Saturday, March 07, 2009

This is a test, this is only a test, if this were... actual emergency... Once a week local broadcasters are required to test their Emergency Alert System. Should you test your advertising? And How? Chuck has a great piece on this subject:

Testing Advertising Response in the Store

Since 1892 when the English Court of Appeals ruled on Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, companies are legally allowed to make claims they can't substantiate. The court ruled that reasonable people don't believe exaggerated promises by advertisers. The legal term for these claims is "puffery."

The public simply calls them lies.

The practice of puffery is so common in advertising that according to the 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer Survey, only 20 percent of respondents trust corporate or product ads.

Believe it or not, this information will effect the outcome of Ralph's new test of his advertising. At least, it would if Ralph had been paying attention.

Let's talk about Ralph. He owns an appliance store. He purchases four cases of Del Vecchio cappuccino makers from China.

Ralph places an ad in the newspaper explaining that after the Del Vecchio cappuccino maker brews up to four cups of espresso in it's glass carafe, its swivel jet frother will make steamy, frothy milk for cappuccino. The ad boasts that Del Vecchio cappuccino makers are available this weekend at Ralph's Appliances. Not at the $89.95 one would expect to pay for an appliance of this quality, but rather for only $34.95.

But Ralph doesn't display those $34.95 cappuccino makers.

When the ad hits the newsstands, the cappuccino makers are still in Ralph's back room.

Ralph wants to know who's coming in to his store as a result of his ad. He has concluded that the only way anyone would know about the cappuccino makers would be from seeing his newspaper ad. Therefore, if Ralph forces customers to ask for the item, and tallies the sales, he believes he'll have a fair test of the effectiveness of that newspaper ad.

He's wrong.

He's not testing the advertising at all.

What Ralph is measuring is a customer's willingness to ask for something she doesn't see on display. And he's limiting that test to those who've see the ad and come to the store looking for a specific product.

Will shoppers ask for items they don't see on display? Some surely will. Most will look for a Del Vecchio cappuccino maker, and not finding it, will simply leave without making a purchase.

They will also tell their friends not to believe any ads from Ralph's Appliances.

Their friends won't be surprised. "After all," the friends reason, "doesn't every business lie in its advertising?"

So, if forcing shoppers to do things they don't want to do is a bad test, how does a manager/owner determine the effect of advertising on a specific sale?

Indirectly, My Dear Watson.

Check the day's total sales, and compare to yesterday, last week, and last year. Any significant change in trending can be assumed to be the result of some outside influence. Barring any other changes, we can assume the advertising was the primary factor.


Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover, and choose your business. Questions about testing your advertising may be directed to

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I am Woman, hear me roar...

well, not me personally. But I am showing my age by quoting a Helen Reddy tune from the 70's.


Women's Purchasing Power Grows

An often-cited marketing maxim holds that around 80 percent of consumer purchases are driven by women. The figure is often cited to emphasize how women are underestimated and under-served as customers. But the generally-accepted principle frequently leaves retailers and brands guessing at the extent of women's buying influence within given categories.

The theory bases its high purchasing power on how much a women will buy for herself, how much she buys for others (i.e., husband, boyfriend, kids, nephews, male friends, etc.) and even how much a woman will influence other purchases. Their buying acumen is often backed by stats around the female gender's growing economic power, their increasing influence in the household, as well as perhaps stereotypical views on their propensity to shop.

The finding is most often quoted from Tom Peters' Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. In the book published in 2003, the management guru claims that women make up 83 percent of all consumer purchases. The book notes that in category after category, women are "instigators-in-chief" of most consumer purchases.

Breaking out a few categories, the book estimates that women determine a whopping 94 percent of home furnishings purchases, 92 percent of vacations, 91 of new homes, 80 percent of DIY (do-it-yourself) projects, 68 percent of car purchases, and 51 percent of consumer electronics buys. The book also found that women make up about 89 percent of the spending decisions around new bank accounts and 80 percent around healthcare decisions.

But it's tough to figure out women's influence across all categories.

For instance, take the often male-skewed sporting goods industry. In its annual Sporting Goods Market Report, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) finds that women on their own behalf acquire about 55 percent of units sold in 14 categories of athletic footwear (excluding rugged outdoor, hunting boots, cleated footwear and water sport). Including purchases she drove for her husband, sons, and other male friends, purchasing power around athletic footwear could be argued to come close to the 80 percent mark. Falling well short might be the category of sports equipment, in which women make up about a third of sales and where purchasing decisions for children are often driven by the father.

But in his book, Mr. Peters laments on how, given their dominant purchasing power, women are rarely turned to when it comes to marketing and product design. And he predicted in Business Week last year that with women outpacing men in college degrees, they'll increasingly be leading decision making in Corporate America.

Mr. Peters said, "It's going to be so extreme in the next 20 years, it's just eye popping."

(Source: Retail Wire, 02/23/09)

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Fire them

In a world where good people are losing jobs and others with bad attitudes are doing a lousy job, you need to upgrade your staff.

Check out this story (especially the end) and you'll see what a bad employee can do to your company image and success.

This is from Andrea Nierenberg:

Customer Service Gone Wrong

Today I was in the Port Authority bus terminal as I had to go to New Jersey to visit the family of a friend who had just passed away.

What happened as I walked up to the "Information" booth is one of those --" I can't make this up"

There was no line and the attendant was busy doing her crossword puzzle. I waited for what seemed like 2 minutes and I finally asked for some help.

Without looking up once and sighing that I had bothered her---she still said nothing.

At that point, I said: I'm very sorry to bother you as you are doing your crossword puzzle'..

She then said--"Here is the schedule--look it up yourself"-------

I walked away in disbelief because I needed to get the bus---I thought about this situation and in this economy where jobs are being lost by the thousands everyday---here is one position that someone who truly needs and wants a job could clearly do a better job than the person that is there now.

Also--even though I don't want to make a judgment--when I think of Port Authority---I will remember this woman and her actions or lack of. She doesn't realize it--yet she is part of the brand,the first person some people see when they go to the terminal.

It is a sorry story on Customer service gone wrong.

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None of us need more to do. However if you are not doing these ten service tips, you need to incorporate them into your life:

It's All About Service
With the current economy, now is the time to ramp up your customer service techniques.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Understand how your clients' expectations rise and change over time.
What may have been good enough before no longer applies. Ask them and understand how to better serve them to help them with their business and needs.

2. Differentiate yourself from the competition.
Provide personalized and responsive service and go "beyond the call of duty." Treat them in a way that they will appreciate and remember.

3. Raise the bar for yourself.
You've heard of "dazzling the client" -- now find ways to do it. Be more flexible, faster and more efficient.

4. Never be content.
Find ways to stay ahead of the pack. I find every day there is so much to learn and new ways to implement. Make it your goal to learn and apply something new each day..

5.Manage expectations.
Build a firm foundation of trust and deliver what you promise. Then if something comes up, you will find the client more understanding and forgiving. A great line I heard once was to "under-promise and over-deliver."

6. Take personal responsibility.
You want your name to be golden to them and make sure you live up to that standard. Make it easy for them to do business with you and let them "sleep at night."

7. Bounce back with effective service recovery.
Things happen that are often out of our control. When it does, go into major "repair mode" and do whatever it takes to restore great customer goodwill.

8. Appreciate.
When your clients complain, they can be your best allies because they will tell you what you really need to know. Listen with your ears totally tuned up, then fix the problem. And thank them!

9. See the world from the customers' point of view.
Take off any blinders and take the time to step into their shoes. Actually become a customer. See what the client sees and the way they might feel and then work to make it better then ever.

10. Service is the currency that keeps our economy moving.
Customer service is always in fashion!! Strive to improve each and every day.

Go through your client base today, and think of one thing you can do differently. Remember, your clients become your biggest advocates because they praise and brag about you, which builds your brand and leads to a stronger and bigger network.

Source: Marketing/networking consultant Andrea Nierenberg, head of The Nierenberg Group (, 2009)

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

As this hits the internet, I'm enjoying a wonderful dinner with my wife at Triangle Park in Fort Wayne Indiana. More updates Saturday & Sunday are in the can. This is from Mediapost:

by Sarah Mahoney
Wal-Mart Stores was the clear winner, with its comparable-store sales at Walmart jumping 5%, excluding fuel sales, beating its own expectation; grocery, health and wellness, and entertainment were its strongest categories. "We believe falling gas prices significantly boosted household disposable income in February and therefore allowed for both more trips and more spending towards discretionary categories," the company says. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"Brands can leverage this to establish an 'ownable pedigree' that provides a point of differentiation from their competition," Kime points out. Approaches to "transparent provenance" include emphasizing purity, wholesomeness, cultural authenticity, trustworthy local or global sourcing, artisan skill and in some cases a family's or individual's intimate involvement in a brand's reputation and quality standards. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"This is the biggest thing we have done on the brand since inception," says Bryan Mazur, VP of marketing for Snapple. "Basically, it recognizes the fact that over the years, while consumers have enjoyed Snapple's quirky personality, they did not realize that we are all natural and made of the best." Snapple will back a reformulation rollout with its heaviest media buy yet starting in May and running through the summer with national and local network and cable, online media and major sampling programs. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
If amorphous exercises in brand-building are less important, goal-based advertising is more. "Define the goal, and the economic impact and let your advertising follow. Given current circumstances, goal-based ads will become much more commonplace. In the very short term, there will more of a pure, honest up-front value proposition in all the advertising we do." Max Kalehoff spoke this week at the Brite conference on digital media. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"We help you grow the love and help decrease the hate," says Norma Delaney, global advertising manager for New Balance. "Total Fit is about a philosophy. There are all different considerations in building footwear to make them appropriate for the consumer. It would be simple to say it's about the size or the cushioning technology. But there are more elements to that." The platform will launch along with a new global advertising effort from Omnicom's BBDO New York. ... Read the whole story > >
Health and Beauty Aids
by Les Luchter
Faced with scrutiny from Congress and criticism from consumer groups, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) on Thursday issued voluntary consumer advertising guidelines for its 400 members, who sell products ranging from hearing aids and pacemakers to artificial limbs, hip replacements and other implants. ... Read the whole story > >

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Stop MultiTasking in Your Ads

This applies to ALL of your advertising, radio, tv, print, outdoor and web.

Read it, learn, apply and get better results. From

You're Driving Me Crazy!

Dylan Boyd, who blogs at The Email Wars, tells the story of an email with the subject line: "Limited time only: save up to 25%! Plus get free shipping." Within, he discovered more action verbs than you could shake a stick at.

At the top of the email there's a "Shop now" link; below this, a "Spend More, Save More" campaign touts savings of 15% on orders of $125; 20% off a $200 purchase; and a 25% discount if customers rack up a $250 tab. To redeem the offer at checkout, the copy instructs, enter the promo code SAVEMORE.

But wait, there's more! Just below this, an offer for free shipping on orders of $125 or more has the promo code SHIPFREE. "Was I supposed to shop?" asks Boyd. "Was I going to save? Would it be free? Or did they just want to test all sorts of ideas in one email?"

Worse, he wasn't sure what to expect if he clicked through to the retailer's website. "Would I forget to use the coupon code? Would the coupon code give me all of these things at once? Or would I need to go back and forth … ?"

Boyd offered some quick advice, based on this experience: "[F]ocus on the value and the driver to action. If you give too many messages from subject line to email, you will confuse and possibly lose the sale."

The Po!nt: Calm down. Don't confuse your subscriber with a flurry of offers in a single email.

Source: The Email Wars. Read the full post here.

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We like our Toys

Here in Fort Wayne, the switch to Digital TV is a mess. PBS, ABC & NBC made the switch last month. CBS is doing both digital and analog. And I have no idea what FOX is doing.

I do know that lot's of money was spent on new digital televisions or at least converter boxes. We subscribe to Comcast in my home so the switch didn't affect me or nearly 75% of the homes in our market. Here's what we are buying:

Consumer Electronics Buying Groups See Sales Stabilizing

While consumer electronics retail is hardly out of the woods, dealers are beginning to find their footing again as traffic patterns improve and consumers regain the confidence to spend, buying group executives told TWICE magazine in the past two weeks.

"Business is not good but there are signs of hope," observed Richard Glikes, executive director of Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA). "Traffic is up, prospects for future install jobs are picking up a little bit, and in January more members' sales were up than down."

Trends continued to improve, albeit slightly, Glikes said, but should pick up momentum as consumer confidence returns. "The problem is all about consumer confidence," he said. "Once the government's moves are more visible, things will improve. Fewer vendors and less competition at retail may also be a good thing. Consumers like to comparison shop, and with the departure of Circuit City, maybe now they will come to us more often."

Jim Ristow, executive VP of Home Entertainment Source, the A/V specialty division of Brand Source, said his members are faring better than the industry as a whole. "It's a struggle, and the market is obviously volatile right now, but all things considered we're actually doing well," he said.

Ristow attributes the group's relatively strong showing to year-long preparations for a down cycle, including cost controls and consolidated purchasing through its warehouse program. HES is also partnering with vendors on traffic-driving promotions, and has seen a lift in markets that overlapped with Tweeter stores. Gains from Circuit City's wind-down are less clear, however, given the disruptive effect of the going-out-of-business sales and the chain's different customer base, he said.

Another promising sign is that consumer fear has abated somewhat from the fall. "Anxiety levels are still elevated, but not to the extreme degree they were a few months ago," Ristow said. The government's stimulus package could help raise consumer confidence further, he added, which would lead to increased consumer spending.

Overall sales also improved in January for the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), although executive director/COO Dave Workman was hesitant to describe the uptick as directional. "Is there a trend? I don't know. You really can't predict," he said.

Jeannette Howe, executive director of Nationwide Marketing's Specialty Electronics division, has no illusions about 2009 being "a challenging year." She painted the current marketplace as a mixed bag, with some members struggling through canceled installations or delayed purchases even by higher-end customers, while other dealers have been "very successful."

"We are urging our members to try to get a greater share of their customers' business," Howe said. "At PrimeTime! this month (Nationwide's biannual meeting and buy fair), we will be introducing a program to get more of our partners to offer installation services. We are also emphasizing they get more training in home automation and lighting systems."

Bill Trawick, president/executive director of the NATM Buying Corp., agreed that "It's going to be another tough year" but that market share opportunities will also abound. "It's not healthy when people go out of business," he said, "although in the case of Circuit City, it's throwing $8 billion or $9 billion out there to be divided among those still trying to exist."

Among those angling for a piece of the pie is Bjorn Dybdahl, president of Bjorn's Audio Video, which conducted a "Bailout Blowout" sale around Presidents' Day that he touted on TV, Radio and via email.

"We're down," Dybdahl acknowledged. "October through December we were down by double digits, with Circuit City closing stores here and blowing out product."

"Funny thing," he continued, "is we have traffic. We are only 15 percent down in door counts. We really can't predict month to month or week to week."

Some buying group execs also see a benefit in the extended cutoff date for analog TV broadcasts. "The further out we get the better off we are," noted Glikes. "I was worried that sales would fall off a cliff."

According to Howe, "All the attention this date change has caused should get more consumers to go to stores for HDTV and give them the opportunity to get those coupons and get a converter box."

(Source: TWICE, 02/23/09)

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Fresh Ideas

From a weekly email I get from

The entrepreneurial inspiration just keeps on coming! Featuring 11 bright new business
ideas, our latest issue is now online. Here's a quick run-down:

Man demonstrating a BooboxVending machine dispenses free samples
Marketing & advertising

A new variation on the sampling and tryvertising theme: a vending
machine controlled by text messages and designed specifically to
give the goods away.

Hikers trekking through the AlpsTravel company invites clients on planning trips
Tourism & travel

A Spanish travel company not only solicits past customers' input
when it plans new trips, it actually invites them to come along and
help refine them before it offers the trips to the public at large.

Makeup brushes dusted with colourEnglish lessons and eyelash extensions
Education / Fashion & beauty

While plenty of makeup studios offer lessons in applying cosmetics,
language classes generally aren't part of the deal. Which is why the
ESL Makeup Course at MikaOlivia caught our eye.

A BicebergSelf-serve parking bay for bikes

As with cars, parking bikes safely remains a challenge. That's where
the Biceberg comes in, providing a protected and secure place for
urban bicyclists to leave their bikes.

Detail of gold statueYou, sculpted in precious metals and gems
Style & design

For the common man, gravanity can mean ordering a doll in one's
likeness or using a bank card that bears a photo of one's kids. Not so
the ultra rich.

Hotel chef picking herbsLoews Hotels adopt local farmers
Food & beverage / Tourism & travel / Eco & sustainability

Loews Hotels recently announced a new 'Adopt-a-Farmer' initiative,
aiming to support local farmers while providing customers with
locally-sourced, organic and sustainable food.

Bowl of tasty looking soupMeal prep & cooking classes, this time by Jamie Oliver
Food & beverage / Retail / Education

The concept of a combination upscale takeaway and on-site cooking
school seems to be catching on. British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver just
opened one in London.

Illustration of pregnant womanIn-hospital spa services for new moms
Lifestyle & leisure / Fashion & beauty

By transforming hospital stays into a moment of relaxation and
rejuvenation, Go Home Gorgeous hopes to better equip new mothers
for the sleepless times ahead.

Kiosks in a mallShort-term mall space for startups and minipreneurs

The Oakland Mall in Troy, Mich., is offering small startups and
minipreneurs special leasing rates that make it easier for them to
test the waters at the mall without entering into a long-term contract.

Medication vial with a GlowCapInternet-connected pill reminder caps
Life hacks

GlowCaps fit on standard medication vials, and glow and play a
melody at medication time. What's even more interesting, is the next
version of the line, dubbed GlowCaps Connect.

ProcessAway on an iPhoneApp turns iPhone into a credit card terminal
Telecom & mobile / Financial services

As if phones didn't already do enough, one of the latest mobile apps
transforms iPhones and iPod Touches into portable charge card

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You can either be a hunter, or a farmer. Or Both! Here's a tip on planting seeds like a farmer:
Sending Business Articles
Ask for permission to send business articles that apply to the prospect's problem. Doing that is as simple as this: "I'm constantly staying on top of industry trends and issues. If, between now and the time I am to follow up, I find an article or an idea that might make sense for you, would you be open to receiving that?"

Securing permission to send articles and ideas gives you permission to "market." Giving them something they can use and giving them something of value instead of "just checking in" sets you apart from everyone else.

Source: Sales trainer/consultant Ryan Sarti (, 2009)

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Are You In or Out?

I get interesting responses from folks when I ask them, if they are on Twitter. I know a few folks in town that are on, and I even encouraged a few family members to sign up. But it wasn't until yesterday when I got an email from a major client of mine, asking if our radio stations or jocks had twitter accounts.

I made sure we did. Latest word is 11% of all online adults have a twitter account. 900% growth, these are impressive numbers, but what are the pros, cons and uses?

To be honest, we are just discovering. Here's my advice. Today, go to and sign up for an account just to reserve your name. We discovered that someone else had registered our favorite name for the radio station, so we had to go with our 2nd choice.

For more on Twitter and business, take a look at this from the THINKing blog:

Twitter: Time Waster Or Cool Tool?

Posted: 04 Mar 2009 09:24 AM PST

Liberal newspaper columnist, Leonard Pitts, today says he won’t Twitter. Ever. Works for me. The only thing Pitts and I agree on in this particular case is in his column’s last line:

I will never Twitter you. In the first place, you have better things to do. In the second, I am not that interesting.

It’s not just liberal Pitts. I heard our local Libertarian radio host this morning disparaging Twitter, too. They don’t get it. They condemn it because some people misuse it to broadcast the banal aspects of their lives. Hey, movies, telephones, newspapers, TV, email, blogs, all communication tools have been misused at some point in time.

And, they condemn it because they don’t take the time to figure it out. Luddites!

Scott Hepburn has an excellent response to Pitts’ screed. Hepburn says,

Yes, Mr. Pitts, some people actually accomplish things via Twitter. We’re growing businesses, finding jobs, raising money for charity, planning conferences and engaging in ethics debates.

I’m going to help out the Luddites. Sometime back we took a look at the tactical business use of Twitter, and we provided a list of the top 8 links on the business value of Twitter.

I welcome your thoughts on Twitter. Is it just a fad for broadcasting the banal, or does it have real value?

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Dead Man Walking?

I saw this last week (online, of course). Found it here.

Newspapers are Dead. Expect a Very Long Funeral.

Thursday, January 29. 2009

Writing on, Getty Storch asserts that "Papers must charge for websites to survive". There is a lively debate in the comments that follow, most of them are in disagreement with Storch's analysis.

This includes mine, which I reproduce here.

Anyone who thinks newspapers can survive on local content needs to spend a few weeks on Twitter. Here is a medium where news arrives in near real time, is reliable (since misinformation is rapidly corrected by others), and relevant. This applies just as well in a global environment. I have seen real reports from people on the scene of demonstrations in Thailand and Athens, and learnt about the supply of gas from Russia to Slovakia from people in cold buildings. Twitter and similar channels tell me about traffic jams on my route downtown, about power outages and emergencies in ways that no newspaper or even television station can ever dream of achieving.

Twitter has merely brought something that has been happening for a very long time into the mainstream. As a case in point, I learnt about the death of Princess Diana via an international online chat almost three hours before the local media picked it up. This is a decade ago. Times have changed.

Information is now free and it will remain so. Any attempt to charge for access to it is absolutely doomed. The only hope that news media, particularly "print" media have for survival is by adding value. This means aggregating sources, adding perspective, and performing astute analysis. Even so, most of the revenue from these activities will be derived from online advertising, and those revenues will be orders of magnitude below what the industry currently sees as normal.

The newspaper as we know it is dead. There is no model that will resuscitate it, period. Rigor mortis has set in, the patient just doesn't fully realize it yet.

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New Ad Campaigns

From Amy at Mediapost:

Romance blooms at J&R Music and Computer World. Boost Mobile hams it up. Chips Ahoy gets "Rocky." Let's launch!

Watching unattached limbs arm-wrestle is not my idea of fun. You? The British Columbia Dairy Foundation launched "Arm Wrestling" throughout cinemas in British Columbia this week, the first of three new spots released under the "Must Drink More Milk" umbrella. A muscular, probably steroid-laden, arm pumps up the crowd as it awaits its opponent. Two small, mask-wearing, arms pummel their rival with punches and hits with a metal folding chair. It's as real as modern-day wrestling. "Must drink more milk," says the large arm, as the winning pair hoists their championship belt in the air. See the ad here. DDB Canada's Vancouver office created the campaign and OMD Vancouver handled the media buy.

Shure microphones launched a print campaign where artists such as The Who, Maroon 5, Rascal Flatts, G. Love and The Black Crowes endorse products they actually use. Finally. The "Reason Why" campaign features each band or solo musician alongside specific Shure products. Brief artist quotes are included to serve as testimonials. "Shure wireless has been great for us," says the quote from Maroon 5. The band looks like they pulled off the side of the road, jumped off their tour bus and snapped this pic underneath a tree. See the ads here, here, here, here, here and here, running in Relix, Metal Edge, Performer, Performing Songwriter, American Songwriter, Alternative Press and Jazz Times, among others. The ads were created in-house and Spark handled the media buy.

J&R Music and Computer World launched "Romance," a sweet TV ad where love between a TV salesman and shy customer is unavoidable. A woman is looking at a large-screen TV when a salesman approaches her. "That Toshiba's a real beauty," he says. Cue the awkward glance and mushy music. Did I mention that every TV in the background is tuned to a couple taking a romantic stroll on the beach? After uncomfortable banter is exchanged, the salesman changes the channel, sensing the awkwardness. The spot ends with the line, "Uniting People and Electronics Since 1971," while the channel lands on a shot of a man casually waiting for an elevator. The door opens to reveal a couple going at it. Watch the ad here, created by Toy New York.

I was just recovering from the first two ads in Boost Mobile's "unwrong'd" campaign. Quick refresher: long armpit hair and a coroner who eats where he works. A third ad launched Monday and features refined pigs dining on ham in an upscale restaurant. "I like a nice ham. You think that's wrong? We're just enjoying the flavors of a fallen friend," says the pig. The hog is more appalled at cell phone companies charging hidden fees than eating one of its own. See the ad here. 180LA created the campaign and Mindshare handled the media buy.

Chips Ahoy "goes to the movies" again, so if you've ever wondered what Rocky Balboa would look like in cookie form, then your week's been made. Cookie man has won a hard-fought boxing match and sports a black eye as proof. As the press interviews him, he scans the crowd, looking for his beloved Adrian. I must say that the clay-version of Adrian is very Talia Shire-esque. Adrian makes her way through the crowd just in time to watch "Rocky" get swooped up by a hungry hand. "They go fast," concludes the ad, seen here. Draftfcb New York created the ad and Mediavest handled the media buy.

Playstation launched a TV spot for Killzone 2 called "Bullet" which, in actuality, is an in-game shot of a bullet en route to its intended target. It's quite good. The traveling bullet reminded me of Korn's "Freak on a leash" music video from 1999. A character in the game fires a bullet. Viewers follow the path of the bullet, while witnessing soldiers battle one another and walls explode, until we look the unlucky target in the eyes. "War. Perfected." concludes the ad, seen here. Deutsch Los Angeles, Guerilla Games and Zoic Studios created the ad.

Nike launched a TV spot in partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods that stars Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. He approaches two young customers, one of whom is trying on a pair of Nike baseball cleats. The young man makes the mistake of saying that the cleats feel good. Rollins steps in to be pummelled repeatedly in the chest by baseballs from a pitching machine, in an effort to show that "performance can hurt." Watch the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland. launched the first TV spot in a NASCAR-themed campaign, coinciding with the search engine becoming the "Official Search Engine of NASCAR." The season-long campaign will feature "The Rays," a family that loves its NASCAR. In the first spot, the Rays are watching a race from what appears to be the top of their RV. One of the young boys asks his grandfather where the best place to watch a race is, to which his grandfather replies, "It's not here." The father, wearing noise-blocking headphones, then shouts, "we may have the best seats in the house." The spot ends with the toolbar onscreen typing the question that appeared in the ad. See it here. Hanft Raboy & Partnerscreated the campaign and Mullen handled the media buy.

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

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And Now For Something Completely Different..

A few days ago I found this on the Labov & Beyond Idea Factory Blog. It goes along with a comment I received from a new client recently who told me she didn't want my business card because it had too much info on it.

3 Reasons a non-traditional business card works

I was handed an interesting business card yesterday.

The person has a social networking site and wants to drive traffic to his site, so his business card has his web site address and tells people don’t call, they can find him there. However, only registered users can get to members’ personal information.

This is great for three reasons. First, he was handing out his contact information to people who showed interest in his site, but they were calling him and sending him emails instead of going to his site, and then promising to check out the web site when they had a chance. So, he was able to channel people directly to the site to reach him so they could: see the site, register, and contact him.

Second, it saves people a step. They just go to the site, register for free, and then contact the web master or anyone else on the site.

Third, it’s funny to be handed a card without the standard contact information with a note to not call. A lot of people try to come up with clever ways for their business cards to be noticed such as with odd shapes, larger sizes, crazy pictures, but this was unique and memorable, and still can be kept with other cards at no inconvenience. It also supports his web site’s irreverent brand personality and networking platform.

So, are you going to clean up your card?

See, this follows the basic principle of advertising that you stick to one and only one "call to action" in your ad. And if you consider your card as an ad, this all makes perfect sense.

If you follow the advice of only giving your website, you MUST have a way for people to contact you that is EASY for them to find.

I think it's time for me to clean up a few things, how about you?

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Look, Target is building new stores!

by Karl Greenberg
Although advertising for the new vehicle begins on Monday, the company has been running a spot, "Love Hurts," that shows historical test-crash footage of Volvos of yore being rammed into barriers, flipped and slammed into from the side set to the "1812 Overture." The ad, which finishes with footage of peoples' reactions to the City Safety feature, taken from the tour, ends with the tag, "The Volvo that can stop itself. Finally." ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
Web sites like WebMD placed second on the list of how consumers prefer to learn about pharmaceutical products, cited by 54% of respondents, and opt-in emails from brands or manufacturers placed fourth (38%), Epsilon reports. Just 30% of respondents preferred offline advertising and marketing, good for fifth place. Yet, far ahead of the pack was "in-person conversation with a doctor." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
While the NRF is urging its members' stores to time sales and special promotions aimed at refund shoppers a little earlier to take advantage of the shift, the poll suggests that few consumers plan to go shopping with those refund checks. About 48% of those in the survey plan to pay down debt, compared to 47% last year and 43% in 2007. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Kia this month launches its newest car, the Soul compact car, with an integrated campaign comprising TV, print, outdoor and Web advertising that begins late this month. The effort, via L.A.-based independent David & Goliath, promotes the car as the flagship for a new design direction to be evinced in several new vehicles rolling out in the next two years, including the Kia Forte, coming later this year. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Baby boomers fall into three basic attitudinal camps, according to Focalyst, a Millward Brown specialty division: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Marketing effectively to them now requires understanding how distinct segments have been affected by the drop in retirement fund and housing values and other economic fallout, and what messages resonate with each. ... Read the whole story > >
by Laurie Sullivan
Brand Keys President Robert Passikoff said the fiasco on Twitter demonstrates the power of consumers. "If we had any doubt that the consumer is in control, this is the perfect case study that proves it," he said. "It's also additional proof that brands need a resonating authenticity among the community they want to serve." ... Read the whole story > >

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A true story on why Customer Service Matters

This is from MediaSauce:

Want to save your job and the company? Use real customer service and social media.

Several things happened last week that made me take notice. And since I don’t believe in coincidences, I had to pull it altogether in my mind.

First, an amazing client story.

J.D. Gould Company is a family-owned business. It’s been around since 1951. They make solenoid valves. It’s really hard to get excited about solenoid valves unless maybe you are an engineer but, according to the client, a lot of engineers don’t think about them as much as they once did. They are one of those things that don’t seem very important but they are. A bad valve can shut down an entire line. And that’s what happened to the an unnamed American Car company back in 1950’s.

At 2 am, the Gould family was awaken by an extremely upset plant manager. He told Mr. Gould that he better get up there right now and fix his broken solenoid valve. That it was costing the company thousands of dollars because the line was down. He expected Mr. Gould in six hours. The drive from Indianapolis to Detroit. At a fury pace.

Mr. Gould got in his car and drove there as fast as he could. He couldn’t figure out how his valve had broken but he was going to make it right. When he arrived, he was met by the plant manager, the heads of the union and a lot of executives.

Mr. Gould and the union representatives along with electricians and plumbers climbed separate ladders to inspect the valve. Upon removing the top of the valve, they all could see it was stuck in the open position. Mr. Gould said he couldn’t understand why the valve would do that and asked if there was anything in the line. The union workers claimed there wasn’t along with the plant manager. They cut the valve out of the line.

And there, sticking out of the valve, was a plumber’s pencil. Whoever cut the pipe, put his pencil in the valve and forgot it. The valve was stuck open and Gould’s valve wasn’t at fault.

But he said nothing. They put it back together. The line was functioning again. Mr. Gould drove home.

Next week, the local car dealer of the company called Mr. Gould. They had two new cars waiting for him if he wanted to stop by and pick them up. The owner of the company still tears up thinking about how proud he was of this grandpa.

Here’s the other pieces I read. Two blogs. One by Chris Brogan and his struggle with GMAC customer service. And another from Seth Godin on How to answer the phone.

Imagine what the car company would have done if Mr. Gould had not picked up the phone or not gotten into his car and drove to Detroit. Would he have gotten more business? Even after they found out it was their own problem. Would the lack of care overridden the problem?

Marketers complain to me about how the companies don’t understand what they do and how they are always the first to go when economies get tough. I sympathize. I was once on that side as well.

Marketers also understand how when a new customer comes calling, you better get it right and answer the phone on the first or second ring. You treat those new customers like gold.

But current customers, heck, that’s not your problem. That’s customer service. That’s a different department.

Well, it shouldn’t be. Marketers - the new marketers - should handle both sides of the fence. If a call comes in, whether it’s a brand new customer or your oldest, they should be handled the same way. Like the gold they are.

Every marketer knows that a current customer is 10 times less expensive to keep than to try an earn a new one. But yet they get the crappy phone calls from overseas or the phone tree from hell. Or nothing.

Want to save job your job? Then take responsibility for every customer. Use those marketing dollars to save your current customers from phone trees and incoherent operators. Use some more by giving your current customers an EASY way to spread the word about how great your company is.

And you better do it soon. Because customers are starting to realize that they have more firepower with social media. They can organize and spread the word for you or against you.

Who knows…there may be a new company car waiting for you instead of a pink slip.

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Advertising to the Internet Adept

Got this report last week from Mediapost:

Advertising To Social Networkers Tricky

A recent study by InsightExpress, exploring participation trends across social networks, as well as how receptive their members are to advertising, found that 43% of the online population reports using a social networking site. And, no matter their age or number of profiles, social networkers see advertising as a hot topic.

An almost simultaneous study by Netpop , "Social Networkers US," shows that social networkers are much more likely to shop and spend more online than their non-contributing peers. Social networkers buy a variety of products and services and spend an average of $101 online per month, the study found. This compares with non-contributors to social networks, who spend $80 per month.

The Netpop study found that social networking has grown 93% since 2006 and 76% of US broadband users (105 million) are active contributors to the web via social media. In addition, approximately 29%, or 40 million broadband users, are regular contributors to the web specifically through social networking sites and are spending increasing amounts of their online time communicating with each other, both one-to-one and one-to-many.

The top sources used by social networkers, says Netpop, when making shopping decisions are search engines, brand or manufacturer sites, online-only retail sales and auction sites. Some 6% also use social networking sites to decide what to buy.

Insight found that social networkers, when asked how willing they are to see advertising on their social network, claim that they are less willing to view marketing messages on sites where it is currently most obvious. This preference reinforces the idea that social networks are a unique medium in which advertising campaigns must be executed with great care.

Josh Crandall, President at Netpop, said "CMOs have been discouraged, understandably, by the poor performance of standard online ad formats in social media spaces... current... advertising in social networking environments have been limited to traditional, display advertising... (though) Facebook's "engagement ad" unit is a new development... understanding those environments, and working on new approaches to advertising, will become increasingly important as social media consumption grows.

And Drew Lipner, VP, Group Director of the Digital Media Measurement team at InsightExpress, concurs when saying "The broad... acceptance of social networking reinforces the distinct need to develop targeted and relevant campaigns for this channel... recognizing the rapid growth of social networking audiences, advertisers have focused on creative engagement... to apply their brands within a new environment."

The Insight study suggests that opt-in ads seem to be the best route for advertisers to leverage the opportunities provided by these platforms with 40% of social networkers condoning this practice. Only 20% of respondents give behavior-based campaigns the green light.

Response to the concept of randomly generated ads depended on the site, notes Insight, with 23% of LinkedIn, Facebook, Classmates, MySpace, and Reunion profilers saying this approach is acceptable , while 43% of Cafemom, Twitter, and Flickr users find it acceptable.

In looking at the social network landscape, Netpop offers these Key findings about US social networkers:

  • Social networkers in the US are most likely to be single, employed women, age 18-39 and living somewhere between Indiana and the Atlantic Ocean, or along the west coast
  • A typical social networker connects weekly with an average of 18 people one-to-one, and 110 people one-to-many
  • Social networkers spend an average of 36% of their online time talking and sharing. This compares with 29% for non-contributors to social networks
  • Social networkers use multiple modes to communicate and stay in touch. These include IM, texts, blogs and microblogs

The report says that social networkers spend 36% of their Online time talking and sharing, contrasted to only 29% of non-networkers.

Media Used In Social Networking


% of Social Networkers

% of Non-Networkers (Approximate)










Forum/Discussion Board






Chat room






Video conferencing






Source: Netpop Connect Social Networkers US, December 2008

The Insight study reports that, of those individuals who participate in a social networking site, 71% have profiles on two or more different properties, with 26% having established four or more profiles.

Among social networkers who report having two or three profiles:

  1. 25.6% are 18 to 24 yearss old
  2. 23.3% are 25 to 34 years olds
  3. 14.7% are 35 to 44 years old
  4. 15.6% are 45 to 54 years old
  5. 18.4% are 55 to 64 years old

Among people with four or more profiles:

  • 31 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34
  • 14.1 percent are 55 to 64 years old

Cate Riegner, Vice President of Research, Netpop Research, concludes that "Social media will play the same role in this recession that movies played in the Depression... Brands that experiment in social advertising now will be in the best position to leverage these important media channels when the economy turns the corner."

To review the release from InsightExpress, please visit here, and to view charts from the Netpop study, visit here.

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Loyalty Index

From a recent email:

Where Does Our Loyalty Lie?

Airlines: JetBlue/Southwest

OTC Allergy Medicine: Tylenol/Zyrtec

Athletic Footwear: Nike

Automotive: Toyota

Banks: Bank of America

Beer (Light): Coors Light

Beer (Regular): Sam Adams

Bottled Water: Aquafina

Casual Dining: Olive Garden

Coffee: Dunkin' Donuts

Computers: Apple

Credit Card: Discover

Long Distance Providers: Verizon

Online Brokerage:

Online Travel Sites:

Pizza: Domino's

Quick-Serve Restaurant: McDonald's

Retail Apparel: J. Crew

Retail Discount: Wal-Mart

Retail Department Store: Kohl's

Retail Electronics: Best Buy

Soft Drink (Diet): Diet Pepsi

Soft Drink (Regular): Pepsi

Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine

Wireless Handset: iPhone/Samsung

Wireless Carrier: Verizon

Source: Brand Keys 2009 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index

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Sales Basics

From Art Sobczak:

Perhaps you saw the news item recently. What an earth
shattering revelation! According to a National Institute's of
Health two-year study--brace yourself for this one--if you
reduce the number of calories you eat, and exercise, you will
lose weight.


No magic pill?

Funny how the basics never go out of style. How they work,
time and again.

"Keep your eye on the ball," "Listen to your mother," "Eat
your vegetables." More of the basics. The fundamentals.

And why are they the fundamentals?

Because fundamentals comprise a proven success recipe
that has withstood the test of time.

And the same is true with sales. All we're trying to do is
help people buy.

People come through my seminars and say, "This really
reminded me I need to get back to the basics."

Not just get back to the basics, I tell them. Use them.

In this Tip I'll present, in order, the fundamental parts of the
professional telesales and prospecting call, and what I consider
the most important points of each.

Pre-Call Planning
Have an objective for every call, defined by, "What do I want
them to DO as a result of this call, and what do I want to do?


Treat the screener as you would the customer-this person
determines whether or not you'll even have a chance to speak
with the buyer. Gather as much information as you can from
whomever you are able, prior to speaking with your prospect;
busy decision makers get bored when they have to answer your
basic qualifying questions.

Have a reason for needing to speak with the decision maker,
and be prepared to sell this to the screener. They're asking,
"Does this person have anything of interest, or of value for
the boss?"

If leaving a message on voice mail, or with a screener, be
certain it offers a hint of a benefit that sparks curiosity, but
doesn't talk about products/services.

Common Screener Mistakes: Being evasive and condescending
with the screener; wasting information opportunities by not
asking questions; leaving messages that create resistance--not
interest--by talking about what you want to sell, not what they're
really interested in.

Opening Statements
The objective of your opening is to pique curiosity and interest
so that they will willingly and enthusiastically move to the questioning.
You must answer, "What's in it for me?" for the listener, or they will
immediately begin the getting-rid-of-you process.

Common Opening Mistakes: talking about the product or service...
what the salesperson wants to do, not what the listener wants;
not having prepared openings...winging it.

Get information before you give it--how could you make an
effective recommendation otherwise? After qualifying them,
which preferably is done before speaking with them, the
goal is to first identify the need, problem, pain, or the
desire to enhance their situation. If it is latent, we must
try to help them realize it through questions.

Common Questioning Mistakes: not listening to the
answers to questions, therefore not layering more questions
to dig deeper to magnify the problem; not learning and
understanding the decision-making hierarchy and internal
buying process.

Sales Recommendation
You should only talk about your product/service after knowing
specifically how it will solve the problem, meet their need, etc.

Then you can tailor your remarks specifically and personally for
the listener.

Common Mistakes:
"Premature Presentation," which is pitching
before knowing what they're interested in, talking about points
irrelevant to the listener; not seeking, or getting feedback during
discussion of benefits.

Closing and Commitment
This is not the major event in a sales call. It's the natural, logical,
validation of the professional sales process up to this point. But
you still must ask. Commitment must be gained on every contact
in order to move the process forward. If there is to be a follow-up
contact, and information is to be sent or faxed, there must be
commitment on behalf of the prospect regarding that material.

Common Mistakes: Asking too early; not asking soon enough
(if buying signals have been expressed); not asking at all; agreeing
to, or suggesting, a follow-up-and sending information-without
having any commitment.

Objections can be avoided by doing everything else correctly
up to this point in the call. When you do hear them, resist the
tendency to attack them. You must back up and revisit the
questioning stage of the call. The voiced objection is simply
a symptom of the real problem.

Common Mistakes:
Using slick, prepared, objection rebuttals
that only tell people they're wrong and intensify the resistance;
giving up before attempting to understand the reason behind
the problem.

Wrapping Up and Setting Up the Next Action
At the end of calls reps must summarize agreed-to actions by both
parties, and set the agenda for the next call.

There you have it, all the basic parts of the telesales call. It's not
rocket science. Follow these and you will be successful.

If you'd like to build on these basics, and get more word-for-word
examples to use in each part of the call, you will find them in "How
to Place the Successful Sales and Prospecting Call." It's an ebook you
can download right now. See it at

Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way, but the
recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives
can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties."

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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