Saturday, October 04, 2008

Recomending Reading

First of all, on the right side of this page is a display of books that you can click on and buy direct from Amazon. Each of these books, I recommend, because I have read them and gained wisdom and inspiration from them.

For some other suggested reading, the folks at the THINKing blog have some recommendations:


Link to THINKing

Random Readings

Posted: 01 Oct 2008 01:35 PM CDT

A few things I’ve been reading.

Businesses: Get Your Social Media On
Almost 60 percent of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. These are among the findings of the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study.

Create Viral Content With Two Household Ingredients
Whether the communication is advertising, marketing or public relations, it all has a viral potential. Done right, and a message catches the attention of folks and spreads from one to the next.

Surprise For WOM Success
Emotional engagement is the key to viral marketing success. People share their everyday experiences by communicating them to others in and outside of their network. This social sharing is more rampant when the individuals develop intense feelings like fear, disgust, sadness, joy, anger and surprise.

Here’s To Knowing Your Audience
The first rule of communications, and thus the first rule of social media, is to know your audience. (Take a tip from Jason Falls and find out all you can about your audience.)

13 Tips On How To Have Great Conversations On Your Blog
What I do want to focus on in this post goes beyond getting comments and how to grow ‘conversations’ (something that I think is a little deeper). There is some overlap - but I hope this post goes beyond that previous one.

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How to Sell Booze

I found this article the other day:

Why Loud Music in Bars Increases Alcohol Consumption

When the music goes up, the beers go down.
At some point during the evening, in bars across the land, two things happens: the lights go down and the music goes up.

Lowering the lights signals the real beginning of night-time fun: with dimmed lights and alcohol beginning to work its magic the business of loosening up after the day's exertions can truly begin.

But turning the music up so loud that people are forced to shout at each other doesn't have quite the same beneficial effect on social interactions. Because everyone is shouting, the bar becomes even noisier and soon people start to give up trying to communicate and focus on their drinking, meaning more trips to the bar, and more regrets in the morning.

Of course this is exactly what bar owners are hoping for. People sitting around quietly nursing their drinks for hours are no good for profits. Talkers aren't the best drinkers. At least that is the received wisdom in the industry. And this received wisdom turns out to be accurate according to field studies conducted in French bars by Professor Nicolas Guegen and colleagues.

Drink up

One study by Gueguen et al. (2004) (PDF) found that higher sound levels lead to people drinking more. In a new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, Gueguen et al. (2008) visited a bar in the west of France to confirm their previous finding in a naturalistic setting. Here, they observed customers' drinking habits across three Saturday nights, in two different bars in the city.


The level of the music was randomly manipulated to create the conditions of a true experiment. It was either at its usual volume of 72dB or turned up to 88dB. For comparison: 72db is like the sound of traffic on a busy street while 88db is like standing next to a lawnmower.

Sure enough when the music went up the beers went down, faster. On average bar-goers took 14.5 minutes to finish a 250ml (8 oz) glass of draught beer when the music was at its normal level. But this came down to just 11.5 minutes when the music was turned up. As a result, on average, during their time in the bar each participant ordered one more drink in the loud music condition than in the normal music condition.

The observers even measured the number of gulps taken to finish each drink - the level of the music was found to have no effect on this. So the faster drinking was as a result of more gulps rather than bigger gulps.

Drinking instead of talking?

Since the volume of the music was randomly manipulated this experiment suggests that louder music causes more drinking, but what it doesn't tell us is why. Some think that people drink instead of talking while others have argued that they drink more because the music creates greater levels of arousal, which then leads to more drinking.

Evidence from a study carried out in pubs in Glasgow, Scotland by Forsyth and Cloonan (2008) does back up the idea that people do, at least partly, drink because they can't talk to each other. Perhaps further studies comparing lone drinkers with dyads and bigger groups would confirm or disprove this idea.

Whatever the real reason, or combination of reasons, this kind of study is very persuasive about the causal connection between louder music and more drinking because the experimenters have taken the time to go to a bar, set up the random experimental manipulation and then actually observe people to see what they do in a real live environment.

On top of that, from the point of the view of the participant, I think it would definitely enhance your night-out to find out that you'd been inadvertently furthering psychological science by sinking a few cold ones. Or is that just the researcher (or beer-drinker) in me coming out?

» This is part of a series on the psychology of the everyday.

[Image credits: john and Thomas Hawk]

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Random Facts

From my email this week:
Debate Comparisons, Wireless Households, and Employment Advertisers: Data Potpourri

With the U.S. financial crisis hanging in the balance, the first debate between Barack Obama and John McCain has taken on unusual importance. But, how did this first presidential duel of the 2008 election compare with the most-watched debates of the last half-century? Compare the 57 million who watched last Friday night with TV audiences since 1976, as collected by Nielsen Media Research.

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's 1980 debate claimed the largest television audience since 1976, the first year that Nielsen collected TV viewership data for presidential debates. George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot's 1992 debate, and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter's 1976 debate, round out the top three. George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis's 1988 debates and Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale's 1984 debates also made the top 10.

Presidential Debate Audience Rankings (millions)






Viewers (Millions)




Oct. 28

Carter - Reagan





Oct. 15

Bush - Clinton - Perot





Sept. 23

Ford - Carter





Oct. 13

Bush - Dukakis





Oct. 21

Reagan - Mondale





Oct. 19

Bush - Clinton - Perot





Sept. 25

Bush - Dukakis





Oct. 7

Reagan - Mondale





Oct. 6

Ford - Carter





Oct. 22

Ford - Carter


Source: Nielsen Media Research, September 2008 (There were no televised Presidential debates for the years 1972, 1968, and 1964.)

For the complete release, please visit Nielsen here.

And, a new study from The Nielsen Company says that more than 20 million U.S. telephone households (17 percent) are wireless substitutors-homes without landlines that rely solely on a mobile phone for their home telecommunications.

As the U.S. economy tightens and consumers look for ways to cut household spending, many are eyeing that landline phone bill, which averages $40 per month per landline household. In addition to the universe of U.S. wireless substitutors, Nielsen's study reports that:

  • U.S. cord cutters tend to have lower income-levels-59 percent have household incomes of $40,000 or less
  • Smaller households, with just one or two residents, are more likely to cut the cord than larger households
  • Moving or changing jobs are the biggest life events associated with cord cutting: 31 percent of cord cutters moved prior to cord cutting and 22 percent changed jobs
  • Wireless substitutors tend to use their mobile phones more than their landline peers, 45 percent more per phone, but still save an average $33 per month in a household of one subscriber, less $6.69 for each additional wireless resident, when they cut the cord

Alison LeBreton, vice president of client services for Nielsen Mobile, said "As wireless network quality improves and unlimited calling becomes increasingly pervasive, we expect the trend toward wireless substitution to continue... "

But wireless substitution doesn't work for everyone, says the report. Ten percent of landline phone customers have experimented with wireless-only in their household, but then returned to landline service. Nielsen reports that needing a landline for another service (security system, satellite TV, pay-per-view, fax machine, etc.) is the primary reason people mend the cord.

For the full paper, "Call My Cell: Wireless Substitution in the United States," please go here.

Finally, the top Online sites handling the Employment Segment in the Web Media Industry in mid-September:

Top 20 Advertisers in the Web Media Industry, Employment Segment (Week ending September 14, 2008 US, Home and Work)


Impressions (000)

Share of all Impressions

Monster Worldwide Inc.



CareerBuilder LLC








Deutsche Telekom AG



Sigma Assessment Systems Inc.






Yahoo! Inc.


0.5% Inc.


0.4% Inc.





Cox Search LLC.





Trader Publishing Company



ChevronTexaco Corporation



Central Florida Employment Council






Net-Temps Inc.





Tenet Healthcare Corporation






Source:Nielsen Online, AdRelevance

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Attitude Adjustment

Some sales training advice from Art Sobczak:

This Week's Tip:
Do You Need an Attitude Bailout?


Lots of negativity going on right now.

The stock market tanked. Biggest drop ever.
The bailout plan was rejected. Listen to some people
in the media and you'd think life will cease to exist.

I'm a news junkie, but I actually quit watching, reading,
and listening for a while. I don't need the poisonous
thinking. My stock holdings are worth a LOT less today
than yesterday. Can't do anything about that. One thing
I do know: They always go back up.

And oh, the sun came up brilliantly here in Arizona this
morning. I noticed stores were still open. The gym was
too. So the first thing I did was control the one thing I
have total control over: My attitude. I suggest you do
the same.

As I have long preached, most everything you accomplish
in life and sales is due to how you feel.

Many people are in a perpetual negativity cycle. They
look at everything through a mud-covered filter, and their
actions and lives follow suit.

Others, probably the people you know who are the most
successful...the doers, the movers, the producers, the
people who make things happen...those are the ones who
control what they can and aren't affected by negative
thinking. Hopefully you are in that group.

I'm doing two things for you today to contribute to your
positive attitude, if you will allow it.

First, I'm sharing some ideas below from my friend,
Dr. Allan Zimmerman, about positive attitude.

And, I've also put together a special "Attitude Bailout
Incentive Package," which is an audio seminar Dr.
Zimmerman did with me for members of my Telesales
Success Inner Circle. You can see this at

Here are a few of Alan Zimmerman's suggestions on
being enthusiastic, which is one component of a
positive attitude.

1. Do Not Catch the Other Person's Disease
This refers to the negative thoughts and words of others
around you, and the media. Stay away from the people
you know will pull you down with their whining and
complaining. Turn the TV. Read something inspirational,
or listen to motivational recordings.

2. Say Something Positive to Everyone
When you speak positively to others, you brighten
up their day, and you can't help but feel better about
yourself. (Of course, with some negative folks, you
will have to work at this.)

3. Practice Positive Expectations
If you are not getting what you want, perhaps your
expectations are too low. In Dr. Zimmerman's book,
"Pivot-How One Turn in Attitude Can Lead to Success,"
he quotes Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who said,
"There is another kind of poverty-one most people
never think about-and it's the poverty of expectations."

When you expect good things to happen, they seem
to take place, not due to some cosmic magic, but
because you are LOOKING for the good things, and
you tend to MAKE them happen.

4.Use the Positive "But"
In Dr. Zimmerman's Peak Performance Boot Camps
he has participants to draw a line down the center of a
piece of paper. On the top left side they write Problems,
and on the right, Blessings. For every Problem,
he has them counter it with a Blessing. For example,
"I lost a big sale, BUT I learned why and will be able
to prevent that same thing from happening." "I am
overweight, BUT I am healthy enough to get on an
exercise program and do something about it."

5. Find a Reason to Celebrate
No matter how gloomy a situation is, if you look for
it, you can find a reason to celebrate. Dr. Ira Greenberg,
head of the Behavioral Studies Institute, urges people
to succeed at something every day. He said, "Each day,
do something you can be proud of. Each night take
pleasure in remembering it."

For those who have been through my training or books,
you know that we always have a Secondary Objective
on calls, something we can accomplish regardless of
whether or not we accomplish the Primary Objective.

6. Do it Now
It's tough to consistently feel good about yourself if
you let your ideas pass, or you put them on hold.
Conversely, it's difficult to feel down or depressed when
you are in action, working toward some goal. What is it
that you always wanted, but never have started moving
toward? What's stopping you other than you? Do it now!

Alan Zimmerman is truly one of the leaders today in
maximizing peak performance and attitude. I regularly
re-read his book, "Pivot," and listen to the audio
seminar he did for my members. I want you to enjoy
the benefits and results of his words as well. That's
why, until this Friday at 5 p.m., I offering this audio
seminar at HALF of the regular investment.

Regularly, it's $59. Until Friday, just $29. And,
you can download it right now, along with the file of
the written transcript. You can see complete details,
hear a sample, and order at


Quote of the Week

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best
out of the way things turn out."

Art Linkletter

Go and have your best week ever!


Get Art's Best Sales Secrets and Training--This is Not
a Misprint--For Less Than Four Bucks

Would you like to sample over $1000 worth of my proven sales techniques,
including 30 podcasts, 36 monthly subscription newsletters, and more
for less than 4 bucks? That is not a misprint. You can get complete
access to most of my best material immediately and
test drive my Telesales Success Inner Circle.

And if you'd like to trial it at the Platinum Level, you can get,
IMMEDIATELY, over $2,700 worth of my training materials.

Right now, go to


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If this issue was forwarded to you and you are not yet getting these free
weekly e-mailed sales tips, send an email to
TelEHotTips @ Please put "JOIN" in the subject line.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News


by Laurie Sullivan
"Obama sent out a text message to supporters letting them know his pick for the vice presidential candidate," says brand guru Laura Reis. "Verizon wants consumers to know they are one of the two major players on the cutting edge." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Many retailers are already struggling, and some industry experts have predicted that the coming holiday season will be the worst in nearly two decades. And while extensive price-cutting and freebies can only put more pressure on store profits, it's still one of the primary methods stores have for tempting shoppers. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"We're getting our messages out there, and moving from a monologue to a dialogue," says director of digital communications, Adam Brown. "I'd love to assign a monetary value to what we do" with social media, "but we're not quite there yet," he said. However, he stressed that both the blog and the other initiatives are yielding tangible benefits. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"If you are in the apparel or casual dining industry it's going to be a tough short-term road," says Focalyst's Chris Murphy. The two areas none of the three groups are cutting back on are cable TV and beauty. But the survey found that boomers, regardless of group, feel advertisers aren't speaking to them. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The jeans marketer plans to make 5 million consumer impressions over the next six months, with spots running on sports and general-interest programming, a big push in radio on high-rated male programming and supporting print ads, all of it geared to men. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
During broadcasts, Bridgestone will run the "Screaming Squirrel" spot with the "It's Bridgestone or Nothing" theme that broke during the Super Bowl, and will also tout its Blizzak winter tire. There will also be hockey-specific print ads in sports and hockey publications and game-day programs. ... Read the whole story > >

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OnLine Boomer Marketing

Recently I read that Boomers are one of the fastest growing demographics that are becoming web savvy. Now that computers are faster and more reliable, you don't need to be as "geeky" as you may have say 10, or even 5 years ago. Check this out:

Elations Site Heavy On Content, Light On Self-Promotion
By Amy Corr

Baby boomers might not be as technologically savvy as younger generations, but that doesn't mean social networking doesn't register as a blip on their radar.

Case in point: Elations, a fruit-flavored beverage that provides a recommended dosage of Glucosamine and Chondroitin to those suffering from joint pain and osteoarthritis.

Rather than promote its product using traditional media, the company launched a social networking site, , where boomers can read daily nutritional news stories, track their weight loss using a BMI and Activity calculator, and share stories with people living with similar ailments.

I was struck by the wealth of information on the site, which includes weekly wellness tips, recipes, quizzes and reader questions answered by a nutritionist.

I was also surprised by the lack of product advertising. Elations has its own company site, yet its social networking site contains minimal ads describing the product and its purpose, which is a great thing. The site genuinely houses health information for joint pain sufferers without pushing its product onto users.

The company probably realizes that for consumers to find the LiveElated site, chances are they're already familiar with Elations.

Created by CDA, the site also includes a community forum for users to interact, a searchable database for neighborhood walking clubs, and a photo upload section where users can share pictures that illustrate people "living elated."

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Ten Traits of Strong Brands

Over the past 20 years, I have talked to a few hundred business owners about the marketing and management of their businesses.

There are certain common traits of the most successful, whether it is a transmission shop, dentist, book store, university, or nearly any business. A strong brand is essential.

Check out this list:

The Top 10 Traits of Strong Brands

Here is the result of some reading on Marketing. We have started with Marketing Mix and had done the topic Product. It was required by our Lecturer to do some reading on Brand Equity. Looking for some articles out there in the information super highway, I found this one easy to read and understand.

Ref: Harvard Business Review on Marketing; Top ten brands in the World

Review: Brand Report Card by Kevin Lane Keller

To give managers a systematic way to think about their brands, Tuck School Professor Kevin Lane Keller lays out the ten characteristics that the strongest brands share.

The world's strongest top ten brands share the following attributes:

1. The brand excels at delivering the benefits customers truly desire

starbucks coffee

Consider Starbucks. The company began to focus its efforts on building a coffee bar culture. It maintained control over the coffee from start to finish - from the selection and procurement of the beans to their roasting and blending to their ultimate consumption. Starbucks locations have thus have been successfully delivered superior benefits to customers by appealing to all five senses - through the enticing aroma of beans, the rich taste of the coffee, the product displays and the attractive artwork adorning the walls, the contemporary music playing in the background and even the cozy feel of the tables and chairs.

2. The brand stays relevant

Strong brands are tied to the actual quality of the products/service and to various intangible factors. Those intangibles include: user imagery - the type of person who uses the brand, the type of situations in which the brand is used, the type of personality the brand portrays etc.

Gillette Mach3

Gillette, pours millions of dollars into R&D to ensure that its razor blades are as technologically advanced as possible, calling advances through subbrands (Trac II, Atra, Sensor, Mach3) and signaling minor improvements with modifiers (Altra Plus, SensorExcel). At the same time, Gillette has created a consistent, intangible sense of product superiority with its long-running ads, "The best a man can get".

3. The pricing strategy is based on consumers' perceptions of value

The right blend of product quality, design, features and costs and prices is very difficult to achieve but well worth the effort.

P&G logo


With its well-known shift to an "everyday low pricing (EDLP)" strategy, Procter & Gamble did successfully align its prices with consumer perceptions of its products' value while maintaining acceptable profit levels.

4. The brand is properly positioned

Brands that are well positioned occupy particular niches in consumers' minds. They are similar to and different from competing brands in certain reliably identifiable ways.


Visa is an example whose managers understand the positioning game. In the 1970s and 1980s, American Express maintained the high-profile brand in the credit card market through a series of highly effective marketing programs. Trumpeting that "membership" has its privileges, American Express came to signify status, prestige and quality.

In response, Visa introduced the Gold and Platinum cards and launched an aggressive marketing campaign to build up the status of its cards to match the American Express cards. Visa became the consumer card of choice for family and personal shopping, for personal travel and entertainment and even for international travel, a former American Express stronghold.

5. The brand is consistent

Maintaining a strong brand means striking the right balance between a continuity in marketing activities and the kind of change needed to stay relevant. Continuity means the brand's image does not get muddled or lost in a cacophony of marketing efforts that confuse customers by sending conflicting messages.

Michelob Beer

In the 1970s Michelob ran ads featuring successful young professionals that confidently proclaimed "When you are going, it's Michelob". The company's next ad campaign trumpeted "Weekends are made for Michelob". In the mid-1980s, managers launched a campaign telling consumers that "The night belongs to Michelob". Then in 1994 we were told, "Some days are better than others," which went on to explain that "A special day requires a special beer". The slogan was subsequently changed to "Some days were made for Michelob."

After receiving so many different messages, consumers could hardly be blamed if they had no idea when they were supposed to drink the beer. Predictably sales suffered.

6. The brand portfolio and hierarchy makes sense.

Most companies do not have only one brand; they create and maintain different brands for different market segments. This philosophy led to the creation of Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions. The ideas was that each division would appeal to a unique market segment on the basis of price, product design, user imagery and so forth.

ChevroletSaturnPontiac LogoOldsmobile

Chevrolet has been positioned as the value-priced, entry-level brand. Saturn represent no-haggle, customer-oriented service. Pontiac is meant to be the sporty, performance-oriented brand for young people. Oldsmobile is the brand for larger, medium-priced cars.

7. The brand makes use of and coordinates a full repertoire of marketing activities to build equity.

A brand is made up of all the marketing elements that can be trademarked - logos, symbols, slogans, packaging, signage and so on. Strong brands mix and match these elements to perform a number of brand-related functions, such as enhancing or re-enforcing consumer awareness of the brand or its image and helping the product to protect the brand both competitively and legally.


Coca-Cola makes excellent use of many kinds of marketing activities. These include media advertising campaign, promotions ans sponsorship. They also include direct response and interactive media. Through it all, the company always reinforces its key values of "originality" , "classic refreshment" and so on.

8. The brand's managers understand what the brand means to consumers.

Managers of strong brands appreciate the totality of their brand's image - that is, all the different perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors customers associate with their brand, whether created internationally by the company or not. As a result, managers are able to make decisions regarding the brand with confidence.

Gillette BraunOral B

Gillette is very protective of the name carried by its razors, blades and associated toiletries. The company's electric razors, for example, use the entirely separate Braun name and its oral care products are marketed under the Oral B name.

9. The brand is given proper support, and that support is sustained over the long run

Brand equity must be carefully constructed. A firm foundation for brand equity requires that consumers have the proper depth and awareness and strong, favorable and unique associations with the brand in their memory.

Tapping customers' perceptions and beliefs often uncovers the true meaning of a brand.

Shell oil

A good example of lack of support comes from the oil and gas industry in the 1980s. In the late 1970s, consumers had an extremely positive image of Shell Oil and, according to market research, saw clear differences between that brand and its major competitors. In the early 1980s, however for a variety of reasons, Shell cut back considerably on its advertising and marketing. Shell has yet to regain the ground it lost. The brand no longer enjoys the same special status in the eyes of consumers who now view it as similar to other oil companies.

10. The company monitors sources of brand equity

Strong brands generally make good and frequent use of in-depth brand audits and ongoing brand-tracking studies. A brand audit is an exercise designed to assess the health of a given brand.

Conclusive Note

Hence we can see that building a strong brand involves maximizing all ten characteristics. And that is clearly, a worthy goal. But in practice, it is tremendously difficult because in many cases when a company focuses on improving one, others may suffer.

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Brand Line Extensions

Hair extensions are one thing, Brand Extensions are an entirely different matter. Laura Ries is back with her thoughts this afternoon:

Line Extension Intervention


Line extensions are like drugs. And like drugs which we all know can be deadly, the long term risks are often overlooked for some short term fun.

A nightclub filled with young, beautiful, successful people high on cocaine doesn’t look so dangerous it looks like a rocking party. That first time club user never imagines becoming a junkie living on the street. But it often happens. And what seemed cool initially can take over your life destroying everything you once had.

Line extension works the same way. A little can feel great but soon you are addicted. The addiction takes over and you can’t stop. You end up losing your category, marketshare and meaning. For some it happens quickly for others is can take years but eventually you wake up and you have a brand like Chevrolet that doesn’t stand for anything anymore.

Why don’t people heed the danger of drugs or line extensions? Because drug use and line extension abuse have been romanticized. Line extensions get glorified in the trade press the way drug use gets glamorized in the movies.

You read about all the new and exciting line extension launches but rarely read about the abysmal results. Movies are filled with alcohol, drugs and cigarettes yet rarely address consequences from these vices.

So we the masses are left with a false impression that everybody is doing it, it’s fun and nobody ever gets hurt. Therefore, the few straight-arrows at the party not partaking in the fun feel like losers.

But like the losers in high school that studied and are now successful, rich and powerful; the losers that don’t line extend will be the ultimate winners in the marketplace.

Today, more than ever, the pressure is on to just maintain market share and sales numbers. So the temptation for a quick line-extension bump is hard to resist. But remember, that short term rush isn’t worth it, when you come down from the high in a few months time your branding problems may be far worse that today. It takes guts to just say no. But in the end you’ll be glad you did.

Big food companies in particular are addicted to line extensions. Corporate culture in these company rewards line extension internally. Brand managers spend an average of 16 months on a brand so an easy way to look busy and pad your resume is to launch a line extension. The problems caused by that extension are left to the unlucky guy or gal who gets the brand next.


That’s why new powerful brands are not being launched by big companies, they are being launched by entrepreneurs. VitaminWater would have never been launched by Cola-Cola. A company who had the bright idea to launch Diet Coke Plus with vitamins.


Coca-Cola had to buy VitaminWater for a pretty penny. Why can't the world's best beverage company launch a successful new brand itself? Because they only do line extensions and me-too products. It is a tragedy.

But you can’t blame the addicts, corporate culture pushed the idea on them and now they are hooked. Line extension is a disease. We need treatment for these people. Perhaps they should be locked up and forced to read Ries books.

The really scary thing is that line extension addiction has hit an all time high. Walk down the aisle of any supermarket and you can see the carnage. Almost every grocery brand is a mess. The shelves are crammed with too many varieties, flavors and extensions. The average consumer is overwhelmed, confused and usually disappointed.

How many of you are like me and came home with the wrong product? Bought caffeine-free Coke instead of Diet caffeine-free Coke? I have bought the wrong kind of Cheez-Its, Oreos, Cheerios, Campbell’s soup, Gatorade, Tide, Crest, Kraft cheese, Thomas’ English muffins and Coca-Cola more times than I would like to admit here. I am smart, I am careful, and even I have a hard time shopping.

Then imagine the disaster when I send my darling husband to the store. Even with a list in hand, the poor guy has no idea what to buy. I put Goldfish, English muffins, Oreos, Tide and Dannon on the list and the man is at a total loss and needs several phone calls home to get help. And even with all that he comes home with the wrong stuff and gets yelled at.

I say it is time for an intervention. You think America’s addiction to oil and drugs is bad, just take a look at our addiction to line extension.

Next time your kids rush to the side lines for some Gatorade ask them “Will that be with Tiger or without?”

Tiger gatorade

Tiger is a line extension of Gatorade! It is just about the craziest thing I have ever seen. What executive green lighted this idea?

I think we need an intervention at many corporations, I would start with the executives at Gatorade. Perhaps it could be pitched as the next great reality show: Line Extension Intervention.

I'll lock up executives up in brand rehab and make them follow my 12-step program.

The Twelve Steps of Line Extension Anonymous

Step 1: Admit our company has become powerless over line extension and that our brands have become meaningless.

Step 2: Believe that a brand guru greater than ourselves can help bring sanity and return brand focus.

Step 3: Make a decision to turn our brand over to the care of the teachings of focus.

Step 4: Make a searching and fearless inventory of what has weakened our brand.

Step 5: Admit to ourselves, our colleges and our shareholders the exact nature of our line extension wrongs.

Step 6: Be ready to remove every ridiculous line extensions from the brand portfolio.

Step 7: Ask distribution to take these line extension disasters off the shelf.

Step 8: Humbly ask consumers to forget our brand sins.

Step 9: Make direct amends to such people who got stuck buying terrible line extensions when possible.

Step 10: Continue to take a brand inventory to maintain focus.

Step 11: Practice daily affirmation of focus and promise to stay true to the mission of having a brand stand for something in the mind.

Step 12: Have a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps and take this message to other line extension addicts.

May the Focus be with You!

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Improving your Emailed Newsletter

Email can be a useful marketing tool to bring people to your website, your store, or both. However, unless you are careful in how you use it, you can be driving people away too.

A friend of mine has tried various styles of newsletters, blogs and website combination's to marketing his growing business. If you are looking for some guidance, read this:

Three Traits of a Must-Read Newsletter

NewslettersA newsletter broadcast—whether daily, weekly or monthly—can be a great way to draw attention to your product or service. But growing a mailing list of eager recipients can be a challenge, particularly if you're starting out with just friends and family.

It's possible to expand your readership with something like a contest—especially if you're willing to dish out an extravagant prize. But don't be surprised if you receive entries from bogus addresses and an avalanche of unsubscribe requests after the contest.

The truth is you don't need gimmicks. The best way to expand your mailing list is simple: Make your newsletter a must-read. You have experience as a newsletter consumer. Consider your favorite ones. They probably have a few things in common:

  1. Innovative content. Successful newsletters tell their readers something they don't already know. They bring an insider's perspective, offer a fresh spin or introduce an entirely new topic.
  2. Short and sweet entries. Long-form prose doesn't work online. No one cares about lengthy treatises on any subject. As well as brevity, readers respond to lively, concise writing.
  3. Appealing visuals. A polished, professional appearance lends credibility to your content—and to your authority on the subject.

In short: If you were on the receiving end of your newsletter, would you forward it to friends or colleagues? If yes, you're on the right track. If not, it's time to re-think your content.

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10 Steps to becoming a Selling Machine

From a recent email:

Becoming A Selling Machine

Selling superstars aren't born, they are made. The truth
be told, they are self-made. They are selling machines.

You can become the quintessential salesperson if you stay
focused and work hard.

Here are 10 steps to follow if you want to become a selling

1. "Yes I can!" Begin everyday thinking and saying aloud
"Yes I can!" The choice is pretty obvious here. You're either
thinking "Yes I can" or "Yes I can't."

You have to believe, truly believe that you can do anything
you set your mind to doing. It's an attitude and attitude
determines your destiny.

2. "I will" versus "I'll try." Trying accomplishes nothing,
nada, zippo. Doing - gets things done. Begin every day
with the intention of doing instead of trying. Once again
this is an example of an appropriate mindset if you want
to become a selling machine.

3. Becoming rich is a state of mind and so is becoming poor.
Which do you prefer? Put a crisp $100 bill in your wallet. Not
many people have crisp $100 bills in their wallets.

The $100 bill won't make you rich but it will make you feel
good just knowing it's there. It's also a great way to rid your
mind of any negative thinking about money.

4. Establish daily written and prioritized goals. Begin each day
with purpose and passion in the pursuit of your daily goals.
Push aside all interruptions and distractions until your written
goals are achieved. Purpose and passion elude most people.

If you doubt me, make note of all the people you see in a
single day that strike you as having purpose and passion.
It might be days before you spot one. With purpose and
passion you'll standout from the competitive crowd - and
that's a good thing.

5. Don't complain and don't explain. Just go about your
business energetically and enthusiastically. Your enthusiasm
will fuel your purpose and passion - so don't leave home
without it.

Complaining and explaining creates negative energy. Just
stay focused on your daily goals and you'll stay on track and
accomplish more than ever.

6. Go buy a composition notebook. Call it your success or
idea journal. This is the place to keep all of your good ideas.
Make your life your laboratory and keep tabs on what works
and what doesn't work.

Write down your thoughts and action steps. Include words
of wisdom. Include everything that inspires you. Include
everything that's noteworthy. This is the place to also keep
your favorite quotations.

7. Take chances and don't fear failure. I didn't always think
this way, but now that I do I realize it's a much better way
to live your life. Our country is what it is today because of
the cumulative risks taken by all the generations who came
before us.

Every once in a while some radical thinking is needed to
shake things up in your life - personally and professionally.
Of course this is easy to say and hard to do.

Just think "Yes I can."

8. Become a student of selling. Read good books. I just
finished reading "The Dip" by Seth Godin. It's an excellent
book. It's short and sweet - only 80 pages. Read articles.

Turn your car into a classroom and listen to CDs everyday.
The quickest way to become a master of selling is to become
a student of selling first.

Establish a written goal to invest $1000 every year for your
personal development. Most people don't recognize and
appreciate that the size of their library influences the degree
of their success.

9. You can become a master of change or a prisoner of change.
Time in your territory doesn't make you an agent of change.
Only the acquisition and implementation of new ideas can. I
know salespeople who have been in sales 20 years. Yup - one
year repeated 20 times. This is no way to live your life.

Once a month ask yourself what can you start doing, stop
doing, or change what you are doing? And ask this question
at the end of every selling day. "How can I do it better?"

10. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for everything
you have. Say thank you to everyone who buys from you.
Say thank you to everyone who helps you make the sale. And
it wouldn't hurt to say thank you to your Creator.

We live lives of abundance in the United States. It's always the
right time to show your appreciation for what you have.

You'll sidestep all the Willi Lomans "Death Of Salesman" when
you stay focused on becoming a selling machine!

Don't settle for the ordinary when you had the opportunity
to become extraordinary!

Brain Snacks Special . . .

Don't leave home without this sixpack.

These CDs will turn you into a selling machine.

Hello customers watch out competitors!

Listen to these CDs for 20 minutes everyday and your life
will change.

Don't take my word for it, if you're not satisfied you can
return them for a 100% refund.

Check out these CD titles:

=> How To Avoid Sounding Pathetic During A Sales Call

=> 35 Ways To Differentiate Yourself From The Competition

=> Closing The Sale

=> Are You Complete To Compete

=> 75 Little Things You Can Do To Grow Your Business

=> How To Sell Anything For List Price

Plus every order includes my 250 Transformational,
Inspirational, Motivational, educational Quotations
booklet. This is a $9.97 value.

Use this link to order your CDs today:

Here's some great sales tips from
Entrepreneur Magazine

The October issue of Entrepreneur Magazine has a terrific
article that can help all salespeople grow their business.

The title of the article is "Get Noticed - Shine A Spotlight
On Your Business With Our 21 Low-cost Marketing Moves."

If your business is about growing your business I encourage
you to subscribe to Entrepreneur Magazine.

It's loaded with practical sales and marketing ideas.

Links To Previous Newsletters

Selling Countdown

To Prejudge Is To Misjudge

Selling And Going For The Gold

Personal Selling - It's Time For A Tune-up

A Big Sales Tip

Favorite Quote

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.

Start selling more today and everyday . . .

Jim Meisenheimer

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

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thursday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
The combination of plummeting loans and shrinking leases is upending the market, which had been defined by consumers trading up from small cars to large sedans and SUVs. Says GDN Auto's Michael Sheridan: "As the leasing option becomes nonexistent, consumers are saying, 'do I really need to make the second-most expensive purchase I can make?"' ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Wendy's value-menu moves were a strategic attempt to capitalize on McDonald's' acknowledgement that it might have to alter or replace its $1 double cheeseburger, while over at Dunkin' Donuts, the latest move emulates a recent Starbucks promotion, but takes the value pitch even further. ... Read the whole story > >
by Laurie Sullivan
Consumer satisfaction for picture clarity and programming exceeds expectations, J.D. Power and Associates found, and customer service has also been tops. For example, installing IPTV services can take four to six hours, yet these companies are holding subscribers' hands through the process, even explaining benefits long after the technology has been installed. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The research revealed that hunting for cheaper products provided these women with more than just savings. "They get a real sense of accomplishment, and love to brag about how much money they saved, whether it's on a big-ticket item or a small one," says Valassis's Suzie Brown. "And it makes them feel part of a group." ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
"The Talkin Krazy is sold with a dry erase marker so it can easily wipe clean to start again," says the retailer, adding, "The skills to back up the talk... sold separately." The national campaign involves digital, print and in-store. The basketball footwear is sold only at Champs Sports. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
J.D. Power and Associates says that while price was critical to customer satisfaction in recent years, this year ease of use became more important, with consumers favoring brands with easy-to-use controls and displays. ... Read the whole story > >

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Levi's OnLine

The website is not for the faint of heart, or pre-teens either. Adweek has the story:

Levi's 'Unbuttons' Viral Effort

EVB's somewhat risque work targets young male consumers

Oct 1, 2008

-By Brian Morrissey


Levi's 'unbuttons the beast' in a viral video effort.

NEW YORK Levi's wants customers to get in touch with their inner beast.

The San Francisco company has launched a new viral effort it hopes will attract young men to pass along videos of customized "beasts" emerging from the button-fly of Levi's jeans. At, visitors can choose from nine different animated characters with names like Trout Troutman, Paul the Pincher and Sock Nasty, then customize the beast's message by calling a toll-free number. The effort, unsurprisingly, is geared to young men just out of college.

The e-mail arrives with the subject "Do you dare to unbutton my beast?" Users can customize the message to friends. The default borders on the risque, reading, "There's something I've been meaning to tell you, but I don't want to freak you out. That's why I'm sending my beast to do my dirty work." Senders receive a confirmation e-mail that their message was sent -- along with a 15 percent off coupon for jeans.

Omnicom Group-backed EVB created the effort, its latest try at viral success. EVB and Toy New York created "Elf Yourself," the runaway hit for OfficeMax the past two holiday seasons. Doug Sweeny, director of brand marketing at Levi's, was hesitant to shoot for "Elf Yourself" numbers, but admitted he "would be pretty disappointed if only 100-200,000 were sent."

"We expect it to go pretty big," he said. "We think it's ripe for the pass-along social-media space."

Daniel Stein, CEO of EVB, said the shop worked to create a site racy enough to attract a hard-to-please young male demographic without going overboard. As shown by Axe and the more recent viral effort by Diesel, that line can be fuzzy.

"Levi's has always been a brand that's willing to take risks," he said. "They've always been on the forefront of innovative marketing."

The site is part of the recently launched "Unbutton" campaign EVB created for Levi's. That effort encompasses a dozen up-and-coming celebrities featured in a print and digital push. The ads offer a glimpse of the real person behind the almost famous and their downloadable content.

As part of an effort to invigorate the Levi's brand, it has made several forays into viral marketing. Cutwater was brought in to do several YouTube videos. One featuring a man jumping into pairs of jeans has drawn more than 4 million views on the site.

"It's a brand that sits in the middle of pop culture," Sweeny said.

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