Saturday, June 21, 2008

Price?


A Random thought from Seth's Blog this weekend:

No such thing as price pressure

Your sales force and your customers may scream that you need to lower your price.

It's not true.

You need to increase your value. If people don't want to pay, it's because you're not delivering enough value for the money you're charging.

You're not selling a commodity unless you want to.

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The Disappearing Middle


Is it really Disappearing ?

Read the following from my email last week:

The middle is dead! The middle is gone!

If you want to be successful in today's business world and economy, you have to be one of two things: the cheapest or the best.


The days are long gone when you could sell a pretty good product or pretty good service at a pretty good price, because I can get "pretty good" at a dirt cheap price. Or I can get "fantastic" at just a little more expensive price, because pretty good just isn't good enough anymore.


Look around you, go to any shopping mall. Look at the stores that do business and look at the stores that do not.

On the one hand, you have your deep discounters, such as Wal-Mart,Target, and Kohl's. But even down at this end, where price is supposedly the deciding factor, how do you explain what happened to Kmart?

Similar merchandise,similar prices, but not nearly the same results as Wal-Mart, Target, or Kohl's.
Walk into a Wal-Mart,Target, or Kohl's and you'll find them well lit (you could use a pair of sunglasses in Wal-Mart) and well stocked. I don't know about you, but I've walked into quite a few Kmarts that were poorly lit, and let me tell you something about poor lighting.

When a store is poorly lit it looks dingy.When it looks dingy, it can look dirty, even if it's clean.
Another thing I noticed in Kmart are what's known as "holes in the shelves." This is a retailing term signifying they're out of that item, causing a big empty space on the shelf (hence the term).

Now I don't know about you, but for me the biggest reason to go to a large discounter like Wal-Mart is that I don't have to worry they won't have what I'm looking for, since they seem to have everything.

With time becoming such a precious commodity in people's lives, do you really think people want to shop somewhere that won't have what they're looking for and they'll have to go somewhere else? So even down at the price end there's a value component.


Let's look at the other side of the coin from the cheapest--let's go to the best.These are retail stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, along with specialty operations like Banana Republic and Abercrombie and Fitch.


Then right in the middle you have those mid-range, midprice department stores. You remember those places.Your mother used to drag you there as a kid. Thirty years ago every major city in America had at least three or four of them, and now maybe one or two are left.

They either went out of business, merged, or were
taken over. What made the department stores great in their heyday was personal service.

Once the discounters started to flex their muscles by cutting price, the department stores started to do the same.The problem was, in order to cut their price, they had to cut somewhere else, and where do you think that was?

That's right, they got rid of the people who provided personal service.
The customers responded predictably. They figured as long as they were going to get abused, they might as well go to a discounter and pay less for the privilege.

SALES TIP

You don't compete on what your competition does best and you don't. You compete on what you do best and they don't.



This was from:

Warren Greshes, CPAE, Speaker Hall of Fame
President
Speaking of Success
202 Telluride Trail
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
www.Greshes.com
919-933-5900, 800-858-1516 Fax; 919-933-5711

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Effective Email

Ah, the weekend.... Now that the busyness of the weekday is over, here's some ideas on how to work smarter next week starting with your email habits:

Ten Ways to Turbocharge Your E-Mails

Posted: 16 Jun 2008 10:10 AM CDT

Written on 6/16/2008 by Steve Osborne, of TheWritersBag.com.

E-mails have long been the gorilla of the communication world; they’re too big to ignore and they don’t always behave properly. Despite the frequency at which most people send emails, many are drab and often a mare's nest of ideas hurriedly typed with no real regard to the reader.

The result: If you are lucky to get a response, it could be off-base and completely impertinent to the topic at hand. Worse, you could receive a request asking you to re-explain everything. In this case, you're now re-doing work simply because you rushed through the first one.

If you send e-mails (and who doesn’t these days?) doesn’t it make sense to make them more effective? I'd say so.

Here are ten things you can do today to begin refining the way you communicate in email.
  1. Get to the point
    Face it, people don’t want to spend a second longer reading your e-mails than they have to. If they want to be entertained, they can open a good book; so don’t beat around the bush. Say what you have to say and no more. You don’t have to follow the same norms when writing e-mails that you follow in conversations and phone calls (i.e., a lot of fluff and fillers, like “Hey, how are doing?” and “What’s new?”) Just say it and leave it at that.

  2. Greet them by name
    People like to see their names in print – even in e-mails. Including the recipients’ names in the opening lines of your e-mails buys you a pound of personalization for an ounce of verbiage. A simple, “Joe, the meeting will be held …” or “Hi Joe. The meeting will be held …” is much more appealing than “The meeting will be held ….” And it costs you only one or two extra words.

  3. Put the subject line to work for you
    The subject line is the headline of your e-mail. It may be the only thing the recipient reads, so make it good. Use it to (1) grab the reader’s attention and pull him or her into the main message, and (2) reveal what the e-mail is about. I once received an e-mail from my son, who was in Peru. The subject line was “A monkey bit my tie.” You can bet that got my attention.

  4. Keep the subject line fresh
    When you reply to e-mails, update the subject line to distinguish your new message from the one you’re replying to. Don’t leave the original subject line on each of a long series of back-and-forth e-mails. Updated subject lines help identify one e-mail in the string from another.

  5. Don’t send unnecessary or unwanted e-mails
    Again, people are busy. Their inboxes tend to fill up quickly. If you send them “junk” e-mails, they’re not going to like you for it. If you keep doing it, they may summarily delete the e-mails you send. They may even relegate you to the spam folder.

  6. Know when to cut the thread
    At the end of a spoken conversation, people typically bat closing comments back and forth, such as, “Good to see you,” “Yeah, good to see you, too,” “Say hi to Bill,” “I’ll do it,” “Take care,” “Bye.” Too many people follow a similar protocol when it comes to e-mails. For example, if you e-mail a co-worker and ask for a report and she sends it to you, it may or may not be appropriate to send her a follow-up e-mail to thank her (depending on the circumstances). However, if she receives your “thank you” e-mail and then sends you another e-mail just to say “You’re welcome,” that’s clearly unnecessary and a waste of time. Know when to cut the thread.

  7. Avoid long blocks of text in the main message area
    Long, uninterrupted text blocks are intimidating. No one wants to read them; they’re too much work. But if you split the same text block up into smaller paragraphs, they are suddenly inviting, even though they represent the exact same amount of text. The empty lines between the smaller paragraphs provide visual relief.

  8. Proof it before you send it
    A quick read-over for errors and typos can eliminate confusion and embarrassment. It would not have been pleasant to have been the one who sent out the e-mail to everyone in his company that said, “We’re happy to announce the birth of Dylan Smith, the sin of Alan and Loretta Smith,” or “The people in accounting have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the lobby Friday.” If the e-mail is important, read it out loud. Your ear catches subtleties your eye can’t.

  9. Send and copy it to the right people
    Make sure you’re sending the e-mail to the right person. People have been fired or divorced because of misdirected e-mails. For example, one human resources manager for a large company was asked to send a spreadsheet to the CEO showing everyone’s salaries, bonuses and stock options. By mistake he attached the file to a Christmas party invitation that went out to all the employees. It was his last e-mail as a company employee.

  10. Don’t make them dig through a long string of messages for a needle in a haystack
    Don’t write, “Yes, let’s go ahead with the sixth option,” and make the reader search through 10 pages of previous e-mails to find out what the sixth option is. Be kind. It’s easier for you to copy and paste the relevant material into your current message.
One last word of caution: Don’t write anything in your e-mails you wouldn’t want to have posted on a bulletin board. Remember, e-mails are not private. Don’t get yourself in trouble.

-Steve

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Seth's What Every Good Marketer Knows-21


Each day I’m adding another tip from this list from Seth…

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

By Seth Godin

1. Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.

2. Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.

3. Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.

4. Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.

5. Marketing begins before the product is created.

6. Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.

7. Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.

8. Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

9. Products that are remarkable get talked about.

10. Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.

11. You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.

12. If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.

13. People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

14. You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

15. What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.

16. Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.

17. Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.

18. People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.

19. Good marketers tell a story.

20. People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

21. Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.

Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet The Press


From my sources:


NBC's Williams to Run Meet the Press Sunday Top NBC anchorman Brian Williams will host the next Meet the Press, but the network hasn't chosen who will permanently replace Tim Russert, an NBC News spokeswoman said yesterday. The guests will be Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Biden, D-Del., who had been lined up to speak with Russert last week. David Bauder of the AP has the report. more »

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Ask REAL Questions

Insight From Small Fuel:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

3 Questions Your Customers Are Dying For You To Ask


question marks
When it comes to setting up their marketing, many small businesses make the mistake of starting from a self-centered perspective – “Here’s my product, and this is why it’s the best!” Then, after months of tireless effort, they scratch their heads and wonder why they aren’t getting the conversion rates they want.

The fact is, successful marketing demands more than just a breakdown of features and benefits. You need to get into the heads of your customers and understand their needs, wants, and deepest desires.

To begin developing that understanding you need talk to your customers and ask questions that help you figure out what truly drives their buying decisions. Getting these answers will not only help you market in the future, it will help you guarantee a satisfied customer.

Here are three questions that you should start asking.

Question #1 – “What’s The Real Problem You’re Trying To Solve?”

girl with power drillOne of the most important aspects about marketing a product is seeing past the product itself and appreciating the very real issues that drive your customer to seek out what it is that you are offering. In essence, your customer is not looking to buy a product – they are searching for a solution to a problem. They have a need to be fulfilled that is larger than the product itself. Take power tools for example. When customers walk into a store looking for a drill, they don’t really want to buy a drill. They want to buy an easier way to make a lot of holes. The drill is just the means to an end.

Being told about how your drill is easy to use will put them in a stronger buying mood than hearing about all the impressive features your drill comes with. To be fair, however, some of your customers might just walk into your store looking for the “latest and greatest.” But essentially, that’s just another problem they want solved – the need to feel good about owning something that will impress others. Address that when you are marketing to that kind of customer and you will make more sales. The key to successful marketing is to understand the individual needs of your target market and to design your approach accordingly.

The Take-Away: Discover the real issue(s) that your customers are trying to solve, and direct your focus to showing how your product meets those needs rather than trying to dazzle them with sales hype
.

Question #2 – “What Makes You Uncomfortable With Buying A Product Like This?”

uncomfortable buyerYour customers have made plenty of buying decisions in the past – many of which they’ve come to experience “buyer’s remorse” over. They carry that emotional baggage into every transaction they make, constantly evaluating the risks against the rewards. While they are considering buying your product or service, they are running a silent conversation in their head to determine if they can justify their purchase – and if they can trust you as a provider.

They may be worrying about how quickly they can make their money back after the purchase of your product. They may have doubts about your sales claims based on memories of being burned in the past. They may have doubts about whether the product is the right fit for them, whether they should go with a competitor, or what their options are if it does not meet with their expectations. At this point, they have no interest hearing about how great your product is – they want to feel safer about making the purchase.

When you are preparing your marketing strategies, don’t try to shy away from facing all the reasons your customers might not want to buy what you are selling. Instead, discover each objection ahead of time and bring it up to customers before they even think about it, making sure to position your product’s features (and your personal guarantees) in a way that defuses the tension they are feeling deep down inside.

The Take-Away: Consider all the reasons that a customer would second-guess a decision to buy, and learn what is causing that emotional resistance in the first place. Then tailor your marketing to preemptively address their objections.

Question #3 – “How Can I Make Sure You’re More Than Satisfied?”

very satisifed customerFace it – no customer likes being “sold to,” or made to feel that they are just another commission for you to pocket. Instead, they want to feel like they have come out way ahead by doing business with you, and that they are looking forward to doing so again and again in the future. Master marketer Tom Peters calls these “raving fan customers,” and they are what you are truly after in your business. Raving fans become fiercely loyal to you, bring you repeat sales, and attract new customers to you by authentic word-of-mouth referrals.

How do you satisfy a customer to the point where they are truly won over to your side? Consider every transaction a chance to truly wow them. Discover their pain points and make things better for them. Make them feel good when you communicate with them. In short, consider them more than simply a customer or a client – consider them a real person, with a real problem, who has a real need to be helped by you. And if helping them (rather than helping yourself) is what is truly on your mind, they will reward you with more sales and more referrals.

The Take-Away: Don’t focus on the sale. Focus on the customer, treat them as exceptionally as you would want to be treated, and reap the benefits of a long-term business relationship.

The Questions Don’t Have To End Here

Once you get into the habit of looking at your customers with these three questions in mind, additional questions will pop into your head as you become more sensitized to the needs of the people who buy from you. Spend some time coming up with relevant answers to these questions as well – either by imagining a customer’s perspective or talking to them directly – and you’ll enjoy the higher revenues that result from your effort.

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Secrets to Radio Ads


I work in the radio industry.

Started on air and then moved to the advertising world.

Here's a good article on what makes a good radio commercial.

And by good, I mean effective that produces a Return on Investment.

This was from a recent email from RBR:

Dan Hill's firm Sensory Logic, which for a decade has measured the emotional impact of marketing communications, recently completed a study of 10 radio ads to determine the most effective appeal. Of the spots scrutinized, a Comp USA ad was best, a State Farm ad second best, and a Car Sense ad took third place.
"Too often, radio merely gets executed and then broadcast without enough consideration - or testing - to ensure its effectiveness," according to Hill, whose latest book is "Emotionomics, Winning Hearts and Minds" (2007).

"What makes for a strong radio ad? Some general guidelines include making the intimacy of radio work for you by talking in the first person, as if between friends (instead of shouting, literally or figuratively) and transforming it into a visual medium; make sure people can envision the situation being described," Hill adds.

Specifically Hill offers five guidelines, which were applied to his analysis of the 10 radio ads.

1. Message clarity - will listeners understand what they're hearing quickly and cleanly?

2. Engagement potential - will the ad cut through based on having emotional punch?

3. Personality - does the ad either showcase a personality or simply have personality, without being too distracting from the offer?

4. Resonance - will it have emotional sticking power because it speaks to real needs and wants in real ways?

5. Wording - will the words connect because they are easy to envision, instead of abstract?

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How to Use your Website as a Marketing Tool.


You have an opportunity to market yourself in ways that were unheard of just a couple years ago.

Due to the cost and complexity of website design and management, it was a big investment to have a quality website.

Now the cost is minimal and the options are nearly limitless. What it takes now is some time and commitment.

I committed awhile ago to keep this site fresh with at least 3 new stories 7 days a week. Most weekdays there are more.

And this is simply a marketing tool. When you click on my home page, you will see the latest updates to all my sites in a simple widget for each site.

The cost?

Zero cash dollars. All I pay for is the domain name and I designed the rest. You may need to hire someone to do design work for you, but the cost is less and quality is better than it was just two years ago.

Here's some more tips from an email from MarketingProfs.com:

Your Media Property: Refurbish It

"Thanks to the new ways content can be published and shared online, you can give your company site some of the power of a media property," say Matt Magee and Doug Reynolds of PJA Advertising + Marketing. The trick is to develop content for your site that users seek out, consume and share. In their view, it should be:

Useful. Give visitors something of true value: white papers, advice, tutorials, tools, widgets or helpful links.

Unique. Offer content they won't get anywhere else—for instance, your specialized insight as an industry expert, or highlights from a customer roundtable.

Credible. Develop an independent, authentic voice that doesn't shill for your company's agenda. An authoritative third party contributor can be invaluable in this regard.

Fresh. Update frequently; focus on social media mainstays like blogs, podcasts and user reviews—not stiff press releases.

Entertaining. Capture a visitor's imagination, or tickle her funny bone. There's no telling how viral your content can get, if, say, you use video.

The Po!nt: Say Magee and Reynolds, "Make your company site more like a media property with content your customers find truly valuable, and they'll not only start using your site differently, they'll also start thinking differently about your brand."

Source: Article by Magee and Reynolds.

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Free E-Book


Collective Wisdom is about learning from others. No one person has all the answers. And there are lots of resources available, (at no cost), like the following:

The latest Top Sales Experts E-Book has arrived.

Please download your copy here:

www.topsalesexperts.com/E-Book/downloads/TSE_Sum_2008_9.pdf

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TV & Websites


My wife and I do parallel play. She'll watch TV and I'll be nearby with my laptop. (She watches some shows I can't stand.)

During the primary season, I did both, watched the news channels and followed along on my laptop.

Here's what others are doing:

CBS.com Tops the Charts in Share Growth of Online Visits for '07-08 TV Season

According to recent data collected by Hitwise, the CBS.com online market share of U.S. visits increased 41 percent for the 2007-08 television season, marking the largest growth in average visits among the six leading broadcast network websites. ABC.com was the most visited television broadcast network website for the 2007-08 season.

ABC.com received 27.14 percent of U.S. visits for the weeks ending September 29, 2007 - May 24, 2008. among the six websites within a custom category of networks, followed by:

  • NBC.com with 27.01 percent
  • CBS.com with 21.51 percent
  • FOX with 17.54 percent
  • The CWTV.com website with 6.61 percent
  • MyNetworkTV.com with .19 percent of all U.S. visits

The CW website received the second largest growth in average visits, receiving a 27 percent increase.

Top Visited U.S. Broadcast Network TV Websites Season Average (For the weeks ending September 29, 2007 - May 24, 2008)

Rank

Network

Website

'07-08 Season

'06-07 Season

% Change

1

ABC

www.abc.com

27.14%

29.89%

-9%

2

NBC

www.nbc.com

27.01%

32.89%

-18%

3

CBS

www.cbs.com

21.51%

15.24%

41%

4

FOX

*FOX Aggregation

17.54%

16.55%

6%

5

The CW

www.cwtv.com

6.61%

5.20%

27%

6

MyNetworkTV

www.mynetworktv.com

0.19%

0.24%

-22%

Source: Hitwise, June 2008

Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise, said "Online traffic among the networks has become increasingly more competitive... The continued popularity of reality television shows... has also translated to online visits... "

CBS.com had the largest amount of time spent on their website with users spending an average of 10 minutes and 24 seconds. This represented a 39 percent increase compared to the 2006-07 season and largest among the six websites.

Average U.S. Time Spent Among Television Broadcast Networks (For the weeks ending September 29, 2007 - May 24, 2008)

Rank

Network

Website

'07-08 Season

'06-07 Season

% Change

1

CBS

www.cbs.com

0:10:24

0:07:30

39%

2

NBC

www.nbc.com

0:10:07

0:11:27

-12%

3

The CW

www.cwtv.com

0:09:42

0:08:02

21%

4

ABC

www.abc.com

0:08:21

0:06:35

27%

5

FOX

FOX Aggregation

0:06:43

0:06:03

11%

6

MyNetworkTV

www.mynetworktv.com

0:04:10

0:07:09

-42%

Source: Hitwise, June 2008

Among the custom category of more than 100 television show websites, AmericanIdol.com received an average of 14.01 percent of all U.S. visits to websites within the category.

Top Visited U.S. Broadcast Network TV Show Websites (For the weeks ending September 29, 2007 - May 24, 2008)

Rank

Network

Website

Average Market Share

1

FOX

American Idol

14.01%

2

NBC

Deal or No Deal

13.33%

3

ABC

Dancing with the Stars

7.33%

4

CBS

Survivor: Micronesia

4.78%

5

FOX

America's Most Wanted

3.86%

6

NBC

Heroes

2.98%

7

ABC

Lost

2.67%

8

NBC

The Biggest Loser

2.22%

9

NBC

The Office

2.07%

10

ABC

Grey's Anatomy

1.81%

Source: Hitwise, June 2008

The results are from weekly Hitwise Conversions reports that rank the selected broadcast network television show websites, whether it is a stand-alone site such as American Idol or a section within a larger website such as Deal or No Deal. The show websites are ranked by market share of U.S. visits among all the websites included.

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Seth's What Every Good Marketer Knows-20


Each day I’m adding another tip from this list from Seth…

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

By Seth Godin

1. Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.

2. Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.

3. Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.

4. Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.

5. Marketing begins before the product is created.

6. Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.

7. Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.

8. Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

9. Products that are remarkable get talked about.

10. Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.

11. You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.

12. If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.

13. People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

14. You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

15. What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.

16. Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.

17. Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.

18. People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.

19. Good marketers tell a story.

20. People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Night Late Ones


Goodies from my email. Click on the links for the full stories:

Rising Prices Cause 42% of Consumers to Give up Favorite Food Brands

A sizeable 42% of consumers say they have given up favorite food brands because of rising prices and economic concerns, according to a study from Information Resources, Inc. that shows the lagging economy is driving a dramatic move back to basics and a reversal of...

Time Spent on Social Networks Soaring, but Traffic Down a Bit

Though time spent on social networking sites is up a whopping 71% from last year, the market share of US visits to a custom category of 58 leading social networking websites decreased 1% in May from April and was down 6% from May ‘07, according...

Search vs. Find: Enterprise Search Frustrating and Disappointing

Nearly half (49%) of workers surveyed say finding enterprise-related information they need to do their job is difficult and time consuming, according to a study on “Findability” from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM). The survey of over 500 businesses conducted in May. A...

Jun 19-08: Online, Search Engine Marketing, Research, Business-to-Business, Interactive

by Erik Sass
Total newspaper revenues tumbled 12.85% in the first quarter of 2008 to $9.23 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America's Web site, which posted the numbers quietly last Friday. That number combines print and online advertising; considered separately, print ad revenues fell 14.4% to $8.43 billion, while online revenues grew 7.2% to just over $800 million. ... Read the whole story

Hershey Hikes Ad Spend For New Consumer-Centric Strategy
by Karlene Lukovitz
[Food] Hershey will move away from "pushing variety" into the marketplace, and instead focus on sharpening brand positioning and messaging for core brands, portfolio management, sustainable innovation (addressing areas where Hershey is "under-shared" and areas of emerging consumer needs), investment in selling capabilities, and improving marketing and other spending ROI. - Read the whole story...

Soccer's Beckham To Reappear In Armani Underwear Ads
by Karl Greenberg
[Packaged Goods] The effort will have an early teaser this week with a mural at Macy's in San Francisco. Beckham will be on hand to greet customers and debut the new image that overlooks a 6,000-seat amphitheatre. The ads, shot on Malibu's beach by fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, will appear in sport, fashion and lifestyle magazines and on billboards in major cities. - Read the whole story...

Best Buy Bucks Trend, Gains Record Market Share
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] Online sales were especially strong, with revenues gaining 30% for the quarter. Best Buy operates about 600 Best Buy Mobile locations within its U.S. stores and says those locations continue to post "strong, double-digit comparable store sales gain for the wireless category." All U.S. locations are expected to have Best Buy Mobile by the end of the year, - Read the whole story...

Amana Goes After Champagne Tastes, Beer Budgets
by Karl Greenberg
[Electronics] Whirlpool is trying to reach the savvy appliance buyer "who has come of age with Target and Ikea and knows it is possible to get really high design for an affordable price," says the director of marketing/PR. "Within the industry there is no one is playing in this space, and while [Whirlpool] has a differentiated lineup, we have no other brand satisfying this." - Read the whole story...

July 4th Fizzle: Gas Prices To Keep Consumers On Short Leash
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] A new survey just released by the National Retail Federation finds that consumers are already anticipating gas price hikes, and downsizing their Independence Day weekend plans as a result. It finds that 59.4% of consumers say that increased gas prices will affect their holiday plans, a big increase from 42.1% who said the same thing last year. - Read the whole story...



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Sales Training Building Blocks-2


New to Sales? Or are you looking to improve?

Occasionally I'll feature an article on Sales Basics. We'll call them Sales Training Building Blocks.

This time we're going to deal with current events. We are no longer in the 1990's.

Stop Blaming the Economy!

Instead, here are three tough questions you need to ask yourself if you want to win more business in today's soft market. Tim Wackel shows you how to refocus your sales efforts to come out ahead.

The experts have started to whisper recession and you can almost hear the collapse of sales funnels everywhere. Account managers are complaining about how difficult it is to close business in this slowing economy. This doesn't come as a big surprise.

Less than half of today's business-to-business sales professionals have ever weathered a true economic downturn. Most folks learned how to sell in the nifty '90s which was one of the longest business expansions in U.S. history. Hey, it's not that hard to hit quota with double digit market returns and huge growth in the number of new jobs. But what do you do when the economy starts to tap the brakes?

Rule one––don't blame the economy
Companies still have to buy goods and services no matter what the economy is doing. They may buy different, they may buy less, but they still have to buy. If you can't convince prospects that what you're offering is a solid investment with meaningful return, then maybe the problem lies closer to home.

Let's look at this a different way. The major objection most reps face during slow times is, "I have no money." How is that possible? If your customer has no money then they're out of business. What they are really saying to you is, "Your ideas stink."

What can you do to close more business in a slowing economy? Start by answering these three questions that will put you back on the path to success.

How much energy are you wasting on insignificant activities?
You've probably been told that business will improve if you just make more appointments, increase the number of demos, give more presentations and ramp up your number of cold calls. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing incorrect with increasing these selling activities; especially if you sell low-value products to one time customers.

Experience tells me that chasing everything that looks like an opportunity keeps you busy but makes you very ineffective. You'll be working hard, but you won't be working smart. Eventually you'll burn out your prospects and yourself.

Start today by re-qualifying every prospect and work on cleaning out your funnel. Focus on your best selling opportunities and put your energy there. You'll create more success by investing the right resources into ten solid opportunities than you will by chasing twenty five half-baked leads.

Are you making every conversation count?

Clients and prospects should be impressed with your preparation for every sales call. When you demonstrate that you've done your homework it becomes easier for them to have an open and honest dialogue with you. When the economy slows down, people get nervous. They don't want to waste time meeting with sales reps unless they see some potential value.

The "smile-n-dial" mentality of simply pounding on more doors with the same pitch may produce extra appointments. But it also creates the fear that you're going to sell them something that they don't need.

Open your next client conversation with this simple phrase, "In preparing for this meeting I took some time to..." Then simply highlight the two or three critical things that you did to prepare and watch what happens to the atmosphere of the call. You will blow away the last rep that opened their meeting by announcing that they were just "checking in" to see if anything new was going on.

The goal is to stop "educating" your customers. They don't care unless they are engaged. Talking about your company, your products and your reputation will not engage customers. Talk about them, ask about them, provide ideas for them and communicate in terms of them.

Who are you talking about––you or them?

Do you have any questions?
Knowledge is a key ingredient to sales success, especially in a slowing economy. The more you demonstrate knowledge, the more prospects will take time to listen. The best way to establish expertise is not by pitching features; it's by asking questions that differentiate the value you bring to every call.

Many reps fall into the common trap of asking questions that are self-serving. "What does your purchasing process look like?" is a mind-numbing, self-serving question that doesn't create new insights. Your customer hears these types of questions every day and they bring zero value to the dialogue.

Instead ask questions that get customers to stop and think. Ask questions they haven't been asked before. Ask questions that get the customer to pause and say, "That's a really good question." Here are some examples:

"Prior to this meeting I spent some time doing research about your company. What do you believe are the most important things we need to focus on so that I can serve you properly?"

"What would have to happen in order for you to feel like this project was a success?"

"What do you believe are the top three reasons you are exploring new ideas right now?"


Creating high impact questions takes extra time. But it's worth every minute. Start investing sixty percent of your time doing research, forty percent of your time making calls. I know this contradicts traditional wisdom, but this isn't a traditional selling environment.

Don't pick up the phone or walk into the lobby until you're absolutely ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue. You're not going to get a second chance in a slowing economy, so make sure every one counts!

Tim Wackel is the founder and president of The Wackel Group, a training and consulting firm dedicated to helping anyone involved in the complex sale. His insightful programs are engaging and focused on providing real world success strategies that audiences can (and will) implement right away. Sign up for Tim's monthly sales journal at www.TimWackel.com and receive a free download of his popular tele-seminar, "Questions that Sell!"

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Green Update


From my Email:

Coke's PET Project
Beverage giant is working to recycle its old bottles into clothes, among other things. MORE

Survey: No One's in Charge of Green Practices
Executives say environmental risk management is done "in an ad hoc way." MORE

Some Hefty Shrinkage Going On
Hefty plans to reduce its package sizes to accommodate more SKUs on store shelves. MORE

Crossovers Shine As SUVs Become A Four-Letter Word
A new label in auto marketing has finally reached acceptability: crossover. MORE

Coke's Fine Young Cannibals
New 16-oz. Coke bottle and surging Glaceau Vitaminwater may boost sales at the cola giant, but at what cost? MORE

Taking the Road Less Traveled
Marketers at U.S. automakers are stuck trying to hype cars that are much less attractive now that gas has hit $4 a gallon. MORE

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Social Media Explained in less than 4 Minutes

Here's a great video explaining what social media is all about.


Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

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Frugal Small Business Marketing Tips


At 10am this morning, I will be sharing this article with about 20 small business owners. It's from BusinessKnowHow.com.

These are tips for the under capitalized, some of these ideas I do not agree completely with, but if there is something in here that helps you, fantastic.

Top Ten Frugal Ways to Market
Your Small Business
by Bonnie Jo Davis

Most, if not all, small businesses are built on a budget. Available funds must be used to buy technology, additional phone lines and marketing materials such as business cards. In this article you will find ten low cost or no cost tips that will help you get your first customer and build your business.

1) Obtain free or low cost business cards at a company such as www.VistaPrint.com. Add an explanatory tag line to identify your product or service. While you are running your normal errands drop off a business card at every business you see such as drycleaners, restaurants, gyms, etc.

2) Have a new or rebuilt shopping center opening in your town? Attend the grand opening and chat with the business owners and staff and hand out your free or low cost business cards.

3) Create flyers with your phone number on tear off tabs and place them at the library, grocery store, coffee shops, etc. Carry a few in your car with push pins so you never miss an opportunity.

4) Hold a contest. People love freebies. When you're handing out business cards and designing flyers highlight your contest for a limited time. Anyone who books at least two hours of your time during the contest month is entered into a drawing for a gift basket. Put together an inexpensive gift basket with sample size coffee, a coffee cup, a business book or best selling novel, cookies and crackers. Put the names of the qualifying clients in a hat and have your child draw the winning name. Take a picture of the gift basket and your child drawing the name out of the hat, scan the pictures and put them on your website along with the name of the winner.

5) Write an article that would appeal to your target audience such as small business owners, add a four to five line biography with your e-mail address and web site address. Submit the article to websites and e-zines that cater to your target audience.

6) Create an informative presentation around your topic area and contact your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak at a monthly meeting.

7) Create coupons offering a free or discounted product or a free hour of service for every two or three hours of paid service. Give them out to prospective clients and to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce to use in contests and give aways. Give the recipient an incentive to by your product or use your services by giving the coupon an expiration date.

8) Use the time you spend sitting in traffic to gain new clients. For less than thirty dollars you can purchase a sign for your car from www.iprint.com or www.webdecal.com.

9) Create a press release announcing the opening of your business or some other milestone event. Send the press release to editors at your local newspaper and to other free area publications.

10) Ask for referrals. Give your business card to your family members, neighbors, hair salon, etc. and ask that they pass them on. Offer an hour of free service or a free product to anyone who refers a client who signs a contract for services and give them a link on your web site.

(c) 2001, Davis Virtual Assistance

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Seth's What Every Good Marketer Knows-19


Each day I’m adding another tip from this list from Seth…

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

By Seth Godin

1. Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.

2. Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.

3. Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.

4. Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.

5. Marketing begins before the product is created.

6. Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.

7. Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.

8. Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

9. Products that are remarkable get talked about.

10. Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.

11. You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.

12. If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.

13. People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

14. You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

15. What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.

16. Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.

17. Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.

18. People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.

19. Good marketers tell a story.


Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Others Are Doing

In the world of advertising and marketing, it's good to keep an eye on others ideas:

Out To Launch
by Amy Corr, Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008 4:00 PM ET
Caribou Coffee ads poke fun at Starbucks. Fuse defines music. Taco Bell's Frutista Freeze stops people in their tracks. Let's launch!

The Travel Channel launched two TV spots promoting the show "Passport to Great Weekends with Samantha Brown." In "Prank," Brown returns to the office following a weekend getaway to find two co-workers wrapping everything in her office in tin foil, unaware that she would be in. "They'd never do this to Bourdain," says Brown as ping-pong balls fall at her feet. I bet they'd foil Andrew Zimmern, though. See the ad here. Brown poorly attempts conversation with her co-workers while waiting for the elevator in the next ad. Her definition of working over the weekend is much different than her colleagues. Watch the ad here. Moroch created the campaign.

Nike created a print ad that ran last week in USA Today, the Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer and the Cincinnati Enquirer that commemorates Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run. "As long as I have fun playing, the stats will take care of themselves," reads the animated ad featuring Griffey Jr. surrounded by fans holding baseballs for him to autograph. See the ad here. Here's hoping the same stat rings true for the Mets. Judging by their stats, they are not having fun playing. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Fuse, the music network that actually plays music videos, launched a print, TV, online and outdoor campaign called "Music Is," depicting the emotional relationship that people develop with music. "Music is heartache," reads one print ad, showing a woman sitting in her car listening to music. "Music is a memory," says another ad, featuring a pile of Polaroid pictures. See print ads here, here, here and here. File this first Fuse TV ad under "remove from rotation ASAP." "Therapy" begins with a home completely underwater. The water begins to recede until we're left looking at a young girl who's crying in bed. Her tears were immense, and they eventually stop. Taking the recent floodings in Iowa into consideration, I'd remove this from rotation. Remaining ads, such as "Adrenaline," "Joy," "Balloon" and "Time Travel" are fun and light-hearted, reminding viewers how connected we are to certain songs throughout our lives. "Soulmates" is my favorite of the bunch, finding your soul mate in life and through music. The Brooklyn Brothers created the campaign and Initiative handled the media buy.

Everything is green nowadays, even makeup. Physicians Formula launched a print campaign in People, Self, Shape, Vogue, Lucky, Health, Glamour, InStyle and Allure touting its Ecocertified Organic makeup. A woman takes the term "being green" seriously in one ad, where she's covered with leaves. Remaining ads target women with different forms of problematic skin and offers solutions to each issue. The ad for bronzer actually has a portrait of what my skin looks like sans makeup. They say pale, I say porcelain. See the ads here, here, here, here and here. Looney Advertising created the campaign and WMI handle the media buy.

Freeze. Really. Taco Bell took to the streets of Philadelphia to promote its Frutista Freeze tropical beverage. Playing off the word freeze, performers outside Citizens Bank Park donned beachwear covered in frost that went well with their blue-tinted skin. The actors stayed "frozen" for hours. They must not have had a Frutista to drink beforehand, as I'd have to find a bathroom. While the large-bladdered actors stood in place, brand ambassadors distributed more than 11,000 buy-one-get-one free coupons. See the performance here and here. LevLane Philadelphia executed the stunt.

Caribou Coffee launched a local print and outdoor campaign in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, that perks, I mean, pokes fun at Starbucks, notoriously known for its burnt coffee taste. "Burnt and bitter is no way for a coffee bean to go through life," says one ad. The same can be said for people. Ads ran locally in Minnesota Monthly, Cleveland Magazine, Columbus Magazine, Dublin Life, People, Town & Country, Travel & Leisure, Harpers Bazaar and Health. See the ads here, here and here, created by 22squared.

Steel company ArcelorMittal launched a worldwide corporate ad campaign that reveals its secret ingredient: boldness, a force for sustainable performance. Running internationally in Time, Newsweek, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, four corporate ads focus on recycling, clean energy, appliance design and safety improvements made on cars, each using boldness as an ingredient for success. "Chores + Boldness = Pleasure" reads one ad, showing a man doing laundry. Moving on... another ad combines boldness with wind to generate wattage. See the ads here, here, here and here. TBWA/Corporate in Paris created the campaign, Thoburns handled the offline media buy, and Vanksen handled the online media buy.

Benetton promotes the Birima micro-credit programme in Senegal, a co-operative credit society founded by the Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour in its global ad campaign. Print, outdoor and in-store ads use the slogan "Africa Works" and feature Senegalese workers that have benefited from micro loans. Creative portrays a fisherman, decorator, musician, jewellery-maker, farmer, tailor and a boxer with the tools of their trade. See an ad here. Fabrica created the campaign.

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at amyc@mediapost.com.

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