Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Power You Have

Too many people are unaware of the power that they have to influence, to change things, to keep things, to help.

Earlier this year, Fort Wayne Indiana lost the Lincoln Museum that has been in town since before I moved here in the 1960's. We found out too late.

Take a look at this from Seth Godin and I'll see you tomorrow:

Don't know what you've got till it's gone

IWantSandy is folding, as are a number of web companies. So is that restaurant you loved down the street. Users are outraged. Outraged!

When you find a service or establishment or product that gives you joy, it's tempting to keep it to yourself. Perhaps it's uncomfortable to recommend it to a friend (after all, you might seem silly) and even more uncomfortable to recommend it to a stranger (after all, you might seem like a shill).

Plenty of people hesitate before spreading the word about a political candidate or a business or a medical device. We're worried that we'll look silly, or that the place will end up being too crowded and now we won't be able to get in. Or perhaps we're concerned about losing our uniqueness...

Anyway, the outcry that accompanies the closing of one of these businesses should be enough to remind you that your hesitation has a cost.

It's simple, I think. In a world where consumers have so much power, we now have two responsibilities:

  • If you don't like what an organization stands for, work actively to spread the word and force them to change


  • If you will miss a product, a service, a book, a site or a professional when they close up shop, stand up, speak up and bring them masses of new business.

We get what we promote.

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Last weekend, I noticed a teen sitting in front of me in church was texting. He's not the only one that is "hooked on texting". Click on the charts to make them BIGGER. This is from

Texters Young, Culturally Diverse, Online Spenders

Adults in the US who use the text-messaging feature on their cell phone are 49% more likely than the average American to be between age 18-24, 14% more likely to be Hispanic and 24% more likely to be African American, according to (pdf) a survey from Scarborough Research.

The study also found that El Paso, Texas is the top US city for text messaging, with 57% of all adult cell-phone subscribers (age 18+) there reporting they use the text-messaging feature on their cell phone, compared with 48% of adult subscribers nationally.


Other leading markets for text messaging include Salt Lake City, Dallas and Memphis, Tenn., where 55% percent of cell subscribers use text-messaging.

Fort Myers, Fla., Charleston, W.Va., and Grand Rapids, Mich. are the local markets least likely to text message. Only 36% percent of Fort Meyers and Charleston cellular subscribers text, as do 35% of those in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Texter Demographics:

Scarborough points to the youthful, multi-cultural texting demographics as a likely reason why El Paso, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Memphis are the top text messaging markets. El Paso and Dallas both have Hispanic compositions that are well above average. Further, Salt Lake City and El Paso are top markets for 18-24 year old adults, and Memphis is a leading city for African-Americans.

Other key characteristics of texters:

  • They are among the country’s highest spenders on cellular services. On average, they spend $87 on their monthly cellular bill. In contrast, all cellular subscribers spend an average of $75 monthly.
  • They are 46% more likely than all cellular subscribers to typically spend $150 or more on cellular service monthly and are 12% more likely to plan to switch services.
  • They use a wide variety of phone features - such as picture messaging, streaming video and email -at a rate higher than that of the average cell user.
  • They are avid technology shoppers and are more likely than the average cell-phone subscriber to live in a household that owns - or plans to buy - a wide variety of hi-tech items, from HDTVs to MP3 players to video game systems.
  • They most often shop at Best Buy for audio-video purchases: 39% of Texters live in a household that shopped this retailer during the past year vs. 27% of all consumers nationally.
  • Other leading stores for Texter households include Wal-Mart and Target. 35% of Texters live in a household that shopped Wal-Mart for tech items during the past year, while 20% shopped Target.
  • They are leading online spenders. One-fifth (20%) of Texters spend more than $1,000 online annually, vs, 17% of all cellular users.
  • Internet applications permeate all aspects of their lives, from household tasks (such as bill paying) to entertainment (such as downloading movies or TV programs) to interaction (such as blogging and downloading a wide variety of content).
  • Texters are active, on-the-go consumers. They are 37% more likely than all cellular subscribers to have played basketball (as a leisure activity) during the past year; 29% more likely to have gone jogging/running; 29% more likely to have played tennis, and 23% more likely to have practiced yoga.
  • Texters are 12% more likely to have attended a professional sports event, and 57% more likely to have gone to an R&B, rap or hip-hop concert during the past year.

“Text messaging could be largely disproportionately appealing to marketers because it delivers a young, multicultural audience,” said Gary Meo, SVP, digital media services, Scarborough Research. “Additionally, texts can provide a very locally targeted vehicle for marketers wanting to reach people in the right place at the right time, ready to make a purchase. Texting is becoming a ubiquitous cell phone function.”

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Learn from a Whiner

Seth Godin is whining, cause he is in pain. Learn from he wrote recently:

How to answer the phone

31wzdkmpl_sl500_aa280_ The KitchenAid tea kettle (adorned in bright Squidoo orange, of course) in my office melted, leaving hot orange plastic on my thumb. Yes, it hurts as much as you probably imagine it does.

But that wasn't the worst part.

I called 1-800-334-6889 to whine a little bit and to hear why they made a meltable teapot. I counted how many prompts I had to press in order to talk to a human being. It was NINE.

Nine! Try it. I'll wait.

The last step was a recording that they were closed and I should call back after 10 am. Click.

I know you've heard this before, but it's really simple:

The only reason to answer the phone when a customer calls is to make the customer happy.

If you're not doing this or you are unable to do this, do not answer the phone.
There is no middle ground on this discussion. There are no half measures. Saving 50 cents a call with a complicated phone tree is a false savings. Think of all the money you'll save if you just stop answering altogether. Think of all the money you'll make if you just make people happy.

Your choice.

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Car Sales

Like many big ticket items, if it is more of a want than a need, it's not selling like it used to:

Need a Real Sponsor here

Luxury Cars Sit As Both Money, Mood Slip Away

In past economic slumps, luxury-car makers have withstood the downturn better than their mass-market counterparts. Not so this year.

Sales for the U.S. luxury-car market, which includes everything from a Lexus to a Lamborghini, fell 30% last month from a year earlier -- on par with the 31.9% decline for the overall market, according to Autodata Corp., a market research firm.

Auto makers report November's figures on Tuesday and that picture doesn't look any prettier. Credit Suisse projects the overall car market will show a decline of 36% -- a "November slaughter," in the words of Credit Suisse analyst Christopher Ceras.

Among luxury cars, "we suspect that November was just as bad as October because people on Wall Street and in the banks are still losing their jobs," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, a research firm in Lexington, Mass.

Researchers at Morgan Stanley expect the fall in demand for premium cars -- the higher end of the luxury market -- will get "significantly worse" in coming months.

J.D. Power estimates that BMW AG sales will show a decline of more than 20% for November and that sales for Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit will fall more than 40%.

That trend spells bad news for auto makers who have been able to rely on the fat profit margins of luxury brands to offset plunging sales of mass-market vehicles with razor-thin margins.

On top of rising foreclosures, a plunging stock market and thousands of pink slips on Wall Street, luxury-car makers say their customers also don't want their subordinates to see them driving a new car.

"People don't want to look like they have money now," said Mark Templin, group vice president of Toyota Motor Corp.'s North American Lexus division.

Lexus sales have started to pick up in November, said Sean Lyons, a Northeastern regional manager for Lexus. But that is partly because Lexus started its annual December sale early, on Nov. 21.

He said the region from Portland, Maine, to Washington was running only 10 vehicles lower than last November.

October was especially hard for the top-end luxury vehicles. Porsche AG's sales fell by half last month from a year earlier, to 1,427 vehicles.

Bentley's sales fell 62% to 146, while Maserati's sales declined 29% to 157.

The weak luxury-car market isn't isolated to North America as economies from Japan to Germany are in or near recession. Stuart McCullough, board member for sales and marketing at Bentley Motors, says sales in the Middle East and China are stable but are sinking just about everywhere else.

"Even the oligarchs in Russia don't feel rich anymore," he said. "There aren't many bright spots in the world right now."

Sales rose 10-fold from 2004 to last year. But Bentley, the superluxury brand of Volkswagen AG, expects sales to drop to 5,000 vehicles next year from 10,000 this year.

In response, the company cut one of the two shifts at its plant in Crewe, England. That said, Bentley sold a $230,000 Continental Flying Spur sedan on the first press day of the Los Angeles auto show last week.

Incentive spending -- such as zero-percent financing and cash rebates -- is on the rise, more than doubling for vehicles priced over $60,000, according to The average incentive spending on a premium car last month was about $8,100, compared with $3,430 a year earlier.

But unlike past downturns, consumers aren't responding to traditional marketing devices like increased incentives, lease deals or beefed-up advertising, said BMW spokesman Tom Kowelski. "This is the most difficult period we've experienced in North America," Mr. Kowelski said. BMW's U.S. sales fell 14% last month to 20,203 vehicles.

—Neal Boudette contributed to this article.

Write to Kate Linebaugh at

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8 Questions You Must Ask

Every Morning, 7 days a week, I feature a sales training article from some of the best in the business. Here's today's edition:

Welcome to this week's business insight by Shep Hyken. This week's insight is titled:

Know Your Customers

It is very important to know what your customers want, expect and
think of you. (This goes for your internal customers as well.)

So how do you get to know your customers? There are a number of
ways. You can hold focus groups, mail surveys, call on the
telephone, keep a guest book with a place for comments, etc.

The best way is to directly ask them. Here are a few questions
you may want to ask. They may vary depending on what you do and
the type of business you are in.

1. Were you satisfied with your most recent experience with us?
2. Was the service friendly?
3. Were the employees helpful and knowledgeable?
4. Were your expectations met?
5. What products (or services) would you like to see added?
6. What would you suggest we change about the way we do business?
7. Where else do you do business for the same products (or
8. Can you think of one thing that can make your experience with
us even better?

Copyright © – Shep Hyken, Shepard Presentations

Shep Hyken, CSP is a professional speaker and author who works
with organizations who want to build loyal relationships with
their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's
speaking programs, books and tapes contact (314)692-2200 or (

Shepard Presentations, LLC
711 Old Ballas Road, Suite 215
St. Louis, MO 63141

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

A little earlier, due to the holiday weekend:

Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
"Now more than ever, reinforcing the relationship we have with our customers is important," says Deborah Curtis, American Express VP/advertising. "The relationship we have with our card members is what makes us different and we want to highlight that." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The National Retail Federation estimates that up to 128 million people will shop today, Saturday or Sunday. (Some 49 million people say they will definitely be shopping this weekend, while 79 million say they intend to see what the deals are before braving the mall.) That represents a slight decline from the 135 million people who said they would or may shop at this time last year. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
A spokesperson says the New York store--which doesn't actually sell products--is intended to support P&G's Dec. 12 BrandSaver coupon book drop in Sunday newspapers. The monthly coupon books reach some 55 million households around the country with offers for a range of P&G brands. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"There was a significant percentage who said they will definitely not purchase products that they said they would, and, even among those who said they would still shop in a specific category, there were many who said they would cut back on features or get less expensive products from the same brands or cheaper brands," says NPD's Ross Rubin. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
Michael French, a spokesperson for the brand, says that the effort is an attempt to find the cutting edge: "UPS delivers packages, and we want people to know we can deliver fun in cyberspace." The company hopes the idea goes viral to promote general brand awareness as well as the company's desire to promote sustainability. ... Read the whole story > >

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Last weekend the following article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. I have been asked to be a part of a discussion on Social Media and I believe it is important to know the boundries between the purely social and the business oriented social media platforms. The big pure social networks are MySpace and FaceBook. Classmates is an "old school" network in that it still requires you to pay a membership fee to be active.

According to this article, LinkedIn is #4, adding a new member every second, 24 hours a day. Read more:

LinkedIn CEO touts growth of network

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Dan Nye joined LinkedIn last year, he knew the company had a viable product - it was his own posting on the professional-networking site that helped land him the job after it was spotted by founder Reid Hoffman.

Since leaving Advent Software and taking the helm of LinkedIn in February 2007, the 42-year-old has shepherded growth in all aspects of the service. Membership has swelled from 8 million to more than 30 million, while the staff has expanded from 60 to 370 employees.

And, the site is making money. Although as a private company, LinkedIn doesn't release dollar figures, Nye says it's been profitable for several years. Reports place that revenue at $100 million for 2008, up from $10 million at the end of 2006.

In June, the company raised funds at a $1 billion valuation.

According to Nielson Online, LinkedIn of Palo Alto was the fourth-fastest-growing social-networking site in September, behind, and Ning - and ahead of Facebook.

Meanwhile, it's the fourth-largest social-networking site, following, Facebook and Classmates Online.

Nye recently sat down with several Chronicle Business section staff members to discuss the future of the site, which plans to remain independent, and how it's faring in the troubled economy. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How have things changed since you became CEO of LinkedIn in February 2007?

A: When I joined, we had 8 million members in the network, and we had 60 employees. We now have over 30 million members. We have 370 employees, and we're currently adding new members at one per second, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What's most gratifying is seeing the success that people are having on the network. There are just amazing stories about people making money, finding opportunities, getting advice, avoiding disasters from reference checking, reconnecting with important people in their lives, getting introductions, getting access.

Half the members are outside the United States. All industries are represented, all fortune 500 companies, over 3 million small-business owners.

Q: What did you expect to happen when you joined LinkedIn, and have your expectations been met?

A: It was a small company with huge vision and great ambition. And when (founder) Reid (Hoffman) and I talked about what we could possibly do and where it could go and how big it could become, we were talking in a range that we have far exceeded.

We raised money at a billion dollar valuation in June. We've just raised more money. When I look at the slides I put together when I first joined the company, I expected us to have 26 million members in the network by the end of 2008, and we're actually going to have close to 35 million. I thought we were going to have about 200 employees by now, and we have well over 300. I thought that the revenues would reach one stage; we far exceeded that as well.

Q: You raised money in June, and then you said you've had another round more recently?

A: Yeah, so we've had four fundraising rounds. The first round was Sequoia Capital, the second was Greylock, the third was Bessemer Venture Partners, and that's right when I joined. The fourth was Bain Capital. We kept the round open in order to take money from strategic investors, and we just took that from Goldman Sachs, SAP and McGraw Hill.

Q: Could you say how much money came in?

A: $22.7 million. That was the follow-on. So 53 and 22.7 is $75.7 million.

Q: Do you see yourself needing more capital in the near term?

A: There are three things that are really important to understand about LinkedIn relative to its financial position. One is that we have a very strong balance sheet from having raised this money.

We actually never touched the series C money and then we went and raised more money. We also have a very strong revenue stream. Our revenues this year are up well over 100 percent over last year, and we are forecasting to continue to grow the revenues. We turned a profit in 2006 and we are running the company right at the line. So it sort of depends how the fourth quarter goes to know how the year ends up.

The third thing to know is that our businesses are built on top of a very active and fast-growing network, and a network, frankly, that has become much more important in a recessionary period where people are realizing, "You know what, connecting with people I know and reaching out and learning how these Internet tools are used and presenting myself so that I can be found on the Internet is valuable and important."

So we are not in need of cash, for any reason, and we have the cash to weather whatever storm we all face and to make acquisitions when we see ones that are attractive to us.

Q: Can you be specific about weathering the storm? Can you look forward and see how long you can last with your current money?

A: Forever, so long as we're not losing money. There are rules of thumb on how much cash you need to have. Ours is decades and decades.

Q: A strong growth rate is the envy of most every company, and it's also been the undoing of many companies. Scaling is the issue, and you've got to be able to manage it. What can you tell us or our readers about how you're doing?

A: There are many aspects of scaling. One is making sure that you're embracing and pursuing the opportunity and you're choosing to grow. And I think much of 2008 was about that. We were recruiting and attracting the very best talent from the very best companies in the valley.

So we have a very strong and significant engineering and operations team. We are building a second data center, so then there's the scaling of the site itself. We're bringing our second data center online right now and working through all of the balancing issues and the ways to make that work.

That's happening at a time when there's great demand on the system. We hired a vice president of technical operations from Google. And we have a great engineering team and operations team that is building the site to perform. I have confidence that what we're doing is working. It certainly has been working, as we have had to meet the needs of 1 million, 8 million, 20 million, now 30 million.

Q: Can you put a dollar figure on revenue?

A: We actually don't talk about the dollar figures. There have been reports in the press about the revenues being between $75 (million) and $100 million.

Q: Is that reasonably accurate?

A: I'm not denying it.

Q: And that's up from $10 million in '06, from our research, is that about right?

A: Yes.

Q: What are the proportions of your revenue stream?

A: We have four revenue lines and we just announced a fifth. One is advertising. The thing that's great about advertising on LinkedIn is if you have a limited budget, LinkedIn is a tremendous place to spend those dollars because of the quality of the demographic.

It's a professional network without a lot of the noise and nonsense. And you can target the ads to people by what industry they're in, what seniority level they're in, what geography they're in. It's a very, very efficient and effective form of advertising. The types of companies that advertise on LinkedIn are Bank of America, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Radisson Inn, Southwest Airlines, Porsche, BMW, Nissan or Mazda, etc.

The second is online subscriptions. And that's where members are buying access to more of the site. It's a particularly important and valuable service right now, as we have so many job seekers trying to leverage their networks. And so online subscriptions is another meaningful and valuable business for us.

Then there are the job postings, where individuals can pull out a credit card or corporations can post jobs, and it's great because the job seeker can find a job and see how they know somebody who posted it, or they can reference-check the company or the poster to know if that's a place they really want to be.

And then the fourth one is corporate sales, where we sell seats of LinkedIn into corporations, and that's primarily used for recruiting. The corporation owns the seat. So it's not just a LinkedIn subscriber, where it's tied into an individual account. It's the corporation's account, and they can take notes on candidates and all the recruiters can coordinate so that they're not reaching out to the same individual for a position. It's a separate interface that sort of rides on top of LinkedIn.

And the fifth business line that we just announced is LinkedIn surveys. We can go put together a panel of thousands of people who will fill out a 20-minute survey. And that's an exciting business for us and very unique and scalable.

Q: Can you describe your typical user?

A: The typical user is difficult to define, but I will tell you the demographic. The average age is 41 years old. The average household income is $109,000; 76 percent of them have a college degree or a graduate degree. It's pretty evenly split between men and women, slightly more men. Forty-eight percent are outside the United States. We're the largest network in Western Europe, and we're very strong in all English-speaking countries, as well as countries that have lots of commerce with the English-speaking world. We just launched a Spanish version of our site as well.

We're growing really fast with young people right now who are seeing the importance of participating in this professional network and understanding how it's different from a social network.

We're seeing great growth from small-business owners because they're seeing how they can attract clients and reference-check vendors and candidates and things like that. And we're also seeing tremendous growth inside of corporations and certainly with executives. Education is a very fast-growing market for us right now.

Q: How do you vet how members are portraying themselves?

A: There are many governors built into LinkedIn to make sure that the quality stays high. Let me give you some examples. If a person sends you an invitation to connect, you can accept the invitation, you can press a button that says I don't know this person, or you can press a button that says "archive." The "I don't know" button means this person just sent me an invitation to connect and I don't know them, and if five people do it, then in their account they have to include an individual e-mail message to send an invitation to connect. So that stops people from spamming just to build connections.

Another example is if somebody puts up a photo that is inappropriate. LinkedIn doesn't have photo sharing, it has one professional photo. If somebody were to put up a swimsuit picture or something like that, there's a little button next to the photo that says "flag this photo." It goes to our customer service team and the photo comes down and then they review it and determine whether or not it should stay up.

Now, the other reality is when you get 30 million people interacting with one another, there are going to be people who are going to play games or use it in an inappropriate way. And so we have the ability to flag a profile and our customer service team just takes it down.

Q: I'd be interested to know who you believe your competitors are. There's a whole lot of social networking going on out there, and there's a call for consolidation. You can't be in 17 different networks.

A: I actually think that what we're trying to do is focus our competitive juices on enlightening people and helping people who are not participating in a professional network, to understand the importance. So if we maintain a maniacal focus on helping people understand what they can accomplish on the network, that is where we need to concentrate all of our energies.

We actually don't spend a lot of time talking and thinking about any of the companies that are trying to enter the professional networking arena.

Now, the second question about well, there are so many of these social networks, how is the world going to evolve, and how does LinkedIn fit into it?

My view is, the larger the network, the more valuable it is to be in it, and that it's really important to have differentiation in your network. If you look at LinkedIn, it is a very large network, and it is very different. It's all about professional productivity and effectiveness.

Q: What if Facebook were to take a strong move into that space?

A: The thing that's important to take into consideration is who exactly is on LinkedIn and who is on Facebook or MySpace or any of the other networks.

There already are 30 million-plus professionals who are using LinkedIn for professional purposes. Now, some of them are on Facebook, but when you look at what they're doing on Facebook, they're using it for photo sharing, video sharing, playing Texas Hold'em, playing Scrabulous, poking and the various things that happen there.

It has a place, it has a purpose and it's a lot of fun, but it's also pretty clear that people want to have a set of professional contacts and a professional persona and presentation of themselves.

Q: Can you briefly explain the various applications you rolled out recently?

A: We have approved 11 applications from eight vendors. Google Presentations is where you can create a presentation - a slide show - and have it on your professional profile. So, if you go and give a talk somewhere, put the talk on your LinkedIn profile so that people can see it.

Another great one is Amazon book reviews. You can share with your network what books you want to read, you recommend, or you just read and you can make comments about them; and then you can say, show me what books my network is reading and show me what books the people in my industry are reading.

The third is an application for file sharing. You can invite people to share files with you, and you can go put photos in the file, you could put documents in the file of any type, and people can edit them and collaborate with them and put them back in the file.

Another example is TripIt, which is if you're going on a trip, you share the trip details on TripIt and it will tell other people in your network who have TripIt that you're going to be in their area, or you can get alerts to know what other people are doing.

And then one of the really fun and exciting apps is one called Company Buzz. It takes your profile and it sees the company you work for and the previous companies you worked for, and where you went to school, and it goes out to Twitter and it says, this is the buzz that's happening about the things that you're interested in.

Q: What are you going to do with all that money you just raised?

A: Well, the idea was to have that in the bank for whatever the company needs, meaning if we're in an economic mess that's as bad as many predict, it'll be a darn good thing to have that for some insurance. But it's also to take advantage of the opportunities that we think will be available in this economic period.

If companies can't get funded, but they've got great technology or haven't built their revenue streams and they have great technology in great engineers and we think that it would deliver value to our members, were going to be interested, and were going to take action.

Q: What about being acquired?

A: Our plan is to build a strong independent company. We aren't cutting any corners in building this company.

We are investing in the technology infrastructure, we're investing in the corporate infrastructure, and we're investing in people. If you were trying to build for sale, you just wouldn't be investing at the level that we are.

Q: What about an IPO?

A: As a strong independent company that's venture backed, the path that we expect is that we will ultimately have an IPO.

Q: Got a time frame?

A: We don't have a specific time frame in mind.

Listen to the full interview at

Participating in this interview were Business Editor Al Saracevic; Deputy Business Editor Suzanne Herel; SFGate Senior Business Producer Annika Toernqvist; and staff writers Deborah Gage, Andrew S. Ross and Benny Evangelista.

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Subway vs McDonalds

8 gold medals. A love for McDonalds. Swims really fast. Eats, like 10,000 calories a day. So why is this years most famous Olympian working for Subway? AdAge has the answer:

How Subway Nabbed Michael Phelps

Olympian Is McDonald's Biggest Fan, so Why Is Swimmer Shilling for the Competition?

CHICAGO ( -- If there was one thing Americans learned about Michael Phelps during his history-making eight-gold-medal run at the Beijing Olympics -- other than that he can swim really, really fast -- it was that he really, really likes McDonald's.
With the Phelps deal, Subway intends to use one of McDonald's most famous admirers to steal its market share.
With the Phelps deal, Subway intends to use one of McDonald's most famous admirers to steal its market share.
Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson

At a press event before the games, the in-training Olympian revealed he'd been on a double-cheeseburger kick. Newspapers all over the world noted his Arches-fueled 10,000-calorie-a-day diet. Then, in an interview with CNBC, his agent, Peter Carlisle, said: "If there's one deal [he's wanted], he's always said it'd be McDonald's. ... The truth of the matter is you can't stop the guy from eating the food."

So, how, then, did Mr. Phelps wind up signing a major, long-term endorsement deal for Subway, one of McDonald's fiercest and fastest-growing rivals? It makes about as much sense as Nike's Michael Jordan professing a love for Reebok.

Mr. Carlisle begs to differ. "The difference is that Michael Jordan only played in one brand of shoes, while Michael [Phelps] has consistently been forthcoming about his love for a variety of different foods and a variety of different quick-service restaurants," he said. "There was tremendous interest in that category well beyond McDonald's and Subway."

'More of a partnership'
Subway prevailed, Mr. Carlisle said, because it offered "more of a partnership and less of an Olympic program," and also because its fast-growing presence and ambitions in Europe and the U.K. dovetail with Mr. Phelps' own ambitions to promote the sport of swimming in advance of the 2012 London games.

Also a factor, Mr. Carlisle said, was the Subway brand's more-healthful image. While Mr. Phelps could have "easily" done a deal with McDonald's that focused on its more-healthful offerings, Mr. Carlisle said, "there are differences between the brands [regarding perceptions of healthfulness], and they were taken into consideration."

Those considerations appear to have become more pronounced after Mr. Phelps was criticized following a major deal with Kellogg that put his face on Frosted Flakes boxes. (Wrote MarketWatch: "Suddenly a newly minted celebrity had betrayed America's impressionable and overweight kids, who will doubtless now line up at the local Wal-Mart to buy pallet-loads of sugary non-fibrous crud.") Mr. Phelps may have been reluctant to take on the similar barrage that inevitably would have accompanied any McDonald's deal, though Mr. Carlisle said that was not a factor in his decision.

David and Goliath
Whatever the reason, Subway now intends to use one of McDonald's most famous admirers to steal its market share. "McDonald's is Goliath, and we're David," said Tony Pace, chief marketing officer for the Subway Advertising Fund Trust. "Fortunately I have a pretty good slingshot."

Mr. Pace said he expects ads starring Mr. Phelps to subtly refer to the swimmer's well-known burger habit.

Mr. Pace said he could forsee a commercial with pitchman Jared Fogle and Mr. Phelps together, one with a healthful foot-long and the other with several foot-long sandwiches. "And Michael might say, 'I need to eat more than you do, Jared,' and Jared could say, 'But at least I've got you eating right.'"

A McDonald's spokeswoman declined to comment on the extent of its attempt to strike a deal with Mr. Phelps. In a statement, she said: "We enjoyed a very positive working relationship with Michael, particularly at the Summer Games in Beijing. As a top Olympics sponsor, we wish Michael and all the Olympics athletes the best in their future endeavors."

Other deals
Mr. Carlisle said he expected to unveil other deals by the end of the year for Mr. Phelps, who has also inked agreements with AT&T and Hilton, in addition to Subway, Kellogg and others. He declined to disclose specifics but said technology and video games were two key areas of focus.

"These are tough economic times, no doubt, but ... the discussions have continued, and my goal is to have a handful of discussions finalized by the end of the year," he said.

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Not Funny?

At my house is a parody book, MARTHA STEWART'S better than you at ENTERTAINING. Not everyone like's parodies however. From Mediapost:

De Beers Not Amused By Parody Site, Demands Removal
Wendy Davis, Nov 28, 2008 07:00 AM
DeBeers DiamondsThe New York Times took a recent spoof of itself in good humor, but diamond company De Beers was not amused. Now the jeweler is demanding that, which is hosting the parody online, shut it down.

The send-up of the paper and accompanying Web site,, was unveiled earlier this month by a group known as The Yes Men. Dated July 4, 2009, the spoof contains articles with headlines like "Court Indicts Bush on High Treason Charge," and send-ups of ads by companies including GM, Exxon and De Beers.

The fake De Beers said: "Your purchase of a diamond will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in diamond conflicts." A revolutionary group in Sierra Leone, known for carrying out civilian amputations, funded itself by selling diamonds.

De Beers responded by demanding that, based in Switzerland, take down the domain name or face a potential trademark infringement lawsuit.

The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation has now become involved, and is demanding that De Beers retract its ultimatum to "First and foremost, there is no trademark infringement here. The spoof advertisement to which De Beers objects is just that--a clearly parodic ad on a clearly parodic website," Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry wrote this week in a letter to De Beers' lawyer.

Furthermore, she wrote, the parody site--which carries no ads-- is "fully non-commercial" and therefore exempt from the Lanham Act, which regulates trademarks.

The parody drew widespread attention, with articles in the Times, USA Today and other publications. The Times gave the effort a mixed review. While calling it "clever," the paper also said the parody was "all the fun of a steaming bowl of quinoa."

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Wrapping up our week of sales training from with links to some goodies for you from them.

top guides & tools from JustSell®

4 basics to a written thank you note and 8 great gift ideas to show your gratitude beyond the note during the approaching season.

Real leads. Over 115,000 contacts at almost 19,000 companies. Updated daily. Free. If you sell to businesses, you'll really enjoy this.

top 30 open-ended questions
A chart of the most important questions for those in the world's greatest profession.

Be Like Rowan
The classic 1500-word essay, "A Message to Garcia." It's all about encouraging initiative and responsibility. Includes a version for kids.

Smile & Move™
A reminder to happily serve. It's all about attitude and action. Read online the
follow-up book to 212.

2009 sales day calendars
252 sales days next year... here's how they break down by month and quarter
(6 designs).

(Would you want to be anything else?)
The 8 fundamentals to being tough in sales. The book. The reminders. The life.

the 212 video
212 seconds at 212°... be inspired and pass it on.

free wallpapers

Use this link to access's sales backgrounds... motivating and useful computer desktop wallpapers for
your machine.

email this

Feedback, questions, or comments? Please email Catherine Baab-Muguira at We'd love to hear from you.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Message from Seth

A few folks that I feature on Collective Wisdom sent a Thanksgiving message. Here's one from Seth Godin:


This has always been my favorite holiday. No gifts, no guilt, no doctrine.

For me, the holiday celebrates people who contribute with no expectation of anything in return. Online, the rules are no different. There are plenty of people typing as fast they can, all in expectation of what they'll get in return for that link or that shoutout or that flame. And then there are the superstars, the folks who have found a great platform for generosity.

Why be generous?

Why go out of your way for someone who can't possibly pay you back?

I hope the answer is obvious. It is to me. The benefit is in the fact that they can't pay you back. The opportunity to instruct or assist when you can gain nothing in return is priceless. It creates meaning and momentum and structure.

If you've been reading my blog this year, thanks for giving me the chance to teach.

If you've been helping at triiibes or Squidoo or on Twitter or on your blog or your social network of choice, and doing it without regard for repayment, thanks. We appreciate it more than you know.

And if you've dedicated your life to helping real people in real need, not just doing it when it's convenient, then you have my deepest thanks. It's not easy and it's not always fun, but it's vitally important and it matters.

Thank you.

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Thanksgiving Message from Drew

The rest of the day, I'm posting a couple of the Thanksgiving Messages that appeared in my email today from some of the folks that I feature here at Collective Wisdom.

The Marketing Minute

Indulging in my own gratitude (2008)

Posted: 27 Nov 2008 05:00 AM CST

Happy Thanksgiving! Even if you're not in the states -- why not take a moment today and remember some of the blessings you have in your life?

I try very hard to make every post in this blog about you. I want to infuse value, insights and fresh ideas in every post.

So I hope you’ll forgive me this annual self-indulgent post.

What I would love is to have you add to it with your own self-indulgent gratitude. That would make me feel better. (Does that make this post even more self-centered?)

Anyway…enough prelude.Soglogo

In 2006 at the Balanced Life Center blog, Nneka created the Season of Gratitude. She invited other bloggers to share “a gratitude moment” and I couldn’t resist joining in back then and I can't resist making this my annual Thanksgiving post.

Rather than create a laundry list of the incredible and plentiful blessings that I am surrounded with every day, I decided to narrow my focus to my greatest gift.

My daughter. She is quite simply the best part of me.

Her questions force me to find my own clarity. Her humor is the perfect salve for a stressful day. Her fears remind me of my own humanity and her teen-induced insecurities keep my heart tender.

Her zest for life’s delights feeds my spirit and her need to re-charge urges me to slow down now and then. Her laughter triggers my own (sometimes in the most inappropriate places and times) and her tears show me the depth of my own vulnerability.

Her drive to succeed tempers my own so we can talk about balance and her sense of discovery (both academic and of self) lets me indulge in the same.

Her need to learn about the responsibilities that come along with being given a good life allows me to share my talents unselfishly and take her along for the ride.

Her presence gives me purpose. Her future gives me hope. And her faith in me inspires me to be a better person.

She is my Jiminy Cricket. She is my legacy. And she is, every single day, my season of gratitude.

How about you....will you take a moment and share your season of gratitude with us?

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The New Media

As we explore the world of advertising and marketing, it is important to look to the future and see what is coming. Sometimes the future is occuring right next to us, we just haven't turned that corner personally.

Newspapers are suffering. Not because they don't do a good job of reporting, it's because of consumer behavior outside their business model, of printing the latest news once a day. And financially, they are depending on advertising to pay the reporters and everyone else. When you can't afford to operate, you suffer.

So where are people going to get the news?

Millennial Journalists Leading New Media Usage

While journalists across all age groups and beat assignments are rapidly adopting social media tools into their everyday work, the greatest usage is shown by young "Millennial Generation" journalists.

Preliminary findings about these Millenial Generation journalists, shared by the Society for New Communications Research Symposium, showed that 100% of Millennial respondents (i.e., 18-29 year-olds) believe new media and communications tools are enhancing journalism, versus 40% in the 50-64 demographic.

Don Middleberg, formerly Associate Professor of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, said that "The most... significant finding of this... survey is the rapid adoption of new media and online communication among all journalists. The disparity in usage and perceived value of these new tools and technologies to the future of journalism is particularly striking among the youngest demographic versus the oldest."

The study, conducted by SNCR and Middleberg Communications, includes the following key findings:

  • 87% of 18-29 year-olds believe bloggers have become important opinion-shapers, versus 60% of 50-64 year-olds
  • 87% of 18-29 year-olds confirm that new media and communications enhances the relationship with their audience, versus 42% of 50-64 year-olds
  • 48% of all respondents use LinkedIn, and 45% use Facebook to assist in reporting
  • 68% of all respondents use blogs to keep up on issues or topics of interest
  • 86% of all respondents use company websites, 71% use Wikipedia, and 46% use blogs to research an individual organization

Middleberg continued by saying "... we have new ways to reach and communicate with a whole new generation of journalists. The communications professionals who embrace these changes will be far more effective and successful."

While it's not entirely surprising, notes the report, that this younger generation of journalists are users of these new communications tools... they understand how to use them effectively in their work, and are pushing the journalism profession as a whole to create a more collaborative, reciprocal, interactive, and fluid form of journalism.

What is striking about this survey, says the report, is that it is very clear that the ‘Millennials' - the younger journalists entering the workforce - are adopting new media and social tools more readily and seeing their value, especially in terms of collaborating with their peers and strengthening their relationships with their audiences and the people in the areas they cover.

Final results of the study are scheduled for release in the Spring of 2009. For more information, please visit this site.

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Make Money Online

Internet Profits
As you spend time today giving thanks for what we have, perhaps you are concerned about the future. Seth Godin wrote this recently:

How to make money using the Internet

Make money: not by building an internet company, but by using the net as a tool to create value and get paid. Use the internet as a tool, not as an end. Do it when you are part of a big organization or do it as a soloist. The dramatic leverage of the net more than overcomes the downs of the current economy.

The essence is this: connect.

Connect the disconnected to each other and you create value.

  • Connect advertisers to people who want to be advertised to.
  • Connect job hunters with jobs.
  • Connect information seekers with information.
  • Connect teams to each other.
  • Connect those seeking similar.
  • Connect to partners and those that can leverage your work.
  • Connect people who are proximate geographically.
  • Connect organizations spending money with ways to save money.
  • Connect like-minded people into a movement.
  • Connect people buying with people who are selling.

Some examples? I think it's worth delineating these so you can see that the opportunity can be big, if that's your taste, or small if you don't want to invest heavily just yet.

Connect advertisers to people who want to be advertised to.
Dani Levy did this with Daily Candy, a company she recently sold for more than a hundred million dollars. Daily Candy uses simple email software, there's no technology tricks involved. Instead, it's a simple permission marketing business... hundreds of thousands of the right people, getting an anticipated, personal and relevant email every day. (Note! This only works if you earn true permission, not that sort of fake half and half version that's so common).

Connect job hunters with jobs.
My friend Tara has made hundreds of thousands of dollars (in good years) working as an executive recruiter. But what did she actually do all day? She stayed connected with a cadre of people. She kept track of the all stars. She connected with the right people, invested time in them that her clients never thought was worth it. So, when it was time to hire, it was easier for them to call Tara than it was for them to start from scratch. The best time to start a gig like this is right now, when no one in particular wants to connect with and help out the superstars. Later, when the economy bounces back, your position is extremely valuable. (Note! This only works if you have insane focus and the people you interact with are the true superstars, not just numbers).

Connect information seekers with information.
At a large scale, this is what Bloomberg did to make his fortune. Spending $$$ on a Bloomberg terminal guarantees a user at least a fifteen minute head start on people who don't have one. But consider how many micro markets where this connection doesn't occur. Michael Cader offers it to book publishers and does quite well. Which industry needs you to channel and collect and connect?

On a micro level, there are now people making thousands of dollars a month running their pages on Squidoo. That's almost enough to be a full time job for a curious person with the generosity to share useful information.

Connect teams to each other.

How much is on the line when a company puts ten people in three offices on a quest to launch a major new product in record time? The question, then, is why wouldn't they be willing to spend a little more to hire a team concierge? Someone to manage Basecamp and conference calls and scheduling and document source control to be sure the right people have the right information at the right time... I don't think most organizations can hire someone to do this full time, but I bet this is a great specialty for someone who is good at it.

Connect those seeking similar.
Who's running the ad hoc association of green residential architects? Or connecting the hundred CFOs at the hundred largest banks in the US? It's amazing how isolated most people are, even in a world crowded with people. I know of a guy who built an insanely profitable business around connecting C level executives at the Fortune 500. After all, there are only 500 of them. They want to know what the others are doing... (Consider this example)

Connect to partners and those that can leverage your work.

Freelances had no power because they depended on the client to hook them up with the rest of the team that could leverage their work. But what if you do that before you approach the client? What if you, the graphic designer, have a virtual partner who is an award winning copywriter and another partner who is a well-know illustrator? You could walk in the door and offer detailed PDFs or other high-impact viral electronic media in a turnkey package.

Connect people who are proximate geographically.
We all know that newspapers are tanking. Yet news, it appears, is on the rise. This paradox is an opportunity. Who is connecting the 10,000 people in your little community/suburb/town/zip code to each other? One person who spends all day at school board meetings, breaking stories about a dumping scandal, profiling a local business person or teacher? If you did that, and built an audience of thousands by RSS and email... do you think you'd have any trouble selling out the monthly cocktail party/mixer? Any trouble finding sponsors among local businesses for a media property that actually and truly reaches everyone?

Connect organizations spending money with ways to save money.
During the last recession, plenty of entrepreneurs scored by selling businesses on doing a phone bill audit. They took 30% of the first year's savings and did the work for free. Today, there are countless ways businesses can save money using technology and outsourcing, but few take full advantage. You can train them to do this and keep a share of the savings.

Connect like-minded people into a movement.
We've seen plenty of headstrong bootstrapped entrepreneurs turn a blog into the cornerstone of a multi-million dollar empire. The secret: they don't write their blog for everyone. Instead, they use the blog as the center connecting point for a niche, and then go from there. It's easy to list the tech successes, but there are literally 10,000 other niches just waiting for someone to connect them.

Connect people buying with people who are selling.
Sure, you know how to use Craigslist and eBay to buy and sell... but most people don't. How about finding people in your town with junk that needs removing, items that need selling, odd jobs that need filling... and then, for a fee, solve their problems using your laptop and these existing networks? Imagine the power, just to pick one example, of building an email alert list of 500 garage sale bargain hunters. Every time you email them, they show up. Now, you can walk into any home in any town and guarantee the biggest garage sale success they've ever seen... and you have the photos to prove it. As long as you protect the list and do for them, not to them, this asset increases in value.

The best time to do any of these projects was five years ago, so that today you'd be earning thousands of dollars a week. Too late. The second best time to start: now.

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Are Blogs Real?

Social Media is a term that often refers to websites such as MySpace and FaceBook. However there is another form of social media that is a little less organized, and you are reading one of them now.

A Blog, which is short for Web Log, is a way for anyone without any cash investment to have a spot on the internet that they can update and keep as current as they wish.

Blogger (also known as Blogspot) and WordPress are the two big players in the Blog World. I write, edit, and manage 5 blogs. This one that you are reading is business focused and is updated at least 4 times a day, 7 days a week. We are getting between 100 and 200 visitors a day on business days and slightly less on weekends and holidays.

The other blog that I update twice a day is more of a local, personal blog
. Earlier this year I promoted other local blogs, with a link to a different one each night, until I hit 100 local blogs.
I actually found it challenging to find 100 local, active blogs even though there were 1600 registered for Fort Wayne, Indiana on the Blogger system.

For connections to all 5 blogs that I operate, click here to go to and you can click on each title and check them out.

During the election, many of the cable news networks were promoting their blogs as a way to interact with the host and other viewers. Google has a Blog Search feature. Many, or most, newspapers and news organizations have a blog.

This is not just a product of the United States, but truely is world wide as is the internet, hence the term World Wide Web.

For more details, take a look at this from Mediapost:

Blogs And Mainstream Media Intersect
According to Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2008 report, the majority of bloggers surveyed currently have advertising on their blogs. Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month.

There have been a number of studies aimed at understanding the size of the Blogosphere, says the report, yielding disparate estimates, but all studies agree that blogs are a global phenomenon that has hit the mainstream. Reports in 2008 include these estimates:

comScore MediaMetrix reports: (August 2008)

  • Blogs... 77.7 million unique visitors in the US
  • Facebook... 41.0 million
  • MySpace... 75.1 million
  • Total internet audience... 188.9 million

eMarketer says: (May 2008)

  • 94.1 million US blog readers in 2007 (50% of Internet users)
  • 22.6 million US bloggers in 2007 (12% of Internet users)

Universal McCann finds: (March 2008)

  • 184 million world wide have started a blog
  • 346 million world wide read blogs
  • 77% of active Internet users read blogs

Wikipedia defines the Blogosphere as the collective community of all blogs. interconnected and socially networked. While discussions in the Blogosphere have been used by the media as a gauge of public opinion, Technorati isolates the Active Blogosphere as the ecosystem of interconnected communities of bloggers and readers at the convergence of journalism and conversation.

But, says the study, as the Blogosphere grows in size and influence, the lines between what is a blog and what is a mainstream media site become less clear. Larger blogs are taking on more characteristics of mainstream sites and mainstream sites are incorporating styles and formats from the Blogosphere. In fact, 95% of the top 100 US newspapers have reporter blogs.

Technorati tracked blogs in 81 languages in June 2008, and bloggers from 66 countries across six continents, finding that Bloggers have been at it an average of three years and are collectively creating close to one million posts every day. Blogs have representation in top-10 web site lists across all key categories, and have become integral to the media ecosystem.

The key findings included such things as:

  • Personal, professional, and corporate bloggers all have differing goals and cover an average of five topics within each blog
  • They use five different techniques to drive traffic to their blog.
  • They're using an average of seven publishing tools on their blog and four distinct metrics for measuring success
  • Bloggers ae receiving speaking or publishing opportunities, career advancement, and personal satisfaction
  • Bloggers are using self serve tools for search, display, and affiliate advertising, and are increasingly turning to ad and blog networks.
  • Four in five bloggers post brand or product reviews, with 37% posting them frequently
  • 90% of bloggers say they post about the brands, music, movies and books that they love (or hate)
  • Company information or gossip and everyday retail experiences are fodder for the majority of bloggers
  • One-third of bloggers have been approached to be brand advocates

Global Snapshot of Bloggers

U.S. Bloggers

European Bloggers

Asian Bloggers






18-34 years old












Employed full-time




Household income >$75,000




College graduate




Average blogging tenure (months)




Median Annual Investment




Median Annual Revenue




% Blogs with advertising




Average Monthly Unique Visitors




Technorati, State of the Blogosphere, October 2008

Segment Snapshot of Bloggers




With Advertising

No Advertising








18-34 years old


















Employed full-time






Household income>$75k






College graduate






Average blogging tenure (months)






Median Annual Investment






Median Annual Revenue






% Blogs with Advertising






Average Monthly Unique Visitors






Technorati, State of the Blogosphere, October 2008

Global Bloggers by Gender



Personal Blog



Professional Blog




18-24 years old









Employed full-time



Median Annual Investment



Median Annual Revenue



% Blogs with advertising



Sell Through a Blog ad Network*



Have Affiliate ads*



Have Contextual ads*



Technorati, State of the Blogosphere, October 2008 (*Among those with advertising on their blogs)

In 2004 when Technorati started, says the report, the typical reaction to the word ‘blog' was ‘huh?' Today... the blog has forever changed the way publishing works... anyone can be a publisher. The issue is no longer distribution, it's relevance.

For additional information, please visit Technorati here.

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