Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Back of My Head


This picture came from this blog, which explains what I was doing Saturday at noon.

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Who's Doing What

Catching up on some of the latest ad campaigns:

Out to Launch
by Amy Corr, Thursday, Jul 10, 2008 10:30 AM ET
Foosackly's gives Boeing a finger. Kia launches campaign for luxe SUV. Chazz Palminteri is the voice of Yankee Stadium. Let's launch!

Round Table Pizza launched five simple yet amusing ads in California, Oregon and Nevada that act out the literal statements offered in each ad. Stay with me. Take the term "more for less." The ad stars Round Table spokesman Pizza Knight and a guy names Les. A group of people shower Les with an armload of gifts while Pizza Knight gets shafted. Watch the ad here. A Hawaiian piled high with goodness is dogpiled by a group of angels in a spot, seen here, promoting Round Table's Maui pizza. Killer pizza with a huge salad bar stars a pizza dressed as Jason from "Friday the 13th," yielding a salad bar at Pizza Knight. See the ad here. In the remaining two ads, Pizza Knight is rescued by a "super Hawaiian" and falls off a tricycle when he tries to cut a corner. Watch the ads here and here. WONGDOODY created the campaign and Pal 8 handled the media buy.

T-Mobile USA launched three TV spots supporting T-Mobile@Home, a service that allows customers to make unlimited nationwide calls from their home phone for $10 a month by adding the line to their T-Mobile service. A chainsaw massacre takes place in "Sunday Drive." A woman pulls over on a deserted road and saws down a telephone pole, setting off a chain reaction of falling poles. "Your home phone company is going down," says the voiceover. See it here. In "Moving," goodbye is replaced with hello. Brett Favre retires by saying hello and a couple parts ways with hello. Watch the ad here. Same deal in "New York," where a mom keeps in constant contact with her family while away on a business trip. Porky Pig makes a cameo saying "Hello Folks" and Broadway's "Goodbye Girl" becomes "Hello Girl." See the ad here. The "Say Goodbye to Goodbye" also includes an informative, yet entertaining, microsite. Publicis West created the campaign.

Helium, denim and duct tape. Put the three together and you get a viral video for Levi's. A guy slips on his Levi's as his friend slip some duct tape on his arms, legs and waist. He then puts a hose down his pants, allowing his outfit to fill up with helium, propelling him a few feet off the ground. A tricky situation ensues when he lands atop a fence surrounding a small electric grid. One gust of wind and he could be toast, but our quick-thinking guy saves himself by unbuttoning his pants. See the viral here, created by Cutwater.

I love the tone Kia takes in its commercials. One of its Super Bowl ads featured a different take on the requisite plot twist and its latest cinema ad pokes fun at luxury car ads. Promoting the Borrego, a luxury SUV with a smaller price tag, the spot features things most likely seen in a typical SUV ad: off-terrain driving, a gratuitous cabin shot, a car parked outside a large mansion. The spot ends with something you wouldn't expect from a SUV commercial, the Kia logo. Watch the ad here. David&Goliath created the campaign and Initiative handled the media buy.

Foosackly's Chicken Fingers, a local chain in Mobile, Ala., turned a handmade sign placed on its restaurant doors into a bona fide ad campaign. Foosackly's was none too happy with Boeing when a contract it had with the Air Force was placed in limbo, placing an economic development project in Mobile on hold. So the founder of Foosackly's placed handmade signs in his restaurants expressing his frustration. The sign became a digital billboard on I-65. The message? "We would like to offer Boeing a finger," with Foosackly's logo at the bottom of the ad. See the ad here and here. Red Square created the ad.

Happy BINdependence Day, Philadelphia residents. The Philadelphia Recycling Office launched an outdoor, newspaper and online campaign deeming July 7 BINdependence Day, or the day residents stop sorting their recyclables. Everything goes in one bin! The campaign consisted of a special sideways issue of Metro, with the campaign on front and back covers, bus wraps, subway wallscapes and City Hall events where the Philly Phanatic made an appearance and a percussion team performed on blue recycling bins. And the water in Love Park fountain was dyed blue. Creative features the tagline "All Together Now," and hodgepodge of plastic, paper, glass and cans in one area. See the ads here and here. LevLane created the campaign and handled the media buy.

If Yankee stadium had a voice, I can imagine it sounding like Chazz Palminteri's. The actor lends his voice to an ESPN ad promoting the networks' coverage of the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 14. "Welcome, sluggers. Come launch them over my fence. Knock one into my beloved bleacher," says Palminteri as black-and-white shots of the stadium are interspersed with scenes of MLB players hitting home runs at past Home Run Derbies. Watch the ad here, created by DCODE.

Allstate launched a Web site targeting motorcycle owners, allowing them to get a quote and build a customized bike in 12 steps. This in-depth site also features scenic routes that can be viewed and mapped out for riding, courtesy of Google maps, safety tips, a forum to share riding experiences and a calendar page of local and national events. Each customized bike can be viewed in a showroom and downloaded as desktop wallpaper. Leo Burnett created the site.
Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at amyc@mediapost.com.

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Better ways to Handle the phone

From my inbox:

Please Stand By ... Our Agents Are Currently Helping Other Customers

If you've ever called the 800-number for a telecommunications company, you know the rigmarole. You sit through minute after excruciating minute of easy-listening music, interrupted periodically by a recorded message affirming the importance of your call. You enter your phone number when prompted, but know it's a pointless exercise because the customer-service agent will always ask you to repeat it. And then—if you're lucky—the second or third person with whom you speak can actually respond to your request.

In a post at his blog, Seth Godin decries just such an experience with a major carrier. "[This company] spends a fortune on advertising and outbound marketing," he notes. "How much of that budget would they have to allocate/invest in order to turn their customer service into a discussion-worthy best in the world?" Not much, he believes.

As well as addressing the aforementioned complaints, Godin suggests improvements like:

  • Staying open 24 hours a day. Routing calls to a different time zone shouldn't be a problem, especially for a global company.
  • Implementing dead-end safeguards. If a customer has been on hold for a certain period of time, escalate the call's priority to a more senior person who can take action.

The Po!nt: You don't have to be a multinational corporation—or even facing these specific issues—to learn a lesson from Godin's thoughts. Simply put, a huge marketing budget might all be for naught if it doesn't come with a great customer service experience.

Source: Seth Godin's Blog. Click here for the complete post.

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10 Keys to Success

From the basketballer that always had his tongue hanging out.

It's the weekend and the economy sucks, and you're wondering how to make the second half of this month (and year) better than the first half.

Apply some of these words of wisdom from the DLM Blog:

Michael Jordan's 10 Secrets To Reaching the Top

Posted: 08 Jul 2008 12:08 PM CDT

Written on 7/08/2008 by Alex Shalman, creator of the Practical Personal Development blog.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that ever lived. Was he genetically predisposed to be faster and stronger, or was it his iron discipline that was responsible?

After completing my master's degree in Biomedical Science I can say, with some facts and knowledge to back it up, that genetics only partially added to the phenomenal talents of this outstanding athlete. He competed against people that were taller, stronger, faster, and younger than him. Despite the challenges he still came out on top. Let's take a look at the grains of wisdom that put him at the top of his game as well as his businesses.

Michael Jordan's 10 Success Secrets


  1. Take Responsibility
    "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
    Throughout his life, Michael Jordan had the honorable quality of taking responsibility for his own destiny. That means that he took action while others paused to ask questions, gather more data, or consult experts. Not that he didn't have mentors, but essentially it was his wrists that snapped the ball into the hoop.

  2. Give It A Try
    "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
    One of the biggest causes of procrastination is the problem of hesitation. Sometimes people over think, and over analyze, which prevents them from taking that first step that will carry them one thousand miles. If you want to increase sales by trying a new technique, you will never know unless you try. This can apply to baking cakes, meeting singles, or anything that you can wrap your mind around.

  3. Fail Freely
    "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
    Can you believe that Michael Jordan missed so many shots and lost so many games? I thought he was the best! Well, he is indeed the best, and it's because he was willing to fail, and keep going. That allowed him to get past his plateaus and persevere. That's another big reason for procrastination. When we think we'll fail, we do not attempt. A good solution is to consider what the worst case scenario of failing would be, because once you do that, it's never as bad as when the scenario was an unknown. Worst-case scenario is not that you'll die, it's that you lived a miserable (or comfortable) life as a coward.

  4. Commit Yourself
    "The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace."
    Till death do we part, just me and my goal. I know in my heart that this is my role. When you give yourself fully and remove all other distractions you gain an invaluable level of attention to detail that will pool in resources you did not know you were capable of harnessing.

  5. Enjoy Your Game
    "Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."
    So many people get stuck in dead end, zero-sum, no fun jobs because they didn't find their love, or just simply don't have the knack for taking pleasure in what they have. Consider the fact that you spend more time in your place of work than you do in your place of worship and with your family combined. By not being excited about, or getting full enjoyment out of work, you are cheating yourself from having a life of design and a life of fulfillment. I don't have a solution for your life, but I think you know which sacrifices you need to make, and are willing to make, in order to have the life of your dreams become your reality.

  6. Play To Win
    "I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win."
    Why bother playing the game of basketball, work, or life if you aren't planning to win? Do you even know what a statistically relevant way of measuring your personally defined "win" would look like? If you're in the game to make money does winning mean being the richest man in the world? If you're in the game for your family does that mean that you see them often and share the joys of life over a vibrant laugh? Whatever your game is, make sure you define what a win looks like, and play to win.

  7. Be Selfish and Humble
    "To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate."
    Take notes from Michael Jordan, first be selfish until you get on top, and once you are on top be humble and grounded. Being selfish in how you jump over people and slam dunk in their face, whether you are an athlete or business person. In a family setting this would mean taking care of your personal health before worrying about the well-being of your family. If you let your health fail you are of no use, or even worse a burden, to your family. This is why in case of an air plane emergency they tell you to put the air mask on yourself first and then on your children.

  8. Find Your Way Around
    "Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."
    Anything in life that is dear to us is worth so much because of the time and effort we put into acquiring it. This goes for championships, businesses, and most importantly our relationships. One thing that determines how hard we've had to work is the amount of obstacles that were thrown in our way. Next time there's an obstacle, don't let it hinder you, think about the fact that whatever you're trying to reach will be that much worth it on the other side.

  9. Make Your Own Expectations
    "If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome."
    The number one thing that will literally ruin your life is if you live it by someone else's expectations. Every single person is different and has their own views on what's best, which follows what their goals are in this life. By listening to the voices of others, instead of your own voice, you are effectively submitting to live your life for the sake of accomplishing their goals. Set your own expectations, meet your own goals, and live your own extraordinary life (or don't).

  10. Now, Take One Shot
    "I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot . . . when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result."
    The way this applies to life is quite simple. Much of the time we look too far into the future, while performing a task that needs our full attention right now. This act could take away our focus, paralyze us from taking action, and take away the pleasure of doing what is at hand. In life you can take one shot at a time, then another, and from this all your dreams will come true. At least that's what works for Michael Jordan.

-Alex

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Newspaper Stops Printing


Unfortunately, this headline may be more common. This story is from Mediaweek:

Wisc. Daily Goes Online, Drops Daily Editions

Publisher declines to reveal how much the Web-based move would save

July 10, 2008

-By Joe Strupp, E&P


Less than three months after The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., dropped its daily print format for a Web-based report, another Wisconsin daily is following the trend.

The 5,500-daily circulation Daily Telegram in Superior announced Thursday it would move to a Web-based reporting approach, while offering a print product just two day per week.

"We see a lot of our readers migrating to the Web, we see that growing every month," said Ken Browall, publisher. "Economics is another piece of it. We have seen declining revenue, we are not immune to it."

Browall declined to reveal how much the Web-based move would save.

The Daily Telegram, owned by Forum Communications of Fargo, N.D., had not decided when the move would occur, but Browall said it would likely be early September. He also said the two days of the week for print publication had not been chosen, or the size of the print product.

"We will talk to readers and advertisers about what are the best two days," he said. "We will look at what will work most, and when, when meetings are held and other news events."

Editor Ron Brochu could not be reached for comment.

The afternoon paper currently publishes every day but Sunday, when the sister Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune is distributed to its readers. The paper has about 39 employees, with nine on the news staff.

Browall said no cutbacks in staff are expected. He said the paper's Web site, www.superiortelegram.com, is currently a 24-hour site, but will likely expand more with the change.

"We have reporters now who do things on the weekend and after hours," he explained. "We've got a small staff, so we cover everything we can as it happens."

In a story on its Web site announcing the change, the paper stated: "Following a growing trend in the newspaper industry, The Daily Telegram will refocus its emphasis toward Internet publishing, company executives said today.

"The twice-weekly Telegram will remain a paid circulation newspaper. Internet publishing has grown in popularity as traditional print advertisers have gradually moved to the newer medium. Meanwhile, print advertising revenue has declined nationwide, and newsprint costs have grown. This year, the revenue stream has been particularly weak as the struggling economy, poor credit conditions and slow hiring has hurt traditionally strong classified advertising customers in the automobile, real estate and help wanted sectors."

The Capital Times drew national interest in April when it dropped daily print publication for a Web focus, offering two weekly print products in its place. Browall said the Madison move slightly influenced his staff's decision.

"We looked at a lot of alternatives," he said. "Going tabloid, free distribution, and this was the best option."

Ironically, the Daily Telegram Web site was hit with a major slowdown today, which Browall attributed to a server problem across many Forum outlets. "It hasn't happened very often, so I am surprised," he said of the Web problems. "I am sure it is not because of the story we put up about ourselves."

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Mars & Venus

Just a reminder that there are real differences in guys vs. gals:

It's All in Her Head

Everyone knows men and women think differently—some stand-up comedians even build careers parsing the topic—but we're not always sure why or how. And in a post at her WonderBranding blog, Michele Miller points to scientific research that shows marketing to women isn't as simple as softening your approach. "While we've only scratched the surface of brain study," she writes, "here's one fact we do know: a woman's brain has four times as many connections between the left and right hemispheres as that of a man's."

Here's what this means to you:

A woman's brain can accept more signals, but she also has stronger filters. Though you gain additional points of entry, your challenge as a marketer is finding a way around additional gatekeepers that jealously guard her "take action" button. A particular hurtle is her strong emotional memory, which constantly gauges current situations against past experiences.

All those signals flow to the right side of the brain. "She's not only reading your advertising or web copy; she's attaching feelings to it," says Miller. "One critical word can make the difference between driving her to flip the page or compelling her to pick up the phone and find out where your store is located."

The Po!nt: "Marketing to women doesn't mean 'color her female,'" says Miller. "[T]here's an actual science to this stuff that should be mighty appealing to all you left-brain logical types out there."

Source: WonderBranding. Click here for the post.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Clickable Links to Marketing tools


I haven't checked these out yet, but you can.

More Marketing Tools

Posted: 10 Jul 2008 08:17 AM CDT

Here’s another round-up of marketing tools and resources found on the web:

SpotMixer offers self-service tools to small- and midsized-advertisers for creating TV commercials online. Its customers now are able to distribute their ads through Google AdWords.

I’m now using Quantcast to get deeper demographic information about my website traffic. Quantcast is a media measurement service that lets advertisers view audience reports on millions of websites and services. It combines directly measured audience data with panel-based estimates to deliver accurate third-party metrics and easy-to-read profiles on digital media properties.

Widgipedia is a search engine and directory for - you guessed it - widgets.

Have the need to poll your visitors? PollDaddy is your application. The free version is very powerful.

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Friday night Final


Clickables from Mediapost today:

Rebate Checks Help Lift Struggling Retailers
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] The federal rebate checks sent out this summer are bringing economic relief not just to the taxpayers who've received them. Consumers last month took their rebate checks to the mall, and major retailers are reporting their strongest gains in more than a year. - Read the whole story...

Chik-Fil-A Celebrates Cow Appreciation Day
by Karl Greenberg
[Restaurants] Today is Cow Appreciation Day. No, not a holiday dreamed up by the American Meat Institute, but a four-year-old marketing program from Atlanta-based fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A. The one-day promotion, an extension of its 14-year-old "Eat Mor Chikin" campaign, via The Richards Group, Dallas, dangles a free meal to anyone who enters a Chick-Fil-A restaurant dressed as a cow. - Read the whole story...

The Art Of Food Labeling
by Karlene Lukovitz
[Food] Today, food marketers need to understand not only which claims and wording are appropriate for their products, but which resonate with distinct groups of consumers, says Ramin Ganeshram, director and consumer strategist, food/beverage for trend-spotting/analysis firm Iconoculture. - Read the whole story...

Eastman Kodak Partners With Nascar and Universal
by Laurie Sullivan
[Promotions] Eastman Kodak wants to connect with action/adventure movie fans, so the more than 100-year-old company has partnered with Universal Pictures to promote the studio's latest movie at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. - Read the whole story...

Frozen Novelties Could Soon Outpace Ice Cream
by Karl Greenberg
[Foods] Ice cream may rule dessert freezers, but as the overall category grows in coming years, ice cream will stay flat while novelties - sandwiches, bars and the like - and yogurt see growth, says Chicago consultancy Mintel. - Read the whole story...

Whole Foods Launches Program To Control Prices

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Fort Wayne Roof Top Party


Well, not really on a rooftop, but you will be able to see some roof tops. And Big Wigs, and lot's of not so Big Wigs.

If you are in Fort Wayne Indiana, then stop by and say HI!

And send me an email to Scott (at) ScLoHo (dot) net, to let me know you'll be there...



This is from the Chamber blog/newsletter:

Go "Over the Top" on Monday

Posted: 11 Jul 2008 10:17 AM CDT

One of the city's largest networking events, Over the Top, will take place Monday, July 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the north plaza of the City-County Building in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne.

This is a great opportunity for City and County employees, neighborhood associations, networking groups, faith-based and community organization leaders, businesses and elected officials to connect and interact in a casual setting during the 40th Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival.

For more information, please contact Denise Porter-Ross, Office of the Mayor, (260)427-2603 or citizens@cityoffortwayne.org.

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Online Habits


Who's doing what....

More Adults Online, But Kids Consuming More Content

Nielsen Online recently announced that per person, kids consumed more streams than those over 18, and spent more time watching online video from home. Kids 2-11 viewed an average of 51 streams and 118 minutes of online video per person during the month, while teens 12-17 viewed an average of 74 streams and 132 minutes of online video.

Monthly Online Video Consumption among Kids, Teens and Adults (U.S., Home Only, April 2008)

Age

Unique Viewers (000)

Unique Viewer Comp %

Streams per Viewer

Min per Viewer

2-11

7,966

8.4

51.0

117.9

12-17

11,632

12.3

74.2

132.4

18+

75,122

79.3

44.3

99.4

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008

Michael Pond, senior media analyst, Nielsen Online, says "Today's youth don't know - or don't remember - a time when they weren't going online, so their adoption of online video has been seamless... the ‘at home' data show how kids and teens are driving usage... "

Younger children gravitate towards sites associated with well-known children's toys and TV programming, says the report, while teens go online to watch music videos, movie trailers and clips of other visitors.

Disney Records led online video destinations among kids 2-11 when ranked by unique viewer composition percent, followed by EverythingGirl.com and MyePets.

The Web provides another platform for their interest in TV shows, toys, movies and music, and offers an interactive element that children especially enjoy.

Top 10 Online Video Destinations: Age 2-11 (U.S., Home, April 2008)

Brand/Channel

Unique Viewer Composition %

2-11 Unique Viewers (000)

Disney Records

49.6

179

EverythingGirl.com

48.0

161

MyePets

47.6

161

JETIX

46.9

159

Playhouse Disney

43.9

340

PBS Kids

43.1

281

LEGO

40.9

137

NickJr

39.6

718

Barbie

39.6

105

Nick

39.3

1,009

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008

Stickam was the top online video destination among teens 12-17, who accounted for 44 percent of that site's unique viewers, followed by Buzznet.com and Atlantic Records, with 43 percent each.

Top 10 Online Video Destinations: Age 12-17 (U.S., Home, April 2008)

Brand/Channel

Unique Viewer Composition %

12-17 Unique Viewers (000)

Stickam

44.3

106

Buzznet.com

42.9

310

Atlantic Records

42.7

273

Epic Records

41.5

180

bebo

40.2

114

Funnyjunk.com

40.1

123

NABBR

37.4

1,336

GamesRadar

34.6

180

Paramount Films

33.8

198

Photobucket

30.7

767

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008

TOP ONLINE VIDEO DESTINATIONS FOR KIDS AND TEENS BY AUDIENCE SIZE

Top 10 Online Video Destinations: Age 2-11 (U.S., Home)

Brand/Channel

2-11 Unique Viewers (000)

2-11 Total Streams (000)

YouTube

4,129

252,405

DisneyChannel.com

1,324

11,843

Nick

1,009

16,366

Disney.com

842

4,926

Myspace.com

827

13,689

NickJr

718

18,619

Buena Vista Online Entertainment

455

1,301

Cartoon Network

431

9,096

Playhouse Disney

340

1,983

Google Video

323

1,080

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008

Top 10 Online Video Destinations: Age 12-17 (U.S., Home, April 2008)

Brand/Channel

12-17 Unique Viewers (000)

12-17 Total Streams (000)

YouTube

8,916

609,981

Myspace.com

3,493

62,810

NABBR

1,336

6,207

Google Video

839

4,925

Photobucket

767

1,597

Apple

548

1,820

DisneyChannel.com

444

3,687

Veoh

415

8,263

Metacafe

372

1,936

Facebook

360

1,132

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008

Overall Online Video Consumption for April 2008 (U.S., Home, Work)


Apr-08

Mar-08

% Change

Unique Viewers (000)

119,626

115,366

3.7%

Total Streams (000)

7,613,847

6,967,963

9.3%

Streams per Viewer

63.6

60.4

5.3%

Time per Viewer (min)

142.8

137.3

4.0%

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus June, 2008 (Excludes video advertising; includes both streaming and progressive downloads.)

Top 10 Brands by Video Streams for April 2008 (U.S., Home, Work)

Video Brand

Total Streams (000)

Unique Viewers (000)

YouTube

4,052,984

73,537

Fox Interactive Media

328,974

20,855

Yahoo!

221,600

22,179

Nickelodeon Kids and Family Network

151,828

6,323

MSN/Windows Live

149,684

9,873

ESPN

125,327

5,477

Disney Online

93,649

7,219

CNN Digital Network

84,782

5,681

Turner Entertainment New Media Network

81,586

6,513

hulu

63,228

2,428

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, June 2008(Excludes video advertising; includes both streaming and progressive downloads.)

For more information, please visit Nielsen here.

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Brainstorming on a Budget

So, it's Friday afternoon, and you are wondering where your week went.

Do you face the same struggles that you faced on Monday?

Don't have the money to hire a consultant to help you sort things out and improve your bottom line?

Tell you what. The answers might be right inside your own office.

Perhaps, you need to schedule a no-holds barred brainstorming session or two.

Set it up for next Friday, at lunchtime, bring in pizza's and knock heads with each other:

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

In a post at MarketingProfs' Daily Fix blog, Leigh Duncan-Durst highlights a Fast Company profile of the kiosk-driven makeover Alaska Airlines gave to the check-in counter at its Seattle terminal. The results have been dramatic. During a two-hour period, the article's author, Dave Demerjian, watched as an Alaska agent processed 46 customers; in the same time, the agent at a nearby United counter—one with a traditional design—served just 22.

The new design not only improves customer service, cutting check-in time from 25+ minutes to an average of just eight; it also has the potential to save the company an estimated $8 million in annual overhead. But there's something else that impresses Duncan-Durst just as much: A team assembled from within Alaska Airlines did all the research and testing that led to this successful solution.

She says your company can undertake a similar project, too. Here's how:

  • Bring together your best and brightest.
  • Present them with a prioritized list of improvements.
  • Give them the time and resources for brainstorming, modeling and experimentation.
  • Encourage these employees to interact with colleagues who face similar challenges
  • Finally, test recommended improvements, make adjustments and roll out solid solutions.

Your Marketing Inspiration: "You don't always need fancy research … and expensive agencies to help you improve experience," says Duncan-Durst. "Often, you can find the really innovative solutions yourself."

More Inspiration:
Paul Barsch: Desperately Seeking Distinction: What’s Your Advice?
Ted Mininni: Marketing Inertia?
Drew McLellan: Evernote Is Now Public

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How to Improve your Ads

As I was reading this from MarketingProfs.com, I realized that this should apply to ALL your advertising:

How to Create Print Ads that Don't, Um, Stink

"Let's be honest," writes Drew McLellan at his Marketing Minute blog. "Most print ads in newspapers and magazines stink." Ouch! Here are some of McLellan's suggestions for producing non-mediocre ads:

Use your headline to grab a reader's attention. This would seem to be an obvious suggestion, but it's amazing how many boring headlines make it to print. "Intrigue [the audience], challenge a common belief, ask a question or throw your offer up there," he says, "but do not be dull." If this advice sounds too abstract, try flipping through various publications and keep a list of the headlines that catch your eye—then determine what they have in common.

Stay on point. McLellan recommends an exercise that will help you stick to a central idea: "Write the copy that you want to include in your ad," he says. "Now cut it in half." Painful, he admits, but there's more. "After you cut it in half, cut it again by a third." By the time you're done, you will have an effective core message.

Tell your story visually. There's no need to be literal. If all of your competitors use the same types of images, choose something else to stand out. Ideally, you want to find visuals that convey your message, but also appeal to the reader with something unexpected.

The Po!nt: "Print advertising can be a very effective tactic," says McLellan. "But most people don't make the most of the ads they buy. Don't waste good money on bad ads."

Source: Drew's Marketing Minute. Click here for the full post.

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Customer Focused Phone Tips


5 years ago, when I returned to the advertising and marketing world, the first seminar I gave to a group of local business leaders was on how they handled phone calls.

Here's some additional wisdom from RainToday.com:

9 Ways to Powerfully Welcome Your Clients on the Phone

By Mel Lester

Best-selling author and consultant Harry Beckwith writes, "In our work, we have found that the first five seconds – the greeting, the welcome, the receptionist's answer – influence customer satisfaction more than any other act. Clients love feeling welcome."

So how's your welcome? In my experience, few firms in our business give much importance to it. Think about it: Who's the lowest paid employee in your office? What's the first position to be filled by a temp when there's a need or opening in the administrative group? Not surprisingly, the person answering the phone often comes across as unfriendly, indifferent, or unfamiliar with the firm and its clients.

Worse still, many firms have substituted recorded messages for a live receptionist. Even the recorded voice usually sounds unfriendly! Then if you don't know the extension of the person you're calling, you're forced to go through the inconvenience of punching in the name on your phone keypad. Finally, you're likely to succeed only in getting through to still another recorded message!

Perhaps you've sidestepped some of this problem by giving your clients your direct phone number. So how's your recorded greeting? Is it the same one your clients have heard for the last year? If the client needs to speak with you immediately, does the message give any indication of your whereabouts or when you might return the call? Or does the client need to transfer to the receptionist only to be told that she doesn't know where you are or when you'll return?

Any of these scenarios hit home? Let me urge you to give serious consideration to upgrading your firm's welcome. It could be one of the most significant steps you will ever take in improving your firm's client service. A few suggestions:

  1. Hire the best receptionist you can afford. It's worth paying extra for a really good one. Your receptionist should be a people-person who easily engages in conversation and makes others feel comfortable around them. This individual not only takes your clients' calls, but should develop a relationship with them, immediately making them feel important when they call.

  2. Make answering the phone a top priority. The receptionist is often loaded up with other responsibilities – especially in a smaller office – so that a ringing phone becomes an unwelcome distraction. Make sure everyone understands that there is no more important administrative task than making clients feel welcome when they call. Don't cause your receptionist to lose sight of that priority by adding too many other duties.

  3. Get rid of the automated receptionist, if you have one. While convenient and affordable, these machines are a terrible way to make callers feel welcome. Instead, they send the implicit message: "We don't have time for you." Whatever you are saving in not hiring a receptionist you may well be forfeiting in lost business. Make every effort to have your phone answered by a live person who can deliver a great welcome.

  4. Don't have temps answering the phone. Imagine your client giving his name to the unfamiliar voice on the other end of the line. "Who? Can you spell that?" Not a good way to treat a client! If you need to bring in a short-term temporary worker, assign him or her other duties and move another of your administrative staff to work the phone (hopefully someone trained as a substitute receptionist). Don’t let this important function be relegated to fill-in work.

  5. Consider eliminating call screening. Screening calls can save you precious time by controlling unwanted interruptions, but it's not a good way to warm your welcome. We've all experienced being screened – making a call, giving your name, and then after being put on hold, being told that the person you were calling is not in, contrary to what the receptionist had indicated just moments earlier.

    Of course, you wouldn't treat your clients that way. But what about the prospective client who calls and is left feeling he or she isn't worthy of your attention? A caller is clearly made to feel more welcome when his or her call is put through without having to pass the "screen test."

  6. Keep your voicemail greeting updated. Your voicemail greeting can say a great deal about your accessibility to clients. If a client needs to talk with you and gets your standard message ("I'm either on the phone or away from my desk"), what does that mean? Are you in the office or not? Will the call be returned in a matter of minutes, hours, or days? Is there someone else who can answer the client's question?

    The best practice is to update your greeting daily, with some sense of your whereabouts and how soon you will return the call. If that seems too ambitious, you should at least update it weekly, with a summary of your availability that week. For extended periods away from the office, be sure to designate others to respond to calls from clients.

  7. Always inform the receptionist of your whereabouts. Few things can frustrate a client like being told, "I don't know where he is," when the client has an urgent need. When you're out of the office or otherwise unavailable, be sure the receptionist knows about it and how to direct clients seeking to speak with you (e.g., having them talk to a designated back-up or calling you on your cell phone).

  8. Train all your staff in phone etiquette. It's a good idea to help all employees develop good welcoming skills. Besides answering calls forwarded to their desk, any one of them might answer the phone after hours. Teach them how to project a positive image over the phone, as well as the mechanics of forwarding calls.

  9. Give attention to how your office impacts visitors. Imagine yourself in the place of a client visiting your office. What kind of impression do you think the client will take away from that experience? Does the receptionist offer a warm, friendly greeting? Is the receptionist anywhere to be found? What kind of immediate impression does your lobby convey? What about the rest of your office? Consider what improvements need to be made to make a client's visit more positive.

Finally, in considering how to strengthen your welcome, it's worth mentioning the importance of first impressions. The research consistently indicates that those initial impressions do tend to be lasting – for good or bad. The old statement is true and deserves your attention, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression."

So how's your welcome?


Mel Lester, of The Business Edge, helps professional service companies, especially engineering and architectural firms, improve business performance through applying best practices in client service, business development, organizational leadership, and project management. He can be reached at #540-268-2300 or bizedge@earthlink.net.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Leftovers for your Friday Morning


Clickable headlines that I found in my frig from Thursday. (Or email.)

Skechers Pins Turnaround On American Idols' Cook
by Laurie Sullivan
[Fashion] Skechers USA on Wednesday unveiled its new celebrity spokesperson: David Cook of American Idol fame. The sneaker company is hoping the vocalist can reverse its recent bad fortunes, but some marketing execs say not so fast. It's the category that's in trouble, not just the company--which may be too much to ask of even an American Idol. - Read the whole story...

Virgin Money Unveils 'Lender Blender' To Help Struggling Students
by Aaron Baar
[Financial Services] Virgin Money USA is trying to make life a little easier for parents with children entering college with its Lender Blender, an online tool that lets consumers plug in their school and financing options to learn their "blended rate." - Read the whole story...

Budget-Challenged Vacationers Going Online For Bargains
by Karlene Lukovitz
[Tourism] With gas prices going through the roof, vacationers are trying to save money any way they can. According to a recent poll, going online to find bargains is increasingly one of the most popular ways. - Read the whole story...

Unilever Goes 'Understated' With Interactive Films
by Karl Greenberg
[Health and Beauty Aids] Unilever this week began running short comedic films on interactive TV with the tag line "Make an Understatement." The marketer follows its own advice, keeping the branding to a minimum. - Read the whole story...

Struggling Coldwater Cuts Ads To Focus On Clothes
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] As women's apparel takes an unusually large hit in the economic downturn, retailer Coldwater Creek is pouring money not into advertising, but its product, which the company admits has grown tired. - Read the whole story...

Blockbuster Appoints New CMO

Ciao Bella Takes Its Ice Cream On Tour

Martha Stewart Heads To Wal-Mart

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Thursday Fast Facts


How will this affect you?


50% of Mac computer users have paid to download music, compared to 16% of PC users, according to NPD Group.

30% of Americans think their purchase decisions have a greater impact on society than their political vote, reports Hartman Group.

Democrats (50%) are more likely than Republicans (43%) to change their summer vacation plans because of high gas prices, says Fox News.

8% of those who've attended happy hour with coworkers have drunk too much and acted unprofessionally, and half as many have sung karaoke (4%), notes CareerBuilder.com.

26% of Americans would consider driving a hybrid vehicle in 2008, reports Continental AG.

The EPM Datafile is an EPM Communications, Inc. service.
(c)Copyright 2008 EPM Communications, Inc. http://www.epmcom.com
160 Mercer Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10012 | P: (212) 941-0099 | F: (212) 941-1622

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12 Secrets to Selling


Words of Wisdom from Harvey Mackay:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week
The secrets of selling:
Believing something and convincing others

I've been a salesman my entire life, so I've learned a lot of sales secrets over the years. It's rare to be an entrepreneur or a CEO without being a salesperson. I'm often asked for my "sales secrets." I have plenty to share, but they're hardly secrets. Success follows lots of hard work.

Here is my list of secrets that every salesperson can benefit from.

  • It's not how much it's worth; it's how much people think it's worth. Marketing is neither the art of selling nor the simple business of convincing someone to buy. It is the art of creating conditions by which the buyer convinces himself. And nothing is more convincing than hard evidence that others want the same thing.
  • Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. If you're a regular reader of my books and columns, you know about the Mackay 66 Customer Profile. Knowing your customers means knowing what they really want. Maybe it's your product, but maybe it's something else too—recognition, respect, reliability, service or friendship.
  • You are not important. Our challenge, whether we are salespeople or negotiators or managers or entrepreneurs, is to make others see the advantage to themselves in responding to our proposal. Understanding our subjects' personalities is vital. Let them shine. Our own personalities are subordinate.
  • Your reputation is your greatest asset. While you, yourself, are not important, your reputation is. It's not product, price or service. Everything flows from your reputation—customer loyalty, referrals and more.
  • Apply the law of large numbers. Position yourself as Number Two to every prospect on your list, and keep adding to that list. I can promise you that if your list is long enough, there are going to be Number Ones that fail to perform, retire or die or lose their territories for many reasons. What I can't tell you is which ones. If you're standing second in line, in enough lines, sooner or later you're going to move up to Number One.
  • Short notes yield long results. I'm amazed by how many salespeople don't write thank you notes. It's all a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, just as important as remembering names and taking a personal interest in people. And it's not just for sales.
  • Keep your eye on your time, not on your watch. A salesperson really has nothing to sell but her time. Her product exists independently of anything she adds to it. Her personality will win her or lose her accounts initially, but if she isn't around to provide service and be accessible to customers, she'll lose those accounts.
  • Position yourself as a consultant. The mark of a good salesperson is that his customer doesn't regard him as a salesperson at all, but a trusted and indispensable adviser, an auxiliary employee who, fortunately, is on someone else's payroll.
  • Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Who says you're not tougher, smarter, better, harder working, more able than your competition? It doesn't matter if they say you can't do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.
  • If you don't have a destination, you'll never get there. Everybody and every business needs a set of basic goals and beliefs, but most of us are seat-of-the-pants, one-day-at-a-time operators. Our goals are fuzzy and our plans for achieving them non-existent. Goals don't have to be elaborate either, just realistic.
  • Practice positive visualization. I have found this to be one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. It's what an athlete does when he comes on to the field to kick a winning field goal with three seconds on the clock and 60,000 screaming fans and millions more watching on TV. Great athletes and businesspeople have the ability to visualize themselves in successful situations.
  • Ask for the order. It's amazing what you don't get when you don't ask. An insurance agent whom he had known for many years, once asked the famous automobile pioneer Henry Ford why he never got any of Ford's business. "You never asked me," Ford replied.

Mackay's Moral: Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; but involve me, and I'll understand.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at harveymackay.com.

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Expert or Human being?


We're talking about the trust factor. Actually Anthony Juliano talks about it:

Build trust by saying "I don't know"

Posted: 09 Jul 2008 07:53 PM CDT

Saying "I don't know is hard." Everyone wants to have all the answers, and no one wants to look dumb. But you can't know it all, and it's much, much smarter to admit that you don't. Why? When you say "I don't know," you build credibility. Being willing to admit what you don't know implies that when you do have an answer, you're confident that you know what you're talking about. It also builds trust, because the person you're speaking with knows it's O.K. to say "I don't know," too.

Of course, you can do better than "I don't know." You can say "I don't know, but I'll find out." Or "I don't know, but I know someone who does." Or "I don't know, and that's outside my area of expertise." But sometimes a simple "I don't know" is enough. You don't have to solve every problem.

The key is authentically saying "I don't know" often enough, but not too often. Say it too infrequently, and you'll be known as a know it all. Say it too much, and you'll be known for not knowing anything.

So how often should you say "I don't know"? The honest answer is, I don't know. You're going to have to figure that one out on your own.

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Creative Use of Website


I'm not sure if it sells anything, but check this out anyway..... NOLAF

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Where the money?


With our current economy, which group of consumers should you draw into your business?

I would say those that are affected the least by the rising prices might be one target.

Another target, are those that are affected the most by the rising prices. But please don't try and be all things to all people. It won't work anymore.

Here's a survey for you to consider:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

19% of Americans Collectively Own $22 Trillion in Assets

Based on an analysis by Nielsen's Claritas Services by Jane Crossan and Mike Mancini, a new segment of wealthy Americans has emerged In recent years that represents 19 percent of all U.S. households. Known as the New Mass Affluent, this new crop of wealthy Americans were born of the post-war boom, raised in middle-class suburbs and benefited from college educations and years of economic prosperity during the bull market of the 1990s. Today they're the empty-nesters converting their kids' old rooms to home gyms, the well-heeled shopping at Costco and the workaholics fiddling with their BlackBerry on the express commuter train.

Claritas defines this emerging group as households with incomes above $100,000 and income producing assets of $100,000 or more. That income puts these households in the top 19 percent of all Americans, earning more than double the national median income of $49,280. They collectively own more than $22 trillion in assets. And their numbers are rising: some 22 million households now earn over $100,000, a 23 percent increase from a decade ago after adjusting for inflation. More higher-earning Americans than ever, concludes the report .

The New Mass Affluent consist of eight distinct groups, each with its own lifestyles, media patterns and preferences when considering financial services. But these high-earning households can be difficult to find and even harder to sell. The New Mass Affluent are sophisticated consumers who often tune out traditional marketing strategies, and many simply don't think of themselves as rich.

The groups are segmented into three broad categories based on earnings:

  • Higher-income households that earn over $100,000 a year
  • Middle-income households earning between $30,000 and $100,000
  • Lower-income households that earn under $30,000

The research confirms that, while median household income has moved sluggishly over the last decade, more people are joining the affluent class than ever before. Since 1997, median household income increased a modest 6.5 percent to $48,496 in inflation-adjusted dollars. By contrast, the number of households with an annual income of more than $100,000 jumped 23 percent to 21.7 million. No other income group grew as quickly.

The number of middle-income Americans earning between $30,000 and $100,000 has remained relatively stable for 15 years, shrinking only slightly from 52 percent to 50 percent of the total population, or 57.1 million households.

At the same time, the number of lower-income households earning under $30,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars has slowly declined seven percent to 34.8 million households. With the number of higher-income households increasing and lower-income households decreasing, America's household-income landscape is actually improving.

Rise of the New Mass Affluent (% U.S. Household

1992

1997

2007

2012

Lower Income $30K<

33.3%

33.0%

30.7%

28.4%

Middle Income $30K< $100K

52.2%

51.5%

50.2%

51.6%

Higher Income $100K>

14.5%

15.5%

19.1%

20.1%

Source: Claritas Update Demographics, June 2008 (income in inflation-adjusted dollars)

According to P$YCLE, the segmentation system that classifies households into 58 types based on demographics and financial behavior, eight distinct segments report both earnings and assets in excess of $100,000 to make up the nation's New Mass Affluent. However, these consumer types are very different from each other in terms of demographics, life stage, financial attitudes and preferences for products and services.

TheWealth Market, most closely resembles the traditional portrait of old money. Filled with suburban couples over 65 years old, these 2.6 million households control a much larger share of assets in the country than their numbers would suggest. Some 48 percent of households in this segment have more than $2 million in assets-nearly 44 times the national average-and no other P$YCLE segment even comes close.

Demographically, these super-rich tend to be married, white, more than 68 percent over 55, and empty-nesters. Compared to the general population, they're 10 times as likely to own common stock, nine times as likely to own municipal bonds and seven times as likely to use a broker at Merrill Lynch.

But the New Mass Affluent also includes other segments where the incomes and assets may not be as lofty but are certainly at a high altitude:

  • Prosperous Parents are middle-aged families consumed with raising their families, paying off their mortgages and investing in college savings and retirement accounts
  • Business Class is home to fifty something executive couples who rank at the top for carrying prestige credit cards
  • Jumbo Mortgagees features Baby Boom families living in affluent suburban-fringe subdivisions

New Mass Affluent Segments

Segment Description

Wealth According To Income Producing Assets

% w/HH Income $200K+

Average HH Income

Average Index

The Wealth Market Millionaires

$500,000+

23.0

$178,344

268

Business Class Wealthy Older Mix

$500,000+

16.4

$122,963

184

Power Couples Midscale Mature Couples

$500,000+

15.9

$118,703

178

Family Fortunes Wealthy Middle-Age with Kids

$500,000+

26.8

$122,222

183

Retiree Chic Upscale Older Couples

$100K-$499K

11.7

$97,164

146

Big Spenders Wealthy Middle-Age with Kids

$100K-$499K

15.3

$105,383

158

Jumbo Mortgagees Upscale Middle-Age Mix

$100K-$499K

10.1

$87,937

132

Prosperous Parents Upscale Middle-Age with Kids

$100K-$499K

12.4

$96,502

145

Source: P$YCLE and Income Producing Assets, 2007

Analysis completed by Jane Crossan, Vice President of the Nielsen Financial Services Group, and Mike Mancini, Vice President of Data Product Management Nielsen's Claritas Services

Please visit here for the PDF file of the complete report.

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Part 3 of 3 Phases of Successful Marketing

Welcome to Thursday and the conclusion of this 3-parter from Small Fuel:

The 3 Phases of Successful Marketing


Before and After

Expert marketers know that the true goal of their craft isn’t simply to land the initial sale; instead, it is to cultivate an ever-growing base of loyal repeat customers. But many people have a hard time getting the customer to feel satisfied and ready to do business with them again, never mind getting customers so satisfied they’ll spread the word about their offerings.

To make sure you don’t leave money on the table, you need to give your customers the attention and service they deserve at all three critical transaction points: Before, During and After the sale.

Read on to discover if you are doing all the right things that turn a one-time customer into a consistent stream of income for your business.

The Third Stage: After The Sale

after
When the sale is final, it is critical that your follow-up system makes the customer feel safe, secure, and valued. At the minimum they should receive confirmation emails after their order and upon shipping so that they have a sense of connection with the order and know you haven’t forgotten them once their credit card has cleared (incidentally, these emails are prime opportunities to also let them know about additional offerings, since your customers are still in the buying mood).

Beyond the order and delivery, few things match the marketing effectiveness of “check-in” follow-ups. Contact the customer to ask them whether they are satisfied with their purchase (and make things right if they aren’t). Offer them special deals in the future as a way to show appreciation for their purchase. Offer them free information on complementary services or help them learn about new ways to take advantage of what they have already purchased. Go the extra mile to show them you still want to help solve their problems, even when there isn’t a transaction attached to it, and enjoy the positive word of mouth advertising that flows from your efforts.

How Do You Measure Up?

When it comes to your business, are you just “pushing sales,” or are you truly trying to wow your customers and develop long-term relationships with them? Set aside some time this month and ask yourself how you are treating the customer in each of these three areas, and what you might need to do differently to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Then put the answers you come up with into practice, and enjoy the boost in sales that comes with making your customers feel valued before, during and after every sale.

Read and comment on full article...

SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. 126 E 2nd St, Suite A, Media, PA 19063
Copyright (C) 2008 SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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