 billion minutes per month, up 16.7% from last year.

The audience reach figures put magazine Web sites slightly ahead of newspaper counterparts. According to a similar analysis of Nielsen Online data, newspaper Web sites drew an average of 66.4 million unique visitors in the first quarter of 2008, representing about 40.7% of the U.S. Internet population.

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Feeling Green?

One thing that most Americans can agree on, this Memorial Day Weekend is costing us more than last year.

One other thing that most Americans also agree on, is that we should be good stewards of our environment, but what that means and the motivation varies widely.

Before she took off for her long holiday weekend, Sarah Mahoney from Mediapost wrote this for our reading pleasure:

by Sarah Mahoney
Maybe he's something of a cliché. Try as he might, he still can't peel that Gore-Lieberman sticker off the bumper of his Prius. There's probably granola from Whole Foods spilling out of the reusable canvas shopping bag in the back seat next to the book about bio-diesel. Just don't try to pigeonhole him, because he's as elusive as Bigfoot, or maybe, more aptly, the Jolly Green Giant. If there's one thing Janet Little, a nutritionist for Henry's Farmers Market, knows by now, it's that there's no such thing as a plain green shopper. ... Read the whole story

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Day 2 of 7 Tips for writing ads

When I moved into the advertising side of radio 22 years ago, these were some of the principles that I followed to maximize success.

Here are the first 2 tips from Craig Arthurs Blog:

7 Tips for Writing Radio & Television Ads

by guest writer Sonya Winterbotham

Clutter V Clarity. It is better to tell one idea well, than to tell ten badly. Are you trying to put too much into your message? Try to strip all the information bare and find the strongest message, so you can tell that story well. Put aside all the client information that meets our expectations and go digging for that one little piece that surpasses our expectations, that piece of new information that will surprise the customer. Simplify that core message down to one sentence, even one word, than start to build your masterpiece from there. This little piece of gold is your foundation... now you can build the creative and it won't fall over.

Commercial speak is passé... My rule is simple - write the way you speak... don't follow Dorothy and Toto down the yellow brick road to Adland. Customers live in the real world - so should we. Be natural in your writing style, it's warmer, fresher and more welcoming. Think about the very basics - use contractions, use natural stumbles and hesitations (Think Big Pond's ‘Too Many Rabbits' ad), use slang, most importantly get out there and study real life and real speech.

If there are words and phrases in the script that you wouldn't say in a conversation with a friend, then, don't put them in your commercial either.

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Friday, May 23, 2008


Yeah, it's Friday night, first night of a three day weekend and I'm posting something from my email from Jim Meisenheimer.

Read it and you'll see why:

Hooked On Selling

I’m hooked on selling, how about you?

Ever since I was a kid selling subscriptions for my Newsday paper route on Long Island, I knew I was meant to sell.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been easy. Even with my paper route, I had to deal with a sinister looking Mr. Kuhl.

With those two missing front teeth and the glassy eyed look he had, he was always pushing me to get more orders. Sure I enjoyed selling and delivering the papers. And I really liked winning the prizes for winning the contests.

I didn’t realize this until many years later - but selling really isn’t selling.

Selling today is not about convincing and persuasion. It’s about helping buyers make good buying decisions. In fact, the more you try to convince and persuade, the more pushback you get – at least that’s been my experience.

I’m still hooked on selling!

The road to selling success is loaded with bumps, curves and potholes and you have to deal with all of them.

In one of my first sales positions, working for Baxter Healthcare and selling laboratory supplies, I remember calling on General Food’s Research Facility in Tarrytown New York.

I was young, cocky, and full of myself and determined to be successful. So, when I walked into the General Food’s main lobby, I asked Felicia, the receptionist, if I could speak to Brian N. – the purchasing agent.

She called him. He came out. He was a big guy. He was a really big guy and kinda walked real slow because of the weight he was carrying.

He motioned me over to a sofa. I enthusiastically reached out to shake his hand as I was introducing myself.

He then proceeded to burst my bubble.

He said, “So you’re with Scientific Products.”

I said, “Yes sir!”

He said without any hesitation, “We don’t buy anything from your company. As a matter of fact the only time would we even consider buying something from your company, is if we desperately needed it and there was no place else on the planet earth to get it.”

I was in shock.

Before I could say anything, he stood up and turned away from me and walked through the swinging doors back to his office.

What an experience. Felicia looked at me with what had to be an “I’m so sorry you had to experience that look.”

Well just remember this. Sometimes you have to be patient.

We had zero business when I inherited the account. Brian stuck to his guns and we had zero business during the first year I called on the General Foods.

Sometimes you have to wait until someone retires. Sometimes you have to wait until someone dies to get your foot in the door.

Well about a year after Brian met with me, for the one and only time, he retired. A year later he died.

And another year later, General Foods was my second largest account.

That’s why I’m hooked on selling.

What other job pays you according to your productivity – your sales?

What other job pays you what your worth – yup, in sales you’re paid what your worth?

What other job literally let’s you run your own business – for the most part?

That’s why I’m hooked on selling.

Selling is easy when you work hard at it.

Obviously selling isn’t the right cup of tea for everybody.

If you’re determined to achieve success for you and your family . . .

If you aspire to bigger and better things . . .

If you like to set and achieve goals . . .

And if you love the adrenalin rush you get when closing the sale . . .

And if you can accept the fact, “You can’t win them all . . .”

You can get hooked on selling too!

Finally, to be hooked on selling you gotta be hooked on learning. I have some great ideas on how you can double your sales without quadrupling your effort.

Go here to find out how!

Start selling more today and everyday . . .

Jim Meisenheimer

20 years . . .
512 customers . . .
83.3% repeat business . . .

(800) 266-1268

About Jim Meisenheimer | Sell More Blog | More sales articles | 12 Best Questions Book

Jim Meisenheimer | 13506 Blythefield Terrace | Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 | 941-907-0415

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Entrepreneurial Ideas

Wrap up your week with these fresh business ideas provided by

Orange, white and grey bags made from ad bannersShopping district turns its own ad banners into bags
Eco & sustainability / Marketing & advertising / Retail

Recycling advertising banners to make shopping bags isn't new.
What's interesting about a new effort from Vancouver, however, is that
a shopping district's advertisers are creating bags from their own ads.

Front view of small wooden houseRetailer unboxes DIY flat-pack homes
Homes & housing

Britain's Argos chain seems to be the first major retailer to market an
affordable flat-pack house that can be built in two days by just two

Angry woman talking into phoneNagging service for dieters
Life hacks / Food & beverage

Anyone who's ever tried to lose weight knows that it can be tough to
stay motivated. For those who need a little extra help, a new service
will nag customers mercilessly until they get off the couch.

Partial shot of wine bottlesWinery asks customers to set prices
Food & beverage / Retail

A South African winemaker sent 20 cases of its latest wine to loyal
customers on consignment, asking them to evaluate the wine and
then pay him what they thought it was worth.

Detail of screenshot of a family's scheduleScheduling service for families with kids
Life hacks / Leisure & lifestyle

For USD 499 per year, BusyBeesNYC will create a schedule of
activities for that combines free, paid, scheduled and drop-in events
while accommodating kids' regular eating and sleeping routines.

Two hands full of gold jewelryParties help guests sell their gold
Lifestyle & leisure

As the weakening economy causes purse strings to tighten,
consumers are looking for new ways to earn some extra money. Enter
My Gold Party, which helps guests cash in on record gold prices.

Design entries on CrowdspringMore crowdsourced graphic design
Style & design / Marketing & advertising

There are numerous sites out there for crowdsourcing graphic design.
A new entrant into the space gets bidding designers to submit
completed concepts.

Collage of eBay listing and a drawing of one of Lots2's vanseBay feeder business for 'pickup only' items
Life hacks / Transportation

For prices beginning at GBP 40, Lots2 will collect and deliver items
bought on eBay or other auction platforms from or to anywhere in
London, the South East and East Anglia.

Two bottles and two drink pouches of premium juiceMore ultra premium grape juice
Food & beverage

Not long ago we wrote about high-end grape juices by First Blush, and
recently one of our spotters came across another ultra premium line
of alcohol-free juices that could easily be confused with wine.

Motorola logo projected on a rendering of the sunSolar-powered cellphone kiosks for Ugandan women
Telecom & mobile / Eco & sustainability

In Uganda, which has one of the lowest levels of electricity in Africa,
Motorola has launched an initiative to provide solar cellphone
recharging stations that can be run by local, entrepreneurial women.

Our contact details
Springwise BV, a 53rd Floor BV company
Address: Laurierstraat 71, 1016 PJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Web address:
Email address:

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Do you need to increase your closing %?

Okay, so your mind is on the weekend.

Or is it?

Are you ending your week wondering what happened to the sales you thought you had in the bag?

Before you pack it in for Memorial Day, take a look at this wisdom from Art Sobczak that came in my email.

(And you can keep checking back here, 'cause I'll have at least three new posts each day, all (long) weekend long!)

This Week's Tip:
How To Be Really Sure You Have the Sale


I arrived at the golf course to check in, and much
to my surprise, the pro shop attendant said, “We
don’t have a reservation for you or the other person
you mentioned.”

Shortly thereafter, my playing partner, Chuck (who
had indeed called earlier for reservations), straightened
things out.

Over a few cold ones in the clubhouse after the round
Chuck told me he had an inkling a mix-up would occur.
He said his call to the pro shop went like this:

Chuck: “Can you get two people on at 12:30?”

Attendant: “That shouldn’t be a problem. Come on down.”

Chuck: “So we have a confirmed time at 12:30?”

Attendant: “We’ll work it out. Come on in.”

Because the attendant was being somewhat evasive,
vague, or just plain lazy, he didn’t give a commitment
although Chuck asked for one, but stopped short of saying,

“Look, do you have my name written in the book at 12:30?”

We then related that situation to a similar fault some
salespeople suffer from: not being specific enough, and
accepting fuzzy answers.

For example, Chuck has several sales people working
for him, marketing mechanical contracting services. Chuck
will usually ask the reps after a major prospect meeting,
“How did it go? Are we going to get the job?”

Sometimes they’ll respond in a manner like the golf shop
attendant: “It looks pretty good. They were favorable toward us.”

He’ll then ask the rep, “Did you come right out and ask them
if they were going to use our bid in the overall contract?”

“Well, no . . . but I think they’re leaning in our direction.”

Well folks, Chuck’s company doesn’t send out work crews
(or invoices) based on someone who’s just leaning. They
need to know for sure. And that’s the way it is with my
company, and probably yours. When people speak in terms
of specifics, things happen. If prospects and customers
aren’t asked for a definite decision or course of action, it’s
easy for them to shelve the issue.

“Are we going to do this?”

“When will we see the purchase order?”

“How many do you want?”

And, oh, saying, "Can I send/fax/email the contract?" is not
a close. Because if they say yes, what are the odds you will
get it back?

You need to follow that question with, "And will you sign and
return it?"

Find out precisely where you stand. Leave no doubt as to
what is to happen after the call, and you’ll find that follow-
up files become less clogged, and your wallet gets fatter.

Of course, this Tip is all about questioning once we reach the
commitment part of the call. We also need to ask great questions
to get to this part of the call. The best questioners are the wealthiest
salespeople. Period. But, great questions don't just come to you
magically...they must be well thought, prepared, and practiced.
I have a resource where you will get 12 questions you can use,
and/or modify for your very next call. Check it out at

"Determining that you will have a great attitude does much
more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to
magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous
opportunities that were somehow absent before the



Planning Your 2008 Fall National Sales Meeting,
Or any of Your 2008 Training? Let Me Help
You Make It the Best Ever

If your company or association would benefit from a content-packed,
entertaining, interactive, how-to customized workshop on any
part of, or the entire telesales and prospecting call and process,
let's talk. I specialize in developing and delivering programs
that get sales reps saying and doing the right things, right
away, to get more YES answers from prospects and customers.
Isn't it time that the organization does something special
for the most important part of the sales process? Size of
group does not matter; I've done programs for as few as three
people and as big as 2000. If your people are not saying and
doing the right things by phone, nothing else matters. Let
me help you ensure it.

For more info, go to, or
contact me at, or call
me at (402)895-9399. (Special incentive for Scottsdale/Phoenix
Business By Phone Inc.
13254 Stevens St.
Omaha, NE 68137

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Measuring your R.O.I. on the WWW

Still figuring out the advertising potential of the WWW?

You are not alone:

Trading GRiPs for Clicks
by Pat LaPointe , Thursday, May 22, 2008

Television networks are making their prime-time programming available in full form via their Web sites. And not just the latest episodes of "Desperate Housewives," either. CBS and ABC have both recently announced that they are now streaming from deep inside their programming vaults, bring back favorites like "The Love Boat" and "Twin Peaks."

Last month, Hula (a joint venture between NBC and Fox) attracted nearly 2.5 million unique viewers (presumably defined by distinct cookies), who streamed content an average of more than 20 times each! That's a bigger, more engaged audience than many cable stations draw in a month's time. And anyone who knows their way around a Bass diffusion curve will tell you that adoption of online viewing is on a trajectory to achieve substantial penetration very rapidly.

All this is causing pre-revolution heartburn in the media departments of major ad agencies today. They're trying to figure out which metrics best equate clicks (or streams) to GRiPs (gross rating points), so they can compare the costs of advertising online to advertising on TV. Apples-to-apples.

Wrong mission.

Online content streaming is, by its very nature, an active participation medium, while television is passive. As such, the metrics should reflect the degree to which advertisers actively engage the consumer: streams launched; ads clicked; games played; surveys completed; dialogue offered; etc. Selecting passive metrics encourages the content owners to use the computer to stream like they broadcast, thereby replacing one screen with another. In time, that will teach consumers to use it as a passive medium like TV.

If we (the marketers) want to capture the true potential of an active medium, we have to demand performance against active metrics. We have to design ads that give the multitasking consumer of today something else to do while they're watching the show - enter contests on what will happen next; decide who's telling the truth; test their show knowledge against other fans; shop for that cute skirt -- you get the idea.

Effectiveness in this new realm is a function of the actual (active) behavior generated versus the expected amount. And the expected amount is that degree of behavior shift necessary to make the business case for spending the money show a clear and attractive return. Efficiency is then how much more positive behavior we're generating per dollar spent than we did last month/quarter/year.

Sure, we need to have some sense of which content is attracting people who "look" like customers or prospects, but that's just the basis upon which we decide where to test and experiment. The real decisions on where to place our big bets will come once we learn what execution tactics are most impactful.

Until then, be careful what you measure, or you will surely achieve it.

Pat LaPointe is Managing Partner at MarketingNPV -- specialty consultants on marketing measurement and metrics, and publishers of MarketingNPV Journal, available online free at

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Closing by Connecting

The word closing has multiple meanings.

If you are a business owner that is struggling to survive, you may be closing your doors.

If you are in sales, closing is usually a positive term referring to the final step in the initial sales process.

This post is about another type of closing.

It's about getting closer.

Closing the six degrees of separation to one or two.

Awhile ago I registered myself at but did nothing with it.

Then I saw a series of articles from Jill Konrath on how to use LinkedIn.

But still I waited.

About a week ago, Joe Dager, who lives here in Fort Wayne, Indiana sent me an invitation to join as one of his connections.

I thought to myself, "I really should follow through on this", and I did one evening last week.

I imported my email contacts and watched as told me which of them were all ready on.

Then at a business meeting last Thursday morning, I told about 25 people about and some of them are now on it.

So what is

First, it is a professional social networking tool. It can help you cut down the six degrees of separation to just a couple.

Second, it is a way to reconnect with long lost friends and business acquaintances.

Third, (and this is my favorite), it is free.

Here's some of what has happened since in one week. I have 43 connections right now that I can contact with the push of a button.

Your Network of Trusted Professionals

You are at the center of your network. Your connections can introduce you to 59,500+ professionals — here’s how your network breaks down:
Your Connections
Your trusted friends and colleagues
Two degrees away
Friends of friends; each connected to one of your connections
Three degrees away
Reach these users through a friend and one of their friends
Total users you can contact through an Introduction 59,500+

I am including another free e-book link on the right side of this page along with right here.
Click and download Jill Konrath's guide to Linked in.

Jill is a self described "technophobe" and she tells her story along with hints on how and why to use the free service.

Now if you are that business owner that is closing your doors, maybe there is help through

Or if you are that salesperson might help open more doors to help you close more.

Finally, I invite you to click on my profile by clicking here.

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Yahoo! Money on the Web

There have been discussions as to what is Yahoo!?

Having lost the battle of being a search engine, Yahoo! is looking to subcontract search through Google, like others do including AOL.

Yahoo! does have the lead in other categories of web activity such as the source for Financial Info as the following report shows:

Yahoo! Finance Tops Financial News Destinations

Top 10 Online Financial News and Information Destinations
(Week ending April 27, 2008 US, Home and Work)

Brand or Channel

Unique Audience (000)

Active Reach (%)

Yahoo! Finance



MSN Money



AOL Money & Finance






Wall Street Journal Digital












Motley Fool



Source: Nielsen Online, NetView

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Day 1 of 7 Tips for writing ads

Yesterday, we wrapped up a 26 part series of Selling Tips from Harvey Mackay.

June 1st, we'll begin a series from Seth Godin on Marketing.

Today, I'm kicking off a 7 day series on copywriting radio and television commercials.

I found this article a few days ago on Craig Arthur's website and it is excellent. Let's get started:

7 Tips for Writing Radio & Television Ad

by guest writer Sonya Winterbotham

Clutter V Clarity. It is better to tell one idea well, than to tell ten badly. Are you trying to put too much into your message? Try to strip all the information bare and find the strongest message, so you can tell that story well. Put aside all the client information that meets our expectations and go digging for that one little piece that surpasses our expectations, that piece of new information that will surprise the customer. Simplify that core message down to one sentence, even one word, than start to build your masterpiece from there. This little piece of gold is your foundation... now you can build the creative and it won't fall over.

I have used this exercise with clients and friends:

  1. describe your business in 10 words.
  2. Now narrow it down to 6 words.
  3. Narrow it to three words.
  4. Can you narrow it down to 1 word?
Then we build from there.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting Noticed

Starting Tomorrow, I'll have a 7 part series on Writing Ads for Radio and TV.

Today I have an excellent article from Small Fuel to share with you:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

How To Get Your Message Across Using Trigger Events

bright light bulb trigger event
Earlier this week we talked about how the world is full of competition, small business is overcrowded, and standing out can be tough.This week, we’re going to talk about how you can rise to the challenge and overcome the obstacle of being just another fish in the sea.

Consumers are a tough sell these days. That’s because of advertising insensitivity caused by an overwhelming number of ads pummeling them daily. Everyone is clamoring for attention.

Adding even more problems to the issues is the fact that small businesses have to compete with expensive ad campaigns from larger companies. These big corporations can afford slick advertising and savvy media marketing.

That literally means the small guy’s efforts at promoting a business are often swallowed whole and rarely seen. But, there are ways to avoid this…

Dealing with Advertising Insensitivity

A barrage of advertising builds resistance and insensitivity. Faced with too much stimuli, people ignore much of the information and disregard most advertising. Even the most compelling campaigns don’t produce instant results.

Selective perception helps us filter out information that isn’t related to our lives. If our brains paid attention to all the stimuli we receive in any given day, we’d quickly suffer from information overload and trying to process an overwhelming amount of data.

We see what we want and need to see, and the rest is ignored… unless we’ve just experienced a trigger event.

How Trigger Events Wake Us Up

Have you ever bought a car and suddenly noticed how many people drive the same model? Have you ever decided to shop for a new computer? You might be delighted that there suddenly seems to be tons of ads and specials for new computers in flyers.

Buying the car and deciding to buy a new computer are trigger events. These trigger events shake up selective perception and wake people up. These people have their radar wide open and ready to receive stimuli that resonate with needs.

Target these people. Create a marketing message that resonates with their specific needs or that relates to their lives.

Creating a Trigger Event Message

You’ve probably noticed these types of ad yourself. They usually begin with, “Are you…?” Here are a few examples:

  • Are you a new father who needs help with your baby?
  • Are you looking for a reliable car that won’t let you down?
  • Are you ready to turn your busy life into freedom?

You get the idea. Just fill in the blank after “are you” with a message that directly targets your audience and away you go. Will you get instant results? No – but you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed in the sea of competition.

Knowing the specific life events that your target audience faces and what they have recently experienced helps you build a better marketing message that gets heard.

Also, focus on the benefits that your product or service offers.

A person who has just experienced the realization that his life is too busy and that he needs a break will light up when he hears a marketing message promising more free time. Someone searching to buy a replacement PC will perk up when he hears that you offer higher quality at lower prices – and fast service so that he gets his PC more quickly.

The Pain of the Situation

One of the best ways to resonate with potential customers is to address their pain, their hardships. People dislike discomfort and suffering, and they’re quick to seek solutions that offer fast results.

Of course, don’t promise a miracle cure, because your buyers may be disappointed at the lack of instant change. Craft your marketing message to address the pain clearly, so that the person thinks, “That’s exactly how I feel right now.” Then offer your solution and the outcome the person can expect.

Think of headache medicine and the marketing messages that surround this product. TV ads address pain, suffering, tension… they have people rubbing their foreheads, wincing and definitely showing a hurting head. Life is bad.

Then the message goes on to solution: with a couple of pills, the person suddenly smiles, the pictures grow brighter and the world seems right again.

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Eye Catching Ad

Is it photoshopped or real?

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2008 Consumer Spending Part 4

Gas prices hit 4 bucks in my town today.

Yet we still like to get out of town according to this survey on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend:

Many Vacationers Not Altering Travel Plans, Despite Gas Prices

Six of ten (59 percent) Americans who are currently planning a trip with their car, truck or SUV this summer will not change their travel plans even with additional increases in the price of gas, according to the closely watched travelhorizons survey co-authored by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership.

"The data confirm, once again, that vacations are a non-negotiable part of contemporary life, even in challenging economic times," said Peter Yesawich, Ypartnership's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Among the 41 percent of respondents who stated their plans would change if gas prices rise further, the greatest percentage would simply drive a shorter distance to their vacation destination.

Other expected outcomes include people taking fewer trips and spending less money on other aspects of vacations as revealed below:

-- 38 percent would drive a shorter distance;
-- 36 percent would take fewer trips and/or cancel a trip;
-- 30 percent would spend less on souvenirs and shopping;
-- 27 percent would spend less money on meals/restaurants and/or less on entertainment;
-- 23 percent would spend less on hotels;
-- 21 percent would spend fewer nights away from home;
-- 20 percent would select another vacation destination.

(Source: Travel Industry Association, 05/07/08)

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Marketing Pain Part 7 from Chuck McKay

The final (I think), episode in the series from Chuck McKay:

Thus far in the Marketing P.A.I.N. Series, you've seen the value of talking to your customer about the exact discomfort she's experiencing.

You're able to identify four stages of pain. You can help your customers to identify with your solution at each stage of pain.

You know how to use that identification to help your advertising messages to cut through the media clutter to get their attention. You've learned to propose a solution appropriate for each pain stage.

Is that all it takes to make a sale?

Not quite. Although you now have your prospect's attention, you still have no credibility with her. This is where acknowledgment of her pain mindset comes in.

There are only two:

1. People in a Transactional mindset believe they know everything necessary to choose the right solution for their pain. Transactional shoppers are primarily interested in prices.

2. But people in a Relational mindset are well aware that they don't know enough to make an uninformed decision. They're seeking an expert they can trust.
In every business category, roughly half of the customers fall into each designation. And depending on what it is we're shopping for, we each are already both.

Buy whichever gas is cheapest? Purely a transactional move. Choose to dine at Mario's Spaghetti House because the waitresses all flirt with you? You're as relational as they come - at least when it comes to spaghetti.

No message can appeal to both pain mindsets.

Did you notice that these mindsets tend to be polar opposites? The right thing to say to one is exactly the wrong thing to say to the other.

To get the attention of Transactional shoppers, you could offer reduced fees, promotional sales events, or coupons. If you charge "too much," you have no credibility with them.

But Relational shoppers want to know you understand them, and that they can count on you to offer informed advice. Anything which indicates you are driven solely by profit, rather than concern for your customers, costs you credibility with Relationals.


(click to enlarge)

Either can be a profitable customer base, so it comes down to the kind of business you're comfortable running.

If you enjoy a fast-paced, "Wham. Bam. Next." (oh, and "thank you") style of operation, you may be able to compete on price to reach Transactional shoppers.

But a more methodical, slower-paced, "get to know the customer" style of business necessitates appealing to Relationals, who are willing to pay higher prices, and are more likely to continue being profitable customers over the long-term.

There's an added benefit to getting the attention of Transactional patients. They contribute to "buzz" about you in the community. Relational customers are responsible for the more slowly growing "word-of-mouth."

Let's tie it all together.

Multiply four stages of pain by two pain mindsets, and it becomes obvious that there are only eight possible message positions.

Look at how much more credible the message becomes when you catch the shopper's attention (by identifying the stage of pain), and then present your message in accordance with the pain mindset she's already inclined to trust.

(click to enlarge)

The marketing of every service business, of every retail business, of every not-for-profit can be described in one of these eight positions.

Why only one position?

Few businesses have the financial resources to simultaneously pursue two completely different markets.

Since each marketing position resonates with a different group of shoppers, each position is ignored by other groups. Any impression you may have already made will not have been noticed by your second target.

Once you've expended the resources to anchor your message firmly in a prospective customer's mind, you'll get the best return on your advertising investment by sticking to that position, and building on it.

Please note: This does not mean that you can't change the message, only that the message position - the stage of pain and mindset it addresses - remains the same.

Choose the position with the greatest potential.

You must decide whether you prefer to work with Transactional or Relational customers. And you must identify the stage of pain at which you choose to offer your solution.

Which factors do you balance?
  • Which segment has the greatest growth potential for your business?
  • Is that segment big enough to support your business?
  • Will this result in the type of business you'd care to run?

  • Can you begin to see the power of the Marketing P.A.I.N. concept?

    When your local media rep invites you to become a sponsor of a new promotion, you simply need to compare the promotion's focus against your eight position grid.

    If it matches, consider the investment. If not, pass.

    Once you've identified your position, you'll instantly know whether any advertising you're considering will help your business to grow.

    Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers find you, and choose your company. Questions about identifying your marketing position may be directed to

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    Harvey's ABC's of Selling, All 26 Tips

    For nearly a month, I've been publishing this list of selling tips from Mr. Harvey Mackay, adding one tip each day.

    Today we are at the end of the alphabet and so if you are looking for the complete article, here it is.

    Enjoy, learn, practice, and prosper:

    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.

    Volunteer: It's always good to give back. You'll probably find that you get more than you give, and there is no shortage of organizations that need your help.

    Winning doesn't necessarily mean beating everyone else. A win-win situation is the best of both worlds.

    X-ray and catscan your customers so that you know everything about them—so you can serve them better.

    You is a word your customers need to hear often, as in "What can I do for you?"

    Zeal is a critical element in your presentations, service and life in general. Let your enthusiasm shine through!

    Some things never change—including the importance of knowing how to treat your customers and what really matters in your relationships. And as you can see, most of these items cover far more than just sales.

    Someday, I think my grandchildren will still be able to use my little alphabet book. Nothing would make me prouder.

    Mackay's Moral: Now you know my ABCs—sales skills from A to Z.

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    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    A New Way to Sell Cars

    I've seen the television ads for this and I'm not surprised that it is working, after all it reaches to out to where we as consumers are feeling pain, at the gas pumps!

    Chrysler Extends $2.99 Gasoline Deal

    Chrysler LLC on Monday extended its $2.99 a gallon gasoline promotion by another month, citing gasoline price-weary customers who have flooded Chrysler dealerships and Web sites asking for more time.

    The program, launched May 7, was slated to expire June 2 but now will expire July 7.

    Chrysler showroom traffic increased as much as 10 to 20 percent in certain markets at its 3,511 dealerships, said Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr. During the promotion's first week, Web site activity increased 25 percent from the week before. Internet leads jumped by 34 percent.

    "Customers and dealers across America have told us they like the gas guarantee incentive option, so we are providing a second month for shoppers to take advantage of it," Chrysler Co-president Jim Press said in a statement.

    Customers who purchase or lease a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle included in the promotion can choose among three incentive packages: Cash back, 0 percent financing or the gasoline guarantee program, which freezes the price of gasoline at $2.99 a gallon for three years, up to 36,000 miles.

    Fuel-efficient vehicles most popular
    Chrysler said the highest take rates for the gasoline incentive have been on the Dodge Journey crossover, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring sedan.

    "The most incremental incentives in this gas program are on the company's most fuel-efficient vehicles, which typically do not have this level of incentive available," Press said. "Our customers who buy smaller vehicles put great value on being protected against rising gas prices."

    At first, it appeared that a customer buying one of Chrysler's less fuel-efficient vehicles would be drawn to the promotion -- which has a 12,000 mile limit for each of the three years. But Chrysler's customers with the most concern about fuel economy have shown a greater interest in the deal, spokesman Schorr said.

    "These customers may pick our brand versus other brands, or it may convince people who weren't in the market to enter the market," he said.

    The highest take rates by region have been in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio and Washington, which are among the 12 states with the highest fuel prices, Chrysler said.

    Card issued
    Consumers who opt for the gasoline deal receive a credit card linked to their personal credit card about six weeks after taking delivery of their new vehicle. The card can be used at most filling stations nationwide.

    Customers enrolled in the program will pay the pump price the day they refuel. Chrysler and its partner on the project, Dallas-based Pricelock, will then split the invoice. Chrysler will be charged the difference above $2.99 a gallon.

    Chrysler vehicles not included in the program are the Chrysler Crossfire, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Sprinter, Dodge Ram Chassis Cab, Jeep Wrangler and the entire SRT lineup.

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    Branding Lessons

    Local marketing and P.R. guru Anthony Juliano posted this on his SoundBiteBack Blog this week, and I'm reposting it here for you to check out too:

    The last of my three-part series on branding appears in this month's Business People magazine. I'm also posting one of the columns each month on SBB. Click here for the first one, read number two below, and watch for the third one in June.

    Branding by Example
    What your company can learn from world-class brands

    Last month, I began a three-part ProSpeak series by discussing what branding isn’t. This month, in part two, I’ll focus on a few world-class brands that demonstrate what branding is--and how it applies to your business. No matter what industry you’re in, or how big your company is, these brands offer great lessons that can help you cut through today’s crowded communication environment with a message that’s clear, differentiated, and focused on your best customers and prospects.

    Let’s start with retail giant Target. Target has carved out a niche for itself by delivering on a very specific, easy-to-understand promise. Where Wal-Mart and other retailers simply offer low prices, Target takes things a step further by offering low price combined with high design.

    Here’s just one example: let’s say you need to buy a trash can for your home. If you’re looking for the cheapest option you can find, you’ll likely think of Wal-Mart. And what you’ll get is a perfectly functional but otherwise nondescript trash can to put in the corner and never think of again. But let’s say you’re someone who values aesthetics as much as price. For a few dollars more, Target will offer you a trash can designed by Michael Graves. Chances are, you’ll invest the extra money to get something you perceive to be better.

    Now not everyone will pick the Michael Graves trash can—but that’s what makes Target a world-class brand. Instead of focusing on “everyone,” they pursue a very specific audience. For Target, this means conceding the shopper whose only concern is price, and focusing on those who “Expect More,” as its tagline states. This approach guides everything that Target does, from its advertising to its store design. And because Target is consistent at every touch point, their message cuts through the clutter.

    Although conceding customers seems counterintuitive, it’s integral to building a world class brand. Consider Apple, for example. In a world dominated by Microsoft’s operating systems and programs, it takes a lot of courage to concede everyone with a PC. But that’s exactly what has made Apple so successful. The company positioned itself as an alternative, making the Mac a niche choice for designers, educators, and others who like to “think different.”

    Today, the Apple brand extends well beyond the Mac, but every one of their products is designed (literally and figuratively) consistent with the brand promise. The iPod, the iPhone, and iTunes, to name just a few, have helped Apple become the choice of the early adopter and the technophile. This also gives Apple a significant price advantage, since its products are anticipated long before they arrive in stores. For a technology company, that’s an invaluable strength—and it wouldn’t be possible without the overall power of Apple’s brand.

    While it took Apple years to build its brand, another technology company —Google—gained world-class status in about the time it takes to click a mouse. Even though Google is less than ten years old, it ranked 20th in Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands 2007” report, ahead of such powerhouses as Pepsi (26), Nike (29), and Budweiser (30). How has Google succeeded so quickly? By articulating a brand promise that, while ambitious, is incredibly easy to understand: Google provides a gateway to and framework for all the information and tools you need to get answers and stay productive.

    The true key to Google’s success, however, isn’t just its brand promise: it’s the company’s commitment to delivering on that promise. After having revolutionized search, Google continues to innovate, building on its reputation as the world’s information storehouse. Just when you think Google can’t get any more amazing, the company unveils a product like Google Earth or Google Analytics, and their reputation is reinforced and even enhanced. Google also isn’t shy about acquiring products and ideas consistent with its brand, further extending its position and further defying those who say world-class brands can’t be built overnight.

    Now your company might not yet be in a position to grow as quickly as Google, or to innovate like Apple, or to be as ubiquitous as Target, but you can still learn quite a bit from them about what you should do when building your brand:

    1. Specify. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Do one thing, and do it well

    2. Differentiate. Be not only better than your competitors, but different, too.

    3. Simplify. Covey your unique brand promise in a phrase that’s concise and easy to understand.

    4. Repeat your story. Remind people over and over again how you’re different. Share your brand’s story in your advertising, public relations efforts, design, packaging, and at the point of customer interaction.

    5. Deliver. It’s not enough to make a brand promise—you have to keep that promise, too. Nothing is more important to your brand than the customer experience.

    Now that you’ve been introduced to the tenets of branding and have seen examples of what it takes to succeed, it’s time to put a plan into action. Next month, I’ll conclude this series by discussing the five steps to a successful brand launch. There are no shortcuts, but with some careful planning you’ll be own your way to building a world-class brand of your own.

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    Why TV networks are losing viewers

    Broadcast media has both an opportunity and a challenge.

    Depends on not just how you look at it, but what you do about it.

    Read more about Raising the Broadcast Advertising Bar by clicking here.

    In the meantime, take a look at this from Advertising Age that talks about Television Programs vs television commercials:

    It's the Ads, Stupid

    MediaWorks Viewpoint: Viewers Are Avoiding Ads, not Programs. The Networks Get It. The Ad Agencies Don't.

    As I think back over the last four decades of TV advertising that I've experienced as an advertising professional, one thought predominates: A key aspect of the phenomenal power of the medium is that in the past even mediocre ads could effectively sell products and build brands.
    Media veteran Gene DeWitt offers media advice and counsel at DeWitt Media Strategies.

    We called this intrusiveness.
    Before the remote control, it took quite an effort for a viewer to get up and to flip the dial, standing around hoping for a better program alternative.

    Today of course the audience has a great deal more control over the ad exposure and is increasingly exercising it to zip by commercials or avoid them entirely.

    The 'good' old days

    If we could have back in the '60s, would we have zapped or zipped by annoying "Ring around the collar" ads from Lever Brothers' Wisk or "Iron Deficiency Anemia" spots from Geritol?

    You bet we would. But those ads worked then, and they spawned a template for the ad industry, an arrogant presumption that if the agency and client placed an ad, a passive audience would view it no matter how irrelevant or distracting it might be.

    The medium and its underlying technology have changed dramatically over the years, but advertising has not.

    It seems to me that the reason for this paradox is that up to now the network sellers have not wanted to bring to the attention of the ad makers and buyers that it's the ads people are zipping by or just avoiding by migrating to other less cluttered media, not the programs.

    In fact, it seems to me after this week's network upfront presentations that the networks get it. They recognize the need to focus on our collective "customers" for programs and TV ads, the viewers, their needs, wants, habits, etc.

    And I thought many of the program offerings -- returning and new shows -- looked quite good.

    Fox moves in right direction

    That's why I think that Fox's "remote-free" idea of scheduling fewer ads in some programs is brilliant -- although way short of what is needed and is to come which is prescreening of ads for suitability for airing.

    Why put so much effort and money into producing and airing fantastic programs only to have a 15- or 30-second ad drive the viewer to change the channel or migrate to a DVR or the internet?

    Makes no sense.

    The ad agency industry needs to wake up to the fact that "the new media" are not going to save them from obsolescence; in fact, the new media options give people even more control over the ad exposure experience.

    More importantly, television in its broadcast and network forms remains the most effective marketing communications medium yet devised and since it is the driver of content for virtually all platforms will be around for many years to come.

    Perhaps the ultimate result of integrating ads into programs will be that the ad creation process will be taken over by people who understand what viewers want: the networks and their production companies.

    Something has to replace the damage being caused to TV by the destructive dinosaurs we call ad agencies.

    Read more from Gene DeWitt at

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