Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Reading=Free

Read it now, or book mark this for later:

FREE (full book) by Chris Anderson

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Social Media is Not Just an Option



Social Media is a necessity. Even with the downturn in our economy, (Or perhaps because of), more and more people are online. And we are using the internet to get information and to share information.

This week I did a quick poll on Twitter asking what type of connection they were using. The result:

  • Laptop 60%
  • Smartphone 40%
  • Desktop 0%
Because of the mobility of internet access, along with the increased dependence on the internet, this is a trend, not a fad. Mediapost wrote the following about social media & brands:

Social media sites aren't where most people go to get recommendations on products and services. Even so, marketers must still try to reach consumers through social media since that's where conversations about brands are increasingly taking place.

That's one of the key conclusions of a new study on social influence marketing by interactive agency Razorfish. The report released today also includes a new index developed by the firm which scores brands based on how they're being discussed online.

For the study, Razorfish surveyed 1,000 consumers split evenly between active social network users and a broader sample of the general population. Overall, 80% belonged to at least one social network and 40% were active in two.

The findings revealed a paradox, though, in that 62% say they don't seek out brand opinions via social media but 71% share recommendations on products and services on social sites at least once every few months.

What gives? The study suggests people are influencing each others' purchase decisions even when they're not consciously asking for purchase advice.

For that reason, brands have to participate directly in these online discussions or face growing irrelevance, says Razorfish. But they have to bring credible voices that "need to be more engaging, personal, humble, authentic and participatory than traditional advertising images," advises the report.

Establishing an authentic presence in social media is where many marketers fall down, according to Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead at Razorfish. "Most brands aren't doing it successfully," he said in an interview last week.

Among the exceptions he points to is "Dunkin' Dave," aka Dave Puner, communications manager for Dunkin' Brands Inc., who has become the company's voice on Twitter. He's created a genial, informal persona through the microblogging service that marks a departure from traditional top-down marketing.

At the same time, Singh acknowledged it can be difficult for a corporation to entrust individual, sometimes junior, employees with such a direct role in shaping its brand. Not Pizza Hut. The restaurant chain gained attention this spring when it announced it was looking for a summer "Twintern" to be its voice on Twitter.

Razorfish advises that all brands should at least grasp how social media plays into purchase decisions. The study indicates that "social influencers," people active on social platforms, tend to hold the most sway during the consideration phase leading up to a purchase. Close family and friends play by far the biggest roles at the initial awareness and final "action" stages relating to a purchase.

Corporate bloggers typically rated at or near the bottom among influencers at each stage of the process.

When it came to specific industry sectors that appealed to users in social media, music and entertainment topped the list among categories that also included auto, retail and apparel, travel, home and garden, automotive and financial services. Only 14% were likely to interact with a financial brand compared to 46% for an entertainment one.

"Our data suggests that brands need to do a much better job engaging consumers on social platforms, as witnessed by the lukewarm reception and high level of indifference consumers have about brands in social media," states the report.

To that end, Singh said brand pages on sites like Facebook should be part of a company's overall marketing strategy and not treated as an afterthought. "If not, it's a recipe for disaster," he said. The study found that 29% of survey participants associated themselves with specific brands on social networks. And among "fans" of brand pages, 57% visited every few months or weeks.

To help brands gauge their social media standing, Razorfish also introduced the SIM (Social Influence Marketing) Score. Developed with TNS Cymfony the Keller Fay Group, the index attempts to measure a brand's reach and "likeability" based on how it's being discussed on social networks like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. Offline word-of-mouth is also factored in.

The basic formula for deriving a brand's SIM Score involves dividing "net sentiment" for a brand by the net sentiment for its industry group. (Net sentiment = positive + neutral conversations - negative conversations/total conversations.)

Looking at several companies in the auto industry using this method Ford came out on top with a score of 31, beating out Honda (30), Toyota (18), Nissan (15) and GM (5). Ouch.

Razorfish also used the same formula to rate the auto, finance, pharmaceutical and media industries overall. Auto came out way ahead with a score of 92, compared to 6.3, 0.96, and 0.33 for the other sectors respectively, mainly as a result of simply being discussed online far more than the rest.

There were 2.1 million auto-related conversations compared to only about 200,000 for the other categories combined. "This is surprising considering the fact that the financial services space underwent immense upheaval in the last six months of 2008," noted the Razorfish study.

funnel

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Are you worthy?


From my email archives:

Daily Sales Tip: Make Every Conversation Count

Clients and prospects should be impressed with your preparation for every sales call. When you demonstrate that you've done your homework it becomes easier to have an open and honest dialogue with you. When the economy slows down, people get nervous. They don't want to waste time meeting with sales reps unless they see some potential value.

The "smile-n-dial" mentality of simply pounding on more doors with the same pitch may produce extra appointments. But it also creates the fear that you're going to sell them something that they don't need.

Open your next client conversation with this simple phrase: "In preparing for this meeting I took some time to..." Then simply highlight the two or three critical things that you did to prepare and watch what happens to the atmosphere of the call. You will blow away the last rep that opened their meeting by announcing that they were just "checking in" to see if anything new was going on.

The goal is to stop "educating" your customers. They don't care unless they are engaged. Talking about your company, your products and your reputation will not engage customers. Talk about them, ask about them, provide ideas for them and communicate in terms of them.

Who are you talking about -- you or them?

Source: Sales trainer/consultant Tim Wackel (www.timwackel.com, 2008)

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

Spirits
by Aaron Baar
"One of the key insights we've had is that adults 21-29, who are our target, are very interested in music as a cultural language," Lena DerOhannessian, U.S. marketing director for Southern Comfort, tells Marketing Daily. "We had been doing a great deal with our own music series, and what we wanted to do was take our association with music further." ... Read the whole story > >
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Right now, the company is looking at many ways it can bring those connections to the center of the store, in formats that are easy for consumers to see and touch. "There is major work to do in helping customers see what today is mostly invisible," says Best Buy's Shari Ballard. "Now, we describe these products with a lot of hand motions and 'imagine this.' We need a physical way for people to interact with invisible solutions." ... Read the whole story > >
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
"For us, Chelsea represents a unique opportunity to position ourselves in a creative community that is about doing things in a progressive manner, which resonates with our brand," Joe Powers, Tesla's sales manager for the Northeast region, tells Marketing Daily. ... Read the whole story > >
Research
by Karlene Lukovitz
Switching to private label isn't the most dominant change in grocery shopping habits. Well over half reported stocking up on sale items (58%), reducing spending on non-essential items (57%) and using more coupons/promotions. In addition, 47% reduced impulse purchases, 44% bought fewer convenience foods, and 42% made fewer trips to the grocery store. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The insurance company Archrival to target young adults in four Midwestern states to promote renter and car insurance. Street teams hung T-shirts with funny messages such as "People steal the weirdest stuff." Once the T-shirt is stolen, a hanger sleeve is exposed that reads "save your stuff" with State Farm renter's insurance. The T-shirts were replaced daily. ... Read the whole story > >
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
"We have to make the products relevant and change the image of the brand," says GM's Cheryl Catton. "There are a lot of people who know us and give us credit for dependability and comfort; that's positive, but then there are a lot of people who don't know us or think of the brand historically." The goal was to get out advertising 45 to 50 days in advance of having product on the ground. ... Read the whole story > >

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Marketing to Gen Y


Some insight from Mediapost:

Are You Going To Work With Gen Y Or Against Them?
When I was 16 years old I went out looking for my first car. Together with my parents, I had set a budget of $8,000. For a 16 year old this felt like $100,000, but to the people trying to earn my business, that $8,000 was enough to sell me what ever they wanted to sell me. I found a beautiful 1968 Ford Mustang at a local car lot. My mom drove me down to the see the car, and I ran excitedly toward the Mustang.

The salesman approached me, and I asked him how much the car cost.

He asked me how much I was looking to spend.

I told him $8,000.

And as you may have guessed he told me that was exactly the price of the Mustang.

Lesson learned.

Now, what is the lesson for you?

As a marketer, you are in a position to manipulate your customer if you so choose to. But that doesn't mean you should. And when dealing with Gen Y you can either use their characteristics to work with them, or you can use their characteristics to take advantage of them. As you can imagine, in the spirit of the greater good, you should use your market research to work with them.

So, now that we have covered your obligation to Gen Y, let's take some time to learn about them financially.

1.Gen Y is wracked with debt, and they don't realize the ramifications of this. The average person graduates college with over $20,000 in student loan debt. This is actually a good example of selling something (loans) to a group of people that aren't in the best position to make a good financial decision.

I'm not discrediting the importance of a college education, but I'm simply pointing out that 18 year olds are committing themselves to levels of debt that they can't possibly comprehend. Understand that it's quite possible that your product or service could contribute to this train wreck of debt.

2.Gen Y either doesn't care about planned obsolescence or doesn't know what it is. Either way, planned obsolescence will continue to break (financially) Gen Y until it's no longer an industrial trend. Planned obsolescence, simply put, is a manufacturing strategy that encourages customers to always buy the latest greatest thing.

This is generally accomplished through a slight tweaking of product features, and then marketing the hell out of the feature changes. The customer ends up buying the features, and ignores the fact that the previous product they own is still a very workable solution.

Gen Y always wants the latest greatest thing because they haven't caught on to the game of planned obsolescence. Are you going to perpetuate the practice of planned obsolescence? Or are you going to build a product or service solution that is a long-term solution?

3.Gen Y has created a group of expenses that I call The New Necessities. This is a category of spending that didn't exist 15 years ago. The category includes Internet access, mobile phone charges, cable, designer coffee, and lease payments. Young people don't think twice about paying big money for cell phones and coffee.

I guess that's why there are so many highly caffeinated broke people face down into their cell phone texting their highly caffeinated broke friends. Gen Y doesn't see anything wrong with spending money on these items, and if your product or service can find it's way on to this new sacred list, then you are golden.

4.Gen Y has more bailout plans than the federal government. And as is the case with the newsworthy bailout, Gen Y bailouts are also ill conceived. Gen Y will not hesitate for a second to solve their financial problems in two very distinct ways. They will use their credit cards in a heartbeat, and they will pick up the phone and call their parents in an instant.

Ask a group of Gen Yers their backup plan, and these two solutions will come up time and time again. As a marketer, this is a very important thing to know. Gen Y never says die; they will find a way to afford the things that they want.

You may be thinking that Gen Y is a generation that is guilty of the "keeping up with the Joneses mentality," but they aren't. Their desire to have the things that they want is personal. They don't particularly care what their friends have or don't have. That is more a characteristic of Gen X.

This nugget of truth paired with the financial characteristics outlined above will certainly help you understand this generation from a financial perspective. And this understanding should help you market to this elusive yet important part of your customer base.

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Out of Sight & Out of Your Mind


I was having lunch this week with a friend and the subject of answering the phone came up in conversation.

We both have a pet peeve about the receptionist who rushes through the name of the business when they answer the phone in such a manner that you're not sure if you've called the right number!

The person that answers your phone, or that greets your customers sets the tone for your business. They could be the most important part of your marketing.

If they are not doing a good job, no amount of advertising can replace the losses you and your company will suffer from a front desk person that hates their job.

If you've got an employee like this, you're out of your mind to keep them in that position. If you do, you could be out of business. But don't just take my word for it, read Seth's perspective:

Mowing the lawn

I used to hate the lawn.

Growing up, we lived on a curved street, and as a result, our house had a back lawn much bigger than normal. My job was to mow it, using an old, noisy, non-sharp, broken down mower. I remember it taking about 14 hours a week.

I hated everything about that lawn.

I wonder how your customer service people feel?

Does it show?

Every person who does marketing, sales, product design or any other job that influences customers directly should spend at least an hour a week answering the customer service lines, using the same tools your customer service people use. Out of sight is not so good, out of mind is inexcusable.

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Looking for Openings


From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Watch the Competition!

Be aware when your competitors make changes to their processes or staff.

Sometimes their customers feel neglected or underserved when changes are made that may cause problems with service, quality or delivery.

There is no better time for a salesperson to make serious inroads on accounts that had always seemed locked up by a competitor.

Source: Sales/marketing consultant John Boyens, CEO of the Boyens Group (www.boyens.com)

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News


Every weekday, the kind folks at Mediapost send me this email filled with all kinds of marketing and advertising news & links.

In appreciation for them taking the time to send it, I post it here every weeknight for you and I to click on and read:

Retail
by Aaron Baar
"We felt there was a role for a bit of nostalgia in our campaign this year," Staples' Don LeBlanc says. "We thought, given the economy, it was a good way to put a smile on people's faces." The spot depicts an elated father shopping for office products with dejected children -- with "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" playing as a soundtrack. ... Read the whole story > >
Research
by Sarah Mahoney
While 57% say their household economic situation is either the same or better than it was at this time last year, two-thirds say the recession has "fundamentally changed the way they think about saving and spending money," says Performics' Michael Kahn, "and 8 out of 10 say the recession will have a lasting impact on them." ... Read the whole story > >
Hospitality
by Karl Greenberg
This year the chain is offering riders heading out to the 69th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 3, a "pit-stop" at one of 13 rider-friendly Best Western hotels along routes leading to Sturgis, S.D. Riders who stop in to shake out cramps get a central location to rest, washroom use, and the "rider friendly" care package. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Only 34% of women have an emergency fund to pay bills for a few months compared to 53% of men. Interestingly, both genders expressed about the same level of discomfort over non-mortgage debt with 32% of women saying they are uncomfortable vs. 35% of men. Men seem to have a better grasp on investing and making money, with 73% saying they have a general knowledge of stocks, bonds and mutual funds compared to 40% of women. ... Read the whole story > >
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The iPhone app enables users to virtually "create" their own pizzas by scrolling, tapping and tilting their phones to choose a crust and toppings. Or, they can scroll and tap to choose their preferred style and sauce for Pizza Hut's new chicken wings -- then "shake and pour" the sauce over the wings. ... Read the whole story > >
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
The automaker, which last month emerged from bankruptcy protection, and this week announced it has paid back its TARP loan, has appointed Joseph Veltri head of product planning. Kevin Metz has been appointed head of product planning for Jeep Wrangler, arguably the most sacrosanct vehicle in Chrysler LLP's portfolio, excepting perhaps the Viper. ... Read the whole story > >

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The Relationship has Changed

I preach "RELATIONSHIPS" when I tell people how to determine how to market and advertise.

You can use almost any form of media to get peoples attention, but now you also need to have an online dialogue forum to form a stronger relationship. Contact me at Scott@ScLoHo.net if you need help, or go to ScLoHo Marketing Solutions.

Before you go, take a look at this to see how the relationship has changed.


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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Play with your food. Robinsons dreams of a Brit winning Wimbledon. Keep dreaming. U2 sings for Blackberry. No U2-branded iPods in sight. Let's launch!


The Dairy Farmers of Canada launched a trio of 3D cinema ads, playing throughout Ontario and the Maritime Provinces, prior to screenings of "Ice Age" 3D. The sky is the limit for a girl playing jump rope. What goes up must come down. See it here. There's a party in a girl's tummy once she drinks milk. Hot dogs, pizza slices and hamburgers, digested whole, got invites. Watch the ad here. A boy exhibits King Kong qualities, thanks to milk. The cow at the end of the ad scared me more. See it here. Due North Communications Toronto created the ads, produced by Head Gear Animation Toronto.

The iPhone is three steps closer to reaching its goal of perfection. Three TV spots demonstrate actions the iPhone was unable to complete -- until now. Cutting and pasting copy and graphics is achieved with a few taps of your index finger. Watch it here. Recording, editing and posting video is simple. My co-worker shot video of me with his iPhone and sent me the file while standing by my desk. Fast. See the ad here. All you need is a voice... to call someone in your address book or play an artist in your iTunes library. See it here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

United Biscuits launched a TV campaign promoting its Hula Hoops brand. Snackers do more than play with their food. One man turns his hand into a DJ, spinning what sounds like "So Whatcha Want" by the Beastie Boys. He's doing a great job until a train conductor interrupts him. Embarrassed, the man eats the Hula Hoops on his fingers before handing over his ticket. Watch the ad here. The campaign launched July 6 in the U.K. and serves as a platform for the United Biscuits' Golden Hoop Film Awards. Consumers are encouraged to create their own finger puppet films for a chance at winning a trip to Hollywood. Publicis created the campaign.

Think positive and, fingers crossed, your world will be filled with positivity. And then there's this guy, in an ad for Volkswagen Passat. He's laid off, passes empty buildings for rent and drives past a truckload of sheep heading to the butcher, but all the while maintains an upbeat attitude, complete with skipping and singing. So what if he dropped a coin into a man's cup of coffee? His intentions were good. "One thing you can be sure of," ends the ad. Apparently his Passat comes equipped with happy endorphins. DDB London created the ad, directed by Noam Murro of Biscuit Filmworks.

State Farm launched a guerilla campaign in the Midwest, targeting young adults, in an effort to promote its renter's and car insurance. Street teams hung T-shirts with funny messages in areas that young adults frequented. Once a T-shirt that said "People steal the weirdest stuff" was stolen, it exposed a hanger sleeve that said "save your stuff with renter's insurance." See them here and here. Street teams also placed window clings on cars, to make it appear that a driver's windshield was smashed. Exactly what I want to see when I reach my car. Included with the cling was a note from a local State Farm agent reassuring drivers that all is OK and instructions on how to peel the cling off your car. OK, I made the last part up. See the initiative here and here. Archrival created the campaign and handled the media buy.

U2 is the star of a TV spot for BlackBerry. I know what you're thinking: Hey, didn't U2 launch a branded iPod? They did. Back in 2004, if you can believe that. Now, the band is on the BlackBerry bandwagon, promoting its upcoming U2 Mobile Album. The spot is very Apple-esque: colorful light orbs, close-ups of Bono singing "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" and font similar to one used by Apple. See the ad here. Arc Worldwide Chicago created the ad, with visual effects supplied by MassMarket New York.

The National Down Syndrome Society launched two print ads entitled, "My Great Story," its first national campaign. Everyone has a story, and this campaign highlights two inspiring individuals making a difference in the world. "I play six instruments. I've visited eleven countries. I've traveled to thirty-two states and been honored by the President of Singapore. I have Down Syndrome and this is my great story," reads one ad. See creative here and here, created pro bono by Pedone.

Robinsons ran this TV spot as a lead up to Wimbledon. "Imagine" envisions a day where, once again, a Brit will win Wimbledon. There's always next year. The ad shows people of all ages glued to a TV screen. Everyone is on edge; people are fidgeting, pacing, getting up from their seats, nervous actions you do while awaiting your player's outcome. "It will happen again. And we'll be proud to be part of it. Robinsons. Part of Wimbledon since 1935," says the voiceover. Watch it here. BBH created the campaign, edited by Cut+Run.

Random iPhone App of the week: GoodCab BadCab is a free iPhone App that allows users to rate their cab driver anonymously. Users can rate local cab drivers nationwide on such factors as driving, cleanliness and helpfulness by punching in the driver's badge ID. The App ranks the 10 best and worst taxis in the US. If you're daring, you can check the rating of a cab as you're riding in it. The application was conceptualized by StewartSoft and developed by Fuzz Productions.

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

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Your Schedule


This is a lesson I have to force myself to relearn every once in awhile:

Daily Sales Tip: Cushion Your Schedule

Phone calls, drop-in visitors, commuting time between appointments, and emergency calls from customers with problems will continue to be problems no matter how carefully you plan.

As a general rule, add about 20 percent to the estimated time you think an activity will take. This should give you enough leeway to react to serious unanticipated problems while focusing most of your attention on scheduled priorities.

Source: Adapted from The New Science of Selling and Persuasion by William T. Brooks, CEO of The Brooks Group (2009)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Clickables from Mediapost:

Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Themed "Schooled in Style: Smart Looks for Less," the company hopes to win over kids who are looking for sizzle, but stuck with the constraints of their parents' wallets. "We want our customers - both from the teen perspective and their parents'-- to feel like they can still afford great style and quality, despite what's going on with the economy," says Penney's Ruby Akin. ... Read the whole story > >
Transportation
by Karl Greenberg
"I suspect that the organizational culture of individual airlines is part of what has influence here," says J.D. Power & Associates' Dale Haines. "Work forces are being reduced, and everyone gets asked to do more with fewer resources. But some [airlines] treat customer service as part of their culture and part of how they do business; others treat customer service as an additional element of the job." ... Read the whole story > >
Tourism
by Tanya Irwin
Consumers can go online to watch the new daily commercial spot and enter a daily drawing to win a cruise. The campaign, dubbed "Postcards from the Nation of Why Not" is also being promoted on Royal Caribbean's Facebook page. ... Read the whole story > >
Retail
by Karl Greenberg
Sears will promote the Protégé Basketball Block Party through TV, radio, print and online content. Exclusive content will be posted to www.ProtegeMVP.com following each event. Sears decided to expand experiential marketing efforts after seeing strong results from a test program in Phoenix early this year. ... Read the whole story > >
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
In addition to sponsoring free screenings of "Food, Inc." in 32 cities around the country, Chipotle is distributing promotional pieces for the film in its restaurants. When the film's DVD is released later this year, Chipotle has rights to include a bonus feature about its commitment to sustainable agriculture in the DVD. ... Read the whole story > >
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
Servers are being asked to inform customers that if they buy an entrée and add a beverage, pancake puppies, soup, salad, or dessert to their order, they will receive a scratch-off game card. The eight Denny's servers who sell the most qualifying items by the end of the promotion will win Bahamas trips for two. ... Read the whole story > >

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A Twitter Success Story

As told by Anthony Juliano on his agency's blog:

NakedPizza: a Twitter success story

I’m one of those communicators who’s at least somewhat of a Twitter skeptic, but it’s undeniable that a few companies are tweeting their way to profitability. One example: NakedPizza. On its way to reinventing pizza, the New Orleans-based business is also redefining the ways in which social media can lure customers. This post on the Social Media Optimization blog provides a great overview of NakedPizza’s twitterage, but here are a few highlights:

• NakedPizza understands that Twitter is best used for short-term, immediate-action promotions—like this recent tweet: “looks like rain. good night for piza. we deliver. any lrg specialty piza only $12.95" - menu

• But they know that promotions should represent only a fraction of tweets, so NakedPizza spends a lot of time tweeting in ways consistent with their mission of delivering great-tasting pizza that's actually good for you—for example, “>50% evry food $ is spent on food from restaurants, vending machines, movie theaters, and schools. oh my.”

• And occasionally they just thank their customers: “Shout out to Americorps big ass pizza order. Massive. Thx for helping in new Orleans.”

• How do they generate followers? By offering a combination of good information, Twitter-specific promos and lots of retweets, and by integrating Twitter into their larger marketing efforts, like this billboard above their store.

To learn more about how NakedPizza is using Twitter, follow them at Twitter.com/NAKEDpizza.


--Anthony J.

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Prune or Shrink?


There is a HUGE difference.

Pruning gets rid of dead wood and gives the healthy limbs what they need to grow.

Problem is, too many businesses simply shrink. Steve Clark has more:

You Can’t Shrink Your Way To Excellence

So the economy has been in the tank and orders aren’t coming in fast enough. Contracts are being canceled, and salespeople are quickly learning that selling is more than showing up and taking orders. So what do most managers do? Take out the knife and cut back. When that doesn’t work they cut back some more. While it may seem prudent and good business to cut costs where you can, this approach can have disastrous consequences when it is applied to the sales force. Why?

Consider this: If the average salesperson brings in 10 to 15 times their compensation in sales, why would we want FEWER of them? Other than marketing, sales is the only area that generates revenue for a company. Not accounting, administration, HR, not any other department. When a company cuts back on hiring, recruiting or training sales people they effectively limit their future.

Your financial people, who do not understand or appreciate the sales role, will argue that you should cut anywhere you can. Fine. If you must cut, cut everything else but not the sales force. In this economy, you must put MORE salespeople to work, not less. You must provide MORE training, not less. Initiate MORE accountability, not less. INCREASE recruiting efforts not reduce them.

Companies must perform their way to excellence. It takes work to grow and take market share by out-hustling, out-strategizing and out-recruiting your competitors. Most managers resist this because the left side of their brain is addicted to quick fixes, while the right side of their brain is on a starvation diet.

If sales are flat, or worse, down from your goals and projections, INCREASE the sales effort and do not tighten the belt in the sales department. Have your sales organization evaluated, find out who has the ability to become more effective and give them the training they’ll need to reach their fullest potential.

As a manager, give yourself a gut-check and decide if you want to follow the herd, or get up front and lead. Are you content to merrily co-exist in your market, or do you have the commitment to step up and dominate it with bold strategies and solid execution?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News

Wow, Tuesday already:

Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Michael Sprague, Kia's marketing veep, says the car "signals the direction of where the brand's going. We were always known as a maker of cheap cars with a great warranty; now we are repositioning as not only as great value and quality, but as a maker of cars with great safety and technology, backed up with great design." ... Read the whole story > >
Mobile
by Aaron Baar
"It's anecdotally and empirically evident," Chip Lister, managing director of market research company Data Development Worldwide, tells Marketing Daily. "There's too much of a tendency [for marketers] to make devices one-size-fits-all. That's not what consumers are feeding back to us about what they want." ... Read the whole story > >
Research
by Sarah Mahoney
"Something like 90% of us watches TV in a typical day," says Experian Simmons' John Fetto, "and upwards of 70% use some other media while doing so." The top three things people do while watching TV? Surfing the web (favored by 27% of multitaskers), using cell phones (26%) or emailing (23%). ... Read the whole story > >
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The Riese Organization, which operates more than 100 restaurants in metro New York, has converted 10 midtown and two Brooklyn Dunkin' Donuts locations into Hortonses. Nine midtown stores -- which include highly desirable, high-traffic locations such as Broadway, Madison Square Garden, Penn Station and Times Square -- opened on Monday. ... Read the whole story > >
Hospitality
by Karl Greenberg
The effort features a new media strategy that the company says includes local markets, "ownable" properties, and reinforcing to hotel owners the importance of the Holiday Inn global re-launch. And the company is also instituting its first logo redesign in half a century. Read the whole story > >
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The new, $3 Toasty Bullet sub is also made on ciabatta bread and wrapped in a paper sleeve, but is 8 inches long, versus the Torpedoes' 13 inches. Television commercials for the Bullet, launched Monday, continue the "talking toaster" character created for the Toasty Torpedo. ... Read the whole story > >

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Newspaper Revival for Survival

In Fort Wayne Indiana, my hometown, we are one of the few cities that still has both a morning and afternoon newspaper. But they have been operating under a joint operating agreement for years. Still, they are getting thinner and thinner.

We also have a weekly business newspaper, but it is getting thinner too.

What will become of the printed press?

Content Marketing wrote this:


Why Local Newspapers Require Radical Reinvention to Escape a Very Grim Future

Posted: 10 Jul 2009 06:05 AM PDT

woman reading newspaper in front of window They provide too much of what readers can get anywhere and too little of what readers really want.

Local newspapers and business-to-business publications face similar challenges as drastic drops in ad revenue drive equally drastic drops in relevant and compelling content. But for newspapers, ad revenue declines are exacerbated because the highly profitable classified advertising sections have almost disappeared as readers flock to the Internet. Moreover, business-to-business magazines that are well positioned still offer uniquely valuable niche content that helps readers succeed. Their readers still count on them. That’s not so true for our local dailies.

I believe that the potential nail in the coffin for local newspapers is the ease with which readers can access national and international content thanks to the Internet. Conversely, I believe that the potential salvation for local newspapers is to become resoundingly local.

Local Newspaper News Monopoly Disappears

In the heyday of local newspapers they enjoyed a virtual advertising monopoly that was reinforced by an effective information monopoly. That is, in a region like ours, the Naples Daily News was the most obvious source for local, state, national, and even international information. They did a great job of aggregating content that enabled readers to get a good snapshot of everything they likely wanted to know once they had finished their ritual reading of the daily newspaper.

Because most Americans were never blessed by a hometown newspaper like the New York Times or the Washington Post, they read the syndicated content from sources like the Associated Press which was bundled into their local daily. Of course, healthy advertising revenues also supported lots and lots of local news coverage, too. In addition, as we publishing veterans would point out, in many ways the advertising was just as important to readers as the articles.

As an example of the declining relevance of a local newspaper, the Business & Commentary section of the July 4 issue of the Naples daily news underscores the declining impact and relevance of the local press.

  • there is no longer a stand-alone business section. It is combined with a commentary section.
  • the entirety of the business coverage is on a single page.
  • the lead story on that single page comes from the Associated Press and relates, perhaps ironically, to the reinvention of the Saturday Evening Post.
  • four news briefs from unnamed wire sources populate a hodgepodge column that includes a story about an oil brokerage firm losing millions to trading
  • the two local stories on the page are openly credited to contributions by outside sources, one of which is a local PR firm. They don’t even pretend not to be press releases.

The net effect of this dearth of local news is to reduce the relevance of the newspaper to local readers. I did a quick count of the Sunday edition of the paper and found that in the lead section a tiny fraction of the stories dealt with local issues. Everything else consisted of Associated Press articles on national or state topics.

This formula of combining local and syndicated content for business and other feature stories worked when there was plenty of local information provided and when readers had only expensive, if any, access to sources like the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the London Times. Today, any reader with Internet access can read not only those fine newspapers but what are now effectively daily online editions of Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist, and a host of other fine business publications.

The unfortunate bottom line is that we rely much less on our local dailies for essential news and information both because we have excellent online alternatives and because there is less compelling local substance.

A Modest Prescription for Local Newspaper Survival

I am certainly not alone in suggesting that local newspapers will have to reinvent themselves in order to survive. But, I believe that a really radical reinvention is required.

Local newspapers need to focus like a laser beam on local coverage. It is the one obvious area where they can outperform any national or international competitor. It is also an area of abiding interest among the local community. We all want to know what is going on with local businesses, growth and development, the local and regional economy, government institutions, community organizations, social activities, entertainment, and much more. Therefore, they need to add, rather than reduce, local content. Perhaps, they could even jettison all that expensive syndicated content completely thereby reducing printing costs while increasing relevance.

The other area of opportunity resides in well organized citizen journalism. I don’t believe that this can be done in the tentative way that is typical of so many publications. For example, The Naples Daily News has opened up virtually all of its articles to commentary in an effort to engage readers. But, because they are unable to monitor the commentary closely, we wind up with a wild array of commentary from the thoughtful to the lunatic fringe. This means that even positive articles or reviews about local companies can be poisoned by unsupervised comments.

This doesn’t mean that citizen journalism cannot work. Quite the contrary. We are blessed with an intelligent, affluent, and informed local population who could almost certainly generate world-class citizen content with the active and enthusiastic supervision of trained editors. We are capable of creating local content that would be so relevant and compelling that it would recapture readers—and all those recaptured readers would lure back the advertisers.

In fact, there are early indications that the Naples Daily News may be moving in this direction. If they do, and if they get it right, I’m confident that our own daily and its newspaper brethren across the country can thrive once more. I certainly wish them well on our collective behalf.

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6 Social Media Marketing Lessons

It is untapped, unproven territory. Social Media Marketing.

But just because it is new, doesn't mean we shouldn't be using it.

As a matter of fact, the internet is where the biggest percentage of increased spending is likely to occur.

And the innovations are coming at us fast and furious.

Some marketing and advertising folks are sitting on the sidelines because they are waiting for proven methods and measurements.

Don't be one of those left behind. Instead look at the case studies, learn and create. This story is from FastCompany.com:

6 Lessons From the Best Marketing Campaign Ever

Last month an unlikely underdog stunned the marketing world at the International Cannes Advertising Festival [1]. At the show, a single marketing campaign took home a Grand Prix award in three categories simultaneously--direct, cyber and PR-- something that had never happened before in the 50+ year history of the show. Contrary to what you might expect, the unanimous winner of this unprecedented victory was not a Fortune50 brand with an advertising budget of millions, but a small Tourism board promoting a little known island off the Great Barrier Reef.

best job

The winning campaign was called the "Best Job in the World [2]" and was essentially a big online job search conducted through social media for a new "caretaker" for Hamilton Island in Queensland, Australia. Done on a comparatively paltry marketing budget of just $1.7 million dollars and reliant on fortuitous PR and word of mouth, the campaign achieved stunning results, including over 34,000 video entries from applicants in 200 countries, and more than 7 million visitors to the site who generated nearly 500,000 votes.

ben southallJust two weeks ago on July 1, the winner of the competition [3]--a 34-year-old British man named Ben Southall [4] started blogging and touring around Queensland, finally bringing the competition to a close. For the next six months, he will be touring around Queensland, sharing his adventures through a video blog, writing, Twitter account [5] and Flickr photos [6]-- generating even more interest in Hamilton Island and all of Queensland in the process. The tangible results for the island are rolling in as well: Amway Australia chose it as the site of their upcoming annual conference, and domestic Aussie airline Virgin Blue just started flying a direct flight between Sydney and Hamilton Island [7], due to the rise in demand from travelers wanting to get to the island.

I realize that tourism and the travel industry may seem far removed from your business. Unfortunately, we don't all have the natural beauty of Hamilton Island to fall back on when starting our marketing campaigns. Still, a big part of the reason for the amazing success of this campaign was not what they were marketing, but how they used social media to do it. In that, there are some lessons anyone trying to promote a product or service could use:

  1. Make it believable. Many marketing groups would never make a claim if they can't provide substantial evidence. How might Tourism Queensland prove that their job is the best in the world? They can't. But it is believable because it is a beautiful place and fits what many people's definition of a dream job might be.
  2. It's not about how much you spend. One of the major benefits of smart public relations and social media is that it scales in a way that advertising typically doesn't. In other words, you don't have to pay more to get more. The real trick is to have something worthwhile to say that people can't help talking about. You need a good story.
  3. Focus on content, not traffic. The typical marketing campaign focuses on traffic to some kind of site. For Tourism Queensland, the biggest payoff of this campaign was having over 34,000 videos on YouTube from people around the world talking about how much they love Queensland. Aggregate the views of all those videos, and multiply them over the long term and you'll start to understand the true impact of their campaign.
  4. Create an inherent reason for people to share. Another element of this campaign that worked extremely well was the fact that there was voting enabled on the videos. What this meant was that after someone submitted their video, they had an incentive to share it with everyone in their social network online to try and get more votes.
  5. Don't underestimate the power of content creators Most recent statistics point to some number between 1% and 10% of the user base of any social network are the active content creators. Though these percentages may seem small, the potential impact of some of these individuals are vast online. It could easily become the secret weapon for your next marketing campaign.
  6. Give your promotion a shelf life. The best thing about this campaign may just be the content yet to come. Ben, the winner, just started blogging and sharing videos and photos, but the content is already engaging, high quality and inspires you to dream of making it to Queensland yourself. Over the next six months, his itinerary will take him across the state of Queensland and unlock many other unique opportunities. Best of all, this content will live on far beyond the time span of the campaign.

Read more of Rohit Bhargava's Influential Marketing blog [8] on Fast Company.

rohit bhargavaRohit Bhargava [8] is SVP of Digital Strategy at Ogilvy PR [9] and author of the award-winning book Personality Not Included [10], a guide for brands to be more authentic. He writes the popular non-obvious marketing blog Influential Marketing [11] and speaks frequently around the world on social media, marketing and the power of personality. Follow him on Twitter at @rohitbhargava [12] or become a fan on Facebook [13] before July 31 to be among the first to get a free download of his new ebook on August 1.



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Lessons from Abe


From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Giving 100%

There is a wonderful sales lesson in a story I found about Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln once took a sack of grain to a mill whose owner was said to be the laziest man in Illinois. Abe watched the man for a while and then finally commented, "I can eat the grain as fast as you're grinding it."

The owner of the mill grunted and said, "Indeed; and how long do you think you could keep that up?"

Abe looked at the man and replied, "Until I starve to death."

Do you know any salespeople who never give it their all? They are always looking for the short cut, the easy way, the fastest way. Well, selling is hard work. The quickest, easiest, fastest way is not always the most productive way. A short cut is not a short cut if you "cut" corners. Give it your best and watch the sales orders come in.

Source: Sales trainer/speaker Mark Bowser (www.markbowser.com, 2009)


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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

Entertainment
by Karl Greenberg
"We think we can drive more business to the region by letting the public know we have two incredible scenic resorts, both of which are all-inclusive destinations," says Foxwoods' Rob Victoria, who adds that the effort, with a "Two Worlds Beats One City" that takes a jab at Atlantic City, drives consumers to www.playCTcasinos.com. ... Read the whole story > >
Research
by Tanya Irwin
"Millennials represent a golden opportunity in a time of economic darkness for loyalty marketers," says Kelly Hlavinka, Colloquy partner and co-author of the white paper. "This demographic is receptive to the wish-list of loyalty initiatives -- eager to join programs, eager to build relationships with their favorite brands and eager to engage with new media channels. ... Read the whole story > >
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
National Harbor, a multi-use area, includes several hotels as well as restaurants and stores, about 10 minutes from downtown D.C., and the Disney Cos. recently announced plans to build a 500-room property there. The Peeps shop will be located at the very center of the main plaza, she says. ... Read the whole story > >
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
It will be Toyota's seventh hybrid vehicle when it goes on sale later this summer, the first luxury car from any brand that doesn't have a doppelganger with a traditional engine. Toyota will launch a full-out campaign for the vehicle in September, but it is starting the engine with an online pre-launch campaign at www.DriveHS.com. ... Read the whole story > >
Technology
by Aaron Baar
But rather than supplanting the Internet as a go-to choice for banking, mobile banking is developing into a complementary channel for financial institutions, comScore's Kevin Levitt says. According to comScore, only 3% of users cited mobile as the primary source for their banking needs, compared with 36% who cited the Internet. "The Internet is still king," Levitt says. ... Read the whole story > >
Retail
by Karlene Lukovitz
Well over half (59%) of respondents to the online survey, conducted in May, indicated that they've switched to store brands to some degree for food and household products during the past six months. Nearly half said the same about their own health products (48%) and personal care products (also 48%). ... Read the whole story > >
Retail
by Wayne Friedman
Dressing up AMC's "Mad Men," Banana Republic has entered into a marketing partnership for the Emmy-winning show's third season. Its 400 stores will promote the drama July 21 to Aug. 11, just before its season premiere. ... Read the whole story > >

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