Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Night Video's

Face it. Saturday night is a throw away night for network TV. I have some other videos for you to watch right here.

From Seth Godin:

No one cares about you

Some brand new juicy videos from American Express. Special incredible bonus: Tom Peters, too.

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A Higher Level of PR

From my email this week:

Here's how you EARN someone's attention and respect

216714893_d680007834 I get a lot of PR pitches, will you review my book requests and can you tell people about our conference sort of e-mails.

I appreciate getting them because it helps me make this blog useful to you, the readers. But, what I appreciate even more is when the person doing the pitch actually makes an effort to personalize the interaction which is in direct opposite to what happens most of the time - I get a generic e-mail (no doubt sent out to 100 of my closest blogging friends) and just filling in my name at the top.

This is NOT a post about how to pitch a blogger. I think it's about PR and building relationships, as opposed to the mass production mentality of just doing a mass mailing and wondering why no one picked up the story.

I'd like to tell you a little about two pitches that stood out and the results of those pitches.

John Rosen, author of Stopwatch Marketing

A few months before John's book was released, he started reading and commenting here at the Marketing Minute. He also engaged me in a genuine e-mail conversation about the work we both do, his familiarity with Des Moines and eventually his book.

By the time he asked me to review the book - we knew each other. So when I got his book - I read it right away (my review here) and shared it with my readers within the week. (Keep in mind, I get 2-5 books a week and am always struggling to keep up. Normally, he'd have had to wait a month or so.)

Then, John really proved that he was a savvy marketer. He didn't need me anymore (in terms of his new book) but he continued to invest in the relationship. We e-mail, comment on each other's blogs and stay in touch to this day. When we were looking for giveaways for Blogger's Social - John was willing to donate copies of his book. Having your book in the hands of 100+ smart and vocal marketers is a wise strategy.

John understands the power of relationships and investing your efforts before you ask for the favor. Smart.

Bob Bloom, author of The Inside Advantage: The strategy that unlocks the hidden growth in your business

Bob Bloom is the former U.S. CEO of advertising mega-giant Publicis Worldwide. Suffice it to say, I had heard of Bob's work. Pretty sure he had not heard of mine. I received a pitch to review his book and it came from Bob's publicist. As you might expect, the publicist followed none of John Rosen's techniques, so the book got tossed into the pile and I reviewed it about 2 months after receiving it. (My review here)

I thought it was an excellent and insightful book and said so. Bob is not just a marketing guy, he gets business. A valuable and rare combination, in my eyes.

Fast forward about a month after I posted the review. My desk phone rings and I pick it up. Who is on the line - but Bob Bloom. He called so that we could get to know each other a little bit and to thank me for the review. We ended up talking for about 15-20 minutes and much like my contact with John Rosen - it was genuine. We talked about clients and he told me about his new effort - working one on one with business owners.

Bob went out of his way to listen, comment thoughtfully and I completely forgot what a big deal he was...which just goes to prove what a big deal he truly is.

Two different approaches but some common threads:

  • There's no substitute for you.
  • There's no substitute for human interaction.
  • There's no substitute for being genuine.
  • There's no substitute for making the effort to connect and start a relationship.

As we continue to slog through the economic downturn - these truths don't cost much but can yield long-term gains. How can you bring these truths to life in your dealings with customers, prospects and the media?

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Websites Benefiting from Election

Not surprising, but in case you needed the numbers:

Post-Partisan Reflection

While a drop-off is expected, many publishers say this period of intense interest has accelerated a shift in the way people receive news and has likely converted many to online–news junkie status for good.

Oct 20, 2008

-By Mike Shields


The saw its user base soar a whopping 457 percent

The saga of Hillary, Obama, Palin and McCain has been a boon to news and political Web sites, which have seen audience numbers balloon as the 2008 presidential election has unfolded. What happens after America’s favorite obsession is satisfied on Nov. 4?

While a drop-off is expected, many publishers say this period of intense interest has accelerated a shift in the way people receive news and has likely converted many to online–news junkie status for good. Still, some are taking steps to stave off a decline in traffic.

Since last September, has added over 13 million unique users, pushing the site to 43.2 million total users, per Nielsen Online. Rivals Yahoo News (up nearly 5.7 million uniques to 38 million) and CNN (up 6.4 million users to 37 million) also have enjoyed robust growth. Even former also-rans have made tremendous strides—among them, (up 8 million uniques to 17.2 million) and (with 14.9 million users, nearly double compared to a year ago).

Growth is even more exponential for pure political sites. The left-leaning saw its user base soar a whopping 457 percent to 7.5 million uniques. Similarly, junkie-aimed sites Politico and Real Clear Politics enjoyed massive growth, albeit off considerably smaller bases.

But are all these players looking down the barrel of serious hangover in 2009? Not necessarily. “You will probably see some drop-off in the category,” said Charlie Tillinghast, president of “But it should stay at a much higher level.” Added Mitch Gelman senior vp, senior executive producer of “Traditionally our growth has been a pattern of stair steps. This has been an absolutely exceptional year.”

Publishers across the board say that while they’re attracting many newbies in this closely followed election, few are “light users”—the kind that might come on board during events such as natural disasters.

“I’m not all that concerned about post-election,” said Jeremy Steinberg, vp, digital sales and business development at, adding that engagement metrics like visits per user, pages per user and average time spent were all up this year. “People that are coming in and finding us are staying. If we had seen a drop-off in engagement, I might be concerned.”

Given the stories this election cycle has produced, which have kept consumers rapt, many predict users simply won’t be able to walk away. “Because this campaign has had such captivating characters, I don’t think [drop-off] will be huge,” said Jim VandeHei, Politico’s co-founder and executive editor. “People are realizing that Washington is central to their lives.”

The pure political content sites may be somewhat more vulnerable to traffic dips, yet most expect to net out with more base users. “Every election (since 2000) we’ve had higher highs and higher lows,” said John McIntyre president of

Of course, there’s the shaky economy that will surely interest Web readers well into ’09.
“Things will not be miraculously getting better all of a sudden,” said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post.

And users might be compelled to watch the markets as much as they’ve watched the White House race. “The world has turned a lot more serious.” Said Tillinghast. “What you don’t know might hurt you.”

Still, The Huffington Post has started preparing for post-election life, adding multiple vertical channels like Living and Green over the past several years. Those now account for half of the site’s traffic. Huffington cited a recent nonpolitics blog posting by actor Ryan Reynolds which was linked to by popular gossip Perez Hilton. According to Huffington, 72 percent of users who linked to that posting didn’t come back, but the rest did. “Those [types of things] bring users who don’t particularly care about politics,” she said. “That’s how you build audience.”

Maintaining audience traffic will be the task going forward. To that end, recently unveiled theForum, where users can create profiles, link to Facebook friends and debate current events. The site is also likely to look to replicate its success with was designed to more seamless blend text, photos and videos in a clean, highly integrated interface—on other channels. Plus, Gelber promises major coverage of the upcoming 2010 census. plans to add more community features, and will expand usage of its recently launched daily live video series The Strategy Room beyond election coverage. “We saw an opportunity there that none of our competitors have taken advantage of,” said Steinberg.

Meanwhile, plans to repurpose many of its nifty election-coverage tools—such as allowing users to jump to a specific spot in debate video coverage using keywords—for use in nonpolitical news stories.

For its part, Yahoo News has begun to roll out a more user-friendly redesign. But Scott Moore, Yahoo’s senior vp, head of U.S. Audience, said that the move is more about capitalizing on what he predicts will be a prolonged surge in news interest. “We are in the midst of a very powerful news cycle…there is a real sea change going on here.”

Huffington is equally confident that news will remain popular, particularly if the election nets out a certain way. “We are not looking at that (a traffic drop off) at all,” she said. “If Obama wins, it will generate a tremendous amount of excitement, particularly among young people. If he doesn’t, we don’t know.”

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Follow Up or Give Up

From the folks at

Converting Cold Prospects into Buyers

by Kelley Robertson
author of Stop, Ask, and Listen

Do you have prospects that seem to give you the run-around? They expressed interest in your product or service when you first contacted them but now they don't return your calls, reply to your emails or seem interested in making a buying decision.

Persistence is an essential trait that successful sales people possess. The ability to stick with a specific task, continue in the face of adversity, or use different strategies to achieve your goal is critical if you want a long-term career in sales and business.

However, there is a distinct difference between this and beating your head against a wall trying to convince a prospect to buy your product or service. Recent conversations with some of my newsletter subscribers reminded me how often people get caught in the trap of thinking they can (or should) close every deal that comes their way. Simply put, there comes a time when you have to let go and give up.

However, if you're not quite prepared to do that, here are five suggestions that may turn that cold potato into a hot one.

1. Consider creating an email list and adding those people into a monthly email campaign. Some of them will have their situation change and still others are simply very busy with something that is more urgent. Without monthly email follow-up, you can lose the people that were temporarily distracted as well as those whose situation changed.

2. If you have another contact in the company ask them for input or to find out why the decision has been stalled. This is particularly effective if you have developed a good relationship with that person especially if they can act as your champion or cheerleader.

3. Develop a 'keep-in-touch' campaign to keep your name in their mind. They may not be ready to buy now, but their situation could change in the future and you want them to remember you. You can stay in touch via postcards, letters, articles, newsletters, etc.

4. Befriend the decision-maker's executive assistant and tap into that individual's insight and knowledge. In some cases, the E.A. can help you find a different way to approach the executive. In other situations, they might be able to give you a reason why the sale did not happen or even what you could do differently in the future.

5. Ask yourself 'How important is this sale?' If your answer is 'very important' determine what other actions or approaches you are willing to take to make the sale happen. If this was the most important sale of your career would you give up or would you find a creative way to pursue it?

When a hot prospect turns cold and you have done everything possible to move the sale forward but they aren't responding it's time to drop that cold potato and focus your attention on other opportunities. It is essential to recognize that you only have a limited number of hours in a given day, week or month. That means you need to invest this time wisely because once it is used up you can't get it back. Spinning your wheels trying to convince an unmotivated prospect to make a decision may not be the best way to use your time.

Many people fail to realize just how valuable their time is. If you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to close a sale that has a low probability of success, then you are not generating a high payoff on your time. That means you need to engage in activities that will have the highest payoff. A simple rule of thumb to follow is asking, "What is the best use of my time, right now?" You should also consider the potential value of each sales opportunity. Chasing a high-value sale is a better use of your time than following up on a sale that is of low value (revenue and/or profit). A good friend of mine used to go after every sale that came his way. However, after several years of chasing leads that led to few sales, he now targets his efforts on the high-value opportunities. This has substantially increased his revenues in a very short time.

While it is mentally difficult to drop a potential sale, this strategy will free up your time to focus on higher quality leads which will lead to higher sales. When you have done everything in your power to capture that sale but it has completely stalled or hit a dead end, then you need to make an all-important decision. Is it worth your time and effort to continue following that lead? Only you can make that choice.

Copyright 2008 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. He is also the author of Stop, Ask, and Listen: Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers Into Buyers. For information on his programs, visit his website at

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Terra's core tagline of being "never ordinary" snacks ties in perfectly with "an election that's far from ordinary" because of its focus on change and its "historic importance," notes Darren Gillmor, VP, business development for Story Worldwide. "We believe that the campaign's approach is novel enough, and compelling enough, to make people want to participate and drive the viral element." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for, says the big sales weekend--Columbus Day--wasn't. "Looking ahead, November is traditionally one of the worst sales months of the year, and December is usually one of the best. If the election and other variables don't have a significant impact on auto sales through December, we are looking at an annual total of about 13.6 million units." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The Consumer Electronics Association survey reports that consumers plan on spending a total of $1,437--significantly higher than other national surveys. That still represents a $200 dip from its poll last year. Despite the decline, it finds that consumers plan to spend more on electronics, with 28% of total spending earmarked for such gifts. (That's up 6% from last year.) ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"It is an important consideration for brands marketing across platforms," says Simon Staplehurst, director of global development for the BE series at global media and market research firm Ipsos. "They act on ads if they trust the platform or media vehicle." Thirty-eight percent said they have visited advertisers' Web sites after having seen an ad in a magazine. ... Read the whole story > >
by Erik Sass
Americans are less inclined to give top priority to environmental issues during a time of economic hardship, saying they feel economic hardship is primary, according to a number of opinion polls taken over the last year. The more recent polls suggest a degree of partisan difference in an election year, but the tendency is still widespread across the political spectrum. ... Read the whole story > >

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Walmart Shoppers

This story appeared this week is USA Today:

Wal-Mart sees shifts in shoppers' buying habits

Financial insecurity is forcing Wal-Mart shoppers to change buying habits, cut credit card use and live more paycheck-to-paycheck, the CEO of the U.S. division of the world's largest retailer said Tuesday.

Economic pain is leading to what Eduardo Castro-Wright termed "disturbing behaviors" among shoppers over the past few months.

For instance, more families are buying baby formula at the start of the month when they are more likely to have money. In the past, he said, the chain hadn't noticed such surges in formula sales.

A double-digit decline in credit card use at Wal-Mart stores in the second quarter this year sharply contrasts with the first quarter of 2007, when a vibrant economy was resulting in double-digit increases in card use.

"Credit has been declining dramatically," said the Ecuador-born executive who has run Wal-Mart Stores USA for three years. "That decline in credit means people have to make choices about how they spend their hard-earned money."

Many don't have a choice when it comes to their form of payment.

"They have maxed out on their credit limits," Castro-Wright said in an interview after a speech to Town Hall Los Angeles, a non-profit that provides a forum for public figures and opinion makers. "Customers are really going through some hard times."

The observations are significant because of Wal-Mart's massive scope, with 4,000 U.S. stores. Castro-Wright said nine out of 10 American families shop at Wal-Mart at least once a year.

How financial hurt is showing:

Money worries. About 80% of shoppers cite "personal financial security" as their top concern in internal surveys, up from 65% just a few months earlier, he said. A year ago, the price of gasoline was the top concern.

More consumers worry: "Will I have enough to put on the table so my family can eat?" Castro-Wright added.

Fewer name brands. Wal-Mart has seen a rise in purchases of staples instead of discretionary items. Shoppers have more then doubled purchases of private-label items, eschewing name brands. Castro-Wright said, however, that Wal-Mart has no immediate plans to change the stores' merchandise mix to take advantage of the trend.

Changing shopping patterns. Some shoppers aren't coming to the stores as often so they don't have to drive as much. Others, who may be unemployed, are coming more frequently to buy a few items when they have money in their pockets, he said.

And more sales are showing up around paydays. Wal-Mart has seen a 2.5% increase in sales at the start and the middle of the month, when workers are paid, compared with four months ago.

Wal-Mart is responding to slower growth by cutting back on capital investment and not opening as many new stores.

He also pointed to the chain's program to sell generic prescription drugs at $4, which he said has saved some of the neediest consumers more than $1 billion.

He also pledged that Wal-Mart won't cut back on philanthropic spending this year, though other corporations may be forced to reduce their charitable donations.

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Getting Noticed

We are in the home stretch for the political advertising. But even without all those ads, we need to be sure we are doing what we can to reach the eyes and ears of buyers.

From the Wall Street Journal this week:


Notice Me: Cutting Through the Marketing Clutter

It's hard to cut through the clutter.

Even as customers are constantly bombarded with advertising messages, they are getting progressively better at tuning out the endless stream of come-ons. Companies then typically up the ante and try to out-shout their competitors to draw attention. All of which just leads to more shouting, and everybody is drowned out.

So, what can a company do to get noticed?

Here are five questions marketers should ask themselves as they craft new strategies to capture customers' attention in an increasingly noisy marketplace.

Can the marketing stimulus be delivered at a time when the customer has few other distractions?

Marketing messages should target customers at times when they are unoccupied, perhaps even actively seeking some sort of information to process. Consider, for example, an airplane on the landing path into an airport. Sitting upright, with in-flight entertainment and electronic devices switched off, passengers have little to do but to look out of the window and wait for the aircraft to land.

Seeking to capitalize on this opportunity, London-based Ad-Air Group PLC places advertisements flat on the ground over an area as large as five acres alongside flight paths in and out of the world's busiest airports. Depending on their landing approach, passengers are provided with an unrestricted view of an ad for more than 10 seconds.

Can the marketing message be designed to pique the customer's curiosity?

Piquing customers' curiosity can be more effective than inundating them with information. Stimuli that are carefully placed, so that they are encountered in sequence, can be particularly successful at this task.

Consider a series of billboards along a busy interstate proclaiming the approach of a business, but not really saying what the business does. To find out what the business is all about, travelers have to take an exit off the highway. While some may be disappointed with what they find and may not plan a second visit, there are always millions more of the uninitiated coming down the highway. This technique has been used to good effect by South of the Border, a Mexican-themed shopping and food cluster on I-95 near the border of the Carolinas.

Can the marketing message piggyback on another brand?

With television and newsprint media being increasingly saturated, marketers need to seek out new and interesting formats and media for their messages.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for example, has teamed with Adidas AG on a range of motorsport-inspired driving and sports shoes. The soles of these shoes are made of rubber with tread patterns designed by Goodyear. If customers viewed the shoe purely as an Adidas product, Goodyear's contribution would remain unnoticed. However, the Goodyear brand is prominently displayed on the outsoles of the shoes. The result is that every person wearing the shoes is now a messenger for the Goodyear brand.

Can the product or service occupy a piece of the physical environment that the customer frequently interfaces with?

Consumers today tend to spend inordinate amounts of time interfacing with just a few objects -- for many, it is their computer screen at work. Marketers must consider how they can capture the customer's attention when they interface with these objects. Customers, however, guard access to these objects zealously.

Southwest Airlines Co. has figured out how to do this, using a small software application called DING! This application, which customers can download, occupies a space on the icon bar of a desktop computer. Limited-time offers and news from Southwest are announced with a sound and highlighted by an envelope that displays over the icon. Customers can react to the offers by booking trips to their favorite destinations.

Can your company build into its messaging a consistent stimulus that affects one or more of the five physical senses?

Successful marketing messages excite customers not only when they first encounter them -- they ingrain themselves into the customers' permanent memory. Once a message is embedded, customer resistance to processing it drops when it is encountered in the future.

Cough-drop maker Ricola AG, which uses herbs cultivated in the Swiss Alpine regions for its products, invokes the image of the Alpine mountains and meadows in its advertising, which often features herders who harmoniously sing out the word "Ricola" into open, echoing meadows. The singing is accompanied by the blowing of an alpenhorn -- a long, curved wooden wind instrument with a distinctive, booming sound that was used by Swiss herders to call their cows from the pastures. The company has employed the sound and the imagery with such remarkable consistency that today, for many people, the sound of the horn alone is sufficient to invoke the rich imagery and heritage associated with the brand.

Not each of these five questions will necessarily generate a great idea for every company. But they do provide a common language for comparing, debating and improving managers' proposals.

—Dr. Balasubramanian and Dr. Bhardwaj are professors of marketing at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School in Chapel Hill, N.C. They can be reached at

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

For Further Reading

See these related articles from MIT Sloan Management Review.

  • Ambush Marketing -- A Threat to Corporate Sponsorship

By Tony Meenaghan (Fall 1996)
The author traces the recent growth in corporate sponsorship of various sporting events as a marketing tool and elaborates on some of the complexities of gaining sponsorship rights.

  • How to Market to Generation M(obile)

By Fareena Sultan and Andrew J. Rohm (Summer 2008)
The mobile platform provides the perfect mechanism for reaching young consumers.

  • The Decline and Dispersion of Marketing Competence

By Frederick E. Webster Jr., Alan J. Malter and Shankar Ganesan (Summer 2005)
In many companies, there has been a marked fall-off in the influence, stature and significance of the corporate marketing department.

  • Hysteresis in Marketing -- A New Phenomenon?

By Hermann Simon (Spring 1997)
Hysteresis is a marketing phenomenon in which a temporary change in one factor causes a permanent change in another.

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Wizard Wisdom

Here's the latest from Craig in Australia:


Dear Scott,

"The reason history must repeat itself is because we pay so little attention to it the first time." - Blackie Sherrod

In this issue:

Curse of the Cold Feet… Booking Long-Term Media

A Crisis! Time for the Brave to Prosper

The Brain... a Lazy Piece of Meat?

A New Partner... A New Book

Now is No Time to be Timid

Curse of the Cold Feet…

Things You should Consider When Booking Long-Term Media
By guest writer and media employed copywriter Anna Gerard

"After running just 6 commercials in a 12-month agreement the advertiser wanted to cancel."

Cold feet happens in all relationships… advertising included. So how do you rate when it comes to the “c” word? Have you ever committed to a long term branding campaign, only to get nervous and change your mind just weeks in? Is it buyer’s remorse? Or commitment jitters?

Just last month I helped launch advertising for 40 new branding clients…
But less than 60 days in, cold feet is beginning to make more than a few nervous.

One email from a client was sent after just six branding commercials ran in their 12 month campaign - “we’ve had no response, we’ve decided to cancel”. Six commercials would barely register a response as call to action, let alone the marathon runner of branding! So what makes a business look for the early exit? And how can we start to warm those feet before they get cold?

Here are a few considerations:-

Expectations… Understand the difference between branding and call to action. Branding is “commitment”. Branding is long term strategy. Branding is the tortoise, not the hare.
Do not expect call to action results from a branding campaign. You are telling people “why” they should buy from you, not “when” they should buy from you – they will decide the when.

Budget… Check your finances before you commit. Can you afford this advertising over the long term? If you’re after an instant gain in profits to cover the costs of branding – think twice before signing on the dotted line.

Structure your approach… Set some realistic goals with your media advisor. All advertising should be measurable, but it may be 6 months before you notice results. Agree on how and when you will measure a campaign. And know your options if a campaign fails to attract the desired results.

Set key times to re-assess. Every campaign should be reviewed and given a health check. Run a microscope over all your advertising… Check the direction, are you on course? Have you changed direction but your advertising hasn’t? Don’t just run that fine tooth comb over your advertising, run it over your business as well… You may discover it’s not the advertising letting you down but something else internal.

Be prepared to contribute more than your money. You and your staff need to commit to the strategy and the goals you want to achieve. If you don’t get staff “buy-in” the customer experience may not meet expectations set by your advertising.

Remember advertising is like a relationship… You have to be prepared to commit to make it work.

PS. The Editor: Next week I'll give you my views on media "Branding Campaigns."

A Crisis! Time for the Brave to Prosper

deflated-balloons-earth.jpg"I love a crisis because that's when people are stupid. I've always liked fast-moving markets because the fools make more mistakes so I'm able to profit by it."- Simon Cawkwell, know in London as King of the short sellers

That may seem a little arrogant and mean. However it does sum up what happens in a crisis. The bulk lose their heads, while the brave and cool of head can turn a bad situation to their advantage.

When it comes to advertising, the brave and cool of head will continue their current ad spend, even as their market potential tightens and skrinks. The really brave may increase their spend. Meanwhile, the competition cuts and slashes ad spend.

Result? The brave grab a larger share of the shrinking market. Even though this will most likely mean less revenue than the previous year. But, when the market inflates again, their bravery will be rewarded with much higher revenue than pre-downturn. They'll grow their business simply by holding their nerve.

The Brain... a Lazy Piece of Meat?

Last week this quote appeared about half way down...

“Did you know that when you see the same thing over and over again, your brain uses less and less energy? Your mind already knows what it’s seeing, so it doesn’t make the effort to process the event again. Just putting yourself in new situations can make you see things differently and jump-start your creativity.” – inside front flap, Iconoclast, by Dr Gregory Berns, neuroscientist

This week Dr Berns opens the memo...

“The brain has three natural roadblocks that stand in the way of truly innovative thinking:

1. flawed perception
2. fear of failure
3. the inability to persuade others.”
– Dr. Gregory Berns, neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University.

Then you are asked these questions...

"Need a fresh perspective? Want to alter your perception, think new thoughts, create a whole new paradigm?"


Read "How to Think Outside the Box" Part 1 by Roy H. Williams


Read "Thinking Outside the Box, Part 2: If You've Got the Nerve."

A New Partner... A New Book

The-Magic-of-Selling.jpg"And to coincide with joining the Wizard Group, Dan Hollis has released his first book, The Magic of Selling, A Treasure Map for the Future Successful Salesperson."

I am constantly asked how do you become a Wizard of Ads Partner? Is it a franchise? How much does it cost to join?

So here are some answers.

  • Wizard of Ads is a worldwide group of consultants, authors, teachers, and researchers.
  • We have Partners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Central America, and Australia.
  • Our core purpose is to help grow Owner-Operated businesses.
  • To join, it is strictly invitation only. You can not buy your way in.
  • It is not what the group can do for you, it is what you can contribute to the group. You must first prove yourself.
  • From first contact, to Partner acceptance, can take a number of years. So you'll need a long-time horizon and patience.

As you can now understand, accepting a new Partner to the group is not something we take lightly, or rush.

So Wizard of Ads is proud to welcome new Partner, Dan Hollis. Dan's passion and area of speciality is selling. And to coincide with joining the Wizard Group, Dan has released his first book, The Magic of Selling, A Treasure Map for the Future Successful Salesperson.

You'll be hearing much more about Dan on this site, but for now do yourself a favour and buy the book.

Now is No Time to be Timid

Timid-Mouse.jpgWizard Partner Steve Rae raises some interesting issues in his new post, The Meek Will Not Inherit The Earth.

Here's a peek...

Hiring an inexperienced marketing manager.

"The car wash owner’s daughter graduated from college with a marketing degree and they promptly fired us from doing their advertising. This is not uncommon, but the result is almost always the same. The marketing grad decides to stamp their own imprint on the advertising and not put all their eggs in one basket. So they cut back on radio, add a little newspaper, try some direct mail and begin to wander aimlessly like a nomad in the desert.

After a year or so, they call to re-hire us because although they haven’t lost any customers, their business is down and they can’t figure out why

The advantages of an economic downturn.

But what a great opportunity for anyone who’s competitors are among the meek. Now is the perfect time to buy more market share. In fact you may never get another opportunity like this until the next economic downturn.

So what do you do?

Read Steve's article... The Meek Will Not Inherit The Earth.

Or you can watch the video post here.

Previous stories, just in case you missed them:

Undressing a Makeup Success

The Great Secret of Success

Deliver What You Say

Wizard Words... The Sword in the Stone

A Closing Thought
"If you don't know jewelry, know the jeweler." - Warren E. Buffett

See you next week.

Craig Arthur
Wizard of Ads

PS. Need help to attract more customers and grow your business?

Australia Call (07) 4728 4866 or email

North America

Call 308-254-2732 or email

Call 440-610-9746 or email

We will never try and sell you. You may punch us in the arm really, really hard if we do.

Call or email to book a FREE alignment meeting. No obligation. No pressure. It is at this meeting we both decide if there is a fit between our 2 companies. It is only then can we explore your options. We will never try to sell you. Call (07) 4728 4866.

Wizard Partners Australia. Call Us: (07) 4728 4866

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Joe the Plumber & Sales

My 2nd Jill Konrath article for the day:

Selling to Big Companies Blog

What does "Joe the Plumber" have to do with sales?

Posted: 22 Oct 2008 09:38 AM CDT

Joe2 Joe the Plumber's 15 minutes of fame last week transformed the debate and post-debate discussions. And it's a lesson that we, as sellers, would be wise to pay attention to.

The McCain camp had clearly identified their target market: uncommitted blue collar male voters who could still be swayed with the right message - big government taking their hard-earned money.

McCain's PR machine jumped on the "real Joe" after seeing him talk with Obama during a campaign stop. With a stroke of genius, Joe the Plumber became the new working-class poster boy.

And the conversation changed. Suddenly we were evaluating the candidate's proposals based on how they impacted Joe. McCain & Obama started talking to one person, not an amorphous group of nondescript citizens.

We need to do the same as marketers & sellers.

That's right. We need to create customer personas in order for us to fine-tune our messaging and ensure it's effective. Perhaps you sell to multiple decision makers. If so, then you need multiple personas.

Whenever I'm doing training for a sales organization, this is one area I cover almost every time. It makes that much difference. For example, if my client sells to Marketing, we may create personas on these positions:

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Vice President, Corporate Communications
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Public Relations

If all these people are involved in the decision process, we need to know how they think in order to be effective. Specifically we need to know their:

  • Roles & responsibilities
  • Goals, objectives
  • Strategic initiatives
  • Impediments to success
  • Reasons for considering a change.

Until & unless we really know Marnie the Marketer, we will struggle in our ability to ensure that our message hits home.

So that's why Joe the Plumber is important to us!

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Google T-Mobile Phone

We're going to find out if Google has the power to sell phones. First, here's the tv ad:

Next there's the advertising on the Google Search page:

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Moving to the BIG time

From Jill Konrath:

Selling to Big Companies Blog

Dealing with the "Close a Deal a Week" Manager

Carsalesman Alex works for a company that sells to smaller accounts. He's confident that their service would fit well for larger clients and has started to pursue them. While Alex knows it takes a while to land bigger deals, his "close a deal a week" sales manager isn't happy - especially since he isn't on the phone as much as others.

So Alex wants to know: How do I build a business case to convince my boss that it's worth going after these big companies?

Jill's Response

Alex, I have no doubt that your service will fit well with larger accounts. And, you're absolutely right about it taking more time to crack into corporate accounts and get their business.

However, I'm not sure you'll EVER get your deal-obsessed manager to value of the preliminary work you're doing to get your foot in the door.

People who think that sales is all about smiling & dialing literally have no comprehension of the new way of selling. For them, unless you're making calls you're not doing your job. They think research, analysis, and preparation time is all wasted time.

If you talk with your sales manager about your ideas, he may agree to let you give it a try. However, when the sales don't come in quickly, they start to panic. Then they start putting pressure on you to make more calls.

Before long, they want you to abandon your corporate account entry campaigns and go back to sure deals with little firms. Unless, of course, you happen to strike it rich with a big company right away.

I suspect that's not what you want to hear. But that's what I see – over and over. Management is under intense pressure to deliver short-term results. If they don't, their own jobs are at risk. So fear prevents them from investing in the very strategies that could take their sales to the next level.

So where does that leave you? In my opinion, you have 3 choices:

1. Keep pursuing the smaller accounts. Do what you're expected to do.

2. Keep pursuing the smaller accounts, but target a few big companies to pursue in addition to your normal workload. Let your boss know what you're doing, but don't make a huge deal out of it. Be willing to invest personal time on research, etc. When you get the business, that's proof enough.

3. Leave the company. If you truly believe in the "Selling to Big Companies" approach to sales, you'll have a hard time working for a boss who thinks it's all about dialing for dollars. There are lots of companies out there who are desperately seeking a true consultative salesperson.

If any of you have ideas on how to convince the "close a deal a week" sales manager that pursuing big companies is a good investment of time - even if it takes a while to get results - please share them ....

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Night Marketing News

Today's news, tonight:

by Sarah Mahoney
Besides a more dour outlook, Brand Keys also notes some key psychographic trends. While consumers consistently want to be seen as "wise shoppers," the study notes, they are feeling that imperative more keenly than ever this year, with 20% more of them planning to spend their dough in discount stores, 35% more shopping online, and 20% more using catalogs. ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
"It's too early to say just how successful Wii Music will be, but first-party Wii titles tend to do well on the sales front," says David Riley, director at NPD Group, adding: "While there are definite advantages to exclusive content, it's obvious that cross-platform titles, when they're as successful as these two properties, will benefit gamers, retailers, publishers and manufacturers." ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Aaron Baar
As part of its promotion, Unilever enlisted Kodiak resident Petal Ruch to try Vaseline Clinical Therapy Lotion, a prescription-strength moisturizer available over the counter, and pass it along to anyone she felt needed it. According to the company, Ruch passed it along to 1,000 fellow residents in the first two weeks. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
A series of five television commercials, featuring a cast of office-worker characters in humorous takes on typical workplace scenarios (which, of course, involve the use/benefits of Fresh Mixers), have been directed by Nicholas Stoller, who directed the comedy film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Chevrolet will advertise Traverse in the World Series game program, and two of the vehicles will be on display at the series venues, St. Petersburg, Fla.'s Tropicana Field and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Also, messaging for the vehicle will flash on home plate signage, in video billboards and other areas visible to TV cameras. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Saying that the brand beat its expectations for spring, CEO Sharen Jester Turney says it is headed into the holiday season with "one of our best assortments--and best channel experiences--ever. We'll be delivering newness and superior emotional content, both in products and in experience." ... Read the whole story > >

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Feeding America One Taco at a Time

Going through my emails after work and I saw this from

Taco Bell Owes U.S. Free Tacos Again, but Sulking Unlikely

On-Air Mentions Among Benefits of World Series Promotion

CHICAGO ( -- Time for Taco Bell to pay up again. The fast feeder returned to the World Series this year with its "Steal a base, steal a taco" promotion.
Taco Bell Steal a Base ad
Taco Bell's 'Steal a base, steal a taco' ad.

There wasn't much time for suspense in this fall classic, however, as Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett stole second in the fifth inning of game one last night. Although it may be cold comfort to his team, which lost to the Phillies 3-2, Mr. Bartlett did secure "free tacos for America" and has since signed with Taco Bell for PR purposes and for an ad to boost awareness of the giveaway.

Stealing the spotlight
As part of the buy, Taco Bell also owns video rights to Mr. Bartlett's steal. But it could be the fast feeder that's making out like a bandit. The game's announcers on the Fox network, which broadcast the game, told viewers about free tacos at Taco Bell on Oct. 28, and Taco Bell President Greg Creed was interviewed on camera about the giveaway, although he gave the wrong date.

Last year's integration, tied to Red Sox rookie Jacob Ellsbury's stolen base in game two, generated more than 900 news stories and 234 million total media impressions during and after the World Series, said Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch. The company's consumer research following the series showed 83% of respondents had a favorable association with the brand. "This was the highest point for the brand," Mr. Poetsch said. "And more people were favorable to Taco Bell than to McDonald's or Burger King."

Mr. Poetsch said Taco Bell has boosted its World Series ad buy this year, although Nielsen data on media spending isn't available yet. Taco Bell was one of the World Series' top 10 advertisers last year; it was estimated that the fast-food chain spent $5.6 million advertising the first promotion, while Ad Age estimated that the giveaway itself cost less than $1 million and generated priceless publicity.

According to YouGov Polimetrix, Taco Bell's buzz rating doubled last October, from a seven to a 15. This year, the brand is starting from a much higher level, an 18. There hasn't been much movement so far.

Perhaps that's because the chain is doing so much better. In the past year, Taco Bell has launched its better-for-you Fresco menu, a value platform and a line of fruity frozen drinks, and cemented its position as the late-night leader. It's also become the cash cow of the Yum Brands portfolio, after languishing briefly as the laggard.

Indie-music backer
Taco Bell has also been establishing itself as an independent-music promoter. Through its "Feed the Beat" promotion, Taco Bell is working with 100 indie bands. Consumers are voting for their favorite acts on the chain's website, three will get recording deals, and an integrated marketing campaign will follow.

To drive this World Series promotion home, the chain began advertising a week earlier, adding steal-a-base tags to its 15-second spots promoting its "volcano" taco. Last night, Taco Bell was also advertising its Triple-Steak burrito and Fruitista Freeze drinks. The chain spent $239 million in measured media during 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Taco Bell's agency is DraftFCB, Irvine, Calif.

Some marketers think there are better opportunities for Taco Bell.

"These tie-ins work the best where the partnership is in some ways a natural partnership," said Northwestern University marketing professor Julie Hennessy, "where there is something about Taco Bell and baseball that has something to do with a top-level competition or where the brand is trying to go." She added that the Olympic sponsorship by McDonald's is a perfect example of a natural tie-in. Analysts also believe that Mickey D's summer association with the recent Summer Games boosted same-store sales.

Out of the ballpark
Debbie Myers, VP-media services, sponsorships at Taco Bell, admitted that World Series attendance and viewership is wider than the core fast-food market.

"We feed about 45 million people a week," she said. "When you look at those kinds of consumers, you're much bigger than the sweet spot of 18 to 35."

Still, she said, "loving fast food is a state of mind," and the World Series is a great place for Taco Bell because the brand maintains its voice. Steal a base, steal a taco is still edgy and sassy enough to be Taco Bell.

"That's not something you would see a bank or an insurance company do," she said.

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Even MORE Advertising

The Wall Street Journal reports on a trend I have seen in my town for the past couple of years already:

As mall and shopping-center owners lose tenants in the souring economy, they are at least gaining something else: more advertising space.

[Mall ads] Inwindow Outdoor

An Inwindow Outdoor ad display on West 34th Street in New York City late last year.

Upstart companies have cinched deals in recent weeks to plaster ads across the growing number of vacant storefronts in U.S. malls and shopping centers. Ads also are multiplying in unconventional venues such as food-court table tops, parking-space divider lines and security vehicles.

Rotten times for retail landlords have added momentum to the emerging industry of in-mall advertising. Vacant storefronts are one of the fastest-growing ad venues. Vacancy rates at malls and shopping centers this year have hit their highest levels in at least seven years, and vacancies likely will increase next year, according to real-estate research firm Reis Inc. Among the retailers closing stores across the country are chains Linens 'n Things Inc., Wilson's the Leather Experts Inc. and Whitehall Jewelers Holdings Inc.

Amid mounting store closures and retailer bankruptcy filings, opportunistic ventures are offering mall owners a method to derive revenue from the empty spaces. Founded in 2005 by Boston entrepreneur Adam Dell, WindowGain Inc. sets up multiple projectors inside a vacant store to shine images out onto the store's exterior windows. The projectors allow WindowGain to cycle through as many as six 10-second video advertisements on a single surface to catch the attention of passersby.

Inwindow Outdoor LLC, started in 2002 by New York Internet entrepreneur Steve Birnhak, takes the more static approach of stretching high-definition vinyl overlays across the surface of exterior windows to hawk anything from Red Bull GmbH energy drinks to Delta Air Lines Inc. flights to LG Electronics Inc. televisions.

Both companies still are relatively new, but they are gaining converts. Inwindow this month struck deals to put its ads on vacant stores in more than 50 malls and shopping centers owned by retail-property heavyweights General Growth Properties Inc., Westfield Group and Developers Diversified Realty Corp. WindowGain has installed its ad displays at General Growth malls in Boston and Providence, R.I., and at Boston Properties Inc.'s Shops at Prudential Center in Boston.

The proposition has little, if any, downside for landlords. Inwindow pays landlords a flat monthly rate of $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the ad's size and foot traffic passing the site, executives say. WindowGain pays $2,500 to $8,500 a month, plus 10% to 30% of the rates paid by advertisers including Comcast Corp., SABMiller PLC and Verizon Wireless.

The only concern, mall owners say, is that advertisers usually want the certainty of a 30- or 60-day contract, and landlords might want to cut that short if a new tenant comes calling.

Absent that, a little revenue is better than none. Developers Diversified would rather have tenants in its vacant spaces, but "we recognize this [ad program] as potential for six-figure revenue year after year," said Marc Feldman, vice president of new-business development. Analysts expect Developers Diversified to report roughly $915 million in revenue this year.

What's more, the ads mask unsightly gaps in a mall's storefronts. "It enlivens a space that's dead," Inwindow's Mr. Birnhak said.

To be sure, the revenue that mall owners gain from selling such ads will replace only a fraction of the rent lost from departing retailers. For example, advertising and sponsorship revenue has increased by almost 50% in the past four years for Glimcher Realty Trust, the Columbus, Ohio-based owner of 26 malls. But that revenue, combined with short-term seasonal leases, still amounts to only 3% of Glimcher's overall tally.

In-mall advertising isn't a new phenomenon, but it has been viewed as mostly a side venture. Mall and shopping-center owners have marketed themselves to advertisers as a more effective alternative to traditional media.

For example, Simon Property Group Inc., the largest U.S. mall owner by number of properties with more than 300 malls, touts that the average visitor to its malls spends 78 to 84 minutes per visit. And they aren't ignoring ads as they would while watching TV. "They're predisposed to buy, and they're predisposed to explore," said Mikael Thygesen, Simon's chief marketing officer.

To capitalize on that, mall owners have found several inventive ways to place ads in their properties, allowing the landlord to gain additional revenue or defray costs.

Glimcher has allowed an Internet company to apply neon-green, adhesive ads that cover the tops of tables in its food courts at a Newark, Ohio, mall. At Glimcher's Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, a local Honda dealership provides two sport-utility vehicles emblazoned with its logo for use by Glimcher's security force, and employees of the mall's valet service wear shirts sporting the dealership's name. At other Glimcher malls, ads for insurance companies are glued to the painted lines separating parking spaces.

Write to Kris Hudson at

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