Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top 10 Tips

Seems like that time of year, when we'll be getting lots of recaps. This is from

10 Most Popular Content Marketing Today Posts of 2008

Posted: 11 Dec 2008 05:32 PM CST

applauding business people Our readers flocked to a broad range of content marketing-related issues over the past 12 months. In fact, the breadth of topics surprised me. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what you can find:

  • Unlearn Traditional PR
  • Transform website into sales machine
  • The Secret to Online Marketing
  • Authenticity at Starbucks
  • Sexy Headline Secrets from Cosmo
  • A Really Bad Website Concept
  • 6 Reasons to Publish an eNewsletter
  • 5 Reasons to Launch a Blog-powered Website
  • 6 Ways to Survive the Recession with Content Marketing
  • Is it Time to Abandon Yellow Pages Advertising

Read on for a quick take on the posts that readers like you made made most popular.

1. To Succeed Small Business Marketers Must Unlearn Traditional PR

business page close up Don’t get me wrong. Public relations is still a critical component to any marketing strategy for companies of all sizes.

Nonetheless, I am convinced that we need to turn our notions of public relations upside down so that it functions within a content marketing context.

I was inspired to think again about the transformation of public relations by a recent post from David Meerman Scott in his blog. He was sharing some top of mind ideas relating to successful public relations strategies for small businesses. Read entire article

2. How to Transform Your Brochure Site into a Round-The-Clock Sales Machine

natalie currie mindmap If you are a solopreneur, you certainly have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Imagine how much more you could accomplish if your website was actively selling for you 24 hours a day seven days a week!

That’s exactly what Stephanie Diamond is helping solopreneur, Natalie Currie, to accomplish using a custom MindMap. Natalie provides training and consulting in the pharmaceutical and biotech fields. Because she is so busy working in her business, she has been challenged to work on her business.

That’s where Stephanie came in. The MindMap she created served as a kind of mini–business plan. It enables a Natalie to see visually exactly what she needed to accomplish to take her business to the next level. It helped her to think through both of this strategy at the 30,000 foot level–and the on the ground of tactics she needs to implement ASAP. Read entire article.

3. The Secret to Online Marketing in the 21st Century : It’s the Content, Stupid!

billboard being obnoxious Billboard marketing is fine on Route 66, but it’s all wrong on the information superhighway

Your job as a marketer is to make it easy for your buyers to buy from you. But making it easy for them may be hard for you, unless you can execute an effective content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what buyers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way. This extends way beyond product information into the realm of best practices, case studies, success stories, and more.

Why? All the rules have changed. You will need to relearn the marketing game with a brand new marketing mindset. Those that can adapt will flourish. Those that don’t…well… think of the fate of the dinosaurs. Read entire article.

4. Authenticity at Starbucks: Coffee and People, Yes. The Corporation, No!

starbucks barista Bureaucrats are bouncing baristas, as they move to shut down 600 Starbucks stores.

It may not be the same everywhere, but in our Southwest corner of Florida, Starbucks is shutting down nine of their stores. This is likely to have an impact on their local reputation that may well be replicated around the country.

As far as I’m concerned, the Starbucks experience is as much about the people who look after you as it is about the coffee.

I might be wrong, but it looks to me like faraway bureaucrats have made decisions about their customers and about their employees that might have a short term positive affect on their stock price, but is not going to endear them to the communities in which they operate. Read entire article.

5. Sexy Headline Secrets from Cosmo!

Cosmo April 2008 Cover What your blog should borrow from the classic woman’s mag and their newsstand cousins.

Sex sells. And so do great headlines.

Imagine for a moment that your blog is on a giant newsstand something like what you might find in a Manhattan Barnes & Noble. As a magazine you are competing with hundreds of other magazines for the attention of prospective readers who are browsing quickly through the racks. The right headline can make all the difference. It sure does for Cosmo!

As a blogger, you are competing with hundreds of thousands of other bloggers for the attention of online visitors with very little time to spend on any one article. Thus, your article headlines are every bit as important as those of Cosmopolitan magazine.

The Cosmo folks need to sell zillions of copies from newsstands. Great headlines do the trick for them and they can do the trick for you. Read entire article.

6. Really Bad Online Marketing Concept: Refuse to Tell Your Visitors How You Can Help Them Solve Their Problems

avail tech Give the home page of this website a 10 second review (no cheating–you can’t look at any interior pages). Then answer the following questions:

  1. Who are their target customers?
  2. What product or service are they selling?
  3. How can those products or services solve customer problems?

Here’s the best I could do:

  1. Somebody in public transit
  2. Some kind of technology relating to transit operations management
  3. I have no idea.

Actually, I was probably cheating because I spent more time looking at the site before I decided to write this post. So I might not have picked up both one and two in a quick look at the site. Read entire article.

7. 6 Reasons You Should Publish an eNewsletter

cmt clydesdale enewsletter If you aren’t delivering a regular eNewsletter to build your business, you should ask yourself why. You are probably missing the biggest and best opportunity to communicate in a consistent and meaningful way with your customers.

Of course, you need to generate regular content that brings value to your customers. But, with that basic proviso, an eNewsletter should become an integral part of your content marketing arsenal. Here’s why:

An eNewsletter is one of the most effective methods of delivering content to your customers. Think of it as the logical successor to traditional direct marketing. You might think that with all the spam on the Net that email and eNewsletters are no longer effective. Not so, Adriana Iordan, Web Marketing Manager at Avangate points out, citing recent research. Read entire article.

8. Five Essential Reasons to Launch a Blog-Powered Website Right Now

content robot-12-08 Too many people–and I used to be one of them–think of a blog as an out-of-control rant by a fanatic about some topic or other. Sure there’s plenty of that. However, today, business blogs are pervasive. They provide enormous value by delivering relevant content on a myriad of topics.

But, more importantly, an increasing number of what have been termed ‘blogs’ in the past are really websites. They are full-featured websites with as much capability is anything that could be built from scratch by talented programmers.

You no longer have an excuse to stick with the brochureware website that your sister’s cousin’s nephew built for you in some kind of JavaScript that nobody knows how to modify. Read entire article.

9. 6 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Survive the Recession

runner crossing finish line Crank up your communications now. Don’t dial back your efforts.

The knee-jerk reaction for most companies when faced with the recession is to reduce their marketing efforts. However, decades of research show that those who maintain or increase their marketing will blow past their peers once the recession is over.

If you accept this reality, you still may be faced with a shortage of spare cash to invest in marketing–particularly in traditional advertising. What to do? You can and should focus on a content marketing strategy that will require a whole lot of thought and effort, but will not require a lot of money.

Here are 6 ways that content marketing will help get all of us through the recession. Read entire article.

10. Is It Time to Abandon Your Yellow Pages Advertising?

yellow pages into dumpsterFundamental changes in buyer behavior suggests that, at a minimum, you should be reevaluating your print Yellow Pages advertising.

You may very well want to apply those marketing dollars to creating outstanding online content on your website or on a related blog.

I’ve been researching lately whether it makes sense today to invest marketing dollars in the Yellow Pages, particularly when you have a limited advertising budget.

This decision is critical because a strong Internet presence is fundamental to successful marketing strategies for even small businesses. If you have limited dollars, you must choose wisely by understanding some powerful trends that are rearranging the Yellow Pages landscape. Read entire article.

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Follow the Leader or Be The Leader

I've been reading a book about McDonalds that a friend gave me that took 5 years to write and was published in 1986, now available for less than a buck at Amazon.

This behind the scene look at why and how they became one of the few companies to have an increase in sales last month I find insightful.

On a similar vein, take a look at what Seth wrote recently:

Making vs. Taking

Consider two cereals:

Honey Bunches of Oats, a category creator, a big brand with spin offs and profits and growth.

Fruit Harvest, a generically named cereal that leverages the marketing department's ability to run coupons, grab shelf space and take share.

That's the choice most of us make when we launch a product or service. We can make a market or we can take share from a market.

"This is just like the Gillette razor, but cheaper."

"This has a touch screen, too, but you can get it from Verizon."

"I'm a shiatsu massage therapist, the only one on this block."

Those are 'taking' statements. They break a larger market into smaller bits. Compare to:

"This is a sugared cereal for adults."

"Our software enables you to find data and trends that no one else can find."

"By combining protein and chocolate, we've developed a new food that's both dessert and dinner."

These are 'making' statements. Riskier, sure, but they stand for something, they don't just steal share. The Dummies guides made a market, the Idiot's guides took from that market.

You need to be clear with yourself and your team about which one you're after, because they bring different costs, different benefits and different time frames.

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Does Your Beer Have a Soul?

I've known Ted Bolton for several years. Recently he started a blog. Here's his latest:

How to Live The Miller High Life…in a Bad Economy

These are times that try a brand’s soul. When things go south, you need to ask yourself, have you developed a brand that has any soul whatsoever?? Does your media outlet represent or stand for anything in your customers mind?

Miller High Life found out the hard way that their brand stood for almost nothing. In fact most people only knew it was an inexpensive beer. Too many people didn’t even know it was still was around!! Sales had declined for 3 straight years.

Then they decided to give the brand some soul. They decided the beer should stand for a way of life. A way of thinking about culture, society, the economy, status, and the right way to live the “high life”…Miller style.

With this campaign, Miller High Life has stopped a three year downward trend. Tom Long CEO of Miller Beer says the campaign debuted in November of 06, and customers are repeating the ads storyline to their friends. The word-of-mouth buzz is strong. He credits the Miller High Life reversal of fortune to the “Taking Back the High Life” TV campaign.

Here’s what really happened. Simply put, Miller Beer gave The Campaign of Bottles Beers a soul. They gave it a simple product identity. And it hit their blue collared, beer-drinking male targets right between the eyes. “There’s no cover charge to live the high life” pretty much says it all. And it sure does resonate loudly during these hard economic times.

So put your own product to the test. Does it stand for something? Does it represent an attitude about a lifestyle and a way of living? Can your customers easily tell you what it means to be (in this example) a Miller High Life drinker?

And most important of all….do you stand for something that matters in the year 2009? Has your brand promise and brand personality become outdated? Or maybe it’s time for you to add some soul to your brand?

These are difficult times for marketers. However, when one door closes, a new door opens. For example, I am guessing that during these tough economic times, people will be searching for an economic beer that makes sense. A beer that shuns $11.50 hamburgers, velvet ropes, executive box suites, 22 ft limousines, and kangaroo meat hamburgers. Out with the cover charge and in with the high life!!!

Try this exercise. Create a Bill of Rights for your product. Make a list of what your product stands for. If you need some tips on what this means…check out The Miller High Life Bill of Rights.

Someone once said that a brand is “a promise you make to your customer.” Miller High Life has taken it to the next logical step. Their brand is not only a promise to their customers, it is a credo for living. I bet Miller continues to live “the high life” in 2009, while others may be scrambling to find any life at all.

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Less is More

From Drew:

The more important your message, the less you should say

Posted: 08 Dec 2008 10:49 PM CST

10018943 My daughter will be 16 next summer. Which means she sends a lot of text messages. It also means I send a lot of text messages. When in Rome...

One truth I have discovered is that even in that abbreviated medium, it's easy to be long-winded.

For every sentence I text, her retention and response gets shorter. The briefer I am, the more attention she pays and the more importance she seems to assign to my message.

If I really want an answer to a specific question or really want her to hear me about something, I use a single sentence. Then, I get her full attention.

Boy, is there a marketing lesson in that.

The more copy you use to deliver your messages...the less important they seem. The more messages you shove into a single ad, blog post or brochure -- the more likely your big message will be lost in the blur.

When it really matters....say less.

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Answers from the Past

Earlier this week AdAge offered us a downloadable white paper It costs 99 bucks. Read and click below or just read and save your money:

Five Tips to Cope -- or Even Thrive -- Through Downturn

A Dig Through Ad Age Archives Reveals How to Grow in Adverse Times

LOS ANGELES ( -- Now some good news: Remarkable innovation occurs in marketing and media -- in the worst of times.

Ad Age knows something about troubled times: The magazine was founded less than 90 days after the crash of '29 and has reported on every downturn since the Great Depression. As such, we have dug deep into our archives to analyze the issue of innovation during three of the worst times: the Depression and recessions of the early '70s and early '80s.

The Marketing and Media Opportunities in Recession
Using the past recessions of the 1930s, '70s and '80s as prologue, Bradley Johnson conducts perhaps the most in-depth study ever into how and where marketing and media has succeeded during downturns. Click here to purchase the white paper.
The result of that research is "Downtime Opportunity," a comprehensive white paper we are releasing today. It's available for download through

Here are just five ideas from troubled times. The full analysis is available in the white paper.

Launch a smart media property
Who in their right mind would launch a magazine at the start of the Depression? Time Inc., which started Fortune. Time Inc. has made much of its fortune with magazines launched in recession years: Time (1923); Fortune (1930); Sports Illustrated (1954); People (1974); Entertainment Weekly (1990).

Get in on the ground floor
Just one in five households subscribed to cable TV in 1980, but the potential was clear. The early '80s downturn was launch time for what would become some of cable's biggest franchises: CNN (1980); USA Network (1980); Bravo (1980); Cinemax (1980); MTV (1981); Weather Channel (1982).

It wasn't easy. "Nearly 20 networks will lose an estimated $150 million to $200 million this year in gambling on the future," Ad Age reported in 1982. A good bet. Nine in 10 households now get TV via cable, satellite or alternative delivery.

Downtime promotions can be addictive
American Airlines, defending its position, in May 1981 introduced AAdvantage, the industry's first loyalty-marketing program. United Airlines followed with Mileage Plus, a short-term promotion that was to end in 1982. Frequent-flier programs went on to become a permanent fixture in airline marketing.

Chrysler introduced auto rebates in early 1975 as a short-term promotion to clear its bloated inventory. Automakers have been addicted to rebates ever since.

Upscale in a down market
The early '80s were the time of generic beer, 10% unemployment, 13% inflation and record-low consumer confidence. Even in rotten times, there's a market for trading up.

Carnation (now part of Nestlé) helped pioneer the category of premium cat foods with Fancy Feast, rolled out between 1980 and 1982.

Absolut vodka, introduced in the U.S. in 1979, began a celebrated campaign in 1981 featuring its iconic bottle. First ad: "Absolut perfection," with a halo over the bottle. By 1985, it was the No. 1 imported vodka.

Calvin Klein in 1982 launched signature designer underwear with sexually suggestive ads. Price: $14.50 for three pairs -- a lofty $33 in 2008 dollars.

Sell something else
New cars weren't selling in 1930, but the industry spotted an expanding revenue opportunity: service. The Motor and Equipment Association in 1930 began an ad campaign with the slogan "Care will save your car." Ford that year launched its own parts-and-service campaign.

Flash forward: In 1975, when the auto industry was struggling to dig out of deep recession, General Motors began another drive to sell parts and service. GM's new pitchman: Mr. Goodwrench, described by Ad Age as a "smiling, balding mechanic (with clean hands)."

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Reaching Kids with TV ads

You know how persistent a 2 year old is when they want something. Here's some great advice on how to create that want:

Five Things You Should Know About Kids And Advertising
Anne Marie Kelly, Dec 08, 2008 05:00 AM
It's no secret that U.S. adults are bombarded with advertising messages in every waking hour, in just about every venue imaginable. Little surprise, then, that many of us have limited tolerance for television commercials some 70 years after television service as we know it was invented.

Not so kids ages 6-11, according to the most recent data from the "2008 American Kids Study" conducted by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI). Results of the in-home survey of approximately 5,000 youths - along with an accompanying survey of primary adult caregivers - highlight five revealing characteristics with regard to kids' use of television and their attitudes toward advertising:

1. Most kids watch TV commercials as opposed to taking action to avoid them. Asked what they do when a commercial comes on, 58.9% of kids said they watch it. That percentage rises to 64.3% among children ages 6-7. The responses of boys and girls are nearly identical, with 59.1% and 58.6%, respectively, making no attempt to avoid commercials. And, their parents' wealth seems to have no bearing kids' desire to avoid commercials, as 58.4% of kids in households with incomes under $75,000 are commercial watchers compared with 59.6% of kids in households with incomes higher than $75,000.

2. Kids usually don't multimedia-task when watching TV

More than one half (55.6%) of our young offspring report that when they watch TV they are not simultaneously using other media, such a listening to the radio, reaching comic books or playing video games. This is particularly true for younger children: 65.1% of kids ages 6 and 7 report they are do not use any other media when watching TV.

The most popular non-media activity done while simultaneously watching TV is eating, with 56.9% of kids feeding their stomachs along with their auditory and visual senses. Girls are slightly more likely to be noshing while viewing, at 59% versus 55% of boys. And again, household income does not appear to encourage or mitigate the urge to ingest and watch, as roughly 57% of kids in households above and below the $75,000 mark do it.

3. Kids like humor, music and seeing people their own age in ads

When it comes to pleasing a child with advertising, humor, music and peer representation are the best remedy, as they are the top three elements cited when children were asked what they "really like to see or hear" in ads. And, of the three, humor is the hands-down winner. Approximately 82% of kids 6-11 said they liked "funny things, like a funny animal or character" or "silly humor" in ads, a sentiment that carries rather evenly across the age segments. The appeal of music in advertising increases with age, with 60.0% of kids ages 10-11 preferring it compared with 48.7% of those ages 6-7. Conversely, seeing or hearing "kids my age" in ads decreases with age; while 44.9% of children, overall, prefer to see other kids in advertising, only 36% of children aged 10-11 felt the same way.

4. As with adults, kids can be drawn to Web sites by TV and print advertisements. Using offline advertising to drive consumers to the Internet-which has become the modus operandi of much of today's marketing world-is not limited to adults. Approximately 46% of kids 6-11 reported visiting a Web site they saw or heard about in a commercial or other advertisement. They were evenly split by gender (49.1% boys, 50.9% girls) and, not surprisingly, the older the child the more likely he or she is to engage in this activity. Kids in households with incomes above $75,000 were 13% more likely to visit a Web site they saw in a commercial or ad than the average child ages 6-11.

5. Parents, by and large, exert control

In addition to surveying children, MRI asks "primary caregivers"-typically mothers or stepmothers-to fill out a separate questionnaire that seeks, among other things, information about their oversight of kids' TV and video viewing. Virtually all primary caregivers report that the kids in their household watch either TV or videos. As for supervision of viewing habits, only 17.1% of caregivers reported they place no restrictions whatsoever on kids ages 6-11, with most of this group saying they "trust the child to choose wisely." This laissez-faire approach is more likely to be the case in households with incomes under $75,000 and with kids ages 10 or 11.

The vast majority of caregivers have rules in place regarding TV and video watching. For instance, 63.8% of caregivers report that "there are some shows I do not let the child watch at all" and 47.6% limit the amount of time their child can watch TV or videos. Both restrictions are more common in households with higher incomes. However, 60% of homes below $75,000 ban viewing of some shows and 42.1% place time limits on viewing TV or videos. As for employing technology as a surrogate watchdog, just 6.16% of caregivers reported using a V-Chip to control what kids watch.

So there's your youthful audience for advertising: Attentive, not scornful of commercials and fond of munching while watching. Just don't forget the silly humor.

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Before 2009 (part 1)

Two articles I received from RainToday this week, on things to do before the year is over. Sunday at this time, I'll feature part 2.

Client Interviews: 6 Areas to Examine for Just How Happy Your Clients Really Are

By Janet Ellen Raasch

A Perspective from Law

What do ostriches and professional service firms have in common? With its head buried in the sand, the ostrich is oblivious to approaching danger. With no method for client feedback, a firm is often oblivious to the significant dangers of client dissatisfaction.

What are these dangers? Most obvious is the danger that the firm will be "fired" by an unhappy client. A decline in referrals is also a very real risk. Dissatisfied clients will not refer your firm. Even worse, they will give you a negative referral.

If you think that most of your clients are satisfied, think again. Research shows that law firms consistently rank themselves twice as successful at client satisfaction as clients do. In the 17th Annual Survey of General Counsel conducted by Inside Counsel, 52 percent of law firms gave themselves an "A" on their client relationship. Only 25 percent of the clients rated the relationship an "A." That is a big disconnect.

"Interviewing and surveying your clients to see how satisfied they are—and acting decisively on what you learn from this process—is quite possibly a law firm's most important client retention program," said Martha Cusick Eddy, a partner with Marketing Evolutions, during her presentation at the October meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. "Better relationships help bulletproof your clients against the efforts of your competitors. More importantly, there is a direct correlation between client satisfaction and increased revenue."

"Very often, the simple act of conducting a client interview can prevent the loss of a valued client," said Cusick Eddy. "More than once, our interview subjects have stated, 'I was ready to fire this firm or use it less, but the fact that you are here—to show that the firm values our relationship and will do what it takes to fix it—has changed my mind.'

"Simply reaching out to clients for feedback underscores the value a firm places on its clients and helps cement that relationship—paving the way for continued and expanded work," said Cusick Eddy.

Commonly Heard Complaints

In conducting interviews, Cusick Eddy often hears complaints in the areas of:

  1. Expectations: Cusick Eddy's research demonstrates that a lack of congruency between a client's expectations and a law firm's delivery of service is the major cause of attorney/client disconnect. Poor communication throughout an engagement also leads to dissatisfaction.

    This dissatisfaction can best be prevented at the client, case, or matter intake stage. Lawyers should take time up front to clearly discuss expectations and communications. Does the client want detailed analyses of a legal issue, with all possibilities, or just the three most important points? How often does the client want to hear from you—and how? How does the general counsel (and his or her boss) expect you will handle costs and estimates?

    "Firms that continuously monitor a client's expectations and frequently ask about performance often register the highest degree of client satisfaction," said Cusick Eddy.

  2. Billing: General counsel are more than willing to pay for legal services—as long as a lawyer can demonstrate value. What they often object to is an absence of clear value demonstrated in their fees and bills. Clients are frustrated when bills contain vague or excessive costs they cannot explain to their superiors.

    "Don't ever bill five hours to prepare an email, for example, without some explanation as to why it took so long," said Cusick Eddy. "Better yet, when you get a legal question from a client, step back and think about the level of analysis the client wants and needs in your response. If you aren't sure, just pick up the phone and ask."

    Clients also complain when lawyers ignore the fact that in-house counsel are business people as well as lawyers. "In-house counsel must adhere to budgets—or competently explain overages," said Cusick Eddy. "Clients don't like being treated as an 'open wallet' by their lawyers—and they particularly dislike feeling that law firms are training associates or meeting billable hour requirements on their dime."

  3. Case and Matter Management: In-house counsel are unhappy when legal guidance does not address the client's specific business problem—or when issues are over-lawyered.

    "In-house counsel complain when outside counsel apply a standard, one-size-fits-all process to every case or matter—or become overly focused on all the nuances of the law," said Eddy Cusick. "Clients tell us, 'We recognize there are inherent legal risks in any business decision. My CEO is looking for pragmatic advice to move forward—not an exhaustive review of case law.'"

  4. Relationships: General counsel are very loyal to outside counsel who build a personal as well as a professional relationship with them—a relationship that is maintained even when there are no active cases or matters.

    "Our research shows relationships can supersede all other elements of the client/attorney engagement," said Cusick Eddy. "Law firms should place a premium on relationship-development programs that demonstrate how effective relationships are built and maintained."

  5. Loyalty: Despite studies reporting a high number of in-house counsel willing to switch legal service providers, Cusick Eddy's interviewees often report a high degree of loyalty to their providers.

    "Changing firms is hard for clients," said Cusick Eddy. "Even when they are dissatisfied, clients know what to expect and can compensate internally for any weaknesses. Law firms looking to unseat incumbent law firms must tangibly demonstrate their value and minimize the risk clients might feel about switching to a provider whose product they do not know."

  6. Communications media: Each client has a preferred means of communication—phone, email, letter—and a preferred level of detail in that communication—whether a detailed newsletter; a concise, targeted alert; or a simple email update. "A good CRM system will allow you to track and communicate with a client in the way he or she finds the most valuable," said Cusick Eddy.

Client Satisfaction Process

Client interviews and surveys should be a regular process for most firms. Typically, the process is precipitated by a new marketing strategy, by the launch of new practice areas or industry groups, by a merger or acquisition, by the arrival of new laterals, by economic factors (like the current economic turmoil), new competitors entering the market, and/or loss of a big client. Firms continue to use them because they work.

"Generally, a law firm will conduct in-person, in-depth interviews with its top ten most important clients—which will vary year-to-year," said Cusick Eddy. "Because these formal interviews can uncover unhappy clients or information that requires management action, we recommend that they be conducted by an outside expert or a senior manager of the firm—someone with the credibility and position to deliver potentially bad news."

In-depth interviews take time and can be costly. "To get a baseline sense of how a firm is performing across its client base, we also recommend annual Internet-based surveys of a law firm's large stakeholder groups that can be conducted cost-effectively and consistently," said Cusick Eddy.

In these trying economic times, clients are paying even closer attention to their budgets and bottom lines. It is more important than ever that service practitioners proactively uncover opportunities for improvement—in their relationships and in their services—where changes can create a stronger and more profitable relationship.

"If interviews do reveal information that is unfavorable, it is critical that firms take action—quickly and decisively—to fix any problems," said Cusick Eddy. "The result will be a considerably stronger attorney/client relationship that will have a positive impact on your firm's profitability."

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer and ghostwriter who works closely with lawyers, law firms and other professional services providers – helping them establish themselves as thought leaders within a target markets through publication of articles and books for print and rich content for the Internet. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

Maybe they should rename G.M. as G-Mart?

From Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
George Magliano, head of auto industry analysis at Global Insight, says GM has no choice. "I don't know how it looks to Congress, but you have to sell the cars and trucks, and you have to sell them one way or the other," he says. "The business has to go on, and you have to do things to keep it rolling." Says a GM spokesperson, "We do still need to advertise our products in order to sell them--especially in the current and very challenging business environment." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"Kmart has clearly realized significant gains in share of social media voice through this campaign--in fact, it's pulled ahead of JCPenney, and has made gains on Sears," notes Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford. "Kmart's transparency in this effort was key, and a good example for any brand looking to use paid sponsorship elements to leverage social media's power." ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
The credit card company has developed a promotion in which customers of Southwest Airlines and Starwood Hotels & Resorts can win trips to the 2009 NBA All-Star game. "Part of our strategy as we continue to promote MasterCard as the best way to pay, is to offer cardholders rewards and prizes that encourage them to do business with key merchants," says MasterCard's Rob Sheets. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
There are fast-growing opportunities in online coupons, as well as mobile marketing. About 37% of those who receive mobile text advertising say they are more receptive to coupons, free ring tones or free songs, and more than six in 10 are either neutral or open to text-message marketing. And they said discount coupons to local retailers are the most appealing form of mobile marketing coupons. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Porter Novelli's Marian Salzman says that marketers also will need to begin considering those born between 1955 and 1964--whom she calls "cuspers"--as a different generation, not part of the Boomers. "This is the generation after the 'greed is good,' 'Gordon Gecko' era. And marketers need to recognize that these consumers don't want new cars or luxury items unless it's something associated with an important and symbolic moment." ... Read the whole story > >
by Erik Sass
It's like the trash talk is happening right next to you. The February 2009 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is coming to 160 screens in 80 theaters across America live, in 3D HD, courtesy of a partnership between Turner Sports, the NBA and Cinedigm Digital Cinema. Per the companies, this marks the first time a sporting event has been simulcast live to theaters with audiences paying for admission. ... Read the whole story > >

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Radio Revenue Report

The industry that I have been working in for 2/3rds of the my life since High School. From Mediapost...

Political Advertising Highlighted Radio's Third Quarter

According to the RAB third quarter Radio Revenue Report, the financial picture for Radio had some bright spots. Most notably, Off-Air continues its steady growth with increases from online and experiential marketing.

Revenue Comparisons - 2008 vs. 2007 ($ In Millions)


$Q3 '08

% Chg

$YTD '08

% Chg


$ 3,457


$ 10,435



$ 767


$ 2,195


Local & National Combined

$ 4,224





$ 285


$ 8,552



$ 458


$ 1,347


Grand Total

$ 4,967




Source: Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. Off-Air was previously referred to as Non-Spot

Though David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, stated that "a weakening economy will continue to be a challenge for all forms of advertising-supported media," Jeff Haley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Radio Advertising Bureau, returned with "Although Radio companies are not immune to the current economic downturn, Radio's flexibility across traditional and emerging platforms provides advertisers multiple channels for consumer engagement... "

Network Radio saw some consistency with Wal-Mart taking the lead as the sector's top spending advertiser with nearly $42.7 million invested through Q3 ‘08. Most marketers curtailed spending across media, but radio did experience growth in certain key categories, particularly Insurance and Restaurants, in the Local and National sectors.

Radio's Local and National Combined Leading Growth Categories 2008 vs. 2007


$Q3 '08 (in millions)

$Q3 '07 (in millions)

% Change

$YTD '08(in millions)

$YTD '07 (in millions)

% Change

Insurance Companies







Professional Services





















Source: Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.: X-Ray Markets

The extended Political season for the 2008 Presidential race proved beneficial to Radio. In 35 key markets, campaigns on Local and National Radio carried some $20.6 million of messages in Q3. It moved the year-to-date tally to $54.9 million, which offset the drops among many of Radio's perennial leading spenders. In addition, Network Radio was endorsed by the political hype with $6.2 million in Q3 '08 and $13.8 million year-to-date according to TNS Media Intelligence.

In a comparison of Local and National Q3 and year-to-date '08 political spending in the Miller Kaplan markets to the last presidential election year of 2004, here's a recap of Political spending, from the report:

  • Q3 '08 saw a 20.5% increase versus Q3 '04 (+$3.5 million)
  • Year-to-date '08 tallied in a 43% increase over the same time period from '04 (+$16.6 million)
  • In the Local and National sectors, Issue/527s won the quarter as the largest spender infusing more than $2.7 million dollars with year-to-date ending over $7.8M in the 35 Miller Kaplan reporting markets
  • Various committees, associations and organizations followed with a $.7M and $2.2M investment in National and Local Radio's Q3 and year-to-date totals, respectively
  • Candidate dollars, led by Barack Obama and followed by John McCain, collectively added $.2M to Q3 '08, closing out year-to-date at $1.2M

The bulk of all political funds was spent in the West region in Q3 '08 (42%) and year-to-date (47%). Political quarterly and year-to-date breakouts look like this:

Political Advertising Spending, 2008


3Q 2008

YTD 2008
















Source: Radio Advertising Bureau Q3 Report, November 2008

According to TNS, Q3 '08 Network Radio was supported by T. Boone Pickens' Plan ($1.4M), Obama for President ($1.0M), research and educational think tank, Heritage Foundation ($0.4M), along with Issue/527 and various organization spend.

Please visit here for more information about the RAB report.

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Marketing Leadership

While cleaning out 100 or so emails one night this week, I found this one I had overlooked:

Marketing Rocks. You're A Marketing Leader. Act That Way. (Steve Roesler)

Posted: 02 Dec 2008 06:09 AM CST

Pacemakeryacht While I'm on vacation, I've asked some very smart bloggers whom I am fortunate to consider my friends, to share some insights with you. Enjoy their brilliance because before you know it, you'll be stuck with me again! I'm back tomorrow, so soak up this last bit of smarts.

Last but in no way least, Steve Roesler.

"One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.”

--Dennis A. Peer

Do you measure your contribution and success by the caliber of the people who follow you? In this case, let's talk about clients.

I'm betting that most people are simply "happy to have clients." I read the news.

I also read my own financials to find out what's profitable and who is profitable. Not all clients are created equal. Right now it's easy to ignore cost-of-doing-business in order to opt for any business at all. So let me ask you this:

Are you in business for the long haul?

If so, you've already looked at how to differentiate yourself from the pack "technically." Now it's time to rise higher above the crowd as a Marketing Leader by the caliber of your clientele.

No Gas But Plenty of Yacht Buyers

In the '70s I lived in a tiny town in New Jersey whose main employer was Pacemaker Yachts. These 60-foot puppies sold for six figures in 1970s dollars. At the same time, gas was being rationed on odd/even days according to the number on one's license plate. Bad times, eh?

One morning I walked to the diner (uh, it was New Jersey) for an artery-clogging breakfast. Seated at the table across from me was the Sales Manager of Pacemaker Yachts, comedian Jerry Lewis, and Olympic swimming champ-turned-Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller. A deal was being closed for the purchase of two yachts while I was counting the change in my pocket to make sure I could leave a decent tip.

What I learned was this:

  1. In bad times, people with lots of money still buy lots of expensive, exclusive things.
  2. The publicity from this sale--due to the fame and "quality" of the clients--generated more business from "quality" clients.
  3. The company shut down it's small-boat, dinghy operation. Not enough buyers, not enough profit margin, and no publicity when someone did make a purchase.

Who Are Your Yacht Buyers and Dinghy Dwellers?

According to a survey of U.S. senior executives, marketing will be the most important area of expertise for the next-generation of leaders.

The study, commissioned by the Institute of International Research, sought to identify key areas for leaders. Marketing was the clear choice, with 31% of votes, followed by 20% for operations and 16% for financial expertise. Sales and engineering were deemed least critical to leadership with 11 and 6% respectively.

I'm choosing to take this as super-encouraging news. It means that organizational leaders are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about, and accountable for, marketing. It also indicates that the importance of marketing won't be the "sell" that it had to be in the past. Leadership and Marketing now appear on the landscape as intertwined.

With that in mind:

  1. Sit down today and figure out who, in your world, are the Yacht Buyers and the Dinghy Dwellers.
  2. Are you willing to allow those DD's to float out to sea while you free up time to target your Yacht Buyers?
  3. Will your decision position you as a profitable Marketing Leader or a weekend sailor?

Life is filled with choices. Successful lives are filled with wise choices.

Your choices and the actions that follow will reveal the kind of marketing life you really want.

Drew's Note: Steve Roesler is one of those guys who just seems to know quite a bit about everything. His blog, All Things Workplace, has won many an award and earned Steve a legion of fans. I've always found him to be not only smart as a whip, but incredibly generous and quite witty. Who could ask for more?

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Santa's Smokin'

Got three minutes? Check this out from

Return to the Golden Age of Cigarette Advertising

3 Minute Ad Age, December 12, 2008

As public concern about tobacco health risks emerged, ad agencies began using doctors and dentists to endorse the product.
NEW YORK ( -- An exhibit of print advertising is as filled with stunning creativity as it is with pure horror. Santa Claus hawks cigarettes. Doctors recommend cigarettes as cures for various ailments. Dentists urge their patients to smoke. Babies endorse the cigarettes their "daddies" smoke. The display -- covering ad agency output from the 1920s to the 1950s -- fills the walls at the Science, Industry and Business branch of the New York Public Library.

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The Bud Beer Brand

Twice in one week. Two Ries, makes a right? Okay, sounds like I need a new copywriter. Anyway, On Tuesday I featured father Al Ries take on the General Motors brand. (Click here to read it.)

Today, we have daughter Laura Ries on the Bud Brand:

Bud Light Finds a Word


It doesn't matter who owns Budweiser because even though Bud may not be American-owned anymore, the brand is still all-American brand.

It doesn't matter where a product is made or who owns the corporate entity. Once a brand becomes identified with a country, it is forever connected to that country in the mind.

A Budweiser beer bottled by InBev is still an American beer, the same as a Toyota made in Kentucky is still a Japanese car.

Budweiser's brews have been battered in recent years by Miller's low-carb attacks, as well as by lackluster advertising and foolish line extensions like Budweiser World Select, Budweiser American Ale and Budweiser Select.

But recently Budweiser has scored a home run. How? They have done what every brand should do, focused on one word.

Budweiser's future is Bud Light. As a result they should be marketing and spending most of their advertising money protecting this brand.


Bud Light in particular has gotten hammered by Miller Lite and even by its sibling brand Michelob Ultra on both taste and low-carbs. Bud Light can't win either battle. It has almost three times the carbs of Miller Lite and lacks the full-flavored taste of the other light beers.

Bud Light has a watered down taste yet it still full of carbs. Not a good combination.

But many of the best strategies come from taking a negative and turning it into a positive. The trick is getting the wording right.

Avis rent-a-cars wasn't the leader. But it turned its second place position into an advantage by saying:

Avis is only No.2. So why go with us? We try harder.

Smucker's jelly & jams has a funny name. But it turned that funny name into a positive by saying:

With a name like Smucker's it has to taste good.

Listerine mouthwash tastes terrible. So instead of hiding its taste, they proudly say:

The taste you hate, twice a day.

Lucky for Bud, the low-carb craze has cooled and the few grams difference between it and the light beers is truly trivial. But the taste angle is not. Being labeled a water-down brew isn't manly and doesn???t deserve of the king of beers crown and title.

For years Bud Light tried to find an effective strategy but nothing has worked. Until now.

You can???t miss the new Bud Light message. Focusing on one word make the message memorable. That one word has been blazing bright on billboards across the country and has been endlessly repeated on television.

That's a strategy that works exceptionally well in advertising. Taking a well-known brand and hammering away one idea over and over again.

Bud Light has turned its watered-down taste into a positive with one word, Drinkability.


What does drinkability mean? It means you can drink Bud Light all night long. Whom does Bud Light appeal to? Young drinkers, 21-35 year olds who don't sip, they chug.

The key to effective branding is not appealing to everybody. Drinkability is brilliant because it gives up something.

Drinkability gives up the older drinkers who only drink one beer and want a deep rich taste. Sam Adams has them. Drinkability give up the snobs who want imported prestige. Heineken has them. Drinkability give up the folks at the Mexican fiesta crowd. Corona has them.

But all that giving up means Bud Light is left with a focused, powerful memorable message.

When you have a focus, you have a strategy, with a strategy you can create effective advertising. Without a focus, you have nothing to work with.

The 2009 Super Bowl could be a time for Budweiser to shine. The economy is going to keep a lot of players out of the game. While will make Bud more noticable.

If I was in charge, I would only advertise Bud Light during the game. Forget Budweiser, let it die a slow death. I would run all 10 commercials (5 minutes) for Bud Light using heavy doses of Clydesdales, drinkability and humor.

I'd drink to that.


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Wizard Wisdom

Lots and lots of good links:


Dear Scott,

Never let your standards slip... even by a little.

“First thing it’s two minute, then four, then six, then the next thing you now, we’re the U.S mail.” - Chuck Noland, (Fedex manager) Cast Away

"The coming year will be fun, adventure-filled and profitable for people who have their wits about them.

A number of small business owners are positioning themselves to overtake their much larger rivals.

Will one of these companies be yours" - Roy H. Williams

Make sure you read, What to Expect in 2009.

In this issue:

Exponential Little Bits

The Must Read Articles of 2008 by GrokDotCom

What to Expect in 2009

Wizard Academy upcoming seminar: Fight the Big Boys and Win 20-21 Jan 2008

Exponential Little Bits

Makers of miracles have magical little helpers. Is there a miracle you'd like to make?

Would you like to learn the magic of the elbs?

Elbs are Exponential Little Bits, tiny but relentless changes that compound to make a miracle. The power of an elb lies not in its size, but in its daily occurrence. For an elb to work its Exponential magic, the Little Bit must happen every day... every day... every day.

Every day.

Funny thing... When daily progress meets with progress, it doesn't add, it multiplies. To harness the magic of Exponential Little Bits you must learn to ask yourself, "What difference have I made today?" And never go to sleep until you have done a Little Bit to move yourself closer to your goal. But you must do a Little Bit every day, no matter how tiny the thing might be.

Exponential Little Bits work both ways. They can lift you up or hold you down. There is much power in the ELBs.

Start with a dollar. Double it every day for just 20 days and you'll have 2,097,150 dollars. But if you diminish each day's total by just 10 percent (a Little Bit) before the next day's doubling, you'll amass only 793,564 dollars. Diminish each day's doubling by 35 percent and you'll have only 56,784 dollars - a holdback of 95.83 percent.

There's a line in Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" that says, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down! I could say 'Elves' to him, but it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather he said it for himself."

Is there a wall between you and your miracle?

I could say how to bring it down.

But I'd rather you said it for yourself.

Roy H. Williams

The Must Read Articles of 2008 by GrokDotCom

Our friends and partners over at Future Now have just released their "best of articles " for 2008.

The Future Now team have done their bit to help your business... now it is up to you to read, learn, and implement.

Of course if you don't have the skill or time, Future Now can implement for you.


Marketing Lessons From Apple

Testing Add-to-Cart Buttons: Stuck in the Middle With You

7 Tips for Boosting Web Form Conversions


Hidden Secrets of the Amazon Shopping Cart

How to Prioritize Your Optimization

How to Elf Yourself Out of Millions

PayPal Should Go Undercover


Top 7 Tips for Optimizing Low-Traffic Websites

Recession-Proof Your Online Marketing


3 Reasons Your Visitors Don’t Convert to Leads

How to Increase Shopping Cart Abandonment

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Using Flash


Tips From a Client Who Doubled His Conversion Rate

How to Get Buy-in for Conversion Rate Optimization


Do Women Respond to “Free Shipping” More Than Men?

Firefox 3: How to Convert Seven Million Visitors in a Day


What Your Bounce Rate is Trying to Tell You

Tapping the Power of Social Media to Advertise to Women


5 Simple Tips for Lead-Generation Sites

Can An Image of a Pretty Woman Boost Conversion?


Why Rank #1 in Google

The Difference Between Great and Average Copy

Google Website Optimizer: Free Resources To Jump Start Your Testing


14 Tools to Legally Spy On Your Competition

The Ultimate Google Analytics Plugins, Hacks & Tricks Collection

7 Deadly Sins of Web Analytics


33 Free Tools to Make Your Website Better

7 Ways to Win Over Reluctant Buyers

Social Media Is NOT Media

Understanding and Aligning the Value of Social Media

Is Free Shipping a Must in this Economy?


Increasing “Qualified” Leads From Your Website

No More Consulting Indigestion

Ready to Play Leapfrog?

By Roy H. Williams

The coming year will be fun, adventure-filled and profitable for people who have their wits about them.

A number of small business owners are positioning themselves to overtake their much larger rivals.

Will one of these companies be yours?

Not many years ago, General Motors and Circuit City were the dominant players in their categories. Today they’re both on their knees, having made the same mistakes:

1. They took their fingers off the pulse of the customer.
When you believe your marketing pipeline will allow you to dictate what the customer will buy, you’re in danger of being leapfrogged. In 1960, General Motors sold nearly 60 percent of all new cars. Today, even though Chevrolet maintains 4,200 dealerships, Toyota sells more cars than all 5 GM brands combined through just 1,400 locations.
LESSON: Having the right product is more important than heritage and convenience.

2. They quit taking risks.
When companies achieve success, they usually quit innovating and become guardians of the status quo. But yesterday’s perfect processes are obsolete tomorrow. Vinyl records were replaced by 8-track tapes. 8-tracks were replaced by cassettes. Cassettes were replaced by CDs. And now CD’s are being replaced by MP3 players. The same is happening with business practices.
LESSON: Success, like failure, is a temporary condition. Never assume you've arrived.

The leaders are going into hunker-down mode. They’re cutting back their advertising, assuming that everyone else will cut back as well.

When a leapfrogger sees a leader’s brake lights, he hits the accelerator. Are you beginning to see what I meant when I said, “fun, adventure-filled and profitable?”

Here are the trends to watch in 2009:

1. Frivolous purchases are being delayed.
We’re wearing our clothes longer and keeping the cars we’ve got. We'll buy what we need, but only after asking whether we really need it.

2. We're buying fewer things, but better things.
More attention is being paid to quality. Only the poorest are choosing by price alone. Information is king. Details are power. This is good news for makers of better products.

3. “Sustainable” is a concept that will grow in power for at least 10 years.
The lifestyle of the 80's and 90's was "upwardly mobile" and its leaders were marked by "conspicuous consumption." But the chosen lifestyle of the next generation will be "sustainable," meaning that we'll strive to live within our means and embrace practices that are environmentally responsible.

Want to be a leapfrogger?

Become one of the Magnificent Seven.

I'll see you when you arrive on campus.

Previous stories, just in case you missed them:

Sending out a Flyer? 2 Factors You Must Understand

How to Survive a Family Business

A Bigger Threat to Your Business Than Recession

4 Methods to Sharpen Your Marketing Message

A Closing Thought
“So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You failed… You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling. ” - Claire Colburn to Drew Baylor, Elizabethtown
See you next week.

Craig Arthur
Wizard of Ads

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

Australia Call (07) 4728 4866 or email

North America

Call 308-254-2732 or email

Call 440-610-9746 or email

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

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

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

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