Saturday, January 31, 2009

Roy Williams Predictions

In this weeks Monday Morning Memo, Roy listed these predictions for this year and beyond.

A Preview of Coming Attractions
As We Look at the Business Climate of 2009:

A new generation of entrepreneurs is emerging from the shadows. None of these is well funded but they are focused, relevant, and in step with the public. Some of them will grow to become business icons by mid-2012. (Three and a half years from now I’ll give you a hyperlink back to this column so that you can see how right I was.)

Yes, I know that sounded horribly egotistical.

The air is cold, the sky is clear, these are my trend predictions:

Cheap Thrills
“If it feels good, do it.”
Sales of alcohol, movie tickets and ice cream will increase. This happens during every recession. How might you offer your customer an altered consciousness, an alternative reality, an escape from the merely mundane? Think about it.

Repair Instead of Replace
“Instead of buying a new one, I’ll hold on to the one I’ve got.”
Sellers of new houses, new cars, clothing and jewelry are going to have to get creative. Repair businesses will trend magically upward. Expensive items will find their way to eBay as we liquidate the luxuries we bought in better days. Resale shops will appear in nicer parts of town. How might your business participate in this trend?

Tightrope Budgeting
“Should I shepherd my resources or push harder than ever?”
Market share is up for grabs because your competitors have slashed their ad budgets. Should you hunker down and try to hang on, or push harder than ever while your competitors hibernate? Some businesses will quit advertising and go broke as a direct result. Other businesses will advertise aggressively and go broke because they lacked financial staying power. Your correct course of action depends on your competitive environment. Do you know how to read your competitive environment or do you need help?

Fewer Competitors
“If the economy stays tough and fewer businesses occupy my category, won’t that leave more for me?” (1.) What was the sales volume of the failed competitor? (2.) How much has your category shrunk? If the competitor’s volume exceeded the shrinkage of your category, you might see some benefit. But if your competitor was a minor player, the shrinkage of your category will erase any good you might have experienced. You’ll get a larger slice, but of a smaller pie.

Media Makeover
“I walk to the end of the driveway each morning to retrieve a newspaper telling me things I’ve known for 24 hours.” Very few newspapers are healthy. The New York Times, that standard bearer of journalism, would have collapsed but for last week’s infusion of $250 million by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. With that newspaper’s $1 billion in debt recently reduced to junk-bond status and only $46 million in cash reserves, the Times would have failed in May, 2009. In the past, “columnists” and “reporters” were merely people who had access to a publishing pipeline. But in an Internet-connected world, isn’t every blogger both columnist and reporter? Last week said, "Got some good photos of the inauguration? Send them to us." How many more months will pass before newspapers are published digitally and round-the-clock from volunteer reports submitted from around the world?

Websites are Essential
Hillary Clinton and John McCain underestimated the power of the Internet. Barack Obama did not. Now tell the truth, don’t be embarrassed: Was your website designed by an acquaintance who “is really good with computers?” Someone who “knows all about the internet?” Then why isn’t it doing more for you? This is the year to get serious about your website. Your webmaster is learning by trial and error. You should buy him or her some expert guidance.

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It Really is a World Wide Web

My life has become much more web oriented in the past couple of years. A concern of mine however was that we were creating a digital divide between those that have access to the the internet and those that don't.

I use to stop in to a library and check email if I was away from my office. Now I check from my laptop from nearly everywhere. And it appears that the internet is not limited to the geeks and techies, most of us have no idea how it really works, it just does. And more of us are using it.

Click on the charts in this report from to make them BIGGER.

Half of Americans ‘Frequent’ Internet Users; Digital Divide Narrows

Americans’ frequent use of the internet has nearly doubled over the past five years with 48% of adults - many in groups that have historically been less frequent users - now reporting that they use the Internet more than one hour per day, compared with 26% in 2002, according to results from a recent Gallup Poll.


Though internet use is up overall, the poll of more than 1,000 Americans reveals that large education, income, and age gaps still exist in terms of internet usage. Those with advanced degrees, those who make more than than $75K per year, and those under age 30 continue to be the most frequent users, with more than 60% in each group reporting they go online more than one hour per day.

On the other hand, the least educated, least affluent, and oldest Americans are those who least often use the internet, with about one-third or fewer in each group saying they use the internet more than one hour per day. Smaller, though noteworthy, gaps also exist between men and women, and the employed vs. the non-working, Gallup said.


There are signs, however, that the digital divide is slowly narrowing. Several demographic groups in the lower income, lower education and older age brackets posted gains in frequent internet use in the past year that were significantly greater than the five-percentage-point gain measured among adults nationwide.

The five groups posting double-digit gains:

  • Those making less than $30,000 per year
  • Those who are not working
  • The unmarried
  • Those under age 30
  • Those with post-graduate educations

Men and those 65+ round out the groups posting gains greater than the national average, while women showed a negligible change in usage, Gallup said.

Moreover, in an apparent reversal of trend, those ages 30-49 and those making $75K or more per year were slightly less likely than one year ago to report using the internet more than one hour each day.

“Business leaders - and advertisers in particular - will be well-served to keep these burgeoning trends in mind. While targeting content toward the most educated, most affluent, and youngest Americans may be an effective strategy today, the growth evident among their counterparts at the other end of the spectrum suggests new strategies may be needed to cater to the frequent internet users of tomorrow,” Gallup said.

About the poll: Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,009 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 4-7, 2008. Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

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2009 State of the Economy Part 1

I think that I'll feature some occasional updates on the State of the Economy this year. Here's the first one as we wrap up the month:

Study Explores the Grocery Shopper’s State of Mind

To cope with the current economic state, consumers say, they eat out less/eat in more, turn down the thermostat, are “more efficient with…shopping trips,” and buy less name brand products/buy in bulk, according to the first American Grocery Shopper Study from BrandSpark International’s Best New Product Awards (BNPA), writes Retailer Daily.

The survey of more than 50,000 US shoppers sought to understand shoppers’ current and future spending habits, brand preferences, attitudes toward organics and environmental accountability, and a profile of today’s “early adopter” shopper.

Below, some of the findings of the study issued at a joint New York presentation by Better Homes and Gardens and BrandSpark.

Consumer Spending and Confidence

Some of the top lifestyle changes that US grocery shoppers are making to cope with the recession:

  • 52% said they plan to eat at home more often than last year.
  • 96% considered it important that any new product provide them value for the dollar.
  • More than 80% said they will spend the same or more on essential personal care products as they did last year.
  • Asked to name their most trusted grocery-store brands, shoppers placed Kraft at the top of the list, followed by Campbell’s, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Betty Crocker, Del Monte, Tide and Clorox.

Green and Natural Products

  • 70% are motivated to buy products that are better for the environment, but only 40% are willing to pay more for those products.
  • 75% believe that some companies are exploiting environmentally friendly claims for marketing purposes.
  • 58% consider it important for a new product they purchase to be “natural.”
  • 78% believe that manufacturers have a long way to go to reduce the amount of packaging.

Health and Wellness

  • Shoppers revealed health as a greater priority, with 68% reporting increasing concerns about their health.
  • Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about chemicals in products: 68% expressed increased concern about chemicals in food products; 63% in household products; 57% in skin-care products.
  • Over 80% of respondents believe that making better food choices can prevent illness.
  • 71% of consumers are concerned about the added health claims of products they purchase.

Early Adopters

The survey revealed that “early adopters” show stronger brand loyalty and prefer products that are environmentally friendly and offer improved technology and innovation.

  • 80% of shoppers who qualify as “early adopters” (first to try new products) are women.
  • In relation to the larger shopper demographic, early adopters are more receptive to the influence of internet, social media and magazines: early adopters spend 50% more time per week reading magazines and 50% have downloaded coupons off the internet

About the findings: The Best New Product Awards survey was conducted between November 17 and December 19, 2008. The survey included questions about individual product appeal, intent to repurchase, consumer confidence level, expected future spending habits, and a number of other insight provoking queries. In total, a sample of 51,295 qualified grocery shoppers were surveyed, weighted (MRI) by region, language, age, and gender. This year, 77 products were evaluated, with 23 winners chosen from 38 leading manufacturers in categories that included cereal, juice, ice cream, anti-aging skin care, oral care, mascara, shampoo and household cleaners. Each category had a minimum of three products from at least two different manufacturers. In order to win, the product had to score highest on product appeal and also highest on re-purchase intent among those who had purchased the product.

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New Ad Campaigns For Superbowl

Wrapping up our preview is Amy at Mediapost:

It's the final day of pre-Super Bowl ad madness. Today we take a look at GE, Pepsi and Gatorade. Let's launch!

GE is making its Super Bowl debut as the first commercial to run during the fourth quarter. "Scarecrow" is a modern-day take on "The Wizard of Oz" song, "If I only had a brain." It's great. The 30-second spot begins with a scarecrow made from old, outdated electrical parts, singing and dancing atop a power grid. Much like the movie scarecrow, this electrically-crafted version is also afraid of birds. The ad promotes GE's Smart Grid technology, an effort to create more efficient, sustainable electrical energy grids. Smart Grid technology "will make the way we distribute energy more efficient simply by making it more intelligent," says the voiceover. The ad ends with the scarecrow en route to the Emerald City, or should I say sustainable energy city? Watch the ad here, created by BBDO New York.

Pepsi is launching a 60-second feel-good spot called "Refresh Anthem" during the big game. The spot takes Bob Dylan's popular hit from the '70s, "Forever Young," and refreshes it for the younger generation. We're treated to vintage Dylan shots as he croons in the background. Then the song is "refreshed" with, from the Black Eyed Peas. Was no other artist from the current generation available? raps a verse from "Forever Young" as events from the past are updated with present-day occurrences. Remember when lighters were used to illuminate concerts? These days, that's what cell phones are for. Shrek replaces Gumby, but patriotism remains the same. "Every generation refreshes the world," concludes the ad, seen here. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles created the commercial.

What is G? It's the new brand identity for Gatorade and consonant that differentiates dedicated athletes from everyone else. Athletes from Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Derek Jeter and Misty May-Treanor appear in the ad that uses Lil Wayne as the voiceover. And I recognized his distinctive voice immediately. What does that say about me? Gifted, glorious, genius and G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) are spoken, as athletes, shot in black and white, pass by. "What's G? It is the heart, hustle and soul of the game," ends the ad, seen here. The ad also directs eyeballs to a newly launched Web site,, featuring a hodgepodge of content. "Talking Heads" lets the athletes do the talking about what "G" is and what they do to differentiate themselves from others. Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, among others, share inspirational nuggets on how to succeed. My favorite: "G is what gets you up at 6 a.m. when no one else is awake because you want to be better than anyone else out there." See the ad here. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles created the campaign.

I've watched the ad, created by BBDO New York. I can't post or talk about it, however; but I will say this: I thought it was funny, but in the Super Bowl ad battle between online job sites, I think wins.

I can't talk about the two E*TRADE ads, created by Grey New York, either. But I will leave you with this: one ad I watched five times, because I thought it was that funny, while the other ad I watched just once and walked away with that "eh" feeling.

And this concludes the pre-game Super Bowl ad extravaganza; I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you on Monday for post-Super Bowl highlights in my other column, Media Creativity. Enjoy the game!

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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Protecting your investment

The subject is client retention:

Don't Forget Your Current Clients

Most sales representatives spend far more time researching and preparing for calls with new customers than they do on preparing for calls with existing customers. This is because they believe they "know their customers" and that they have already won their loyalty.

In fact, rapidly changing conditions are affecting your existing base just as strongly as they are affecting prospective customers.

Maintaining a keen awareness of your current customers' issues and concerns and taking steps to strengthen your relationships can make the difference between falling behind and continuing to thrive, even in the current hard times.

Source: Ed Emde, Executive Vice President of Wilson Learning Corporation (, 2009)

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The campaign "communicates a real point of differentiation between KFC and many of our competitors," says spokesperson Rick Maynard. "Sixty-five years after the Colonel invented the Original Recipe, if you visit a restaurant that bears his likeness, you'll still find a cook in the kitchen preparing fresh KFC Original Recipe chicken on the bone--just like the Colonel did." ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
New-product launches for categories including toothpaste, manual toothbrushes, power toothbrushes, liquid hand soap, hand dish liquid and fabric conditioner built market share. Last year the company launched Colgate Total Advanced Clean and Colgate Total Advanced Whitening toothpastes with ad campaigns starring Brooke Shields and grassroots efforts such as sampling programs. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
This Valentine's Day, consumers will focus more on cards and kisses, less on restaurants and candy. A new survey from the National Retail Federation shows that while spending will be down, shoppers will look for ways to be creative in inexpensive ways. One of them includes making a meal at home for one's beloved. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"As more and more Americans shift their phone use to cell phones, the costs and pitfalls associated with contract-based cell phones become clearer and clearer," said Consumer Action's Ken McEldowney. "Consumers worried about recession-driven pressure on their jobs and pocketbooks need to be more careful than ever about avoiding paying more than is necessary for cell phone service." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The Nashville, Tenn.-based U.S. sales arm of the Japanese automaker saw U.S. sales drop 30% in December and over 10% for the year. Sales of Infiniti vehicles decreased by 34.6% in December and 11.1% for the year. Nissan is restructuring North America sales and marketing operations and integrating the Nissan Design America. ... Read the whole story > >

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Social Media is Growing

Wow, this is some amazing stuff. Click on the charts to make them BIGGER:

SocNet Use Quadruples among US Adults; 35% Have Profiles

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on a social networking site has more than quadrupled in the past four years - from 8% in 2005 to 35% in 2008 - according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.


The survey reveals that while teens often get significant media and public-policy attention for their use of such sites, adults still make up the bulk of America’s social-networking population.

Though social networkers are equally likely to be men and women, not surprisingly, Pew finds that younger adults are much more likely than older ones to have profiles on social networks:

  • 75% of online adults 18-24 have a profile on a social network site
  • 57% of online adults 25-34 have a profile on a social network site
  • 30% of online adults 35-44 have one
  • 19% of online 45 to 54 year olds have a profile
  • 10% of online 55 to 64 year olds have a profile
  • 7% of online adults 65+ have a profile

Moreover, social network users are also more likely to be students, Pew said. More than two-thirds (68% )of full-time students and 71% of part-time students have a social network profile, while just 28% of non-student adults use social networks.


Whites are less likely than African-Americans or Hispanics to have a profile on an online social network. Nearly one third 31% of online White adults have a social networking profile, compared with 43% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics.

Visits to SocNets Up Too

In addition to the burgeoning number of profiles being added to social networks by adults, the number of visits on any given day also is on the rise. In February 2005, just 2% of adult internet users had visited an online social network “yesterday,” while 19% had done so in December 2008. More than one-third of adults now say they visit social networks “daily.”


Personal More Prevalent than Professional

Overall, Pew found that personal use of social networks among adults appears to be more common than professional use, both in the types of networks adults select as well as the reasons they give for using them.

According to just-released May 2008 survey findings:

  • 50% of adult social network users have a profile on MySpace
  • 22% have a profile on Facebook
  • 6% have a profile on LinkedIn

Respondents also said that they primarily use their online social network presence/profile for explaining and maintaining the personal networks. Most adults, like teens, are using their profile/s to connect with people they already know.


  • 89% use their online profiles to keep up with friends
  • 57% use their profile to make plans with friends
  • 49% use them to make new friends

Other uses cited by respondents in the study were: Organizing with other people for an event, issue or cause; flirting with someone; promoting themselves or their work; and making new business contacts


The survey also found that when users do use social networks for professional and personal reasons, they will often maintain multiple profiles, generally on different sites. More than half (51%) of social network users have two or more online profiles, while 43% have only one online profile.

Among social network users with multiple profiles:

  • 83% have those profiles on different sites
  • 17% have those profiles on one site
  • 24% have multiple profiles so they can keep up with friends on different sites
  • 19% have multiple profiles to separate the personal and the professional
  • 6% just use different sites
  • 4% have different profiles for different parts of their personality
  • 4% have older profiles on sites they do not use anymore

Most Users are Privacy-Conscious

Regarding privacy issues, the survey found that the majority of - but not all - adult social networkers are privacy conscious:

  • 60% of adult social network users restrict access to their profiles so that only their friends can see it.
  • 36% of social network users allow anyone to see their online profile.
  • 58% of adult social network users restrict access to certain content within their profile.
  • 43% of adults think it would be pretty easy for someone to find out who they are from their profile; 23% of teens say it would be “pretty easy.”
  • 33% of adults with profiles think that they would have to work at it, but that someone could eventually find out who they are; 40% of teens say the same.
  • 20% of adults think that it would be difficult for someone to find out who they are; 36% of teens say it would be difficult for someone to find out who they are.

About the survey: Findings are based on two daily tracking surveys on Americans’ use of the Internet. The bulk of the results are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 8 to May 11, 2008, among a sample of 2,251 adults, ages 18+. The data on overall use of social networks and the demographics of social network users came from a national phone survey fielded from November 19 - December 20, 2008 among 2,253 Americans, including 1,650 internet users.

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It's Not The Economy, It's You

There is simply too much whining going on out there about the economy. A couple of days ago, I heard on the radio that unemployment in the county I live in is 8.1 percent. Flip that around and over 90% of the people that want to work are working!

I have also seen businesses wait, stall, try and preserve what they have and be cautious. Many of them will lose because of this attitude. The problem with many of them is that they are clueless when it comes to marketing and so they do stupid things.

Take a look at this example:

Another Closed Business. And Another Example of Crappy Marketing

President Obama has encouraged us to “be accountable and responsible” in our lives. So since he’s my President now, I’m taking that to heart. But I’m also encouraging my clients and other businesses to do the same.

Recently, I drove by a retail lighting store that had bitten the dust. No doubt they will blame the economy — and some banker is probably holding the bag for thousands. Yet, was it really the economy’s fault?


You see, I remember going into that store last year for two sconce lights. When I walked in, I was impressed with the inventory. (When you’re 6′5″ and walk into a lighting store, you can basically ‘feel every light.’)

But as I looked for someone to help me, there was no one there. Only one guy working with one customer. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Never did he acknowledge me–or say, “Sir, I’ll be with you in a minute.” Nor was there any sign-in sheet at the front register where I could have registered my grievance and in so doing give him a chance to call back and make it right.


So I walked out and never went back. And since that day, I never saw any advertising or marketing from that store at all. Zip.

Those Who Beat Themselves Should Please Stop Whining

So I can only assume that the economy didn’t beat them. They beat themselves. The beat themselves because their sales and marketing sucked. The Big Three are failing because their products are not in demand–and haven’t been for decades.

Your business may be failing as well. But before it does, ask yourself a question. “Am I investing all I need to invest in sales and marketing? You probably aren’t.

No, I don’t mean the same old crap that doesn’t work anymore–direct mail, billboards, media buys. At least it hasn’t worked for most B2B businesses.

Your Customers Are Gold. Treat Them That Way.

Are you treating your current clients like gold? Are you giving them first shot at new products? Are you asking for referrals? Are you doing anything creative at all–like customer events, new client seminars, webinars?

Or are you just hunkered down in your same old-fashioned, worn out sales and marketing approach that will never work again?

If you are, I feel sorry for you. Your time is limited. You might be able to weather it if you have a lot of money banked away. Unfortunately, most don’t.

BUT, if you’re beginning to think differently about sales and marketing…if you are subscribing to blogs/podcasts/and other online content…if you really are committed to growing during bad times… then you will prosper beyond your wildest dreams.

As I’ve said before, recessions have great ways of hammering those that are not accountable and responsible — and thinning out those who were on treacherous ground anyway.

Now, if we could just get the government to be accountable and responsible, we’d make real progress!

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New Ad Campaigns For Superbowl

Here's the latest from Amy:

Day 4 of Super Bowl ads brings dignity back to breakfast, a diet soda for men and a Twittering E*TRADE baby. Let's launch!

Pepsi Max, the first diet soft drink tasty enough for a man, is launching two ads during the Super Bowl, and one ad pre-game. A 15- and 30-second version of "I'm Good" will run in-game, and each plays off the stereotype that men can endure ridiculous amounts of pain (ha!), but they won't be caught dead drinking diet soda. A man mocks a monkey at the zoo in the 15-second ad, seen here. The monkey, however, is smarter than he looks. Pepsi Max serves the dual purpose of tasty drink and cold compress. The 30-second spot features a montage of men tolerating pain, whether it's a bowling ball dropped on their head, electric shock, or a golf club to the head -- twice. Watch the ad here. The pre-game ad, "Ingredients," eavesdrops on groups of men discussing the ingredients in Pepsi Max that make it harsh enough for men to drink. Pepper spray, scorpion venom and crushed-up Viking bones are some of the potential ingredients hypothesized. Did I mention that the can is made from the hull of a nuclear submarine? Well, not really, but it gives the guys an excuse to crush their cans of Pepsi Max. Even when relaxing in a sauna. See the ad here. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the ads.

Denny's is making its Super Bowl debut in the third quarter of the game. The ad is narrated by Burt Reynolds and pokes fun at the candy-coated sugary breakfasts served by competitors. Nobody likes a rat. Especially mobsters. The teaser spot opens in a diner where three mobsters discuss taking care of Benny, a man with a big mouth. Just as the conversation takes on a serious tone, a waitress comes to the table with a can of whipped cream to decorate the head mobster's breakfast. "On Sunday, February 1, Denny's will bring dignity back to breakfast," concludes the teaser ad, seen here. Because who can take a mobster seriously when his pancakes have gumdrop eyes and whipped cream hair? The ad will feature a call to action for viewers and focus on the serious, hearty breakfasts served at Denny's. Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the ad.

Initially, I wasn't a fan of the E*TRADE baby -- but the little guy has grown on me. Now he returns to the Super Bowl in two spots created by Grey New York. The baby has an active online presence pre-game, in the form of a Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter account. The YouTube channel and Facebook page both house E*TRADE ads from the past, along with hysterical outtakes from this year's Super Bowl commercials. I loved seeing the baby in a time-out, swearing up a storm. One thing I noticed upon watching the outtakes is that the voiceover for the E*TRADE is baby is different. It threw me off. The Twitter page is sadly underused; there's only 5 entries posted. I would have liked to see more updates leading up to the game. The company is also running a compilation of the outtakes throughout National CineMedia's FirstLook in movie theatres in 176 DMAs nationwide. Watch it here.
Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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4 Steps to Overcoming Objections

I saw this last week at the website:

Overcome Sales Objections Using These 4 Strategies

By Larry Prevost

About 6 months ago, I was in the market to upgrade my Internet service. I was using one of the Phone Company's DSL service packages and decided that maybe the service offered by the local cable would be a step up. I had a prior experience with another cable provider and wasn't all that thrilled with the level of service that they provided. But with this new cable provider, I was anxious to try them out. The fact that they offered double-digit broadband speeds was very enticing incentive.

So I went to the local office of this cable provider and started the sales process by talking with one of their reps.

Now mind you, I was already convinced that I wanted this service. I had several reasons for getting it and I had the resources to make it happen. In fact, I had walked myself through the entire sales process and had done all of the heavy lifting. The only thing left for the sales rep to do was say, "sign right here" and it would have been a done deal.

Near the end of the process, just as I was getting ready to sign on the dotted line, I said, "...and I can get the billing for the broadband service separated out from the cable television, right?" to which she responded, "No, it all comes on one bill. That's the way we do it."

Now, for me, this was a true objection, and it stalled the sales process. I wanted the billing separated for accounting and tracking purposes. She, however, didn't want to hear any of it. A gutsy sales rep would have said something like: "I can appreciate that. You are one of the few people who have come in and requested this kind of arrangement. I'm kind of curious to know what this will do for you."

A cushion like this would help determine the nature of the outcome I wanted to achieve and it would have given the sales rep a better idea of how to address the concern before addressing the objection. Remember that I've already sold myself. I already knew that this was the service that I wanted. This small billing challenge was the only thing standing in the way of moving the process to completion.

At this point she could have said: "We consolidate accounting on one bill to reduce the amount of paper that is generated. Most of our clients like it that way. But each bill has everything itemized out for your convenience."

She could have said: "We can sign you up for online billing so that you can handle your account online and be able to track it more efficiently."

She could have even said: "Hold on, let me check with my manager."

Instead, she reiterated her reply more emphatically: "No. It all comes on one bill. That's the way we handle billing."

At this point, this objection had turned into a major roadblock. The sales process had stopped completely, and it wasn't going to move forward until this was resolved. Either I was going to decide that I could live with everything on one bill and handle all of the tracking and accounting on my end or I was going to walk away. On her side, either she was going to decide to explore this challenge a little further to keep the sales process moving forward or she was going to take a hard-line approach and move to the next customer.

In the end, she decided that the company didn't need my money, and while I could have absorbed the extra accounting work and dumped the Phone Company, I decided that I really didn't like her approach and her inflexible position on the subject. So we didn't do business.

There comes a point in the sales process where we have our prospect's attention. They view us as a trusted resource and we have determined that there is a need and they have the ability to buy. So when there is a snag in moving the sales forward, we need to be able to identify our prospects' major concern over the minor ones, and we need to be able to address these concerns effectively.

What do you do when you come across a real objection? Here are four methods you can employ to address an objection:

  1. You can deny it. If the client has misinformation or is operating from FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), then it's best to set the record straight. But recognize that flat out denial or stating that "you are wrong..." is often a quick way to validate the falsehood and allow your prospect to become more entrenched in their thinking.

    So being able to cushion a response before invalidating the falsehood is a must. Often, you can weaken this type of objection simply by asking more probing questions. "When you say our delivery times are terrible, how do you mean?" or, "I'd be curious to know how you heard that our delivery times are terrible." This gives you more information before you lay out your supporting facts to repudiate the objection. When addressing their claim, avoid statements like, "That's not true." Instead, cushion with a neutral statement like "I can appreciate your concern" followed by an example of how your delivery times have helped another client meet their goals or statistics comparing your delivery times against the industry as a whole. The point here is to recognize that everyone has their own beliefs and stating that "You're wrong" in any fashion is a quick way to build walls, not bridges.

  2. You can admit it. If a client is putting up an objection that is based around an event or knowledge of your company that happens to be a fact, it's best to admit it quickly and emphatically before going into how you have resolved the concern. Again, use a cushion to acknowledge that you heard them and then use your evidence to show how you have resolved the challenge or show how the challenge will not impact their application. In one of our communication classes, we had a technical sales rep that succeeded in landing a large account, something all of his predecessors failed to do. What was the difference that allowed him to succeed? All of his predecessors failed to acknowledge a problem that the client kept bringing up. He, however, went in, acknowledged that this was a legitimate concern and outlined a plan and a timetable to address the concern. He was the one who walked away with a $50K order for equipment.

  3. You can explain it. If you have determined that the objection is real, then you can use the information already gathered to address the objection directly. You've already performed an in-depth analysis of their application and have offered a solution based on that analysis. So if they raise an objection that signifies that they don't quite understand your offering, all it takes to address this concern is to rearrange the information in a form that is more suitable for them. In many cases, using an analogy will assist your client in gaining a better understanding of how your product or service can help them.

  4. You can reverse it. Sometimes, the reason that your client states as an objection can be the very reason to move forward with the sale, if you know how to reframe the objection from a different perspective. This is often the case when clients mention that your price is too high. If price is a real concern, helping your client compare the one time cost of the offering over the lifetime cost of not implementing your solution can help them gain a better picture of the value you bring to the table.
Alternately, you can show the revenue generating potential of your solution over the lost income for everyday that they delay in moving forward to help motivate them to take immediate action. In order to reverse an objection, review the big picture and understand how your offering will impact your client's performance throughout the company and over time. Typically, your client is looking at your offering through a limited and narrow lens. By helping them expand that perspective, you can help them see that the very reason that they are holding back can be the reason that they should move forward.

Encountering objections is a natural part of the sales process. For those individuals that are truly engaged, an objection is a sign of interest. They are trying to fit your solution to their particular application. On the other hand, having the prospect blow us off even before we have a chance to conduct a fact finding session for a proposal is not an objection. They are either indifferent to what we have to offer or they are still preoccupied with something else. When we get those types of encounters, we need to go back to the sales stage to get their attention and generate enough interest from them before moving forward.

Remember that all obstacles you encounter won't be objections and out of all of the objections that you do encounter, some won't be the real reason for holding back. Use the steps outlined in last month's article to identify the real objection, and then use your communication skills to effectively address the objection and move the sale process to completion.

Larry Prevost is an instructor and an IT consultant for Dale Carnegie Training of Ohio and Indiana.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Tonight's goodies from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
It will air five 30-second TV spots during Sunday's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII on NBC. The ads tout the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe; the company's recently launched Hyundai Assurance program; and the fact that the Genesis sedan was named "2009 North American Car of the Year." The media buy also includes title sponsorship of the Super Bowl XLIII "Kick-Off Show. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Experts say the move shows how important it is to link doing the right thing with the immediate impact of cost benefits for consumers. That positioning is smart, says Jonathan Yohannan, SVP of Cone Inc., a Boston-based cause-related marketing company, "because in this economy, blending environmentalism with saving money is critical." ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
In its report on trends, SALT cautions that "befriending" customers on social networks like Twitter and Facebook "has a price." That price includes providing consumers with financial discounts, inside information, sneak previews, competitions or incentives. Brands need to know how high that price is. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
It recently launched a trade-in program in which owners of its entry Sportster model can trade up to a larger bike and get the original MSRP back. And in December it pulled the wraps off of the new XR 1000, the company's first upright, non-cruiser performance bike. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"Steve Jobs' illness was a headline, and it did carry through on the Internet," BrandIndex's Ted Marzilli says. As news and speculation surrounding Jobs' health diminishes, it is likely Apple's scores will recover. "The drop has stabilized. I would expect over the next week or two for the scores to recover. But this will come back up." ... Read the whole story > >
by David Goetzl
The CEO of chocolate maker Hershey Co. said lower ad pricing offers an opportunity to get more for less--and his company intends to take advantage of it. Hershey also plans to boost spending by as much as 25% to further capitalize. ... Read the whole story > >

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Newspaper Website Stats

If they could just convert visitors to money:

Online Newspaper Visits Increase 27%

The top 10 newspapers in the US collectively saw a 16% year-over-year increase in unique visitors to their websites in 2008, as well as a 27% increase in the total number of overall visits, according to data from Nielsen Online.

The number of unique visitors grew from 34.6 million unique visitors in December 2007 to 40.1 million in December 2008. was the #1 online newspaper destination in December 2008, with 18.2 million unique visitors. and took the #2 and #3 spots, with 11.4 million and 9.5 million unique visitors, respectively, Nielsen Online reported.


The New York Daily News online edition experienced the highest growth in unique visitors (99%), while was the only online newspaper to experience a decline (-6%).

“Nine of the top 10 newspaper Web sites experienced positive year-over-year growth,” said Chuck Schilling, research director, agency & media, Nielsen Online. “News coverage in December ranged from how the 2008 holiday season would be affected by the weakening economy to Obama’s latest nomination for his administration, all of which helped to drive this impressive growth.”

Online Newspaper Readers Visiting More Frequently

In addition to an increased number of unique visitors to newspaper sites, readers also are frequenting these these web destinations more often than they were a year ago. The number of total visits to the top 10 newspaper sites increased 27% year-over-year, growing from 199.6 million in December 2007 to 252.7 million in December 2008.


“Despite the current troubles for the traditional newspaper industry, people are visiting newspaper sites more and more often to stay on top of current events,” said Schilling. “The challenge for newspaper publishers today is to learn how to capitalize on this active online readership and translate their increasing engagement into revenue.”

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Marketing is two-way

One of the problems in the marketing and advertising world is that those responsible for creating it, are too far removed from the recipient. If an ad agency is focused on the creative side without the input of those that they are trying to reach, it will fail.

So you have to make your marketing process a two way street. Fortunately with the social media tools that continue to become available, it is getting easier and easier. The THINKing blog wrote more on this subject:


Link to THINKing

Listening: Marketing’s Secret Weapon

Customers know you and your business better than you think, and often better than you. In the many strategic planning projects I’ve done over nearly 30 years in the business, the customer always gives me the nugget that frames a client’s positioning.

Customers will tell you when you are doing something right or something wrong. All you have to do is listen to them. This rarely happens in businesses of any size. And guess what? Chief marketing officers at 500 major corporations know this. A study by the CMO Council suggests,

…marketers don’t know how to use customer input to improve operations, products and processes. The council, whose study, “Giving Customer Voice More Volume,” surveyed around 500 senior marketers at major corporations, found that only 33% of survey respondents said their companies claim to be good at handling customer complaints. Of the executives who responded to the survey, only 23% said their companies track or measure customer emails, and only 17% use that feedback to identify potential customer advocates.

The customer “custodian” function is one of the most critical in marketing, says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. Neale-May adds that the CMO must,

“own every facet of listening, learning, interacting, engaging, and optimizing the relationship with the customer, and understanding where the attrition, pain and aggravation is, and doing this in real time. It is mind-boggling to me that the level of attention to this is not what it should be, and fragmented in terms of who owns it.”

If you really want to listen to your customers, you need to track and propagate positive word of mouth, as well as gather insight from all customer engagement and integrate that insight into the marketing process. So, are you listening to your customer? Tell us about it.

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New Ideas


It's time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! Our latest issue is now online. Here's
a quick run-down of the promising new businesses Springwise featured this week:

Detail of a front page of The Printed Blog
Hyperlocal newspaper turns blogs into print
Media & publishing

Dire reports from the world of newspapers and magazines may
suggest the printed medium is on its way out, but a new Chicago
start-up doesn't think so.

Diagram showing how pawnbroking works
Borro: an online pawnshop for consumers in a pinch
Financial services

Given the current state of the economy, it's timely to see a makeover
of an age-old form of personal loans. Borro claims to be the world's
first online pawnbroker.

Illustration of a woman fixing a light switch
Green home makeovers for $99
Eco & sustainability / Homes & housing

Much like the UK's Green Homes Concierge, which we wrote about
last year, New York-based Green Irene aims to help consumers
reduce their homes' carbon footprint.

Detail of screenshot of Rentobile
Rentobile: a Netflix for cell phones
Telecom & mobile

Letting consumers sample new devices more widely and more often,
Rentobile provides a wide selection of the latest cell phones for rent
on a monthly basis

Girl climbing a Digiwall
Computer game meets climbing wall
Gaming / Lifestyle & leisure

Designed for use in public places like museums and shopping malls,
DigiWall is a climbing wall with high-end surround-sound whose grips
include both lights and sensors that react when they are touched.

Video still of woman practicing her golf swing
Golfing site offers free, personalized instruction
Education / Lifestyle & leisure

Myriad sites already exist to help golfers connect, but a new one adds
professional video analysis and online instruction to serve up free,
personalized golfing advice.

View from the Yellow Treehouse
Yellow Pages builds a pop-up restaurant, 10m up a tree
Marketing & advertising / Food & beverage

The Yellow Treehouse is a pod-shaped restaurant that was built as part
of a marketing promotion by the New Zealand Yellow Pages to prove
that all the suppliers for any project can be found through its listings.

A Vegawatt unit
Vegawatt: powering restaurants with kitchen grease
Eco & sustainability / Food & beverage

After filtering a restaurant's used vegetable oil, Vegawatt combusts
the refined fuel in a diesel engine, feeding electricity and hot water
straight into a restaurant's system.

WorkWhen screenshot
Staff schedules & notifications made simple
Life hacks

Joining the web app fray and aiming to take the stress out of shift
management, WorkWhen Notifier is an Australian site that
distributes staff schedules to employees via email and SMS.

Call center operator
Interactive, one-on-one theatre

It seems it's time to overhaul the previously passive experience of
theatre. Call Cutta in a Box is a theatre experience for one audience
member at a time.

Former Polaroid factory building
'Impossible Project' aims to bring back Polaroid film
Style & design

Polaroid may have stopped production of its analogue instant film
last summer, but such is the strength of the product's fan base that
some have decided they won't take "no" for an answer.

A mending granny
Green Grannies serve up recession-busting advice
Eco & sustainability

Oxfam recently recruited a team of what it calls Green Grannies to offer
advice to the UK public about everything from how to darn socks to
how to make delicious food from leftovers.

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New Ad Campaigns For Superbowl

Here's today's edition from Amy.

And you can click here for day 1,

and here for day 2.

Day 3 of Super Bowl ads offer a snappy array: a heist, dancing lizards and a feel-good story. Let's launch!

Coca-Cola will launch two Coke ads during the third quarter. Ladybugs, grasshoppers, bees, dragonflies, butterflies and caterpillars unite for the common good, a waterfall of Coca-Cola, in "Heist." A young man relaxes at a park, with his bottle of Coke nearby. As he dozes off, the critters jump into action. Bees knock over the bottle, while a butterfly creates a disturbance so the napping man will move his arm and release the bottle. A lily pad glides the bottle downstream. It gets stuck in a tree and is propelled onto a grassy edge, until the bottle is opened and oozes Coke downhill. The spot ends with the man reaching for his Coke, only to find that the bottle is now a carefully shaped group of butterflies that flutter off. Watch the ad here. People hide behind online, animated versions of themselves in "Avatar." A young man walks through the crowded city streets, not knowing a soul - until he walks into an Internet café. He sits next to an ogre, and the two simultaneously reach for the same bottle of Coke. The ogre quickly transforms into human form, a young, attractive woman. Love is in the air. Watch the ad here. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created both ads.

There will be back-to-back 3D ads running at the end of the second quarter. The first comes from DreamWorks Animation SKG, promoting its upcoming 3D movie, "Monsters vs. Aliens," followed by SoBe Lifewater and its updated take on "Swan Lake." The 60-second SoBe spot is heavy on cross-pollination: The ad features the SoBe lizards, characters from "Monsters vs. Aliens" and NFL players. Changing "Swan Lake" to "Lizard Lake," the ad begins with a SoBe lizard, conducting a group of white tutu-wearing NFL players showcasing their ballet moves. The players lack rhythm until they drink the SoBe. Lizards and "Monsters vs. Aliens" characters appear, and the mostly plain white ad is injected with color, hip music and rhythmic movements. My favorite part of the ad was at the end, when an athlete morphed into a lizard. After watching a few times, it was also clear why wearing white after Labor Day is a serious offense. Watch the 2D version of the ad here, created by The Arnell Group.

Everyone's got a story, and the NFL collected more than 200 player stories and videos, posted them online, winnowed them down to 48 and let the fans choose which would become a 60-second spot in the third quarter. The winner is Usama Young, cornerback for the New Orleans Saints. Along with his father, Young tells about a previous job, selling snow cones at the Washington Redskins stadium. Young preferred mimicking the moves of NFLer Deion Sanders to selling snow cones. His antics got him fired, but Young's father got his job back. Until, of course, he made it to the NFL himself. "Now I'm in the Super Bowl," says Young. "It's just a commercial, son" replies his father. I love how the present-day father and son moments are shot in black and white and past events are colorized. Watch the ad here, created by BBDO New York.
Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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