Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Women

Interesting info from Click on the charts to make them BIGGER

Three-Fourths of Women Uninfluenced by Brands on SocNets

Though women are “exceptionally active” in online social networking activities, they are overwhelmingly uninfluenced - and often “turned off,” by brands hawking products and services in the social-media space, according to a study released by Q Interactive’s Women’s Channel in partnership with adTech: Chicago.

The “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ Emerges” study found that even though 52% percent of the 1,000 women surveyed have befriended or become a fan of at least one brand on a social network, 83% nonetheless feel “neutral” or “negative” when they see a brand on a social networking site. Only 17% said they feel positive.

Moreover, an overwhelming 75% say they are not influenced by social networking channels to purchase products and services, the study found.


Additional findings from the research:

  • The top-three activities for women online are checking email, looking for coupons and savings and checking/updating their Facebook, MySpace or Twitter status:


  • 75% of women are “more active” in social networking than they were last year.
  • More than half of respondents (54%) visit social networking sites at least once per day.
  • Facebook is the favorite social network among women, cited as most-oft used by two-thirds of respondents:


  • The top-three social networking activities for women are sending private messages to friends, sharing photos and chatting/sending instant messages.
  • 10% of women engage in product / brand-related activities - including “get product information, including coupons and savings” and “writing reviews about products” - most on social networking sites, above common activities such as “send private messages to friends” and “share photos:”


  • More than 45% of women say they have given up some of their TV-watching time to participate in social networks. Other activities that have suffered similarly include reading books, magazines and the newspaper, listening to the radio and watching movies:


Study findings point to the fact that women’s large amounts of time spent on social networking sites is not translating into influence or purchase, though it should and could, adtech suggested.

“While brands seem to have such small influence within this space, which is relatively new territory for marketers, over half of the women surveyed have ‘befriended’ or ‘become a fan of’ at least one brand. This tells us there is a willingness among women to partner with brands in social media - but the current dialogue is not where it needs to be,” said Drew Ianni, chairman, programming for ad:tech Expositions. “The challenge becomes finding a meaningful, appreciated and successful presence and partnership.”

About the study: The study of 1,000 US women across age, geography and household demographics set out to investigate the digital lives of women and how brands are a part of that world. The report was fully unveiled at ad:tech Chicago on September 2, 2009.

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The Leno Gamble

My wife has occasionally brought up the move to Primetime that Jay Leno is kicking off on Monday. She and many others have wondered if this will hurt Conan and the Tonight Show; why didn't Jay just retire; and one of my questions, how big of a commitment did NBC make, and how long will they stick with Jay if he gets beat up in the ratings?

NBC is doing all it can to promote the show, but as we all know, if the product doesn't live up to the marketing, advertising can't fix it..

NBC Tunes in Radio for Leno Push

NBC is putting big promotional bucks behind its prime-time bet on Jay Leno. Leading up to Leno's Sept. 14 debut at 10 p.m., NBC Universal is turning to an ambitious Radio campaign as part of its overall push.

Working with Horizon Media and Katz Marketing Solutions, the campaign could be NBC's biggest Radio tune-in effort yet.

Airing in two waves, the first set of Radio spots broke Sept. 8-11. Those ads serve as teasers, aimed at getting potential viewers to think about the upcoming Leno debut. The second wave, airing Sept. 14-18, is the call to action. Both waves emphasize Leno's brand of comedy.

The first Radio flight is airing in 12 top markets, including the 10 markets where NBC has owned-and-operated stations. In a nod to Leno's new 10 p.m. time slot, the spot airs adjacent to morning traffic reports on the :10s, with 15 seconds of Leno comedy bits followed by a tag reminding viewers to tune in to Jay at 10 p.m.

Beginning Sept. 14, the first day of Leno's new show, phase two broadens the reach of the campaign into the top 25 markets. Once again timed to air 10 minutes after the hour in morning and afternoon drive, Leno comedy bits are introduced by local personalities as "Comedy from Jay at 10 after the hour" (or 9 after the hour in the Central time zone.)

Both waves are designed to maximize tune-in with creative Radio approaches that will resonate with potential viewers. "The first (wave) was finding mundane moments in everyday life that could use a laugh from Leno, such as sitting in gridlock while listening to a local traffic report," said Ken Grayson, senior director, media planning for NBC. "The second was closely aligning Leno and the comedy with the number 10 to highlight his time slot."

NBC has often turned to Radio to create clever tune-in campaigns for its TV properties. Last year, the network worked with Katz to rebrand top stations as Chuck-FM. In 2007, for Heroes, the team used unorthodox ad lengths with a classic theater-of-the-mind approach in a daylong schedule. Each campaign won AweekMedia Plan of the Year awards. Three years ago, NBC sponsored an hour of commercial-free Radio to promote My Name is Earl.

None of the campaigns, including NBC's latest Radio push for Leno, are easy to execute. They require extensive coordination with individual stations to change programming clocks and prep programmers and personalities. For the Leno campaign, Horizon, Katz and NBC worked months in advance.

"The Radio industry is recognizing the need for flexibility," said Bob McCurdy, president of Katz Marketing Solutions, the marketing division of Katz Media. "We can transform the medium to perfectly complement a promotion."

Radio isn't the only media promotion NBC is using to get the word out on Leno. Two weeks ago, NBC began airing cinema spots across National CineMedia's network, including ads on popcorn bags adorned with the movie rating "J-10: Jay Leno's new show has been approved for all audiences...because life needs more laughter."

(Source: Adweek, 09/08/09)

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Give to Get

From a recent Jill Konrath newsletter:

Today's feature article is by Josiane Feigon, inside sales expert and author of the newly released book, Smart Selling on the Phone & Online. It's excellent. If you want to improve your phone & email prospecting skills, this book shows you how. It's easy to read and highly practical. That's why I wrote the foreward for it!

What Buyers Really Care (and Don't Care) About
By Josiane Feigon

Today's sales 2.0 landscape is drizzled with economic uncertainties, and the buyers are in the driver's seat. That means no matter how hard you try to earn their business, they have their own agenda - they hardly care about your selling efforts. Don't take it personally. When you are selling in a buyer's market, you must see the business through their eyes and understand exactly what they care about and don't care about:
Here's What Buyers Don't Care About

  • They don't care about your company being the fastest-growing leader in your space. Sure, they want to know your company will stick around. But more important, they want to know if what you're offering is the most timely and relevant solution for their needs.
  • They don't care about all the emails and phone messages you have left over the past few months. They move at their own pace. When they are ready, they will let you know.
  • They don't care that you are the lowest-priced leader in your space. Even in an economic downturn, price continues to be the least determining factor in a buyer's purchasing decision.
  • They don't care that they used to be a customer years ago. Loyalty runs thin. The only thing they may remember from a few years ago is the pricing they had in the past.
  • They don't care about your great service, support and training- Sure, it sounds enticing but the reality is unless something goes wrong, they don't really need all this.
Here's What Buyers Do Care About
  • They care about the time you take to learn about their business. They want to be heard, but only by the most knowledgeable audience. There is no excuse for not knowing.
  • They care about being low-risk. As a group, buyers are naturally risk-averse. In a difficult economy, they are even more cautious.
  • They care about your reputation and how many people they know have done business with you before. More and more buyers are basing their purchase decisions on what others say about your service or solutions.
  • They care about conversion rates and deals that stick. If you can't demonstrate a conversion process on their investment, they are not interested. They want to know what exactly they will get from their investment.
  • They care about where they see the economy going. They are not bargain-shopping, they are value-shopping. They want to get the most value for their money and see returns years later.
It's time to move away from your "self-selling utopia" and listen to what your customers care about.

JOSIANE FEIGON is President of TeleSmart and blogger Her new book, Smart Selling from on the Phone and Online is already creating a buzz as the inside sales sourcebook. She is a global thought leader in the inside sales community and recognized as one of the world's leading experts on inside sales teams and management talent.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Christmas Predictions & more:

by Sarah Mahoney
About the fast-approaching holiday season, Mike Duke says this will be "a late Christmas. There will be deferred spending. The customer will use every bit of intelligence, comparison shop, do lots of research on the Internet." Duke addressed the Goldman Sachs Sixteenth Annual Global Retail Conference in New York on Thursday. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The digitally centered campaign focuses on how Visa Business helps small business owners manage their finances better than using checks. The campaign includes five businesspeople telling their story via video at Other media include digital advertising banners, national network radio and trade print advertising. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
According to Compete's quarterly "Smartphone Intelligence" survey, nearly one-third of all smartphone owners are comfortable or very comfortable receiving targeted marketing on their device. Of them, nearly half are receptive to location-based offers at restaurants (or other offers to pursue at their leisure) and 45% would use mobile grocery coupons. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
While retailers have been slow to build m-commerce programs, it makes sense for those who serve teens. An estimated 71% of teens now own cellphones and are more likely to use text and browsing functions than are adults. AE, which targets kids 15 to 25, has had an opt-in SMS texting program in place since November. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
For its Jameson Irish Whiskey, the company will launch its first U.S. TV spot, via TBWA in October. "We are doubling the ad budget," says Paul Duffy, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard, U.S. He says the company is also stepping up consumer communications for its Malibu Caribbean rum to extend the recently launched national print, TV and digital efforts. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
According to data from Mintel's Global New Products Database, the number of such products launched globally jumped by 306% between 2005 and 2008, from 71 to 288. In comparison, overall food and beverage launches grew by just 35% during the same time frame. ... Read the whole story > >

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Are you HYPER!!!???!!!

Years ago, 1986 to be exact, is when I made the switch from working on the air at a radio station to working in the advertising side of the radio business.

That was when I began my journey into authentic advertising which has evolved into relationship marketing.

If your advertising and marketing is filled with hype, you really should become real. In this age of social media, it is more important than ever.

This is from the Marketing Minute:

Hype is so 1990s

Posted: 08 Sep 2009 11:55 AM PDT

Shutterstock_36443764 One of the marketing trends that has been emerging for the past several years is the idea of authenticity. Consumers want to have real conversations, not be “sold” by over zealous ad copy.

The over the top style of copy triggers today’s consumers to be on guard. They feel manipulated, which, as you might imagine, does not lead to a spending frenzy. Need to check the hype level of your marketing pieces? Watch for these dead giveaways.

Over-promising: On the extreme side, these are the “I make $10,000 a month and only work 2 hours a day” ads that are prevalent today. But anytime you take an extreme result and position it as the norm, you are guilt of hype.

Big and BOLD!: If you’re using lots of all capped words or putting an exclamation point at the end of every other sentence, you might be working TOO HARD at making your point. You are also guilty of hype.

Two other variations of the Big and BOLD hype are the underlining all the important words, until practically every word is underlined or the colored text techniques. Both qualify as hype.

Exaggerations and hyperbole:
If I tell you I’m having the most incredible sale ever on this planet you know its hype. But that doesn’t stop many retailers from having “the biggest sale of the season with prices that cannot be beat!” Smaller scale, but same kind of hype.

It’s easy to dismiss these tactics as what “those” other businesses do, but if you take the time to look at your own printed pieces, website, and ads you may to be surprised. Hype has a way of creeping into your marketing materials. It’s time to clean house and get with the times!

Photo courtesy of

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy at Mediapost:

Jay-Z recreates his album covers. Halo 3: ODST bows 2:30 minute ad; Hefner watches his girlfriends' "Risky Business" in a thirty-second Guitar Hero 5 spot. Let's launch!

The face that promotes Las Vegas tourism is that of a chinchilla. Believe it. The furry creature and friends return in the latest TV spot for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The first ad for Chinchilli day described a war between rebel chinchillas and the owners who fought them. See it here. The current ad features the duped boss from the first ad using a similar line on his boss, all for a three-day weekend in Vegas. This time around, the setting is a French village where three chinchillas rescue residents from three rogue musketeers. See the ad here, created by R&R Partners.

Are you ready for some English football? Sky Sports is celebrating the new season of U.K. football, televised on Sky Sports and Sky Terrestrial networks, with an ad that portrays the varying degrees of emotion felt by fans. The spot opens and closes with a runner declaring that "some of you may feel the way I do." Scattered throughout the ad are fans of all ages proclaiming their love for the sport, whether it's a mild passion or full-blooded obsession. "We know how you feel about it, because we feel the same," ends the ad, shown here. Brothers and Sisters created the campaign, edited by Dan Robinson from Cut + Run.

Give Jay-Z 30 seconds and he can recreate more than a decade's worth of album covers. Set to Jay-Z's latest single, "Run this town," the ad for Rhapsody promotes the release of "The Blueprint 3" by stepping back in time to watch the rapper smoothly remake 10 previous album covers. "Jay-Z fans get it," concludes a voiceover. Fans will also enjoy hunting for their favorite Jay-Z cover in the ad, seen here. I know I did. Droga5 created the ad.

The print component for Old Spice's "Different Scents for Different Gents" campaign comes with a phone number. Don't call it. I did. There's an option for both men and women, but unless you have time to kill, I recommend not listening to the spokesman, who does his best to channel his inner Barry White. "If you're a man, we have a scent for you. If you're not a man, please call me. I love you," reads one ad, seen here. See a second ad here, both created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

I'm not a gamer, but I just watched a 2:30 minute spot for Halo 3: ODST, set for release Sept. 22, more than once. The extended ad ran stateside on Spike and on FX in the U.K. The mini-film has been edited down to 90-, 60- and 30-second versions, but here's the long version. The ad follows a young man from the moment he decides to become a soldier while, presumably, attending his father's funeral. We watch the young man undergo rigorous training, which prepares him for the battlefield. The ad comes full-circle, concluding with a soldier's burial. We see our character, now a middle-aged man, reflecting back upon a near-death experience he encountered years prior. He then leads his soldiers onward. Watch the ad here, created by T.A.G. San Francisco.

Hugh Hefner does what he does best in an ad for Guitar Hero 5: Sits around young, scantily clad Playmates while exerting himself minimally. Ten Playmates rock out to "Old Time Rock and Roll" in the Playboy Mansion as Hef watches. "What? I like variety," he says, as his twin blond girlfriends writhe beside him. Watch the ad here. Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the ad and Mediavest handled the media buy.

I'll never hear "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" the same way again. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Office of National Drug Control Policy launched an anti-meth TV campaign. Spots will run in 16 states, primarily in the West and Midwest where meth use rates are highest. In "Laura," based upon testimonials from former meth addicts, a woman visits a museum that's full of things lost to meth: happy childhood memories, stuffed animals and videos of her former self, pre-addiction. "Nothing destroys lives faster than meth," ends the ad, shown here. "Downward Spiral" depicts a chain reaction of events in a household that's quickly destroyed by meth addiction. Watch the ad here. Publicis & Hal Riney San Francisco created the campaign.

Boston Harbor Cruises ran a trio of TV ads this summer promoting its array of aquatic offerings. The Provincetown Fast Ferry is a smarter option when driving to Cape Cod then, say, driving your car into the water. See the ad here. Water skiing squirrels are fun to watch, but a Thrill Boat Ride lets humans get in on the fun. See it here. The final ad promotes BHC's whale-watching tours by depicting the excursion as more entertaining than human belly-flops in pools. Watch the ad here. Rattle created the ads and Konjolka Media handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: Lone Star Brewing Company created an app that helps consumers decode the puzzles found under the beer's bottle caps. A rebus or pictogram puzzle is located under every bottle cap of Lone Star and Lone Star Light beer. Each puzzle has a correlating number that can be entered into the puzzle cap decoder app to uncover the answer. The app, created by Archrival, can be downloaded for free from the App store.

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

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from Jill Konrath and

Secrets to Achieving an 80% Close Rate by Jill Konrath

Eric has been in show business for 15 years - the trade show business. His company sells and customizes virtually any kind of display imaginable. Some of Eric's customers have huge booths at the world's biggest conventions. Others have portable pop-up exhibits for regional shows.

In a cut-throat market filled with competitors, Eric stands above the crowd with an amazing 80% close rate and minimal customer churn.

How does he do it?

"I'm not a salesperson," says Eric. "I'm a consultant. My customers have a strong confidence level in my recommendations because I know what they want to accomplish. I understand their objectives. I know what they like and what works or doesn't work for them."

Eric's relationship with his customers often begins years before they ever do business together. He calls his approach "long-term telemarketing" and it starts with targeted vertical marketing.

His prospects are other companies attending the very same trade shows as his clients. He checks them out on the web, learns what events they attend and about any major happenings in the organization. He finds out who makes decisions. Everything is entered into his contact management system.

Then Eric gives these companies a call. His befriends the receptionist, learns her name and uses it frequently. Being quite savvy, he even gets her email address, which gives him the company protocol. Next he e-mails these prospects to alert them to literature they'll get from him shortly.

About a week later, he follows up. Eric introduces himself as a trade show consultant and tells the prospect, "My goal is to make my clients successful at trade shows." He mentions he has customers who do similar shows, which always catches their interest. He engages them in a short non-threatening discussion. They talk about which events work best for them and other general 'show talk.'

On these calls, Eric is not trying to sell any products or services. He's working to establish a relationship.

He's learning a tremendous amount about their business in the process: which vendor they use, how old their systems are, what works for them and more. All this comes out in the discussion because Eric quietly asks for it. Everything is entered into his database.

Eric offers to keep in touch, to share information they may be interested in. His prospects graciously agree. He hasn't tried to push or pitch them at all. No products mentioned; no meetings begged for, just an offer of assistance. Whether the prospect knows it or not, their relationship has begun.

Flash forward six months: Eric's customers have just returned from a big show. He checks in right away to find out how things went: "How was attendance? Was it on par with last year? How did the promotion work? How effective were the graphics? How about the leads? What changes do we need to make? How was the overall experience of the show? How was the labor?"

Of course, Eric's customers love his attention and commitment to their success. They immediately begin planning for the next event because new needs are always uncovered. This is why he rarely loses a customer.

But what else does Eric do with what he learns? He immediately calls his targeted prospects who attended the very same show to share information about his survey.

"I've been surveying my clients who were also at the XYZ show. They said attendance dropped 10%. Did you experience that too?"

Prospects are interested. Eric's been doing a survey; they could learn some valuable information. The discussion starts.

Eric shares other things he's learned from his customer. They chat. Relaxed, the prospect opens up. Slowly, gently Eric slips in questions about how successful the show was for the prospect. He quietly asks additional questions triggered by his database notes. He learns more.

Soon the prospect is sharing his frustrations with the event or his display company. "That's terrible. How could they do that?" empathizes Eric incredulously. He learns more; it goes in his database.

Eric finds out about the prospect's upcoming shows and sets his contact management system to notify him 2-3 days after they're over so he can follow up. When he phones, he asks more questions, willingly offers advice, helps solves simple problems, brainstorms possibilities and sends helpful material. He learns more; it goes in his database.

When Eric senses his prospect's frustration level is high enough to warrant a change, he offers, "If you're not happy, you can come to my showroom and we can do a free analysis. There's no obligation. Let me see if I can help."

Once Eric has prospects in his showroom he knows he pretty well has their business locked up. He just needs to keep his focus on their objectives, likes and dislikes, successes and failures. After all, these people trust him implicitly; they've had a relationship for months or years, even though it's always been by phone.

It's no wonder Eric has an 80% close rate!

Lessons learned:

  1. A long-term, keep-in-touch telemarketing strategy has tremendous paybacks.
  2. Conduct your own surveys. They're excellent sales tools for existing customers and especially for your prospects.
  3. Always focus on helping the customer. If they ever sense you're out for yourself, you lose the relationship.
  4. Contact management systems are a huge sales aid. Keep track of everything. Use your notes to trigger additional questions in future discussions. Have them notify you when it's time for follow-up.
Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies and founder of the Sales Shebang, is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and industry events. For more articles like this, visit Sign up for the newsletter and get a bonus Sales Call Planning Guide.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click on the headlines to read more:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Billed as "the first-ever cereal designed specifically to help fuel wins," Fuel's positioning aims to tap into the lucrative, fast-growing "functional" foods area, using star athletes to seal the appeal to men. General Mills developed three formulations of the cereal with the help of sports nutritionist Dr. John Ivy and five athletes. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
A Facebook application, "You Speak Green," promotes its Fusion Hybrid sedan. It shows a growing-vine graphic that is similar to one on the Fusion's instrument panel that grows when one's driving is most efficient. The one on Facebook grows when someone adds a comment. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
Looking to ape the fantastical look of its new animated movie "9," Focus Features is employing a new tactic: glow-in-the dark newspaper rack cards to draw attention to the film. The effort targets La Opinion, Los Angeles' largest Hispanic newspaper, to draw a Latino audience. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Marketing Daily catches up with Liz Haesler, Best Buy's VP of Home Life and Trend, to explain exactly how the consumer-electronics giant is wooing women -- both inside and out. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
This is mostly a digital word-of-mouth program, via New York-based 360i, which taps into existing Facebook fans, says Glaceau's Eric Berniker. "But, we will be promoting the Vitaminwater flavor generator campaign through online advertising -- mostly on Facebook where our passionate fans already exist." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The car's radar pings are visible as circles emanating in concentric rings; infrared becomes visible and the car becomes transparent to show electric circuitry. Voiceover says: "Radar to help watch for the unforeseeable; infrared to help protect; satellites to help guide; electricity to adjust how powerfully or efficiently you drive. Someday we'll all drive like this." ... Read the whole story > >

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Hispanic TV Viewing

This is not really surprising, considering that the Hispanic population is the fastest growing group in numbers and percentages in the United States.

Ethnic TV Markets: Hispanics Show Largest Growth for 2009-2010

The Hispanic TV audience in the US is growing faster than the TV audience for the total population, according to estimates from The Nielsen Company, which show a continued increase of Hispanic TV homes (2.3%) compared with total US TV homes (0.3%) for the 2009-2010 TV season.


Nielsen predicts that number of people ages 2+ in Hispanic TV homes will also grow, with estimates showing a 2.4% increase to a total of 44.3 million.

Hispanic numbers also are expected to increase faster than those for other specific ethnic/racial groups. Similar to Total TV homes, modest growth is estimated among African American and Asian homes as both will increase by less than 1% over last year. The number of people ages 2+ in African American TV homes will increase by only 1.3% to 37.5 million, and persons 2+ in Asian TV homes will remain at 14.5 million.

Top 20 Hispanic Markets

Nielsen reported that the top-three Hispanic/Latino TV markets in the US are Los Angeles, New York, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. The top-20 list:


Top 20 African-American Markets

The top-three Black/African-American markets in the US are New York, Atlanta and Chicago. The top-20 list:


Top 20 Asian Markets

The top-three Asian markets in the US are Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose. The top-20 list:


Nielsen ad spending data for the first half of 2009 suggests that advertisers are responding to the TV-watching growth in the Hispanic and African-American markets. Spanish-language cable TV saw ad spending tick up 0.6%, while African-American TV (a subset of network, cable, syndicated, and local) increased 14.3% through the first six months of 2009.

Separate research from New America Media found that ethnic media is increasing across the board, and that Hispanic Radio and Asian TV are fueling an overall 16% increase in ethnic media reach.

The full list (pdf) of ethnic DMA rankings and universe estimates is available from Nielsen.

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More on Keeping your Customers

Pat McGraw's blog:

Why Customers Leave and Product Differentiation

by patmcgraw on September 9, 2009

Recommended reading time…the first one is from Servant of Chaos on the importance of product differentiation (valuable differentiation versus the more common ‘our product sucks which makes us different from the competition’).

This is something that advertising is simply not going to fix. It’s actually not possible. You see, it no longer takes a big budget and a sexy image to reach an audience. Anyone can start a blog for free and begin corralling opinion. And you know what? It is all captured by Google. Every word, every rant, every unsubstantiated comment (and every truth) is indexed by Google, assessed for inbound links, page rank and a number of other elements and then presented as fact to the unwary web surfer.

What’s unique about your products and services? How do you consistently deliver a valuable solution for your customers? Is that clearly communicated in your messaging – across the entire organization?

The reason I asked that last question, about communications across the entire organization, is because of this next post about customer retention from the folks at ScLoHo’s Collective Wisdom. My favorite excerpt is this one -

Sixty-Eight (68) percent of customers who leave your company and start doing business with another company do so because they feel taken for granted by employees who display an attitude of indifference.

So after you get those buyers knocking on your door, make sure the sales and service folks greet the buyers with a big smile, a positive attitude and the commitment to deliver an incredibly valuable experience. And you might want to think about little ways to show your customers that you love them – random acts of kindness like handwritten thank you notes or calls to check in and see how they are doing (no sales pitch allowed) can work miracles.

Note from Pat: As soon as I closed this post, I came across this piece from Baskin’s Dim Bulb blog on on his experience with Vanguard. God, I have been there!

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Flip Flop

Flip Flop the time you talk vs the time you listen. This is from Skip Anderson:

Home Improvement Sales Training: Sales Professional or Pitchman?

Much of conventional wisdom in home improvement sales training centers around "The Demo." This is particularly true when selling windows, doors, sunrooms and the like.

The concept is that you wow your prospect with the quality of your product and walk out the door with a sale. But if this works so well, why does the average salesperson have to discount his price ("drop" in home improvement lingo) one or more times to get the order?

Look, we've got it all wrong. If we spend five minutes getting to know our prospect and twenty minutes performing our demonstration, where is our focus? What's more important here, our window, or our prospect?

I say our prospect is far more important. If we're going to spend twenty minutes doing our demo, then we'd better spend at least twenty minutes getting to know our prospect. It a decision that will determine if you are a sales professional or a pitchman.

- What micro and macro needs does our prospect have?

- Who is the dominant participant, in the case of a couple? Why?

- What prior experiences of the prospect will influence their decision about the purchase of our product?

- What's on the prospect's mind?

- What fears do that have regarding our product or our company or the buying process?

- How will the prospect make a buying decision?

- Why did they call us to their home today and not a year ago? Or a year from now?

- And so on.

But when a sales representative's focus is on the demo, he is:

- Assuming his product meets the needs of his prospect

- Putting his prospect in a role of secondary importance

- Putting the cart before the horse

- Hoping the prospect is interested enough to sign on, rather than finding out up front

Here's my suggestion:

If you sell windows, doors, cabinetry, custom closets, sunrooms, patio rooms, flooring, knives, vacuums, security systems, or anything else in the home, work to engage your prospect in the buying process by focusing on your prospect. Everything else will fall into place more easily if that is your starting point. Otherwise, you could just as well be an infomercial pitchman doing all the talking and none of the listening.

Selling to Consumers price tag logo

Skip Anderson is the Founder and President of Selling to Consumers Sales Training. He works with companies and individuals who sell to consumers in B2C, retail, in-home selling, and the financial, real estate, and insurance markets.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

NASCAR, Sweet Stuff and more:

by Karl Greenberg
Jim Brown, director of communications at Honeywell Consumer Products Group, says, "Where in recent years folks might just add wiper fluid or change the air filter, they are now tackling more difficult tasks, just as generations before them used to do." Sixty-one percent of those doing their own maintenance are topping off or changing the antifreeze, 54% are now changing the oil filter, and nearly a third (32%) report changing their spark plugs. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Sharpie plans to make fashion design something of a performance art, and will have designer Betsey Johnson whip up a breast cancer-inspired t-shirt during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The brand will open a Sharpie DIY Lounge during the shows and invite attendees to decorate plain white apparel and accessories. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The new ad effort puts Stewart in ads for BK's Whopper sandwich. But it is also a meta-commentary on the phenomenon of product endorsement deals of the kind BK has signed with Stewart. One spot opens on a shot of the "Tony Stewart School of Endorsements" shingle outside a quaint office. Inside, Stewart holds forth in his NASCAR suit, giving advice to a classroom of athletes and B-listers. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Harris Bank is extending its "We're here to help" campaign with four new 30-second TV spots, print, digital and outdoor advertising. The campaign, which will run throughout Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis illustrates the ways that Harris offers "unexpected help" and introduces new situations in which Harris provides help through much-appreciated, unexpected guidance. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"What we're playing off of is the social media phenomenon like the couple who filmed their wedding entry [that was a YouTube hit over the summer], coupled with an actual contest," LG's Demetra Kavadeles says. Entrants will be encouraged to post links to their videos on social networking sites to drum up votes, and the winner will get $50,000. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
U.S. sales of zero-calorie sweeteners derived from the stevia plant are bound to surge over the next few years as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other marketers use them in a growing number of products. However, price and availability, as well as taste, will play critical roles in determining the degree of use, consumer adoption and ultimate market share, points out a new report from Rabobank. ... Read the whole story > >

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Beatles & Boomers

from Mediapost:

Come Together, Right Now, Over Rockband

In the opening credits of "A Hard Day's Night," the 1964 mock-u-mentary, the clean-cut, youthful Beatles are seen madly scampering through the streets of London, dodging throngs of frenzied, worshipping teenage Boomer fans. With the release of "The Beatles: Rockband" on Monday, Harmonix Music Systems is hoping that The Beatles will bring that same generation, now 45-64 years old, to video gaming and multi-media music consumption -- just as they brought that generation to rock and roll, stadium concerts and music videos.

Video gaming has long been entertainment medium of choice of teenage boys. The introduction of role-playing games such as Sims and Harvest Moon helped convert teenage girls but it wasn't until the advent of new, easier-to-manipulate platforms -- such as the Wii -- and social play through Rockband and Wii Sports, that video games began attracting a wider following. It is now a formidable entertainment medium in its own right and generated more than $21 billion in sales in 2008. Throughout this growth, though, Boomers, were largely absent -- even as they began embracing other non-traditional media forms such as social networks. Research indicates anywhere from 12%-19% of Boomers have played a video game at least once but monthly video game usage tracked by Nielsen suggests that trial is not enough: Boomers' represent less than 10% of monthly video game activity.

Console distributionBut, Harmonix believes the release of "The Beatles: Rockband" could change that. "From the beginning, Rockband has attracted a wider demographic audience than we ever anticipated," Harmonix Creative Director Josh Randall shared with me via phone last week. "We discovered it wasn't just teens -- but also parents and younger children. And, we wanted 'The Beatles: Rockband' to invite people into the game that had never played before."

Design changes Randall oversaw included simplified navigation, an easier "beginner" setting, and inclusion of a three-part vocal harmony feature, which lets non-musically inclined players participate in the game as well. Another important change that Harmonix implemented was a "no fail" option.

In most games, once a player fails to complete a task, the game ends and the player has to start from the beginning and overcome those challenges to complete the game. In a musical game, "failing" ends a song performance. "People, particularly older people, have to cross multiple barriers to play a video game," stated Randall matter-of-factly, "so, you don't want people who just crossed these barriers to play, get 'boo-ed off the stage' immediately because they're just learning." The "no fail" option allows players to continue enjoying Beatles songs, even if their instrumental playing fails.

This strategy -- of modifying design to appeal to a broader audience -- is reminiscent of Facebook's evolving changes that ultimately helped it become the social networking site for Boomers. While Facebook did not intentionally make changes to attract Boomers, this generational group is now the fastest-growing segment on the site. Boomers join Facebook to connect with their families, according Anderson Analytics. This growth from Boomers has helped Facebook reach 250 million users and created a rare opportunity to generate revenue from an audience base that dwarfs any traditional or digital channel.

If "The Beatles: Rockband" succeeds at drawing Boomers to their video gaming, it offers Harmonix and MTV networks an opportunity to grow their market share as well as revenues from gaming software, accessories and future musical downloads. While "The Beatles: Rockband" launches with 45 digitally re-mastered Beatles songs covering the span of their career, Harmonix and MTV plan to offer other Beatles songs for additional downloading. And, unlike teens, Boomers are willing to pay for their music. This is, after all, the generation that launched MTV -- a channel on a subscriber-based platform.

Anne Mai Bertelsen is the Founder and President of MAI Strategies, a marketing consulting firm specializing in integrated marketing strategy development and implementation. Her clients include American Express Consumer Card Group, United Nations' Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, and the Radio Advertising Bureau. Prior to starting her own firm, Anne held marketing positions at American Express and the Port Authority of NY & NJ. Reach her here.

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The Crystal Ball for 2010


Looking ahead to 2010


A new study from business services and consultancy Deloitte reveals that most US companies expect the economy to turn around in 2010, and in the early portion of the year at that. However, many of those same companies expect to lag behind. Meanwhile, accounting and financial advisor KPMG looks at how individual sectors of the economy expect to fare.

One expected result of the economic crisis, widely believed to be the deepest since the Great Depression, is that the economy that exists at the other end of the recovery will not look exactly like the one in place when the problems began surfacing in force last autumn.

That means new winners and losers. Some companies will take advantage of new realities and come out on top. Others will have sustained too much damage or will have failed to adapt and will fall by the wayside. (And of course, many have departed already.)

Taking delight in Deloitte

There is nothing bad about widespread optimism at a time such as this, and it is a good thing that most corporations think we’ve seen the bottom and will be moving up in earnest within the next 12 months. 55% of those surveyed said that signs of recovery will be present during Q1 or Q2. 25% suggest Q3 is more like it.

The fact that the same companies expect that they will not be participating in the recovery right away is interesting. Almost invariably, surveys we’ve seen, and we’ve seen tons of them, reveal that even when corporate executives are pessimistic about the economy in general, they are far more upbeat about the prospects of their own company, and usually they are at least a little more upbeat about the prospects for their sector. So that result is odd.

Deloitte Consulting’s Kelly Marchese took a stab at analyzing the oddity. "After implementing initial cost cutting measures when the economy first began to tumble -- such as reducing salaries, layoffs and plant shutdowns -- many companies are now are confused about their next steps. We believe these businesses should stop focusing on short-term concerns and look at their business in this new reality. Businesses need to focus on areas such as talent, growth and structural change so that their business doesn't just survive -- it thrives."

Among broadcast companies we’ve monitored during the last round of quarterly conference calls, LIN Television seemed to have the right idea. Like all communications companies, it has had to tighten its belt. It’s looking forward to an improved economy in 2010, and it expects to benefit from the cash generated by the Olympics and especially from another election season. But it also expects to benefit from a new, leaner cost structure – it made sure that its cuts were both judicious and permanently sustainable, allowing more of its income to feed into its profit margin.

Deloitte says companies go through three stages in times like this: focus on mere survival; focus on structural change, strategic change and redefining the profit model (where most are now); and adapting to new economics, market realities and competitors.

Looking ahead, another Deloitte Consulting principal, David Brainer commented, "Like any recession, this one will play out in stages and will vary by industry. And, regardless of which stage your company fits, or the speed of change, you must move beyond tactical, reactionary moves and make structural changes needed to support growth. To make this shift, companies need to be proactive and prepare now for the new growth environment, whatever it may look like."

Sector Snapshot: Banking & Finance

The money industry needs more than just an improved economy. It is banking on stabilization of the real estate market before it can declare itself fully recovered – well, at least that’s what almost half of surveyed execs believe. With that extra hurdle to overcome, they expect to lag behind the overall recovery, according to KMPG.
But most executives in the business expect improvement. 78% say 2010 will be a better year than 2009 in general; 72% expect significant increases in revenue; and 68% expect significant improvement in profitability.

"The downturn impacted the banking and financial services industry to a greater degree than most industries and therefore it will take longer to fully recover," said KPMG Banking and Finance specialist Tony Anzevino. "And although the results of this survey suggest senior leaders think the industry has hit the bottom of the downturn, clearly they still indicate that finding new sources of revenue and improving their management of risk will be major challenges in the year ahead."

Sector execs want to see more than just an improvement in real estate. They are also counting on a turnaround in the employment situation and improved consumer confidence. On the structural side, most companies said they have downsized and will not go further down that road; only 15% are considering further layoffs, meaning that at 85% will at the very least not further exacerbate unemployment.

Sector snapshot: Food & Beverage

Most food & beverage companies are expecting to do better in 2010 – 72% see improved business conditions; 72% see increased revenue and 65% see increased profitability. However, according to KMPG, despite the seeming majority opinion on a healthy 2010, 48% think the economy as a whole will not come around until 2011 or later.

Not surprisingly, the keys to recovery for the sector are employment and consumer confidence. As for their own operations, most have already done what laying off they’re going to do, and 86% see the employment situation in their sector as stable. A minority, 22%, has not yet ruled out further cuts.

"These survey results show a cautiously optimistic outlook from industry execs, even as the underlying volatility in the food and beverage sector -- based on companies wrestling with the sting of higher costs, shrinking consumer spending, and working capital constraint -- continues to develop," said KPMG Food, Drink and Consumer Goods advisor Patrick Dolan. "With the food and beverage industry in the midst of potentially disruptive change -- led by accelerating technological, social, and economic shifts -- the executives surveyed are still upbeat about their future, though much hard work remains."

60% of the execs in the sector expect to outperform the general economy. About the same number, 58%, say the biggest challenge ahead is finding new sources of revenue growth.

Sector Snapshot: Retail

Retailers see things pretty much as do food & beverage execs: things will improve in 2010 (70%); revenue will grow (68%); there will be increased profitability (66%); yet, the overall economy will not bounce back until 2011.

This was actually seen as outstanding news by KPMG retail specialist Mark Larson, who commented, “This outlook for the year ahead and beyond should be heartening, since the importance of the U.S. retail industry to gross domestic product and overall economic health cannot be overstated. It's the second largest industry in the U.S. and employs the second highest number of people among all sectors."

As you might expect, retailers are looking for upticks in consumer spending and confidence as barometers of economic improvement, and that is keyed to an improved employment scenario. Execs say the sector’s biggest challenge is to somehow restore consumer confidence. They’re split 51-49 on timing of the retail recovey, with the tiny edge going to the optimists who say retail will outperform the economy as a whole.

Sector Snapshot: Technology

Member of the technology industry are telling the rest of the business community to get in line and follow their lead into recovery. 77% expect to recover ahead of the economy as a whole; 80% see improved 2010 business conditions; 78% see improved revenue and 72% see improved profitability. On the down side, 39% expect the rest of the economy will not catch up until sometime in 2011.

KPMG’s Gary Matuszak said, "The results are in line with recent earnings reports in the technology sector which suggest business conditions are starting to improve. There are also reports of software industry sales expanding five to ten percent annually after the recession, so while it's far from blue skies in the industry, the worst seems to be behind us."

Of the sectors we’ve looked at, techies are least concerned about improved employment and consumer confidence, although both are seen as keys to recovery. Edging out consumer confidence (41%) was business confidence (42%), highlighting the BTB market. Of course, if businesses are more confident, that’s good news for consumers looking for employment.

This group is also particularly concerned with finding new revenue sources, with 66% naming that as the sector’s biggest challenge.

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