Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Top 10 for 2008

From a recent email, this is from

Top 10 Viral Video Ads of 2008

Every day we get bombarded with thousands of commercial ads. Most we ignore but some catch our eye. These ads are more than just traditional product pitches – they entertain and occasionally inspire. From the political to the faux-authentic to the controversial, these video ads draw big audiences online and are changing the way advertising is created and marketed. Drum roll please, Feed Company’s Top 10 Viral Video Ads of 2008.

1. “Where the Hell is Matt?”

Advertiser: Stride Gum
Ad Agency: Matt Harding

Matt Harding quit his job to travel around the world and dance. Because you can’t watch this video, his third installment, without smiling it gets our top vote.

2. “Obama Yes We Can”

Advertiser: NA
Ad Agency: will.i.a.m and Jesse Dylan

Scarlett Johansson and 50 of her Hollywood friends sing a song with Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.a.m in support of brand Obama. We’re so in.

3. “Backflip Into Jeans”

Advertiser: Levi’s
Ad Agency: Cutwater

Back-flipping into a pair of jeans only looks easy for the acrobatic hipsters in this video. But it didn’t stop us from watching this video again and again.

4. “Ball Girl”

Advertiser: Gatorade
Ad Agency: Element 79

Gee, we know Gatorade rehydrates your body after a work-out but can it propel you 15 feet up the left-field wall of a Triple A ballpark to snag a line drive? Apparently so.

5. “Wario Land: Shake It!”

Advertiser: Nintendo
Ad Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

How do you communicate the shake, rattle and roll of a side-scroller game for the Wii console featuring Wario, the bad-tempered counterpart to mild-mannered Mario? Take over a YouTube channel and have the whole page shake until game elements cascade down the page.

Wario Land: Shake It!

6. “Take It To The Next Level”

Advertiser: Nike
Ad Agency: 72andSunny

How do you take a soccer ad to the next level? Hire Madonna’s ex-Guy Ritchie to conjure up this first-person view of a day in the life of an amateur-to-riches soccer player.

7. “Bike Hero”

Advertiser: Activision
Ad Agency: Droga5

A kid on his bike uses his handlebars as a Guitar Hero game controller to navigate his route home. Sounds like a plan.

8. “SFW XXX Party Invitation”

Advertiser: Diesel
Ad Agency: Viral Factory

Diesel celebrates their 30th anniversary with an almost not SFW viral video that mashes edits of 70’s porn with strategically placed animations.

SFW XXX Party Invitation

9. “Kobe Jumps Over Car”

Advertiser: Nike
Ad Agency: Weiden + Kennedy

So did Kobe Bryant really jump over the Aston-Martin? Well, maybe but we watched it anyway.

10. “Square Peg Round Hole”

Advertiser: Electronic Arts
Ad Agency: Weiden + Kennedy

Tiger Woods shoots a square peg into a round hole. Something we try to do every day.

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Top 10 PR Blunders for 2008

In the humble opinion of the folks at

10 Top Public Relations Pratfalls of 2008

Posted: 22 Dec 2008 10:28 AM CST

business guy thumbs down Check Out These Gigantic Goofs So You Can Avoid Them in 2009

We all love top 10 lists, whether its of the wonderful or the woeful variety. We can learn from both. In that educational spirit and with thanks to the folks at Fineman PR, here is the list of really awful public relations gaffs from a year that is happily almost over.

1. AIG All-Expense-Paid Retreats … Paid By YOU

Mere days after receiving an $85 billion federal bailout package, American International Group Inc. dropped nearly half a million dollars on an executive retreat to the posh St. Regis resort, complete with “spa treatments, banquets and golf outings,” according to the Associated Press. Public reaction, as many watched 401(k) and other investments deflate, was heated. Ousted AIG CEO Robert Willumstad condemned the fete as “very inappropriate” when questioned by Congress, and presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said participating executives “should be fired” during a debate with Sen. John McCain. AIG compounded the damage when it proceeded with an $86,000 New England hunting retreat. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo promptly launched a fraud probe, saying “our message to AIG today is simple: The party is over.”

2. AP to Detroit Three: “old way of doing business just won’t fly.”

Already reeling from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, consumers, taxpayers and legislators were deeply offended when the leaders of the nation’s Big Three automakers — General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli and Ford CEO Alan Mulally — flew to Washington in separate corporate jets to ask Congress for $25 billion … without a turnaround plan. PR Week reported that “it made the Big Three appear out of touch, and evoked memories of the AIG retreat controversy.” The Los Angeles Times reported that, “their first attempt was a lemon.” So when the execs made their second foray to Washington to further plead their case, they drove there in hybrid vehicles … and made sure everyone knew it. But Meredith Vieira on Today was unimpressed. “They should have carpooled,” she said.

3. Department of Veterans Affairs says “Shh!” To Veterans’ Problems

In this day of digital justice it’s surprising that some federal officials still believe their emails are private, as when messages between top officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs indicated secrets were being kept about appallingly high suicide attempt rates among veterans. According to the Associated Press, Dr. Ira Katz, top-ranking VA mental health official, emailed colleagues that “12,000 veterans a year attempt suicide while … under [Veterans Affairs] treatment.” Katz wasn’t pushing for reform but hiding data from CBS News, even beginning the email with a “Shh!” Everett A. Chasen, chief communications officer for the VA, wrote that, “I don’t want to give CBS any more numbers on veterans [sic] suicides or attempts than they already have — it will only lead to more questions.” Emails get leaked in most organizations, but the true Blunder is the Department’s disregard for veterans’ well being. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told CBS News “this is disgraceful … a crime against our nation, our nation’s veterans. [V.A. officials] do not want to come to grips with the reality, with the truth.”

4. Letterman asks McCain, “do you need a ride to the airport?”

Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain canceled what would have been his thirteenth appearance on CBS’s Late Night with David Letterman, saying that he was suspending his campaign and “racing to the airport” to tackle the impending financial crisis. Midway through the show, however, Letterman learned that McCain was mere blocks away … sitting down with CBS stablemate Katie Couric. Letterman obtained a live feed of the interview and, joined by stand-in guest Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, remarked at McCain’s expense. McCain’s response, when he did make it onto Late Night a couple weeks later, was apt but unapologetic: “I screwed up.”

5. Nike Just Blew It

When self-described “good, solid” marathoner and elementary school teacher Arien O’Connell unexpectedly clocked the fastest time in October’s San Francisco Women’s Marathon, besting her personal record by over 12 minutes, race sponsor Nike had a golden opportunity to support those who “just do it.” However, Nike only checked times of those in the allegedly “elite” front-running pack; by the time O’Connell realized she had been fastest, all places had been awarded and Nike would not recognize her victory. Later that week, pressured Nike recanted its initial stance, declaring O’Connell “a winner” but not the winner. C.W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle lamented the tepid ending to “what could have been a lovely Cinderella story.” Only after competitor Reebok stepped up to award O’Connell free shoes for a year and a $2,500 donation for her classroom did O’Connell receive her “first place overall” trophy.

6. Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp.: Profits with Side Effects

Prescription for a Blunder: market cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia with a memorable $100 million plus advertising campaign. Withhold study results showing that the combo doesn’t work as claimed … for 21 months. Watch the drugs pull $5.2 billion in revenue in 2007 alone. Side effects, though, may include widespread consumer backlash, around 140 civil class- action lawsuits, and the unwelcome attentions of Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 35 state attorneys general, according to the Associated Press. Makers Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. allegedly didn’t release the results due to internal scientific concerns. Matthew Herper of Forbes reported there were “reasons to doubt the result [of the study].” Under pressure, Merck and Schering-Plough pulled their quirky “Food and Family” ads, but dwindling investor confidence still pushed Merck stock down to Vioxx-era levels. Martha Rosenberg of opined, “Merck is repeating its mistakes … It’s getting tough to find any Merck drug that can hold up to scrutiny.”

7. Mark Penn: Spinning Out of Control

Mark Penn found himself dropped from the chief strategist role in Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign when The Wall Street Journal exposed Penn’s work on behalf of the government of Colombia, a client for whom Penn was also involved in arranging passage of a controversial trade bill opposed by, among others, Clinton herself. Penn was removed from the helm, although his polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, continued to provide services to the campaign. He ultimately admitted to an “error in judgment,” but how many of those can one person convincingly admit to? Penn’s other unbelievable missteps throughout the year, including praising McCain attack ads and demeaning Clinton supporters, calling them “downscale voters,” earn him a seat among serial PR blunderers. Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post called Penn “dumber than previously realized” and a “despised, incompetent … microtrending ninnybot.”

8. Senior Obama Campaigner Makes “a Monster” of a Slip

Sometimes a simple goof can be a major gaffe if committed by an insider. For example, Samantha Power, senior foreign policy advisor to presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, called Sen. Hillary Clinton “a monster” in a March interview with UK newspaper The Scotsman, then realized her error and immediately tried to withdraw her comment, claiming “that is off the record.” However, in the dustup to follow, blogger Michael Goldstein of noted that, “you can’t do it. There is no off the record.” Many journalists agree, including Gerri Peev, the Scotsman reporter who interviewed Power, who noted that journalists are “not in the business to self-censor … [they are] in the business to print the truth.”

9. “Absolut Mistake,” says PR Week

Swedish vodka-maker Absolut is famed for its clever, well-executed advertising campaigns, but the company hasn’t realized it’s a small world after all. According to PR Week, ads for the Mexican market from the company’s “Absolut World” campaign showing the western U.S. as Mexican territory “courted animosity” and “stirred up negative sentiment from … [those] who complain about the porous U.S. border” after appearing on U.S. blogs. Absolut pulled the offending ads and proffered a public apology on its corporate blogs, but competitor Skyy Vodka capitalized on the situation. According to Ken Wheaton’s Advertising Age blog, Skyy did “what a marketer should do in a situation like this, [taking] advantage of a competitor’s headache” by distributing a humorous press release in which it touts Skyy’s U.S. origins and production. Smart opportunistic marketing … with a twist.

10. Hut, Two, Three, Four, Berkeley Rants Against Our Corps

Berkeley, Calif., has always been known for an anti-establishment atmosphere, one in which free speech and independent thought are held dear. But when the Berkeley City Council denounced local Marine Corps recruiters as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and “sales people known to lie to and seduce minors,” it incited yet another nationally covered culture clash depicting Berkeley’s leadership as hopelessly out of touch. Although individual members of the Council did admit that they may have acted rashly, no apology was ever issued. According to Peter Schrag of the Sacramento Bee, the incident demonstrated “that you can be within shouting distance of one of the world’s great educational institutions and still be terminally stupid.”

As you can see being big or famous doesn’t shield you from harmful PR gaffs. Happily, being small and not so well known doesn’t keep you from running great PR campaigns.

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Focus on 2009

From the THINKing Blog:


Link to THINKing

2009 - Back To Basics

Posted: 22 Dec 2008 08:45 AM CST

Prediction: In 2009, marketers will get back to basics and will suddenly fall in love with their current customers again.

I’ve been saying it for years, marketers want the thrill of new business and spend way more money on it than they do on retaining the business they have. But every time there is a hiccup in the economy, you customers start to be a marketers new BFF. It’s back to customer retention in the new year.

Any marketer worth his salt has never taken his eye off his good customers in the first place. Marketers who have ensured that their brands have maintained their relevance and have not resorted to promotional activities that devalue the brand will weather the storm fine.

It’s not a soft economy that is affecting many brands, it is soft marketers.

Email, the best customer retention tool, will make a comeback in 2009. So, content makreters, brush off your content, retool it for email and serve it up. Restore those connections with current customers and they might just introduce their friends to you.

Read more predictions at Junta42.

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Email Advice from The THINKing Blog

A whole bunch of clickable links to keep you busy:


Link to THINKing

All About Email

Posted: 18 Dec 2008 10:09 AM CST

I’m a big believer in email for customer retention, so I’ve been reading a lot about it recently. Thought I’d share some links for you. If you are interested, My Creative Team produces a monthly enewsletter. Here’s our latest.

Your 2009 To-Do List

Start Planning For 2009 Now

Email Is The Most Popular Online Activity

Email Fundraising Success Story

How To Sync Email With Customer Lifecycles

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Quit Quiting

Jeff Gitomer. A name that you know, (or should know). He sends out a weekly newsletter that is packed with goodies. Here's a sample and a link:

Why do some persist
and some quit?

Is there a secret to follow-up? No. Is there a best way to follow-up? No. Why do people quit too soon? Big question. Why do you quit too soon? Bigger question. Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? Biggest question. Reason? Think and Grow Rich (written by Napoleon Hill 70 years ago) has an entire chapter on persistence that provides real insight as to the characteristics of what makes some stick at it until they win, while others stop either just after they start, or stop just before they are about to taste victory. Rather than be so presumptuous as to paraphrase the great Napoleon Hill, I am going to give you the EXACT words of the master. Here are some excerpts (and insights) on persistence quoted exactly as they were written seven decades ago that are still applicable to your sales process today. Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them these:

a. Definiteness of purpose. Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to surmount many difficulties.
b. Desire. Its is comparatively easy to acquire and to maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.
c. Self-reliance. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence. (Self-reliance can be developed through the principle described in the chapter on autosuggestion).
d. Definiteness of plans. Organized plans, even though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage persistence.
e. Accurate knowledge. Knowing that one’s plans are sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
f. Cooperation. Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.
g. Will-power. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definiteness of purpose leads to persistence.
h. Habit. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experience upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active service in war knows this.

How to Develop Persistence.
There are four simple steps which lead to the habit of persistence, They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort. The necessary steps are:

1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.

Read the rest of this article

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Night Marketing News

I'm in the middle of a 5 day Christmas weekend, but the folks at Mediapost worked today:

by Sarah Mahoney
Karla Martin, a partner with Booz & Co., says retailers need to redefine the way they serve their core audiences. "You don't go to a museum to see every landscape ever painted," she tells Marketing Daily in a question-and-answer session. "You want to see things from the 18th-century pastoral school. They want that kind of editing. They want retailers to stock brands that show they understand a certain lifestyle, especially now, coming off five years of hard-core brand identification." ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
"The reason [these people] deserve to be word-of-mouth influencers is not because they earn more, they've made these investments work better," says Anne Marie Kelly, senior vice president of marketing and strategic planning at MRI. "The reason they're talking to people is because they're doing better. They have more credibility." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The e-card, showing photos of a red barn in a snowy field, bears the greeting, "Think kindly, act gently, care deeply, give freely. Sponsored by Campbell's Soup," along with the explanation about the $1 per-click (up to a maximum of $250,000) FAA donations. Senders can include a personal message of up to 500 words. The link to the associated Campbell's site states: "Thanks to supporters like you, we've reached our donation goal!" ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The ad breaking during the Winter Classic shows scenes of kids at a hockey practice, cutting to a morning scene of a Honda vehicle starting up under newly fallen snow, a child rising from bed, coffee brewing, and a parent bringing his child to hockey practice. The ad showcases several Honda snow-capable vehicles like Ridgeline and Odyssey, and finishes at the practice with voiceover: "As reliable as the people who drive them. Honda, official vehicle of the NHL and hockey parents everywhere." ... Read the whole story > >

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A viral marketing primer

from Seth Godin:

What is viral marketing?

Viral marketing is an idea that spreads--and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.

Two kinds of viral marketing: The original classic sort in which the marketing is the product and which a self-amplifying cycle occurs. Hotmail, for example, or YouTube. The more people use them, the more people see them. The more people see them, the more people use them. The product or service must be something that improves once more people use it.

A second kind has evolved over the last few years, and that's a marketing campaign that spreads but isn't the product itself. Shepard Fairey's poster of Barack Obama was everywhere, because people chose to spread it. It was viral (it spread) and it was marketing (because it made an argument--a visual one--for a candidate.)

Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn't market you or your business in a tangible, useful way.

Marketers are obsessed with free media, and, as is often the case, we blow it in our rush to get our share. We create content that is hampered or selfish or boring. Or we create something completely viral that doesn't do any marketing at all.

I wrote the first mainstream book about viral marketing. It's free (still) eight years (and millions of downloads) later.

Download 2000Ideavirus.pdf

I haven't updated it or made it pretty, but I think the core ideas stand up pretty well. (I even talk about the Zipf's Law and the long tail, but didn't realize it at the time).

Here's how the book itself is an example of viral marketing:

1. I posted the PDF for free. Three thousand people downloaded it on day one.

2. The file is small enough to email to your friends. I encouraged people to do just that.

3. Some people mailed it to fifty or a hundred people. It spread.

4. That's just viral. The marketing part? I released a $40 souvenir hardcover edition. People knew the idea but didn't like the format or my design skills. So they paid a lot for a book they had already read. It went to #5 on Amazon (#4 in Japan). We sold the rights in dozens of languages. And the paperback rights. And it helped me get speaking gigs.

BUT! 5. That's not why I did it. If I had done it as a clever way to sell books, it would have failed. It would have failed because I would have somehow tried to track it, or added friction, or tried to profit in some way from the idea. I was way too dumb at the time to have done it right if my goal was to do it 'right'.

The critical element of viral marketing is this: it's built in. It was built into Hotmail and built into YouTube. The more people used the camera on their cell phones, the more the idea spread, the more people wanted a camera.

If you want to do viral marketing, you can try to come up with a viral ad, but you'll probably fail. You're better off building the viral right into the product, creating a product that spreads because you designed it that way.

Viral marketing only works well when you plan for it, when you build it in, when you organize your offering to be spreadable, interesting and to work better for everyone involved when it spreads. If I don't benefit from spreading it, why should I spread it? I won't. If you don't benefit from your users spreading the idea, it might spread, but it won't help you much. So both elements have to be present.

The reason for this post is that viral marketing is getting a bad name, largely from clueless marketing agencies and clueless marketers. Here's what they do: they get a lame product, or a semi-lame product, and they don't have enough time or money to run a nationwide ad campaign. So, instead, they slap some goofy viral thing on top of it and wait for it to spread. And if it doesn't spread, they create a faux controversy or engage a PR firm or some bloggers and then it still doesn't work.

Being viral isn't the hard part. The hard part is making that viral element actually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss.

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The Value of Your Brand


You Know You Want Me

If you offer an upscale product or service, you probably have "aspirational" customers who take a mix-and-match approach to luxury goods. In an article at MarketingProfs, Suzanne Hader describes some typical personas: "[T]he affluent stay-at-home mom who plans five-star vacations and Target shopping trips with equal enthusiasm; the student who gives up daily Frappuccinos to save $200 for a pair of jeans; the bartender who won't settle for less than $300 sunglasses but lives in a spartan studio apartment."

"Companies that want to continue to profit from aspirational customers must make their brands accessible and relevant to them by taking their lifestyles into consideration and meeting them half way," she says. Here are a few of her suggestions:

Offer customer service that goes above and beyond. Aspirational shoppers expect to be treated well. Remarkable service not only reinforces their belief that they made a smart choice, it keeps them coming back.

Don't cheapen your brand. Clearly distinguish lower-cost collections from your premium lines, and always keep their price points at the top of a product's category. "Chanel offers makeup and perfume to give customers a taste of glamour for less than $50," notes Hader, "but within cosmetics its pricing keeps it solidly in the prestige realm."

Cultivate a sense of exclusivity. "Use online channels to offer very small amounts of stock via micro-specials—some lasting only a lunch break—to encourage high-volume stampedes."

The Po!nt: Says Hader, "Marketers who understand what the aspirational customer wants—and work hard to provide it—will be rewarded with fiercely loyal, responsive, and profitable repeat purchasers."

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full article.

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A List of 10 That I Disagree With

Drew at the Marketing Minute wrote this Monday. I don't agree with this entire list. I'll tell you why in a moment.

10 words to avoid in 2009

Posted: 22 Dec 2008 08:30 AM CST

36726310 Good friend to the Marketing Minute, Susan Gunelius (author of Harry Potter, the story of a global business phenomenon) has a great article on Entrepreneuer's website. In the article, Susan reminds us that the normally jaded and wary consumer is even more so after the economic struggles of 2008.

I think her list will surprise you. It includes works that traditionally have been touted as buying trigger words. It also includes some copywriting 101 tips that have been passed down for ages. Let's see what you think.

Here are 5 of Susan's 10 words to avoid in your 2009 marketing efforts. These are the ones that intrigued me the most and I wondered what you thought.


Ads that include messages about a free product or service promotions can work well during an economic downturn, but consumers need to see the products perform well. E-mail spam filters are tough on messages that include "free" in the subject line. While it might be tempting to use a subject line that says, "Open now to get your free widget," that's an e-mail spam filter red flag that will send your message to most recipients' spam boxes. When the economy is tough, you can't risk having your e-mails not make it to the intended recipients. Replace "free" with "complimentary" or "gratis" to sneak by spam filters without compromising the effectiveness of your message.


Few people believe in guarantees these days. Unless you can prove your guarantee is real, use the valuable real estate space in your ad for a more effective message that consumers are likely to believe and act on.


If you want to waste space in your ads, include "really" in your copy. This word does nothing to help your messages. Instead, it slows consumers down, and they are not likely to wait around for the complete message. Don't risk losing them by loading your copy with useless filler words. Make sure every word in your copy is there for a reason.


Does a message sound more compelling with "very" in it? Is "When you need very fresh flowers, call ABC Florist," more effective than "When you need fresh flowers, call ABC Florist"? If you answered, yes, reread the last paragraph.


You're not helping anyone when you offer "opportunities" in your copy. Consumers don't want opportunities. They want to feel confident handing over their hard-earned money. They want to know they'll get the results they want and need, not the opportunity to perhaps get those results. Don't let them wonder what they'll get when they pull out their wallets. Tell them.

To see the other five words and read Susan's thoughts on them, check out the article. But before you go...what do you think? Is free now a tainted word? Should we stop offering guarantees?

Okay, Here's the words again:
  1. Free
  2. Guarantee
  3. Really
  4. Very
  5. Opportunity
And the other 5 from Susan's article:

  1. That
  2. A Lot
  3. To Be
  4. Synergy
  5. Drinkability
Most of my copywriting is for radio. Spoken Words. Or as I like to say, "Word of Mouth with a Bigger Mouth".

If used appropriately, the words, FREE and GUARANTEE can be two of the most popular words you can ever use. But please don't abuse them with a bunch of fast-talking disclaimers. As far as the other 8, I can live without them in most cases.

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Where is your Focus

I was in a retailer recently and noticed the manager on duty was talking to a customer on the phone, explaining basically, that the customer is wrong, there was nothing she could do about it, it was company policy and that's that.

I was surprised because this is just plain wrong. If you are running a business and have rules set up for your convenience and not the customers, you better take a second look at the effect those rules are having on your bottom line.

Take a look at this recent email:

Hi Scott,

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

Operations Driven Versus Customer Driven

Are we an operations driven organization, or a customer driven
organization? We have a choice.

1. Do the operational standards and policies of our organization
have regulations that are clear to every employee? And, is it
clear the employees are not to deviate from the policy?

2. Do employees have the freedom to change operational standards
in order to get or keep a guest? This is known as empowerment
and is the fundamental difference between an operations driven
company and a customer driven company.

Goal: Remove the safety net of saying, "I'm sorry I can't do
that. It is against our policy." Instead the employee has the
attitude, "How can I modify the operational norm to give this
guest what he/she wants?" The only way to achieve this is to be
customer driven.

If you aren't driven by your customers' needs and wants, they
will find a company that is.

Our next set of tips will focus on four specific ways to create
the customer driven environment.

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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How to Beat the Odds

Have the odds of your success in sales increased or decreased? Do you know that the economy has nothing to do with the true answer? Read this from

How to Keep Your Pipeline Full
by Kendra Lee

Learn how top sales reps keep their pipeline full so they always have a new flow of leads to work and deals to close.

It's not uncommon for sales professionals to lose focus on their sales pipeline and fail to keep it consistently filled with new opportunities. Sellers often spend too much time on those few opportunities that are on the verge of closing at the bottom of the funnel, rather than seeking out new leads to keep the funnel full. This neglect creates a roller coaster ride in terms of performance and results in the eyes of a sales manager, and commissions in the pockets of a rep. Without enough opportunities, reps run the risk of missing their quota and their commissions.

The standard for determining if you have enough opportunity to achieve your quota is to measure the size of your pipeline. Successful sales reps maintain a minimum of three times their quota in their pipeline at all times. For example, a $100,000 per month sales quota should mean you maintain a pipeline value of $300,000 per month.

Combined with a disciplined sales process and consistent prospecting, a pipeline three times your quota will ensure a continuous flow of new leads and new opportunities closing.

So how do successful sellers do it? I recently posed that question to some top sales reps and managers. Here is what I learned about how they maintain a healthy pipeline.

Disciplined sales process
Top reps maintain a full pipeline by focusing on the follow-up process. Most sales reps make the initial contact and close the easy deals. What distinguishes the top reps from the rest are those who follow-up when the appointment isn't immediate.

Keeping an open mind in the sales process is also key. This means really listening to the customer and their struggles and customizing a solution for them based on their needs.

Top salespeople don't lose site of the smaller sales. The problem with many reps today is they forget the customers that give them smaller sales throughout the year. These lesser deals get lost in the shuffle of larger sales (since we love those big elephants). Yet, it's the small sale that gets us through the rough periods. While this is elementary, it is difficult to keep track when you have over 300 companies you deal with year round.

To be success you must be memorable. Make a hard commitment to your prospect in each discussion for the next deliverable and meet it. Personally, I set most immediate action items to be done within 24 hours and deliver on it every time. Both the need and impression left are still active in the prospect's mind. Delivering on the next step quickly makes a difference and sets an impression.

Consistent prospecting
Discipline at the beginning of the sales cycle is key - cold calls, prospecting, networking, and reading. All of that requires discipline, motivation and enthusiasm.

Remember to ask for referrals. Set a goal for yourself to secure a specific number of referrals each month. Dig deeper and penetrate your customer base.

Look for alternative contacts who can serve as inside coaches for you. Connect with these advocates quarterly. For example, as a woman-owned business, my company is a certified diverse supplier. Supplier diversity staff are focused on increasing the amount of business their companies do with diverse suppliers. They are inside excellent coaches for new contacts and budgets.

Watch and read the news so you can use new ideas as a way to get attention. You'll find creative information you can use to approach prospects and customers with fresh ideas.

Set weekly objectives for the number of new referrals, prospects, meetings, and proposals.

New lead generation matters. Existing customers are critical but don't lose focus on your weekly objective of meeting new qualified leads. They represent your future.

Kendra Lee is author of "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps companies rapidly penetrate new markets, break into new accounts and shorten time to revenue with new products in the Small & Medium Business (SMB) segment. Download her PowerProspecting Sales Kit including e-tools to help you excel at prospecting at Contact the company at 303.741.6636 or or visit

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tid Bits

Not to be confused with Kibbles n Bits... Just a couple stories from my email that you can click on for more info.

Beijing Olympics Back On NBC
The Hollywood Reporter
NBC doesn't want the glory of its Olympics coverage and Olympics-related ad sales to pass just yet. The net is airing a two-hour prime-time special about the Beijing Olympics on Dec. 27.

"Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony: TV Event of the Year" will be hosted by Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, who were the co-hosts when the event first aired in August. Lauer and Costas also will highlight the record-breaking performance of American swimmer Michael Phelps and other big moments from the Olympics. The show will include a look forward to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which NBC will also broadcast.

Prime-time slots are nothing new to Costas -- he anchors "Football Night in America" every Sunday night in the fall -- but they are new for Lauer. Today, Lauer and the "Today" crew will take a look back at 2008, which is the first time in 13 years that "Today" has had an hour in prime time. - Read the whole story...

And there's this:

In our final issue of the year, we've published the most popular articles of '08. Enjoy them and we'll see you in 2009!

  1. The Dumbest Piece of Sales Advice You're in Danger of Following - by Jill Konrath
  2. The One Service Every Consultant Should Offer - by Michael W. McLaughlin
  3. Cold Calling Scripts that Work: 3 Proven Introductions that Break Into and Close New Clients - Make It Rain! A Column by Erica Stritch
  4. Lying to Get Past the Gatekeeper: 3 True Tales of Deception Your Firm Should Learn From - by Colleen Francis
  5. Fair Game: 8 Principles for Making Your Competitors' Clients Your Own - by Andrew Sobel

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Christmas Links from the THINKing Blog

I got this 10 days ago. You get it today:


Link to THINKing

A My Creative Team Christmas Present

Posted: 15 Dec 2008 01:01 PM CST

Here are some helpful links from My Creative Team. Merry Christmas.

Top 8 Links On The Business Value Of Twitter

20 Online Media Relations Links

Top 17 Media Relations Links

Personal Branding White Paper

Media Relations White Paper

One-A-Day Marketing Vitamins White Paper

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Part of successful marketing is to go where the buyers are. Look at this and see what ideas you can come up with.

Text Appeal

"While US consumers are fully embracing text messaging," says Alan Berrey in an article at MarketingProfs, "very few enterprises have followed suit." And when you consider that 80 percent of Americans own mobile phones, and send over one billion test messages each day, it makes sense to develop a strategy for this largely untapped channel. Here are some of Berrey's pointers:

Join in. "Far too many companies do not support text messaging at all," he says. "The key ingredient for most companies is simply to get started."

Let people know you're there. Demonstrate your texting proficiency early in the customer relationship, and you can fully employ the channel throughout the sub-processes of acquisition, support and retention.

Keep it short. Messages need to be relevant, timely and brief. "If you cannot convey the message in 160 characters," he notes, "then the message is probably not well suited for text messaging."

And be sure to integrate with other channels. "Text messaging rarely stands on its own," reports Alan Berrey. "In most cases, [it] is used to augment other communications."

The Po!nt: "Text messaging has become the preferred communications channel for millions of people, and not just teenagers," says Berrey. "For many people in America, [it] is considered indispensable." It's a reality from which you can benefit.

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the complete article.

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Seth's Santa

Cleaning out some emails on Christmas eve and got this one from Seth Godin:

One Santa to rule them all


All Santas look the same. This is important to you if you're a marketer.

Lots of brands and markets splinter. We have markets with hundreds of different cell phone models, catalogs containing tens of thousands of different kinds of nuts and bolts. There are very few marketing examples of a natural monopoly.

The Bell phone system was a natural monopoly. Consumers benefitted from having one and only one phone system, so anyone could call anyone. The bigger it got, the better it worked.

Microsoft, for a long time, profitted from a natural monopoly on their operating system. Having the same system on every computer benefitted them as much as it benefitted the users. Google, of course, is now profiting from an ever more efficient and widespread operating system (the web).

But those are businesses, not marketing icons or brands. Santa, on the other hand, is the living logo of a holiday and an idea. And we don't want multiple versions. There are no real pretenders to the Nast/Coke Santa that show any sign of catching on, because the market benefits when there's just one icon to represent this idea--a key part of the appeal, even for rational skeptics, is that there's precisely one Santa and this is what he looks like.

Which is the lesson for marketers: If you set out to build an iconic brand/logo, your best opportunity is to find a story, a market and a process that works best when there's only one. They're easy to recognize when someone points them out to you: Harley, the Nobel Prize, the Super Bowl. Walter Cronkite, Oprah, Warren Buffet. Tiffany, Sand HIll Road, Heinz ketchup. These are brands we rely on not when we want to have an argument (Ford vs. Chevy) but when we want to know we got the right one, the only one, the best one.

Hard to build, a treasure to own. Don't forget to leave out some Tollhouse™ cookies.

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A Few of My Favorite ClaymationTV Ads

Mr Bill from SNL:

Merry Christmas!

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Free E-Book From Jill Konrath

Just in time for Christmas, I've added another free book offer from Jill Konrath:

What's the one thing sellers should
focus on in today's uncertain economy?
That's the question we posed to the top sales experts who came to the 2008 Sales SheBang. Of course, these creative sales strategists had a million ideas they wanted to share, but we held firm to "one."
So that's what you'll find in Keep Your Sales Up in a Down Economy, the complimentary ebook we created for you. Just one big idea from each of these successful sales pros. Please share it with your colleagues too!
2008 Sales SheBang Sisterhood Contributors
Ardath Albee
Marketing Interactions
Kendra Lee
KLA Group
Nancy Bleeke
Sales Productivity Insider
Anne Miller
Chiron Associates
Leslie Buterin
Debbie Mrazek
The Sales Company
Danita Bye
Sales Growth Specialists
Lori Richardson
Score More Sales
Kim Duke
Wendie Pett
Wendie Pett Enterprises
Colleen Francis
Engage Selling Solutions
Lynn Schleeter, Director
Center for Sales Innovation
Jill Harrington
Tonya Signa
Signature Marketing Services
Brooke Green
Caskey Training &
Ultimate Sales Chick
Colleen Stanley
Sales Leadership, Inc.
Lynn Hidy
Susan Zimmerman
Mindful Action Planning
Jill Konrath
Download: "Keep Your Sales Up in a Down Economy" now!

Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into corporate accounts, shorten sales cycles and win big contracts. She is a frequent speaker at annual sales meetings and association events. For more articles like this, visit . Get a free Sales Call Planning Guide ($19.95 value) when you sign up for the Selling to Big Companies e-newsletter.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday Night Marketing News

And a Merry Christmas to one and all!

by Karlene Lukovitz
A mere four weeks into the campaign, Claüs has more than 58,000 Facebook fans and "tens of thousands" of people have clicked into Palm's site for more info, and similar numbers have texted to enter the wish list contest, according to Palm. The most interesting stat, however, is that 26% of Claüs site visitors have come through invitations from friends. "That's very high for only a few weeks," notes Context Optional's Scott Kleper. "It really shows the promise of user applications--the viral element--in action." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
A NAIAS rep says the yearly show--which last year brought some 700,000 attendees including some 7,000 international media from some 60 countries, and approximately 40,000 industry insiders from over 2,000 companies--is filling up. Nissan, Suzuki, Land Rover and Mitsubishi will not be attending. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
According to Harris Interactive, the results are not good for the Christmas rush. The company's results in Europe and the U.S. show that most people are planning to spend less, or have already done so. Per the firm, 56% of Italians and 48% of Americans 45% of French, 43% of Spanish and 42% of British people say they will have spent less this pre-Christmas season last year. But only 27% of Germans plan to spend less. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
Companies looking to capture the Generation Y market now--in the hopes of gaining them as long-term clients for the future--will want to put together messages based on honesty and singularity. "It's all about sharing information and being a true guide and not a marketer," says Media Logic's Josh Martin. "When it comes to considered purchases, they want the face-to-face interaction." ... Read the whole story > >
Health and Beauty Aids
by Laurie Sullivan
Novartis Consumer Health, makers of Excedrin, launched its first YouTube contest to introduce Excedrin Express Gel to consumers. More than 200 videos were submitted to the contest, which ran Oct. 18 through Dec. 18. The contest page received more than 147,000 views. One promotional video has been viewed 330,000 times. Participants made blog posts, videos, message forums and Facebook groups asking friends to vote for their video. ... Read the whole story > >

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Wisdom from Harvey

From a recent email:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Winning the race takes more than speed

Whizzing along the track at 225 mph, winning a Formula One race is one sport that takes a real whiz kid. "It is the head and not the foot," says team principal Peter Sauber, "that is instrumental in any one driver's achievement." The same wisdom prevails when a driver climbs out of his high-tech, flame-resistant suit. Formula One is one of the most expensive sports in the world, and owners and sponsors cringe at blown images as easily as blown engines.

Over the past two years, a dual-heritage African-British star has captured the eye of the world racing public. Lewis Hamilton is a 23-year-old British Formula One driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Sports bean counters are toting up some big numbers for Hamilton. That includes the Times of London projecting a possible $100-million annual retainer, the biggest ever for an F1 driver. There's even speculation Hamilton will rank with Tiger Woods among the world's best compensated athletes.

Among Hamilton's achievements to date:

  • The youngest winner of the Formula One championship.
  • The first black driver to compete in an F1 race.
  • The first black driver to win a major competition at Indianapolis.
  • The most pole positions and victories in a first season.
  • As a rookie, most trips to the podium for finishing #1, 2 or 3.

Hamilton's achievements may sound storybook, but this is reality sport at its best. The Lewis Hamilton saga is also steeped in preparation with a dose of gumption:

  • Hamilton learned karate as a kid to fend off local bullies. Today he's a black belt.
  • His father held three jobs to help finance building his son's career.
  • Lewis Hamilton began racing go-karts at age eight. He had the focused goal of driving for McLaren when he was just nine years old!

Echoes of Tiger Woods are easy to spot. First, the influence of Papa Woods and Papa Hamilton is inescapable. At the tender age of six months, Tiger is said to have gazed at his dad Earl whacking golf balls into a net. And Tiger was tuned into motivational tapes when he was just six years old!

Hamilton, who now lives in Switzerland, still makes it a practice to go back into poor communities in the UK. He's committed to bringing back the inspiration and success message to kids who need a boost. Who is Hamilton's own inspiration? His younger brother Nic. Afflicted with cerebral palsy, Nic's life is confined to a different set of wheels.

Great athletes may get the gold, but to keep it they need to be very disciplined, competent communicators and caring individuals. These traits used to be more or less just afterthoughts. Not so today. There's no such thing as a one-dimensional competitor any more. Not if one wants to make it to the very top. This reality holds true for business managers and rocket scientists just as well.

What can parents, budding superstars and business people learn from Lewis Hamilton?

  • Pursue goals methodically. Hamilton may travel on wheels, but he surely watches his steps too. While he always wants to win, he has great consistency in taking it one step at a time. Hamilton excels at doing it methodically.
  • When you're ahead, stick to it. Murray Walker, race commentator, used to say: "With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go."
  • Don't let setback spell tailspin. In 2008, Hamilton had impressive results, including winning the Australian and Monaco Grand Prix. In the Canadian Grand Prix, he overlooked a red light on the track, rear ending another driver and putting both cars out of the race. No stall for Hamilton. He came back roaring to his first Formula One championship that season.

Breakthrough athletes—like Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton—have surplus motivation to excel. When they smash the ceiling, they soar right on by. Today they're esteemed as great human beings and not just superior sports stars.

Mackay's Moral: When it comes to dedication, floor that pedal to the metal.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at

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