Saturday, January 03, 2009

Update for the New Year

If you haven't updated your website in the past 5 years, you are at least 4 years out of date. What other forms of communication do you need to bring up to speed?

From my email:

A Splash of Color for Your Whitepapers

Have you ever fantasized about curling up by a roaring fire with a cup of cocoa and your favorite whitepaper? Probably not. Because, while we crave the information they contain, they are too often dry and long-winded. But in an article at MarketingProfs, Jonathan Kranz explains how to improve your whitepapers. Here's some of his advice:

Break it down. Stand-alone sections make it easy for readers to find the information they really want. "[My] real goal," says Kranz, "is to attract and hold the attention of busy prospects with short attention spans and a single question burning in their minds: What's in it for me?"

Lighten up. In today's world, an informal, conversational tone works best. "It's me to you," he says. "As if we're having a coffee and sharing terrific ideas sketched on the back of paper napkins." Also, don't take the word "whitepaper" too literally—add visual interest with elements like images, charts, pull quotes and color.

Invite a response. As you conclude, forget about an old-school summary that ends with the weak request to call for more information. Instead, use a checklist that reiterates your whitepaper's key concepts and encourages readers to visualize how your solutions could improve their own business.

The Po!nt: Don't let outdated formats keep you from producing user-friendly whitepapers that create maximum value for your readers. "By adding new color to a tried-and-true tactic," says Kranz, "you gain a more powerful way to generate leads, attract favorable media attention, and move prospects further along your sales pipeline."

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full article.

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Help Buyers with the Right Incentive

When I saw this story Wednesday, I thought, "they've hit the nail on the head."

In the story below, there is a major grocery store chain that is offering FREE generic Rx's during the cold and flu season.

Here's why this is right.

The Price. Can't beat FREE.

The Item. Prescription drugs. One of the biggest expense this time of year and the price battle for generics began last year with discounts from Walmart and Walgreens.

The strategy. Groceries have a low profit margin. Grocers use loss leaders to bring customers into the store and then earn bigger bucks by selling items that are not on sale. This should work.

Here's the story from the Washington Post:

Giant Food to Offer Free Prescription Antibiotics

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 31, 2008; D01

Giant Food stores will give free generic antibiotics to customers with a prescription for the next three months in what retail experts called an aggressive move in supermarkets' heated battle for shoppers.

The company said the program, which will begin Friday and last through March 21, covers several popular antibiotics such as amoxicillin, penicillin and ciprofloxacin. This is the first time that Giant has offered free prescription drugs and it did not estimate the cost or potential popularity of the program.

"Times are tough," said Robin Michel, executive vice president for Giant Food, which is based in Landover. "If this is the way that we can help most people, why not?"

The economic downturn has made it increasingly difficult for many Americans to afford prescription drugs. An October survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health policy group, found that 27 percent of people did not fill a prescription in order to save money, compared with 23 percent just six months earlier. About 22 percent reported cutting pills or skipping doses, up from 19 percent.

The pharmacy business has become increasingly competitive since Wal-Mart began offering nearly 300 generic prescription drugs for just $4 in 2006. Its rivals were forced to follow suit, with Giant lowering 90-day supplies of popular drugs to $9.99 this summer. According to consulting firm Willard Bishop, pharmacy sales typically make up about 10 percent of revenue at grocery stores.

"Pharmacy tends to be much more of an additional service that kind of can position the grocery store as more of a one-stop shop," said Jim Hertel, managing partner of Willard Bishop. "It's more of a convenience."

The free prescription drug program also will be offered at Giant's sister chain, Stop & Shop. The medications can be used to treat bacterial illnesses such as ear and sinus infections but not common viral illnesses such as the flu and the cold. Most of those medications, such as Tamiflu, are not available in generic form and are more expensive.

Still, several experts said Giant's announcement yesterday was the first time they had heard of a retailer literally giving away prescription drugs.

"I think it's a gutsy move," said Ron Paul, president of food consulting firm Technomic. "Free is the best price anybody can ask for."

Giant is the largest supermarket chain in the Washington region with 182 stores and more than 160 in-store pharmacies. But it has struggled to recapture market share in recent years after a rocky relationship with Dutch parent company Royal Ahold and the encroachment of competitors such as Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.

According to trade publication Food World, Giant's market share in the Washington region dipped two percentage points to 35 percent in the year ending March 31. Sales totaled $3.3 billion, down from $3.4 billion at 133 stores last year. Safeway ranked second with $2.6 billion in local annual sales, and its market share inched up from 27.7 percent to 27.8 percent.

To revitalize its stores, Giant has spent millions of dollars to remodel its aging locations and unveiled a new logo in August. It also has cut prices across much of the store, from produce to paper products. There are some indicators that those efforts may be paying off: Giant posted its first positive sales figures in six years during its third quarter.

Paul said that the free prescription drug program is likely to breed additional goodwill among its shoppers, particularly at a time when many corporations are filing for bankruptcy and seeking government bailouts.

"Anything you can do to suggest that we do care about more than just, quote, making money is probably good citizenship," he said.

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Help Buyers Stay Loyal

Next in our series of Helping Buyers series today, is an article about customer service.

Most consumers really don't want to try and find a new hairdresser, insurance agent, or mechanic.

We even get confused if our usual grocery store remodels, or irritated if our favorite restaurant changes the menu and omits our favorite dish.

It's a minority that is looking for the "newest", the rest of us have enough going on in our lives that we will stick with our habitual choices unless....

Unless we are given a reason to look elsewhere.

I sent this article to a client of mine in the insurance industry, but I'm sure you'll see some parallels in your occupation too:

Car Insurance Firms Need to be Proactive

Car insurance companies would do well to examine and reinforce the relationships they have with their customers to keep them from switching carriers, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

"From the moment a customer purchases a policy, that relationship has begun," said Stephen Crewdson, a senior research manager with J.D. Power. "Something as simple as offering an annual policy review can make the difference in keeping a customer."

According to a survey of nearly 200,000 households, about one-third of car insurance customers reported shopping for a new provider. About 15 percent of all customers switched to another carrier, while another 20 percent were considered to be "at risk," according to Crewdson. The two main reasons for shopping around were price and customer service, he says.

"What we see is that when someone does shop as a result of poor service, about three-quarters of them wind up switching," he says.

Of the 15 percent who did switch providers, only about a third intended to switch at the beginning of their shopping experience. But only 30 percent of those who shopped around said their current provider tried to keep their business.

"If the company catches wind that a customer is out shopping, obviously, the best thing you can do is offer a better price," Crewdson says. "One other strategy is something like a last-moment policy review, discuss the coverage they're buying and make an apples-to-apples comparison."

Of the customers who did have such conversations with their car insurance providers, 80 percent chose to stay with their provider, rather than switch, Crewdson says.

Perhaps not surprisingly, price is the primary driver for switching insurance customers, according to the survey. Nearly 60 percent of those who switched said price was the primary reason, while 40 percent of those who stayed with their provider did so because of price. Another driver was customers looking for bundled products such as life and home insurance as well as auto, Crewdson says.

Nearly a quarter of customers with bundled packages shopped for new policies, while 40 percent of those with non-bundled policies shop around. For those shopping for bundled policies, only about 25 percent defect, while nearly half of people searching for only auto insurance change providers, according to the survey.

Customers who remain loyal to their insurance providers have also been with their companies for an average of four years longer than defectors. And the propensity to shop around decreases as consumers age: more than 45 percent of generation Y customers shopped around, while only 31 percent of baby boomers did so.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 12/17/08)

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Help Buyers Spread the Word

Looks like I'm doing a Help theme today.

Got this in my email from this week:

You've Got to Read This

In a post at his Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! blog, Andy Sernovitz recounts discovering something unusual when he opened the advance proof of a book written by Jack Covert and Todd Satterson; at the top of the package sat a pair of postcards designed for word-of-mouth promotion. Despite receiving four or five books a week, says Sernovitz, "This is the first time I've ever had an author make it easier for me to recommend it to a friend."

The postcards' slightly cheeky copy encourages enthusiastic readers to check the box that best completes this statement: I'm excited to tell you about The 100 Best Business Books of All Time because …

  • "You're a business book fan."
  • "My book is one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time!"
  • You need "a new solution to your current business dilemma."
  • Finally, the authors provide an "other" box provides space for senders to fill in their own reason.

"[The postcards] are funny, simple, and will get used," notes the perspicacious Andy Sernovitz.

The Po!nt: "When your customer opens a package," asks Sernovitz, "how are they going to tell someone? How are they going to tell 10 people? How much money would you make if 10% of existing customers made one referral when they receive an order?"

Source: Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! Click here for the post.

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Help Buyers Buy

Steve Clark wrote this excellent piece of wisdom. I got it in an email, and you can too if you subscribe to his site.

Understanding the Buyer’s Decision Process

Many of the world’s best sales forces are the best because they have developed and use a systematic sales process. Having a map of the things that have to happen before a sale can be made provides a framework for sales planning and activity, reduces mistakes, and shortens new hire ramp-up time. However, what is conspicuously absent from most of these process maps are the things that prospective customers have to do each step of the way in order to buy. The truth is that the things that are done at any particular step or stage in the process could be a complete waste of time if the client doesn’t do what they must do to move forward to the next step or stage in their buying process.

As sales professionals, you don’t retire quota or earn commissions for anything that you do. You get paid on what your prospects do. When they sign a contract or issue a purchase order, then you make some money. You have to accept that you cannot control your prospects.

Account Managers or Sales Managers often ask, “What do we have to do to close this deal?” That is the wrong question. What you should be asking is, “What does the prospect have to do in order to buy?” and then the follow-on question is, “What do we have to do to get them to do those things?”

Whether or not you have or follow a systematic sales process, you should endeavor to understand and document your prospect’s buying process. You must understand not only the things that have to happen throughout the selection and approval process, but who will be involved along the way.

Armed with a thorough understanding of the steps and stages of your prospects buying process, you can plan your work accordingly. Then every single move you make can be made with the specific intent of enabling or empowering your prospect to take the next step they need to take in order to buy.

In order for you and the buyer to understand the buying process, you need to ask questions. Lots of questions. Here are some questions that will help you and the buyer define and clarify what has to happen before a decision will be made:

1. What kind of results are you having with your current advertising campaign?

2. If your current campaign is not providing for you what you need it to how do you plan on discovering if another campaign might work better?

3. How have you managed to do so well in spite of the fact that you are not receiving from your current campaign what you really need?

4. How did you come to accept these less than satisfactory results from your existing campaign? What needs to happen before you and the other decision makers in this company will decide to do something different?

5. Can your existing advertising provide the results needed to take your business to the next level? If so, what has stopped it from providing the results before?

6. What do you and the other decision makers need to know or understand before you will be willing to solve this problem?

7. Since bringing in a new advertising strategy and plan would necessitate changes, what would your decision team need to understand before they’d be willing to help you through the change process?

8. What would they need to see or hear before they would be able to understand that this new process would not create chaos for them?

9. What I hear you saying is that you need blah, blah and blah from me to have the confidence that we can help you. Is that correct? What would you like for me to do next?

Before you proceed to any next step, you should know and understand exactly what has to happen next in their buying process, and what you’re going to do to make that happen. If you spend the time and money to go visit a prospect without a plan of what you intend to say and do to help them take the next step in their buying process then you are little more than a professional visitor.

Defining and documenting a useful map of our prospects buying process will take time, it will take effort, and it will require that you reach, qualify, and sell to all of the people who will play a part in the selection and approval process. You will need a lot of input and perspective because simply accepting any one person’s opinion of their process leaves too many variables to chance and ultimately leaves you with too much exposure and opportunity for failure. Taking the time to thoroughly understand all of the things that the prospect needs to do in order to buy often makes the difference between the very successful and those who simply get by.

Good Selling

Steve Clark

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost.

by Sarah Mahoney
The big question, of course, is whether its value positioning will continue to resonate when consumers' financial fears ease. "When the economy comes back," predicts Catherine Fox-Simpson, a partner at BDO Seidman's retail and consumer product practice, "shoppers will stay with Walmart, because of [its] commitment to the environment. For years, the company was considered one of the worst. Now it's leading the charge, and customers like that." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The company launched the 2009 Forester in late April with a "Love Letters Viral Video" campaign and followed up with TV spots for Forester, Impreza and Outback at national, regional, and dealer levels (or, per Subaru nomenclature, "heart, brain and wallet"). And while the temptation surely was to go with the flow last fall and do deal ads, the company used its beaconing strategy to offer another kind of incentive. The "Share the Love" campaign let customers select one of five charities to receive a $250 donation from the company following the purchase or lease of a new vehicle. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
Where HP has shone is in terms of technology, having introduced a green notebook, developed a 24-hour laptop battery and debuted the mini HP. "They are responding to consumers' needs," says Brand Keys' Robert Passikoff. "They want small, low-power laptops to get on the Web using a full keyboard. That's where their leadership is--where they shine." That connection is detectable. Vitrue, a company that measures social media, detected an upswing in social share of voice on HP's part in November and the first two weeks of December, even as Dell's share went down. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Campbell's highly focused marketing reflects the its overall strategic strengths. The 140-year-old company was ahead of the curve in positioning itself within the health and wellness zeitgeist that continues to be F&Bs main growth-driver, and it's been building on that advantage with tight concentration on three core categories: soups and other simple meals, baked snacks and healthy beverages. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
"The thing that fascinates me is how much brand clarity they have. They're all about helping people save money," says Jeffrey Pilcher, editor and publisher of "By sticking to their guns, they've set themselves up nicely." That brand clarity will work in ING Direct's favor as consumers continue to tighten their belts, particularly if confidence in traditional banks continues to erode. In October, ING Direct leveraged its savings-based positioning (tagline: "Save your money.") to be a voice of reason in troubled times. ... Read the whole story > >

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Insiders Forecast the Newspaper Business

As a former paperboy, I hate to see stories like this. I have friends that are currently in this business and this is where a lot of the journalists and reporters go to make a living. Can anything be done to save the industry?

If my own habits of reading the paper are a reflection on the rest of the country, then the fat lady better start warming up her vocal cords.

Yesterday I found an obit in a paper that was 2 weeks old that I had not read yet so I missed a funeral.

Take a look at this:

Dismal Newspaper Future in the Forecast

The outlook for newspaper ad revenue in 2009 is "terrible," according to a forecast released recently by Kubas Consultants, based on their survey of 400 newspaper executives.

This is not surprising, but the forecast was still striking for its alarming language: the "very negative outlook" is due partly to the "next disaster area," employment classifieds, which are suffering a sharp downturn like real estate did two years ago. Indeed, the Kubas report ventures that "the severity of expected declines is remarkable."

Overall, executives surveyed by Kubas expect overall revenues to fall 9.1 percent in 2009, making it the fourth consecutive year to see revenues decline. According to the Newspaper Association of America, total ad revenues (including print and online) slipped 0.3 percent in 2006 and 7.9 percent in 2007. In the first three quarters of 2008, they are down 15.5 percent compared to the same period in 2007, falling from $32.8 billion to $27.8 billion.

If Kubas' predictions for 2009 come to pass, by the end of next year, newspapers will have lost about 30 percent of their total revenues in four years.

Classified revenues will be "hit particularly hard" in 2009, says Kubas, compounding previous losses. Kubas has real-estate classified revenues down 13.9 percent, automotive down 15.5 percent and employment down 16 percent. Thus, employment is expected to pass real estate and the loss leader in this category, reflecting the steady contraction of the labor market, which is expected to continue well into 2009. National and retail ad revenues will bring no relief, however, with the former expected to fall 10.8 percent and the latter 7.5 percent next year.

Kubas also noted the troubling slowdown in the growth of online ad revenues, clouding the sole bright spot on newspapers' ledgers. In fact, the report points out, online revenues actually contracted in the third quarter of 2008; the NAA has them contracting in both the second and third quarters.

Newspapers hobbled their prospects for future growth by tying online ad revenues to upsells from print classifieds. As print listings collapse, there are fewer opportunities for these upsells.

In fairness, online was never much of a bright spot; it's "still a small percentage of total newspaper ad revenue. The pennies gained in online will not replace the dollars lost in print."

(Source: Media Daily News)

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Selling Cars on the Radio

After seeing this research, I wonder if the radio industry could have saved the car companies? At least they should pay attention to it now:

Possible Automotive Media Rethink

According to a recent analysis of BIGresearch's SIMM database by Prosper Technologies, wide gaps exist between how ad dollars have been spent versus what consumers say works best when it comes to buying a car. The Prosper analysis and media allocation model utilizes the SIMM Survey of 17,231 consumers to determine "what" and "which" media forms are most influential to consumers for buying a car, the consumption of the media, and pricing of various measured media.

Changes demanded by Congress and proposed by the automakers should include a reallocation of advertising dollars, says the BIGresearch summary. The study analysis apparently considers a disproportionate allocation of spending on TV versus other media out of balance with consumer actions.

And, combined with consumer analytics from the SIMM Survey, the report concludes that the amount of radio consumed, its influence to purchase, combined with lower costs makes it a stronger media option for automakers, which, according to consumers, is under-utilized.

The cross platform, consumer-centric media planning and allocation tool presents a modeled media allocation against the actual ad spending characteristics in the selected data.

?Automotive Ad Spend vs. Prosper Media Allocation Model (% of Total U.S. Advertising Spend in 2007)

General Motors Spend Share

Ford Spend Share

Chrysler Spend Share

Prosper Allocation Model




































Source: Ad Age Domestic Ad Spending by Category (2007)/Measured media from TNS Media Intelligence's Strategy, Prosper Media Allocation Model

Allocation Model: Media influence weighted by consumption and media cost for people planning to buy/lease a car/truck in the ensuing 6 months

For charts specific to GM, Ford and Chrysler please visit BIGresearch here.

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Local Sports a Marketing Winner

For over 50 years, my hometown has had a minor league hockey club, the Komets. Now that the holidays are over, I'll be attending a couple games this month. Actually, I've listened to more games on the radio than I've ever attended.

Looking for a way to connect with local consumers? Check this out from

Why Local Sports May Pay Off for Marketers

During Difficult Times, Investing in Community Events Can Win Consumers

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Marketers have it wrong, according to Richard Luker: In a time when consumers are hunkering down in a bad economy, they yearn for the community of local events rather than the big national ones advertisers gravitate toward. And at a time when people are making and maintaining friends virtually on the internet (and marketers put more spending there), people actually need more social networking the old-fashioned way -- face to face.

Richard Luker
Richard Luker

As chief strategy officer of TBA Global, an event-marketing agency, Mr. Luker has a vested interest in more money for community events. But that's not the only reason he's proposing that U.S. marketers divert $30 billion of the $300 billion they spend annually on media and marketing into local events such as Minor League Baseball, small-college and high-school sporting venues and local parks. The case for that shift, to be spelled out in his book, "Simple Community," next year is that social, economic and technological factors have been making community events increasingly important -- with smaller arguably meaning better.

Why support local teams when marketers are stretching budgets and may need to allocate what spending they have to big-league sports that command the most eyeballs? "Major League Baseball, while I like it, is not about me," Mr. Luker said. "Minor League Baseball is about me and my neighbors. I can feel like I am with my community. Reality around us is saying we want and need more of that."

Recent backlash
Mr. Luker, who has been tracking people's recreational preferences broadly for more than two decades (in 1994, he launched the ESPN Sports Poll), said one thing that's emerged from recent polls that he's never seen in the past quarter century is a backlash against conspicuous consumption and waste. "There's a general perception in the American population that corporations are less than responsible in the way they spend their money, and it is clearly unacceptable."

So Citibank owning naming rights for the new Mets stadium after getting government bailout money may not go over so well, he said, but support for community events seen as a necessary part of daily life could go over better. "I believe there is a complete misunderstanding of how to play this," Mr. Luker said. "What companies are doing is stopping any kind of investment that has to do with the gathering of people. ... That's a big mistake, because American brands I believe are going to be held accountable for the fact that they withdrew the kinds of things they provided as comfort during good times at the times people needed it the most."

Consider that while attendance for Major League Baseball was down 1.1% to 78.6 million last year, attendance was up 1.1% to 43.3 million for Minor League Baseball. Attendance rebounded to a record not seen since 1949 in 2004 and has continued setting records ever since -- despite there being only half as many Minor League teams today as in 1949.

And while the Arena Football League called off its 2009 season due to financial problems, its minor-league affiliate with 25 teams, Arena Football League 2, continues. Mr. Luker, a consultant to the latter, advised the AFL to get even more local by going with 100 teams. He's also advised the launch of an online portal by which Division II NCAA colleges can attract sponsors and events at their facilities -- -- which he said has surged past initial estimates to attract 300,000 visitors monthly. Now he's advising the National Federation of High Schools in a similar effort to build sponsorship support for high-school sports and theater.

Crises can help
Crises may actually help, not hurt, Minor League Baseball and other largely inexpensive and highly local events, said Mr. Luker, who started tracking attitudes about recreation immediately following 9/11 and continuing through such events as the start of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and most recently the financial collapse.

Following 9/11, strong majorities ranging from 65% to 75% of people said sporting events and sponsorships should continue as planned. "Americans care about and need times of social gathering," he said. "And it's not just sports and entertainment, but also the holiday parties at work."

Even during the Great Depression, he said, spending on recreation didn't decline, remaining at around 2% to 3% of gross domestic product. That has shot up to 5% in the past 10 years, perhaps fueled by greater need, but also financed by a lot of unsecured debt.

Extra opportunities
In fact, he sees more opportunity for marketers to step up funding of events at local parks and recreation centers, which will see budgets slashed by cash-strapped local governments in the next year. His surveys have found 31% of adults ages 18 and up typically have visited a park within the past week, and 70% have visited one within six months, creating a potentially huge audience for marketers. "Invest in the things people need and want right now," Mr. Luker said. "They'll tell the story. And when they do, they'll value you."

Moreover, he said, the virtual gathering of people in social networks is only intensifying the need for real community gathering, not supplanting it. "Kids now are able to see the whole world," he said. "It's worldwide, but it's an inch deep. And there's this pane of glass that separates them from experiencing that entire world."

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Investing in You

One of the keys to my success is investing in myself. This came in my email recently:

Time to Upgrade

When the economy was strong, we could afford to make mistakes or ignore bad sales habits. Things have changed now.

Recessions separate the weak from the strong. It's the ultimate "survival of the fittest" in the business world. Your skills, talents, and attitude are the real competitive edge in this marketplace.

Smart sales professionals are investing in themselves. They are reading more, listening to Podcasts, attending seminars and webinars, and taking advantage of their corporate training programs.

Take time to upgrade now and you will become an invincible competitor in your industry and market regardless of the state of the economy.

Source: Sales trainer/speaker Jeb Blount (, 2008)

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Not Thursday Night Marketing News

Because of the New Year, Mediapost staffers have the day off. So instead of the usual, here's their top 10 of 2008:

Happy New Year!

Marketing Daily will not be published on Thursday, New Year's Day. Have a safe and happy holiday. We will return on Friday. Before we go, we leave you with this list of the Top 10 most-read stories (by you!) of 2008:

1 Verizon Readies N.Y. BlackBerry Storm Promo

2 Gen Y Demands It: Green Fashion That's Chic

3 Yum Rebrands (snicker) Pizza Hut As (hee-hee) Pasta Hut

4 State Farm Puts The 'Peace, Love And Drive' In Car Insurance

5 Zero-Cal Stevia Poised To Change Sweeteners Market

6 Study: Downturn Gives Rise To New Consumer Beliefs

7 Nike Risks Viral Backlash With Kobe Video On YouTube

8 Up To Age 11, Most Kids Aren't Heavy Internet Users

9 Brands Are Big Word-Of-Mouth Topics Among New Moms

10 New 'Green' Ad Claim Regulations Coming Next Year

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Healthy Eating with the Hut, and others...

If getting healthy in 2009 is on your list of resolutions, Pizza Hut, KFC, A & W, Taco Bell & Long John Silver want your money, er, want to help. But first go to their website:

Yum Brands Launches Healthful-Eating Website

Parent of Pizza Hut, KFC Offers Low-Cal Meal Options, Weight-Loss Tips

CHICAGO ( -- The parent company of belly-busting chains KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W is banding its brands together in an effort help consumers lose weight.

Yum Brands is introducing Keep It Balanced, a website with tips for healthful eating (eat a variety of foods, start your day with breakfast, etc.) and suggestions for lower-calorie meals at its restaurants. Granted, there's a lot of subtraction involved.

Yum's Keep It Balanced is part of an effort to help consumers manage their weight.
Yum's Keep It Balanced is part of an effort to help consumers manage their weight.

Voice of authority
At KFC, you've got to order the Original Recipe chicken breast without skin, mashed potatoes without gravy, green beans and a Diet Pepsi to keep your meal to 265 calories. Ordering your diet lunch is a little easier at Taco Bell, which has a low-cal Fresco menu. Of course, picking the better-for-you meals once you get into the store is an entirely different ball of wax.

For an authoritative voice, the company has hired hometown University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino to provide monthly fitness tips on the website. Mr. Pitino is highly regarded and an experienced pitchman, although he has earned the ire of many Kentuckians for coaching both of the state's storied and most rivaled teams.

Fitness program
As an added benefit, Yum has developed an online fitness program ideal for consumers who want to get fit but don't want to pay for a gym membership, according to spokeswoman Virginia Ferguson. EFit4Me creates a fitness program, examines eating patterns, and provides motivation, among other services. Yum is extending a free month trial to anyone who visits a Yum restaurant after January 1. Those who like it can continue with the program at $6 per month.

"We are committed to continue offering 'better for you' menu options, educate consumers about the foods they eat, and promote exercise so they can maintain a balanced lifestyle," Jonathan Blum, Yum chief public affairs officer, said in a statement. "We are proud of our partnership with Coach Rick Pitino and our free online-exercise program, and our goal is to help reinforce the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle."

The program is relatively unusual for the company, which generally markets its brands separately. But the coming year will be a big one for Yum, which is essentially rebranding two of its biggest chains. KFC will begin selling grilled chicken and Pizza Hut, which recently began selling pasta, is adding Wing Street locations inside its stores. Pizza Hut plans to become the nation's largest chicken-wing chain.

Yum is, of course, just one of many marketers capitalizing on diet season. Kellogg is launching a "wake-up call" campaign in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

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Top Articles from

Click to read them:

Top Ten Articles for 2008 Here's a review of the articles you requested most in 2008.

7 Pitfalls of Business Failure and How to Avoid Them
How to Evaluate Credit Card Processing Companies
10 Tips for Successful Business Networking
10 Easy Ways to Make Your Flyer Stand Out in the Crowd
Top-Ten Marketing & Sales Strategies for a Slow Economy
How to Write an Elevator Speech
Customer Service Tips And Techniques
The Break-Even Analysis
10 Characteristics of Successful Salespeople
Creating a Powerful Sales Presentation

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Small Business Marketing Survey

Do you ask for directions, or wing it? From

Two-Thirds of Small Businesses Go it Alone for Marketing

More than half of small business owners say that generating new customers is a challenge for them, yet nearly two-thirds say they do not use outside support for marketing assistance, according to a survey of US small businesses from the Yellow Pages Association (YPA).

The recently released “Small Business Marketing Poll,” was conducted by research firm Issues and Answers and undertaken to better understand the marketing preferences of small business owners. It found that the smallest of businesses - those with one to five employees - are most likely (70%) not to consult with anyone when making advertising/marketing selections.

On the other hand, half (51%) of businesses with six to 10 employees and only one-third (34%) of those with more than 11 employees do not consult with outside sources.

Additional study highlights are listed below.

Finding New Customers is Hardest

  • Generating new customers is the toughest marketing challenge among small business owners, with more than half (53%) of respondents mentioning this.


  • Other areas frequently perceived among the toughest challenges include limited advertising budgets (17%) and the lack of knowledge when it comes to where to advertise (10%).
  • Retaining current customers is the toughest challenge for seven percent of small business owners.
  • Respondents whose headquarters are located in suburban and urban areas are much more likely to face challenges in generating new customers than their rural counterparts. This could be expected, YPA said, as typically urban and suburban firms operate in a highly competitive environment.
  • Urban businesses appear to understand marketing (and problems associated with it) better than suburban and rural companies, as illustrated by a notably lower number of those who cannot name their toughest challenge.

Most Use ROI to Measure Success

  • The largest percentage (44%) of small business owners measures the success of their marketing programs by tracking return on investment (ROI).


  • ROI is used as a measure of success mostly by larger businesses (with at least six employees) and younger respondents (under age 55).
  • The number of qualified leads and telephone inquiries (29% and 21%, respectively are also frequently used for measurement success.
  • A large number of small business owners (26%) do not use any type of measurement for their programs.
  • Those who completed the survey online are significantly more likely than those interviewed by phone to use ROI as a success measure.

Most Businesses Know Why Customers Purchase

  • Some 40% of small business owners say customers purchase their goods and services because they are life’s necessities, while 30% indicate it is because they offer luxurious goods and services.
  • 20% say their businesses cater to life events such as getting married, moving, or having a baby.
  • A surprising 10% of small business owners are not sure why customers buy their products, the survey said.

About the study: The results are based on a telephone and online survey of 400 small business owners conducted by Issues and Answers. Some 200 interviews were conducted over the phone and 200 were conducted online. The sample of participating companies was drawn from Dun and Bradstreet’s business list of companies. Each company was screened to include only those that have between one and 50 employees (full- and part-time).

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How to Energize your People

Welcome to the New Year. Today's sales training is a bit of Wisdom from Harvey:

Praise gives a psychological raise

One of my all-time favorite aphorisms is: "A pat on the back accomplishes more than a slap in the face." Recently I saw it stated a little differently: "A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results."

In this uncertain job market, with employees worrying about the health of their companies and their own futures, encouragement is especially reassuring. In tough economic times, when companies need to re-evaluate raises and bonuses, a positive word can ease tensions and promote productivity.

Send a signal that someone is incompetent or bad at something and you have destroyed almost every incentive to improve. Hey, if the boss already thinks you are an idiot, do you stand a chance?

However, encourage that person and he or she will work even harder to excel. It is possible, and desirable, to criticize errors without destroying an employee's confidence. A person may not be as good as you tell her she is, but she'll try harder thereafter and achieve even more.

When was the last time you said any of the following? "You did a terrific job." "I'm sorry." "I was wrong." "I forgive you." "I believe you." "I appreciate all that you're doing." "You make me proud." If you can't remember using these phrases, you've got some retooling to do.

The late Mary Kay Ash, the cosmetics giant, was a champion motivator and a "people person" if I ever met one. She put it this way: "The two things people want more than sex or money are recognition and praise."

The cost of giving sincere praise is next to nothing, but a recent study has found that the payoff can be huge.

Employees want to be praised because it means they can be seen as competent, hardworking members of the team. Good managers want satisfied, motivated and productive staff members.

A Personnel Today survey of 350 human resources professionals found that the greatest factor in workplace productivity is a positive environment in which employees feel appreciated. The survey reports that two-thirds of the respondents said they felt a lot more productive when they received recognition for their work, while the remainder said they felt a little more productive.

Just feeling productive can be motivating in itself. When workers don't feel productive, frustration sets in, according to 84 percent of the survey respondents. Twenty percent said they felt angry or depressed when they weren't able to work as hard as they could.

Here are three tips for providing praise effectively:

  • Be sincere. Give praise only where it is due. Workers can spot phony sentiments, and resent the implication that they are so gullible that they would fall for such flattery. The Greeks have a saying: "Many know how to flatter; few know how to praise." Learn the difference.
  • Give public praise. Your goal is to encourage the employee to keep up the good work, while simultaneously encouraging others to put out greater effort. Praising in public is a good way to raise general morale. Praise loudly, blame softly.
  • Be specific in your praise. Name exactly what it is the employee has worked on and what he or she has accomplished. Don't just say, "Well done, John." Remember that if the employee feels the praise isn't genuine, it could have a negative effect.

Praising your staff may lead to an unexpected result: You, the manager, will come away with a renewed sense of confidence in the people who report to you. After all, if you hired someone to do a job that they are not suited for, you have to assume some of the responsibility for their shortcomings. It's up to you to help them build the strengths and competencies necessary to deserve some praise. Then delivering those compliments is especially sweet.

I learned an important lesson about praise from my father, contained in a letter that he'd written to my sister and me to be read after his death. He reminded us of some of the things he wanted us to remember in our relationships with others.

One point he stressed was how important it is to compliment and praise others so we can never feel sorry for something left unsaid. I have taken that advice to heart, and I know it has been as important in my business life as it has been in my personal life.

Mackay's Moral: People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be.

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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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday Night Marketing News

The last one for 2008, from Mediapost. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

by Les Luchter
Ciroc vodka's street teams will give $15 debit cards good for cab fares to thousands of adults wandering Manhattan streets. A message from Diddy reinforcing the "get home safely" theme is also running on taxi television screens through New Year's Day. The self-proclaimed "Official Vodka of New Year's Eve" also has billboards up around Times Square and last week, in concert with Diddy, offered to donate $1 million to an unspecified charity if the city would change the iconic New Year's Eve crystal ball to the color of Ciroc's blue sphere logo. As of press time, that offer had not been accepted by the city. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Joel Ewanick, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, spoke with Marketing Daily's Karl Greenberg about the company's upcoming plans. Among other things, he offered this: "In the first part of the year, we'll be on big stages, some of it NFL football, including the playoffs, some with the Academy Awards, with a lot of overlap. ... If [consumers] aren't forced to reconsider us, they won't." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Both new products are being supported by campaigns spanning television spots as well as online and public relations efforts. The campaign messages for both new offerings also tie into the successful, long-running "Special K Challenge" to lose up to six pounds in two weeks -- which has been enhanced by an online program within the Special K area of Kellogg's site that helps individuals design their own optimum Special K Challenge programs. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The foodie culture is "an essentially American phenomenon" that's emerged in reaction to this country's "uniquely malleable and marketer-driven" food culture, say the Packaged Facts analysts. While other nations or regions have distinct cultures surrounding food and its consumption, the U.S. generally lacks such a culture, and foodies are on a mission to fill this void, they explain. ... Read the whole story > >
by Laurie Sullivan
Electronics manufacturer JVC will ring in 2009 with an advertising campaign that makes consumers the stars of its new 19- by 34-foot high-definition LED electronic billboard in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Steve Bumstead, PixelFire Productions' founder, designed the technology that makes it possible. ... Read the whole story > >

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Advertising Wrap Up

From the New York Times:

Best and Worst Ads: A Year the News Eclipsed Commercial Breaks

Queen Elizabeth II described 1992 as “an annus horribilis” for her and the royal family. This annus may have not been that horribilis for Madison Avenue, but it came pretty close.

The biggest problem was that most advertising was overtaken by events as the year wore on. The best-laid marketing plans of mice and men — or “Mad Men” with mice — proved no match for a historic presidential race and an enormous financial crisis.

That cut both ways for marketers: overshadowing the best ads, but also drawing attention away from the worst. So half the industry is ending the year cursing its poor timing while the other half is breathing a loud sigh of relief.

Here is a recap of some high and low points of 2008.

BURGER KING After the success of the audacious “Whopper Freakout” campaign, which began in 2007, Burger King Holdings kept the heat on its rivals in the fast-food category, with mixed results. Stunts like selling Flame, a meat-scented body spray for men, were viral-marketing hits; the scent and its Web site ( made more news than if a vegan like Paul McCartney had turned up in a commercial dressed as the chain’s King character.

But a campaign called “Whopper Virgins” — asking residents of places like Greenland and Romania to take part in taste tests, which pitted the Whopper against the Big Mac — was off-putting; the premise came off like cultural imperialism. Agency for both: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, part of MDC Partners.

COCA-COLA A Super Bowl commercial for the Coca-Cola Classic brand sold by the Coca-Cola Company was a warm and fuzzy winner in the spirit of Coke classics like “Hilltop” and “Mean Joe Greene.” Over the skies of Manhattan, two breakaway balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade battle for a balloon bottle of Coke, only to lose to that lovable loser, Charlie Brown. Agency: Wieden & Kennedy.

MICROSOFT After years of enduring a mocking campaign from Apple that turned the phrase “I’m a PC” into a punch line, the Microsoft Corporation struck back with ads that surprisingly appropriated the phrase and effectively repurposed it as a rallying cry.

Teaser spots that preceded the Microsoft counterattack, featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld as a talkative odd couple, were less successful. But they generated almost as much publicity as if the pair had plighted their troth as an actual couple. Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

MOTRIN Print and online ads for Motrin pain reliever, sold by a division of Johnson & Johnson, foolishly tried to be funny by comparing babies carried by mothers to fashion accessories. J.& J. wound up wearing tons of Pablum tossed at it by parents offended that their efforts to bond with their babies were being trivialized.

The complaints, many delivered in the form of angry “tweets” on Twitter, eventually seemed like overkill, but they killed the campaign. Agency: Taxi.

BARACK OBAMA One reason that so few people paid attention to advertising this year was a race for the White House filled with milestones, which ended with a precedent-setting president-to-be. One reason for that outcome was the deft use of media, new and traditional, by the Barack Obama campaign as well as by his supporters.

An example of an official ad that broke through was a 30-minute infomercial that the campaign ran on seven broadcast and cable networks on Oct. 29. The commercial, filmed like a documentary, managed to be slick and earnest at the same time, and finished with a live flourish with Mr. Obama at a rally in Florida. Agencies: GMMB, part of the Omnicom Group, and Murphy Putnam Media.

An example of an unofficial Obama ad that succeeded was a video clip, produced by the musician, called “Yes We Can,” which was viewed on YouTube and other video-sharing Web sites more than 20 million times.

STOVE TOP Almost 50 years after Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon demonstrated that in Chicago, some like it hot, Kraft Foods turned on the heat there to promote its Stove Top brand of stuffing.

Heated roofs were installed in 10 downtown bus shelters to bring to life the Stove Top promise of a warm feeling when eating a meal with stuffing as a side dish. The clever campaign was emblematic of what is known as experiential marketing, which has brought sounds and smells to bus shelters in addition to hot air. Agencies: Draft FCB, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies; JCDecaux North America, part of JCDecaux; and MediaVest, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group division of the Publicis Groupe.

TOYOTA A commercial to promote zero percent loans offered by Toyota Motor featured a version of a 1983 song, “Saved by Zero,” by the Fixx. The spot seemed innocuous enough, but incessant repetition got on America’s nerves to the point that consumers were threatening to fix Toyota’s wagon, station or otherwise.

There were even groups formed on Facebook to urge Toyota to pull the commercial. Still, all the publicity may have been beneficial at a time when people were thinking more about bailing out carmakers than buying cars; a headline in The Daily News, over an article about the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to slash interest rates, asked, “Are We Saved by Zero?” Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, part of Publicis.

VOLKSWAGEN A tongue-in-cheek campaign for the Routan minivan sold by Volkswagen of America, part of the German automaker Volkswagen, sought to spoof the image of minivans as mom-mobiles. A celebrity mother, Brooke Shields, was featured as a scold who accuses expectant parents of wanting children just so they can experience the “German engineering” of the Routan.

Like the campaign for Motrin, the Routan campaign seemed tone-deaf. Maybe Americans consider motherhood no laughing matter. Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

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Drinking in the New Year at Starbucks

The coffee shop I hang out at has tea, now the mermaid is trying to save it's soul, or at least bottom line with more coffee alternatives. From

Starbucks to introduce new tea-based drinks

Beverages billed as more healthful


Starbucks Corp. said Tuesday that it will begin selling three new tea-based lattes and two nondairy tea drinks on Saturday as part of a push to offer customers choices that are more healthful.

The company said all but one of the new drinks contain less than 200 calories for a 12- ounce, or tall, serving.

The new lattes are made with steamed milk and Tazo full-leaf tea bags. The new varieties include the Black Tea Latte, the Vanilla Rooibos Latte and the London Fog latte. The company already sells chai tea and green tea lattes.

Starbucks also will introduce new Tazo Tea Infusions -- nondairy drinks made with Tazo black chai tea and fruit juice. The company will offer a Berry Chai Infusion, made with berry and black currant juices, and an Apple Chai Infusion, made with apple juice. That drink contains 250 calories, Starbucks said.

The latte drinks will be priced from $2.85 to $3.50 for a tall, depending on the location of the store. The infusions will sell for $2.40 to $2.70 for a tall.

"The same way we transformed American coffee culture, we want to deliver an exceptional tea experience for customers with our new Tazo Tea Lattes and Tea Infusions," Michelle Gass, executive vice president of marketing and category, said in a statement.

Starbucks said the move was part of its recent effort to offer customers some more-healthful options. The company introduced more whole-grain, low-fat breakfast offerings earlier this year, including an instant oatmeal that has been popular.

Starbucks shares closed up 33 cents at $9.36 in Nasdaq trading Tuesday.

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Cheaper to Keep Her?

From my Email:


Link to THINKing

Customer Retention Strategies

After my prediction last week of increased attention on customer retention in 2009, I thought I’d provide some links to related articles on customer retention. Here you go:

Patience? No, Let’s Kill Something!

Cheaper To Keep

Customer Retention: Be A Relationship Leader

It’s The Relationship, Stupid

Surveys Help In Customer Retention

Dear Valued Customer

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