Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Look at the Marketing of the President

Skip at Maple Creative presents a summary of the marketing efforts that went into the longest Presidential campaign in modern history and it is only fitting that our new President will be the first to have a laptop in the Oval Office.

Was Obama a Marketing Genius?

Now that the political campaign dust has settled, let's take an inside look at the Barack Obama presidential campaign, from a marketing perspective. One of the fundamental aspects of a great marketing campaign is having a multi-faceted, layered marketing plan. A great marketing plan synthesizes and integrates several tactical layers. Let's take a look at what the Obama campaign implemented in the 2008 Presidential election:

1- A consistency of brand - the Obama identity, which was carried out with superb consistency (see below):

2- An effective positioning of the brand - "Hope." It struck an emotional chord. It conveyed his unique selling proposition (USP). It was available. He owned it.

3- Rich, fully developed back story, underneath it all - Obama's two books: The Audacity of Hope; Dreams from My Father. These works told the story in full detail.

4- Web - an unquestionably superb Web site

5- Grassroots engagement - how many yard signs, T-shirts and bumpers stickers did you see?

6- Earned media - 597,622 hits on Google's News search, as depicted on the Google Trends graphic below:

7- Advertising - did anyone see the Obama infomercial during election week?

8 - Social networking - the fact that Obama raised more money in the month of February 2008 than was raised ever before in any political campaign says it all. During that same month, he attended zero fundraiser events. In the words of his opposing campaign manager, "When Obama hit 1 million registered supporters on his Facebook group, we knew that the game had been changed ...that it was over," speaks volumes.

Regardless of whom you voted for, it is hard to dispute the fact that this was a genius marketing campaign. I say this in no way to diminish the man's success, his beliefs, his tactics ... or the outcome. Congratulations, President-Elect Obama!

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Saving Money & Saving Jobs

As I work with business owners, part of what I do is help them look at ways to find the money to promote themselves. After all, out of sight leads to out of mind, which leads to out of business.

Check out this recent story from Forbes:

Creative Cost-Cutting Tactics For Small Biz
Melanie Lindner 11.17.08, 6:00 AM ET

With credit locked up and consumers on the sidelines, small businesses should be sleuthing for any and all ways to shave expenses. Chopping heads only gets you so far--slice into muscle and you may be too hobbled to ride the rebound.

"Many think that the next step is to eliminate head count, but they will almost certainly be late when recovery comes," says Ken Hagerstrom, chief executive of Carlsbad, Calif.-based consultancy Expense Reduction Analysts.

With that in mind, we canvassed small business owners and consultants across the country to root out a host of creative cost-cutting techniques.

In Pictures: 14 Creative Ways To Keep Costs Down

Serious cost cutting means looking everywhere--even at the very packages that you send through the mail. Aaron Rubin, chief executive of, an online karate-equipment retailer, cut costs by switching from the free boxes used by the United States Postal Service to lighter, bubble protected plastic envelopes. While he has to pay for the envelopes, the difference in weight is so significant that it costs him less than using the free boxes.

"If you get a package down from one pound, one ounce to less than one pound, the saving for priority mail is over $3 per package," says Rubin.

Sharing office space can save more than a few bucks. Tyler Jorgenson, a real estate broker in Chino, Calif., recently renegotiated his lease to include a provision for subleasing. He's now renting out 65% of his location and charging two tenants enough to cover his entire rent. One of the conditions of the deal is that Jorgenson pays for the utilities and Internet connection for the whole office (which he would have to do anyway if he didn't have tenants).

Sometimes you have to lie down with competitors for survival. Group-purchasing organizations like the Council of Small Business Enterprise in Cleveland negotiates on behalf of nearly 17,000 members to get better deals on everything from employee benefit programs to office supplies. Buying in bulk lowers everyone's rates.

If after preliminary layoffs your payroll is still weighing you down, consider turning your line workers into entrepreneurs.

Say your firm writes software. Instead of chopping overhead by chopping heads, let each of the developers take charge of their own product while you take a stake in their efforts. In lieu of a salary, offer them partial support (in terms of marketing, product testing and health benefits) to build out their slice of the business and, with any luck, substantially increase their wealth. If all goes well, everyone wins.

Don't forget to crack open your information technology expenses. You could pay $15 a month for conference-calling services offered by the likes of AccuConference, which allows an unlimited number of callers to convene for up to 10 hours per call. For that price, you get special features like the ability to poll participants during the call and, if they have a computer nearby, real-time viewing of Power Point presentations.

Or you could pay nothing at the slightly stripped-down, which allows up to 96 callers to have a maximum six-hour conference call. You can call in by phone or computer; record and reply to the call and share it by RSS feed or podcast. Cost: only your usual long distance fees.

Cash-strapped manufacturers and other businesses with significant hard assets should take advantage of Section 179 of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code. This provision allows deductions for "tangible" assets such as property and equipment.

In 2007, the maximum deduction was just $125,000, but for 2008 and 2009, the IRS raised the amount to $250,000. If you're thinking of buying, say, a new truck and want that deduction, do it within the next year because the maximum deduction will drop back down to $125,000 in 2010. (For a complete description of property eligible for Section 179 deductions, click here.)

Short on cash to cover year-end bonuses? Offer a few extra paid vacation days for the coming year instead. That way, you can still compensate employees for hours they didn't work, but you don't have to lay out all that cash in one shot.

This one may be a tough sell during the holidays--but, hey, it's worth a shot.

In Pictures: 14 Creative Ways To Keep Costs Down

In Pictures: 12 Innovative Marketing Techniques

In Pictures: Lessons From Seven Graybeard Entrepreneurs

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Those Pending Sales

Jim Meisenheimer wrote about something that all of us involved in sales get to deal with, and he has a solution too:

I'll Get Back To You . . .

I'll Get Back To You . . . How often do you hear this?

How big is your "Pending File?"

You work with sales prospects and follow up on leads
provided by your company.

The process usually begins with a telephone call to set up
the first appointment.

You personally visit these prospects. You attempt to build
credibility and establish rapport. You feel good about the
first sales call.

You show interest by asking good questions and taking

You try to set up the second appointment and your sales
prospect won't commit right now.

He may say, "Call me in a couple of weeks and we'll talk
about scheduling the next meeting."

Or he might say, "I'll get back to you . . ."

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

This can happen during your first sales call, second sales
call, fourth sales call, or your seventh sales call.

Your prospect doesn't have the guts to say no, so he may
string you along - don't you just love when that happens?

Meanwhile your pending file gets bigger and bigger. But of
course you realize you can't pay the mortgage, buy groceries
or even pay for a vacation with your pending file.

Your pending file is actually a huge distraction for you
because it gives you an artificial and inflated sense of
your existing sales opportunities.

I believe it's important to get your sales prospects to say
"Yes" or "No" as soon as you can and in spite of your sales
prospects delaying tactics.

So at some point you should follow up and clean up your
"Pending file."

My business is of course different from your business, but
what we have in common is the dreaded "Pending File."

I can't stand seeing a bloated "Pending File."

So here's what I do every 3 - 4 months.

I send the sales prospects in my "Pending File" the
following e-mail:

Subject line: a quick follow-up


"Please advise if I should be putting my notes from our
conversations and e-mails about (Sales Training -insert
your product and/or service here) into the - No Longer
Interested File.


Please call if I can answer any questions or when you're
ready to take the next step."


You will be amazed at the results and the responses you'll
get after you send this e-mail.

One thing's for sure - you'll get a response.

This one very short and powerful e-mail grabs their attention,
which is of course exactly what you want this e-mail to do.

I usually send out a bunch of these e-mails the same day.

I get a response from 80% of the sales prospects within
72 hours.

They call and say things like . . .

"Jim - sorry I haven't gotten back to you on this, but we
have decided not to do any sales training at our next
national sales meeting."

"Hey Jim - we're still definitely interested and in fact
we'll be making a decision next Wednesday. Don't give
up on us."

"Jim - my boss put this on the back burner for the next
60 days. Let's schedule a phone call right now so we can
reconnect in 60 days - sorry for the dillydallying."

"Jim - since our last conversation our priorities have
shifted dramatically. We are now being acquired and so
all sales training programs have been put on hold for at
least six months. I really do apologize for not following
up with you."

This allows you to shuffle the deck and reprioritize your
"Pending File." It also allows you to remove any prospects
who are no longer qualified as a viable sales prospects
for you.

It also allows you to send your sales prospect a personalized
hand written note following up on their response to your e-mail.

There are two words you should never buy into. These words
are "Hopeless" and "Helpless." You should never feel hopeless
and helpless.

There are always solutions. There is always a way to deal
with every situation you face - including your "Pending File."

This e-mail follow-up strategy works for me.

I'm sure it will work for you too.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost:

Packaged Goods
by Karlene Lukovitz
"That fact that people care enough to tweet or blog about Motrin indicates that there's passion about the brand," says Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue, a firm that helps global Fortune 500 brands engage with customers through social media. "Motrin should now be able to take the feedback, continue the conversation, and harness that passion for the positive." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The trade group is launching an advertising and PR campaign in February, and hopes that the $2.5 million effort will reach some 25 million consumers next year. "The demographic for those who buy organic has broadened, and there are so many more venues now selling organic products," says Barbara Haumann, senior writer/editor for the group. "But there's also a lot of confusion, and we wanted to help set the record straight." ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
If teens and tweens aren't necessarily going to spend in this economy, perhaps a child can lead the retail charge. Yes, those kids still too young to shop for themselves are doing okay -- thanks to their parents -- if third-quarter results from The Children's Place are any indication. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the domestics have a competitive and sustainable future and that government-proffered liquidity for the domestics will cost less than doing nothing. "As a relative newcomer to this industry, I have the benefit of seeing the auto business and its transformation clearly. I see parallels with what I witnessed at Boeing after the 9/11 tragedy and the steps we took to transform commercial airplane business," he said. ... Read the whole story > >
by Wayne Friedman
Big Auto is begging for a bailout. So it's no surprise that automotive marketers dropped an overall 10% in their ad spending through the first half of 2008 to $6.1 billion--with only the import brands improving on average overall. The big U.S. automotives have been in major cutback mode--with possibly more to come in the second half of the year. The biggest, General Motors, slipped 6% to $1.2 billion. ... Read the whole story > >

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Over the Top Dog Food Ad

Recently Motrin caused a stir with an ad about "wearing your baby" pain. Click here to see the story.

I think that Motrin caved in. After all, look at this ad:

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Fresh Ideas


Cover of personalized Offbeat GuidePersonalized travel books combine search & curation
Media & publishing / Travel & tourism

Offbeat Guides creates personalized, up-to-date travel guides to more
than 30,000 travel destinations using a combination of search
technology and curation by both amateur and professional experts.

Various drinkablesBuy a (real) beer for a Facebook friend
Food & beverage / Retail

It may be better to give than to receive, but for those on the receiving
end, real-world gifts trump virtual ones. No surprise, then, that we're
seeing more ways for online friends to give each other offline presents.

iMac in a Mama Shelter hotel roomParisian hotel puts an iMac in every room
Travel & tourism

By replacing the ubiquitous in-room TV with the multimedia Apple
iMac, Mama Shelter mimics the same type of shift going on in many

White T-shirtFree T-shirts for targetted consumers
Marketing & advertising

Companies tell Gitchers what types of consumers they'd like their
T-shirts to be sent to -- women aged 35 to 50 in Chicago, for example
-- and Gitchers matches them with consumers who want a free T.

Promo for Indie Next ListOnline community promotes indie bookstores
Retail / Marketing & advertising

IndieBound's mission is to help people across the United States
share and find independently owned businesses, starting with

Packet of Blended Bliss protein shakeDesign your own protein shakes
Food & beverage

Earlier this year, we featured You Bar, which lets customers order
custom-made energy bars. The company recently expanded its
offerings with a new line of design-your-own protein shakes.

Black Ovei podHigh-tech pod offers total immersion
Homes & housing / Lifestyle & leisure

A bespoke, high-tech capsule, the Ovei offers a highly immersive
experience that provides its owner with a strong dose of "me time,"
far removed from the demands of others.

Snippet from a college reviewTransparency goes to college
Education / Media & publishing

A few new sites offer a way for students to share an insider's
perspective on campus life, from dorms to campus hotspots to local

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The Internet IS Mass Media

In case you still don't believe that you should have a website, take a look at this:

Before 1998, less than half of the people who used computers also used the Internet. Today only two percent of computer users do not go online.

Four Out of Five Adults Now Use the Internet
November 17, 2008 - In 1995, when The Harris Poll began measuring online activity, less than 18 million adults used the Internet in their homes, offices, schools, libraries or other locations. Now, thirteen years, later, fully 184 million adults are online.

The proportion of adults online trebled between 1995 (9%) and 1997 (30%), and kept on climbing rapidly to 63% in 2000. Since then growth has been slower, reading 73% in 2004 and 81% now.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll, a nationwide survey of 2,020 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone between October 16 and 20, 2008 and October 30 and November 2, 2008 by Harris Interactive.

Review the entire poll results.

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Free E-Book from Seth Godin

This offer appeared in my email this week:

The Tribes Q&A ebook is here and it's free

Qacover Dozens of volunteers, working together, put together this ebook:

Download TribesQA.pdf

Yours to share or print or email, but please don't sell it or change it.

Not only is there a juicy insight on every page, but I'm comfortable saying it's the best designed PDF I've ever seen, worth making into a template for your next project.

Enjoy it.

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Walgreens & Times Square

As I was preparing this article, it got me thinking, How Much Advertising is Too Much. So I wrote about it yesterday and you can click here to get the answer.

In the meantime, here's the latest addition to the advertising portfolio in the Big Apple:

An Ad Network in Times Square

THE medium, Marshall McLuhan once said, is the message. On a familiar building in Times Square, the messages are becoming a medium.

As the Walgreen Company — the largest American drugstore chain in sales — formally opens at 1 Times Square on Thursday, executives are describing plans for the giant signs that will festoon the building on three sides. The signs include some diagonal displays resembling wings as tall as 17 stories. It will also serve as an advertising network of sorts as Walgreen and its sales representative, a unit of ABC, peddle commercial time to other marketers.

The new one-building network — WALG, if you will — is to display ads each day for 20 hours, ceasing their pitches from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. In addition to ads and other promotions for Walgreen, there will be messages from advertisers that produce the kinds of health and beauty items, food products and other merchandise sold in the drugstore.

Four advertisers have signed multiyear, multimillion-dollar deals to be charter sponsors of the signs: Colgate-Palmolive, Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson and L’Oréal. Ads for Colgate Total toothpaste and several L’Oréal makeup products were visible on Wednesday morning as the signs were being tested.

In selling ad space on its signs to companies, Walgreen joins a list of Times Square denizens that includes Thomson Reuters and ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, whose ABC New Media Services unit is handling ad sales for Walgreen.

The Walgreen signs are indicative of the growing presence in the lives of consumers of new types of advertising outside the home. Media types count the influences on consumers by screens: the TV set is the first screen, the PC is the second and the cellphone or other mobile device the third.

By that token, a big digital sign chockablock with light-emitting diodes, affixed to a building, bus shelter, mall kiosk, supermarket checkout or gasoline pump, is becoming the fourth screen.

“It’s about saying ‘We’re here,’ ” said Kim L. Feil, who was recently named the first chief marketing officer at Walgreen, which is based in Deerfield, Ill. The store at 1 Times Square, occupying 16,200 square feet on three levels, replaces one that Walgreen operated at the site from the 1920s until 1970.

The ad revenue that ABC New Media Services is to collect for Walgreen from other marketers will help defray the costs of the store. Walgreen is paying more than $4 million a year to lease the building from Sherwood Equities, which is a minority owner in and the manager of 1 Times Square.

Plans for the store — the 11th in Manhattan for Walgreen and the 53rd in New York City — began well before the financial crisis that is slowing sales for just about every retailer in the United States not named Wal-Mart.

“We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think it was a business-wise proposition and a marketing-wise proposition,” said Ms. Feil, who is also a vice president of Walgreen, which she joined in September from the Sara Lee Company.

“It isn’t inexpensive,” she added, declining to discuss specific figures, but it is about opening “a flagship store” in “one of the busiest neighborhoods in America.”

The store and its gaudy signs, which have 12 million LEDs, are meant to raise the profile of Walgreen, a company that for decades has preferred to operate without public attention.

“Walgreen wants to put its flag back into the ground” at Broadway and 42nd Street, said Arthur Gilmore, president and chief executive at the Gilmore Group in New York, a design and branding agency that devised the signs. The GG Media unit of Gilmore will produce the ads, promotions, video clips and other sign content being sponsored by Walgreen.

“We’re talking to Wall Street, to shareholders, to customers, that Walgreen is up to something,” Mr. Gilmore said, “and moving the company ahead from a brand standpoint.”

That is why the Walgreen presence on the building is so dominant, he added, joking that when “you turn that corner” on the way to 1 Times Square, “you’re going to get a suntan” from the signs’ light.

Ms. Feil agreed with that approach.

“You go to Times Square to be overwhelmed,” she said. As for the increasing difficulty in standing out in the neighborhood as more signs go up on more buildings, her philosophy is that more is, well, more.

“If we’re going to go in,” Ms. Feil said, “we might as well go big.” A New Jersey company, D3 LED, is building the signs for Walgreen.

Other new signs in Times Square — long known as spectaculars, for their larger-than-life elements — include a billboard for the Ricoh Americas Corporation at 3 Times Square, designed to be ecologically friendly, and a redesigned LED sign for JVC at 1501 Broadway, to be introduced on Dec. 2.

The Walgreen signs, which include 13 60-inch plasma screens facing 42nd Street, 7th Avenue and Broadway, will not only burnish the images of the brands advertised on them, said Teresa Rix, vice president for ABC New Media Sales, but “pull people off the street to purchase products as they walk by.”

Walgreen will also “be involved in the ‘Good Morning America’ concert series in 2009,” Ms. Rix said. Her division sells the ad space on the giant sign that ABC operates above that show’s studio as well as commercials on TaxiTV in New York City taxi cabs and spots on plasma screens in college bookstores as part of the Digital College Network.

Ads on the Walgreen signs and other Times Square signs are typically sold by the minute, at rates that range from $50 to $75, and scheduled in blocks like two minutes an hour for eight hours a day for eight weeks. The sums can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for major ad buys.

The Walgreen signs are above and below the famous news ticker on 1 Times Square, known as the zipper, which was previously sponsored by The New York Times and New York Newsday and is now sponsored by the Dow Jones & Company division of the News Corporation.

Executives of Walgreen, Gilmore and D3 LED plan to attend a news conference at the store on Thursday morning; the signs are to be officially lighted at 8 p.m.

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Learn by Listening

I've seen salespeople who think that the gift of gab is what works.

Usually the best sales job they ever do is the interview that gets them the job, then it's all downhill.

Art Sobczak has some insight:

Three Secrets for Getting People to Open Up


We can learn a lot from expert interviewers
in other professions.

Peter Kessler is probably one of the best
interviewers I have ever seen or heard.
He was on The Golf Channel a few years ago,
and now does a golf show on XM satellite radio

His ability to get guests to open up, help them feel
at ease, and say things they've never said before
is uncanny.

Questioning is the foundation of sales, and
Peter Kessler is a master. In a "Golf Digest"
magazine interview, Kessler was asked what
he did to prepare for his TV show before The
Golf Channel went on the air in 1995.

He said he watched other interview shows,
including tapes of old ones. In one show
with Tom Snyder from the Tomorrow program,
he said he was able to gather ALL of the rules
he would follow.

Snyder was interviewing Paul Newman.
He started by saying to Newman, "Tell
me how you broke into film."

Kessler thought to himself, "What a good

Newman replied by saying, "Well, in 1947..."

That's as far as he got before Snyder broke
in with, "I've got to interrupt you and tell
you how I broke into radio."

Kessler said he went crazy, wanting to
throw things at the TV. He realized that he,
and most of the audience, wasn't interested
in how Snyder got into radio. They wanted
Newman's answer!

So, Peter Kessler wrote down these three
rules. And they're good rules to follow in
our own sales questioning. (My comments
are after each.)

1. Don't interrupt the guest.
What they have to say is much more important
that what you have. You're questioning to get
information from them, right? Ask a question,
then shut up. And pause after you think they
have finished--they might continue with even
better information.

2. Never say "I."
The focus is on THEM during this part of the
call. Instead of "I, "me," and "my," use "you"
and "your."

3. Never talk about yourself.
You will never learn anything by talking. Especially
about yourself. When you analyze it, it is quite
ludicrous to think about a salesperson talking
about himself during the fact-finding part of
the call. The only way we can effectively sell
is by learning about them.

Be aware of these three simple points this week
in your own questioning. Also make a note to
observe the styles of other interviewers on the
radio and TV to see if they follow these rules.


"Never speak of yourself to others; make them
talk about themselves instead; therein lies the
whole art of pleasing.
Everybody knows it, and
everyone forgets it."

Edmond and Jules de Goncourt


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that get sales reps saying and doing the right things, right
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Isn't it time that the organization does something special
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For more info, go to, or
contact me at, or call
me at (402)895-9399. (Special incentive for Scottsdale/Phoenix

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Aaron Baar
"The futuristic aspects in the new television commercial represent Yellowbook's commitment to continued innovation and, importantly, to helping consumers find what they're really looking for--wherever they search--today as well as tomorrow," a company representative says. The campaign builds upon a tagline introduced in May, "Say Yellow to the future." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
And Disney's "High School Musical" items are also coming on strong, breaking the Top 10 list for girls for the first time, reports the National Retail Federation's 2008 Top Toy survey. But the big news, in a ranking that is usually all about dolls for girl and cars for boys, is that video games are appearing on the girls list for the first time. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
In a consumer promotion being billed as one of the largest not only in video gaming but professional sports, Dr Pepper will kick off its second year as a sponsor of the Major League Gamer (MLG) Web sites by featuring an MLG gaming star player on more than 175 million 20-ounce bottles of the regular and Diet Dr Pepper. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The lesson for this economy is that marketers should not sacrifice brand equity to deals, coupons and other immediate-sales messages. "One of the things that we talk about is that in times of recession so many companies will cut back on product and promotional innovation, but this is exactly the time when that is the last thing they should be doing," says Mintel's Lynn Dornblaser. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Karl Greenberg
The European company says the effort is meant to support its new brand mantra, "delivering when it matters." The theme was introduced with its Zurich "HelpPoint" global campaign last month in 80 countries. The concierges will help travelers with documents, hotel bookings, auto rentals, city maps, luggage carts, or wrapping paper for gift purchases. ... Read the whole story > >

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How to Annoy Your Customers

Think you are the only game in town?

That you can raise your prices and your customers will have to pay them?

Check this out from the Church of the Customer Blog and be sure to read the very end.

The Latest from Church of the Customer Blog

How much is that doggie ticket?

Posted: 19 Nov 2008 12:57 PM CST

If you fly with a small dog, be prepared to pay a lot.

I wanted to take Mini, my 10-pound toy poodle, with me during a Thanksgiving trip. My round-trip ticket cost: roughly $300.

Here were the round-trip costs for Mini to ride under the seat in front of me:

On most of the airlines, it would cost nearly the same to stow Mini as a carry-on bag under the seat in front of me as my own seat. On one airline, Mini's ticket would cost more than my own.

Just a few years ago, airlines were touting "fly with your pet" programs. This year, most airlines have raised all of their fees across the board, including pet fees.

Can someone explain the economics of extremely high pet fees? Are the airlines trying to disincentivize carry-on pets, or do they see it as easy money because of well-heeled dog owners?

As for my travel plans, I'm staying put.

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Building your Network

This week I received a nice letter from Laurie Stafinski:

I thought your readers might be interested in a new guide just released from, “Face-to-Face Networking Guide: A Primer for Relationship Building.”

In this guide, readers will learn:

· The golden rule of networking

· Who to network with and where you can go to find them

· 3 tips for starting a conversation

· 6 open-ended questions to get contacts talking and to build a relationship

· 8 common networking stereotypes to avoid

Your readers may be interested to know they can download this guide, and all of our how-to tools and guides, free when they sign up for a 7-day free trial of RainToday Annual Membership. If they are not satisfied with their membership, they can cancel at any point during the free trial and will not be billed. Plus, they get to keep all of the content they downloaded during their free trial.

I thought that your readers might find the guide to be useful for their own networking activities.

Best regards, Laurie

As someone has taught others how to network to grow their business, I found this article to be very well written and one that I will promote to the business owners that I know locally that are wanting to network.

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"Right- Sizing" your marketing

Drew at the Marketing Minute wrote this last week, referring to a day next week, and actually the rest of your business life:

The Marketing Minute

Are your eyes bigger than your budget?

58104275 You know that feeling you sometimes get after Thanksgiving dinner? That, "I want to lay on the floor and bemoan the second helping of turkey, stuffing and the extra roll?"

Your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you always pay the price.

The same thing happens when you're buying media (new or traditional). You try to stretch that budget too far. Which means you take on more than your budget can comfortably handle.

One more radio station. That great buy in the trade pub. A couple more sites for the banner ad.

Push the plate back and walk away from the table. When you're buying media, you are always better off to not overdo. Buy a good strong schedule and if you have money left over....go back and buy more of what you've already bought.

For a media mix to be effective, each element in the mix must be substantial enough to establish retention. Too often, people sacrifice repetition for the sake of reach.

By the way....the same logic holds true for marketing tactics. Don't try to do too much. Better to do fewer things more often and better.

Hey, there, it's me again (Scott Howard). I have some tips for you on achieving the right balance. Just click here to read more!

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Rubbermaid's Social Media Involvement

From the THINKing Blog:

Big Brand Blogging

Posted: 14 Nov 2008 02:57 PM CST

Friend Jim Deitzel handles social media programs for the Rubbermaid brand, a Newell-Rubbermaid company. This is a big brand that truly gets social media, so I thought you might like to hear a bit about their efforts. The content of the Rubbermaid blog focuses on organization, one of their key brand drivers. Some of the recent stories on the blog include a Q&A with a professional organizer; laundry room organization; and festive holiday containers. The brand’s coordinated use of a variety of social media vehicles as a means of marketing content, I think, is the key to their success.

But you don’t want to hear me prattle on. Let’s hear from Jim Deitzel on Rubbermaid’s social media program:

Q: Not many major brands seem to have utilized or been as successful with social media as Rubbermaid has. To what do you attribute that?

Jim Deitzel: I’m not sure that’s an entirely correct statement. Most of the major brands have used or are using one form or another of social media. If you include reviews & ratings, polls, contests with voting, etc. then most brands are doing social media. But newer tools such as blogs, twitter and facebook - only a few companies are currently using them. Rubbermaid, Graco and Sharpie now have blogs. Rubbermaid and Graco both utilize Twitter. There could be many reasons for it. Some of it can be attributed to resources, people, time, etc. I do believe you’ll see some of the other brands beginning to engage soon.

Q: What was Rubbermaid’s primary objective when wading into the social media pool?

Jim Deitzel: Our objective was to connect with people who have an interest in organization. Professional Organizers, who happen to be heavy users of social tools, were the main focus of our outreach efforts.

Q: Can you briefly explain how you got the program started, which social media elements you included in the effort and how the program progressed?

Jim Deitzel: We started our blog and twitter usage at about the same time (actually we had a twitter account since nearly day 1 of twitter, but never used it). The blog began with content surrounding a specific product launch we had last spring. From there it expanded into a more general blog with content surrounding organization.

Q: What has been the most surprising result from the social media effort?
Jim Deitzel: The wonderful connections I’ve made with professional organizers. I have come to know some of them personally and it’s been great. The openness and willingness for them to participate with us has been outstanding.

Q: One of the things I like about your program is the way professional organizers seem to have embraced what you are doing. Can you tell us a little about how that has happened and evolved?

Jim Deitzel: As I mentioned before, one of the key goals was to get in touch with the organizers. Connecting with people online is not much different than connecting with people offline. You meet, get to learn a little about each other, and then begin to have longer and deeper conversations. We now involve professional organizers in our blog, the content on, they talk about our products online, and we actually meet up at professional organizer tradeshows. It’s been really great.

Q: You’ve used Twitter and your blog very nicely in a concerted effort. Please tell us how that evolved.

Jim Deitzel: Both tools have their own unique method of communication. Twitter allows for quick, ’stay in touch’, messages. It can also be used as a ‘look what’s new’ tool. The blog allows for longer length content as well as comments/reponses from our followers. We even ask our followers for input on home makeover projects we are working on.

Thanks, Jim.

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Holiday Spending, Doggy Style

Not all of us are getting less for Christmas in 2008, if you have enough fur that is...

Americans Spending Less on Gifts, but Not Necessarily for Pets

Shoppers are scrimping on holiday gifts, but not when it comes to their pets.

Among those who plan to spend less on gifts this year, only 23 percent are doing so on their pets, according to a survey recently released by Consumer Reports. The vast majority (84 percent) said they plan to cut back spending on themselves.

Another 40 percent said they're scaling back on buying for friends and friends' families, while 30 percent plan to spend less on service providers such as delivery people, hair dressers and gym instructors and 29 percent aren't giving as much to co-workers.

In all, 59 percent of shoppers said they plan to cut back on gift giving.

One likely reason pets won't be as affected by cutbacks is that their gifts aren't as pricey.

"Most average folks aren't spending an arm and a leg on their pet," said Tod Marks, senior projects editor at Consumer Reports.

When people treat themselves, on the other hand, it's usually something like a plasma TV or other big ticket item for the family, he said.

In addition to scaling back on gifts, the Consumer Reports study found 59 percent of shoppers plan to create a budget for the holiday season -- up 17 percent from last year.

"Whether they'll stick to it, nobody knows," Marks said.

In fact, less than half of people who said they created a budget last year said they stuck to it.

Overall, the report found about three-quarters of people plan to cut back on holiday spending, including travel, gifts and decorations. Still, 88 percent expect their holidays to be at least as happy as last year.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults between Oct. 16 and 19. Participants were selected using random digitized dialing.

(Source: Associated Press, 11/7/08)

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Beat or Get Beat up

Is it time to go back to basics? From a recent email I received:

5 Tips to Beat Your Competition in a Recession

by Jeb Blount author of the Power Principles Audio Book

CNN calls it issue #1. The political candidates talk about it incessantly. You cannot open a newspaper, turn on the TV, or even have a conversation with friends without talking about the economy and the "r-word" - recession. Doom and gloom are everywhere. And there is no hiding from the fact that trepidation in the market is having an impact on the paychecks of Sales Professionals across the globe. It can be depressing and people are looking for answers. Hardly a day goes by that I'm not asked by someone, "What should I do?" While I don't have all of the answers, and certainly don't hold myself out as an expert on recessions, I offer salespeople five tips for prospering during a recession:

Tip #1: Play Offence. In every industry segment there is opportunity to win regardless of how hard hit. Smart salespeople go on the offence during economic downturns and take advantage of weak competitors. They take definitive action to gain market share. They become consultants who look for innovative ways to help their prospects and customers prosper during the recession. One example is the Sales Professional I met last month who is thriving in one of the most depressed real estate markets in the US. Her strategy, she offers free concierge services to French tourists. Once the relationship is formed she shows them how cheaply they can purchase a vacation home in the United States. While others complain that nothing is selling, she is laughing all the way to the bank.

Tip #2: Play Defense. At its foundation, sales, and for that matter business, is about getting and keeping customers. Smart Sales Professionals are taking steps to protect their customer base now. These leaders recognize that they have competitors who will be knocking on their customers' doors with tempting offers to save money. Instead of putting their heads in the sand and waiting for the inevitable calls from customers to discontinue service, cancel orders, or extend payment terms, they become consultants and proactively seek ways to help their customers deal with problems that arise from economic down turn. They understand that customers are extremely loyal to the people and companies who solve their problems. By being proactive they lock their competitors out and in doing so retain customers who will certainly buy even more when the recession is over.

Tip #3: Upgrade. When the economy was strong we could afford to make mistakes or ignore bad sales habits. Things have changed now. Recessions separate the weak from the strong. It's the ultimate "survival of the fittest" in the business world. Your skills, talents, and attitude are the real competitive edge in this market place. Smart Sales Professionals are investing in themselves. They are reading more, listening to Podcasts like this one, attending seminars and webinars, and taking advantage of their corporate training programs. Take time to upgrade now and you will become an invincible competitor in your industry and market regardless of the state of the economy.

Tip #4: Focus on Fundamentals. During the good times, when things are booming, we have a tendency to ignore the basics and we lose our discipline to execute the fundamentals - we ride the wave where even the weak can survive. However, during a recession there is no room for error. Be disciplined. Block and tackle. Go back to the basics. Do right things right repetitively. This is how great Sales Professionals win in any situation.

Tip #5: Move Faster. During recessions we have the tendency to slow down. We want to take our time to ensure we make no mistakes. Frankly, in some cases we are just plain old depressed. The fact is though that prospering during a recession means taking action - especially in the 21st Century where speed is key differentiator. Now is the time to get new products to market, now is the time to hit your competitors harder, now is the time to set new goals and create a new vision for yourself. To prosper during the recession, urgency is mandatory. Sooner or later, the recession will end and when that happens speed will give you a huge head start over your competitors who have been hiding, with their heads down in the trenches.

Bonus Tip: The problem for many Sales Professionals during tough economic times is that they begin looking for magic pills. The reality is there are no magic pills. The best way to prosper is a strict focus on the fundamentals.
To listen to the audio version of this article click here

Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy, is the award winning host of the most downloaded sales Podcast program of all time. With more than 20 years of Fortune 500 sales and sales leadership experience he brings a unique perspective to personal developement for the 21st Century Sales Professional. His audio programs have been downloaded more than a million times.
The Sales Guy Podcast is free.
To subscribe on iTunes click here.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Near the bottom of this article are some chicken related clickable, (cluckable?) headlines regarding McD's and KFC:

by Les Luchter
Prevention's tracking of a year's worth of online and offline conversations also determined that boomer women have "higher quality" WOM than younger women do -- the conversations are more credible, and they are more likely than younger women to pass on what they hear to others, to seek additional information and, most significantly, to actually purchase the products talked about. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The campaign, via the company's AOR for recruitment marketing--TMP, runs through the holiday season. The first phase--aimed at hiring drivers--garnered some 8,054 opt-ins, with 96% clicking through the emails that were sent to them after they said they wanted to learn more about the jobs via text. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
The brand took into account the fact that it was a special and a first-time deal. "The premise of the whole show itself is Christmas, and that's a pretty critical time of year for us from a commercial standpoint," says Campbell Brown, VP/Director of the Americas. "If we can invest in something that we think will break through the clutter in December and November, we will do it." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Wal-Mart is betting that shoppers want to trim the fat. The retailer, which has already vowed to lower the cost of the holidays week by week through its Operation Mainstreet marketing program, is hyping the ingredients for a traditional dinner for eight--including wine--for under $35. (That's a little less than average, which will be $44.61 for 10 people, up $2.35 from last year.) ... Read the whole story > >
by Wayne Friedman
Subaru of American has made a major sponsoring deal with NBC Universal for its second annual "Green is Universal" week. During the event, Subaru will get three 40-second vignettes running as part of featuring talent from the NBC series "Heroes," who give car-related "green" tips. The event this year began on Sunday during NBC's pre-game show "Football Night in America," and wraps up on Saturday ... Read the whole story > >

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