Saturday, August 02, 2008

Brainstorming Resources

Jill Konrath shares this with us today:

Top Sales Resources - July 2008

Posted: 31 Jul 2008 11:53 AM CDT

Check out these "how to" and "get you thinking" resources.

PlotthickensThe Plot Thickens: Why Case Studies Create New Customers
I'm a strong advocate of using case studies in account entry campaigns. That's why I liked this ebook by copywriter Charles Brown. To learn how to create powerful case studies, you can download The Plot Thickens here.

WholetruthTell the Whole Truth, by Clinton Korver
Here's a ChangeThis manifesto that challenges our ethics. As sellers, it's particularly tempting to shade the truth or withhold some information. To learn more about truth telling, and how to use it with discretion & wisdom, download this ebook now.

Cmo Closing the Gap: The Sales and Marketing Alignment Imperative
The CMO Council recently completed a study analyzing the gap between marketing & sales organizations. Click here to download the Executive Summary.pdf For more info, you can purchase the full study.

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Tools for Success

On the right side of this page, I have several tools that are free for the taking.

Look at the heading Free Marketing E-Books.

One is the Mackay 66. If you want to learn how to build strong relationships with your customers, get this one.

(I also have the Collective Wisdom Bookstore with 9 books that you can order directly from Amazon. All are under 20 bucks. Most are around $10. There's even one for under $5.)

The author of the Mackay 66 is Harvey Mackay. Here's his latest newsletter:

Tool up to build your business

There's an old joke about a guy who goes into a hardware store to buy a saw to cut firewood. The clerk convinces him to buy a top of the line chainsaw claiming it will cut a cord of wood in an hour. The guy brings it back the next day saying it took him all day to cut just one cord. So the clerk primes it, pulls the handle and starts the chainsaw right up. The guy looks at him in amazement and asks, "What's all that noise?"

Tools are one thing but learning how to properly use them is another. Hey, I'm the last guy on earth you would want to trust with a chainsaw—I'm just not much of a handy man. But I'll learn how to use them in order to sell you one, so that you can get the most out of your purchase. Your sales people should be able to give you at least an elementary lesson in the use and care of any equipment they sell you. And you should be prepared to take additional lessons, for a price if necessary, to get to the expert level.

The same advice applies when it comes to getting the most out of your office machines, PDAs or whatever you use. I'm shocked at how many people don't know how to really use the technology for which they plunked down big bucks.

For example, a few years ago when I purchased a Trio from Best Buy, I hired the salesman to come to my house and teach me how to properly use it. Similarly, I purchased a Blackberry a year or so later from an AT&T store and also hired the sales rep to come to my office for several training sessions.

This is a win-win situation. It does cost you a bit more, but I get up to speed a lot faster, plus I get better service from my sales reps if I ever have a problem. And they make a little money on the side too.

Before my Trio and BlackBerry, there was a Palm Pilot and who even remembers what came before that. I've always had a lesson or two for each new gadget, because I'm a big believer in teachers, coaches, trainers or whatever you want to call them. I'm game for any way I can become better or more efficient.

I've had coaches for public speaking, writing, ideas/creativity, foreign languages, dancing, scuba diving and every sport you could imagine. Why not become more proficient with your office tools?

Do you know all the features on your cell phone? How about your computer, copy or fax machine? If you don't, you're not getting as much bang for your buck as you should.

Until you understand what your tools are capable of and how to make them work for you, you're exerting too much time and energy and accomplishing less. Time is money, and at the rate new technology evolves, you could be throwing away big bucks by not making all your resources work for you.

I have a library of instruction manuals, which I freely admit that I have never opened. Some assume a level of sophistication that I don't yet possess. Others are written in curious forms of English that make little sense. So I look for a live, breathing person who can walk me through my questions and answer them twice if need be. Where should you look for help?

If you can't find a willing salesperson, look to the store where you bought the machine. They often have classes available. Check out your local school district for the adult education offerings—they're not expensive and you'll find an instant network of new friends who ask the questions you haven't even thought of yet.

Every bookstore has a section of self-teaching materials entitled "(Fill in the blank) for Dummies." These are marvelous resources, and seem to be available as soon as the technology appears. Manufacturers' websites can help too. Most have an email where you can send questions and receive answers promptly.

And don't forget the teenager next door. The tech generation seems to have been born with a different set of genes.

Bottom line: You have no excuse not to improve your bottom line with the right tools.

Mackay's Moral: Hammer away until you really learn how to use your business tools.

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

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Tips for Starting Your Own On-Line Store

This came from Kim Komando's regular weekly (free) newsletter that she sends out on Saturday mornings.

On my personal blog, I will feature some of her articles on occasion. But this one includes tips for the budding entrepreneur:

Brad in South Whitley, IN, is going to start his own online store. He is looking for a professional Web designer and a search engine optimization (SEO) company. He'd like advice on picking the right companies to develop his site.

Good for you, Brad! There's nothing quite like owning your own business. There is a lot of hard work involved. But, ultimately, the rewards make it worthwhile.

I wrote a column on starting your own e-store not long ago. I've also written about optimizing your site for SEO. You should read these tips for some background information. The tip on SEO will be particularly helpful.

Read my tip on building a commercial site. It will help you develop a request for proposal. You'll also find help on selecting a developer.

The tip wasn't written with retail in mind. So, there are a few more considerations in your case. You should examine retail sites that you like. See what works and what doesn't. You'll also want to think about payment processing. And securing customers' data should also be a high priority. Make sure the developer you hire has what it takes to handle these things.

Now here's all the legal stuff and a link to sign up for your own Kim Komando newsletters:

Copyright © 2008, The Kim Komando Show. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of The Kim Komando Show is prohibited and strictly enforced. Newsletters may contain links to sites on the Internet owned and operated by third parties. The Kim Komando Show is not responsible for the availability of, or the content located on or through, any such third-party site. Information in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. We will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this information, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages.

You get this newsletter. Now, sign up for my other three free e-mail newsletters. Try 'em! You'll like 'em!

• Free computer tip Mon-Fri
• Free cool site daily
• Free news links Mon-Fri

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Find YOUR Niche

Another great lesson from Small Fuel:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

How To Turn A Disadvantage Into A Competitive Edge


Every small business dreams of becoming a big business – but achieving size and influence can be a long time coming, especially in a market that is becoming more crowded by the week.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be “number one” to have your sales numbers experience a satisfying increase – you just have to get creative and discover how to frame a perceived disadvantage as a powerful competitive edge. Here are the stories of three companies who did just that, and enjoyed a larger market share as a result.

Snapple’s Off-Beat Anthem: “We’re #3”

250px-Snapple_Logo.svg About a decade ago Snapple was growing fast, with sales quadrupling every year. This was a huge win for them in the juice-and-soda market, but truth be told, they were still dwarfed by the sales of soft drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi. In an industry where every company tries to tout itself as the best at something – speed, price, quality and so on – Snapple didn’t seem to have a strong message they could put into a 30-second sound bite.

They had a great product line that was growing and expanding, which was a great pitch for stockholders. But how can a company translate great sales figures into a message that would make consumers want to buy even more of it – especially since so many more people were buying Coke and Pepsi products?

Snapple did it by crafting a clever commercial where mobs of people ran down the streets holding up “#3” signs and chanting “We’re #3! We’re #3!” They weren’t bigger than Coke or Pepsi, but they could at least flaunt the fact that nobody else but Snapple was even close. The goal? Position the Snapple brand next to the top two soda brands and catch the “halo effect” that being associated with them would bring. Snapple positioned itself as a major player – and not just a quirky niche brand – with this clever move.

Lesson Learned: If you can’t be on the A-List, learn how to get yourself seen as in the same light as those who are.

Pepsi’s Counter-Culture Gamble: Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30

Pepsi Logo World War II was big business for Pepsi rival Coca-Cola – through a deal with the US Government, Coke supplied five-cent sodas to servicemen in exchange for corporate exemption from sugar rations. Thanks to this shrewd deal by Coke’s leader, Pepsi didn’t stand a chance of capturing market share. With Coca-Cola associated as the “little taste of home” for war weary soldiers, Pepsi lost considerable market share. To make matters worse, when the servicemen returned home they were Coke drinkers for life, due to the strong emotional bond formed with the brand while overseas.

How did Pepsi win these customers back? They tried for years, but ultimately, they never did. Instead, they grew by going after a group that they could win over – those Coca-Cola drinkers’ children. By tapping into the inherent need for kids to rebel against their parents, they rebranded themselves as a youth-oriented drink, and in 1963 created the “Pepsi Generation” as a vehicle to sell not just a soda, but a way of life. This campaign was so successful that it even enjoyed a resurgence twenty years later as “The Choice of a New Generation” when those Pepsi converts had kids of their own.

Lesson Learned: If you can’t make a dent in a competitor’s loyal customer base, find a group that identifies as opposite from that group, and make them loyal to you instead.

Avis’ A+ For Effort: It’s The Thought That Counts

avis Like Coke and Pepsi, Avis and its larger competitor Hertz duke it out for control of the rental car market. With no room for doubt, Hertz overshadows Avis in terms of size, so Avis decided to take a simple and direct approach to positioning themselves as the superior company. What did they do? They repositioned their competition in a way that made them the “good guys.” And all they needed was three simple words, which made their debut in magazines back in 1962: “We Try Harder.”

It was pure marketing genius. They took the common customer frustration of poor customer service and capitalized on it with ads that said things like “We just can’t afford dirty ashtrays … or half-empty gas tanks … or unwashed cars …” and “Go with us next time – the line at our customer counter is shorter.” Avis hit a marketing gold mine by positioning their competitor as cold, impersonal, and uncaring, and reframed themselves as the company who cares about you. Did it work? In four years their market share more than tripled, going from 11% to 35%.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes the best way to make your brand stand out is to highlight the things you’re doing right (that your competitors aren’t).

What’s Your Small Business’ Competitive Edge?

You may not be number one in your industry … but by now you know that can be a very, very good thing. By approaching your marketing campaign as an exercise in highlighting your small business strengths and re-framing the way your competitors appear to your target market, you could very well see your market share make similar gains – because you don’t have to be number one to have one of your greatest years ever.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Finals

From Mediapost:

(Remember there are at least three updates on this site 7 days a week)

Is It Time For A Massive Mall Meltdown?
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] The retail deathwatch is enough to set tongues wagging about even the strongest brands. Macy's recently had to respond to concerns about its financial health, with the CEO filing a letter with the Securities & Exchange Commission to defend its finances: "Our same-store sales trends are better than J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Dillard's, Nordstrom, Bon-Ton, The Gap and Limited Brands, to name a few," he wrote. - Read the whole story...

Brands Must Be Creative In Olympic Games Venue
by Laurie Sullivan
[Strategy] Panasonic quietly introduced a viral marketing campaign in Japan several months ago, relying on word of mouth marketing to spread Olympic Games fever. Word didn't get far. Only 843 people have uploaded photos to the virtual stadium, but there is room for plenty more, according to a Panasonic spokesman. So the company's public relation's agency, which designed the site, has began pushing the concept in the U.S. - Read the whole story...

First Command: 'Dream Boldly. Plan Confidently'
by Aaron Baar
[Financial Services] The campaign was developed after two years of consumer research that showed people feel more confident and less stressed about pursuing financial goals when they have a plan in place, according to CMO Dennis Holland. "We were able to draw some great connections between people who exhibit the right behaviors and their optimism and hope for the future." - Read the whole story...

J.D. Powers Finds Digital Camera Owners Are All Wet
by Nina M. Lentini
[Electronics] Its latest customer satisfaction study on digital cameras finds that waterproofing is mentioned most frequently by owners in both the point-and-shoot (67%), and premium point-and-shoot (68%) segments, while ultra-slim owners desire 4 GB internal memory capacity and DSLR owners desire waterproofing (63%). - Read the whole story...

Ad Networks Fine, But Content Drives Key Brand Metrics
by Tameka Kee
[Research] While ad networks continue to garner the glory, media buys across branded content sites, or properties like iVillage and Discovery that fall under the Online Publishers Association's umbrella, are often still priced at a premium. Justifiably so, says the OPA. - Read the whole story...

Iconix Inks Deal With Wal-Mart

Roberto Cavalli To Design Diet Coke

Jag Launches First Ad Campaign, New Organic Line

Kellogg's Q2 Earnings, Sales Reported Up

Tobacco One Buys Mexico's Rojo Brand

New Products Boost Revlon Sales, Market Share

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Internet Adverting Oops!

We are still figuring out the best way to advertise online. It's not as simple as some would have you believe.

For example, look at this story from my email from Adweek:

» The Downside of Google Ads
It seems like everyone with a Web site sees the chance to cash in with some advertising. Columbia Records has been running Google AdSense placements on its site, according to Silicon Alley Insider. Of course, the problem with robots is they're not very good at spotting pranks. Blogger Bruce Houghton doesn't think labels should put ads on their sites, so he managed to get a Google ad reading "Major Labels Are Obsolete" on the Columbia homepage. The prank cost Houghton a mere $3.37. Columbia has since removed AdSense. more »

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The Next Generation

Ever notice how persistent a two or four year old is when they want something? And they don't take no for an answer? I've always thought that if my sales staff had the persistence of a 2 year old, we would double our sales.

Anyway, this is about those up and coming kids, the ones that are known as tweens. Pay attention, this is the Next Generation:

Tweens’ Favorite Media Online, Search Integral to Shopping

The vast majority (83%) of tweens (those age 10-14), spend at least an hour online per day, compared with 68% reporting they watch an hour of TV per day, according to an ROI research study commissioned by DoubleClick Performics, writes Chief Marketer.

Radio (29%), magazines (10%) and newspapers (5%) were less popular among tweens, writes DoubleClick SVP of search operations Stuart Larkins.

The research studied the online search and purchase behavior of various demographic segments across 10 product categories. Some 1,000 panelists from eReward’s active members responded to the survey.


  • A minimum of 40% of tweens reported using search to gather more info about products/services about which they’d seen an ad.
  • Some 78% said they use Google most often; 14% cited Yahoo instead.
  • More than a third of tweens said search results have had “extreme impact” on their decision to purchase apparel.

Product Categories

The top product category of interest to tweens is apparel; they report shopping for apparel on average 8.2 times over the previous six months, for electronics 4.5 times, home furnishings 4.4 times.

Among the apparel and electronics categories, the following are the items that tweens primarily recommend or purchase:

  • Apparel: Everyday/casual clothes, footwear and accessories
  • Electronics: MP3 players, videogaming systems and digital cameras

Search is an integral of the online and offline shopping process, according to DoubleClick. Fore example:

  • More than half said they use search to determine where to purchase apparel offline
  • 80% typically search for apparel brand names
  • Two-thirds use search to find the best price for electronics
  • Though 71% of tweens’ home-furnishing purchase take place offline, 52% of those purchases involved search.

Online Behavior

  • 87% of those who go online more than three times a day (nearly half of tweens do) spend at a minimum half an hour online each time. Six in 10 visit social-network sites at least once a day.
  • Seven in 10 have a social-networking profile, more than 5 in 10 have a profile on MySpace, more than 3 in 10 have a profile on Facebook.
  • Less than 4 in 10 reported reading blogs frequently or occasionally.

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Walk in these Shoes

For all those that think that business owners are gready s.o.b's; I have two success stories for you to check out.

First, here's a link to an exclusive radio interview with Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's fame.

Next, here's a story straight from the Church of the Customer Blog:

Customer evangelism case study: Tom's Shoes


Here's a customer evangelism case study in the making: Tom's Shoes.

Tom's was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, a former contestant of "The Amazing Race" who was inspired by the low-cost alpargatas (espadrille-type shoes) during a trip to Argentina.

His idea was to bring alpargatas to the U.S. and give them a fashion makeover.

Blake was also struck by scenes of poverty in Argentina; so he launched Tom's based on the premise of giving away a pair of shoes to shoeless children in third-world countries for each pair he sold.

So far, he's sold 200,000 shoes and given away the same number. He's struck licensing deals with Ralph Lauren and distribution deals with all sorts of department stores and retailers like Whole Foods (where I first saw Tom's last month). Blake has also created an evangelistic following; one restaurant chain in New York outfits all of its servers with Tom's because of the cause.

Tom's Shoes has buzz for a variety of reasons, which include:

  1. An uncommon product amidst of sea of commonality.
  2. A simple, yet inspiring story that's easy to tell and therefore spread.
  3. An accessible and well-spoken leader who'll tell the story to anyone who'll listen.
  4. A strong culture of participation among employees and customers that's ingrained into the DNA of the company.

JJ Ramberg of MSNBC has an excellent piece on the magic behind Tom's.

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Creative Outdoor (and Indoor) Ads

From the NY Times today:

Summer Silliness Brings a Pizza Field and a Giant Oreo

OUTDOOR advertising is a growing category — not just billboards, but increasingly, weird publicity stunts that often go awry.

There have been more of them than usual in recent months. On the positive side, people seemed to like the glass elevator in Manhattan that was done up to look like a giant Oreo dunking into a glass of milk. A video of the scene was posted on YouTube, where it was drawing lots of praise.

On the down side, people in London were not so fond of a prank by Right Guard, which sent a team of people onto subway trains with tiny video screens in the armpits of their shirts. Whenever one of the team members reached overhead, a commercial for Right Guard would play in someone’s face.

Others examples have merely served to puzzle. A Chevrolet billboard that used real pennies was stripped clean within 30 minutes. In Singapore, advertisers painted an extra yellow safety line on a train platform with the name “Wonderbra” on it, leaving commuters to figure out the message (that the bra’s lifting qualities were so forceful that wearers would have to stand back).

For the most part, the silliness is intended to lift an advertiser’s message beyond the clutter.

“Advertisers are being pushed to creative extremes, partly because it’s just so difficult to get consumers’ attention these days,” said Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services, which advises clients on managing their online reputations. “It may just be a flash of brilliance that everyone pays attention to, and it gets that huge return, but it’s very difficult to replicate on a regular basis.”

Advertisers spent $7.3 billion on outdoor ads last year, a rise of 7 percent from 2006, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. About 16 percent of that fell in the “alternative” category, which covers ads that were not on billboards, bus shelters or the like.

Alternative is a good way to describe the Right Guard campaign staged in London last month. While Right Guard referred to the subway stunt as “pitvertising,” bloggers called it icky and posted cheeky speculations about what might happen if the technique were applied to other products.

Despite the criticism, executives at Dial, the subsidiary of Henkel International that owns Right Guard, said they were pleased.

“It was one of those wacky ideas that came to fruition: somebody said, what about putting a TV under someone’s armpit at the point of perspiration?” said Nina Daily, a marketing manager at Dial. “We were obviously hopeful that the Right Guard brand would come out in a good light, which I believe that it did.”

Other people were not so sure.

“I wouldn’t want to look under someone’s arm,” said Brian Martin, chief executive of Brand Connections, a New York marketing agency that did not work on the promotion. “I don’t care whether you’re a deodorant or not, it’s just not something a consumer’s going to go home and feel good about.”

Sometimes stunts are too abstract to resonate with people. That may have been the case with the Wonderbra campaign in Singapore that ran this year: Many people did not get it.

“This one took me a while,” said a blogger who posted a picture of the campaign on her PhotoShelter blog.

“I don’t feel like the average consumer would fully understand the concept behind this idea,” wrote a commenter on the I Believe in Advertising blog.

The notion, according to the agency, Euro RSCG Singapore, was that the second line demonstrated that “with the bust-enhancing effects of Wonderbra, those who use the product need to be even farther back.”

“For us, the goal was getting our foot in the door with a new client, and this was a really fun way to do so,” Charlie Blower, executive creative director of Euro RSCG Singapore, said in an e-mail message. “The fact that the core idea is quite subtle in nature means the campaign appeals to the target audience in a nonconventional way.”

Even when stunts are well received, they do not always go off without a hitch.

Last month Chevrolet U.K. put up a billboard in Central London that was meant to emphasize that the new Aveo was budget-friendly. The designers used magazine glue to affix British pence to the background.

The company was hoping for consumer reaction, and it got it: passers-by peeled the money off rather quickly.

“It only lasted for 30 minutes,” said Daniel Glover, creative director of Mischief, the public relations agency that devised the campaign. “But it kind of made everybody smile.”

HSBC hit some snags with an outdoor campaign this summer, when it sponsored Wimbledon. In honor of the grass-court tennis tournament, its London advertising agency, JWT London, commissioned grass portraits of three little-known Wimbledon personalities, made by artists who expose grass seeds to different amounts of light to produce shades of green. It also decided to cover taxis and subway stations with grass.

Grass, as it turned out, was not the most flexible medium.

One of the portraits was of a British player, Tara Moore, who was out of the tournament by the time her grass portrait had grown (it takes about eight weeks).

As for covering the stations and taxis, the agency wanted to use real grass, said Mark Norcutt, the art director of JWT London. “But because of health and safety, we weren’t allowed to, because people might slip on it if it were on the floor. It got to be a bit of a nightmare,” he said.

In the end, Mr. Norcutt went with fake grass on the taxis and stations, and kept the portrait of the eliminated Ms. Moore in the stadium.

“A lot of people wanted to know about the process, a lot of people came up and touched it,” Mr. Norcutt said. “That was part of it as well — we wanted people to interact with it. Some were even sniffing it.”

Papa John’s, too, has been wrestling with natural elements as it tries to create a giant pizza in a field near the Denver airport in time for the Democratic National Convention. The idea is to promote its whole-wheat crust pizza.

Papa John’s hired an artist, Stan Herd, who has created crop circles for Absolut Vodka and Beck’s beer, among others. He devised a pizza made of pepperoni (red mulch), onions (limestone), green peppers (cornstalks) and olives (black mulch).

“It’s the best field location I’ve ever had,” said Mr. Herd, who says it will take him another week to finish. “All of the passengers at that point are all anxious to get out, and all looking out the window, and we’re perfectly poised to have them see something.”

If Papa John’s is lucky, its stunt will be as well received as the one done this spring for Oreo by Draftfcb. The agency converted a clear glass elevator in Manhattan Mall with a giant sticker of an Oreo cookie; on the clear vestibule in the lobby, it pasted a large sticker of a glass of milk. Whenever the elevator descended or ascended, it looked as if the Oreo was being dunked in a glass of milk.

The gimmick lasted only a day, but YouTube video of it has been viewed more than 34,000 times. Oreo, which is owned by Kraft Foods, said it was a one-time event.

“Out-of-home is an area that it makes sense to explore,” said Laurie Guzzinati, a Kraft spokeswoman, but any further plans “are all sort of T.B.D.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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Prices Going UP

This is no surprise:

Retailers Feeling the Effects of Inflation

Coming to a store near you: Even higher prices.

Most inflation this year has come from food and fuel, as retailers resisted passing along to strapped consumers the higher prices manufacturers charged them, but coming increases from companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Hasbro Inc. may leave them with no choice.

"While these increases have not for the most part been passed on at the retail level, it is inevitable that they will be at some point," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "Car dealers and other retailers cannot continue to absorb rising costs at the wholesale level and not pass some of these increases on to consumers."

Sherwin Williams Co. on July 17 announced its third price increase in eight months. The company has been having "difficult discussions" with retailers, Chris Connor, chairman and CEO, said on its quarterly conference call.

The price increases are "well supported with facts in terms of why the company needs them," he said. "Our customers, to the best of their ability, are passing them on."

Hasbro said the retailers it sells to didn't like price increases the company announced this week "but they recognize that their own private-label costs are going up and they've accepted it."

The increases leave retailers in a bind: They can keep prices steady and cut profit margins or raise prices and risk losing sales.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been in the lead of aggressively keeping prices down, pressuring its competitors to do the same.

"We have seen inflation and we have passed some of that through," said John Simley, a Wal-Mart spokesman. "We have, wherever possible, worked with our suppliers to reduce the inflationary impact as much as possible."

Costco Wholesale Corp. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings would be "well-below" Wall Street estimates of $1 a share as it delays price increases. Stock in rival BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. fell more than 10 percent as investors feared the competitor would have to match Costco's prices.

Some economists say that once Americans spend their $106.7 billion in tax rebate checks, consumer spending may shrivel, sparking a round of price cuts to entice shoppers. Others think price increases may be postponed, but they're on their way.

Much of this depends on how much money consumers have after buying gas and groceries -- and what kind of mood they're in once they've filled their tanks. Last week, the Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment for July came in at 61.2, beating expectations and slightly better than the 28-year low of 56.4 hit in June. Still, the confidence index was at 90.4 a year ago.

Even Costco said it won't swallow price increases from suppliers on key items, but would postpone passing them along to consumers, if only for a few weeks, because it wants to be the last retailer to raise prices.

The company raised its prices for rotisserie chicken from $4.99 to $5.49 about three months ago. Last week, the prices rose to $5.99.

"I think the consumer is just starting to see, not only with us, rising commodity costs and rising general merchandise costs in a much bigger way than they've seen other than with gasoline itself," said Richard Galanti, Costco's chief financial officer, during a conference call this week.

Inflation hit 5 percent for the year in June, the highest it's been since 1991, but the price increases hitting manufacturers have been far worse.

Prices manufacturers paid for crude materials rose 70 percent for the three months ended in June, but companies weren't able to pass all those increases along. Prices for the intermediate goods made from those materials rose much less, about 27 percent. The prices for finished products made from those goods rose 14 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index.

Kimberly-Clark Corp., which makes Kleenex, Huggies diapers and Viva paper towels, said Thursday that energy and commodity cost increases this year would total as much as $900 million, double its prediction at the beginning of the year.

Saying the company might raise prices for the second time this year, Chief Executive Thomas Falk added, "The reality is that the rapid run-up in commodity costs has outpaced our ability to offset inflation in the near-term with price increases and other actions."

The increases keep coming.

Dow Chemical Co., the second largest chemical company in the world after Germany's BASF, is raising some prices by as much as 25 percent this month, following June price increases that were as high as 20 percent on all products. The increase is sure to put more pressure on manufacturers, since Dow's chemicals are used in everything from packing peanuts to frozen-food trays to diapers.

(Source: Associated Press, 07/28/08)

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New Month, New Sales Tips

This are in audio form from Jill Konrath's blog:

You Heard it Here First!

Oldfashioned_radio If you have a few minutes today, you might want to check out these two podcasts:

Creating Sales Opportunities
In this podcast, Leah Rust from EyesOnSales, interviews me about a powerful sales strategy that's available to everyone, costs almost nothing, and you can start using today. (11:24 min.)

On Selling to Big Companies
In this podcast, John Caddell interviews me about the difference between selling to big companies & small ones, what's changed in sales and what you really need to do to be successful. (20:27 min.)

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Night Marketing News

From the fine folks at Mediapost:

Brand Perceptions Of Gas, Airline Industries Nosedive
by Aaron Baar
[Research] One company that saw a big jump in perception was Wal-Mart, up 69% from January to July. Part of that may be due to the slumping economy. "There is often a lot of negative coverage in the news about Wal-Mart," YouGovPolimetrix's Ted Marzilli says. "But as the economy is struggling, low prices are winning the day." - Read the whole story...

Dunkin' Donuts Ups Ante With Egg White Sandwiches
by Nina M. Lentini
[Restaurants] Rachael Ray, the brand's spokesperson, will appear in print ads for the new Egg White Sandwich. The company says it will spend several million dollars to market the new DDSmart menu, including online and TV ads that will be Rachael-free. All ads are from Hill, Holiday in Boston, the brand's AOR. - Read the whole story...

DIY Enthusiasm Dims As More Women Say 'Do It For Me!'
by Sarah Mahoney
[Retail] Vertis Communications' Scott Marden thinks there are actually plenty of opportunities for home-improvement stores. Its research found, in fact, that these stores are still shoppers' favorite starting point, with 57% turning to large home improvement stores first for home-improvement needs. - Read the whole story...

JCPenney Looks To Game To Connect With College Women
by Laurie Sullivan
[Retail] The Dork Dodge game taps into human stereotypes students find in college life. The game toggles between video and digital characters. An option also allows players to invite real-life friends into the game through an email option. A link at the end of the game takes players to JCPenney's Dorm Life page on Facebook. - Read the whole story...

Survey: Online Coupon Usage Up 39% Since 2005
by Karlene Lukovitz
[Retail] Demographically, 29% of online coupon users and 23% of newspaper coupon users are under age 35. (Nearly half of online coupon users are between the ages of 22 and 44.) More online users have household incomes over $60,000 (61%, versus 57% of newspaper coupon users). In addition, 36% of online users, versus 29% of newspaper users, have children under age 18. - Read the whole story...

Ruby Tuesday To Blow Self Up, Start Fresh by Nina M. Lentini [Restaurants] After the blast, :30 and :15 TV spots will introduce a new spokesman, described as "slightly over-enthusiastic" in his efforts to help people adapt to change of all kinds--including, of course, the radical changes at Ruby Tuesday. - Read the whole story...

Avon Beauty Sales Climb 19% On Increased Ad Spending

Iconix To Expand Brands Into New Territories

Monster Taps Ted Gilvar For EVP/CGMO Role

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Screw Up to Show Off?

I'm not suggesting that you deliberately do something wrong, but one of the best ways to build relationships with your customer is to fix a problem:

No Mistakes – It Is a Goal!

One of the bottom line expectations a customer has is no
mistakes. However, we must realize that this is a goal, not reality.

If we communicate well and understand what our customer
wants, needs and desires, we should be on our way to flawless service.

But, there will still be mistakes.
Sometimes the mistakes are our fault. Sometimes they are not, but it looks like they are. (Example: We shipped the product on time, but the overnight company failed on their end.)

At the time a mistake is made, it is an opportunity to show how
good you are. Seize it as such. Don't just fix it, but give the customer a renewed confidence in wanting to do business with you.

Copyright © Shep Hyken, Shepard Presentations
Shep Hyken, CSP is a professional speaker and author who works with organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books and tapes contact (314)692-2200 or ( Shepard Presentations, LLC 711 Old Ballas Road, Suite 215 St. Louis, MO 63141

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Where do you get your coupons?

Traditionally there have been two major sources for coupons, the Sunday Newspaper and direct mail.

However with the decline in the newspaper business, there is another source of coupons that is surging, boosted by the increase in technology and the decrease in our economy which has produced a new hunger from consumers to save.

Newspapers Dominate Coupon Sourcing, But Internet Up 83% in American HH Coupon Usage

According to a recent analysis Scarborough Research, Internet coupons are of increasing interest to consumers, Eleven percent of households currently obtain coupons via the Internet, and this has increased 83 percent since 2005. The Sunday newspaper remains the number one place for acquiring household coupons. Fifty-three percent of households get their coupons from the Sunday newspaper.

Other leading places for acquiring coupons include the mail, in-store coupons, preferred customer/loyalty cards, in-store circulars, weekday newspapers, product packages, and magazines. All of the coupon acquisition categories have experienced growth since 2005, however none at the level of Internet coupons.

Coupon Trend: Places Household Usually Obtains Cents-Off Coupons (%hhlds)

Coupon Source

2005 (%hhlds)

2006 (%hhlds)


% Increase 2005-2007

Sunday newspaper










In-store coupons





Preferred customer card/loyalty card





In-store circulars





Weekday newspaper





Product packages















Source: Scarborough Research USA, July 2008

Alisa Joseph, vice president, advertiser marketing services, Scarborough Research, said "... Coupons are one of several economically-focused promotional tools that stores and product brands can use to get shoppers in the door and... the Internet provides an easy to use vehicle to search for coupons."

Among Grocery Coupon Clipping Households, forty percent of Milwaukee households and 38 percent of Rochester households use grocery coupons once a week or more. Nationally, only 27 percent of households use grocery coupons with this same frequency. At the lowest end of the weekly users, fourteen percent of Albuquerque, and fifteen percent of El Paso, and Fresno households use grocery coupons once a week or more.

People from leading grocery coupon clipping cities have higher than average Sunday newspaper readership rates. Nationally, Sunday newspaper readers are 15 percent more likely than all adults to use grocery coupons in their household. Adults in leading coupon clipping market Milwaukee are 24 percent more likely to read the Sunday newspaper, and those in Rochester are 32 percent more likely to be readers of the Sunday paper.

The analysis also showed that Grocery Coupon Clipping Households spend $114 on groceries weekly, versus the national average of $110, and are more likely than the average household to purchase a variety of grocery products across categories, from pantry staples to health items such as yogurt and energy/nutrition bars.

The study concludes that people across all income brackets clip grocery coupons. However those with higher household incomes tend to be slightly more likely to clip grocery coupons.

Top Ranking Cities for Weekly Grocery Coupon Clipping Households (DMA percent of households)

Local Market

% of HH

Top 20

Milwaukee, WI


Rochester, NY


Pittsburgh, PA


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA


Buffalo, NY


Hartford/New Haven, CT


Columbus, OH


Toledo, OH


Syracuse, NY


Green Bay/Appleton, WI


Cincinnati, OH


Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY


Providence/New Bedford, RI


Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN


New York, NY





Lebanon/York, PA



Beach/Melbourne, FL


Philadelphia, PA


Tampa/St.Petersburg, FL


Bottom 20

Denver, CO


Wichita/Hutchinson, KS


Atlanta, GA


Birmingham, AL


Honolulu, HI


Austin, TX


Colorado Springs/Pueblo, CO


Spokane, WA


Little Rock/Pine Bluff, AR


Oklahoma City, OK


Chattanooga, TN


Tulsa, OK


Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL


Salt Lake City, UT


Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, CA


Bakersfield, CA


San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose,



Fresno/Visalia, CA


El Paso, TX


Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM


Source: Scarborough Research USA, July 2008

Please go online here to see full graphics and a complete local market ranking.

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A new way to get your newspaper

I don't like this idea. I use my phone for phone calls.

Ok, I sometime text too.

And I use the camera function also.

So maybe this idea is not that crazy...

International Herald Tribune
Publishing a newspaper, via cellphone

SAN FRANCISCO: The thud of the morning newspaper landing on the front porch may one day be replaced with the beep of download onto a cellphone.

Verve Wireless believes it can save the dying local newspaper in the United States by making it mobile. It offers publishers the technology to create Web sites for cellphones. The company, based in Encinitas, California, already provides mobile versions of 4,000 newspapers from 140 publishers, including Freedom Communications, McClatchy and The New York Times's Regional Media Group.

The Associated Press, its biggest customer, is betting that Verve has the solution to the nagging problem of dwindling print readership. It led a $3 million round of financing in Verve, a rare investment for the news organization.

People are increasingly using their phones to surf the Web. Of the 95 million mobile Internet subscribers in the United States, 40 million actively use their phones to go online, twice the number of two years ago, according to Nielsen Mobile. After portal sites and e-mail services, newspaper content - weather, news, politics, city guides, sports and entertainment - is most popular among mobile users.

Verve's chief executive, Art Howe, says he is convinced that people will always want local news and information - just not in the format of a print newspaper. But to be useful to readers, mobile versions of Web sites "cannot just be Internet lite," Howe warned. The AP recently released a popular iPhone application developed by Verve that lets users scan the day's headlines, send articles to friends and save articles to read later.

"Mobile is actually a better way to reach people than print or even Web. It's versatile, immediate, travels and is just as compelling," said Howe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter and former owner of 50 local papers.

The problem, said Verve's president, Tom Kenney, is that local papers do not have the resources, expertise or relationships with cellphone carriers to build mobile sites themselves. Verve does it for them, in exchange for a cut of ad revenue.

Publishers can upload local ads to their cellphone sites using Verve's software or have Verve place national ad campaigns on their sites. Verve can deliver a particular ad to, say, people age 21 to 30 who live in urban areas and have searched for articles about the bar scene.

Philadelphia Magazine, for example, sent readers of its Verve-developed Web site a text message offering $4 grapefruit cocktails and half-price appetizers at a local bar.

Mobile companies hope that this kind of ad customization could persuade advertisers to pay more for ads on cellphones than they do for Web ads. So far, few do. Advertisers will spend only $1.6 billion on mobile ads this year, while spending $26 billion online, predicts eMarketer, a marketing research firm.

Media General, which runs newspapers and television stations, mostly in the U.S. Southeast region, uses Verve for 79 mobile Web sites. Tim Repsher, who oversees Media General's mobile products, said he chose Verve because he would not have to hire new staff members to figure out how to publish newspapers on cellphones. Mobile readership quadrupled in a year, with readers using the site to read breaking news and hurricane reports and get updates during power failures.

Newspapers cannot afford to be late to cellphones, said Greg Sterling, who studies the mobile Internet for Opus Research, a consulting firm. "It's important and smart for newspapers to get out in front on the mobile phenomenon and not make the mistake they made in waiting too long to embrace the Internet."

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Say Goodbye to the Yellow Pages

I speculated on this months ago.

Phone Books are becoming irrelevant.

And now the research supports my prediction.
This is from

orrell Associates has released new research on yellow pages advertising collapsing, and a huge drive by local ad sales departments to capture online dollars that are migrating there due to a big shift in small-business spending.

They’re forecasting a 39% decline in yellow pages advertising over the next five years. Basically, the industry is about to collapse. The report is entitled, “Say Goodbye to Yellow Pages.”

Excerpts: The headline of this report is not so much a prediction of sudden demise as it is a play on a 1998 report by Forrester Research, “Say Goodbye to Classifieds.” When that report was published decade ago, the newspaper industry scoffed as its print classifieds continued to overshadow upstart Internet sites.

Yet the bottom has fallen out of newspaper classifieds, and in generally the same timeframe that they are predicting for print yellow page directories.
Since 2001, half of the annual print classifieds spending by car dealers and job recruiters – billions of dollars in annual sales – has dried up.

Last year the newspaper industry saw its steepest ever decline in print classifieds, driven largely by a 23% fall in real estate classifieds.
The conditions for yellow pages publishers are eerily similar.

Print directory revenues have shown stability throughout most of this decade despite the rise of the search engines – the same pre-condition that newspapers saw in the late 1990s with the rise of online classifieds verticals. The economic trigger – a recession – is now forcing small-business advertisers to be more careful with their ad budgets.

Over the next five years, Borrell is predicting 39% of the ad spending on print yellow pages revenues will vanish as small businesses shift marketing budgets online. After 12 years as an advertising medium, the Internet has finally reached small-business owners with viable marketing opportunities in the form of keyword advertising, interactive directories and low-priced online video commercials.

Until now, the key beneficiaries of this shift have been the search engines. But legacy media companies – yellow pages publishers included – have unleashed a newly trained army of local sales people to hunt down this migrating money.

Directory publishers have crosstrained nearly all their print reps to sell interactive media, while newspaper publishers have launched their own interactive directories and have deployed cross-trained sales troops to sell them. All told, online products are being peddled by 34,100 trained local sales reps –
more sales people than any other local medium.

With all those reps hawking banners, paid search, interactive directory listings and online video, it is no wonder that local online advertising is increasing at a rate of 61% this year, to $14.1 billion.
Yellow pages publishers have spent the past three years transforming their massive on-the-ground sales forces into marketing consultants who can meet their customers’ demands both in print and online.

Their combined print/online packages are simple, low-priced, one-stop solutions to small-business advertising needs. The proof of the industry’s rapid transformation is in the numbers: Of all local media companies, yellow pages publishers have been the most successful in moving toward digital sales, averaging about 14% of their gross revenues from online sales this year.

By contrast, the online contribution for most local newspaper, radio, cable and TV competitors is less than 5% of gross revenues.
The main battle for the small business ad spending is between the two or three years is between pure-plays, on the one hand, and the two groups with the largest local sales forces: newspapers and directory publishers.

Both have feverishly cross-trained their sales forces in the past three years and added “online only” reps to pursue the hottest-selling advertising product in local markets: interactive advertising, including the fastest-growing format of all, online video commercials.

Yellow pages publishers face the least-certain future of all local media. The business of delivering targeted, affordable advertising to small businesses – the yellow pages forte’ – is being battered by more targeted and even more affordable search advertising.

Again, Borrell is forecasting a 38.9% decline in print spending over the next five years – the largest decline of 11 local media categories they track. They expect print directory spending to slide from $12.7 billion this year to $7.8 billion in 2013 as smaller businesses cut back their yellow pages spending in favor of online search, interactive yellow pages, and the hottest category of all – online video commercials.

Publishers have already started making cuts. Idearc recently eliminated 28 of its 1,200 directories, and Yellow Book USA laid off 550 sales reps. Layoffs and folded directory titles are expected to continue over the next two years.
The key drivers of these changes are broadband penetration and the growing sophistication of search engines and interactive directories.

Between 2005 and 2007, 10.4 million adults stopped using the yellow pages “during the past month.”
If the trend continues, by 2010 average monthly use of the print directories will have slipped below critical mass: the majority of all adults will not crack open a yellow pages book in any given month.

Improving Internet connectivity makes that more likely: broadband users are four times more likely to use an interactive directory than dial-up users.
© 2008 Radio Business Report, Inc. All rights reserved

Also look at your Advertising Options.

Here are more links to Phone Book News:

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Advertising Campaign Updates

Check out these ad campaigns:

Out to Launch
by Phyllis Fine, Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 4:15 PM ET
Screaming in the airport. A screeching high for gas prices. Reexperiencing a childhood trauma. Ad campaigns may be kind of stressed-out this week (as am I, subbing for vacationing Out To Launch writer Amy Corr) but, heck -- let's launch anyway.

Great Adventure ad spotCan an airport be the "point of sale" for a trip to a theme park? Yes, if one by one, all the flights on the trusty departures board come up "canceled" -- and a head pops up on the board noting that "more fun close to home" is available at Six Flags. That's what happens in a spot designed to make the point that a trip to Six Flags is much more fun and relaxing than plane travel. Except, the Six Flags guy is so hyper, making his point so loudly, that I went into stress overdrive. Check out the spot here. "Airport" was created by Ogilvy, with media buying handled by MindShare.

American Asthma Foundation ad spotWow! Another nerve-wracking experience with another new campaign. Since I have asthma, I found the PSA for the American Asthma Foundation almost too realistic. The spot shows a man sitting peacefully on a park bench -- until a pair of hands appear and place a plastic bag over the man's head. Three solo drumbeats introduce the words "This...Is...Asthma" as the man struggles to breathe. Thankfully, he eventually frees himself from the bag. I've never had an asthma attack that was quite that bad, though I do remember some fairly traumatic hospital visits when I was a child. The 30-second public service announcement (PSA) marks the first awareness advertising undertaken by the one-year-old AAF. The campaign, created by DeVito/Verdi, began airing in May in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. I'd say the ad succeeds very well in increasing awareness of the perils of asthma. I'd be surprised if it wasn't successful. . Watch it -- gasp -- here.

Staples ad spot

In another scary ad, gas is now $92.50 a gallon. And the woman who attempts to use her "Easy" button to get a discount is foiled when she's told the button only works at Staples. Two other variants of the same concept are less frightening, because the prices for the products are within the realm of retail reality -- $219 for a pair of jeans (I've never paid that much, but some women do) and $319.07 for groceries. "Groceries" is the funniest of the bunch -- the irritated clerk ups the total to $323.40, scanning the bag of opened potato chips being chomped on by the customer's son. The 15-second spots, also supported by print, in-store and online, were created by McCann Erickson New York; media chores were handled by Mediacom. See the ads here, here and here.

StateFarm billboardFinally, a more peaceful vibe. A State Farm out of home campaign running in California -- of course -- offers tranquility and bliss, but for your car. "Experience Peace of Drive," is the tag for 2- and 3-D outdoor, street installations, and pop-up "car spas," along with billboards, cable car posters, bus shelters and bus wraps. Gotta envy those cars, which get the full spa treatment, from aromatherapy candles to massage to yoga to the equivalent of cucumber slices on one's eyelids. I just wondered about the acupuncture ad. Wouldn't acupuncture virgins (I'm experienced, thank you) wonder if the car had maybe been attacked by spear-throwing Indians in an old-time Western movie? BooneOakley handled both creative and media-buying duties. See the ads here, here, here and here.

San Francisco Zoo campaignAnother, more peaceful campaign promotes the San Francisco Zoo.
A series of bus shelters ads showcase distinctive animal features like butterfly wings and peacock feathers. When people stand in front of the ads, they take on these features. The ad copy encourages people to have their pictures taken and uploaded to an e-mail address where they can subsequently be posted as part of an online gallery ( Ultimately, the best photos will appear in a print ad. "Critter Quest" campaign was created by BBDO West.

Phyllis Fine is columns editor for MediaPost.

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