Saturday, September 26, 2009

The purpose of Marketing

Seth Godin wrote this recently:

Who gets to decide what you want?

When George Washington was a teenager, did he really, really, really want a car?


In order to want something, you probably need to know it exists. But my guess is that it surely helps if you've been marketed to.

One definition of happiness is wanting the things you're likely to get (or, conversely, not wanting the unattainable). One definition of marketing is persuading the world it wants what you have, regardless of whether they can afford it or not.

We don't hesitate to motivate employees by marketing them the benefits of being promoted, even if they all can't possibly get this. We don't hesitate to tease kids by marketing every conceivable unattainable Christmas gift at them, relentlessly.

Teenage girls are taught what to want by magazines and by peers.

Patients are taught what to want by doctors who prescribe new tests. And doctors are taught to do that by lawyers eager to sue if they don't. Imagine going home and saying, "the doctor wanted to give me another test, but I said no..."

This cycle of assigned wants is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The game theory demands it.

And so, once again it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with.

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Does this work?

I have not seen these ads....

Your Husband: Slightly Dumber Than a Dog

Comedian Sarah Haskins is back with another Target Women video at Current TV that skewers gender-based advertising clichés—this time it's the Doofy Husband. "Being a woman isn't easy," she says in a mock serious tone. "We work, we take care of the house, we raise children, and we do it all without a shred of help from those lumbering man-beasts known as husbands."

Cue a montage of hapless husbands: one man struggles to fry an egg; another uses a blender without first putting the cover on; yet another can't figure out how to activate the automatic air freshener (Hint: There's a button on its base).

"Makes me kind of sad," she continues. "I mean, remember what he was like in commercials before he was a husband? Just a fun single dude, driving his awesome car or motorcycle, serving beer to babes, tailgating with his bros and dancing up a storm. He was so cool. Then he met you and got married—now he's slightly dumber than a dog."

Among her other examples of the Doofy Husband:

  • A man who frantically checks the calendar, believing he must have forgotten a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, when his wife brings home steak for dinner.
  • An apparent simpleton who wreaks havoc on his lawn by using the "wrong" weed killer without realizing the product also kills grass.

Your Marketing Inspiration is to consider what the cartoonish portrayal of inept husbands might actually say to an ad's target audience—wives. Because one female commenter at the Current TV post believes the true takeaway of such commercials is this: "[M]en are just regular happy-go-lucky guys and women are terrible and ruin all the fun."

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Want Referrals?
by Jill Harrington

Most of us love to receive referrals. It's an indication that someone respects what we do and is often the most comfortable, and fastest, route to quality new business growth.

It's therefore somewhat surprising to observe how few sales pros proactively, and habitually, ask for referrals from people who have the capacity to provide them.

Why don't salespeople ask for referrals? Responses I hear repeatedly...

“I don't want to appear desperate or feel like I'm begging.”
“I don't want to put people on the spot.”
“I don't want to jeopardize a good relationship.”
“It just feels uncomfortable.”

Time for a reality check
You only appear to be desperate or begging if you believe you are. You're not putting people on the spot because they can choose to say “no”. If asking for a referral will kill your great client relationship, you've got to question the strength of your relationship. And, yes, life can be uncomfortable. That's how we learn and grow.

When I ask people how they feel when they are asked for referrals, without exception the reply goes something like, “I respect people for asking. In fact I'd like my own team to be more proactive in this regard.”

So for the “comfort seekers,” here are half a dozen tips to get you asking for referrals.

1. First off, realize that, by not asking at every opportunity, you are missing one of the greatest opportunities to increase your sales effectiveness, your productivity, and, for most of you, bonuses and commissions.

2. Listen well. Be alert to opportunities in your client conversations. For example a client may mention, in passing, that the Calgary division is struggling with a specific issue. It may not be appropriate to ask for details at that moment (you don't want to break rapport) but when you are closing the conversation, or switching topics, be sure to refer back. “Fred, you mentioned your Calgary division is struggling with this issue. We've enjoyed helping you on this project. Is there someone specific out west that might benefit from having a conversation with us?”

3. Not all referrals are good business. Make it easier for your contacts to come up with quality referrals. Don't say “If you think of someone else who could use us, give us a call.” Unless they have someone top of mind it's unlikely you'll hear from them. Or they may send you on a wild goose chase because they want to appear helpful and throw out a name. Help focus their thinking. “Jane, we work primarily with professional women over 40.” Or “we find we do our best work with companies with large national sales forces.” Suggest other departments within the company, and also indicate that there may be someone within their peer, supplier or customer organizations.

4. Don't limit your thinking when it comes to identifying opportunities to ask. I have a colleague who is the master at asking for referrals from virtual strangers. When she receives the “we're not interested” response on a first time call, she'll close the call by saying “I'm sorry the timing isn't right for you, Mr. Prospect. Is there anyone else within your organization or within your industry who uses XYZ and who might benefit from a call from my company?” She figures she has nothing to lose. And yes, even “cold” prospects will offer names.

5. Think BIG. Make a list of the high level influencers in your customer communities and industries. Get to know them, and let them get to know your work. They are a superb potential source of referrals.

6. And for all of you “comfort junkies,” the natural place to ask for referrals is at the completion of a job well done. Always schedule a debrief conversation at the end of a project. Get feedback from your customer and, if you've got a delighted customer, go for it. Thank them, tell them how much you enjoyed working with them, and let them know most of your business comes from referrals from happy customers just like them. Then ask with confidence.

Make asking for referrals a consistent and “habitual” component of your sales process. On your call planning sheets, your prospecting scripts, your customer satisfaction surveys etc., always have a “request for referral” prompt so that you don't leave it to memory. Don't let some irrational fear hold you back from doing something that will earn you respect, grow your business, and allow people who admire you to contribute to your success.

Jill Harrington, president, salesSHIFT, has contributed to the success of thousands of B2B sales professionals around the world. She shifts your thinking and actions to enable faster, and bigger, sales results in extraordinarily competitive markets. For valuable sales tips and articles visit

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

This may be the end of your work week, but there will be at least 6 updates here over the weekend...

by Karl Greenberg
"We shot all three in one day for $150,000" said Hyatt's Amy Curtis-McIntyre. The effort garnered one billion media impressions across online, print and email; over 700,000 hits on YouTube and over 300 placements in unpaid media. Osborn said the results delivered over 4,000% based on metrics like signups of new Gold Passport members. "It was an extraordinary win for us." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The private-sector campaign, which raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations' World Food Programme and spans 110 countries, kicked off Sept. 24 in Yum's Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food chains, on Sept. 27 in Pizza Hut, Sept. 28 in KFC and Oct. 8 in Taco Bell. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
JC Penney stores will offer eligible fans the opportunity to enter a text-and-win sweepstakes, which includes such prizes as a round of golf with Hall of Famers at Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Spanish Bay Country Clubs; a VIP trip to Super Bowl XLIV; and a VIP experience to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"The service providers are doing a great job in promoting the value of smartphones and tapping into that interest and need by consumers," says Amdocs' Scott Kolman. "But are they maximizing the revenue out of that transaction to make sure customers are getting the best plan?" ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Agency honcho Jeff Goodby argues that only a fraction of marketers are willing to face the implications of digital media, and most don't fully comprehend that there's a need for a new kind of advertising, "a new way of talking to people. What happened to our house happened with [our] online campaign for the Hyundai Genesis. It was something you couldn't do in a print ad or a TV commercial." ... Read the whole story > >
by Mark Walsh
JC Penney has begun testing a new system at Houston area stores that lets customers scan mobile coupons directly from their phones at checkout. The program launched Thursday at 16 JC Penney locations is enabled through new imaging scanners installed at registers that can read the "2D" barcode coupons and save sales clerks from having to manually enter promotional codes for coupons. ... Read the whole story > >

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Changing for the Boomers

The story is from Emerson Advisors:

The Disappearing Boomers

There was an interesting article recently in the Wall Street Journal titled "Seeing Store Shelves through Senior Eyes". To summarize, Kimberly-Clark, in conjunction with Walgreens and Rite-Aid, has a project to understand and learn from what the shopping experience is like for seniors. Test subjects put on thick glasses to blur their vision, put unpopped popcorn in their shoes, and, tape their thumbs to their palms, all to emulate the senior experience.

This is no small concern. The Baby Boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, are getting older, entering retirement age, and preparing to live on Social Security and investments. This is the largest single population bloc, representing 36% of the adult population. Often referred to as "the pig in the python", the Boomers have historically outspent all other age groups and have driven the economy for decades.

Their habits are changing. In a recent Gallup poll, the average daily spend by the Boomers has gone from $98/day in 2008 to $64/day in 2009. Obviously the recession has played into this, as spending has dropped across all the age segments. The more important news is that the Boomers are no longer the biggest spenders. That prize goes to Gen-X (born 1965-1979), who spend $71/day. The Gen-X population is a third smaller than the Boomers. To get a preview of Boomer spending trends to come, the Silent Generation (born 1930-1945) spends $50/day and the Great Generation (born before 1930) spends $35/day. Over a third of the consuming population is on this track - $64/day to $50/day to $35/day. Even if/when the economy recovers, the reality is that the Boomers will be spending less and less over the years to come. In sheer spending potential, their numbers cannot be replaced by the generation behind them.

So what should retailers and product manufacturers be focusing on to prepare for this inevitable trend?

The real question is "Are the Boomers my target market?". If your business model today relies on the Boomers, here are some obvious things to consider:

  • Real Estate. If they are spending less and are less mobile, do you really need to have as many stores? Do you really need to open more?
  • Internet. How big is your Internet business? Can it replace the lower business in the stores? How easy is your website to navigate overall and particularly for people with diminished vision?
  • Sales and Inventory plans. With the exception of big gains in market share, the days of "blowing the doors off" are probably over for anyone focused on the Boomers. Emphasis has to be on margin and profitability.
  • Navigation in the Store. How easy is it to get around the store? How easy would it be with a bum knee or with arthritis?
  • Fixturing. The so-called "strike zone" or most productive selling space is from 3'-6' off the floor. This will no doubt become the "selling zone" over time, with all other areas becoming the "markdown staging zone".
  • Apparel Sizing. Gravity always wins. The size scale will surely shift to the right over the coming years. Are you looking at and reacting to sales by size?
  • Apparel silhouette. Sleeveless? Low rise? Cinch waist? Probably not big volume drivers in years to come for this market segment.
  • Product Packaging. The lawyers and Loss Prevention folks have made opening most packaging into a physical fitness routine. Do you think your customers will buy something they can't open?
  • Labeling. If they can't read the label or tell what it is, will they buy it? Ditto for ticketing, signage, and receipts.

While not immediate, these trends are surely going to have a profound impact on how many retailers and manufacturers operate over the coming years. As I said, the list of considerations is partial and rather obvious. Let me know what you think. What else should retailers and product manufacturers be looking at?

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Before Starbucks

there was a brand of coffee called Wilkins that aired these tv ads in the late 50's early 60's featuring Jim Henson of Muppet fame...

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Learning from Your Competitors


Learn from Your Competition
by Mike Brooks

As salespeople, we're in a constant struggle to outsell our competitors. We may have never spoken with them or met them, but we know they're out there. Why not learn a little about what they're doing and improve your skills at the same time?

I'll never forget a call I got from a competitor when I was selling investments. Because I invested in my company's programs, my name was sold to other investment firms and before long, I began to get calls.

At first I wanted to hang up on the guy. When I attempted to brush him off, I was surprised by how well he handled my initial objections. So, I played along. What happened next was some of the best free training I ever received.

How often do you allow yourself to be "pitched" by your competitors? Have you ever thought about doing it? Major companies do this all the time. They even shop themselves to see how well trained their own reps are. If you haven't done this yet, you need to get on it!

Let's face it; your competitor is selling the same products and services you are. They run into the same objections as well. Who better to learn a new technique or better way of doing things!

There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. Call into a company and act like a buyer. Ask the same questions your prospects do and then give the same objections. Try it with different reps at the same company to learn even more.
  2. Get on their lead list. This is a great way to learn of your competitor's promotions. Ask questions like your prospects do. After you give your objections, tell them to try you again in a couple of months-some will!
  3. Fill out their web request form for more information. This is another great way to be pitched and it allows you to also measure their response time. Loads of good information will come from this.
The bottom line is that if you don't know what and how your competition is selling, then you can't be competitive. What are their prices like? What special offers are they using to get new clients? How are they dealing with the economy?

There are many benefits to "shopping" other companies. If you're not doing it, then try it this week. You will be surprised at what you'll learn!

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, offers free closing scripts, and a free audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone. He works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. Learn more at

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click on the links for details...

by Karl Greenberg
Mark Cuban argued that the assertion that new media means smaller, more portable screens is a fallacy. "For me, the Internet is becoming stale. So, what's next?" He followed that rhetorical question with another one: What was the most memorable thing about the Dallas Cowboys game in their new stadium? "The No. 1 thing was that seven-story-high, 70-yard-long screen. You couldn't take your eyes off of it." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Making the series available to fans "on the go" via mobile phone (depending on their specific device and wireless capabilities), as well as on their computers, "furthers the evolution" of branded entertainment series, Michael Wallen, VP and creative director for Fox Mobile Studios, tells Marketing Daily. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Mark Turner, chief strategy officer for Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, tells Marketing Daily that the campaign is meant to be empathetic. "Over the past 12 months consumers have gone through massive changes; simply put, people are far more discerning about how they spend money, and they are expecting a lot more from what they buy." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Consumer spending in the coming holiday season is likely to be flat compared to last year, predicts Retail Forward. But there's evidence that people -- mighty tired of reining in purchases -- will spend on the categories that mean the most to them. "When it comes to toys and gifts for children, as well as gifts for immediate family members, those categories are still somewhat sacrosanct," says Retail Forward's Frank Badillo. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Jason Alderman, director, financial education at Visa, says the company is buying some online ads to reach teachers or parents who might be searching for this type of educational tool. "We're also using our existing Web-based channels, such as the Visa corporate site," he tells Marketing Daily. The game will also be hyperlinked at the company's flagship education site. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Kevin George will become CMO on Sept. 28, joining Beam after 13 years with Unilever and prior to that, seven years with Seagram Americas. He is credited with having established deodorants as Unilever's fastest-growing U.S. business, in part through the innovative launch of Axe Bodyspray, which has became the leading male deodorant in the market. ... Read the whole story > >
by Wayne Friedman
Although the Virgin America brand is dominant and visible in the series, a spokeswoman for the airline says: "This is not a branded entertainment show, but rather a docu-series that happens to follow the lives of Virgin America in-flight teammates." ... Read the whole story > >

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Why General Motors still doesn't get it

When I was 6 years old my family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and my Dad bought all his cars from Jim Kelly, the local Buick Dealer.

Jim was a friend who my Dad did business with before we came to town. We had Buicks and Opels, (which were imported by Buick 40 years ago). Later when Jim sold the Buick dealership to his son and bought a local Chevy dealer, my Dad stuck with Jim Kelly, not his son.

It was the relationship with the man in charge that kept my family loyal. Laura Ries wrote about this recently:

GM & the Implication of the Opposite


Sometimes the harder you try, the worse off you are. Why is that?

Branding can sometimes be like trying to pick up girls. It is not what you say that counts. But the implication of what you say that counts.

Asking a girl out for a Saturday night date on a Thursday afternoon doesn’t say you like her. It says “I’m desperate. Girls won’t go out with me.”

There’s an important principle here. It’s what we call the implication of the opposite. What you say often implies exactly the opposite idea.

When crafting their advertising messages, too many marketers forget about this principle. As a result, while even if they are telling the truth all they do is convince consumers of the opposite.

Look at General Motor’s new campaign and you’ll see what I mean.

GM’s latest television commercials with Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr. promotes a 60-day money-back guarantee on the purchase on any new car or truck. Only a company that is desperate and unsure of itself would do that. It’s no way to get a date or sell a car.

GM thinks the money-back guarantee says it believes so strongly in its cars that it is willing to give you your money back if you’re not satisfied. But it is the opposite message that gets delivered. We are so unsure of our products we’ll give you your money back.


Money-back guarantees have been around for a long time. And while they are very popular and many companies have used them, I don’t think they are effective. If a money-back guarantee was the key to success, almost every small company in America would be rolling in dough.

Check the yellow pages or Google and you’ll see. Hundreds of companies use them to beg for business.

A money-back guarantee says there is nothing really special or different about your company or your products. The way to be popular and get the girl is not by begging her to try you out and promising to refund her movie money if she isn’t happy with the date.

The way to be popular is by being the best football player, the best tennis player, the best chess player, the best photographer, the best singer, the best dancer or the best looking-guy in the crowd. In other words, by being a leader in a category.

The biggest problem with GM is that they don’t lead in any category. Ford is the leading truck brand. Toyota is the leading car brand. Lexus is the leading luxury car brand. BMW is the leading driving car brand. Mercedes is the leading prestigious car brand.

What is a Cadillac? What is a Chevrolet? What is a Buick? What is a GMC? None of these brands lead in anything nor do they stand for anything.

Cadillac used to be a very strong brand because it was the leading luxury-car brand. But no more. Cheap Cadillac models like the Catera undermined its luxury position in the mind. Cadillac used to outsell Mercedes, BMW and Lexus combined.

Today, Cadillac is stuck in fourth place. Here are the 2008 sales:

Lexus ……..…… 260,087

BMW ………….. 249,113

Mercedes ……. 225,009

Cadillac ……..… 161,159


Then there is Ed Whitacre Jr. Who? Exactly. Nobody knows who this guy is. Sure, he ran AT&T as Chairman and CEO for 17 years. But his Wikipedia page is smaller than mine. Ed Whitacre Jr. is not a household name.

CEO ads that work best are the ones that feature a company founder like Dave Thomas for Wendy’s, John Schnatter for Papa John’s or Frank Perdue for Perdue. Not a CEO who was just appointed by the government.

Apparently, the Ed Whitacre Jr. ads were supposed to resemble the iconic Lee Iacocca ads of the early 1980’s. GM was hoping that Ed do for GM, what Lee did Chrysler. I’ll give you three reasons why this strategy will never work.


1. Lee Iacocca was a celebrity. Ed Whitacre Jr. is a nobody.

Lee Iacocca was very well known before being hired by Chrylser. Iacocca was closely associated with the design and launch of the Mustang. During the Mustang launch at the 1964 World’s Fair, Iacocca appeared on the cover of many magazines including Time and Newsweek. Most people have never heard of Ed Whitacre.


2. Lee Iacocca was a car guy. Ed Whitacre Jr. is a phone guy.

If you want to fix a car company, why would you hire a phone guy? Only the government could think something crazy like that. Iacocca was a car guy all his life. He spent 32 years at Ford and wound up as President before being fired by Henry Ford II. When he arrived at Chrysler, Iacocca brought many good ideas, many good executives and a deep understanding of the industry. Ed Whitacre Jr. bought very little with him when he arrived at GM.


3. Iacocca’s plan was specific. Ed Whitacre Jr’s is not.

What made the Iacocca ads so powerful was not just him saying “If you can find a better car, buy it.” It was the Iacocca talking about the new K-Car. The K-Car was the way for Americans to beat the pump. The K-car was the first 6-passenger, efficient, front-wheel-drive vehicle. And it sold like crazy. Soon after the K-Car, Iacocca followed with the Minivan. And as they say, the rest is history. The success of these two cars turned around the Chrysler Company.

The Ed Whitacre Jr. ads with talk about nothing specific, because GM has nothing specific to talk about. Saying “May the Best Car Win” is laughable. If they really believed they had the best cars, why would they need the buyback guarantee?

If there was a best-car bookie in Vegas, I’d bet it all on Toyota. GM is a suckers bet.

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New Ad Campaigns

Our weekly update from Amy:

Goat tears heal. Food flags incite hunger. Harley-Davidson honors Harlistas. Let's launch!

I've always thought of Pearl Jam as a band I'd never see in commercials. Color me shocked to see Eddie Vedder and crew in an ad for Target, promoting the exclusive partnership between band and brand. The ad is clips from Pearl Jam's video "The Fixer," with Target's logo interspersed throughout. The spot ends with a plug for Pearl Jam's new album and exclusive content available at Target. See the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland and directed by Cameron Crowe.

An office full of people is showered with $12 million in bills and coins and not a single person is hit in the head by loose change. "Cashalance" promotes twice-weekly Mega Millions drawings from the Illinois Lottery. Jackpots start at $12 million, the amount of cash dropped upon a seemingly normal office environment. A woman, holding the office's ticket, screams with delight when the numbers match. One worker looks less than enthused: Either he's in shock or missed out in the lotto pool. Who knew it paid to be nice to people? See the ad here, created by Energy BBDO.

DirecTV ran six minute-long commercials during Fox's NFL Opening Day, promoting its NFL Sunday Ticket package. Tom Arnold, hoarse voice and all, leads a group of displaced NFL fans that joined a DirecTV NFL Support Group for aid and advice. Arnold helps a fan that moved from Oakland to San Diego to catch Raiders' games every weekend. Watch it here. A man with a weak bladder doesn't miss a moment; he brings his mobile phone into the bathroom. Let's hope he doesn't drop it after an exciting play. See it here. A fan with cable TV, shown here, makes the switch to DirecTV in HD to feel closer to the players. Here, Tom Arnold is a displaced fan like those attending his support group. The only difference: he's rich, famous and lives in Hollywood. Watch it here. One man learns how to prevent fantasy football failure. Arnold then makes an amusing quip about time travel and Brett Favre. See it here. The final ad, seen here, helps a traveling tube-sock salesman watch NFL games on his laptop. Deutsch LA created the campaign and Deutsch New York handled the media buy.

This campaign made me hungry while simultaneously testing my knowledge of world flags. The Sydney Morning Herald launched a delicious print campaign to promote the Sydney International Food Festival, taking place throughout October. The campaign unites foodies from around the world with flags crafted from food. Hold me back. Look for Italy, Japan, Greece, Hungary, South Korea, Switzerland, Brazil and Australia, among others, to receive the edible treatment. View creative here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Whybin/TBWA created the campaign.

Mission Pharmacal launched an amusing ad for its Thera-gesic brand called "Goat Tears." It made me laugh. A woman living on a farm uses goat tears to soothe her aching muscles. Since goats aren't big criers, she must resort to creative means to incite tears. The poor goats are forced to smell onions, listen to a rendition of "Danny Boy," and visit their mother's grave. See the ad here, running on The Weather Channel and Game Show Network. Moroch created the ad.

Harlistas, a group of Latino Harley-Davidson riders, are being honored with a print campaign and microsite. The brand chronicles the lives of three Harlistas in a documentary running on YouTube, Facebook and Harlista's microsite. A series of Web TV spots profile Harlista stories and encourage viewers to submit their own tale for a chance to be part of a feature-length Harlista documentary. A print campaign reveals additional information from each man's personal journey and drives traffic to the Harlista microsite. "Life in the saddle will teach you one thing: Life's a lot more fun if you live it while you're alive," reads one ad. Really? Stop the presses! See print ads here, here and here, created by Carmichael Lynch.

1800 Tequila launched two TV spots starring Michael Imperioli, of "Sopranos" fame, poking fun at its competition, Patrón. In the first ad, shown here, Imperioli wonders what happened to tequila. "These days, it's all velvet ropes and posture," he says as he kicks his feet onto a table, knocking a bottle of Patrón to the floor. The top of an 1800 Tequila bottle pours Imperioli a shot in the next ad, seen here. The same can't be said for the Patrón bottle. Agent16 created the campaign.

Birdwatchers need not travel far to see colorful birds if they use Scotts Songbird Wild Bird Food. Scotts attracted twice as many cardinals, goldfinches and indigo buntings than its competitors. Researchers used inventive forms of camouflage to gain this knowledge -- from blending into a wood shed, peeking out from a tree, hiding in bushes and beneath rocks. See the ad here. ML Rogers created the campaign and Mediaedge:cia New York handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the Week: Tylenol PM created a sleep tracker app that lets users record sleep patterns and moods while charting a person's sleep history over time. Users can also create mood icons (happy, sad, sleepy, etc.) using pictures from their own personal photos. Is there one for nightmares? The free app offers tips to help improve sleep habits, aside from taking Tylenol PM. Deutsch created the app, found here.

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

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The Pencil

Except, this isn't really about a pencil.

Jim Meisenheimer:

Selling Benefits II

How did you do with the benefits exercise I gave you

Chances are you didn't even do it.

And why is that? Because you honestly believe you're
already a master at selling product benefits.

In 21 years of sales training experience and multiple
team exercises, very few salespeople are able to
articulate the difference between features and benefits.

I know, you think you're different. Most of the salespeople
I work with think they're different until I ask them, what
makes you different - and time after time I get the same
slurpy yada, yada, yada.

My passion is to help entrepreneurs and salespeople become
the best you are capable of becoming.

To be the best in sales requires discipline and skills.
Having skills is more important than having experience.
And having both is an exceptional combination.

Presenting benefits is a skill which has to be learned
and mastered.

Good ole Elmer Wheeler probably said it best in 1938,
when he said you have to sell the sizzle not the steak.
And the sizzle of course are the benefits.

Okay I'll quit preaching for a while.

Here's what I'm going to do right now for you. I'm
going to give you four features of a #2 pencil.

Following each feature I'll give you a benefit for that
feature. Remember, I got these from a copywriting
course I'm taking.

1. Feature - The pencil has one end capped with a rubber

Benefit - convenient eraser lets you correct writing
errors cleanly and quickly.

2. Feature - The eraser is attached with a metal band.

Benefit - tight-fitting metal band holds eraser snugly
in place - so you'll always have an eraser when you
need it.

3. Feature - The pencil is 7 1/2 inches long.

Benefit - long length insures a long writing life.

4. Feature - The pencils are sold by the dozen.

Benefit - sold in a convenient 12-pack so if you lose
one, you don't have to run to the store for another.
Also, more cost-effective for you.

A couple of observations here. The benefits are longer
than the features. They are drawn out with specific
details and allows the sales prospect/customer to get
a clear picture of how he will gain/benefit from your

One of the biggest mistakes, I've observed, is that
salespeople tend to assume the sales prospect/customer
knows what the benefits are. Well the simple truth
is he doesn't know what the benefits are.

The only way your sales prospect/customer will know
what the benefits are, is if you clearly state them.

The benefits are what people buy. The benefits are
the emotional strings that pull your prospects/customers
closer to you and what you're selling.

Guess what they buy when you fail to offer clearly
stated benefits?

You guessed right if you guessed price. Do you ever
wonder why so many of your sales prospects and customers
are pounding you on price?

Every product/service you sell must be wrapped up
with multiple benefits.

Take this litmus test. Pick one of your products and
list four factual statements/features.

Next to each feature list a clearly articulated benefit.

Do this four times.

Then compare your benefits to the benefits listed for
the #2 pencil.

Anyone can state the facts and features of a product.

Not everyone is capable of presenting features and
the benefits of those features to his sales prospects
and customers.

You may not realize this, but for some salespeople,
I've just taken you to a place you've never been.

As soon as you learn how to sell the "Sizzle" of your
products, your selling results will "Sizzle" too.

Favorite Quote

The second busiest day of the week is someday.

Jim Meisenheimer

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plus a whole lot more . . .

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

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

From them to me to you:

Brand Marketing
by Karlene Lukovitz
Butterfinger continues to reveal components of its comedy-focused marketing plan. In the latest development, the brand has announced a new spokesperson: actor, producer, director and writer Seth Green. Green is Butterfinger's first "mouthpiece" (the brand's own term for the job) in a decade, since Bart Simpson. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina Lentini
The contest was part of Dunkin's integrated effort to "rekindle America's love of classic Dunkin' Donuts," brand marketing officer Frances Allen said, adding that research showed what most brand fans liked was the variety of donuts and then nostalgia. "Everyone has a memory around sharing donuts with family and friends." These insights have driven every aspect of Dunkin's marketing efforts, including TV, radio, outdoor, in-store and online. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
Norwegian Cruise Lines is rolling out a new campaign for the launch of its newest and largest ship, the Norwegian Epic. The target is consumers who are already in the mindset to travel with the goal of persuading them to consider an Epic cruise. The media buy includes consumer and travel publications and Web sites, and is running in major markets including New York and Miami. ... Read the whole story > >
Brand Marketing
by Aaron Baar
Tennis star Serena Williams will begin appearing in advertisements touting Procter & Gamble's Tampax brand in a print advertising campaign. In keeping with the brand's "Outsmart Mother Nature" positioning, Williams will be depicted defeating Tampax's Mother Nature character with her tennis game. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
After three years of steady sales declines, Lowe's now believes it will see an increase, with sales estimated to climb 3% or so in fiscal 2010, with same-store sales increasing 1%. In a meeting with investors and analysts, the Mooresville, N.C.-based DIY chain reaffirmed its forecasts for this fiscal year, which call for 3% decline in overall sales, with same-store sales falling another 7 to 9%. ... Read the whole story > >

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How Long Until it Works?

Good stuff from the Marketing Minute:

How long will it take to get marketing results?

Posted: 16 Sep 2009 06:41 PM PDT

24718948 We get asked this question all the time. Prospects and clients alike want to know when they can expect to see results from their marketing efforts. Ah, if only it were that cut and dried.

There are many factors that influence reaction time to a marketing tactic. Let’s take a look at a few of them and you’ll begin to see that this is not an exact science but there are things you can do to impact your effectiveness.

How often do people need/want it? If you run a restaurant or sell ice cream – you’re in luck. Mail a coupon on Tuesday and you might see the family, coupon in hand, by Saturday. But on average, someone buys a car every 3-5 years. Own a car dealership and you might wait 18+ months after your first ad or tweet to see that person in your door.

Who the heck are you? Does the consumer recognize your brand? Do they know what you are all about? Do they know what makes you different from your competitors?

Who else is talking? Just like at a party, if you are the only voice talking, it’s a lot easier to be heard. But, if you are one of many and others are talking louder and faster – you can easily get lost in the din.

Where are you talking? What would happen if you stood up right in the middle of a church service and started talking? You’d get noticed, wouldn’t you? That’s because you are doing something unexpected in an unexpected place.

What are you saying? The most important factor of all. Are you talking about what the consumer cares about or are you talking about you?

How are you poised to influence any or all of these factors?

(If you want to read a really smart book on the topic of consumers and their own sense of timing, check out Stopwatch Marketing by John Rosen.)

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Change we don't believe in

From Drew:

Leave your brand alone!

Posted: 21 Sep 2009 01:58 PM PDT


Picture this. You have created a relevant brand-centric tagline that your customers parrot, the marketplace recognizes and your competitors covet. You have reached the holy grail of marketing -- you have embedded your marketing message into the minds of the consumer.

Your research shows that believability and recall for your product and the associated tagline are incredibly high. This tagline and the fact that you keep the tagline's promise catapults you to a leadership position in your product category.

What should you do now?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Why is it so hard for companies to leave a good thing alone? Well, typically when an organization walks away from a rock solid, consumer celebrated tagline one of a few things has happened:

  • The organization recently hired a new head of marketing.
  • The organization recently hired a new agency.
  • Internally, they're bored with the current tagline.

Several years ago, watchmaker Timex dropped its famous "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking" tagline for the incredibly bland "Timex. Life is Ticking." They made this decision despite the fact that "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking" was ranked #40 on Ad Age's list of the top 100 ad campaign of the 20th century.

Why would they do something so dumb? They hired a new Chief Marketing Officer of course. He has since left that position. And their current tagline? "Timex. Be there now."

How sad is that?

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3 from the Dog

Last night as I was reviewing emails, I found this from

Why the Next 60 Days Are Critical
by Doyle Slayton

The next 60 days are critical to our success. There are very few times during the year that are as important as September, October, and early November.

The window of opportunity is short and you have to take full advantage. By the second and third week of November many of our prospects go into holiday mode. We begin to hear that all too common refrain, "call me after the first of the year." This response can be a winner or a killer. If you power through these next 60 days with tons of prospect appointments, your schedule will be packed through the end of the year, so prospects who shoo you off until next year won't negatively impact your success. In fact, you have two possible scenarios with these folks. Either they have no interest, or they have a legitimate reason to buy in January, February, or March.

The next 60 days will determine your success for the next 6 months! Use this time to give everything you've got—where you feel like you've got nothing left to give—knowing that when the holidays come around, you'll have time to rest, recharge, and have a powerful pipeline awaiting your return!

Dayle Slayton is an internationally recognized Sales and Leadership Strategist, Speaker, and Blogger. He is the founder of, the online community where business professionals network, share best-practices, and make each other better!

Make Sure You Get Paid
by Joe Guertin

Account receivables are not evil, but a lot of salespeople avoid it, rationalizing that it can hurt their customer relationship. For the most part, that's usually not true. It's just an excuse. Nobody gets mad at the grocery store, gas station or department store when they tell you the total and you make a payment. Here are some tips to make getting those receivables easy.

  1. Be up front -- real early. When you're closing the sale, go over accounting responsibilities (who'll be paying and what your company terms are). Write all of this information down with the customer if you can. And get to know that check writer!
  2. Head off problems early. When an account goes over prescribed terms, check into it. It doesn't have to be negative when you contact their accounting person saying that you "just wanted to follow up to make sure you got last month's invoice, because you're always so prompt."
  3. When overdue, be upfront. Let's say you have to follow up on an overdue bill. It's best not to mention it as a throwaway at the end of the conversation ("By the way, did you send out that last payment?") People are smart. They'll know that was the reason for your call and might see your hesitation as a weakness. Not a great relationship-builder there.

Now, more than ever, keep your skills sharp, and you'll keep your income healthy.

Joe Guertin is President of The Guertin Group, a sales training firm that delivers customized training on all aspects of the sales process. Learn more at

Staying Competitive
by Andrea Nierenberg.

Today more than ever, the power of follow up, follow through and staying on your client's radar screen will keep you 'top of mind' and someone they may call on first when the need arises. Here is a suggestion for keeping in touch: Make a point to find out your clients' and contacts' preferred method of communication.

While email is our total business communication tool, when I ask this question, many people still say, "phone," so make a point to call them first besides sending an email. I now find that some of my contacts also prefer text messaging, so make sure you get your fingers moving and stay current.

I write down in my database the preferred method of communication for every client and contact. Then I use my Power of Three everyday: I send 3 additional emails, 3 additional phone messages and 3 additional text messages just to stay in touch and be on their radar screen with an article, note or a thank you.

Andrea Nierenberg is the president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company with a total process for educating, motivating and connecting people. Learn more at

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

What screens are people still drawn to?

Television and computer screens. Details below:

by Karl Greenberg
CNBC's Advertising Week summit on how marketers connect to consumers could have been called "No, really, we love TV!" "Television is wonderful," said Dan Rosensweig, president and CEO of Guitar Hero, "but when you have incredible sites like Facebook, you have to be smart with what you do, where your consumer is and how to reach them all the time." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Deloitte's Retail Group is predicting a flat and chilly holiday, with sales coming in flat at $810 billion, despite signs of recovery in the economy. The forecast says that despite upticks in some indicators, consumer concerns about the economy will prevent them from ho-ho-ho-ing their way to increased spending. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Scott Monty, global digital and multimedia communications manager at Ford, opened his presentation at Advertising Week's OMMA social-media conference with an understatement: companies are trusted far less today than in the past. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
For the first time, more bank customers (25%) prefer to do their banking online compared to any other method, according to a new survey by the American Bankers Association. Survey results revealed that online banking was the preferred banking method for all bank customers under the age of 55. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
While eco-friendliness isn't a make-or-break factor in choosing a QSR for most consumers, it may encourage greater frequency by making consumers feel good about their choice, judging from a new survey from M/A/R/C Research. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
For all of the advertising, guerrilla marketing and other approaches that video game companies take to promote their new releases, more than two-fifths of gamers are using word of mouth from friends and others to get information about their games. ... Read the whole story > >

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