Saturday, July 04, 2009

Another kind of Wisdom

Collective Wisdom is one of several blogs I write and edit. This one is updated between 21 and 30 times a week.

I also update a personal blog twice a day. On my Really? blog, I sometimes repost articles from the DLM site like the one I'm about to share with you.

With all the focus on advertising, marketing and sales, I also want you to strive to achieve balance in your life.

Read on:

39 Ways to Live, and Not Merely Exist

Posted: 28 Jun 2009 07:59 AM PDT

"The proper function of man is to live - not to exist." -- Jack London

Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it.

That's fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.

That's fine, until you have reached old age and look back on life with regrets.

That's fine, until you see your kids go off to college and realize that you missed their childhoods.

It's not fine. If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.

What follows is just a list of ideas, obvious ones mostly that you could have thought of yourself, but that I hope are useful reminders. We all need reminders sometimes. If you find this useful, print it out, and start using it. Today.
  1. Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

  2. Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.

  3. Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

  4. Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.

  5. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

  6. Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).

  7. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

  8. Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.

  9. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.

  10. Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.

  11. Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.

  12. Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.

  13. Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.

  14. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.

  15. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

  16. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.

  17. Kiss in the rain. Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send her a love note. Dress sexy for him.

  18. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

  19. When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

  20. Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

  21. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

  22. Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

  23. Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

  24. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.

  25. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

  26. Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

  27. Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

  28. Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

  29. Stop playing video games. They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.

  30. Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.

  31. Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read Dumb Little Man once a day and be done.

  32. Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

  33. Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my mom tells me about.

  34. Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.

  35. Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.

  36. Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.

  37. Make an awesome dessert. I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.

  38. Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

  39. Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.
Written on 6/19/2007 by Leo Babauta, a writer, a runner and a vegetarian, and the owner of Zen Habits. This article was republished on 6/28/09.Photo Credit:

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The Battle Creek Battle

A lesson to learn:

When in Doubt, Double Down

In a piece at The New Yorker, James Surowiecki recounts how two companies—Post and Kellogg—reacted to the Depression. "Post did the predictable thing: it reined in expenses and cut back on advertising," he writes. "But Kellogg doubled its ad budget, moved aggressively into radio advertising, and heavily pushed its new cereal, Rice Krispies."

The strategy paid off. "By 1933, even as the economy cratered," he continues, "Kellogg’s profits had risen almost thirty per cent and it had become what it remains today: the industry’s dominant player."

Surowiecki points to studies that suggest why a company that doubles down on advertising will tend to outperform competitors during economic downturns, and will often emerge stronger than before:

  • Recessions make the strong stronger, and the weak weaker. "[T]he strong can afford to keep investing," he explains, "while the weak have to devote all their energies to staying afloat."
  • When the weak scale back on advertising, the campaigns of strong companies have a greater impact.

To explain the urge to retrench, despite this evidence, Surowiecki notes the difference between risk and uncertainty. With the former, a business can make decisions based on a likely range of outcomes; with the latter—which becomes dominant during a downturn—no one knows what to expect. "So it’s natural to focus on what you can control," he says. "[M]inimizing losses and improving short-term results. And cutting spending is a good way of doing this."

According to Surowiecki, when companies worry too much about sinking the ship with a bad decision, they might be missing the boat by letting a good opportunity pass. Your Marketing Inspiration is to remember that Miracle Whip and the iPod were both introduced during recessions.

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Status Quo

from a recent email:

Daily Sales Tip: Your No. 1 Competitor

Ask salespeople to describe their number one competitor, and they'll usually come up with price-cutters or competitors who are trying to steal their best customers.

While this type of competition can be serious and annoying, it doesn't meet the criteria of a number one competitor.

The real number one may have nothing to do with outside sales competition.

The real number one competitor is the status quo. It's the mental pattern that exists in your prospect's mind, the one that says, "It makes sense for me to buy," or "It makes sense for me to do nothing. I really prefer not to buy."

Whatever the prospect is doing right now, it's what makes sense to him or her and that's all that really matters.

It's important to find ways to change the status quo, to alter the prospect's thinking. And your questions should be focused on what the prospect is actually doing right now.

Ask in terms of the past, the present and the future, then vary the questioning to include the how and the why. You may get a view of what the customer is doing now.

Buying decisions are usually made slowly -- even over extended periods.

Your goal should be to establish in the customer's mind why it's smart to do business with you and break or stop the status quo.

Source: Adapted from The #1 Sales Team, by sales trainer/author Stephan Schiffman.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
This weekend, Vespa sponsors Amerivespa, a yearly gathering of Vespa aficionados. The de facto Sturgis of scooters event takes place in Los Gatos, Calif. Piaggio has also launched a program that lets consumers buy a scooter as if they were leasing it. The program is a kind of extended test ride with the message that "while most test-rides last a few minutes, ours lasts a year." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Scotts Miracle-Gro brands continue to increase their heavy dominance of L&G supply categories, including lawn fertilizers, plant foods, potting soil, herbicides and insecticides. Scotts acquired Spectrum Brands' fertilizers/growth media businesses late last year. In addition, Scotts has been gradually becoming a major player in organics. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
They'll also show their red, white and blue spirit, with more people taking in local fireworks (42.7% vs. 40.2% last year) and watching parades. And while 14% say they plan to buy new July 4th-themed items, they already have plenty: "About 121 million own an American flag, 89 million have patriotic apparel, 58 million own decorations and 25 million have bumper stickers or car decals," reports the NRF. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
Despite the kudos those airlines received, the J.D. Power study finds that overall customer satisfaction with airlines in 2009 has declined for a third consecutive year to a four-year low. The decline is driven by decreased passenger satisfaction with in-flight services, flight crew and costs and fees, compared with 2008. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
One of the in-cinema ads has a cop showing up at a lover's lane overlook to examine a LaCrosse parked there. While nobody's in the front seat, his flashlight illuminates the dashboard and its ambient ice-blue lighting. The cop then shines his light into the back seat and begins a reprimand. "All right, kids...." Then he realizes they're not kids. "Um, chief? Mrs. Chief?" ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The television ads -- which are targeted at adults 45 and older (when, according to Richards, one's curiosity about family history really sets in) -- will run on cable networks such as AMC, CNN, Fox News, History Channel, Lifetime Movie Network and Hallmark. An online campaign, featuring banner ads asking, "Who will you discover?," is also part of the campaign, which will run for at least the next 12 months. ... Read the whole story > >

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Half Full or Half Empty

According to Drew, you shouldn't wait until it get's half gone:

Keep topping it off

Posted: 24 Jun 2009 03:23 AM PDT

67342407 I drink a lot of water. This can be directly linked to 30+ kidney stones. The more water, the fewer stones.

I like water cold. Really cold. I'm talking seriously ice cold water, please. When I am at home, I almost always have a huge insulated glass nearby, filled to the brim with ice water. Because I prefer the water to be frigid cold, I don't let the level in the glass get too low before I re-fill it.

(I can hear you...what in the heck does this have to do with marketing?? Stay with me....)

I've discovered if I keep topping off the glass, the water I am adding gets colder faster (or the flip side, does not warm up the water already in the glass.) I am sure this ties to some scientific theorem that I should know...but I am just telling you from experience that this is true.

If I get really engrossed in something and absently drink the water until there's almost nothing but ice left in the takes a long time for the newly added water to reach the optimum temperature.

To recap....topping off means the water is always very cold (consistent temperature) as opposed to if I have to re-fill almost the whole glass, it takes a long time to get the water cold (inconsistent temperature).

And the marketing point is.....(shame on you if you jumped right down here!)

The same is true of our marketing efforts. Some organizations go hot and cold on their marketing. They're aggressive or at least active one month or one quarter and then are dormant. Or other companies market like crazy when sales are down and when they get busy, marketing falls off the radar.

Or maybe you're particular version is that you only deliver the first half of the one/two punch. You drop the direct mail piece but you never follow up with the phone call.

Regardless of how or why -- the inconsistency of your marketing hurts you. It turns a warm prospect into a cold one, by the time you get back around to marketing again.

You would be far better off to sustain a defined level of marketing (remember the drip method, as opposed to the downpour technique) and then just "top off" your efforts with some add-ons, be it seasonal or situational.

When you are consistently present and either creating or participating in dialogue -- the "water level" of your prospect's awareness and interest in you stays consistent, so you can build on it over time.

How are you keeping your marketing consistent and then just topping it off? Or if you're not...why not?

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The Truth in Numbers

They say sales is a numbers game.

Partially true.

I got this last week from Jeff Garrison:

How Many Contacts Required to Make a Sale?--The Sequel

Posted: 24 Jun 2009 05:30 AM PDT

It was pure coincidence that I spoke with Mike Torticill of Cool Life Systems in Montgomery, New York, After our conversation, he sent me some statistics from a recent blog post at the Cool Life Systems web site regarding contacts, leads, and sales.

Here is an excerpt.

  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact

And if that doesn’t get you…

  • 87% of all leads are never pursued
  • 45% – 63% of the all leads eventually buy the product or service from someone
  • 48% of all sales leads that are pursued are dropped after the first call/meeting
  • 80% of all sales close after the fifth contact/meeting (see above)
  • 73% of sales people do not have a growth plan for their top five accounts

Actual percentages are going to be impacted by the type of product or service that you are selling and to what type of market.

However, to support Mike's point, the quality of your systems and the disciplined use of those systems will have a significant impact in some of these areas.

Are these numbers surprising or are they congruent with your experience. Feel free to comment.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Some of you might be taking a long weekend due to the 4th of July holiday. We won't. 3 updates a day, 7 days a week, even when you are cooking out, playing at the beach or setting off explosives.

Enjoy! Here's tonight's update, a little early from Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The QSR's core burger business has seen growing competition from a proliferating number of smaller-format fast-casual chains offering premium burgers, such as Smashburger and Five Guys, points out Technomic's Darren Tristano. In addition, Burger King and other key competitors already have premium burger offerings. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Close to 40% of those planning purchases say they haven't taken the plunge yet because they hate shopping for electronics, period - with 45% of women expressing this concern. And 64% of the respondents overall say they think the devices are just too pricey. Don't look for the unbelievers to cross to the BlackBerry side anytime soon: The poll says that of those without smartphones, 49% say those who use them are too connected to their work. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
The "Go Forth" mantra will stretch across all key touchpoints for the brand, from product innovation and retail experience to more traditional advertising outlets such as TV, cinema, print, OOH and digital. Campaign elements will reach across North America from Canada to Chile and are scheduled to run through the end of 2009. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"As the program has grown, it adds that extra layer of excitement to the contest," Jermaine Higgins, KFC's manager of multicultural marketing, tells Marketing Daily of the additions. "MC Lyte and David Banner are two of the most respected artists in urban music, and they also stand out for their commitment to the community." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The new effort, says a spokesperson, is "really to highlight the some of the more interesting career fields airmen are involved in today with high-tech." The ads broke this week, with the cinema spot starting on Friday. In addition, there is also a 60-second documentary-style interview on what the un-manned Predator does and what an airman's role is in operating it. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The company says it has found that one thing men have in common is doubt. One would not think the Gillette Champions -- Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter -- would have too many problems on that front, but they are featured in the new ad effort, along with regular Joes. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
June is turning into a rout at auto showrooms, as sales disappoint at the beginning of driving season. Several automakers have responded with free gasoline, and big discounts. GM's new incentive, which runs through Monday, offers 0% and reduced-rate financing for up to 72 months to qualified buyers on select vehicles. ... Read the whole story > >

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Email Links to your Website

Over the years, I've learned to create direct links instead of general links. Here's why:

Nobody Likes a Wild-Goose Chase

Chad White of the Retail Email blog was impressed when he recently received an email from Lands' End with this subject line: Free Shipping + 20-50% off summer! Swim, shorts, polos and more. "I really liked this checklist approach to listing departments," he explains. "It feels less like it's pressing for a sale." But then things changed.

When White clicked through to see more information on water shoes, his positive impression began to fade. Instead of the product information he wanted to see, he was taken to a landing page that indicated his discount was activated, and then to a landing page that—once again—displayed a full range of summer-themed items.

When recipients have to sift through page after—seemingly irrelevant—page, you're going to lose their interest, or annoy them, White says.

"Instead of making your subscribers work to find what they want from your email," he advises, "do the work of creating intuitive links from your emails to landing pages that serve up the right information."

The Po!nt: Don't send them on a wild-goose chase. "When I click on a product category name or a product image in an email," says White. "I expect to be taken to that category or product."

Source: Retail Email Blog. Read the full post here.

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New Ad Campaigns

This weeks edition from Amy:

Free paint. Colives. Audrina Patridge eats burgers the way all women do: in a bikini, one-handed and on her side. Let's launch!

Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear! The Advertising Council, U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters launched a set of PSAs coinciding with the July 4 holiday that celebrate Smokey's 65th birthday and provide wildfire prevention information. The first ad, seen here, shows a birthday cake lit with a number 65 candle. As a piano plays "Happy Birthday," Smokey's arm reaches in-scene and extinguishes the candle. The next ad features a couple readying to leave their camping site. The woman points out that the campfire isn't fully out, to which her boyfriend replies, "Close enough." Our heroine, taking the shape of Smokey Bear, chides her significant other about human-caused wildfires. Watch it here. The PSAs target casual campers, hikers and mountain bikers, stressing that people cause nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide. Draftfcb created the pro bono campaign.

Nike launched a TV spot and online videos featuring Lance Armstrong and inspirational stories told by cancer survivors and those who know someone living with cancer. "It's About You" promotes Armstrong's LIVESTRONG foundation and urges people to join the fight against cancer. I dare you not to cry when watching these stories. The topic is heavy, but necessary. The TV spot, "Driven," intersperses surgeons in an operating room and recovering cancer patients with snippets of Armstrong back on the bike. "The critics say I'm arrogant. A doper. I'm washed-up. A fraud. That I couldn't let it go. They can say whatever they want. I'm not back on my bike for them," says Armstrong. "Just Do It," in yellow, ends the ad, shown here. Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG and a three-time cancer survivor, shares his story of a cancer diagnosis at a young age and the foundation he created post-diagnosis. "If you make it through a battle with cancer, 50 below, 50 mph head winds, sleep deprivation, hunger, seems easy," says dog sled racer Lance Mackey. Actor Evan Handler shares his cancer story and Patrick Dempsey explains how he became involved with the LIVESTRONG foundation. See the videos here and here. Wieden + Kennedy Portland created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Time for some mindless entertainment: the latest Carl's Jr. TV spots! Audrina Patridge chows down on a Teriyaki burger from Carl's Jr. and her portrayal is about as real as something you'd find on "The Hills." Unless, of course, the hip thing to do is eat a burger on the beach, one-handed, leaning back, after applying sunscreen. The first Audrina ad, seen here, describes Patridge as a "top-rated bikini body," while she illustrates the hardships of maintaining an amazing body. Audrina details the importance of eating fruit in another ad, seen here. Mendelsohn Zien created the ads.

HBO launched its latest series, "Hung," on Sunday. The show revolves around Ray Drucker, a divorced, financially unstable man who uses his, um, endowment to his advantage by becoming a male prostitute. His only problem: Ray needs a pimp. Enter The site promotes the series... and Ray! Users can create Facebook ads chock full of clever double entendres. Ads need a title and copy, along with an adjoining image, which users can select from a gallery of options. "Love life tanking, too," begins one user-created ad. "Ray's endowment can survive any recession. Why settle for a piece when the whole pie is yours," continues the ad. The contest is live until Aug. 2. Three finalists will have their ads placed on Facebook and the winner will be chosen based on their ad's click-through rate. The grand prize is $10,000, so start crafting copy. Deep Focus created the campaign.

LAND O LAKES butter now comes with olive oil. So logically, if butter comes from a cow, and olive oil comes from olives, where does butter with olive oil come from? "Colives," natch. A "Colive" is the end-result of a marriage between a cow and an olive -- or, a black-and-white-colored olive. To me it looks more like a moldy olive. Check out the ad here, created by Campbell Mithun.

Love, investing, dogs. It's all here in an ad for State Street's SPDR family of exchange-traded funds. The spot was filmed in black and white and contains French music as a tribute to the foreign film "Breathless." We have a male dog desperately trying to woo a female dog. He brings her a soccer ball, stuffed animal, slipper and squeaky toy and his lady doesn't even move. It's not until he digs up an old bone that she perks up and shows interest. "Some things in life need to be precise. Investing is one of them," says the voiceover. Watch the ad here. The Gate Worldwide created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Glidden paint is giving product away. Until July 2, a free quart of paint will be shipped to those who visit or call 1.800.GLIDDEN. Get on it. A TV spot supporting the giveaway shows happy people walking around town, on the beach, and dog sledding with a can of Glidden close by. My favorite scenes are the nuns recreating "Abbey Road" and the woman who really loves yellow. It appears that everyone in the spot is carrying cans of paint larger than what Glidden is giving away. "Glidden Gets You Going," ends the ad, seen here. DDB New York and ETCETERA created the campaign.

It's almost like being there. The Juvenile Protective Association and Euro RSCG Chicago were awarded a special People's Choice Award in Cannes. A series of cause-related work was shown in the Palais des Festivals and the public voted for their favorite creative. The winning ad, "Choke," shows a hand made of abusive words wrapped around a boy's neck. "Verbal abuse is still abuse," says the ad, seen here. Two additional ads, depicting verbal hair pulls and punches, can be seen here and here.

Random iPhone App of the week: Dunkin' Donuts launched "Dunkin' Run," a Web site and iPhone application that allows customers to plan an office coffee run without having to interact with their co-workers. A "Runner" can initiate a group order online, from a mobile device or via an iPhone App, that's free at the App store. Alerts are then sent to the Runner's co-workers, informing them of an impending trip. Participants can look at a menu online and place an order. All orders are then culled onto a single page or screen which the Runner either prints or sends to their mobile device and brings to the nearest Dunkin' Donuts. See a tutorial here. Hill Holliday and Studiocom created the App.

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

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7 (more)

I already used 7 as a title a few days ago....

This is from Jim Meisenheimer. His contact info is listed below:

7 Things To Avoid When
Building Customer Relationships

Whenever you meet new sales prospects be sure to focus
on establishing rapport and building relationships. Most
salespeople overlook the importance of these two
priorities early during the selling process.

Instead of reaching for your sales brochures try
reaching out to your sales prospects by demonstrating
your interest and curiosity about their business and
their customers.

Look, most sales don't happen during the first sales
call - so why even bother to attempt closing the sale.
You'll turn more heads and build better customer
relationships if you avoid doing these seven things.

1. Avoid selling too early. Gee, why does everybody
try to sell something during the first sales call? If
it's been your experience that 95% of your sales are
never made during the first sales call - you should
carefully consider what you’re doing during this first
sales call.

Just because your business card tells the world your
a professional sales representative is no reason to
start selling during the first call. It would be wiser
to use the first call to establish some credibility
and to start building a customer relationship with
your sales prospect.

2. Avoid talking too much. One of the most common
mistakes new and even veteran sales reps make is to talk
too much. Sure you were hired to sell. But where does
it say the true definition of selling begins with talking?
It doesn't begin with talking, it begins with listening.

Listening, more than anything else. It shows you're
interested in the person you're talking to. It shows
you're interested in his company. It shows you're
interested in his customers. It's easy to misinterpret
why somebody is talking too much. It's impossible to
misinterpret someone who is listen carefully to what
you're saying.

3. Avoid asking the wrong questions. Ask any sales
representative which is a better question to ask when
you want to get more information from a sales prospect,
an open question or a closed question - and the universal
response will be an open question - which of course is
the right answer.

In practice however most salespeople lead with closed
questions. For example: who is your current supplier,
what's your budget for (insert your product), how many
(insert your product) do you buy a year, I think you
get the picture.

And if that's not bad enough, how does it make you feel
to learn that almost all salespeople start with the same
questions? Well it shouldn't make you feel superior
to competitors.

4. Avoid forgetting to do the little things. One of the
quickest ways to grab a new sales prospects attention is
to do little things for him. Within 24 hours of your first
sales call you could send him an e-mail thanking him for
anything except his time - because that's what most
salespeople do.

If you are able to schedule the second meeting during
your first sales call, you could send a personal hand
written note confirming your second meeting within three
days. You could also send a general interest article
(something you think she might like to see) within seven
days and including a note that says “F.Y.I. - thought you
might be interested in seeing this.”

5. Avoid talking to the wrong person. The best advice
I can give any sales person is to start at the top of an
organization when you're trying to get your foot in the
door. Most salespeople do just the opposite because they
fear being rejected by the woman at the top. Most people
at the top, get to the top, because they are excellent

Sometimes the people at the top have more time to see you
than the people they are delegating to. If you start talking
to the wrong person, a person who is not a decision-maker,
and you begin to build a relationship, it becomes extremely
difficult to wiggle your way around this person to see the
ultimate decision-maker.

6. Avoid defending your price. During my sales training
programs I usually start by asking the salespeople to tell
me about their biggest challenges. Within 10 minutes I
usually hear about the dreaded price objection. What some
salespeople don't recognize is they are so afraid of the
price objection they usually bring it up first, without
even realizing it.

You can never win the price war by defending the price.
You win by explaining the value of the products and services
you’re selling. You win by changing the rules of the game.
You see most people will pay a higher price if they believe
they are getting a higher value. So always focus on the value
of doing business with you and your company.

It’s even better if you can quantify your value in dollars.

7. Avoid not having an attitude of gratitude. This is a
big one. Don't be too busy to say thank you. In your daily
sales effort, there are so many people you can thank along
the way.

You can thank the receptionist for getting you into see
the decision-maker. You can thank somebody in your customer
service department for helping one of your customers. You
can thank a sales prospect for placing his first order and
becoming a new customer. You can thank your customers every
time they place a substantial order with you and your company.

You can find out how long your sales prospect or customer
has been doing the work he’s currently doing and send him
an anniversary card every year. Now that would blow him

You'll build stronger and longer lasting relationships
with your customers if you avoid doing these seven
things. You'll also differentiate yourself from your
competition, because they're probably doing these things.

It takes time to build a strong relationship with your
customers. It'll take you less time if you avoid making
these mistakes. It'll also take you less time if you
really get to know what your customers need and want.

Find out why your sales prospects and customers need
something and you'll soon discover why they want it.

All The World Is Twittering

Keep up with Jim's Twitters, rants and raves
plus a whole lot more . . .

Start selling more today and everyday . . .

Jim Meisenheimer

Jim Meisenheimer | 13506 Blythefield Terrace | Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 | 941-907-0415

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

While all the Bad News has been on G.M. & Chrysler, Ford continues to have a Better Idea:

by Aaron Baar
"The band likes it because they've got a new, cool way to get connected to their fans," says Russell Wallach, president of north American Alliances at Live Nation. "It's also good for IE8 because Nickelback has a predominantly young male audience to put IE8 in front of." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
While the news has been unrelentingly bad from Detroit, the domestic automakers based there have actually performed well in recent studies by firms like J.D. Power & Associates, AutoPacific, and Strategic Vision. Ford takes top honors in two new studies. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
"We intend to rejuvenate the ReNu brand by making it more relevant to consumers," Adnan A. Khan, senior product manager, lens care, tells Marketing Daily. "The name and packaging change are a part of a broader ReNu strategy that will help simplify the consumer buying experience based on their respective needs." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The company today launches the program with an integrated ad campaign that includes a pair of TV spots, plus print and interactive elements. The TV spots show a Hyundai car tooling along the highway followed by a gasoline tanker, while voiceover reinforces the idea that the offer is not so much an incentive as a service in tough times. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
In response to Starbucks' release, the Corn Refiners Association issued its own, maintaining that brands using the removal of HFCS from products in "highly publicized marketing campaigns" are disingenuously feeding into consumer misperceptions. The "misleading 'health' halo" created by such campaigns "is starting to dim" as myths are addressed in the media, CRA maintained. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Marketing Daily speaks with the authors of The Cost of Bad Behavior, who think widespread rudeness oozes into advertising messages, and that rude corporate cultures pass those put-downs on to potential customers, as well as their employees. ... Read the whole story > >

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Fixing the Broken Retail Sales Models

The same-old, same-old, isn't working in retail anymore. Here's what is:

In Recession, Strategy Shifts for Big Chains

Shopping as we know it is on the brink of major change.

Hammered by the recession, some of the nation's biggest retailers are seizing the moment to reinvent their business strategies. And the impact will mean both sweeping changes in the merchandise on their shelves and subtler alterations, like how many pantyhose to keep in stock.

High-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks and Coach will offer more midpriced merchandise. Many chains, including Wal-Mart, will carry less inventory and fewer brands. The likes of Sears and J. C. Penney will put self-service computers in stores so customers can browse collections or buy out-of-stock items. And retailers of all stripes will offer more exclusive merchandise and more attentive customer service.

One of the biggest changes consumers are likely to see is greater personalization and regionalization of merchandise.

An initiative known as "My Macy's" requires the retailer's merchandisers and other planners to go into stores each week to learn from the sales staff -- who keep logs at the cash registers -- what shoppers are requesting, snapping up or complaining about.

For instance, when strapless and bare-shouldered dresses were selling well everywhere except Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, Macy's employees in those stores knew the problem was that their customers wanted more modest dresses. So they passed that information on to the merchandisers. Out went the strapless dresses; in came dresses with cap sleeves. And sales went from lackluster to robust.

Under the new system it will not be unusual for a local Macy's to stock the merchandise customers request, be it wide-width shoes or Sean John suits, and for those offerings to be different from the ones in a Macy's store 100 miles away.

"I think what Macy's is embarking on is perhaps the largest transformation in our company in a couple of decades," said Terry J. Lundgren, president and chief executive.

The Macy's change is just one example of a wide range of initiatives retailers are pursuing as they struggle to cope with an economy where sales are lower than they were just a few years ago.

At high-end stores, the era of ever-escalating prices on luxury goods appears to be over. In the future, consumers will still be able to buy chic brand names, but at a wider range of prices.

"Our customer loves our brands," said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive of Saks. "They don't want to trade down to lower brands. But they want more of a range in price within the brands that they love."

And that is what retailers intend to give them. Burton M. Tansky, president and chief executive of Neiman Marcus Group, told investors on a conference call last week that "we're working with the designers to try and ease a portion of their collections into a new price range."

Prices will also be lower at some "affordable luxury" chains, like Coach, which is increasing the proportion of handbags it sells for less than $300. About 50 percent of the company's handbags will cost $200 to $300, in contrast to about 30 percent of handbags last year.

Another change is that consumers will have fewer brands from which to choose. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and PetSmart are just a few of the chains winnowing their brands. As Home Depot's executive vice president for merchandising, Craig Menear, put it: consumers are "time-starved" and "looking for simplification in the entire shopping experience."

That may delight minimalists, because it will be easier to find items on the shelves. But it also limits choice.

Another potential drawback for consumers is that stores may run out of stock more quickly than in the past because, as Mr. Lundgren of Macy's explained, "retailers learned that you can't get out of the merchandise that you ordered months before."

"Instead," he said, "you're more likely to see retailers ordering fewer of each individual size and taking that risk that they'll sell out and not capture every sale, rather than the risk of having too much inventory left over to mark down."

Another trend is on the horizon: seasonal transitions for apparel will probably have shorter lead times. With strapped consumers buying only what they need when they need it, it has occurred to retailers that selling swimsuits to New Yorkers in early March is not necessarily a winning strategy. And so chains are beginning to work with suppliers to shorten the time between ordering and delivering merchandise.

Consumers will also see even more of the exclusive collaborations between retailers and prominent designers that are so prevalent today. That will help distinguish stores as well as avoid price wars because the same items will not be sold at multiple chains.

Yet another change will be the obliteration of any remaining divide between online and in-store shopping.

In Sears stores, "appliance research centers" with computers are enabling customers to compare local competitors' prices. (If Sears does not offer the best price, it will match the lowest offer and hand over 10 percent of the difference.) Four J. C. Penney stores in Dallas are testing "FindMore" machines the size of arcade games, letting customers see every item J. C. Penney sells and find out if the item they want is in the store or online.

Shopping by cellphone will also become widespread.

"Everything we are developing is with a mind-set that it's going to be running on a handset," said J. C. Penney's chief information officer, Thomas M. Nealon.

Despite all the new technology, consumers will be getting more attention from sales staff. During the last few years, retailers did not have to work hard to separate consumers from their dollars.

But those days are over. More middle-market chains are striving for Nordstrom-quality service to win customers. Even Home Depot has adopted its "most extensive customer service training ever," its chairman and chief executive, Frank Blake, told investors and retailing analysts last week.

Of course, luxury chains have always featured a high level of attentiveness. But the chains say that in this economy, customers have heightened expectations. Saks, for one, has invested tens of millions of dollars in the last year on software that provides its sales staff easy access to information about client purchases and preferences, so that a returning customer might be greeted by a sales representative who recalls the shopper's suit size and penchant for Christian Louboutin heels.

Economists and analysts forecast that it will take up to 10 years to return to 2007 levels of consumer spending -- which makes now a good time for retailers to re-imagine the future. Paul A. Laudicina, chairman and managing officer of A. T. Kearney, the management consulting firm, noted that major consumer innovations like Neoprene and Teflon came out of the Depression.

Mr. Lundgren pointed out that if consumers were still throwing money around, stores might not want to alter strategies that were still working.

But with today's recession, he said, "now is the time to aggressively rock the boat."

(Source: The New York Times, 06/22/09)

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Coffee Battle Continues

Who brews your favorite cup of beans?

McCafe Push to Continue

McDonald's Corp. said it would continue a massive McCafe marketing campaign that has helped push it to No. 2 in a survey of U.S. coffee drinkers, according to a UPI report.

In a separate survey, 6,000 consumers indicated Starbucks was their favorite brand, dislodging Dunkin' Donuts from the No. 1 spot.

Food industry consultant Dennis Lombardi at WD Partners said McDonald's is "like a 9,000-pound gorilla," putting on "a very strong push to build share with its McCafe brand."

But Dunkin' Brands Inc. CEO Nigel Travis told the Boston Globe McDonald's "can't promote coffee forever because they've got lots of other products to focus on."

McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud maintained that the company would keep the campaign going strong through the summer.

"Coffee continues to be a significant opportunity for McDonald's," Proud said. "We will continue to see a heavy promotion of our new McCafe through the summer."

(Source: Convenience Store News, 06/23/09)

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More than Words

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Evaluate What You Hear

On the phone, clients communicate in two ways: words and tone.

What is significant here is that research shows that as much as 86 percent of a message delivered over the phone is through the tone of a voice. This is particularly important when it comes to buying signals and objections.

For example, suppose you ask a client if improved delivery is important to them and they give you a neutral-toned reply of "yes," then chances are it's not a big issue. If they give you a more "resounding" reply of "yes," you've struck a key point. This is where you want to dig deeper and explore the implications. The real point here is that you need to be alert to the subtleties of communication.

The same holds true with objections. Suppose you respond to an objection and then ask the client, "....does that clear that point up?" If the client responds rather lamely "yes," you can bet your bottom dollar (and the sale) that you have NOT cleared things up. You need to act on the tone and clarify.

Source: Jim Domanski, president of Teleconcepts Consulting Inc. (

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Barbara Ponce, manager of corporate advertising for Honda, says the automaker is using primarily online media to generate awareness about the campaign via a two-minute trailer, and 30- and 15-second spots. She says trailers will run within banner ads on sites like,, Hulu and ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"This is how we're making the marketplace mobile," Jain says. "This is how we envision we can bridge the online and offline worlds." Though the Beta site launches today, the company has no plans to take its message to the marketplace in the form of an advertising or marketing campaign. Instead, it is relying on the site's three million current users (who have been working with a different interface) to help spread the word. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Humorous commercials from Mendelsohn|Zien Advertising -- some with a "man on the street" format in which people are asked to sample and rename the holes -- are being televised within Hardee's' markets (Midwest and Southeast), as well as posted on Hardee's YouTube brand channel and Facebook page. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
While marketing efforts in the field have typically been pretty pedestrian, some of Westwood's competitors are bringing attention to the career-college category. "DeVry University had done a good job, by showing a lot of the recent grads, and I like Kaplan University's new work," says Westwood's CMO. "We think of ourselves as college, reinvented." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The new arrangement with Vans has Kia hosting and sponsoring on-site events and activities during each stop. The tour -- which began in Pomona, Calif. on Friday -- hits more than 40 markets nationwide through the summer and features over 100 bands from signed, nationally known acts to local, unsigned performers. ... Read the whole story > >
by Erik Sass
"Benjamins" are $100 bills, but what's a "Roosevelt"? A dime, of course. While the expression may not be accepted as street slang, Taco Bell is doing its best to popularize the new coinage with a tongue-in-cheek music video appearing in National CineMedia's theaters nationwide. ... Read the whole story > >

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