Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old is Cool

In a couple of weeks, I'll be 50.

As I have been contemplating this milestone birthday, at first, I was afraid of being over the hill.

But last month my son Josh turned 25 which got me to thinking about the past 25 years of my life and all that I've gone through and accomplished. All I've learned and experienced, and it got me excited about what the next 25 years will be like!

Check out this story from Mediapost:

We Have Seen The Future, And It Is Old
Have you seen the advertising campaign for Dos Equis beer featuring "The Most Interesting Man in the World?" Each commercial depicts exploits from the "interesting man's" past, or he offers insight on a particular topic. For example, on the topic of "Life" he says, "It is never too early to start beefing up your obituary."

What we find especially interesting is that the unnamed character is an older man. In fact, he is played by a long-time character actor named Jonathan Goldsmith.

Goldsmith is 71 years old. And he is cool.

Welcome to a new age in American culture, where being "old" is cool. It will be cool pretty much from now on. The reason is simple: the cool people have gotten older and plan on remaining cool.

Sure, we've had cool older people before -- even before the idea of "cool" existed. Long ago, Mark Twain or Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein or Georgia O'Keeffe was cool. More recently, it has been Sean Connery or Maya Angelou or Paul Newman or Sophia Loren.

We live in an America now where one out of every three people exhaling carbon dioxide is age 50 or older. Have you looked around recently? It is hard to miss the AARP-eligible candidates. Thanks to the very large Boomer generation reaching age 50, and the impact modern medicine has had on longevity, we live in a much older country.

That means "old" is in everyone's future. Even advertising's.

Cool older people are already here, making an impact on our society and culture. There's no way you could have convinced anyone in 1986 that the Rolling Stones, then in their early 40s, would be the headline act at the 2006 Super Bowl halftime show. Come on, Keith Richards would still be kicking it in 2006? Yet there they all were, jukin' and jivin' in front of millions at age 62. Cool.

Right now, 62-year-old David Letterman is far ahead of 46-year-old Conan O'Brien in terms of TV households and viewers, even among younger adults, according to Nielsen data.

Madonna is 51 and still fighting off the paparazzi.

Bruce Springsteen, age 60, did six shows at Giant Stadium earlier this fall as part of more than 80 live shows in 2009. He's so cool his band is still hot.

But what's after "cool?" Actually, something even more desirable for those ever-growing-older Boomers: the mantle of wisdom. It comes naturally with age, usually being bestowed on those over 80. When millions of Boomers accumulate wisdom to spare, it will become a trait valued by all.

The trick, quite honestly, is how to evolve from "cool" to "wise"? Fortunately for Boomers, there is time to let our actions make the transition for us. Moving beyond cool to wise is something we will have to do.

In fact, it is easy to predict a new era of contributions from older Boomers who seek to make the world a better place. The contributions will go far beyond the short-sighted viewfinder of popular culture into things that really matter -- social contracts between the haves and the have-nots; balancing our needs with the environment; educating our youth; caring for the health of others; pushing science forward; and who knows what else.

As we accomplish these goals, Boomers will forever transform the role of older people in America. We will be seen as assets -- heroic, wise, visionary, inspirational. And perhaps that will be our greatest achievement.

We will have made it not just cool to grow older; we will have made it meaningful.

Boomer Project founder/president Matt Thornhill is an authority on marketing to today's Boomer Consumer. He has appeared on NBC, CBS and CNBC, in "BusinessWeek," "Time," "Newsweek" and "The New York Times" and countless others. Matt is also the co-author of the business book "Boomer Consumer." Boomer Project is a marketing research and consulting firm and has done work for Johnson & Johnson, Lincoln Financial, Samsung, Hershey's Foods and Home Instead Senior Care. Reach him here.

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The Offer You Can't Refuse

Unlike the drug companies that have so many legal warnings and disclaimers in their ads, you need to keep it real and simple.


Risky Business

"Having an offer for your products or services that is truly risk-free might be just the ticket you need to really make a difference in your email marketing campaigns," says Janine Popick in a post at her Vertical Response blog.

She points to retailers like these that generate customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth with some impressive, genuinely risk-free policies:

  • Zappos gives customers a full year to make returns, and it offers a buying and return process that is quick, easy and free.
  • Nordstrom is famous for its liberal views of customer satisfaction. "You need to have your receipt, or your item tag," she notes, "but you can even return worn items without a problem."
  • Walgreens gives its customers a month to decide whether they like the make-up they purchased. "I'm sure they got a lot more in sales than they ever would in returns," Popick says.

Although offering some of these liberal policies may be too much for a smaller business to manage, it's clear that consumers love them. And loading a promotion with restrictions and fees can serve to annoy customers—and even destroy any trust you've built with them.

So what's the middle-of-the-road message for marketers here? Whether your campaign, large or small, promotes general policies like these or presents a unique one-time offer, just make sure it lives up to any risk-free promises it makes.

As Popick puts it: "If you have a great risk-free offer and you follow through on it, it really can generate good will and positive word-of-mouth. Do it wrong, and it'll bite ya!"

The Po!nt: Watch your step. Don't send subscribers a risk-free email offer unless it is—in fact—completely risk-free.

Source: Vertical Response. Read the full post here.

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Trust - How to Build it

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The Critical Role of Trust

Customers are bombarded with so much conflicting and contradictory product information, the element of trust has become the indispensable ingredient for increasing sales to present customers.

Constantly look for things you can do that advance the level of trust. It tells customers you're looking out for their interests beyond just the sales transaction. It tells customers that they're more than just another transaction to you.

Source: The Alexander Group, a market research and executive search firm (

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Even though I had the day off today, the Mediapost folks didn't...

by Aaron Baar
"We were surprised by the fact that Miley Cyrus and William Shatner, two very different celebrities at the opposite end of the age spectrum, had the same scores," Ann Green, senior vice president of marketing solutions for Millward Brown, tells Marketing Daily. "We [also] found some major stars scored lower than you would think simply because they weren't as high on likeability or affinity." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Tighter spending cut across gender, age, household income, race and ethnicity, and households with and without children. But there were some differences: women are more likely than men to be motivated to tighten further, and their roles as family shopper and financial manager have become particularly important in the current recession. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Mintel confirms that domestic wines have proved somewhat recession-proof. And thanks in large part to prices that are still on average 35% lower than imports, domestics dominate the market more heavily than ever, accounting for nearly 75% of wine sales by volume last year. ... Read the whole story > >
AT&T Offers Text Messaging To Santa

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How to Really Annoy your Customers



Baggage fees have become nearly ubiquitous in the airline industry, and Southwest has capitalized on passenger hostility to the dreaded surcharge with its playful Bags Fly Free campaign.

"Some airlines charge your bag up to $20 to ride in the bottom of the plane," says the narrator of one commercial. "In the dark! No peanuts or nothin'. And then if your bag wants to bring one of its little bag friends, for company, they can charge up to another $30. That's up to $100 roundtrip! Why do they hate your bags?"

Southwest has an excellent point—and one that resonates with its customers, Jackie Huba says. She even suggests that baggage fees might explain why Southwest and JetBlue (another no-fee carrier) continue to record an uptick in passenger miles and filled seats while rivals undergo significant declines.

"Those nickle [sic] and dime fees add up, the airlines will say, but really, they do little more than penalize customers with complexity and disguise the end price," she says.

"It's no different when a phone or cable company charges activation fees. May as well call them aggravation fees, as in 'It's aggravating to have a new customer.'"

The Po!nt: No matter how you position or justify a fee, many customers will consider it a penalty. As Kevin Krone, vice-president of marketing for Southwest, told BusinessWeek, "If we're trying to get people to travel, we should probably let people take their suitcase."

Source: Church of the Customer Blog. Click here for the full post.

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Social Media Integration

Pretty soon, social media will no longer be "New", it will be commonplace.

Here's some thoughts on how that will happen and other predictions for the 13 months ahead:

Top 10 Integrated Marketing Trends For '10
Judy Franks, Nov 27, 2009 05:00 AM

1. Less will get done: until we learn to do more with less.
While the cutbacks may be behind us, those left standing have more work to do, and less time and money to get it done. Small ideas and individual channel tactics often consume more time than their worth. The only way to do more with less is to align remaining resources toward a single and powerful integrated marketing solution.

2. Marketers will mistakenly whack a medium of the marketing mix.
With reduced marketing budgets, something has to give. Unfortunately, marketers are making wholesale cuts to specific channels (i.e., print media). Can we afford to drop a medium from the mix? Does the Internet behave like print? Is the consumer experience the same for both media? Are the message formats the same? The answer is clear. Reduced resources should not come at the expense of an integrated, multichannel mix.

3. Marketers will rush to employ social networking strategies.
Marketers will mistakenly rush to hire social media "experts" to create social media experiences for brands. They're missing the larger opportunity. Social networking is not a marketing tactic, nor is it a surrogate for the brand's social experience. A brand's social experience cannot be placed; rather, it is earned. Only consumers can decide what is truly "social."

4. We'll have more data and even less "understanding."
We'll have more data from credible sources: set-top boxes, foundations, academics, marketers and the media themselves. And the data will concur: the media world is highly fluid, interactive and quick to change structure and form. We are left with a real data problem: we can't rely on past correlations to drive future decisions. I'd say we're entering a "Wild West" era of integrated channel planning.

5. Lines between media will continue to blur.
In 2010, more prime-time television content will appear in more places than ever before. Fans will have multiple access points: live view, delayed views from a DVR, video on demand, Hulu, the network's own Web sites, and shared distribution deals (i.e., DirecTV and NBC for Friday Night Lights). It is no longer clear where one screen medium ends and another begins. Maybe we're starting to realize -- it's all a screen!

6. Push vs Pull will become less relevant.
While marketers continue to debate the merits of push vs. pull marketing strategies, the issue may resolve itself. Clear lines between push and pull media no longer exist. The best content (both programming and commercial content) will increasingly become "push" and "pull" at the same time. We must refocus our efforts on creating experiences that offer both opportunities: to reach as many people as possible, but in ways that will invite their participation and their desire to share the experience with others.

7. Great content will travel at the "speed of share" while "average" experiences will evaporate.
Great content in any media channel can travel as fast as consumers are willing to share it with others. Consumers are the most powerful accelerant. They move content along with a simple behavior: the click. Their clicks travel at the high speed of broadband or 3G. The "Speed of Share" renders the speed of traditional content distribution obsolete. It's like comparing real-time to slow motion! However, content will only travel at such speed if it's worth sharing in the first place. There will be less tolerance for mediocre content, and consumers will have more means of disposing with, and/or avoiding it.

8. The Adult 18-49 demo will become even less relevant as a target cohort.
The media world for an 18-year-old is vastly different from that of a 49-year-old. Every year, the divide between Internet-raised and television-raised consumers becomes more profound. According to "Media Generations" (Martin Block PhD, Don Schultz PhD, and BIGresearch), today's 18-49 demographic cohort contains four different media generations. We cannot continue to cloud our view of this complex truth by looking through the lens of a demographic that does not hold together.

9. Symbiosis will create interesting -- and at times strange -- partnerships.
The media landscape will be affected more by the laws of symbiosis than the laws of natural selection. Consider the relationship between YouTube and television: these seemingly competing channels quickly evolved into a symbiotic relationship. Just ask Tina Fey or Susan Boyle, and they will speak of the power of one medium to reinforce and amplify the other. We will continue to see emerging relationships among what appear on the surface as competing media channels.

10. The year 2010 will become the year of the "good idea."
In the recent past, our conversations were dominated by media channels. In our hyper-focus on the dynamics of the media world, we may have taken our eye off the ball. Remember, media channels, by definition, serve only as pipeline for content. Without a good idea, content will evaporate. It's that simple! Despite fewer resources, more diversity, and less certainty, I am advocating for good ideas to fuel integrated marketing outcomes in 2010.

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The Plan?

Is this the way to plan your sales for 2010? From Jeff Garrison:

Sales Goal Setting

Posted: 19 Nov 2009 12:04 PM PST

My approach to goal setting may be a bit different than most and I am sure to get emails and comments.

Start by Setting Low Goals!

This is especially effective if you are a business owner trying to fit business development in to your everyday chaos.

Follow This Plan

First of all, you can only control activity, not outcomes. So don't plan outcomes. For example, don't plan to "schedule a meeting" with a client, plan to "call them for an appointment".

Identify the daily sales activities that you must do on a daily basis to succeed. (Email me for a free list if your are not sure where to start.) For tomorrow, make a plan that includes these activities, but make the level of activity so low you can't fail to complete the plan. When you execute your plan, give yourself an appropriate reward. (I crack open a Guinness.)

After a few days, increase the amount of activity that you plan by a little bit. Get it done and reward yourself.

Over time, keep increasing the amount of activity until you discover a your daily maximum.

Here are the reasons I suggest this plan of action.

You Need to Build Planning Muscles.

If the failure to plan is not the number one reason that sales people fail, it is at least in the top two or three. If you don't plan and schedule your sales activity each day, then eventually you will fail. On the flip side, if you plan too much and don't execute them, you also fail. Either way, planning is not working for you!

This method helps you to establish the habit of planning. You also learn the skill of making a realistic plan based upon the amount of time that you have. Some days you will know going in that you have less time than other days for sales activity and you can plan appropriately.

Note that it should be the rare exception that you don't plan at least a bit of business development activity every day. Just like going to the gym once every week or two won't get you in great shape, inconsistent sales activity barely gets any results.

You Need to Build Execution Muscles

Lots of business owners and sales people tell me they plan, but when I look at their plans, I see a lot of activity on today's plan carried over from yesterday. They have no idea what is realistic because their plan is really just a giant to do list.

Finish your daily plan daily! By the way, the last activity on the daily plan ought to be to plan for tomorrow.

You Need to Build Positive Associations with Planning and Execution

I don't care how easy your plan is to accomplish. If you plan five days in a row and execute the plan every day, you will have done something that only a small percentage of business owners and sales people have ever done.

You should feel great about yourself!

You Need to Build Your Confidence in Planning and Execution

Keep planning and executing every day and you will quickly start to see consistent results in terms of business development and sales. After three months to six months, planning will be as habitual as brushing your teeth. If you realize you forgot to plan, you may feel compelled to get out of bed to make your plan.

Finally, You Will Have Build a Pattern of Successful Planning and Execution

You may be thinking you don't have time to set low goals. "Low" is subjective. Just don't set daily activity goals that you will fail to execute more than 10% of the time.

You may be thinking that you can't afford to wait for your sales people to build their muscles. Wrong, you can't afford to have them setting themselves up for failure most days. Following this plan will foster the development of sales people that are far more effective, reliable, and happier than those of your competitors.

Tell me your thoughts. Is this crazy or might it just work?

Do you have a daily sales plan?

Managing Sales Activity for Success

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


No, It's not the side effects of Turkey,

From Two Hat Marketing:

9 Reasons Why Your Marketing Does Not Work

In no particular order...

1. It's boring

Write in corporate-speak...feature a photo of your building...display a huge to me like I'm a business, not a person. I've read pharmaceutical disclaimers more interesting.

2. It's not targeted

You think EVERYBODY needs your product/service? I'll have some of what you're smoking!

3. You get it.

You thought of it. You designed it. You built it. You live with it every day. I have no idea what it is.

4. You're inconsistent

Hey, I got your big mass-mailing today. Didn't I hear from you about six months ago, too?

5. You gave up too soon.

Man, I could really use your help on this new project. Why did you stop marketing to me six months ago?

6. It's not about you.

Yes, I can see by YOUR ads, website, emails, and letters that YOU are awesome. YOUR products and services are way cool. YOU'VE been in business for 193 years. I hear about YOU, YOU, YOU. But what about MY problems? MY challenges? MY business?

7. It's just like everybody else's.

You're different? Really? Then why are you using the same marketing tools that look exactly the same as all your competition? I guess I'll just go with the lowest price.

8. You're not asking me to do anything.

Yes, I'm aware of you. Is that it or is there something you want me to do?

9. Your evidence is weak or nonexistent.

Look, you're SUPPOSED to tell me how great you, your product, and your service are. Besides you, though, is there someone else who will tell me the same thing?

Oh, and did I tell you your marketing is boring?

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The Power of a Blog

One of the recommendations I make to nearly all of my clients is to start a blog. RainToday shares what can happen if you follow this advice:

The Blogging Payoff: How a Law Firm Used Its Blog to Generate 7 Figures in Revenue

By Gwen Moran

Case Study Series: What's Working in Marketing & Selling Professional Services

As a member, you have access to all of our case studies. These feature real-world insights into the marketing and selling challenges professional services businesses face today.


Harris & Moure is a Seattle-based law firm, but its target audience is primarily international companies that do business in China, Russia, Korea, and Europe. The firm also has a lawyer and staff in Qingdao, China. When co-founder Daniel P. Harris was looking for a way to get his company in front of more companies doing business internationally, he happened to have a conversation with a friend who was a technology expert. As his friend discussed the power of blogs, an idea began to take root.


Blogging His Way into a Niche Market

Approximately three years ago, Harris hired his friend as a consultant, sending him to a conference to report back on how Harris & Moure could possibly use a blog as a marketing tool to get more business from companies doing business in China—a sweet spot for the firm.

"Our practice has always been international law and it was clear China was the hot area," says Harris. "But there was a huge amount of misinformation out there—old information that was no longer true and complete misinformation. There were some lively China blogs, but no China law blogs that were at all geared toward the non-lawyer."

Harris knew he could do better, especially with his boutique firm's team of seven lawyers in the U.S. and China. What he didn't know was how big a part of his business this blog would become.


Ready, Set, Launch

With the help of his friend, Harris set up a blog with its own domain——in January 2006. And he and his China based co-blogger, Steve Dickinson, began writing content for it, posting about four to five times per week. Harris, who has a conversational writing style and a good handle on technology, reviewed the few posts he didn't write himself to ensure they were engaging, informative, and accurate.

"The plan was to establish ourselves as people who know what's going on in China. We thought people would look at the blog and say, 'Oh, they're doing this. They must know what's going on in China,'" he says.

Instead of using a free template blog through Blogger or Wordpress, Harris opted for a hosted domain and had the site design customized. That helped the boutique firm achieve a more professional look for the blog, he says, which was an important consideration for the firms he wished to attract.

Be Relevant

At first, Harris was worried he wouldn't have enough content to keep a blog going. But soon he realized that worry was without merit. While the focus of the blog was mostly what a business would want to know about the legal issues surrounding operating in China—the majority of the firm's business is American and European companies moving into the Chinese marketplace—he also sprinkled in content about general Chinese business culture or observations. For example, he recently wrote about a study on the growing number of cell phone users in China and his views that such growth was a barometer of how the middle class is growing, and what companies should be doing to sell to that market.

"We would never claim that we're management or marketing experts, because we're not," he says. "But when I throw something like that out there, I know there will be comments from people who read the blog and who really know what they're talking about." That adds even more value to the content of the blog, he says, by creating a community of business experts who give good information via comments.

The site is also easy to use with obvious buttons for "tweeting" posts via Twitter, subscribing to the blog's RSS feed, and bookmarking posts to sites like Delicious or Stumble Upon.

Say What You Need to Say

Unlike many bloggers, Harris doesn't limit his posts to 500 words or fewer. Instead, he may post some short pieces or quick reads. But when the topic merits space, it gets as much as it needs. For example, a recent rant about the necessity to have someone who knows the Chinese marketplace at the helm of legal decisions in China topped out at nearly 2,000 powerful, engaging words.

"Every day, there are about six or seven people on Twitter who are saying, 'You've got to read this post.' It's really creating a lot of buzz," he says. The reason is because it resonates with the audience he's trying to reach, he adds.

Harris says the variation in posts keeps the blog interesting and different types of posts get different types of reactions. Some people like the short, fact-based posts, while others like the lengthy, thought-provoking pieces.


The blog required a modest investment at its launch, which Harris estimates at about $2,000. Hosting and maintenance cost about $500 per year. Then, there's the time he and his colleagues spend crafting posts. Some posts take 10 minutes, while others could take 10 or more hours, especially if Harris is writing a white paper that he will turn into a blog post, for example.

"To do a blog like this successfully, you have to spend time keeping up. We do that anyway—if we're doing business in China, we have to know what's going on. If you counted that toward time we spend on the blog, it's a huge amount. But it's also what we have to do for our business," he explains.

For that bit of cash and block of time, ChinaLawBlog has brought in "well into the seven figures worth of work" over the past three years, says Harris. Many companies that have contacted the firm mentioned that they heard about it from the blog.

Additional Insights Shared by Harris & Moure

  • Blogs get ink. A happy side effect of ChinaLawBlog has been a serious uptick in the amount of publicity the firm increasingly gets. Harris and Dickinson have been interviewed by media, including Fortune, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, and The New York Times. Reporters who write about Chinese legal issues find ChinaLawBlog easily via any search engine.
  • Don't discount the residual effect. Harris says a great deal of business comes indirectly from the blog. He often finds that decision-makers read his blog, then see his firm in the newspaper, and keep them in mind for future business. Some clients mention after they have been working with the firm that they had been reading the blog. So, his estimates of how much business it has influenced may be lower than the actual numbers, he says.
  • There aren't "so many blogs." When Harris hears about getting lost in the blogospheric clutter, he rolls his eyes. "There are a lot of mistakes being made out there—starting too big, quitting too soon. It takes a long, long time to build up readership. When I need to find a good blog on a legal issue, I'm often shocked at how many people started out with big plans for their blogs, but then abandoned them before giving them a chance," he says. If you have good content and stick with it, the audience will find you, he says.


Gwen Moran is a veteran, award-winning freelance journalist and author. A columnist for Entrepreneur for more than a decade, she has written for Strategy+Business, Crain's New York Business, Family Business,, USA Weekend, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, and many others. She has collaborated on or ghosted more than a dozen books on topics ranging from business planning to retailing to process improvement to diversity issues.

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Seth Godin's advice for all of us.

Apply it to your business life, and during your time with family and friends on Thanksgiving today:

Benefit of the doubt

It's almost impossible to communicate something clearly and succinctly to everyone, all the time.

So misunderstandings occur.

We misunderstand a comment or a gesture or a policy or a contract.

And then what happens?

Well, if we're engaged with someone we like or trust, we give them the benefit of the doubt. We either assume that what they actually meant was the thing we expected from someone like them, or we ask about it.

If we're engaged with a stranger or someone we don't trust, we assume the worst.

The challenge, then, is to earn the benefit of the doubt. How many of your customers, prospects, vendors, regulators and colleagues give you the benefit of the doubt?

If you worked at it, could you make that number increase?

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

While some of us have a long weekend due to Thanksgiving, keep in mind those that have to work.

I'll continue to have 3 to 4 updates here every single day 365 days a year, due to the ability to work ahead.

by Karl Greenberg
Jeep is focusing on its target consumers in the second phase of its new "I Live. I Ride. I am. Jeep" campaign launching on Thanksgiving Day. The company will take over the billboards on both the NASDAQ and Reuters buildings at 43rd Street and Broadway. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"With retailers fully aware that shoppers are looking for incredible deals, Americans can expect huge sales on popular items like toys, electronics and apparel," the NRF says in its forecast. America's favorite deal-finding methods this year are coupons (which will be used by 40.6% of respondents), newspaper circulars (38.2%), TV ads (27.8%) and word of mouth (26.5%). ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The spot -- which begins its television run next week but is already on YouTube -- shows a grandfather scoffing at his beloved, traditional patty melt being "fancied up" with Portobello mushrooms and Black Angus beef, but clearly unwilling to give it up to the "young, hungry guy" next to him. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
To encourage customers to check out the new design, Marriott is giving consumers chances to win travel and gift card prizes in an online sweepstakes running through Dec. 8. is the company's largest point of consumer interaction, with more than 12 million visits each month. More than 75% of guests use the site when planning or booking their hotel stays. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The firm says the combined monthly U.S. market share for domestics Chrysler, Ford and General Motors will be around 46.4% this month, down from 48.6% last year and but up from 45.1% last month. Edmunds also says 2010-model inventory is sitting on lots because of big deals on 2009 models. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Quiznos founder Rick Schaden, who returned as CEO last February, and Greg MacDonald, who became president in July, have made the improvement of business relationships with franchisees a prime objective. For instance, early this year, a program was implemented that helped many franchisees renegotiate their leases to reduce lease payments by 15% to 20%. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Aaron Baar
Just in time for the brand's sponsorship of the National Dog Show, which will be airing Thanksgiving Day on NBC (just after the Macy's Parade), has added "Friend Fetcher" to its "lightly branded" Web site,, allowing consumers to find a dog based on amount of money they'd like to spend, exercise they're willing to give, family member allergies and other criteria. ... Read the whole story > >
by David Goetzl
As it emphasizes expansion overseas and suffers some bumps domestically, ketchup marketer Heinz will invest in marketing heavily between now and the spring. Budgets are expected at $400 million+ -- a 15% rise. ... Read the whole story > >
Jamba Launches Toy Blender

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New Ad Campaigns

Looks like Amy is getting ready for Turkey Day by sending this out early today:

Thanksgiving ads. And caffeine, to cancel the effects of turkey's tryptophan. Let's launch!

Thanksgiving ads. And caffeine, to cancel the effects of turkey's tryptophan. Let's launch!

Caribou CoffeeCaribou Coffee launched its first-ever TV spot to support the launch of its mochas, chocolate lattes, hot chocolates, specialty beverages and cold drinks made with white, milk or dark Guittard chocolate. "Get Real: Chocolate" stars two pompous marionettes having a shallow conversation. Their moods are enhanced once they see a mall patron and their Caribou Coffee purchase. "Why don't we ever get Caribou Coffee?" asks one bobble head. "Because we're not real," responds the other. See the ad here. A print ad, shown here, features three cups of solid chocolate and four chocolaty drink options available at Caribou Coffee. Colle+McVoy created the campaign.

This spot is reminiscent of Smirnoff's " Tea Partay," with a Thanksgiving theme. "The Sexy Muscle MilkPilgrim" is a 2:45 second video where Thanksgiving receives high praises, as does protein. The film promotes Muscle Milk, a bodybuilding sports drink. Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and Indians begins with the head Pilgrim sharing the things he is thankful for. "You're Welcome," replies our rapping Pilgrim, and so begins his quest to be "thanked" -- by anyone and everyone. Our rapping Pilgrim manages some funny lines like, "Yo pretty lady, you like the cut of my sock, my Pilgrim cape, this Pilgrim rock?" and "Iceland, you got some snowy skies, you're gonna thank me for making your mercury rise." Watch it here. In addition, viewers can download the song and print a product coupon to save 50 cents. Pereira & O'Dell created the video.

PETASaying "grace" before Thanksgiving dinner is nothing close to normal in an ad for PETA Los Angeles. A family of multiple generations sits down for Thanksgiving dinner. A young girl is asked to say grace, and her list of things to be thankful for throws her family for a loop: "And special thanks for all the chemicals and dirt and poop that's in the turkey we're about to eat. Oh, and thank you for rainbows. Amen," ends the young girl's version of grace, seen here. Matter, Los Angeles created the ad, produced by Über Content and edited by Arcade Edit.

Piggly Wiggly
A video created for Piggly Wiggly to be spread through social media channels was such a hit that's it's getting a media buy. Who can resist a turkey with pick-up lines like, "If you could rearrange the alphabet, would you put U and I together?" A trio of lame come-ons is successfully used on three women. The voiceless Casanova is not Brad Pitt or Michael C. Hall; it's a sunglasses-wearing turkey. "You can't say no to a free turkey," says the voiceover. At Piggly Wiggly, consumers can get their Thanksgiving turkey free with five Greenbax. See the ad here, created by Rawle Murdy.

Looney Advertising wants to bring Thanksgiving back to the forefront of national holidays, while simultaneously disposing of rotting pumpkins. The Great American Pumpkin Roll requires little to no athletic prowess, just a rotting pumpkin and a hill to roll it down. Decorated pumpkins are a plus, so get to work!

HotorNotRandom iPhone App of the week:, the site where visitors rate members on a score of 1 to 10, launched an iPhone app that takes the concept of the site and combines it with the card game War. HOTorNOT WAR doesn't use kings and queens in its deck of cards; it uses actual "hotties" found on To play, users must download the free app, log in, and either challenge friends or play against the dealer. The app was built in-house.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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The Bad Side of Social Media

Just like nearly everything else, there is a good side and bad side in Social Media...


I Love How I Hate You

It strikes fear in the hearts of marketers worldwide: the dreaded online consumer complaint that goes viral. What's a good company to do when one angry customer threatens to destroy its image? Is there any way to win her back once she's decided she hates you?

Some interesting new research looks into customer anger—specifically, the desire for revenge, which is to be most feared online—and offers some guidance for "hated" companies.

First, the researchers examined whether online complainers hold a grudge over time. The short answer: Yes, they do. But here's an important caveat: In general, an angry consumer's desire for revenge decreases over time.

Second, the authors examined the "moderation effect of a strong relationship" on how customers hold a grudge. Interestingly, they found that "over time, the revenge of strong-relationship customers decreases more slowly." Oh, swell.

So, what's a good company to do? Here's the authors' advice based on their research:

Offer an immediate apology to loyal (high-relationship) customers. Following a complaint from a loyal customer, "quickly offer them a recovery that includes an acknowledgment of responsibility, an apology, and a 'normal' compensation in the form of a gift certificate or replacement," they advise. They add: "[F]irms need not 'go beyond the call of duty' with high-relationship-quality customers, who seem to be more interested in the social than the economic value of a recovery." (Finally, some good news.)

Fuhgettabout the "low-relationship-quality" complainers. The researchers conclude that winning back less-loyal consumers is too costly to warrant compensation, since their need for revenge generally dissipates after five weeks, anyway.

The Po!nt: If she's loyal, show you're sorry. A loyal customer who feels wronged can be a nightmare, but a quick and sincere apology may quench her thirst for revenge.

Source: "When Customer Love Turns into Lasting Hate: The Effects of Relationship Strength and Time on Customer Revenge and Avoidance," by Yany Grégoire, Thomas M. Tripp and Renaud Legoux. Journal of Marketing, 2009.

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Price vs. Value

Yesterday I featured a piece on Price. Take a look at this from Art Sobczak:

I was looking at a couple of pieces of office furniture
from different dealers. One was more expensive than the
other, but I liked it more, and the sales rep knew that.

After I hemmed and hawed awhile about hesitating because
of the price, he said,

"Two years from now, after you have been enjoying this
for awhile, and have forgotten what you paid for it, do you
think you will have made the right choice?"

Wow, what a great question! Of course I bought it.

In one of my first corporate-life sales positions, a wise
trainer said to me,

"There are no price objections, only value questions."

So true.

Here are a couple of ideas to use when faced with someone
hedging on paying your higher price. Naturally you can adapt
the one the guy used with me.

"Something I suggest people in your situation do is to
project out a year or two, and then think about how they
would answer the question, 'Which choice will I be happier
with, and will have profited from?'

Another variation:

"If you were able to travel out to about two years into the
future, and look at the decision you're about to make,
what do you think it would be?"

I heard a sales rep use this next line, and although you'd
really need to be careful with who you used it with, it does
present its point nicely:

Prospect: "Your product costs more than the others out there."

Sales Rep: "So does a Jaguar. It really gets down to what
you really want."


I regularly get questions about how to use email effectively
in sales/telesales. Of course as with all general questions the
answers can vary depending on a number of variables such
as complexity of sale, source of lead, industry, etc.

In general, here's how I typically answer:

If a sales rep is spending the bulk of his/her time writing
and sending introductory emails instead of calling, that is
likely "call avoidance." Here are great times TO send emails:

1. Right after a call, summarizing the details of the call,
their interest, and what is to happen next.

2. Right before the next, perhaps the day before, or maybe
a few hours before. Let them know you look forward to
speaking with them, remind them of what they were to do,
what you did, and bring something new to the table of value,
perhaps some new information.

This gives you two "touches" between calls, and provides
a better chance that they will do what they committed to
on the previous call.


According to an article in the Money section of USA Today,
more than 27.7 million Americans spend up to nine hours a
week planning and plotting their fantasy football strategies.
And the average player belongs to 2.5 leagues.

Wow, That's a bit scary to me, but not surprising.

Just wondering, how many of those people are in sales, and
invest ANY time or money in their own self-development.

Let's see, 9 hours, 20 weeks of football season, 180 hours...
that could probably take someone to the next level of success.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I enjoy no-brainer entertainment with
the best of them. But my motto always has been, "Work hard,
play hard." It's pretty simple: you will get out of this profession
precisely what you put into it. Your choice. The fact that you
are reading this tells me that you have the desire to succeed.

Keep it up, and why not raise the level of intensity?

Continue Having Your Best Week Ever!


"He who stops being better stops being good. "
Oliver Cromwell

Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click to read more:

by Sarah Mahoney
Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy, Target, JCPenney and Kohl's are already blaring their best prices online, offering lots of cross-channel options that make it easier for shoppers to choose store, web, or both. (JC Penney, which has vowed this will be its biggest Black Friday sale ever, is even pushing the insomniac envelope, opening stores at 4 a.m.) ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"We're going into the selling season and we wanted to reframe the Westinghouse brand," Rey Roque, vice president of marketing at Westinghouse Digital Electronics, tells Marketing Daily. "The Westinghouse brand has always represented the best technology for the best value. We feel the new TV campaign is going to drive that message home for the holidays." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Total marketing and selling expenses decreased by 7.5%, to $284 million compared with $307 million in the prior year, which included significant advertising costs associated with major soup initiatives. Lower advertising costs also reflected a reduction in media rates and a shift to trade promotion, according to Campbell. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"Consumer commitment to green living is very stable," Tim Kenyon, senior analyst for GfK's consumer trends division, tells Marketing Daily. "But if products are too expensive, they will find other ways to express that commitment. They may buy fewer green products, but they'll do things like cut their energy costs or reduce consumption." ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
The campaign will reunite actors Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo to recapture the spirit of the 1980s comedy classic, "National Lampoon's Vacation." Created by agency of record Publicis in the West, the 30-second spot breaks on CBS' Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7. It will also include print and online media. The multimedia buy is still being developed. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The new educational Web site under the Disney banner is a bit like Martha Stewart for moms and kids. "The Possibility Shop" includes original video content produced by The Jim Henson Company and featuring actress and writer Courtney Watkins as proprietor of an arts and crafts shop. ... Read the whole story > >
Atari Relaunches Web Site With Free Games

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My kids are part of this Generation:

Ad Infinitum
Considered a target market since birth, members of Gen Y have been exposed to an avalanche of advertising. Based on Nielsen Monitor-Plus / Nielsen Media Research audience data from the 2004 television programming season, a Federal Trade Commission report estimated that children aged 2-11 were exposed to 25,600 television advertisements a year for a total of 10,700 minutes of commercial messaging in 2004.

Projecting from these estimates, children will see more than a quarter of a million TV ads by their 13th birthdays. Add online ads, print ads, radio ads and all other forms of advertising communications to the mix, and many youth are more expert than target.

Should we be so surprised to find that we are struggling to draw youth audiences to our marketing messages? We find ourselves relentlessly pursuing the latest media, devising increasingly novel tactics for our communications.

Research gauging the conscious effect of advertising on youth indicates that they are becoming less receptive to advertising. They notice the ads, but don't act upon them. They see the products on the big screen but claim that the product placement doesn't impact their purchase decisions. Words like "jaded" or "sophisticated" are used by those who wish to attach a value judgment to this diminishing receptivity; however, the things that we say and do within a traditional media context can often wash over Gen Y without making an impact.

The economic imperative to "monetize" the online spaces and places that young consumers inhabit is leading to a multibillion-dollar game of cat-and-mouse, wherein youth seek out new, ad-free environments, occupying them until marketers identify and infiltrate these ad-free havens. We are, at times, moving past a simple receptivity challenge toward breeding hostility toward advertising. This hostility most often erupts at the point where a previously undeveloped environment is opened up to advertising, to the chagrin of its previously unsolicited denizens.

While it's easy to spot what's broken and guess as to why, it's a little more challenging to identify solutions. Asked to tell us what advertising catches their attention and motivates them, teens and collegians revealed a number of insights:

  • If you ask youth to describe their favorite advertisement, the majority of what they describe is a television ad that made them laugh. Humor means a lot to youth, and they appreciate anything that tickles their funny bone. Unfortunately, being funny isn't easy, and we've frequently measured ad campaigns that tried in vain to elicit a chuckle.
  • Good music is the next most appealing advertising element for youth and, luckily, this is an advertising device that is much easier to deliver upon. Apple's catchy iTunes ads set the standard for how to leverage music to generate receptivity amongst youth.
  • This generation is very practical and appreciates advertising that discards hyperbole in favor of clear and simple product information. Similar to the GI generation, which was exposed to the early television advertising of P&G, Gen Y has swapped the Swedish accent of Folger's kindly Miss Olson with the raspy ranting of the recently departed pitchman Billy Mays.
  • While humor, catchy music and practical product benefits seems straightforward enough, we were surprised to hear from youth how effective event sponsorships and pre-movie advertisements are in capturing their attention. Both of these advertising environments significantly reduce the clutter of competing messages, attaching themselves to experiences that are both meaningful and relevant to youth.
If you endeavor to be practical, humorous and melodic in an environment where you can attach yourself to a valued experience, chances are that your advertising efforts will be better appreciated by the largest generation in American history.

See what others are saying on the Engage:Gen Y blog.
Dan Coates is president of Ypulse, the leading authority on tween, teen, college and young adult insights for marketing, brand and media professionals, providing news, commentary, events, research and strategy. A veteran opinionista, Dan and his Ypulse colleagues tweet an endless stream of Gen Y news, factoids and insights at and can be contacted via email at You can also reach him here

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Social Media: Ban it or Embrace it?

Last night, one of our local tv stations ran a story about how a bank and a software/web design company have different approaches to social media.

Social NOTworking

Are web surfers more or less productive?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - How many friends do you have? Or followers? What's your status? How many "tweets" did you send out? It's lingo that's become part of our everyday conversations.

More than 200 million people use Facebook. More than 18 million are on Twitter. It's no surprise, then, that some of those people are logging on - while on the job.

In fact, some studies estimate as many as 75% of employees who have a Facebook account use it during work hours.

Now, business owners and managers are taking what some consider drastic measures to keep their workers on task.

"Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn. Those kind of sites are blocked," says Star Financial Bank Chief Information Officer Ralph Marcuccilli.

Marcuccilli says the bank restricts access to any non-business related websites for a couple of reasons. "First and foremost is security. That's the reason we block those sites - to protect our customers' information and our systems. Then there are also productivity reasons."

Research conducted by the Internet security company SurfControl estimates workers who keep a close eye on their Facebook page cost their employers as much as four billion dollars a year.

An Ohio State University study showed that college students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grades than those who don't use it.

So clearly there's a negative link between social networking sites and productivity, right?

Not so fast, says Dr. Brent Coker, from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

His team set out to answer one simple question: how surfing the internet for fun at work impacted people's productivity. "What we found was that those who surfed the Internet for fun while at work were, in fact, nine percent more productive than those who were not able to surf the Internet for fun while at work," explains Coker.

Coker says says most workdays are divided into what he calls mini-tasks. He likens Internet use to a coffee break - a good thing for workers. "If we're not given the chance to take a break between these mini-tasks, our concentration slides down."

It's a balance local business owner TK Herman tries to strike with his employees. "We use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook for our own internal marketing efforts. We encourage our employees to participate on those kind of sites," Herman says.

Herman runs Aptera , a software and web design firm in downtown Fort Wayne. He says his employees have full access to the Internet and that no one's ever abused the privilege. In many cases, workers have embraced the technology to the benefit of the company.

"We update Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis. We've got over 400 followers on our Facebook fan page. The way we use it is to communicate with our clients, our prospective employees, just anyone who wants to know what's happening at Aptera," says Herman.

Though Aptera and Star Financial are in completely different industries - and approach social networking at work very differently - both make sure their employees understand that the work day doesn't end when you leave the building.

"You know, we don't want people going to sites like MySpace and posting things that may look like they're representing the bank when it's really a personal use and a personal site," says CIO Marcuccilli.

TK Herman agrees. "I think people we have working for Aptera understand that. They understand that they're being viewed by the outside world as not only themselves but also representative of our company."

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