Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dress it Up

As we move into the holiday season, many retailers use special packaging to enhance the buying experience. But you don't have to be a retailer to use this strategy.

You Look Mahvelous!

Let's face it: as consumers, we're not that good at judging the volume of a product (eg, how much liquid is actually in that bottle or glass of juice). Moreover, we use (sometimes erroneous) mental shortcuts to make inferences about how much a given product contains.

For example, a well-documented finding has shown that products packaged in long, tall containers are judged to contain more volume than those with equivalent amounts of product packaged in shorter containers. And now, there's new research that shows yet another factor affecting consumer perceptions of volume: how attention-getting the package is.

It seems that unusual or unexpected packages command attention—and lead consumers to estimate that the product has more volume than a similar amount of product packaged in a less attention-getting, more run-of-the-mill package.

Interestingly, this effect was observed even when the plainer package was actually longer than the fancy one. People still felt the fancy package held more.

The message for marketers? If you're thinking about downsizing a product's contents, make sure you fancy-up that packaging!

The Po!nt: Time to play dress-up! If you want consumers to think your package contains a larger volume of product, try creating a bold, unusual design for it.

Source: The Effect of Package Shape on Consumers' Judgments of Product Volume: Attention as a Mental Contaminant, Valerie Folkes and Shashi Matta. Journal of Consumer Research, 2004.

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You Search, I Search, Research

A bunch of clickables from

Blogs Influence Consumer Purchases More than Social Networks

The number of those who read blogs at least once a month has grown 300% in the past four years, and what they read strongly influences their purchase decisions, playing a key role in ushering them to the point of actual purchase, according to a...

TV, Daily Newspapers Most Trusted Info Sources

Americans consider television and daily newspapers the most credible sources of news and information, while they trust free shoppers and magazines least, according to (pdf) a survey from ARANet , conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Survey respondents assigned credibility scores ranging from one...

Shoppers To Spend 1.9% More This Holiday, Compare Prices on Internet

US consumers plan to spend, on average, $832.36 on holiday-related shopping, up only 1.9% over last year’s $816.69, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, reports Retailer Daily. That’s the lowest increase in planned holiday shopping...

Majority of Online Media Uses Video to Cover News

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of “web influencers” at media outlets with an online presence say their organizations use video in online coverage of news stories, and 77% believe the use of online video will increase over time, according to a survey by D S Simon...

Consumer Segments Likely to Spend Differently in Tough Economy

Though nearly all consumers are facing economic uncertainty, their responses to economic difficulties differ - but not along conventional demographic lines, according to Acxiom Corporation’s first Retail Consumer Dynamics Study (RCD), reports Retailer Daily. The Acxiom study, an industry-specific analysis of consumer shopping behavior and attitudes,...

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Non-Profit Holiday Tips

I serve on a couple of non-profit boards and committees and I noticed how they used to feel that they could "demand" stuff and get it. These days, I suggest a different approach:

Try Some Nonprofit Holiday 'Retail'

"In these stressful economic times, it is more important than ever to build messages that resonate with your audience," says Winston Bowden in an article at MarketingProfs. "Like retailers, nonprofits should be thinking about how they can tell their story and leverage the holiday season." Here's some of his advice for a nonprofit holiday "retail" approach to fundraising:

Offer a gift membership. You'll not only generate additional income, you'll gain valuable exposure to the likeminded friends of your members. Engage your email audience with a professionally designed message that presents a compelling gift offer. And don't worry if you don't have an existing method for processing online payments; a service like PayPal can handle everything for a small fee.

Appeal to the bargain hunter. Create an offer with a discounted membership. It doesn't have to be drastic—just enough to make people feel like they're getting a good deal. Also, highlight your tax-deductible status, and make documentation easily available.

Don't forget to tug at those heartstrings. Include these tried-and-true nonprofit elements in every email, regardless of how retail-oriented it is: Choose stories about the people you're helping that members can relate to, and include pictures. Show how the money donors are giving furthers your cause.

The Po!nt: Write that nonprofit holiday retail email today! "Don't count on email as a last-minute channel to bolster support," says Bowden. "Instead, make it a tactic with thoughtful planning and execution."

Source: MarketingProfs. Click to read the article.

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Paper or....

Andie Golden, who sits with me on the Board for our local Advertising Federation sent this to me this week:

Which has a Greater Impact on the Environment:
Printed Materials or Electronic Content?

Conventional wisdom says that printed materials result in fallen trees and discarded paper clogging up landfills. But two studies from Germany found that electronic newspapers can actually have a greater environmental impact than print newspapers. This is thanks to the energy required to make content available 24/7 on electronic devices, as well as the energy consumption of the required devices, not to mention discarded batteries clogging up landfills.

Environmental impact is less straightforward than we think, and while electronic media reduce paper consumption and landfill use, they use more energy. So the use of electronic media over paper trades a renewable resource (trees) for a non-renewable one (fossil fuels used in energy production).

Print can actually be more environmentally friendly than electronic media, but there are opportunities to make it even more so.

Environmental issues have taken center stage in the past year, and there is a "green" shift in the graphic arts, evidence suggesting changes.

Recent surveys from The Industry Measure (formerly TrendWatch Graphic Arts) have found that, when specifying paper, graphic design and production professionals only occasionally take into account the source of a paper's fiber, or a paper mill's record on environmental sustainability. While these data don't indicate a groundswell in environment-friendly print buying, they do suggest a not inconsiderable level of interest. Savvy graphic design professionals have the opportunity to further act on their conscience while at the same time boost business by appealing to the "green" market among their own customers (present or potential)­a win-win scenario.

These same surveys have found that only 24% of graphic design professionals specify their own paper. Clearly there is room for a more proactive approach to eco-friendly paper on the part of print buyers.

There are two basic types of environmentally friendly paper:

Non-wood fiber sources, such as straw, cotton, kenaf, bamboo and other materials can be used as a fibrous source for papermaking, helping to take the strain off of wood forests.

Recovered and recycled paper helps reduce the demand for virgin wood pulp and diverts discarded paper from landfills.

Many paper mills offer recycled paper in a variety of grades, and the quality, "runnability" and cost of recycled grades have improved to the point where they are often competitive with non-recycled grades. When specifying paper to your printer, explore alternative fibers, recycled papers or other environmentally friendly options.

However, there is more to being environmentally conscious than simply specifying recycled or alternative papers. Considering a specific paper mill's overall record on environmental sustainability, which includes CO2 emissions generated during paper production, is just as important as its offering recycled grades.

For graphic design professionals seeking to improve their own records on environmental responsibility, the Internet and paper companies and industry organizations themselves offer a wealth of resources. After all, touting one's design business as "eco-friendly" is a good way to attract the business of customers who are either already environmentally conscious or who are on the fence about the issue and are looking for service providers to make these decisions easy. And given the inherent environmental advantages of printing over many alternative media, running a "green" design shop can be a good way to stimulate demand for print among clients who might be considering other media.

© 2007

Yale University Report

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Trust (part 1)

Today and Tomorrow, I'm featuring a two-parter from Jill Konrath's Selling to Big Companies Blog:

9 Ways to Quickly Gain Trust in the Sales Process: Part 1

Guest Author: Charles Green, author of Trust-based Selling

Those who sell professional services know the power of being trusted, and strive to be seen that way. I'm often asked, "How long does it take to become trusted?"

Is it the case that "trust takes time," that it is gained only with the passage of time? Or is it a "trust your gut" thing, something that comes in a flash, a moment of intuition or feeling?

Trust1_2_2 Most people in business, if asked without reflection, will come down on the side of "trust takes time." And their approach to selling reflects this. They believe people buy only after they come to trust the seller; and that such trust is created through a history of promises kept.

While true, that's only 25% of the story. The rest of the story is that you can create trust in hardly any time at all and in a variety of ways. And, furthermore, the sales process, far from depending on pre-established trust, can itself be ground zero for the creation of trust.

The Trust Equation
The concept of "trust" is about as varied as any aspect of human relations. We use the term in many ways. The bulk of those ways are reflected in the four factors of the Trust Equation:

Trustworthiness = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy)

Of these four factors - credibility, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation - only one of them necessarily requires the passage of time. That factor is reliability, because by definition it requires repeated experiences.

Cover_tbs The emphasis on reliability is what drives so much of the approach to selling primarily used in professional services: references, lists of past clients, success stories, resumes, and processes. All are heavily built around the idea that being trusted accumulated experience built over time.

But reliability is only one factor of four. And the other three often, sometimes mainly, are created in a conversation, even a moment.

  • Credibility is established not just in histories, but in symbols, credentials, and insights-and in a firm handshake, a look in the eye, and a straight answer.
  • Intimacy is established not only by knowledge acquired over time, but by a knowing nod, a sense of empathy, and recognition of the personal.
  • Self-orientation is not just established through a history of customer-focused behavior, but by how we conduct ourselves daily, what questions we ask, and whose concerns dominate our reactions in the moment.

When these areas of rapid trust creation are understood, it follows that we don't have to wait for the passage of time to be trusted.

To a great extent, we can demonstrate our own trustworthiness-and thereby earn the trust of our clients-in the sales process itself. Selling doesn't depend passively on the development of trust; selling can itself be the engine of trust creation.

How to Rapidly Create Trust
There are things we can do to increase the power of rapid trust creation without compromising on the validity or deservedness of that trust. They can all be done within the sales process itself. Here are a few:

1. Give up spin control
Speak the truth-simply, plainly, without embellishment. Answer questions directly. Don't withhold truth. Behaving this way builds credibility rapidly-often within a single conversation. You become known as a truth-teller-one who places integrity and honesty over outcome. Truth-telling enhances credibility more than carefully doling out truth.

2. Admit your limits
If you don't know something, say so. If you're not the best at something, say so. If you don't have all the answers, say so. If you're not clear on something, say so, along with what you are clear about, and what you need to get clear on the rest. This enhances your credibility (after all, who lies about their ignorance?) and your intimacy in your willingness to be transparent.

3. Offer other approaches
If the only recommendation you ever have for a client is "me/us," then no client can ever trust your recommendation. Have recommendations for alternative providers if the client can't afford you, or wants an answer sooner than you can deliver, or requires services that aren't cost-effective for you to deliver. Having alternative suggestions shows high client focus and low self-orientation, as well as enhances your credibility.

4. Take an emotional risk
If you're feeling something, say it. If you notice an emotional fact about the client (distracted, passionate, or concerned), comment on it ("You seem a little distracted," "I get the sense you're really passionate about this," or "I'm sensing some real concern from you about this one aspect.")

There is no trust without risk, and you can't expect the client to lead on risk-taking. The most common form of risk is emotional risk-the intimacy factor-and the inability to be open about emotions. Enable that openness. Do it with respect for the client and with appropriate caveats-but do it.

Part II will be coming in the next newsletter. This article was originally published in

Charles H. Green is an author, speaker and executive educator. The author of Trust-based Selling and co-author of The Trusted Advisor, Charles focuses on the role of trusted relationships in selling to and managing relationships with complex organizations. He is the founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

Enjoy your Halloween!

by Karl Greenberg
Gen Y buyers are usually first-time car buyers and are therefore sensitive to issues of trust. And, says Strategic Vision, they are also more sensitive to security issues as they feel less personally secure than other age groups. Seventy-nine percent of Gen Y buyers said they desire a vehicle that offers security, can be trusted, is safe and evinces confidence. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
So much for that old theory that lipstick is absolutely recession-proof: Avon Products says its sales slipped 3% in North America in the third quarter, as American women cut back on their spending. ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
Three months after winning the North American creative account, JWT has launched a new campaign for the top-selling tequila brand. Called "Live Notoriously Well," the campaign provides what's called a tongue-in-cheek "guide on how to take life's experiences to the next level, responsibly." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz and Nina M. Lentini
It works so well, says brand guru Laura Reis, president of Ries & Ries Focusing Consultants, because "Obama is such a strong and powerful brand, consumers are proud to advertise for him and receive ads from him. Passing along a pure Obama advertisement is something (especially right before Election Day) consumers are happy to do and happy to receive." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
TV spots, which the company says will take advantage of the three weekends leading up to Thanksgiving, showcase the store's private brands, with the first spot breaking next week, airing simultaneously across all network stations. Ads are also running on cable, and Kohl's will begin airing an ad promoting the brand in Spanish, as well. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Nina M. Lentini
The "Greatest Innovation Contest" invites girls to send in photos with captions describing "the life-changing innovation that you can't live without." One winner will get an MP3 player, mobile phone, a $500 American Express gift card and year's supply of Always Infinity. ... Read the whole story > >
by David Goetzl
NBC Universal's Bravo network has inked a deal bringing a top-line sponsor to its veteran "Inside the Actors Studio" for the first time. Even as some auto marketers pull in the spending reins, Nissan's Infiniti has signed on with a multi-tiered attachment to the James Lipton-hosted show. ... Read the whole story > >

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K-mart & Black Friday

From AdAge:

This Is Scary: Kmart Starts 'Black Friday' Two Days After Halloween

Retailer Says Early Sales Tactic Is Based on Consumers Already Jump-starting Their Holiday Shopping

NEW YORK ( -- This year, Black Friday comes two days after Halloween.

Retailers try and rush the season every year, but Kmart is taking it to a new extreme, introducing "Early Black Friday" sales beginning this weekend. In moving Black Friday up from its traditional date the day after Thanksgiving to Nov. 2, some 26 days early, Kmart hopes to combat a dismal economy and slumping consumer spending.

Exclusive to home electronics
The retailer, part of Sears Holdings, said it will offer the deals exclusively in the home-electronics category to help customers kick-start their holiday shopping. The category has become an area of particular concern for retailers, as consumers pull back on discretionary items. Earlier this month, MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse service reported that spending on consumer electronics and home appliances dropped 13.8% in September, following a 5.5% drop in August.

"Home electronics are relevant items customers will be looking for," said Tom Aiello, divisional VP-public relations at Sears Holdings. "It's those really super-deep discounted items that are really motivating that you would never see all year round."

"Early Black Friday" sales on about 15 items will roll out in Sunday circulars between Nov. 2 and Nov. 23, as well as on The deals are being worked into existing circular plans and will not garner additional advertising or promotional spending on the part of the marketer. Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB, Chicago, is Kmart's creative agency; MPG buys its media.

Consumer feedback
Mr. Aiello said the new initiative is based on consumer feedback. Kmart stores are already reporting that consumers have started shopping for holiday gifts as they attempt to spread out their spending and avoid using credit, he added.

"It all comes back to what the consumer was asking for," he said, noting that the effort has always been a part of marketing plans. "When we were doing planning earlier in the year, the economy was already showing signs of where we are at today."

Kmart's deals are also meant to make holiday shopping more convenient, Mr. Aiello said. Unlike typical Black Friday sales, which require an early wake-up call and heavily promoted limited quantities, the specials will be available for an entire week, with ample supplies in stock.

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Write it Down

Along with the following advice, I urge you to put in writing, print it and keep it in front of you daily.

A Clearly Good Marketing Plan

"Marketing plans are essential documents for virtually any business," says Tim Calkins in an article at MarketingProfs. "[I]t is hard to do great marketing without a clear plan. Unfortunately, many marketing plans simply don't work very well; they add little value and end up on a shelf, collecting dust." How to create a plan you'll actually use? Here are three of Calkins' tips:

Don't get bogged down in data. "The role of a marketing plan is to lay out a course of action," he says. "A good plan should explain precisely what the business should do to build revenue and profits." In other words, skip the endless pages of data analysis and get down to practical recommendations as soon as possible.

Include people from other departments in the development process. They can alert you when a proposal isn't feasible and will be less likely to fight a plan they helped craft.

Frame your recommendations within a compelling rationale. Without supporting evidence, selling your marketing plan to key executives will be a challenge. Says Calkins, "The plan has to be convincing; it has to present what should be done and, more importantly, why the plan will actually work."

The Po!nt: "Creating a great marketing plan isn't all that complicated," says Calkins. "[A] good plan simply presents the objectives for a business, the strategic initiatives, and the tactics."

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full article.

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Fresh Ideas


It's time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! Our latest issue is now online. Here's
a quick run-down of the promising new businesses featured on Springwise this week:

Screen showing different track titlesTony Player takes online playlists to the dance floor
Entertainment / Telecom & mobile

When Twones members arrive at club that uses Tony Player, the
songs they’ve most recently listened to are automatically imported to
the DJ’s playlist.

Pins on a Google mapHotel search tool that's all about location
Travel & tourism

Concentrating on one single aspect of hotel searches, SeeYourHotel
helps users skip information they don't need and focus on where
hotels are located.

Student using a photocopy machineMore free photocopying, this time for charity
Marketing & advertising / Non-profit & social cause

One more tale of free photocopying for students, this time launched
by one of our very own Springspotters in his home country of the

Colourful baby shoeDesign your own baby shoes
Fashion & beauty

It's no longer a simple matter to rattle off all the "design-your-own"
opportunities we've covered in recent years, so numerous have they
become. Our latest spotting lets consumers design baby shoes.

Directions on a mapUsing pictures to give directions
Telecom & mobile / Transportation

A new application built for Google's Android cellphone platform
incorporates pictures and personalization to help people answer the
question, "Can you show me how to get there?"

Web cameraSite connects advertisers with content producers
Marketing & advertising / Media & publishing

PlaceVine connects content producers across film, television and the
web with brands seeking sponsorship and product-placement

Dry erase sneakerDry-erase basketball shoes
Fashion & beauty

White consumer goods mesh nicely with the human desire to scribble
on things. Expanding on that idea, Reebok has launched a dry-erase
basketball shoe that facilitates doodling and redoodling.

Illustration of two bottles of Coke with children's faces on the labelsMaking medicine as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola
Non-profit / Social cause

The ColaLife project aims to distribute oral rehydration salts to
people in developing countries through a partnership with Coca-Cola
by which its distributors carry medicine in addition to soft drinks.

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Bad Halloween Ad

This is annoying. Folks in L.A. having been watching this all week (and then some.)

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Brands vs Price

An interesting piece of research from

Food Brands Losing Relevance; Consumers Demand Healthier, Lower-Priced Choices

Today’s consumers want to have a greater say about food ingredients, safety and quality, and believe food companies should be responsible for keeping people healthy and addressing societal nutrition issues, according to a recent study of consumers in five countries by Ketchum.

The “Food 2020: The Consumer as CEO” study examined the perceptions, expectations and considerations about food among consumers in the the US, UK, Germany, Argentina and China, and sought to provide an outlook on the food industry by the year 2020.

At least half of the 1,000 consumers surveyed say they want more consumer involvement in the use of ingredients and additives; the source of ingredients and the treatment of animals; nutritional content; and who should be responsible for food safety and quality.


With the exception of China, fewer than one-third of consumers are interested in being involved in making food easier to prepare or shop for.

Consumers around the world expect food companies to be responsible for their health and well-being, the survey found. Across all countries, 75% respondents say they would like to see food companies place a great emphasis on creating foods that reduce the risk of major health issues in the future.

Additional findings and country differences:

  • Taste, quality and price are the top consideration in choosing foods, except in China where health benefits are most important. Across all countries , 74% of consumers cite taste as a key consideration, but China gives taste least consideration (69%). In China, 78% of consumers said “health benefits” are key, compared with just 53% of respondents from other countries.


  • Knowledge, taste and availability are key barriers to healthier eating. When asked what factors, beside cost, prevent them from buying healthier foods, 44% of consumers cite “knowing what’s truly healthy;” 43% cite taste; and 35% cite availability. Consumers in Germany, Argentina and China are more likely to cite knowledge as a barrier, while consumers in the US and China cite taste. The top barrier in the UK is availability.
  • Consumers want good taste, but also want to know more about their food. In all countries surveyed, 63% of consumers want to be able to recognize all of the ingredients on a food label and 34% want foods to be made with as few ingredients as possible. Concern about what’s on the label is highest in Argentina, where 73% want to recognize all the ingredients. Consumers in China are least concerned about recognizing ingredients, though still more than half (52%) want to.
  • Brands are losing their relevance -except in Argentina and China. Only one-third of consumers cited “brand name” among factors they consider when buying food. Brand name lags well behind factors such as quality, price, health benefits, value, convenience of preparation and taste. In both Argentina and China, 45% of consumers said brand was a key factor.


  • Consumers want local food, but they’re not willing to pay for it in terms of either cost or taste. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers think at least some of their foods are from other countries, but just 17% of consumers said they “don’t care where food comes from” as long as it’s affordable and tastes good. Consumers in Argentina are the most likely to care about food sourcing, with more than 60% disagreeing with the idea that taste and cost trump food origin. Consumers in China are the least concerned about sourcing, 30% agreeing that they “don’t care where food comes from” as long as it’s affordable and tastes good.
  • Consumers think food companies should help solve societal issues related to food and nutrition, and they are willing to pay for it - within reason. Globally, more than 40% of consumers said they would be likely to pay more for food if it would improve the quality of water and food and bring medicines to those in need. Consumers in China and Argentina generally are more willing to pay for food if it could help others around the world. Sixty-five (65%) of consumers surveyed said that “improving human nutrition” would be their top priority if they were CEO of a global food company. “Making food that is safer” is a a close second (64%); and “making foods that taste great” is the third-highest priority (52%).


  • Consumers want food companies to take away the temptations that lead to obesity, but don’t want to eat less. Forty-five percent (45%) of consumers think food companies should play a role in addressing obesity, with more than half of those in Argentina and the UK holding this view. 63% of consumers believe food companies should help reduce obesity by decreasing junk foods; while just 21% think companies should reduce portion sizes. 56% of consumers think companies should help reduce the risk of major health issues and disease by making foods with more nutrients per calorie. Consumers in Germany and China aremore likely to think that food companies should try to reduce health risks by linking good food choices with lower healthcare costs.

The 2020 Food Landscape

Consumers expect how they choose and shop for food to be different by 2020, but they still expect food companies to be responsible for their health and well-being:

  • 43% of consumers believe that the kinds of foods we eat in the year 2020 will be different than what we eat today.
  • 39% believe the way we shop for food will be different.
  • 56% would like to see the food industry come up with easier ways to identify healthy foods on restaurant menus
  • 53% would like restaurants to offer healthier foods.

“Consumers want more information about ingredients and health benefits from both supermarkets and restaurants,” said supermarket expert Phil Lempert, who helped Ketchum develop the survey and analyze the data. “Food companies should be aware of these expectations as they focus on product development in the future.”

While 78% of consumers say they would like to get their foods from local farms or companies by the year 2020, most expect even more of their foods will come from other countries by then - with 34% of consumers expecting most or all of their food to be imported by 2020, compared to 21% who think most or all of their food is imported today.

“Food companies often ask consumers about food preparation and convenience, but the areas where consumers want more control are the ones where food companies are least likely to seek consumer input,” said Linda Eatherton, partner and director of Ketchum’s Global Food & Nutrition Practice. “These survey results indicate that food companies are asking the wrong questions.”

About the survey: The survey polled 1,000 consumers in the US, UK, Germany, Argentina and China and included 200 respondents from each country. Among respondents in China, half resided in cities and the other half resided outside of cities. The survey was conducted through online distribution at various times in each country, with all taking place between the end of July 2008 through the end of August 2008.

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Boss Training

Every morning at or before 7am, I feature an article on Sales Training. Today we have Chuck McKay:

What's the Boss's Most Important Job?

The boss has a unique responsibility. And it's not the one most people think of when they describe the duties at the top.

Robert Kiosaki, in his best selling business book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, explained that as an employee, you have a job. As a self-employed professional, you own the job. And the owner of a business hires people to perform the job.

So, in terms of making business happen you are either someone else's employee, or you're responsible. There are no other options. And though there's an outside chance that in good times any business can just muddle through, over the next few years if you're not aggressively pursuing new business you're not likely to make it. Sorry.

Some people are just cut out to be employees.

Consider a carpet cleaning business. Not just any carpet cleaning business, this one was being contemplated by a young man who asked my help creating a marketing plan. He had worked for another, similar, business, enjoyed the work, and saw the profit potential.

We spent two days together researching and building that plan. When it was finished, I offered my best advice: DO NOT OPEN THIS BUSINESS.

The market was strong, there was room for another competitor, and the young man with the ambition and the new marketing plan actually enjoys cleaning carpets.

Unfortunately, he hates selling.

And, as we've already established, the owner's primary function is to bring in the work.

Does that mean face-to-face selling? Possibly. But it definitely means that the owner can't simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Business owners who avoid selling end up with skinny children.

At any given time, roughly 2 percent of any market is actively seeking what you sell. That 2 percent will come looking for you, or someone else who sells what you sell.

The other 98 percent?

You're missing them. Most of your competitors are missing them, too.

Most of your competitors.

Care to know who's attracting that other 98 percent? Those who actively sell the value of doing business with their companies.

The competitors who have television ads that are being watched by potential customers are getting some of the 98 percent. Those competitors who's postcards and letters are making it to the homes, who's public speaking and referral programs are producing familiarity, and who's Yellow Pages ads are being read by the very people who need their goods or services are tapping into the other 98 percent.

But, like the young man waiting for carpet cleaning customers to find him, those businesses which wait for customers/clients/patients to seek them out are hoping that their “share” of the 2 percent will pay the bills. It won't. After all, we're discussing 2 percent of a pie that may be shrinking for a while.

What will grow your slice of that pie?

There are two things you can implement immediately, and you should be doing them both.

Find a reason to get back in touch with every customer and every former customer, then remind them of the reason they chose to do business with you. That reason shouldn't be price.

If they were originally drawn to your business because of your selection, remind them that you can help them find exactly what they're looking for. If customers chose you for the speed of your service, point out all the other things they can be doing when they finish with you. If they chose you for your detailed knowledge, help them recall the value of getting exactly what they need.

You may indeed lower prices, but only do it if it will help you to gain some of your competitor's customers. And remember that he's going to be strongly tempted to lower his prices, too. Reminding people of why you're their best choice keeps you profitable.

Bringing in the business is the boss's most important job.

Are you the boss?

It's time to start selling.


Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover you, and choose your business. Questions about marketing your business during tough times may be directed to

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Night Marketing News

Look at what you may have missed today:

by Aaron Baar
The new packaging is meant to put the company's "passion" for its food in directly in the hands of its 56 million daily customers. "[It] reflects the essence of who we are. We're a restaurant company," CMO Mary Dillon said. "It will help reintroduce our products and our quality, fresh ingredients." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"Kraft had solid revenue growth and, although much of that was due to price increases, they are a strong brand with strong core products that do well in hard times," such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Kool-Aid, says one research analyst. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"When we started talking about maybe blowing out this partnership it became clear it would work out," says Nissan spokesperson Robert Brown. He says Nissan will launch its own co-branded digital campaign to promote the new car and Electronic Arts' "The Need for Speed: Undercover." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The ads resonate with the younger consumer so many hotels are trying to woo, says David Brudney, a hospitality consultant. "I don't see any other chains playing off the hip-hop generation. But they also appeal to the kind of Baby Boomers who consider themselves on the edge," he says, a good spot to be in with so many consumers trading down in hotel brands. ... Read the whole story > >
Brand Marketing
by Les Luchter
This time, 237 marketing bloggers from 15 countries contributed 400-word, single-page essays, up from 103 bloggers via nine countries last year. The collaborators also voted for the book's subtitle, "Why Don't They Get It?" ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
GM sold 6.7 million vehicles in the first nine months this year. Toyota posted worldwide sales of over 7 million units. During the third quarter, General Motors sold more than 2.1 million vehicles--11.4% less than the period last year because of poor sales in the U.S. and Europe, where GM reports its sales dropped 18.9% and 12.3%, respectively. ... Read the whole story > >

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Are your Employees Idiots?

That was my reaction after reading this from Seth:

How to lose

Actual conversation at a local shoe store: "Do you have dress shoes in a size 6?"

"No, I'm sorry we don't."

"We're from out of town. Do you know any place we can get some?"

"I'm sorry I don't. Perhaps you'd like some in a size 8?"

Now, what are the chances that someone who wants a size 6 is going to buy an 8? Zero. The game is over. You lost.

Instead of feigning ignorance about the whereabouts of your competitors (you really don't know where other shoe stores are?) and instead of pretending you don't have a phone book, what would happen if you actually spent that spare minute being incredibly helpful. "Ask for Jimmy! Tell him Sal sent you..."

Of course, the recipient of this friendly advice would tell everyone at the wedding exactly what happened. And some of those folks wouldn't be from out of town...

Marketers, salespeople, athletes and politicians spend their days losing. Losing RFPs, losing someone browsing through a store, losing a race.

If it's close, the right thing to do is to lean into it, to persevere, to push at the end when it can really pay off. But what about when it's not? What happens when the RFP doesn't match (at all) what you sell, but the competition is a perfect fit?

If you're not qualifying people relentlessly enough to have many opportunities like this, you're not really qualifying them. You're just spending all day grabbing what you can grab.

It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity to be a statesman. This is when you earn the right to be seen as a trusted advisor, not a self-interested shill. Two months or two years from now, when you interact with that person or organization again, we'll remember that you were the one who spoke up on behalf of the competition, the one who helped us find a better fit, the clearly disinterested advisor who helped us choose between the two remaining good choices.

Your ego might not enjoy it, but in the long run, your organization will.

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Direct Marketing Vs. Branding

All of your direct marketing pieces should be consistent with your brand. But what is Direct Marketing?

What Is Direct Marketing?

Direct marketing is more than direct mail or sales channels such as mail order catalogs. Other diverse media a direct marketing campaign might include telemarketing and search engine marketing.

Small businesses can benefit from direct marketing (DM). Starting with a clear understanding of DM will help you fully exploit the strategy and drive your campaign to the biggest payoff.

Successful direct marketing campaigns share these three traits:

  • Emphasize ROI. The purpose of DM communication is to deliver profit rather than raise awareness or enhance your brand's image.
  • Target a specific audience and ask for a response. The money spent on mailing lists or Google ads is wasted if you don't invite potential customers to take an action, ideally with a purchase.
  • Capture both outbound and inbound information. The more tracking data you accumulate, the more you'll learn what works and what doesn't. Statistics from past campaigns can help to improve and focus your future efforts.

In short: Understand the definition of direct marketing, and you will move one step closer to seeing what a well-planned campaign can do for your bottom line.

Source: MarketingProfs' Direct Marketing Template.

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Walmart & Radio

For years, Walmart would not buy radio advertising. Then they tried it, and guess what happened?

Wal-Mart Becomes a Radio Success Story

After years of minimal spending, there's evidence that Wal-Mart has embraced Radio as a way to drive shoppers into stores. And it's working.

The discounter has had some of the strongest sales during the downturn. Media Monitors says the country's largest retailer aired 52,739 spots last week, four times last year's average.

(Source: Inside Radio, 10/29/08)

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Everything you believe is Bunk?

That's my review of this story from Fast Company. Read it for yourself:

Buy.ology: Why We Buy What We Do

It seems that I spend a great deal of time these days talking about the subconcious emotional drivers of designs. It turns out that there are very good reasons we all "buy" what we do. Reasons that are tied into our biology, culture, and our individual manner of nuture.

I first became aware of this kind of thinking when studing the work of Rudolph Arnhiem [1]- and his seminal book on Art and Visual expression as an undergrad at the University of Michigan. Now comes Author Martin Lindstrom, with an amazing new lense on the topic, using neuroscience to get an even tighter perspective. The info below from a Time magazine review of his new book " Buy.ology".

What do Rosary Beads and Red Bull have in common? A lot, it seems. Marketing guru Lindstrom and his team hooked up 65 people to special MRI machines to find out what their brains revealed about the connection between religion and brand loyalty. For days, the researchers ran images--like those of the Pope and a bottle of Coca-Cola--by the wired subjects. The resulting brain scans were arresting. It turns out that there is virtually no difference between the way the brain reacts to religious icons or figures and powerful brands. Nike is a goddess, after all.

The experiment is quintessential Lindstrom. The author, who spends 300 days a year on the road, teaching major companies how to market their brands, has an original, inquisitive mind. His new book is a fascinating look at how consumers perceive logos, ads, commercials, brands and products. Lindstrom conducted a three-year, $7 million neuromarketing study (sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and Bertelsmann, among others) that measured the brain activity of 2,000 volunteers from around the world. Some of the results confirmed marketing-industry hunches; others flew in the face of conventional wisdom. A few findings from the well-traveled savant:

• Product placement on the TV or movie screen is generally useless (unless you are selling it). Viewers tune it out like white noise. It works only when the product is fundamental to the story line.

• Cigarette warning labels not only do not deter smoking but actually encourage smokers to light up. The reason? The nucleus accumbens, or the "craving spot" in the brain, is stimulated by the sight of the warning.

• Is subliminal advertising still used? You bet. There are even stores that play music containing concealed recorded messages prodding shoppers to buy more or not to shoplift.

• Contrary to popular belief, sex usually doesn't sell products. But controversies about sex in ads do (see Calvin Klein or Abercrombie & Fitch).

The author insists he doesn't study buyology, which he defines as "the multitude of subconscious forces that motivate us to buy," to help companies launch nefarious marketing schemes. Rather, he says, "my hope is that the huge majority will wield this same instrument for good: to better understand ourselves--our wants, our drives and our motivations--and use that knowledge for benevolent, and practical, purposes." Well, maybe. But then again, he has nothing to sell us.

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Dare to Compare

Here's the latest from Laura Ries:

How and When to Attack

The harsh political season has spawned a new round of attack ads from marketers. Campbell's and Progresso are sparring over MSG. Dunkin' is doing the taste-test thing to Starbucks. And in the best campaign of the genre, Apple continues to attack Microsoft.

Who should attack and when?

In general, the leader should never attack or name the competition. Instead the leader should promote the category. By attacking a competitor or responding to an attack ad, the leader only legitimizes the competition and the existence of a choice. Neither is good.

If under attack, a leader should instead address any problems with PR. Never with advertising. When Apple says consumers are frustrated with Vista in its advertising, Microsoft shouldn't run ads saying everybody loves Vista.

For two simple reasons. 1) everybody doesn???t like Vista and everybody knows that and 2) Even if they did, any message from Microsoft is not credible because it is self-serving.

Microsoft needs to first fix Vista. Then they need PR to talk about how Vista is fixed. Then they can run advertising saying Vista is king.

The brand that has the best chance to pull off a successful attack ad strategy is a strong number-two brand. A well funded number-two brand positioned as the opposite of the leader can use a targeted attack to gain attention and create controversy. Hopefully, the competition will respond which only gives the attack more legitimacy.

Let???s look at some classic attacks and lessons learned.


Dunkin' Donuts attacks Starbucks

Just this month, Dunkin' Donuts woke up to the fact that Starbucks with 11,000 outlets has taken over as the King of Coffee. The 55-year-old brand is launching an aggressive campaign taking on Starbucks over taste. promotes a double blind survey that shows consumers prefer Dunkin' coffee to Starbucks 54% to 39%.

There are two problems with this research. One, the survey compares the old Starbucks brew to Dunkin', not the new milder Pike's Place Roast introduced with much fanfare earlier this year. Second, it is too late. Had Dunkin' done this years ago when Starbucks was first moving into its territory, it might have made sense.

Today, Starbucks is too big and too strong. And Dunkin' is too small and too weak.

Miller lite

Miller Lite attacks Bud Light

When the Atkins low-carb craze swept across the county, it seemed that every brand was suddenly carb counting from low-carb ketchup to bun-less burgers at Burger King.

In one of the most successful carb attacks of the era, Miller Lite pointed out a striking fact that few consumers ever noticed. Miller Lite has 2.6 carbs per bottle. Bud Light has 6.6 carbs.

Who would have thought beer guzzling frat boys would care, but suddenly it was big news. The ads were simple and clear. Bud Light had almost three times the carbs of Miller Lite. WOW.

What made the Miller campaign successful was the fact that Budweiser fought back. They tried to joke about all the exercise one might need to do to burn the extra 4 carbohydrates.

Compounding Budweiser's problem was the fact that its sister brand, Michelob Ultra, was touting itself as an ultra low carb brew. So what is it Bud? Do carbs matter or not?

Bud should have ignored the attacks, hoping that the low-carb craze wasn't going to last (it didn???t.) Miller should have kept up the attacks anyway knowing they were on to something, however small. Unfortunately for them, Miller moved on to the ridiculous Man Laws campaign.


Scope attacks Listerine

This is a good clean fight that has built two powerful brands. A good attack always leaves a valid and reasonable position for the opponent. Listerine vs. Scope is the best example of this.

Listerine invented the mouthwash category over 120 years ago. As one of the first prescription products to go over the counter it was very successful. Over the years Listerine effectively used advertising to expand the mouthwash category by introducing things like halitosis into consumers' vernacular.

Listerine also took a strong negative (bad taste) and used it to its advantage by proudly touting how the bad taste was killing the germs. And a brilliant slogan: "The taste you hate, twice a day."

Except for Scope, all the competition copied Listerine with their own bad-tasting mouthwash brands. Scope attacked Listerine on taste. Scope, the good tasting mouthwash, said people who used Listerine had medicine breath. Yuck!

Two strong positions, two strong brands.


Pepsi-Cola attacks Coca-Cola.

In the early 1980's, Pepsi was on a roll. The Pepsi Generation and Pepsi Challenge taste test where so successful that for a time Pepsi outsold Coke in the supermarket. The slightly sweeter taste of Pepsi performed well in blind one-sip taste tests and the test were a home run in the Pepsi Challenge advertisments. The new generation idea also positioned the taste of Pepsi as what the kids of today preferred.

For awhile Coke took it; then they snapped. Coke put out ads with Bill Cosby defending the not too sweet taste of Coke. But what the Pepsi attacks were really eating away at was the egos of Coca-Cola's leaders. So Coke did the now unthinkable. They changed their secret formula and reformulated Coke to basically win in blind taste tests. Coke made sure it tasted better by doing over 200,000 of its own blind taste tests which proved that New Coke tasted better than Pepsi.

Of course, nobody drinks anything blind. Every consumer drinks the name on the label whether they can see it or not. Less than three months later, Coca-Cola was forced to bring back the original formula. And New Coke was left for the history books.

It just goes to show you. If responding to an attack is a bad idea, changing your product is disastrous. Just think if Listerine suddenly tasted great! Actually they tried that with Listerine Cool Mint, which wasn???t a good direction either.


Apple attacks Microsoft.

With over 90% market share, Microsoft's long monopoly over the operating system market makes them an easy target for focused attacks. In an industry where geeks are good, Bill Gates has been the ultimate geek as well as becoming the richest man in the world.

Apple, on the other hand, has always been about cool. When the competition had names like Commodore Pet and TRS-80, Apple pulled ahead with simple designs and strong branding starting with its simple name.

The success of the iPod and now the iPhone brought Apple back from the brink. At a time when Microsoft let its guard down, Apple moved in. But let's not forget that Apple still only has a tiny share of the PC market.

That said, Apple has made a lot of waves over the years with its "Mac vs. PC" advertising.

First of all, they have been consistent. Repeating the same simple message with the same look over and over again makes for effective and memorable advertising. Second, the ads didn't tell people anything they don't know already.

You can???t use advertising to inform consumers or to the change the perception of your brand. You can only use advertising to accelerate your success by reinforcing ideas already in the mind.

Consumers already thought Apple was cool. Consumers already were frustrated with Microsoft. The ads just remind us of that fact. And they remind us there indeed is a choice.

Like Coca-Cola, Microsoft clearly got its feeling hurt by all the Apple love and finally said enough is enough. And like Coca-Coca, they are foolishly responding to the Apple attack ads. This fall Microsoft launched a massive $300 million dollar ad campaign. I???m just waiting for New Vista to be introduced.

In Microsoft's first ads, Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld got together and did nothing. It was not funny. They ended up looking like two out-of-touch middle-age rich white guys. Not a good message.

Then Microsoft followed that up with the "I???m a PC" ads showing people all around the world using a PC. They just don't get it. People use a PC because they have to; people use a Mac because they want to.


Obama attacks everybody and wins.

A successful attack has to be big enough, bold enough, credible enough and consistent enough to succeed.

Take the Obama brand. For almost two years, Obama has been on the attack with his consistent message of "change" while first Hillary and now McCain keep trying to reformulate in an attempt to compete. Not a good strategy.

Last night Obama aired a 30-minute commercial. This makes good marketing sense. The time to pile on with advertising is when you are ahead in the game. When you are behind and have a weak brand, advertising won't do you any good and may even make you look desperate.

So even if McCain had the money and even if he had a terrific 30 minute commercial, it wouldn't help him win the election. Brand first, advertising second.

Hail Mary passes only work in football.

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New Ad Campaigns for the week

From Mediapost:

Mark Cuban found in both ESPN and American Airlines ads. Burger King encourages Whopper eating and voting on Election Day. Let's launch!

"Where there's life, there's music," says an ad for Quebec's Contemporary Music Society. And if there's death, the society is moving on to the next sign of life. The ad promotes the society's new season, and founder and conductor Walter Boudreau plays the role of maestro in the spot. We begin with the sound of gunshots and a shotgun-wielding man scurrying off into an alley. The man collapses; he's been shot and he's losing blood. A band appears wearing both their instruments -- and CSI-looking gear -- and begins to perform. Once the man dies, however, the band quickly scurries off in search of their next... victim? See the ad here, created by TAXI Montreal.

Peyton Manning stars in a World MasterCard ad, breaking this Sunday during the Colts vs. Patriots game. The funny spot is part of MasterCard's "No Matter Who You Are" campaign, and follows the "priceless" commercial theme. Manning scores an extra night in hotels located in rival cites -- Boston, Cleveland and San Diego -- because of his World MasterCard. He mistakes the snippy comments from hotel employees as friendly hospitality and responds back with friendly remarks. "Don't choke on it," says a hotel employee who delivers a fruit basket to Manning's room. "Good call. I'll just cut it up and put it into a fruit salad or something," replies an appreciative Manning. See the ad here. McCann Erickson created the campaign and GSD&M Idea City handled the media buy.

ESPN launched three TV spots and a Web site promoting its NBA game coverage on Wednesdays and Fridays. Now in its second year, "Your NBA destination" follows a diverse group on a road trip to each ESPN telecast. In "Adjustments," ESPN announcer Mike Breen describes new and exciting updates to the RV. Think beaded cover for the driver's seat and hydraulics. See the ad here. Shaquille O'Neal teaches Stuart Scott and Breen how to play Scrabble. In Shaq's world, there's an abundance of "qs" available to use. Watch the ad here. Mark Cuban makes a run for the RV when the check comes in "Diner." According to Stuart Scott and Jason Kidd, he does it all the time. Billionaires. See the ad here. Wieden + Kennedy New York created the campaign.

Mark Cuban appears again, ever so briefly, in an American Airlines spot called "Big Man." Here we meet Milos, the basketball player. He and his agent are making the rounds, looking for a basketball team to sign him. He has the height, but not necessarily the talent for the game. Milos visits the Mavericks, Barcelona, Moscow, Paris, Rome and Shanghai, hoping someone will sign him. Shanghai signs Milos, prompting his agent to hug a stranger. "Going the distance for your client" ends the ad, seen here. TM Advertising created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Travelers Insurance launched two TV ads starring a dapper man, red umbrellas of all sizes and people who stress about things they care about. Dapper man makes his rounds in one ad, protecting just-made cheesecakes, a daughter with a driver's license and a freight ship. See the ad here. In the second ad, people describe the fears they had before Travelers came into their lives. Shopping carts, trees and dust are no longer frightening. Ninjas, on the other hand, remain scary. Watch the ad here, created by Fallon Minneapolis.

When I think of exercising my right to vote, I also think of Burger King. Am I alone here? A TV spot of consumers' hidden-camera moments at a drive-thru window ordering sandwiches made to their liking closes with BK urging consumers to vote. "We know you have a voice. We hear it every day. Use it Nov. 4. Vote," says the ad, seen here. There's also a Web site that encourages users to download an application on their Facebook or MySpace profiles called the "Poll-A-Rizer." The application allows people to answer a series of questions and compare them with friends, who will be classified as "advisors" or "opponents." Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the campaign and Mindshare handled the media buy.

Apple mocks Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign again in the latest Mac vs PC ad. Last week, "Bean Counter" poked fun at the amount of money put towards advertising rather than fixing Vista's problems. This week, PC attempts fundraising by hosting a bake sale whose proceeds will contribute to fixing Vista. The price of one cupcake is $10 million. Watch the ad here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

BooneOakley Charlotte is turning North Carolina stoplight signs into pro-Obama ads. The agency printed up hundreds of black and see-through decals of the Obama "sunrise" logo that are sized to fit over the green circle in a stoplight sign. Make sense? Have a look here and here. The end result may be obvious to some, but not all passersby, depending on your speed. It's quite subtle. The decals are popping up on street signs throughout North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, placed by agency staff and friends.

Sheetz Brothers Coffeez launched a print and outdoor campaign that recreates the hip, irreverent world of the beat generation coffeehouse. Black-and-white pictures of coffeehouse beat poets are combined with color photos of beverages, and copy is delivered in beat poetry form. "Bliss in a cup. Steamed milk on top" and "High-test escape from the rat race" read the copy, seen here, here, here and here. Smith Brothers created the campaign and Harmelin Media handled the media buy.

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

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