Saturday, March 21, 2009

Getting caught up


Behind the Curve: Week Ended March 21, 2009

Below are some links to recent research news and studies from the collection of items that MarketingCharts didn’t get to writing up this week, but still may be worth a peek:

eMarketer Reports Triple Digit Mobile Marketing Growth in Canada

Despite Recession, More than Half of Marketers Increase Social Media Spending

Pay Gap Widens between Male and Female MBAs

Growth of ‘Green’ Consumption on Hold

Western European Digital TV Market Cracks 100M in 2008

Digital Replacing Offset Printing in In-Plant Operations

China Posts 17% Ad Spend Growth In 2008

Sphere: Related Content

Online Shopping Trends

From a recent email:

Online Ratings, Recommendations and Reviews Influence Shoppers' Selections
According to a new study from Bazaarvoice and richrelevance, conducted by JupiterResearch based on a survey of over 800 consumers nationwide, 48% of all online shoppers plan to spend less this year, but 61% of those reluctant to make certain purchases can be positively influenced by online shopping resources. The study shows that consumers are finding significant value in online content tools that connect them to the opinions and behaviors of other shoppers. These tools are particularly relevant to shoppers who are cutting back, as those affected by economic conditions seek more validation for their purchase decisions.

Online shoppers, says the report, will be more reluctant to make purchases in the next 12 months primarily in:

  • The automotive sector
  • Travel
  • Consumer electronics

Planned Spending Reductions in Next 12 Months by Online Shoppers


% Planning Reduction in Spending





Consumer electronics


Financial services


Fashion and style


Durable goods


Home improvement


Computing products






Education services


Health products








Source: Jupiter Research/RichRelevance/BazaarVoice, February 2009

Consumers looking to reduce their spend are shopping around; 42% visited 3 or more sites to research their last purchase, and nearly all consumers are spending more time online prior to purchase.

Shoppers who research their purchases online look to content sources that help inspire, discover, and confirm their choices, including:

  • User ratings and reviews
  • Recommendations based on other consumers' purchasing behaviors
  • Recommendations based on others' browsing behavior

Multiple Sources Used by Online Shoppers To Find Products

Information Source

% of Online Researchers

Store/retailer websites


Search engines


Manufacturer websites


User ratings and reviews


Purchaser's recommendations


E-mail recommendations


Best sellers


Source: Jupiter Research/RichRelevance/BazaarVoice, February 2009

In the 2008 Retail Consumer survey, Jupiter Research found that only 33% of online shoppers had made up their minds about the price they were willing to pay for their purchase in advance of going online to research. Even fewer began their research having made up their minds on:

  • Which item or title to choose (31%)
  • Which brand to buy (23%)
  • Which store they would use (16%)
  • When to make their purchase (13%)

This shift in behavior provides retailers with an opportunity to engage shoppers through content that connects them to products and builds their confidence in these carefully researched purchases.

Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice, notes that "... the benefits of user-generated content are amplified in a bad economy... companies have a tremendous opportunity to provide them with the authentic user-generated content that is proven... "

David Selinger, CEO of richrelevance, concludes that "... Personalized recommendations are emerging as must-have functionality for 2009, driven by the value they deliver to the consumer experience."

Please visit Bazaar Voice here for additional information

Sphere: Related Content

Are you getting your share?

Or even more than your share?


Link to THINKing

Take Market Share Now

Bold marketers know this: an economic downturn is the perfect time to gain market share. Spending marketing money during tough times seems counterintuitive, but time and again it has paid off for some of the best known brands. During the 1970s Revlon and Phillip Morris turned up the advertising heat to gain market share. Further, MediaPost reports that,

A McGraw-Hill Research analysis three years after the 1981-82 recession found that companies maintaining or increasing ad spending during that period enjoyed 256% higher sales than companies that had decreased their budgets.

There is no better time than a recession to brand yourself as an industry leader and survivor. Consumers avoid lesser known brands during tough times. They want the comfort of knowing they have purchased something from a brand that will weather the storm.

Weak competitors throw in the towel, giving smart, strong competitors an opportunity that should not be passed up. Also, media companies are struggling so the canny marketer can negotiate deals on advertising. Thus, fewer marketing dollars are needed to make the same impact. It becomes easier to reach your audience with less competitive clutter. Your aggressive marketing message now tells consumers that you are stable and strong, perfectly positioning you for a surge in better times.

However, it appears most of the big boys have forgotten those lessons learned in past recessions. General Mills should be the poster child of every marketer, increasing its consumer marketing spending by 19 percent recently. So, get out there and take the market share that rightfully belongs to you.

Sphere: Related Content

Is it Miller Time?

From the

Beer giant MillerCoors, seeking to revive its flagging Miller Lite after a string of marketing missteps, is spending more than $100 million on a new campaign that features redesigned cans and bottles and new ads centered on the brand's familiar theme: "Tastes Great."

The campaign -- one of MillerCoors's first strategic thrusts since it was formed last summer by combining rivals Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing -- is aimed at grabbing market share from leader Anheuser-Busch InBev and its top-selling Bud Light brand. While the new ads don't attack Bud Light by name, they are clearly designed to persuade consumers that Miller Lite is the better-tasting brew.

[miller beer ads] Miller

In a new twist on the 'Tastes Great' theme, Miller Lite ads are heralding the beer's 'triple hops' brewing process.

A few of the new TV, radio and Internet ads have started appearing in recent weeks. But on Thursday, the company offered a first look at the rest of the campaign to more than 3,000 distributors and MillerCoors employees at its national sales conference in Las Vegas.

In one TV ad, two mobsters walk into a bar and warn a lanky bartender that he needs "protection" or "bad things can happen." The bartender reaches for a bottle of Miller Lite, points to its new "taste protector cap" and says, "I've got all the protection I need."

Miller Lite, which introduced Americans to light beer in the 1970s, mostly has posted sales declines in recent years, and its performance has worsened under its new owner, a joint venture of SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing. In the fourth quarter, sales from distributors to retailers were down 7.5% from a year earlier by volume.

One problem is that Miller Lite has bounced from one ad strategy to another in recent years. "The brand has lacked a clear identity for so long," says Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of Beer Business Daily, an online industry newsletter. "They just haven't been able to find its voice."

Leo Kiely, chief executive of MillerCoors, told analysts this month that the brand's sales have been hurt more than sister brand Coors Light by consumers cutting back on trips to bars and restaurants during the recession. About 35% of Miller Lite's sales occur in this so-called "on premise" category, which accounts for just 20% of Coors Light's sales.

Now, MillerCoors, borrowing a page from Coors Light, says it will convey a consistent and straightforward message about the Miller Lite brand. That message will be built around taste.

Ad agencies Bogle Bartle Hegarty and Interpublic Group's DraftFCB produced the new Miller Lite campaign. DraftFCB is behind Coors Light's ad strategy.

Coors Light's sales have climbed for 15 consecutive quarters, bolstered -- analysts and executives say -- by a simple theme of "Rocky Mountain cold refreshment" that has appealed to its key market of 21- to 34-year-old men. Coors Light has hammered home that theme in ads and with new packaging, including "cold-activated bottles," whose labels turn blue when the beer inside cools to a certain temperature.

In a new twist on the "Tastes Great" theme, MillerCoors is rolling out ads that herald its "triple hops" brewing process, in which hops -- the flowers that give beer its distinctive bitterness and aroma -- are added to the beer at three different stages. The company says this gives the beer its flavor, "balance" and proper level of foam.

Miller Lite's new "taste protector" cans will likewise tout the process. The cans have a lining on the inside to keep the beer from touching the aluminum, which can cause a metallic taste. The company also will promote new bottles with different labels as well as a "taste protector cap" designed to preserve the taste of the beer, says Andy England, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors.

"Miller Lite has been triple-hops brewed for decades, but we've never talked about it," Mr. England says. "We've never told anybody we have this unique and proprietary" process.

Highlighting the brand's brewing process, however, carries the risk of backfiring with consumers, who are increasingly knowledgeable about beer ingredients. Light lagers like Miller Lite, have a low hops content, especially compared with many of the small-batch "craft" beers that are enjoying the industry's highest growth rates.

"By overtly marketing their multiaddition hopping process, the consumer would presumably expect Miller Lite to be an overtly hoppy beer; it's not," says Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, which is known for its high-hops ales.

MillerCoors also might find it hard to boost Miler Lite sales at the same time Coors Light sales are growing. The brands compete in a number of markets, says John Greening, a professor of marketing communications at Northwestern University who used to advise Anheuser-Busch on ad strategy.

Miller Lite dominated the light-beer wars of the 1980s with its famed "Tastes Great, Less Filling" pitch. Miller Lite is now the No. 2-selling light beer in the U.S. after Bud Light, whose sales volume rose less than 1% last year, according to newsletter Beer Marketer's Insights. Coors Light, the nation's No. 3 light beer, has been enjoying healthier sales growth than either Bud Light or Miller Lite.

MillerCoors won't disclose how much it plans to spend on the new ad campaign this year, but Mr. England said it would be "well north of $100 million." Miller Lite spent $95.9 million on advertising in the first nine months of last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Write to David Kesmodel at

Sphere: Related Content

Selling Price

From a recent email:

Price is Not a Benefit

Dear Scott,

One of the greatest concerns of business owners is how to price their products or services. Often, consumers say, "Well I would buy it if it were in my price range." And, that idea tempts many business owners to lower their prices--just to sell more products.

However, as you already know, price reductions sometimes create more problems than they solve.

For example, price reductions:

Decrease net profits
Lead to the purchase of lower quality products
Increase customer demands to drop the price even lower!
Require even more sales to make up the difference in revenue
Need a larger quantity of products

And, in the end, as John Jantsch (author of Duct Tape Marketing) says, "There will always be someone willing to go out of business faster than you."

Remember this: price is not a benefit. Selling is not determined on the cost of your product. If you truly "sell" your customers and prospects, they will purchase your products/services no matter what price you determine.

If a customer or prospect doesn't buy...and they claim the cost had something to do with can guess they probably wouldn't have purchased anyway.

As a marketer, your job is to sell your products and services. The actual art of selling has nothing to do with the price of the product. By the time your contacts find out about the price, they should be determined to purchase no matter what the cost.

So, find "real" benefits (value) to sell to your customers and prospects. Help them to see how great their life is with your product, and you've got a customer. Point out their current pain, and your contact will do anything to get rid of it.

Set your prices and hold fast. If you've marketed correctly, you will still have customers anxious to do business with you!


Clate Mask
President, Infusionsoft

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

All the marketing news in one convenient, clickable place from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Though it introduced the three-wheeled open-air roadster in test markets in the U.S. in late 2007, Can-Am is just now launching a marketing campaign that comprises print, outdoor, TV, POP and interactive elements. The 30-second TV spot on cable drives viewers to Spyder's Comcast Video-On-Demand channel. The effort will also dovetail with local search and online advertising of the same theme and sponsorships. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
In the 2008 CoreBrand Brand Power Rankings, the companies showing the largest jumps in rankings versus 2007 include Kellogg Company, Bayer, Visa, St. Jude Medical and MasterCard. Top companies showing notable drops in rankings include Starbucks, PepsiCo, General Electric and Procter & Gamble. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Total holiday spending should come in around $12.73 billion, but Easter dinner will be a pared-back affair, with consumers spending about $37.67 for the meal, compared to $41.09 last year. Easter flowers will bloom less brightly, with spending falling from $9.11 to $7.55. And, alas, Americans seem to think they will consume fewer than the normal 16 billion jelly beans sold annually, and say they will cut spending on candy to $16.55, down from $18.12 in 2008. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Les Luchter
Activist groups are protesting company spokesman Magic Johnson's endorsement of the firm's "Money Now Loan," part of the category called "refund anticipation loans" and the tax service company suspended its quarterly dividend. But it did ink a nice deal with Walmart to be the exclusive in-store tax prep provider starting in 2010. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
According to a survey of more than 2,000 Americans contracted by the New Millennium Research Council, 19% of consumers with a cell phone have cut service in the last six months for recession-related reasons. Nearly 40% of the respondents who are on contract plans are likely to cut back on their cell phone plans and services if the recession gets deeper, according to the survey. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Tying for first place in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study are Buick and Jaguar. The jump is a big one for Buick, from sixth place last year, and an even bigger one for Jaguar. The former Ford brand was in 10th place last year. Following in the top five rankings this year, Lexus is second place, followed by sibling Toyota with Ford's Mercury brand in fifth place. ... Read the whole story > >

Sphere: Related Content

Social Media for Business Tips

From my email:

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

If you're new to the world of social networking, or can't understand why it's not working, you might not realize that online communities—like those at Facebook and Twitter—don't care for traditional marketing tactics. In a post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog, Paul Chaney serves up his top-ten tips for achieving social-media stardom. Some examples:

Remember to pull, not push. Social-media newbies often make the mistake of being too aggressive. "For example," says Chaney, "[they] respond to new Twitter followers with a 'Thanks for following. Visit my Web site for a free … [insert whatever promotional message you've seen.].'" Social networks are about conversations that build relationships, not indiscriminate come-ons.

Don't attempt social-network omnipresence. No one expects you to be everywhere, so choose the sites frequented by your customers. At a minimum, he advises, establish a presence at the big three: "LinkedIn is your business suit, Facebook is business casual, and Twitter is the 24/7 ongoing cocktail party."

Be yourself—literally. Chaney recommends using your own name as a handle and your headshot as an avatar, even if you're networking on behalf of your company. "[I]n social media," he remarks, "people would rather relate to and build trust with other people than brands. It's a trust economy after all."

The Po!nt: As quickly as social-networking tools have evolved, so too have the rules of the game. Becoming familiar with online protocol will smooth your path to digital success.

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full post.

Sphere: Related Content

The Danger of Dropping Your Pants

Some companies think that they have to drop their prices to survive right now. Yesterday I wrote about the stupidity of the marketing folks at Starbucks (click here). Today, I have proof from Click on the charts to make them BIGGER.

Big Price Cuts Linked to Long-Term Brand Damage

Companies that lower the prices of their products during the recession may risk damaging long-term brand perceptions because suspicious consumers assume something is wrong with the product or brand if it’s being discounted, according to a study from The Futures Company.Results from the Dollars & Consumer Sense 2009 study show that maintaining prices even in a down economy may actually be the best way to protect brand image. When asked what they assume when a brand lowers its prices during tough economic times, 70% of consumers say, “The brand is normally overpriced.” Another 62% of consumers said say”the product is old, about to expire or about to be updated, and the company is trying to get rid of it to make room for the new stuff.”


When probed about how they view a brand that does not lower its prices during economic times like these, 64% of consumers assume that “the product is extremely popular,” and another 64% say they assume that “the product is already a good value.”

J. Walker Smith, president of the Yankelovich Monitor and executive vice chairman of The Futures Company, said lowering prices during a recession can raise consumer suspicions. “Drastic price cuts like those seen during the past holiday season create a double-barreled risk for brands,” he said. “First, such price cuts generally fail to generate enough business to pay for themselves, although clearing inventory is of some value. Second, they create long-term difficulties in terms of consumer expectations.”

Smith also added that when a price is reduced, consumers delay purchase in anticipation of further price cuts. About half to 60% of study respondents think that when companies lower prices, it means that prices will go down further if they wait long enough. And roughly 50-70% percent think that brands that do not lower prices will have to do so eventually.

Anxiety over “Keeping Up

The study also examined consumer anxiety levels during the economic downturn and found that 50% of respondents are worried about keeping up with the cost of living, while 72% say the current financial crisis has forced them to prioritize what’s most important in their lives:


Related to this, the study divides consumers into eight key segments to show the wide variation in consumers’ economizing behaviors and lifestyle priorities, and it suggests how marketers can appeal to each segment. For example, one of the eight segments is called the “Postponers,” which represents 12% of all US consumers. These consumers are distinguished by the fact that they are putting off purchases in an effort to economize.

Price Cutting Affecting Retailers

To lend credence to study findings, a number of retailers have recently released quarterly and annual earnings releases indicating that markdowns, clearance pricing, and other significant price-cutting actions have negatively impacted gross margins and other financial results. These include Ann Taylor, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, and Costco. J. Crew and Ann Taylor’s business is entirely private label and Urban Outfitters has significant private label operations, writes Retailer Daily.

About the survey: The study was conducted by The Futures Company, which was formed in 2008 by the merger of Yankelovich, Inc., of Chapel Hill and Henley Centre HeadlightVision of London.The Dollars & Consumer Sense 2009 study was an RDD telephone survey conducted in January 2009 among 1,002 adults ages 18+.

Sphere: Related Content

Who Decides your Position in the Marketplace?

A thought provoking piece from the

Positioning — It’s not what you SAY. It’s what they THINK.

By John Furgurson

In the 1970’s Al Ries and Jack Trout popularized the concept of positioning. Since then, they’ve written dozens of books between them and have made a fortune on the speaking circuit.

Still, you could have a roomful of MBA’s and no two would agree on what positioning really means. Many people can’t even decide if the word is an active verb or a proper noun.

Most people think of positioning as a simple step ladder. The cheapest, lowest-end products are “positioned” at the bottom of the ladder, and the best, most expensive products are on the top shelf, if you will.

But positioning has little to do with real price or quality. Instead, it’s all about perception.

The whole concept of positioning is based on the simple fact that we form opinions about products and companies based on our own perception. These opinions are influenced by all sorts of things… word of mouth, personal experience, individual prejudices, blogs, the marketing efforts of the particular companies and a hundred other factors.

In our own minds we make some pretty broad — and often rash — assumptions about things. Call it consumer bigotry if you want to. The fact is, we pigeon hole companies and products the same way we pigeon hole political candidates.

As marketers, our goal is to tap into these existing perceptions and use them to our advantage.

Here’s a classic example. Back in1968, before the term positioning was ever invented, the makers of 7-Up scored a huge coup in the soft drink market.

Taste tests and other forms of consumer research revealed that people saw 7-Up as a refreshing alternative to colas. Respondents said it flat out… “it’s a nice change from all the cola I’ve been drinking.”

So the 7-Up executives decided to market the drink as the alternative to cola. It was a no-brainer, really. They simply took the existing perception in the marketplace and turned it into their strategy.

From a positioning standpoint this worked remarkably well for several reasons. First, it didn’t attempt to change anyone’s perception. It simply leveraged the existing public opinion.

Secondly, it effectively repositioned the competition. Without slamming them, 7-Up lumped Coke, Pepsi and RC all together in a single boring category of colas.

Finally, the new strategy made 7Up relevant to the young people who account for a large portion of soft drink sales. The campaign tapped into the prevalent anti-establishment mind set of the late 60’s. It actively encouraged defiance against the cola establishment and portrayed 7-Up as a symbol of dissent. The entire campaign summarized the popular values of the public and catapulted 7-Up into the position as the third leading soft drink in America.

Like all good positioning strategies, 7Up’s was simple and almost painfully obvious. Once the executives at 7-Up knew what consumers were thinking, there was no other way to go.

The creative execution of the strategy, however, was not so obvious. J. Walter Thompson’s simple two-word slogan “The UnCola” said it all. The campaign gave the product a personality, cemented the idea in our collective consciousness, and assured 7Up a place in advertising history.

While it is possible to build a positioning strategy around images alone, it’s usually a few simple words like “The Uncola” that solidify things in the consumer’s mind. Because you don’t “position” a product, you communicate its position.

“Just Do It” communicates Nike’s position as the shoe for serious sports. “Pizza Pizza” is a fun way to communicate Little Ceasar’s low-price strategy. “Avis, we try harder” communicated the benefit of being number two in the rental car business.

On the other hand, many automobile companies have struggled to find the words that capture the public perception of their brands. Oldsmobile, the now defunct GM brand, is a good example.

In its last 14 years, Oldsmobile floated no fewer than ten different slogans. Here’s a few of the real gems: “Olds Quality. Feel it.” “This is not your father’s olds.” “Demand Better.” “Look what happens when you demand better.” “Defy Convention.” “It knows the road.”

Ironically, the slogan that’s most memorable is the only one that even hints at the reality of Oldsmobile’s perception with American car buyers. “This is not your father’s Olds” used the old, fuddy-duddy perception of Oldsmobile and spun it in a positive way. Maybe if they’d have stuck with it for more than a year, the brand would still be alive today.

You wonder what kind of research Cadillac executives did that led them to believe they could compete with Honda and Toyota in the small car market. The Cimmeron failed miserably back in the 80’s. Then they’re tried again in the 90’s with Caterra, “The Caddi that zigs.” Now they’re trying to compete against BMW, Audi and Mercedes, with little success.

This is a classic case of force-feeding a product into a position in the market. But Cadillac as a sporty car just does not compute with the American public. It goes against everything Cadillac has ever stood for. The world’s biggest, most luxurious SUV is one thing, but we’ll never buy the concept of a small, sporty Cadillac.

On the same vein, Porsche is way off track trying to compete in the SUV market. The Porsche of SUV’s has a nice ring to it, but it will never really resonate with the public that sees Porsche as a rich-man’s sports car. What’s next, Chateaubriand at McDonald’s?

There’s an important distinction to be made here between niche marketing and positioning. Cadillac can decide to focus on the luxury sports car niche and can build a car specifically for that purpose. But that does not mean the product will ever be perceived that way in the minds of the consumer. The problem is, Audi and BMW already occupy that space in the consumer’s mind.

Here’s another trap that many companies fall into: They mistake their mission statement for a positioning strategy.

Fortune-500 companies miss the boat all the time on this. There’s a giant health care provider that recently formed an internal committee to study the “position” of the company and draft a “positioning statement.” What they came up with was a mission statement at best.

But your mission — your statement of purpose — may have nothing to do with your position in the market place. And vice versa.

A mission statement is concocted by a committee and exists in corporate brochures, annual reports, and press releases. A positioning statement is formed in the consumer’s mind. A mission statement is the rose-colored view of your company. A positioning statement is the gritty, 16mm view.

No doubt, the semantics of positioning can get confusing. But if you want to hedge your bets, think of it this way:

Positioning is not something you do, it’s something that happens. You can choose a narrow market niche, devise a new pricing strategy and launch a giant ad campaign that, together, may affect people’s perception of you. But you can’t technically “position” anything.

Sphere: Related Content

18 minutes to Success in Sales

That's how long it would take to watch all 9 of these videos from Jill Konrath. Tell you what, just bookmark this and watch one each day for the next couple of weeks and then repeat.

Selling to Big Companies Blog

2-Minute Sales Tips Ready for You Now!

Posted: 11 Mar 2009 06:46 AM PDT just posted NINE videos I created to help you increase your sales. When you have a few minutes, check them out.

I guarantee that you'll get some new ideas from these powerful 2-minute tips!

Please share these with your sales colleagues!

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

From my email:

by Karl Greenberg
The idea was developed as a way to articulate the RX brand. "The inspiration started first with the product," says the executive media director at Team One. "The RX is all about driver-inspired, so in the media space, it was 'how do you we bring this driver-inspired concept to life?' And we got the idea of how people consume content online. It was hatched at the agency, inspired by the client's product and pitched to Time, Inc." ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
This allergy season, the brand will donate $1 to the National Safety Council for every consumer who visits and takes an online pledge to drive safely. Claritin will also again sponsor Edwards on the NASCAR circuit. On April 26, he will drive the Claritin No. 99 Ford Fusion at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"Dos Equis has been extremely successful in driving brand growth in our core markets," says the vice president of marketing. "We thought this was the year to take it national." This week, the brand will begin showing the man--whose "charm is so contagious they've developed a vaccine for it" and "whose legend precedes him, the way lightning precedes thunder"--in commercials running on national cable and broadcast outlets. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
New ads for the company's soft lines don't mean it is letting up on its marketing push in appliances, a key area for the retailer. It says its Blue Appliance Crew work, which began appearing last fall, will also headline in the new campaign. Sears' executives have reportedly credited that campaign with the company's first gain in appliance market share in several years. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Hyundai plans to issue a global guideline for all its subsidiaries and distributors worldwide in order to unify the look and feel of all of its sites. The change includes an advanced geo-targeting technology that automatically identifies and displays relevant country information based on user location. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Bland tableside guacamoles are being reinvented as consumers look for fresh, healthy ways to snack. Freshly made, hand-mashed, chunky varieties that can be customized to taste with more/less onions, chiles and other seasonings are hot--and CCD stresses that marketers should look to apply the same lessons to many other types of food offerings. ... Read the whole story > >

Sphere: Related Content


Not your image, but the emotions that an image in your advertising can create...

The Marketing Minute

Say it without words

2576107488_23d011dfed I have written before how a headline can make or break an ad.

But that's only half of the one-two punch you use to get someone to read your marketing messages.

The visuals (photo, illustration, etc) that you use in your print ad, blog post or other marketing piece will also dramatically impact readership and memorability. (what story does the photo on the right tell you?)

Here are some do’s and don’t of maximizing your visual's effectiveness.

  • Look for story appeal. The man with the eye patch added mystery to the Hathaway shirt advertising for over 20 years.
  • Be simple. One big picture works better than several smaller ones. Avoid clutter.
  • Show the result. One exception to the one picture rule would be before and after shots. This is a great way to demonstrate product superiority.
  • Don’t be afraid to caption your visual. Readership of captions scores very high. If you think adding a caption will really drive home your message – do it.

Your copy can really get into the nitty gritty of your product or service. But, first you have to entice the reader to your copy with headlines and visuals that grab their attention. Don’t waste good copy by mixing it with boring headlines or common visuals.

Instead, grab ‘em and keep ‘em!

What's the most striking visual you've ever seen on a marketing piece or advertisement?

Sphere: Related Content

The Starbucks Saga Continues

Ya gotta feel sorry for Howard, at some point. After all from their humble begins to worldwide domination, they became the giant that everyone became addicted to, and now they are the giant that has lost their footing while other giants are wacking away at them.

Has Starbucks lost it's way? Will a poster campaign fix their image?

My answers: Yes and No.

Look Mr. Schultz, it's time to grow up and stand for what you are instead of being fickle and trying to change your image.

Starbucks is NOT going to get new customers by promoting low priced drinks. Instead they need to embrace their value and increase the prestige of drinking a Tall White Mocha, as the drink you have earned and deserve.

But no, they are running away from who they are and this will sink them further and further until either they can their marketing team or ask for a bail out.

Here's the latest from

Starbucks: Not as Expensive as You Think

CEO Sets Campaign to Combat Image Coffee Chain Is 'Poster Child for Excess'

CHICAGO ( -- Distressed that Starbucks has become the "poster child for excess," CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee company plans to run an ad campaign proving its coffee isn't expensive.

Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz
Photo Credit: AP
"There's a myth out there that there's this $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks," Mr. Schultz told shareholders at the company's annual investor meeting earlier today. "For whatever reason, Starbucks Coffee Co. has become the poster child for excess, and if you want to be really smart, you should cut out that $4 cup of coffee."

Not going to stay silent
Mr. Schultz, noting that half of the chain's beverages cost less than $3 and one-third are priced less than $2, admitted that Starbucks has been defined by its competitors. "Don't let anyone tell you their coffee is the same as Starbucks because it's not," he said. "We've been silent about these issues, but I can assure you we're not going to be silent for too long." Starbucks has also launched "value pairings," such as a breakfast sandwich or muffin and a drink, for $3.95.

Forthcoming advertising will attempt to convince consumers that Starbucks products aren't as expensive as they are perceived. Mr. Schultz said to expect social-media efforts, internet advertising, and more and sporadic TV ad buys he refers to as "brand sparks."

The company's presentation ended with a music video (rather than the usual live musical performance) of street musicians from around the world performing "Stand By Me." Mr. Schultz said the song would be incorporated into upcoming marketing efforts.

Starbucks has long eschewed traditional advertising, but has placed a number of TV ads since moving its business from Wieden & Kennedy to Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, in October. Mr. Schultz said that these ad buys have generated strong response with consumers. The chain gave away 2 million cups of coffee on Election Day, with a promotion by way of an ad during "Saturday Night Live." He said that the spike in traffic also resulted in incremental sales and the chain was profitable for the day.

Starbucks later partnered with Oprah Winfrey on an Inauguration Day-related volunteerism push. The chain did a limited ad buy, encouraging Americans to stop by Starbucks and get a free coffee in exchange for pledging five hours of community service before the end of the year. The day after President Barack Obama's Inauguration, Ms. Winfrey plugged the promotion on her show. Mr. Schultz said that the chain had racked up 1.25 million hours in pledged community service during the promotions two-week window.

Plans for Via instant coffee
Mr. Schultz also gave some insight into Via, the company's foray in instant coffee, as first reported by While the global instant-coffee market is valued at $17 billion, he said only about $1 billion of that is in the U.S. And Via, he hopes, will lure some people to convert from brewed coffee. Of the 65 billion cups of coffee brewed in the U.S. every year, Starbucks has only about 4% of the market. The company will attempt to change consumer behaviors at home, where 25% to 30% of coffee is wasted, and at work, where many people don't like the coffee that is sometimes offered free of charge in company kitchens.

Starbucks is testing Via in Seattle, without advertising, and in Chicago, with TV ads, in-store displays, and an outdoor push that has included on-the-street sample distribution, bus and shelter ads, and a fleet of hybrid cars marked with the Via logo. BBDO has anchored the Chicago effort. Mr. Schultz said that Starbucks would use the pilot period to determine the efficacy of the advertising. Via will launch nationwide this fall and internationally next year.

Starbucks is, of course, attempting a complicated turnaround. In January, the company reported earnings were down 69% to $74 million, due largely to restructuring charges and same-store sales down 10% in the U.S. alone. At the time, Mr. Schultz said the company was beginning to see improvement in its business. Starbucks reports earnings again next month.

Sphere: Related Content

New Ad Campaigns

This weeks edition from Amy at Mediapost:

Give us your best "O-face." "What's a left without a right?" M&Ms hide Easter eggs online... in Canada. Let's launch! launched two TV spots highlighting the revamped site's offerings. The first spot begins with the site name and variety of backslashes to depict the array of fantasy baseball content found online, from fantasy baseball leagues, baseball rumors and trades. The spot ends with a player being traded to a team called "Who's Your Boss." The team's owner is none other than uber baseball fan and childhood actress Alyssa Milano, who's shown making the trade online from her dressing room. Watch the ad here. The next ad shows the site's range in content, from Celtics information and Notre Dame scores, to columns penned by Bill Simmons and Biba Golic, table tennis star. I saw the trend building, until Golic was mentioned. See the ad here. Both ads conclude with the tagline "follow your sports." Wieden + Kennedy New York created the campaign.

I love the print campaign launched for "Ben," a sub-brand of Benjamin Moore paint that targets a younger audience. Launching in April issues of Cookie, Real Simple, InStyle, Wired, Details and Shape, the ads try to change the perception that Benjamin Moore is a pricey brand with a limited color selection. Creative uses colors and clever copy to describe the quest of finding the perfect shade: "It's somewhere between the color of your lips when you go outside in December with your hair still wet and the color of a puddle left by a melted grape Popsicle mixed with the color of that cough syrup that used to make me gag a little," says the run-on sentence in one ad. Words are bolded in various shades of purple and the perfect shade is found at the bottom of the ad in paint swatch form. See the ads here, here and here. Cramer-Krasselt New York created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Panasonic is launching an online and print campaign tomorrow in conjunction with NCAA March Madness. Promoting the company's Viera HDTVs, the ads target basketball fans through a sponsorship of March Madness on Demand and a 30-second spot airing as a pre-roll during live tournament games on The sound of a basketball game and snippets of arms and legs are shown through slits. These slits are actually the point of view of a die-hard basketball fan watching the game through covered eyes. The fan uncovers his eyes and watches the remainder of the game on his HDTV, nervously tapping his feet and grabbing his hair. See the ad here. Print ads, running in Sports Illustrated, USA Today and ESPN Magazine, lay out a to-do list in March Madness team bracket forms. Not surprisingly, the overall winner is "watch the game." See the ads here and here. Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners created the campaign and The Media Kitchen handled the media buy.

The Special Olympics launched a print campaign to stop the use of the word "retard" in casual conversation by loosely using other derogatory words in relaxed formats. "That's retarded is just an expression. As are 'tar baby' and 'Jew him down,"' reads one ad. "I feel like such a retard, says the chink to the faggot," reads another ad. See them here, here and here. BBDO New York created the ads.

M&M's is hiding Easter eggs with pin codes online and in specially marked packages. The more points a user collects, the greater the chances of winning prizes like trips to New York, Las Vegas or Orlando, Fla. Sadly, this fun, elaborate promotion is for Canadians only. The campaign is supported via TV, point of sale and online elements that explain contest details and feature M&M's characters "Red" and "Yellow" on their quest for eggs. The two "Join the Hunt" in one TV spot in which "Red" carries his eggs in a basket and "Yellow" stuffs them in his mouth. Watch it here. In "Bunny Suit," the Easter Bunny, who, in actuality, is "Red" and "Yellow" in disguise, hides eggs throughout a house. See it here. Online, users can visit to find hidden eggs throughout the site and play four games -- hopscotch, memory, word search and boat race -- to accrue additional points. Four Web sites are also hidden within, containing additional eggs. Even more eggs can be found in banner ads strategically placed on 260 Web sites. I wasn't kidding when I said this campaign was elaborate. BBDO Toronto created the TV spots; Proximity Canada developed the digital campaign and creative direction; Firstborn handled the design, flash, backend development and sequence animation for the site; and OMD Canada handled the media buy.

ASICS launched a pan-European print campaign this week entitled "Left and Right" promoting ASICS SportStyle leisure footwear. Each ad pairs two things together, such as "Up & Down," "Art & Science" and "East & West." Each item helps balance out the other, as described by the tagline "What's a left without a right?" "Adam & Eve" are tempted by present-day items in one ad, such as a gaming console, camera, jewelry and cupcakes. "East & West" demonstrate the balance between Asian and Western cultures with references to food, mythology and landmarks. See the ads here, here, here and here. Amsterdam Worldwide created the campaign.

Proximo and Three Olives (Three-O) vodka launched a contest called "What's Your O-Face?" Exactly. Insert all jokes here, like the company's description of the contest: it's "the look of surprise one has after tasting a shockingly delicious Three-O Vodka drink." To participate, users must upload a picture of their "O-face" online between now and May 31. A grand prize winner will be selected from 5 finalists and awarded $10,000 and a spot in a national ad campaign. Online ads are running on and Print ads promoting the campaign can be viewed here, here, here and here. Agent 16 created the print ads and Special Ops Media handled Web site development, online creative and media planning.

Mohawk Flooring launched an amusing print campaign to promote its SmartStrand stain resistant carpeting. To illustrate that its carpeting can take a lickin', Mohawk took average household events and placed an extreme spin on them. Like a dog knocking over a glass of red wine, for example. In Mohawk's world, the dog can sit surrounded by glasses of red wine without the need to panic. "Don't worry. It's SmartStrand," says the ad. Another ad features a group of school-aged, uniformed girls jumping rope on a carpet. The ads, seen here and here, are running in Elle D├ęcor, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Better Homes & Gardens Beautiful Homes. Cramer-Krasselt Milwaukee created the campaign and handled the media buy.

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

Sphere: Related Content

Don't Do This

From a recent email:

Avoid This Annoying Upselling Technique


By 6 a.m. I had finished my morning workout
at Lifetime Fitness (a wonderful facility,
with every machine and amenity imaginable,
except a golf course). I like to get my
exercise out of the way very early-that
way I neither feel the pain, nor remember
it, which is great for motivation.

As usual, I stopped at their Lifetime Cafe,
where for a mere $6 you can get a delicious
protein smoothie...quite a bargain compared
to a ballpark beer.

Also, as usual, I needed my once-daily
stiff cup of morning Joe. Theirs at the
Cafe is quite adequate, much better than
the swill you'd find at your roadside
convenience store. But certainly not as
good as Starbucks, conveniently located
just a few blocks from the club.

So as I've done hundreds of times, I
motored over to Starbucks and began
surveying the drive-thru traffic as
soon as it came into sight I have a
formula: four cars or more in the drive-
thru, I go inside to order. You always
have to figure one-in-four cars contains
a carpool, with the mom getting sugary
double-creme mocha fu-fu's for everybody,
then one won't be right and they have
to redo know the drill.

(By the way, hey Starbucks, how about
making an Express Lane for people who
just want a black coffee?)

This was my lucky day; just one car in
line! I pull up to the illuminated sign,
prepared to order. The almost-robotically-
cheery voice greets me with, "Welcome to
Starbucks! Would you like to start your
day with a delicious mocha creamy double
latte frou frou nutty java almond supreme
and a cup of oatmeal?"

Uh, no, I replied. I'd simply like a large
black coffee. Pike Place blend.

Another By the Way: I do not participate
in Starbuck's unique vocabulary for sizes
of coffee. Isn't Large something that
everyone understands?

So, what's my point? I understand and
endorse upselling. It's one of the greatest
sales concepts ever. But Starbucks, and
others, have it all wrong. Do NOT upsell
me before you know what I'm buying, or
why I am there to begin with.

Please do not annoy me, waste my time,
and piss off everyone in the growing line
behind me by making me sit through your
presentation on an entire breakfast when
I am just there to get a single cup of coffee.

A simple upselling concept is similar to a
general sales concept:

Make your recommendation based on what a
customer wants, or at least MIGHT want
in this situation.

Here's a piece of brilliance: base your
upsell on what the customer already is
buying. Duh.

I have to imagine that a company like
Starbucks, or McDonalds with 14 gazillion
locations might have just a bit of trend
data on what customers buy.

For example, if a person orders a coffee,
they often get a muffin, a scone, or
some other cholesterol bomb.

Oh, I understand that with the sheer
number of transactions per day, some
marketing executives in the corporate
tower will argue that the sales numbers
warrant the upsell speech before the customer
orders. Right. And how about the overwhelming
number of people you annoy in the process?

And how about us, upselling on outbound calls?

Do it. Of course, it is a proven concept.

The best time to help someone buy is when
they are already in the buying mode and have
their wallet out. But again, make your
recommendation based on what they already
ordered, and better yet, insert a question
before the upsell recommendation: For example,

"Pat, most of my customers who get the Deluxe
model also want to be sure they never experience
downtime. What type of backup plan do you have
in place?"

Customer: "Well, we really haven't thought that far..."

"Let's do this. Let's include the extra battery,
since that will ensure..."

I've only begun to scratch the surface of how
to upsell and cross sell. There are some best
practices for doing it correctly, and things to
avoid that ensure failure.


"Most of the important things in the world have been
accomplished by people who have kept on trying when
there seemed to be no hope at all."
Dale Carnegie

Go and have your best week ever!


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

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Look, read and click:

Financial Services
by Les Luchter
New spots show Hispanic consumers looking for--and getting--answers about insurance companies, agents and types of coverage. V-me's PBS-type environment makes it a "credible service to provide these educational vignettes," says Luis Sahagun, Farmers' advertising manager for diversity markets. He cites research showing that "Spanish-preferred consumers are hungry for informational material on insurance." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Says Ford's Kevin Schebil of the company's Toby Keith tour tie-in: "It gives us an opportunity to target a lifestyle category that aligns with the brand. We reach out to partners who are No. 1 in their categories. The purpose is to provide an experience nobody else can offer: The winners they get a private tour bus, an all-access pass; they eat, work and play with the band and crew from setup to everything between." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
Print ads for the Adamo, which takes its name from the Latin term "to fall in love," take a decidedly fashionable approach with models posing with the laptop as if it were a fashion accessory. The campaign was shot by British photographer Nadav Kander. The ads will appear in magazines such as, Esquire, The New Yorker, Cosmo, GQ, Wired, InStyle, Men's Journal, The New York Times Magazine and Dwell. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The campaign is paired with an online "Super Big Taste Bailout" promo where consumers can nominate a friend who needs a bailout; two winners and the friends who nominated them get a year's worth of Domino's Pizza items, with the prize delivered directly to their door by CEO Dave Brandon. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The message is a humorous way to remind consumers of tuna's versatility. "People know that tuna is nutritious, inexpensive and high in Omega-3's, but they tend to think of using it only in a few ways, like sandwiches and tuna-noodle casseroles," says Steve Levit, chief creative officer, McCann Erickson. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Increasingly, chains are expanding into higher-end products, proving that "upscale generics" may no longer be an oxymoron. Among the 80 new products that will be available in Walmart stores, for example, are thin-crust pizza, fat-free caramel swirl ice cream, and organic cage-free eggs. And Safeway just announced a new private-label seafood line called Waterfront Bistro. ... Read the whole story > >
by Gavin O'Malley
Insight Express finds that when banner ads featuring video and still images of pro athletes were tested against the same ads with no endorsement, there was a 180% increase in unaided brand awareness, along with a 56% improvement in message association, where participants correctly absorbed the attributes of tested products and services. ... Read the whole story > >

Sphere: Related Content