Saturday, April 25, 2009

Going Crazy

From Drew's blog:

Now is the perfect time to try some crazy marketing idea

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:39 AM PDT

Why not? Everyone's in a tailspin about the economy and you have some down time. Why not try something bold? Dare I say... get a little crazy.

An excellent photographer here in Central Iowa sent this to me the other day. Is it risky? Sure. But did it get me thinking? You bet.


My guess is, he could fill some dead spots in his calendar with some pretty interesting projects.

He solidifies his relationship with existing clients. He creates new relationships with people who might not have given him a try.

But best of all, he reminds us that he's willing to be creative, flexible and work/think with his clients, not just for them. We're going to remember that long after the recession ends.

What crazy idea do you have buzzing around in your head? What could you do in your marketplace to cause a stir. Or even a disturbance? What could you do that sounds crazy....but maybe crazy like a fox?

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Learn from the Leader: Tide

From Brandweek:

What It Takes To Be a Top Marketer

-By Elaine Wong

The Procter & Gamble headquarters in downtown Cincinnati is known locally as the Two Towers. Built in 1985, the twin, octagon-topped buildings are sheathed in untold tons of white limestone and soar 17 stories into the Midwestern sky. From the outside, a visitor might guess that P&G could be a prosperous insurance company, but the appearance is deceptive. The company owes its 172-year history to fostering a culture of innovation and that means its legacy depends on risk-takers and innovators, albeit ones that work within a somewhat rigid corporate framework.

Years ago, Suzanne Watson thrived in a similar environment that was bound by inelastic rules, but rewarded improvisation and quick thinking: the basketball court. Watson was an “Orange Woman,” a guard on the NCAA Division I women’s basketball team at Syracuse University. Now she applies those qualities to one of the highest profile jobs in marketing—managing P&G’s Tide brand. Recruiter Howard Gross, managing director of Boyden Global Executive Search in New York, says people in Watson’s position need to have qualities that are similar to a succesful athlete, including being “comfortable being in the limelight, and being held accountable, and, most importantly, being able to tolerate pressure.”

Ed Tazzia, a recruiting exec at Gundersen Partners in Detroit, agrees. “The marketing in [the P&G] environment is the driver of business,” he says. “In other companies, it’s driven by operations, finance … where the primary driver is the management of risks: ‘How much can I charge? Who should get a credit card?’ In packaged goods, no matter if it’s detergent or fine fragrances or health and beauty aids, the consumer packaged goods companies are driven by marketing people.”

Watson, now 34 and a mother of two, still has more than a trace of the confidence derived from being a star athlete. On a recent February morning, Watson emerged from an elevator at P&G headquarters sporting a pair of leopard-print pumps and a snug, black turtleneck. That day, she exhibited the ability to think on her feet in several instances and admitted that her dynamism, sometimes, has its downside. “I’m so energized by seeing change and moving things forward that sometimes,” Watson says, “I’m eager to move a bit faster than my feet can carry me.”

Watson needs all the mental bandwidth she can muster. Tide has some $3.5 billion in annual sales, but growth is threatened by the economy—consumers are tempted to switch to cheaper laundry detergents. For the 52 weeks ending Jan. 25, Tide topped the liquid laundry detergent category with $1.3 billion in sales, but its other variants, such as Tide Simple Pleasures, fell 43 percent, or $36 million in sales, per IRI. Private label posted much bigger gains, up 23.4 percent in dollar sales, or $115 million, for the same period.

“People feel comfortable with Tide,” concedes Paul Leinwand, vp with consulting firm Booz & Co., Chicago. “But a good percentage of people [using a less expensive brand] might just as easily say, ‘That product experience was fine, my clothes are clean, I saved money.’” Like any marketer, Watson is presented with an infinite array of media choices—TV, print, social media, radio, mobile, etc.—that makes supporting a brand like Tide arguably much harder than it was 10 years ago.

This morning, Watson’s workday starts in a seventh-floor “huddle room.” A space big enough for only four people, a table and an erasable marker board, these glass-enclosed conference rooms are all over P&G’s marketing floors. Just around the corner is Watson’s workstation—bare for the most part, save for a finger painting by her daughter, Naomi, and some Tide mock-up boxes lying around. (At P&G, side-by-side cubicles are meant to encourage “open collaboration” among colleagues). In the huddle, Watson is sitting with fellow P&Ger Rodrigo Coronel, her new digital mentor. Watson has never met Coronel before, which makes this a good time to outline her recession-era vision for the brand, one that depends on linking Tide with social good. The idea is human life requires four basic elements—and you can count on Tide for one of them.

“Food, water, shelter—and clothing,” Watson chirps, moments after the meeting, ticking off survival requirements on her fingers. “Clothing is one necessity Tide can deliver on,” she explains. “When things are bad, food, water and shelter are essentials. But being able to put a fresh T-shirt over your head? That is a small miracle, a ray of hope that things are going to be OK.” Just for emphasis, Watson holds a big jug of Tide aloft.

The idea of bolstering branded goods with philanthropy isn’t new, but it’s an increasingly popular option in a down economy. During this year’s Academy Awards, Frito-Lay ran ads for its TrueNorth nut brand, spotlighting people who have started community service projects. Kellogg’s Super Bowl ad was all about encouraging moms to nominate local playing fields for renovation. “With President Obama we are ushering in an era of service. Community service is bigger than green,” says Simon Sinek, president of Sinek Partners, a branding consultancy.

Still, when consumers are in penny-pinching mode, such an argument is hardly a cure-all. Coronel knows as much. In an economic downturn, he says, consumers aren’t just choosing between “Tide and the competition,” but “Tide and a fancy dinner, or Tide and something else.” As such, Watson and Tide are both looking for new ways to talk about value—including via digital platforms, which is what Coronel is here to discuss.

Watson seems more excited than daunted by the prospect. “One of the things I have a lot of passion and energy for is, ‘How do we connect with the consumer?’” she says.

Watson’s kinetic energy is no act. Watson’s head, however, is all business. After earning her MBA at the University of Michigan, she joined P&G as an assistant brand manager for Era in 2001. She never left. She also never forgot the aptitudes of the basketball court, so you might say that Watson now plays every position for Tide’s team. As associate marketing director, she’s responsible for everything from marketing and research to focus groups and finance.

And Tide is more than an important, heritage brand (see “Six Decades of Suds,” below); it’s also a farm team for P&G leadership. A.G. Lafley, the company’s CEO since 2000, had stewardship of the brand in his early years. So, too, did Susan Arnold, P&G’s first female company president, who recently retired. Watson’s supervisor, Alessandro Tosolini, also came from Tide, and he has since assumed oversight of North American fabric care.

It’s a position that requires an ability to think ahead, while also navigating the present. As Watson puts it: “It’s a balance of the fundamentals with pushing that envelope towards innovation.”

Such innovation during her tenure has come via variants like Tide Coldwater (energy efficiency through the use of cold-water cleaning), Tide with Febreze Freshness (a union of two of P&G’s most successful brands) and, most recently, Tide Total Care, launched in partnership with sibling fabric softener Downy.

Though many of those innovations involved cross-brand synergy (i.e., adding Febreze or another P&G product to the mix), Watson’s current marketing challenge is more about simplifying the message behind the core one. “I really try to distill it to its simplest form, which is, ‘What is the consumer need?’”

Right now, she knows the need is stretching the family budget. Though her past launches came in advance of the official recession, she’s been working on that theme for quite some time. For example, Tide Total Care, launched last summer, claims to keep clothes looking new even after 30 cycles through the washing machine. “Consumers right now, more than ever, need ways and solutions to care for their clothes and have them last longer,” Watson says. These days, she adds, Total Care helps moms “make more economical decisions on the outfits she and her family wear everyday.” And with Tide in general, she says, the driving force of the marketing message must continue to center on making a difference—palpable, financial—in people’s lives.

Watson has been pondering this idea for much of the day, even during what passes for lunch: a nibble on a chip and a few bites of a turkey sandwich, hold the mayo, no tomato. Thus far, skeptics of her vision for Tide have asked her a question that, admittedly, has no easy answer: “Tide is a detergent,” she says of what cynics tell her. “How can it help people? C’mon.”

Watson’s attempt to answer that question is the “Loads of Hope” program, a vision that’s been honed into a much-anticipated 30-second commercial spot by Saatchi & Saatchi. The screening was supposed to be at 1 p.m., until a technical glitch in the video conference room. Watson’s 1:30 appointment stayed put, a half-hour agency summit recap with Tide brand manager Mark Christenson, who promises: “Saatchi’s going to make a sizzling video.”

By 2 p.m., Watson and Christenson take seats in a chilly conference room, facing a screen where three agency execs from Saatchi are in virtual attendance. Reps from pr firm DeVries and Starcom MediaVest Group, Tide’s media buying agency, are listening on the line. As soon as Pete Carter, the advertising development director on Tide, takes his seat, Watson begins: “As we think about this video, keep in mind there are over 5 million Americans displaced from their homes each year due to natural disasters. It deprives them of basic human needs such as fresh clothing,” she says. Roll tape.

The spot opens with unsettling footage of homes flattened to the ground by a hurricane; block after block of soaked debris and torn-off roofs. Then, suddenly, into the picture backs a gleaming new tractor-trailer painted in Tide’s signature orange. The trailer, it turns out, is a rolling laundromat, equipped with 20 washer/drier units, interspersed by shelves stocked with huge jugs of Tide. “Every year, millions of Americans face disaster,” intones the narrator. “That’s why we created the Tide Loads of Hope program. A free laundry service that provides clean clothes to families affected by disasters.”

The spot shifts over to footage of bedraggled but genuinely grateful people picking up their laundry from the truck. “It feels so good to be able to know that I’ve got clean clothes,” says one woman, her face creased with emotion. “You don’t know how very basic essentials are,” offers a second, “until you have none.”

Suddenly, Watson’s claim that Tide is behind one of life’s essentials doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Tide’s Loads of Hope program originally started as a charity effort to serve victims of Hurricane Katrina. (That truck, incidentally, has done more than 30,000 loads of laundry to date.) This month, however, Loads of Hope has spurred new packaging for the Tide bottle—the screw-cap is a bright yellow—and a portion of sales now benefit victims of natural disasters.

Even cynics might have a tough time arguing against the benefits of clean clothes when your house has been blown down the street. As a piece of marketing, it’s clearly affected people in this conference room.

“You guys feel good about that?” Watson asks when the video stops. “Yes, I like that a lot,” says the DeVries rep over the phone. “It nearly made me cry. It’s good,” says Mandy Earnshaw, the Tide relationship brand manager. “Triple that emotion,” adds Christenson. “I like it a lot,” Carter says. After some discussion of the bottle color, Carter brings the debate to its crux. “The question is,” he says, “Are people going to be touched and moved to want to buy Tide?” Watson, after a pause to confirm with those gathered around her, says she thinks it will.

Judging by her reputation, that’s not wishful thinking, either. Colleagues who work with Watson say she’s unafraid to point out inconvenient truths. Christenson witnessed it from his first day. The two were on their way to a progress meeting with a marketing partner, and “Suzanne was about two seconds walking in there when she spoke very candidly about what our partner could be doing better,” he says. “She got straight to the point. She was pushing him: ‘This is Tide and we have expectations,’ but at the same time, she did that in a very positive and clear way, and came back and did the same thing on our end. It was a very two-way, straightforward conversation. I can’t believe how quickly we got to the heart of the matter.”

“As a rule,” says Kash Shaikh, Tide’s external relations manager who’s worked with Watson for nearly four years, “what Suzanne does is take in advice and coaching from people at senior and junior levels, and multidigest their recommendations, and [then] is able to internalize and balance that with her gut, instincts and perception.”

Another key to Watson’s efficacy on the job is optimism—marketing isn’t a field for crêpe hangers. Rather than sensing doom in widespread layoffs and a drop in consumer spending, Watson sees the current times as an opportunity. The detergent category, she insists, “is in a healthy state of growth.” How’s that? Cultural trends like eco-friendliness and the development of new cleaning technologies are giving what used to be just laundry a chance to be trendy in the consumer’s mind. Watson cites Tide’s Swash—a line of sprays and atomizers that refresh and unwrinkle clothing without a formal washing—as an example.

Whether Loads of Hope will, in the end, succeed is anyone’s guess. But for now, the day is fading outside the seventh floor windows, and Watson (who’s managed only a few bites of a now-soggy turkey sandwich in between her incessant phone calls, meetings and general running around) is clearly pleased with what she’s seen today. Though perhaps her colleagues don’t notice it, Watson has a curious habit of picking up Tide bottles left around the office and looking at them lovingly, almost as though they’re babies.

Which, of course, for a marketer, they are. “Whenever I’m in a decision mode and there are different pros and cons, and things we’re weighing,” she says, “it always comes down to this: ‘If you do right by the consumer, you will always do right.’ It has served me well in my career.”

Six Decades of Suds
Sometime in the early summer of 1945, Procter & Gamble executives gathered for a top-secret demonstration of a product that had been in the lab for years. Known internally as Project X, it was one part alkyl sulfate and three parts sodium tripolyphosphate. Project X was the answer to one of the most nagging household problems of modern times: The fact that ordinary soap did not wash clothes well in hard water, which is what most American homes of the period had. The fluffy, granular product demonstrated in the room that day was the world’s first successful synthetic detergent. And once the marketing folks got a hold of it, Project X had a new name: Tide.

Though Tide is still heralded as an historic chemical breakthrough—and indeed, it was—marketing is what put Tide on the map. Realizing that competitors Lever Brothers and Colgate were seeking a similar game-changing product, P&G execs sped up the R&D while shrewdly timing Tide’s 1946 release with the exploding postwar popularity of the home washing machine. P&G marketers quietly inked deals with several manufacturers to include a box of Tide inside every new washer shipped. (Such deals, today, are forbidden by the Federal Trade Commission.)

Though nobody’s sure where the name “Tide” came from, the vivid orange box and bull’s-eye logo were adopted early, and have stayed, with a few minor tweaks, ever since. Early marketing billed Tide as “a Washday Miracle” that would get clothes “cleaner than soap” could. The slogan “Oceans of Suds”—required to explain the Tide name in the early days—eventually gave way to more modern ones, including “Cleans down to the fiber” and “Tide’s in … Dirt’s out.”

By the time the 1950s rolled around, Tide had cornered a 30 percent share of the laundry market. It’s been the No. 1 selling detergent since.

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Not Just the Facts, Ma'am

Struggling in sales? Are you leaving out the emotion?

Can We Get Irrational for a Moment?

"The most common frustration I see, and I see it daily, comes from marketers who can't figure out why more people won't buy their product," says Seth Godin in a post at his blog. All the rational arguments in the world, it seems, won't dissuade irrational customers from giving their business to a lesser competitor.

"You know that your car is more aerodynamic," reports Godin. "You know that your insulation is more effective. You know that your insurance has a higher ROI." A sale should be as simple as proving your value to the customer, right? But you won't come to terms with a customer's reticence—or find a way to resolve it—until you realize he's not interested in charts and graphs.

Rather, argues Godin, he's considering a million abstract variables like what his boss will think; how difficult a switchover might be; or, perhaps, whether the decision will have a positive impact on his professional reputation. Even the best fact-and-figures speech holds little sway in the presence of these considerations.

The Po!nt: Don't appeal to irrational attitudes with a rational pitch. "The opportunity," says Godin, "is not to insist that your customers get more rational, but instead to embrace just how irrational they are."

Source: Seth Godin's Blog. Click here for the full post.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
The consultancy predicts sales will increase in the second half in line with the firm's own 8.5 million-unit retail and 10.4 million-unit total light-vehicle forecast for the year. It also estimates demand growing by 20 million units through 2014, driven by a number of factors. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
From a marketing standpoint, as consumer demand shifts to products that are more effective, Mintel expects to see an even greater emphasis on sampling, promotions, and discounting, and much less on image advertising: "Companies will do what they need to do to maintain brand recognition, but sampling is the No. 1 reason women switch to something new, and marketers know that." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
To highlight Klum's designs -- and consumers' ability to create their own designs -- LG has created a print advertising campaign that depicts Klum painted in butterflies, just like one of her back plate designs. The ad will appear in weekly magazines as well as fashion monthlies. The company has also created an online banner ad of the same image. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Major League Baseball is running a promotion with People magazine timed with the league's All-Star game. The program extending People's "Heroes Among Us" franchise, is called "All-Stars Among Us," and spotlights regular people who have done heroic or extraordinary things in their communities. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The ANA and the 4A's said that the solutions include becoming better educated about digital media, setting clear goals and understanding business objectives up front, understanding the consumer, being willing to test and learn, and committing to metrics and analytics. ... Read the whole story > >
by Mark Walsh
One of the goals of Facebook's most recent redesign was for brand pages to be more seamlessly integrated into the stream of social interaction on the site. The changes essentially allow brands to assimilate into the general Facebook population by having profile pages like other users, status updates and the ability to pop up in fans' news feeds. ... Read the whole story > >

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Internet Lingo Explained

Not just the lingo, but the difference and benefits. From the EffectiveWebMedia blog:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are two key ways to drive qualified traffic to your Web site. Because 80% of a Web site’s traffic comes from search engines I would suggest using both techniques (depending on the product or service) to boost traffic to your site. Each method is very valuable but is entirely different from one another. SEO and PPC differ in the following ways:


SEO works by optimizing the structure and content of a Web page for a set of determined keywords so that it is viewed as reputable and valuable by the search engines. SEO also relies on maximizing the quality and quantity of incoming links to your site. For a more detailed explanation of how SEO works you can learn more with our SEO Made Simple series.

PPC (specifically Google AdWords) works by establishing a set of keywords and then building an ad using optimizing for those keywords that links back to your site.

Placement on Page

Pay-Per-Click vs. Search Engine Optimization

When you utilize SEO the results of your efforts will appear in the natural or organic search results.

PPC ads appear on the side of a search engine results page and at the top if there are a high number of competitors targeting the same keywords.

Traffic Potential & Time Frame

Because SEO is a process not a project, results and rankings are not achieved overnight. It can take months of consistent, proven SEO techniques before your site will begin to appear amongst the top rankings. SEO is definitely a long term investment. However, if you are patient the results will be well worth it. SEO tends to bring 3x-5x more visitor to your site compared to PPC and the conversion rates from “visitors” to “buyers” also tends to be higher. This is due in part to the fact that Web sites that appear within the natural results are interpreted as trustworthy by users and therefor clicked on more regularly than PPC ads, which the user obviously knows are paid spots.

PPC is beneficial for driving immediate traffic to a site. This is useful for sites that are new, products that are seasonal or time sensitive, or instances when you simply cannot wait for an SEO campaign to bring in traffic.

Cost Investment

One of the myths of SEO is that it’s free. While with SEO you do not pay per visitor, there is a cost incurred. Cost comes in the form of designing a well optimized site, making modifications to an existing site, and hiring a qualified SEO company or consultant to develop a successful strategy to get your site ranked. Of course there is the DIY version, however this may wind up costing you more money in the long run if you do not fully understand what you are doing or if you “upset” the search engines. It is also worth noting that with SEO you are paying for something that will be long lasting. The return on your investment will continue to grow over time.

With PPC you pay for each time someone clicks on your ad. Google PPC uses a bidding strategy where the cost and your ad location depends on a number of things including the number of competitors who are targeting the same keywords as you and the level of relevance your ad has to your Web site. The higher your bid, the higher your ad will appear within the PPC ads. Cost per click can vary from day to day. Don’t worry though, you can set a max. per click amount as well as a monthly budget.

Our friends at WebProNews do a great job explaining the differences of SEO and PPC.

The best way to see whether SEO or PPC works best for your organization is to test both methods and measure the results. By looking at the results you can also determine where and how you can improve your efforts.

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Mom's Day Spending Prediction for 2009

No surprise here, but remember it's the thought that counts? From

It’s not easy having the hardest job in the world, but mom will likely understand the reasoning behind smaller, less expensive gifts for Mother’s Day. According to NRF’s 2009 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, Americans will spend an average of $123.89 per person, compared to last year’s $138.63. Total Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.10 billion, which is slightly more than Easter.

Of the four in five Americans (83.3%) who will celebrate Mother’s Day, the majority will focus on the women with whom they are closest. Most people (62.4%) will purchase gifts for their mother/stepmother or wife (21.7%) and scale back on gifts for daughters (8.8% vs. 9.4% in 2008), friends (6.8% vs. 7.1% in 2008) and godmothers (1.6% vs. 2.1% in 2008) in order to save some money.

The majority of people (66.8%) will buy flowers for mom, spending a total of $1.9 billion on those purchases. Slightly more than half (54.8%) will treat mom to a special outing such as dinner or brunch, for a total of $2.7 billion. People will also spend $2.3 billion on jewelry, $1.5 billion on gift cards, $1.2 billion on clothing or clothing accessories, and $1.1 million on personal services such as a day at the spa. In addition, consumers will spend $857 million on electronics or computer-related accessories, $587 million on housewares and gardening tools, and $487 million on books or CDs.

In the search for the best bargains, one-third (30.2%) of Mother’s Day shoppers will purchase mom’s gift from discount stores, while 27.2 percent will search out their favorite department store. Others will head to specialty stores like florists, gift stores and electronics stores (33.0%) and specialty clothing stores (5.5%). As evidence that the internet continues to play an important role in the way people shop, 18.2 percent will shop online.

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New or Traditional Media?

I was at a lunch seminar a few days ago and one of the members on the panel mentioned websites as traditional media.

Which got me to thinking, how long does a media need to be around before it moves from NEW to TRADITIONAL?

Before you answer that question, look at this from the THINKing blog:


Link to THINKing

Social Media Generates Leads For Mainstream Marketers

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 07:45 AM PDT

More mainstream marketers are jumping on the social media bandwagon. The Center for Media Research reports,

According to a social media study by Michael Stelzner for the Social Media Success Summit 2009, 88% of marketers in a recent survey say they are now using some form of social media to market their business, though 72% of those using it say they have only been at it a few months or less.

The study further indicates that “64% of marketers are using social media for five hours or more each week, with 39% using it 10 or more hours weekly and 9.6% spending more than 20 hours each week with social media.

Why the sudden surge? Because it is working.

More than 80 percent of the survey respondents say social media has generated exposure; 61 percent say it has increased traffic, subscribers, list; 48 percent say it has generated leads, and 35 percent say it has helped close sales.Small business owners are most likely to report positive benefits from using social media. Its low relative cost levels the playing field.

Twitter leads the way among marketers, with 86 percent saying they have tried it. Twitter now beats out the New York Times in terms of traffic. Today, there are 10 million users, a growth rate of more than 1,000 percent in the past year. If you are new to Twitter, here is a quick overview of how to get started.

Are you using social media effectively? Tell us about it.

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The Basics from Jim

(I have the book Jim mentions):

Salesmanship 101

Salesmanship - I just love that word.

It's the ability to sell.

It's 50% art and 50% science. Of course that's
my opinion.

Ask most salespeople and they'll say it's 90%
art and 10% science.

I know, because that's how I felt years ago. I
believe there is a science to successful selling
and it's not acquired through osmosis.

You have to dig for it. You have to ratchet up your
level of interest and curiosity.

You have to take courses, you have to read books
and magazines, and you have to listen to CDs.

Throughout my sales career I've made lots of mistakes.

But I've always had my learning meter set to the
highest levels.

I'm just determined to get better and I hope you
are too.

I have a sales tip for you that will enhance your
salesmanship and improve your selling results.

Basically, the sales tip is just a reminder to
stop talking and start asking more questions.

What's the big deal about asking questions, you
might be wondering?

For starters you can't learn anything while you're

People who are good listeners always seem to be
more likable, and that's a good thing especially
if you're in sales.

The longer you've been in sales, the more careful
you have to be about controlling how much talking
you do - because that's not good salesmanship.

In fact the more you know about your products and
services, the more you are inclined to share with your
sales prospects and customers.

You see what happens when you don't ask questions
is that it forces you to make unnecessary assumptions.

The less you know, the more you assume!

When you combine how much you don't know about a
sales prospect with how much you do know, because
of years of experience, about your products and
services the results can be disastrous.

With limited knowledge about your sales prospect
you're forced to tell all there is to tell about your
products and services.

But there is a better way and I discovered it
just about 21 years ago.

Like most people in sales I enjoy talking, but I
enjoy selling more. And I can guarantee you, without
any doubt, you will sell a lot more when
you learn to employ your ears before you engage
your mouth - that's salesmanship!

About 20 years ago I stopped showing up and
throwing up on my sales prospects and customers.

It was easy to do as long as I began my presentation
with really good questions.

Here's an example of what I'm mean.

About 20 years ago a sales manager called me and
asked about my availability to do a one day sales
training program.

I recall asking him a bunch of questions and
learning a number of things about his sales team.

His sales team sold drum chemicals.

His sales team consisted of 50 salesmen - no women.

His sales team had an average age of 55.

The sales manager provided his sales team with one
day of sales training every year.

I kept asking questions and finally asked this

"How will you measure the success of my one-day
sales training program with your sales team?"

He thought for a moment and then reminded me that
his sales team sold drum chemicals, consisted of 50
men, and the 50 men had an average age of 55.

He then added, "You know Jim, if in the middle
of the afternoon, no one is sleeping, I'll consider your
sales training to be a very effective."

I can't make this stuff up - this actually happened.

I had to ask the question to learn how this sales
manager would measure the success of my sales
training program.

It made my sales presentation more focused on his

In fact, it allowed me to say, "Based on what you
just told me, I'd like to tell you how I'll keep your
salespeople awake and engaged throughout the
afternoon of the sales training program."

And of course I did.

And of course I got the sales training assignment.

And of course I kept his salespeople (all of them)
awake during the afternoon.

That's the story and here's the point. The less
you say the smarter you'll sound.

Asking questions will give you more insight and
credibility. Always get your customer talking
first - that's what salesmanship is all about.

Doing it this way will make what you say even more
powerful and persuasive because it's based on what
they said first.

So Salesmanship 101 begins with lesson # 1 - simply
stated it's to start with your customers not with your
products. Ask good questions!

If you like this question, you might also like 11
others I have in my best-selling book titled, "The 12
Best Questions To Ask Customers."

Here's the link to learn more:

Special Bonus: All eBook orders will receive a link
to get a copy of my Special Report titled, "25 Ways
To Get Motivated To Have A Sensational Year."

Contribute Your Two Cents


Don't Be Too Busy To Get Smart

Spend less!

Cutbacks are in!

Stop investing in yourself!

Throw in the towel and lower your prices.

Eliminate sales training - it costs too much!

Eliminate advertising - it only works during good times!

Follow your instincts to join the herd of frustrated

On the other hand . . .

You can join me and a small group of professional
salespeople May 13-14, 2009 in Tampa for my 2-day
Sales Training Program.

You don't know, what you don't know.

Come on a learning safari with me and discover what
really matters most during these challenging times.

Get complete details here:

Get details here:

Favorite Quote

Success is that old ABC - ability, breaks and courage.
Charles Luckman

Are You Twittering Yet:

Start selling more today and everyday . . .

Jim Meisenheimer

20.5 years . . .

520 customers . . .

72.7% repeat business . . .

P.S. - tell me what your biggest frustration is today selling in a recession.

Maybe I can help you . . .

P.P.S. - Stop talking and start asking intelligent questions.

Learn about my 12 best questions here:

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

I'm out at our cities brand new ball park tonight, in the meantime, check out these headlines about baseball and other marketing news:

by Karl Greenberg
Although the partnership with the studio is limited to the film and the All-Star game, MLB's John Brody says the level of integration between national marketing and local teams, and with traditional and non-traditional assets, is the kind of "360-degree" program around a jewel event that MLB will look to pursue again. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The drop would likely have been worse, if not for the iPhone. The company said it activated more than 1.6 million iPhones during the first quarter, with more than 40% of those activations being new customers. The company noted that iPhone users produced higher than average monthly revenues per subscriber than non-iPhone users. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Supermarket analyst Jim Prevor says that for all the posturing large chains have done about smaller format stores, only Aldi -- a limited-selection store -- and Trader Joe's have been "really successful." Part of the problem is F&E's uniform merchandise. "It sells exactly the same product mix in a store in upscale Scottsdale, Ariz. as it does in downscale Compton, Calif.," he says. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
To stand out amid the din of increasingly confusing green claims being made by all kinds of products, "you can't just flop a wind-energy or other green message on a label," says Margaret Kime, director of innovation with brand-building consultancy Fletcher Knight. "You need to make the green benefits relevant to the brand experience as a whole." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"All they have to do is create easy-to-find search ads to pursue this 10% of potential guests ... who want to find an 'okay' hotel quickly," says Synovate's Sheri Lambert. "But it's not simply search marketing. There's also the 19% of people who research every hotel in the area. A well-considered and beautifully presented online strategy is a must." ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by David Goetzl
Dove Marketing Director Kathy O'Brien said the "Gossip Girl" link is rooted by the strong ratings the show enjoys among twenty-something women, while the women's stories focus on those "who have taken risks to pursue their own life passions." The effort is an extension of Dove's five-year-old campaign for "Real Beauty." ... Read the whole story > >

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New Ad Campaigns

From Amy at Mediapost:

Apple launched four timely, top-notch Mac Vs PC spots last weekend. My favorites are "Biohazard" and "Time Traveler." PC wears a biohazard suit in the first ad to protect himself from viruses. "Are you gonna live in that suit forever?" Mac asks. PC can't hear through his suit and removes his helmet. He then screams like a little girl once he realizes he's contaminated. See it here . In the next ad, PC uses a time machine to travel to the year 2150, to see if current PC problems are rectified. "Future PC, have they figured out how to fix our issues?" asks present PC. "Future PC just froze," responds future Mac. Watch it here . Another ad reveals PC's growing pile of legal copy when he describes his "ease of use." See it here . In the final ad, seen here , PC rifles through piles of pictures, looking for photos of his friend. Mac informs him about "Faces," a program in iPhoto that aggregates photos of the same person and saves them all in one place. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Send Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Roger Federer back to the 1970s, and Federer wins, hands down, the award for most confidence. All he had to do was look unusually comfortable in platform shoes. In a 60-second spot for Gillette, the men recreate the opening scene from "Saturday Night Fever," complete with "Stayin' Alive" playing in the background. Jeter is the first to turn heads in his leather jacket, shirt and gold chain. Woods soon follows in a similar outfit, except he's wearing golf shoes. Federer is happy as a clam in his platforms as Jeter and Woods shake their heads. Watch the ad here , which debuted at Yankee Stadium on April 16. This retro-fabulous ad promotes the Gillette Fusion razor and the chance to receive a free razor. BBDO created the ad.

ESPN launched three TV spots promoting MLB on ESPN. Buster Olney gets his story. He blends in with pillars; he speaks Japanese to Ichiro Suzuki and he live-blogs from the Cub's locker room to describe the taste of the bottom of a player's shoe. Interesting. Watch his antics here . Peter Gammons has the inside scoop on anything baseball. He uses outdated communication forms -- homing pigeons -- to relay up-to-date information to baseball fans. See it here . The final ad, starring Steve Phillips, is the weakest of the three ads. Although the former Mets GM does name-drop David Wright, that can't save this ad, seen here . Wieden + Kennedy NY created the campaign.

Major League Baseball launched "This is Beyond Baseball," a TV campaign that looks at individual players and how they made it to the big leagues. TV spots will run throughout the baseball season on ESPN, FOX, TBS, MLB Network and The first two ads star Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. Growing up, Lincecum's dad taught him tricks to ensure that he followed through with his delivery. Now, he's a Cy Young winner. The ad for Howard describes how his parents marched for Civil Rights in 1963 and instilled strength into their son. Howard plays for the reigning World Series Champs. "This is beyond inspiration. This is beyond baseball," conclude the ads, seen here and here . McCann Erickson New York created the campaign and Universal McCann handled the media buy.

The Boston Bruins launched three amusing TV spots running on NESN and in-arena at the TD BankNorth Garden to coincide with the NHL Playoffs. Never date within the division is the lesson learned in the first ad. A Bruins fan takes a Canadiens fan out and Blades, the Bruins mascot, disapproves of the dueling jerseys. "But she's so pretty," whispers the Bruins fan. Blades knocks the man's beer from his hand and pulls his jersey over his head. Watch the ad here . The next lesson is painfully clear: never tuck in your jersey, especially a Bruins jersey. See the ad here . One man learned the hard way that talking on your cell phone during a game is a big no-no in the eyes of Blades. Watch the ad here . Mullen created the campaign and media buying was handled in-house.

Sticking with hockey, VERSUS launched two TV spots promoting its coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs campaign. "Every Moment" is a hodgepodge of hockey moments, including a zamboni, a puck dropping, two players slamming into the glass and a close-up of the Stanley Cup. Watch it here . "Look Up" features players on the ice, players on the bench and coaches looking up, as the sound of a ticking clock is heard. "In the playoffs, the clock is everyone's opponent," reads closing copy. See the ad here . The Brooklyn Brothers created the campaign.

Chase might be new to California, but it's not new to banking. Following its buyout of WaMu, Chase launched a 30-second TV spot introducing itself to California residents. Bauhaus' Peter Murphy covers the John Lennon song "Instant Karma" in the spot, where the Chase logo plays the role of shining sun while a surfer surfs, a swimmer swims and a biker drives down an empty highway. The song used in the ad might be released as a single. Watch the ad here . Mcgarrybowen created the ad and Zenith Media handled the media buy.

HBO launched a set of teasers ads promoting the second season of "True Blood," back in June. Print and outdoor ads, running through mid-May, feature the same creative with varying taglines: "Ready For Seconds," "Ready For New Blood," and "Ready To Be Bitten Again," appear along with the season 2 start date of "JUNE" and the HBO logo. See the ads here , here and here. Bemis Balkind created the ads and PHD handled the media buy.

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

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A Marketing Organization Chart

So many times I come across a business that wants to advertise to EVERYONE! While I can use my three radio stations to reach over 120,000 "everyones" age 12 and older, there is wisdom in defining who your ideal customer is. This is from Lorraine Ball at Roundpeg:

Marketing Organization Chart - A Closer Look at Strategy

In December, I introduced a graphic of a Marketing Organization Chart I found on a blog post by John Jansch of DuctTape Marketing .

This post has been extremely popular, and I thought it would be valuable to take a closer look at some of the elements of the diagram

So in a series of post, I am going to explore in a little more detail each of the four elements: Strategy, Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Customer Service.

stratgeyThere are three main elements of Strategy:

  • Ideal Customer
  • Core Message
  • Marketing Material

Ideal customer. This is the element most small business owners wrestle with the most. They ae always afraid if they define the target too narrowly, they will be leaving people out.

The trick is to focus on your IDEAL customer. THis is not your ONLY customer. But the more tightly you define your ideal, the easier it is to build the other elements of the strategy. If you are too broad your marketing messages are too vagute.

Core Message. Once you identify your ideal customer it is easier to decide what to say. What does your core customer want most? What will they value, what problem can you help them solve. The more closely you can articulate their pain, the more likely it is they will listen to what you have to say.

Marketing Material. This is more than a brochure or we site. At the strategy phase it involves thinking about the most effective way to get the attention of your idea client. Is it print or electronic communication? Will you need to raech your client face to face.

Spend some time thinking about just these elements. Anwer these questions before you launch into lead generation.

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I hope you're not Fakin' it

...because if you are, people will see right through you.

Walk the Walk, Evangelists

"Evangelism" is the catchword of the day. Companies are diligently turning their customer-service reps into "evangelists." How precious. But is there something behind this movement? Is evangelism actually taking CRM to a new level? Ben McConnell thinks so, and he cites an example at the Church of the Customer Blog. "It's one thing for your company to say, in blog posts and email newsletters, that it loves customers," says McConnell. "It's another thing to go out and do the hard work of brand grassroots-building, and demonstrate it face-to-face."

That's what he says Betsy Weber, chief evangelist at Michigan software company TechSmith, does daily. "[Betsy is] building a passionate fan base for TechSmith by meeting customers and being the warm, caring person she is naturally," he notes. He cites some of her evangelical numbers. Over the past six years, Betsy has:

  • Met 7,000 customers in person
  • Attended 30 conferences per year
  • Picked up 3,000 followers on Twitter

Have her efforts paid off? Apparently so. "TechSmith has done well in that time: double-digit revenue growth every year," McConnell says.

The message for marketers? Be a good listener. The old model of talking the talk (hawking your products to a mass market) has shifted to walking the walk (letting your customers have their say, and adjusting your offerings accordingly).

The Po!nt: Walk that extra CRM mile. These days, engaging with customers across a range of media is a real key to keeping them loyal.

Source: Church of the Customer Blog. Read the full post here.

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Weed 'em out

Do you have standards for yourself and who you deal with? I presented this yesterday to my sales staff. It's from Steve Clark.

To Qualify Or Disqualify

What’s the difference between qualifying and disqualifying and how’s it accomplished? I’m assuming we’re talking about someone who might be interested in what you have to offer.

It’s all in the mindset. Qualifying implies that the salesperson is looking to “qualify” the prospect as someone they might try to sell to. In this case the sales person is the one doing the selling. Disqualifying is just the opposite. The sales person is looking for every reason to stop the selling process. This makes the prospect the one that has to sell the salesperson on continuing the sales process.

The way it is accomplished is called going for the “NO”. This is accomplished by following a systematic process, which the salesperson controls, and which the prospect must be willing to submit. If the prospect fails to follow the process, or fights the salesperson for control of the process or refuses to answer the salespersons questions then the salesperson disqualifies them. The smart sales person know that at any given time only about 5 – 10 percent of the people they talk to will end up becoming a client. They don’t fight this. They just learn to “cull” people quickly and move on.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Got some fun stuff planned for Thursday on Collective Wisdom, but for now here's some clickables from Mediapost...

by Karlene Lukovitz
"The social media interns of today will be the CMOs of tomorrow, as social media becomes a fulcrum for communications strategies," predicts Reggie Bradford, CEO of social media services provider Vitrue, adding that if he were "20 again," he'd take the job even without pay. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The new ad campaign features singer/actress Zooey Deschanel, R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, and country singer/musician Miranda Lambert, who each perform songs. The effort, via DDB New York, comprises new television commercials that began airing this month as well as print and Internet components. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The campaign will also include print, out-of-home and point-of-purchase materials. A text messaging campaign -- to go along with the "Tex Message" idea presented in the ads -- is also forthcoming, says the Texaco brand manager. "It's a link that we want to make with the new language that young people are using right now. We are going to use this in other activities that will come soon." ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Les Luchter
But "the party appears over" for what Colloquy terms the "Golden Age of credit card reward programs." Growth in financial services rewards will slow down in coming years, Colloquy predicts, as a result of the dramatic increase already experienced, the banking crisis, the recession, possible regulatory changes, portfolio consolidation and card issuers exiting the business. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Coors' Keystone, A-B/InBev's Busch, and Miller Brewing Co.'s Milwaukee's Best and Icehouse demonstrate that longevity doesn't mean equity. The brands are so besmirched that the breweries should consider retiring them, says YouGovPolimetrix. The index, which tracks 30 beer brands, says that not only is the perception of those brands negative, but it is negative by a long shot. ... Read the whole story > >
by David Goetzl
Following other retailers, McDonald's is rolling out an in-restaurant network for 20 of its locations across the country, after starting late last year with two in a test mode. ... Read the whole story > >

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The Other Guys

Another great tip from Steve Clark:

Repositioning Your Competitor’s Strength

Stop attacking your competition’s weaknesses. Their clients did not buy from them because of these weaknesses. They bought from them because of their strengths. If you are going to take market share from your competition you need a new Direct Strategy. This strategy comes from a marketing book entitled Positioning by Jack Trout and Al Reiss.

Here is how it works:

  • Step 1: Determine the strength of your competitor’s position.
  • Step 2: Find a weakness in the leader’s strength.
  • Step 3: Reposition their strength into a weakness.
  • Step 4: Launch your attack there, on a narrow a front as possible.
  • Step 5: Attack major weaknesses.
  • Step 6: Make major weaknesses your strength.

The strategy to attack the competitor’s strength may seem to fly in the face of business logic. First keep in mind that you won’t take a significant numbers of clients away from your competitors by always attacking their weaknesses. Why? Because clients didn’t buy from your competitor because of their weaknesses; they bought based on their strengths. Finding the “weakness in their strength” will provide you with your advantage over your competition, but it will also make you very attractive to the client.

Here are a couple of examples of how this has worked:

Example #1

A real easy way to explain this is to see how Scope used this to take market share away from Listerine. For years Listerine dominated the mouthwash market. Their strength: Listerine mouthwash kills germs. (Step 1) Scope found the weakness in the strength (Step 2), and repositioned that strength into a weakness (Step 3). Then they attacked on the narrowest front possible (Step 4). Scope attacked Listerine with an advertising campaign; “If you are tired of medicine breath, try Scope”. They repositioned Listerine’s strength into a weakness. It was a tremendous marketing success. For years competitors tried to take market share from Listerine and failed. Only when Listerine’s strength became a weakness did they lose market share.

Example #2

When F. W. Woolworth opened his first store, an established retailer across the street immediately responded to Woolworth’s grand opening by hanging a sign on his store, “Doing business in the same spot for over fifty years.” The next day Woolworth responded with a sign on his new store, “Established a week ago, no old stock.” What a great example of repositioning a competitor’s strength into a weakness.

If you want to take market share from your competition learn how to reposition their strength into a weakness. It may take some work but it will be worth it.

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