Saturday, April 11, 2009

5 from

Tonight I pulled this from my email for you:

Younger US Demos 12% Less Likely to Tweet

The majority of Twitter users worldwide are age 35 or older, and young adults ages 18-24 make up only 10.6% of the Twitter population in the US and are less likely than the average user to Tweet, according to an analysis of February data...


Top 10 Favorite Fast Food Chains: McDonald’s Still #1

McDonald’s and Burger King remain America’s #1 and #2 most preferred fast-food chains, while Subway unseated Wendy’s in 2008 to nab the #3 spot, according to research on the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry from Experian Simmons. Other major chains in the top-10 rankings, which show...

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in April; Job Fears Persist

Reversing seven months of crumbling confidence, Americans’ economic enthusiasm rallied this month as the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index hit 38.3, a 30.1-point jump from its dismal 8.2 March level and the first significant improvement since September 2008. The...

Marketing among Most Agile Company Functions

Though an overwhelming majority (88%) of global executives believe that organizational agility is important to business success, 27% say their company is at a competitive disadvantage because it is not agile enough to cope with market shifts, according to a study conducted by the Economist...

Behind the Curve: Week Ended April 10, 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: Online Radio Audience Soars 27% from 2008 Instant Messaging Most Popular Online Activity in...

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Stop It

From Drew:

Shame on you advertisers!

37034701 We've talked before about how the media hype is actually making the recession worse. How our fear is paralyzing us from spending a buck or making a business decision that involves any sort of an investment.

As you'll recall, I said I thought it was up to the businesses of this country to ignore the doomsday talk and get out there and behave our way out of the recession. We need to be smart but we need to grow our businesses just like we've always done. By investing in good people, good products and good services.

So that's why I find some of the recent ads I've seen so alarming.

An All State Insurance ad I just saw the other night started out like this (my paraphrasing): "Today, the longest walk of the day is the walk to the mailbox...where all those bills are just waiting for you."

A local ad here from a company that sells pool tables and accessories has the owner on camera, talking about he's taken a beating during the he is being forced to sell his wares practically at cost, just to pay the wholesaler's note.

Come on!

For a very small group of people, that's a true statement. But when the media...and now the advertising constantly tells all of us that we should be dismal and dread our mail -- we are just adding to the malaise of this country. We're making it worse.

Does that mean you shouldn't talk about how your product or service is a good value? Of course not. But stop wrapping it up in the recession flag. You should always be a good value, right? Did your potential customers not care about that when the economy was booming?

If you don't care so much about how your marketing is impacting the economy...ponder this. How many ads have you seen/heard/read in the last 30 days that referenced the recession or these tough economic times? Just about all of them! It's become the theme du jour, which means that your efforts sound a whole lot like everyone else's.

So whether you want to stand out or you want to be a part of the solution -- for the love of Pete, stop or if you're one of the few who hasn't jumped on the bandwagon yet -- don't start.

How can you (or are you already) marketing your product without using the recession as a crutch?

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Ethics 101

Here's today's sales training:

Daily Sales Tip: Are Ethics and Service Intertwined?

What is good for the customer must always supercede what's good for the salesperson. Going the "extra mile" for one's customers establishes a valued-based added dimension that will build trust, alleviate worry, and become the basis for all future business.

Criticizing the competition always cheapens us in the eyes of the customer. Prove how valuable each customer is by being honest, customer-focused and truly committed to exceeding your customer's needs. Time should be spent not in "brow beating" the competition, but rather in informing the customer of the benefits of doing business with you. This should be the goal for developing business.

Remember, today's customer requests are tomorrow's customer demands!

If you help your customers with what they need, they will come back to you for what they want! How are needs fulfilled? By doing what we can to meet the customer's timeline, requirements, and expectations in an enthusiastic, and ethical manner. This builds trust and when trust exists, relationships flourish!

Source: Business author/ethics coach Frank Bucaro (

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The campaign, supported by donations from local media, will span regional TV, radio, print and Web advertising and run through May. The attention-getting tagline is a lead-in to convey that patronizing restaurants feeds the local economy in significant ways that people might not normally consider. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Some of the softness, however, has more to do with a slight shift in the calendar, due to the later-than-usual Easter holiday. At Walmart, for example, while comparable-store sales in the U.S. made a slight gain of 0.6% during the five-week March period, company execs predict April sales will benefit from the late Easter holiday. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The company also discussed a program called "Drive@Earth" that will develop earth-friendly vehicles like the iMiev, a micro-sized, plug-in car planned for the U.S. market. "We think the time is alive for action innovation and new energy," said CEO Shinichi Kurihara, who said Mitsubishi wants to redefine North American business, the automaker's largest market outside of Japan. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Les Luchter
Broadband video is also part of the marketing mix, featuring a player developed by Discover Card's digital agency. During breaks in shows online, the 15-second TV spot runs in its own "ad pod," shown on a simulated computer screen sitting on a desktop and next to a bulletin board. When the viewer's cursor moves over objects sitting on the desktop or posted on the board, information pops up about the Cashback Bonus and other Discover Card services. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Nina M. Lentini
The latest in a series of a media-specific ad campaigns for the bank, this aerial message is intended to support FirstBank's positioning. Says Jonathan Schoenberg, creative director of TDA Advertising & Design in Boulder, Colo.: "They're not into extravagances. They haven't taken any bailout money. And they're doing great." The Rockies go up against the World Champion Phillies at 1:10 MT. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
With price points from $26 to $55, the three brands arrive at a tricky time for anyone selling teen apparel. Consistently higher-end brands, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, have been suffering sharp sales declines, while more price-sensitive chains, such as Aeropostale, have fared better. But recession aside, the demographic is as demanding now as ever: The Buckle, for example, continues to have stellar results, even with much of its denim at higher-price points. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Soul and Forte will accelerate Kia's efforts because they are meant for younger buyers. "We have found that the target we are going after -- more youthful buyers -- doesn't have a [pre-existing] perception of the Kia brand, so we have an opportunity to form that perception," says marketing VP Michael Sprague. "With our new ads, we are speaking their language." ... Read the whole story > >

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Start Up Buzz

From Drew:

The Marketing Minute

Four Buzz Tips from Startups (Emanuel Rosen)

Posted: 03 Apr 2009 05:35 AM PDT

51116081 Drew's Note: As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet another thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado...Emanual Rosen. Again. Enjoy!

In researching my books on word-of-mouth marketing, I’ve interviewed several entrepreneurs who have been successful in creating buzz for their business. Here are four lessons I have learned from them:

The most important buzz technology is your ear. When Brian Maxwell was developing an energy bar for athletes, he started by listening to what these folks had to say. The late co-founder of PowerBar estimated that he and his team talked with about 1,200 athletes during the development stage. When the product was ready, these people got some bars (and a follow up survey) and were the first to buzz about the product.

The right channel can create initial buzz. When Margot Fraser decided to market Birkenstock in the U.S., she went to the most natural channel: shoe stores. But shoe store owners didn’t believe anyone would buy these strange looking sandals. Fraser found that owners of health food stores were more receptive to the unconventional sandals. Many of them bought the product for their own use and buzzed to their customers about it. (A similar thing happened with PowerBar that spread through bicycle shops.)

People don’t buzz for money, but… everyone likes a little thank you note. Here’s an example: When you bring in a new member to Angie’s List, you get a one-pound bag of M&M’s. “From the very early days, we have put a big emphasis on rewarding our members when they get other people to join,” says Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List. The company used to send a blank check for seven dollars that you could make out to yourself or your favorite charity, but they discontinued this promotion. The M&M’s are still very popular…

People love to tell a good story. Consider this one: A few years ago, Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina where he found these cool canvas slip-on shoes called alpargatas. A few days later, he came across some impoverished kids who were running around barefoot and he had an idea: He would redesign the alpargatas and for every pair that he’d sell, he would give away another pair to a child in need. His company, Toms Shoes, has given away tens of thousands of shoes and is getting tons of buzz. “I wish I could give you some great topical or tactical way we’re doing this,” Mycoskie told me “but the truth is it’s just a great story and people feel good telling it.”

Emanuel Rosen is the author of the national bestseller The Anatomy of Buzz (Doubleday, 2000). His new book The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-Life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing, was published in February 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @EmanuelRosen, visit his web site or email

Purchase his new book The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited (which is'll find yourself quoting it all week!).

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day. Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute? Shoot me an e-mail.

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Branding: Art? Science? Both?

From a recent email from a Mediapost blog:

Understanding Consumers: It's All In The 'Cons'

Is brand building with consumers an art or a science? Angel Martinez answered this question during his keynote presentation at the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies' Media & Account Management Conference last week, where he recounted his life growing up in The Bronx, becoming CMO of Reebok, building it into a sports powerhouse and, most recently, joining the Deckers Outdoor Corp., maker of the Uggs and Teva shoe brands, as CEO and chairman.

Born in Cuba, Martinez and his family moved to the South Bronx, where he spent his teenage years. During the height of the Summer of Love (1968), his family moved to California's Bay Area. He summed up those two different worlds with two versions of the same shoe: Black high-top "Cons," Converse's "Chuck Taylor" shoes versus white low-top "Chucks." Wear the white low-tops in The Bronx and you'll get beat up. Wear the black high-tops in the Bay Area and you'll get beat up there. It was the purchase of his first pair of "Cons" that drew him to the footwear industry and interested him in marketing.

Growing up in those two different worlds gave Martinez insights into his work today as CEO of a trend-setting shoe and fashion marketer who aims to understand consumers' needs and deliver upon them. He shared 15 key insights for what all brand stewards -- Hispanic or general market -- ought to follow. Following are his five most memorable:

1)Pay attention: What is your product doing around the country? How is it being used and understood by consumers? At one time, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Dr. J were all spokespeople for Converse and yet the brand lost market share. Why? Because Converse lost touch of its brand value to basketball players and what those players needed.

2)Love what you do and do what you love: Martinez recounted advice from his days studying at UC-Davis that he gave to one of his fellow runners who didn't like running -- stop! If you don't like it, you'll get injured.

3)"The last three feet of the sale": During its infancy when Reebok only had $300,000 in annual revenue, Nike had a $60 million ad budget. Reebok strategically decided to let Nike's ad budgets attract consumers to shoe stores while positioning Reebok to the sales people as the "fun shoe to sell." Reebok put its entire marketing budget towards point of sale, or "the last three feet of the sale," that wall of shoes facing consumers. Not long after, Reebok surpassed Nike in sales.

4)Aerobics had nothing to do with shoes: Back in the '80s, it was un-feminine to sweat. Women weren't supposed to have muscles. Reebok offered women the possibility to discover their physical potential through aerobics. Also, women buy eight times as much footwear as men. That should have been obvious to everyone. But it wasn't. Consumers go through a five-step process in buying shoes: How do they look? Does the shoe feel good? How much does it cost? Will this help my running (and make me look cuter)? Do they have it in my size?

5)Brands endure because a creative vision stays intact: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Ralph Lauren all kept their creative visions intact for their respective brands, and therefore created long-term value. What is "North" for your brand, or the strategic intention? Asking that question is a key responsibility for an agency to its clients.

In conclusion, Martinez asked, "Is brand building an art or a science?" By highlighting his preference, he answered his own question. Then, he asked, why did Aristotle title his classic, The Art of Rhetoric and not The Science of Rhetoric? Because it is an art, and marketing, like rhetoric, is an art as well.

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Your 'tude

Good stuff here:

Daily Sales Tip: Your Attitude

Attitude is the "advance man" of our true selves. Its roots are inward, based on past experiences, but its fruit is outward. It is our best friend, or our worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It is a thing which draws people to us, or repels us. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past, the speaker of our present and the prophet of our future. Yet, your attitude is under whose control?

Your attitude is 100 percent under your control! There are a lot of things in life that we have no control over. For example, there is absolutely nothing we can do about how prospects react to us or our products and services. All we can do is control the way we react. Yet, so many salespeople let the prospect's reaction determine their outlook for the day. Think about it, are you as positive, upbeat and driven on a day full of rejection as you would be on a highly successful day?

How do you react to negative prospects? Do you walk away discouraged and complain about it or do you take control, stay focused and go on to the next call? Success is based on good judgment, and that is based on experience. And the only way one can gain experience is through failure. Isn't sales a numbers game? We have to fail often to succeed once. This is all about attitude.

How you react, how you think, what you say to yourself or what you believe about yourself is all under your control and comes out in your attitude. You must first realize that your attitude is 100 percent under your control and learn to reflect, confirm and take hold of your attitude. You must take hold of your attitude towards yourself, overcome fear and be able to deal with rejection in order to increase your productivity while saving time and money.

What is your attitude towards your organization, its team players and products and services? Do you have an owner's mentality? If so, what would you do differently? Now, why are you not doing it? You have to address these issues and have a strong belief before you can move on.

What is your attitude towards the market that you represent? Do you have a clear, full-color picture of your ideal prospect? Do you know your competition and their strengths and weaknesses? If you don't, is it fair to say that you don't know what you are doing?

If you don't believe in:
-- Yourself
-- The organization that you represent, its team, products and services and
-- The market that you are selling in; move on and find something you do believe in.

How could you convince anyone else to believe in something that you yourself don't believe in?

Source: Sales speaker/author Bob Urichuck (

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Happy Clicking!

Financial Services
by Les Luchter
"Freedom Is ..." replaced a strictly brand-centric campaign that had been celebrating Ent's 50th anniversary, says Lisa Wiesner, account supervisor at Vladimir Jones, the independent Colorado Springs agency behind the campaign. While "Freedom Is ..." was also predominantly image-based at first, its flexibility allowed expansion into security and trust themes as the nation's economic crisis worsened, she says. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
In one of the stranger press conferences and one that is most emblematic of where the automakers stand, Chrysler had Vice Chairman Jim Press rolling out in ... a Fiat 500, joking about how the entire car is the size of a Hemi engine. He also made a barely noticeable slip of the tongue, describing the car as making a Camry -- or rather cameo -- appearance. You can take the man out of Toyota ... ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
In addition to small online buys to promote the fundraiser, Kroger will provide point-of-purchase support in its bread aisles from mid-April through mid-May, as well as floor decals. In addition, the Grain Foods Foundation is organizing appearances with Food Network host Ted Allen. The foundation, formed in 2004 to defend carbs from the Atkins onslaught, also uses Facebook and Twitter in its marketing efforts. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"The day will come when we will be liberated from fossil fuel, but that day is years away," said Volkswagen Group of America's Stefan Jacoby. "Internal combustion engines are benefiting from clean diesel and optimized gasoline, and these improvements come without massive investments." The new Jetta TDI diesel car gets 58 mpg. "We should have cars getting up to 70 mpg in the next 10 years." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"That Burger King and Nickelodeon would sell kids meals by associating a beloved, male character like SpongeBob with lechery shows how little either company cares about the well-being of the children they target, says a child activist group. But BK says the spot is meant to appeal to adults, and it is being shown "only during shows targeting adult audiences." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer for the Herndon, Va.-based Audi of America, says Audi will introduce turbo direct injection (TDI), clean diesel engines in the U.S. this year with an emotional appeal that is also meant to continue Audi's brand-building efforts in the U.S. ... Read the whole story > >

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Is Your Story Your U.S.P. ?

The next couple of weeks at work, I am training my sales staff how to stop selling "spots", and start selling campaigns. (A spot is a commercial or an ad).

We are digging into the depth of a business and looking at what makes them Unique to their customers in a positive manner. Thus the term Unique Selling Proposition.

Barry LaBov shares one way to approach this:

A Story Makes it Taste Even Better

Take a tour of wine country and you'll learn about wine - and the value of a great story.

I recently went to some cult (meaning expensive) wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley. I had the chance to meet the vintners (owners) and, of course, got to sample some wonderful wine.

But the best wineries all had one thing in common. Each had its unique story. One owner told of how he accidentally happened upon his winery. Another had learned at the feet of the finest French wine experts. Yet another was a family business - they told of how their dad started the business and how the family is taking it into the 21st century. Only one that I visited had no story, nothing unique or memorable about it.

The best wineries didn't allow me to taste their wine until they shared their story. When I did taste their wine, I appreciated it, it felt special to me. Coincidentally, the winery with no special story was a disappointment - and their wine didn't knock me out.

Makes sense. A customer can get a widget anywhere. But if you want that customer to become a fan, to have passion about your company, they first need to know the story about why that widget was created. They need to know your story.

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New Ad Campaigns

Amy at Mediapost writes this for us each week:

Shred bills while waiting for the bus. Foodless food ads. Keep your pants on; Big Brother is watching. Let's launch!

The third time's the charm for the Dorchester Collection. Its first two print ads, seen here and here, promoted different hotels from its portfolio by combining pictures of living and dead celebrities to showcase their famous guests. The ads were creepy, to say the least, which is why I'm thrilled to share the third execution, containing zero celebrities. The latest ad, seen here, promotes the Beverly Hills Hotel and its famous swimming pool. "Where the world's most visible people come to be invisible," says the ad, as pool water splashes up. The ad debuts in the U.K. and U.S. issues of Vanity Fair. Fun factoids about celebrity guests can be found on the Dorchester Web site. Here's one: Johnny Weissmuller landed the role for "Tarzan' after the director saw him jump into the hotel's swimming pool to save a drowning girl. Draftfcb London created the campaign

The California Milk Processor Board launched an animated TV spot on Spanish-language television that stars a princess who's sad because she's PMSing. I much prefer the universal language of: do we really need to advertise milk as the heroic figure for hormonal women during their monthly cycle? The ad begins with a beautiful princess, who cries tears that become an ocean of water, engulfing anything in its way, including a suitor bearing flowers. A knight in shining calcium, OK, armor, brings the princess a glass of milk and the clouds part and the sun shines... until next month. Watch the ad here. Grupo Gallegos created the campaign and handled the media buy. Animation house Psyop produced the ads.

Boost Mobile launched 3-D transit shelter ads in Chicago and Boston as part of the company's "Unwronged" campaign, promoting the lack of hidden fees in its $50-a-month unlimited plan. One ad features an actual working paper shredder along with the tag line "UNcontract'D." The remaining two ads place a giant screw and a hose in between UN and D, forming "unscrewed" and "unhosed." See the ads here, here, and here, running until May 24. 180LA created the ads.

In conjunction with the G20 summit, Divine Chocolate, a fair-trade chocolate brand, created " Egg a Politician" in an effort to place fair trade on the agenda. Players can throw chocolate eggs at Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, Manmohan Singh or Wen Jiabao. Once two eggs are thrown, an optional petition appears for players to sign, showing support for the importance of free trade.

The more iPhone ads I see, the more I want one. Is there anything it can't do? Apple launched three TV ads Monday promoting its app-tastic device. One ad targets college students, showing off apps for finding apartments close to campus or places to buy the cheapest textbooks. See it here. There's an app that turns your iPhone into a compass! And another that helps newbie birdwatchers figure out what they're looking at. Once they've stopped bird watching, they can look up ways to treat poison ivy. Watch it here. The final ad shows apps ideally made for small business owners, such as processing credit card transactions, printing labels and tracking packages. See the ad here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Co-workers having sex at the office. Nothing novel about that, but don't expect the U.S. Postal Service to deliver you an anonymous postcard promoting that nugget of knowledge. Adam Rifkin shot his movie "Look," from the point of view of security cameras. The film follows the actions of random people when they think no one's around. In an effort to promote the movie's May 5 DVD release, Rifkin created four anonymous postcards for distribution. The first was sent without a hitch. The second, not so much. The picture is a still from the movie, and what you see is two people, surrounded by lamp boxes, getting it on. Copy reads: "It is legal for your company to get permission to install hidden cameras in the workplace." The back reads: "Will you be watching? May 5, 2009." See the picture here, because it won't be arriving in the mail anytime soon.

Newcity magazine, a free arts and entertainment weekly in Chicago, launched a print and outdoor campaign where human puppets remove their strings and men shave their wooly sheep legs so they can break away from the monotony. "Reject the herd mentality," reads the ad, featuring a man shearing wool from his leg. In another ad, a man bites through the rope that keeps him in puppet formation. "Detach from the mainstream" reads the ad. See creative here, here and here. Euro RSCG Chicago created the campaign and the media buy was handled in-house.

The Gatorade ad that ran during Monday's NCAA game gave me goose bumps. The black-and-white ad features retired UCLA coach John Wooden reading a poem while vintage, memorable footage of Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Kevin Durant is shown onscreen. "A careful man I must always be; A little fellow follows me... He thinks that I am good and fine, believes in every word of mine. The base in me he must not see; This little chap who follows me. I must be careful as I go, through summer's sun and winter's snow; because I'm building for the years to be; this little chap who follows me," reads Wooden. Watching a college-aged Jordan dunk the ball is incredible. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles.

Nu-Kitchen launched a print, transit shelter, wildposting and online ad campaign in New York earlier this year to promote its subscription-based gourmet meal delivery program. There's not a drop of food to be seen, just copy and food names placed on white plates. "Applewood smoked turkey with orzo normandy" reads one ad. "Knock knock. Who's there? Orange-chile tilapia with black forbidden rice," reads another ad. No joke. Click here, here, here and here to see the ads. ML Rogers created the campaign and Media Alternatives and Ad Ventures handled the media buy.

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

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Improve your Marketing with Twitter & Social Media

So, I get up with my alarm this morning and head to the office before anyone else has arrived except Bonnie our receptionist who is here at 7am and the morning air staff. (My office is a radio station.)

I hop online and on twitter, and there is a link to the following story which demonstrates in itself, the power of social media.

But it's up to you and your company to decide if and when you join the Twitterverse. Your customers have and will. What about you? Can you afford NOT to? This story is from

This morning my home wifi was having trouble and I posted a message to Twitter saying, "My wife has decided to start the day with a call to Comcast customer service, I should have offered to poke her in the eye with a spoon. Would have been more fun for her." Within minutes a man named Bill (@ComcastBill, really) publicly replied to ask if he could help.

I didn't think much of it, I assumed he was camped on a search.twitter results page for the word "Comcast" or maybe had subscribed to an RSS feed for the search. It turns out though, that far more than that was happening behind the scenes. An extensive machinery of tracking, delegation and analysis stood between Bill and my little Tweet. Maybe it has to be that way, maybe it's a good thing - but there's something deeply disturbing about it too.

Companies all around the world know that "social media" is important and they are investing time and money into figuring out how to deal with it. Early this morning website analytics heavyweights WebTrends announced that they have made a deal with upstart social media monitoring firm Radian6 to offer a co-branded solution for keeping track of blog posts, Tweets, and other online ephemera mentioning your company.

Now the company's customers will not only be able to see extensive traffic data and to pull that data from what WebTrends calls the first free traffic data API on the market - they'll also be able to view social media mentions off-site in a relatively sophisticated interface. I asked Radin6's Chris Ramsey about what probably went on behind the scenes after I Tweeted about Comcast this morning. He said he couldn't say how Comcast in particular was using the software but it wasn't just a casual conversation. "Absolutely," he said. "There is more going on there."


Radian6 offers a sophisticated interface, but it's an odd one too. It's built in Flash and allows a fair number of different ways to slice and dice data. Data like, how many people are talking about you online vs. a competitor and the relative "influence" of those people. There's more advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology on the way into Radian6. Ramsey told us today that "if you look at all the major CRM companies out there, they are adding social listening technology - and as a social listening service, we're adding CRM."

ComcastBill.jpgThe interface is slick like an iPhone, though, and an iPhone you can't jailbreak. The company gives you a variety of ways to deal with the data but you can't, for example, get an RSS feed out of it. There's something that feels condescending about these kinds of services. Why can't the marketers using them learn how to use the web, like the rest of us have? That's not an entirely fair critique as many sophisticated marketing geeks find systems like this (and Radian6 in particular) useful for dealing with data in aggregate. Many customers in this market, though, are jumping over from a workflow based on sticky notes and pasting blobs of text into Excel, and sometimes very infrequently even doing that. [Left, @ComcastBill]

The fact is, subscribing to a search feed for relevant terms in various search engines just isn't going to scale for larger businesses. When your online customer service team has a substantial number of people in it, you're probably going to need a system that goes beyond informal familiarity with people and one-off responses to online mentions. Dell's VP of Communities and Conversation, for example, has at least 45 people working under him. Having a system to listen, analyze, track, and export data from makes sense.

This isn't a story just about Comcast, Dell, WebTrends or Radian6. It's a story about corporate engagement with emerging social media.

"Social media is like the social phone, smart companies are listening to that and managing it with some process around it," Radian6's Chris Ramsey says, "That's the evolution of the call center." He says that many major companies have roadmaps that point to training a new breed of marketing and communications/customer service hybrids to staff their call centers.

The end result, though, is strange for those of us interacting with these customer service reps. It's not just Bill from Comcast and I trading public replies on Twitter (I can't DM him, he's not following me), and when Bonnie pinged me hours later in response to conversation about this article, it wasn't a casual person-to-person conversation. It looks like it's just you and them, but behind them there's a curtain covering a whole mess of cogs and pulleys, analyzing you in different ways. How many followers do you have? How did you respond the last time a company rep used your name publicly? Who's in charge of discussing your concerns with you on Twitter, on your blog, or elsewhere?


Add the fact that many of these positions are, or will someday be filled with sales people, have them view these conversations through a closed system of predetermined criteria, and set it all inside a big CRM database. What do you get? Is it a story of authentic connection in a democratized public conversation - or is it a charade?

It's kind of a modern day horror story, isn't it? Web 2.0's potential benefit for humanity tragically sold short by social media because it fell under a fog of marketing software. Would-be short-form conversationalists jumping in with CRM-tinted glasses secured to their faces. One of my co-workers says that within minutes of his wife Tweeting about her art studio last night, she was friended by scads of art companies and salespeople. Who wants to have a conversation in that context?

Or maybe it's just a matter of changing our expectations. Maybe this is all good; the new customer service - a lot like the old customer service, but in your blog comments and replies tab. What do you think? We'd sure like to know, because we expect there will be a whole lot more activity like this in the near term future.

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Talk with the Person with the Power

Lately, I've noticed my sales staff, at least some of the newer ones talking to the wrong person.

Here's some advice you must follow from the archives of

Identifying the Decision Maker

With so many people and job titles in an organization, it can be hard to find the decision maker you need to speak with. After all, it could be the VP, the CFO, the Director, the Managing Director, Purchasing, etc. Way too many choices, but it's something you have to keep digging at until you find the right person.

"If you are not speaking with a decision-maker your sales cycle will lengthen and you may run the risk of losing the opportunity altogether," says telesales expert Wendy Weiss.

"Influencers" influence. They do not decide.

Here's the bottom line from Weiss: "If you are not speaking with a decision-maker, you are not speaking with a qualified prospect. Far too many sales representatives spend far too much time courting prospects who can never and will never make a decision."

"One way to ensure that you are always speaking with the decision-maker is to always call the highest-level person that you believe would make the decision," continues Weiss. "That person will either be your correct prospect, or they will know who is and they can point you in the right direction."

Once you've got that prospect on the phone, make sure to ask the following questions. This way you will be certain that you are speaking with the decision-maker.

1. What is your decision-making process?
2. How have you made this decision before?
3. What are the steps in your decision-making process?
4. How long does it take?
5. Who is involved in the decision-making process?
6. Who makes the final decision?
7. Who else will you be speaking with about this decision?
8. After we submit our proposal/bid/quote, what happens next?
9. How long will that take?
10.When do you expect to make a decision?
11.When would you like to begin?

Learn more from cold calling expert Wendy Weiss at or email her at

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Clickable Goodies from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
For the first time, Cerveza Tecate is expanding beyond Spanish-language media to reach Hispanic and non-Hispanic fans of the fistic science. The media deal with ESPN gives the White Plains, N.Y.-based division of FEMSA/Heineken, prime real estate on the network's Spanish and English-language boxing content on TV, online and on radio. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
The gains are commendable, not just because they buck other retail trends, but because they occur in a year where there was actually a decline in the number of convenience stores. Store count dropped about 1% in the year, as "many stores closed because of the punishing economic conditions and record-low motor fuels margins the industry faced during the first three quarters of 2008," says the group association. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Bread, sweet spreads, frozen meals, side dishes and coffee have been among the biggest winners, reports the research firm, which re-forecast all of its Oxygen reports for 2008 and 2007 to reflect the past year's unprecedented economic changes. Mintel now estimates that bread sales jumped a hefty 7% last year -- a large increase over its original 2.1% projection. ... Read the whole story > >
by Les Luchter
Overall, the study concludes: "We need to ensure that our brands and the products/compounds they represent help resolve any conflict people may have around medication in a positive way. In effect, we should look to position medicine as a way for them to seize control, not abdicate it -- as a means, not an end unto itself ... ." ... Read the whole story > >
by Mark Walsh
Jewelry retailers saw the biggest percentage gains last month, with the average order size and dollar value increasing 13.8% and 13%, respectively. The health and beauty category likewise enjoyed an uptick, boosting average order and amount by 6.9% and 5.3%, respectively. Average time spent on health and beauty sites also increased 12% in March. ... Read the whole story > >

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Business Twittering?

A few tips for you:
Four Twitter Tools for Business Research

Twitter is a highly adaptable tool that can be utilized for a multitude of purposes. People tweet for fun, business, information, news, and in emergencies. You would think that 140 characters limit you, but people are still able to share articles, pictures, and videos.

Twitter not only helps you connect with millions of people, it is a phenomenal research tool. Businesses and organizations collectively pay millions of dollars for case studies, reports, white papers, think tanks, and focus groups in the hopes of obtaining business-building information on their industries and target markets.

Small businesses that cannot afford to use up their marketing budget on expensive reports have some alternatives, and Twitter is one of them. Twitter is a free resource that can be utilized to supplement your existing research efforts. Where market research and case studies can take months and years to come to fruition, Twitter is a real-time source for data. Where think tanks and focus groups are limited by size, location, and time constraints, Twitter is global and always on.

So let's look at a few of the tools that will help you target, gather, and organize the information you need.

Twellow is the Yellow Pages of Twitter, only better than the traditional Yellow Pages. It has some very useful features and is adding new ones to keep up with the changing needs of its subscribers. The Yellow Pages never did that. As a research tool, you can use the Directory to search by category or location, you can use Twellowhood to geographically target and research statistical information (United States and Canada only at this time), and you can use Twellow Pulse to monitor conversations in up to 20 categories. (

Tweetbeep is equivalent to Google Alerts. It gives you the ability to monitor your brand, your company, your name, and your industry. It saves you time because it sends all of this information to your email inbox (or folder) to be cataloged and analyzed on your time schedule. (

NearbyTweets is a new site which went live in January 2009 and looks to be something that will only grow in popularity when the buzz begins to build. NearbyTweets is a great real-time search utility. You can watch tweets from people based on location and keyword. It displays people that are nearby and what they are talking about at this moment.

While the other applications allow you to search based on YOUR interests, as you pick the key words, categories, and locations, NearbyTweets takes it a step further by allowing you to see what interests OTHERS. This is especially useful if you are interested in geographical and local market research. It's like sitting in a Starbucks, in that you hear all the conversations going on around you, but when you jump into their conversation no one thinks you are a weirdo because that is what you do on Twitter.

Great marketing is about tapping into the interests of your target market. With this application you do not have to be friends with these people on Twitter to see what they are saying, you do not need to know what categories or keywords they fall into, and you do not have to wait for it to come into your email inbox. It's as real-time as you can get. (

Tweetdeck gives you the ability to organize the Twitter madness, and is a real time saver (if you don't stay on it all day). After you have used all of the tools listed above, you can organize, categorize, and monitor your finds. The wonderful thing about this application is that it is a one-stop shop; you can organize, monitor, search, and respond all without opening your web browser. You can also use this application for research by grouping your Twitter contacts, watching key words, and engaging your network in relevant conversation. (

(Source: The Get Smart Blog, 03/09/09. The complete article can be found here.)

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