Saturday, March 20, 2010

Turning 50+

Now that people like me have turned 50, we are taking a closer look at the term "Baby Boomers:

Middle Boomers: A Separate Demographic Group

For decades, American Baby Boomers have been characterized as a bloc of people who think and act as one monolithic generation. However, a recent study from the MetLife Mature Market Institute shows that Young, Middle and Older Boomers grew up during disparate "eras" and are now at different stages in their lives. They should, perhaps, be treated as separate demographic groups.

In both a series of Demographic Profiles and a new study, The MetLife Study of Boomers in the Middle, facts are emerging about how distinct the segments are.

"The Middle Boomers, now 52 to 58 years old and 29 million strong, are very much a generation of the 60s," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "They identify with the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination and the women’s movement, identifying the war as the event that most influenced them in their youth. They are distinguished most by a change in culture through political and social activism. But, like the proverbial often-neglected 'middle child,' they have rarely been noted as having an identity of their own, although they are different in many ways from the Oldest and Youngest Boomers."

From a business and financial standpoint, the Middle Boomers are looking forward to retirement (setting their sights on age 65), have a high net worth ($100,000 or more, excluding their home value) and are currently in their peak earning years. On the other hand, more than half (54%) say they are behind on their retirement savings goals and that many who have delayed retirement have been affected by the economy. Most will rely on Social Security for their retirement income (42% of it, on average).

A majority own their own homes, which are worth an average of $273,000, and have an average of six financial products. One-third of the Middle Boomers expect to receive an inheritance from their parents in the amount of $181,000, slightly less than the Oldest Boomers and behind the Youngest Boomers, who expect $208,000.

Other specifics for the Middle Boomers:

50 is Okay
Turning age 50 was no big deal for the majority of Middle Boomers and they will not consider themselves "old" until age 75. That's older than the age selected by the Youngest Boomers (age 71), but younger than age 78, selected by the Oldest Boomers.

Maturity Means a Shift in Priorities
Middle Boomers have experienced a shift in their life priorities in the past five to ten years. They say they are concentrating more on family, financial security, personal well-being and wellness.

Seventy-one percent of this group are married or in domestic partnerships. Husbands are generally two years older than wives. Twelve percent are divorced or separated, 4% are widowed and 13% have never been married. Those who are divorced have the most concerns about retirement and income.

Still Healthy, but Concerned About Health Care
Like the Oldest and Youngest Boomers, the middle group report they are healthy with more than half (56%) saying their health is very good to excellent. Looking ahead, though, 26% of those who are healthy say their biggest retirement concern will be affordable health care.

Truly the Sandwich Generation
Two-thirds of the Middle Boomers report having at least one parent still living, and half still have children living at home. About half also have grandchildren. Seventy-two percent have been providing financial assistance and support to their children and grandchildren, averaging about $38,000 over the past five years. They are not yet empty-nesters like the Older Boomers. Fourteen percent are providing care to older parents.

(Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute, 03/02/10)

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Lessons from the Past

from my email:

What TV’s Mad Men and Kodak Teach Us about Content Marketing

Posted: 19 Mar 2010 06:34 AM PDT

mad men cast Plenty Has Changed from 1960 to 2010 but What Is Most Important Has Stayed the Same.

If you’re not already a fan of the TV classic in the making, Mad Men, it’s all about the Madison Avenue ad agency world of the early 1960s. There was plenty of drinking, smoking, and carrying on. But, there was plenty of great, and surprisingly timeless, marketing taking place, too.

Most of you probably are not old enough to remember when housewives really did wear shirtwaist dresses to do housework, when color TV was just beginning to take hold, when JFK had just promised a man on the moon, and when a lot of famous brands were invented or enhanced by the ad agency Mad Men in the title. That may have been a long time ago, but we can still learn some timeless content marketing truths from one wonderful segment.

In a Mad Men segment about the creation of the Kodak Carousel the roots of content marketing shine through when lead character, Don Draper, makes it clear that building a brand is all about storytelling and engaging the consumer–and not about technology or the company itself.

kodak carousel  slide Way back in the 1960s, Kodak dominated the photography world in ways that seem almost unimaginable today. Their technology was leading edge. How to make it relevant to consumers was the hard part.

The ad agency’s challenge was to launch a new slide projector that enabled customers to load a bunch of slides into a wheel so that they could create a long-running slideshow that ran seamlessly.

Don Draper, the top creative guy, launched his presentation by saying of the still unnamed product, "It’s not a wheel. It’s a carousel." He went on to say, "This device isn’t a space ship. It’s a time machine."

kodak slide  kids in tree Don then painted a picture of precious family moments captured forever and relived again and again thanks to the wonderful Kodak Carousel "time machine."

What struck me about the Kodak segment was that Don’s approach to marketing a product was essentially timeless. Marketing is still all about telling stories that connect with your customers. Even though we now tell those stories on websites, blogs, and social media, our need to build a bond with the folks who buy our products remains the same.

The best of traditional marketing lives on in today as ‘content marketing.’ To boil it down to basics, here are the timeless marketing commandments that were true for Kodak in 1960 and for all of us today as we focus on delivering content that is relevant and compelling for our customers.

Your job as a content marketer then and now:

  • B to B: Make your customers successful
  • B to C: Make your customers’ lives better
  • 1st understand, then be understood
  • Listen, really listen to your customers
  • Engage your customers in dialogue
  • Encourage word of mouth

Of course, a critically important difference between 1960 and today is the new, affordable, and powerful tools we can use to pursue all of those content marketing activities. Kodak really understands what content marketing is all about. We might have anticipated that to be true from their eager acceptance of the heartfelt, storytelling approach taken for the launch of the Carousel.

Kodak Has Made the 21st Century Marketing Transition Brilliantly

kodak iPhone app

The Kodak Carousel lives on virtually in an iPhone application that permits all of the capture and sharing of memories that meant so much back in 1960 and still mean so much to us today in 2010.

Kodak understands its customers in 2010 on an emotional level just they did 50 years ago. They now participate enthusiastically in a full range of content marketing activities that revolve around storytelling. And, today, the storytelling comes just as much from customers as it does from Kodak. Here is what they have going online:

  • a website that is rich in video and visuals
  • multiple blogs
  • multiple Facebook pages and games
  • a very cool iPhone application
  • a presence on Twitter

kodak 2010 online  content marketing

Content marketing: Important in 1960. Essential in 2010. Game changer for small companies.

Today, content is both essential and easy to do. Fortunately, even solopreneurs with micro-resources can be effective content marketers. Content marketing really does level the playing field with with larger–even much larger–competitors.

You may not be able to replicate everything online that Kodak is doing. But you can come pretty darned close. Absolutely every tool they use online is available to you free or inexpensively. In fact, you can’t afford not to implement a content marketing strategy. It’s working for Kodak and it will work for you.

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Check Up

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Get An Annual Checkup

Just as you should regularly go to the doctor for a checkup, you need to get a sales checkup.

You need to see a videotape or listen to a recording of yourself that captures how you look and sound when you pitch. What's good enough for your golf swing goes double for how you make your living.

Even if you saw a tape of yourself 18 months ago, you've changed. And even if it's for the better, you need to know.

Source: Marketing consultant/author Michael Schrage

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

I wouldn't be as concerned about the way Walmart continues to try and take over the world if they had as a corporate slogan, Don't Be Evil....

by Sarah Mahoney
Walmart's "target market is both the unbanked and underbanked population," Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at, tells Marketing Daily, "and that is also a growth segment, particularly with recent legislation that makes it more difficult for consumers with poor credit to get credit cards, and the potential for reduced availability of free checking. And that population seems poised to continue growing." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The agreement is included in the newly introduced Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which reauthorizes child nutrition programs. The bill would give the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day, including vending machines, school stores and à la carte items. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
"People consume March Madness in different ways, and we want to meet consumers where they are in a unique way," Capital One's Marc Mentry tells Marketing Daily. "We'll be showing ads throughout the tournament for the TV viewing audience, while the Ivans offers branded entertainment that we believe will resonate with the hardcore sports enthusiast that tends to engage online." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"Barnes & Noble has been run by the Riggios for a long time, and they are still obviously very much in charge," David A. Schick, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus, tells Marketing Daily, "but this is certainly a nod to some changes in the marketplace." ...Read the whole story >>
Cabo Wabo Tequila Rock 'n Rolls In Bars

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What's better than Free?

Pat McGraw explains:

Have you ever been given something and felt less than overjoyed?

Remember that feeling when you plan out your content marketing strategy – please. Try to avoid the “manufacturing line” approach that is fixated on quantity.

Instead, think about the intended recipient and focus on providing them with something unique and valuable – from their perspective, not yours.

And be brave enough to say “No!” when you realize that you are creating something that isn’t unique or valuable for your audience because underwhelming them is not acceptable.

Remember that your audience is bombarded with messages every day and they are looking for reasons to disengage rather than engage – they want to simplify their lives, not add more complexity to them. And when you try to give them something that they don’t want or value, you give them a reason to disengage from you.

Oh, and I highly recommend reading Dean Rieck’s post, Has “Free” Become Cliche?. I firmly believe that “free” works – but you have to be creative and focused on the recipient in order for it to build your business.

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Old? or Money?

from Drew:

Trends shaping 2010: Dang it, we're getting old!

Posted: 15 Mar 2010 03:00 AM PDT

Seniors Back in December, I wrote about some of the trends that would be influencing all of our businesses in 2010. I thought it might be helpful to look at some of these trends a bit more closely.

Let's dig into the trend that we've actually been anticipating for the past several years. After all, we've known that the baby boomers are such a huge group -- there's no way their crossing into the 65+ category wouldn't throw our society a curve.Look at these facts:

  • By 2020, people over 65 worldwide will outnumber children under the age of 5 for the first time.
  • By 2020, 22% of western civilization will be 65+.
  • The ratio of workers to retirees will continue to fall. Today it’s 3:1. By 2030, it will be just over 2:1.

So what does that mean for all of us?

Shifting away from our youth focus


For so long, mass marketing has been all about the young. As this trend takes hold, marketers are going to shift their attention to those boomers. Remember, this group of seniors is tech savvy, active and has quite a bit of disposable income. Even products that are typically designed for the youth market will be aimed at seniors, like motorbikes and technology.

Simplified, smarter products


We've already seen companies like Jitterbug simplifying technology for a senior's physical limitations and that's just the beginning. Now, there's going to be a huge new market for smarter products that accommodate senior's needs.

For example, there are canes and walkers being created with GPS technology built right in. Wonder what will be next?

Subtle safety products:

This era of seniors isn't ready to slow down or think of themselves as elderly. Most of them are still quite active and aren't going to see themselves as someone who needs to be taken care of. But let's face it, as we get older -- we need a little assistance.

Ford and other car manufacturers are working on technology that can detect if the driver is getting drowsy (a major cause of car accidents with seniors behind the wheel). As soon as the car senses the driver is not alert, it automatically lowers the temperature in the vehicle to wake up the driver.

Here's another one -- Thermador is developing a stove top that automatically shuts off as soon as the pot is lifted off the burner.

New problems/opportunities brought on by the volume:

In the good old days, when someone got a little older, their family rallied around and took care of them. But with families scattered across the land and with fewer offspring per family -- many boomers are going to be on their own.

3 of the 10 industries with the fastest employment growth are tied to this trend.

  • Home healthcare
  • Elderly and disabled services
  • Community care facilities

There are also all kinds of senior concierge companies cropping up. They'll do everything from take someone to the doctor and take notes, to putting up your Christmas decorations or running errands.

How can you take advantage of this?

That's the real question. As with all trends the question is not whether or not they're true but what we're going to do when they come to pass. How can your business capitalize on what's coming? How can you be come indispensable to this huge market?

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It's not just you...

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Your Number One Competitor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

We're back with another update..

by Aaron Baar
A TV, print and online campaign under the theme "The Video Store Just Moved In" showcases the ease with which digital cable customers can view the movies via their set-top boxes. Television ads in the campaign show two video store clerks debating how to categorize the store's movies. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The "Back to Beautiful" collection launches with a national ad campaign featuring Christensen. The multifaceted advertising campaign, created by Kraft Works NYC, includes TV, print and online advertising, as well as Internet-based social networking. The tagline for the campaign is: "When you're wearing a great bra, U just know." Bali's overall tagline remains "Live beautifully." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
For voters, there's no prize, just the fun of helping influence the "favorites" outcomes. For Burgerville, the promotion is not just fun and games, but another way to yield nuggets of insight into that target demographic, as well as build and engage its fan base. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"It all boils down to strong creativity," Ann Green, senior vice president of marketing solutions for Millward Brown, tells Marketing Daily. "They're typically very enjoyable and engaging. It's important to create ideas that are going to pop in this environment. The scientific part comes down to how you measure it." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
For families that celebrate, food continues to be the major expense, with the average person spending $37.45, followed by clothing ($19.03), and flowers ($7.84). And the survey, based on responses from nearly 8,300 adults, indicates that people will be watching their budgets closely, with most Americans planning to shop at discount stores (64.8%). About 33.2% will shop at department stores. ...Read the whole story >>
by Staff Writers
"With the decentralization of information, having a Britney Spears commercial isn't important anymore because you can get information on her 24/7," Andrew Katz told attendees at Wednesday's OMMA Global/San Francisco. Pepsi's "Refresh" project is "about impact of the social return on investment. The effectiveness and success of the campaign will confirm its success." ...Read the whole story >>
Sales, Profits, And Orders All Up At Nike

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Which Part Worked?

As I talk with business owners, we sometimes try and figure out what part of their marketing is working, and what isn't.

That's not an easy question to answer. Seth Godin wrote about this last summer:

Won by a walk

I was just informed by the resident baseball fan that the Mets won a game by a walk. By a walk!

Of course, in a 4 to 3 baseball game, you don't win by a walk. You win because before the walk, you scored three runs, and you win because before the walk you limited the other side to three runs. The walk was merely the last event.

The last event has huge impact for organizations. When a non-profit fundraiser brings home a million dollar donation, there's a lot of celebration and the fundraiser (deservedly) gets a lot of credit. But what about the person who started the group thirty years ago? Or the firm that named it or the volunteers that staff it or the heroic work one employee did in Rwanda? What about the CFO who has never missed a quarter in turning in tax returns or the admin who makes that donor feel so welcome every time she stops by?

Marketers take a lot of credit, because marketing is near the end of the game. Part of my mission is to move the work marketers do closer to the beginning of the game. Not because there's more glory there, but because there's more leverage. If you build the right thing in the first place, you're more likely to get a walk at the end.

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New Ad Campaigns

Back from vacation with some fresh updates from Amy:

"Spring Break it down." Belgian Natural Gas spins a woolly tale. Let's launch!

Zappos launched "Jesse," its first TV spot created by Mullen. The ad acts out an actual call between Zappos and a customer, using puppets. A woman receives a dress in the mail but doesn't know who sent it. She has three guesses: Eddie and Darryl, two puppets, or Jesse, a hottie with a six-pack. Jesse sent the dress, getting her one step closer to becoming "Jesse's Girl." See the ad here. mediahub handled the media buy.

Who knew renting a car could be so emotional? And in a good way. Hertz launched a branding campaign called "Journey On" that follows people on their journey of life before and after road trips taken with Hertz cars. In "Luke," a young couple plans a road trip. Only music is played while the pair drives to their final destination: a field of hot-air balloons. Luke says, "The trip was to Scottsdale, Arizona with my girlfriend. The journey was seeing if she'd come back as my fiancée." Very touching. Watch it here. Singer/songwriter Amy Regan stars in the next spot, shown here. "Amy" performs her song "Carry On," as the viewer watches her leave for her own concert, only to have her car break down. "The trip was to Big Sur, California. The journey was getting through my first big concert," says Regan. Spots are airing on CBS, NBC, FX, The Food Network, TNT, TBS, The Travel Channel, USA and ESPN. DDB created the campaign.

EAS launched a print and TV campaign promoting its Myoplex shakes to a mainstream audience of people who work out regularly, not just body builders and elite athletes. "Musclefesto" features shirtless athletes playing basketball, football, water polo and rock climbing. "If you use muscles, use Myoplex," concludes the ad, seen here. If muscled legs are your thing, then you will love this next spot. "Legs" focuses on toned, sweaty gams playing soccer, running steps, swimming, running track and jump roping. See it here. Print ads, running in Self, Shape and Men's Health, pair a well-sculpted body part with quirky copy that encourages readers to get up and use their respective body part. See creative here, here and here. McKinney created the campaign.

Sticking with fitness, here's a trio of ads for Muscle Milk, running throughout March Madness. "Dave," who nicknamed his mustache "the general," claims to have invented the Electric Slide and drives a stolen powerboat. But the ladies still flock because he drinks Muscle Milk after he works out. See it here. If only I could get abs like "Katie's" from power walking. Her walking partners overlook the fact that she doesn't get sarcasm and has trouble discerning reality TV from reality. See it here. "Chet" wears pastels, fantasizes about fantasy baseball, rides a tandem bike with a handful of women and drinks muscle milk. Watch it here. In addition to the March Madness campaign, the brand that brought you the "Sexy Pilgrim" crafted a Spring Break 2010 music video. Watch it here. I still prefer the sexy pilgrim. You? Pereira & O'Dell created the campaign.

If this ad doesn't make you feel warm and cozy, I don't know what will. Belgian Natural Gas launched a TV spot that illustrates something invisible. As a house begins to heat up, wool spreads throughout, warming floors, walls and radiators. I especially loved how hot water, emerging from a showerhead, came out as drops and streams of wool. The "stop motion" ad closes with the question, "Who gives you the softest heat?" as yarn appears beneath a pot placed on a stove. Watch the ad here, created by TBWA/Brussels.

DIRECTV launched a TV spot starring Alex Trebek doing that thing he does best: hosting a game show. A panel of contestants must determine which TV provider offers the best service package in "To Tell the Truth." Cable and Dish Network pale in comparison to DirecTV, making the panels' decision an easy one. Watch "Best Value" here, created by Deutsch Los Angeles.

J.G. Wentworth launched a sequel to its "Opera" spot from 2008. If by sequel, you mean using the same song but changing the location to a "Bus," then a sequel we have. Bus riders are singing about structured settlements, annuities and needing cash ASAP. The JG Wentworth phone number is sung aloud by riders that include a Viking and construction worker. The Viking exits the bus in front of a sign that advertises JG Wentworth's opera performance for that evening. Watch the ad here, created by Karlin+Pimsler.

The Worker's Compensation Board of Nova Scotia launched a workplace safety campaign on dry cleaning garment bags that poses the question, "Is the safety record at your workplace as clean as your clothes," and directs consumers to a Web site with a running scroll of recent work injuries and how businesses and employees can work safer. The campaign marks the first time that ads -- 50,000 in all -- were printed on dry cleaning bags in Nova Scotia. See creative here. Statements Media created the campaign and Cossette Media Atlantic handled the media buy.

Random iPhone app of the week: Readers wrote in and I can no longer ignore the phenomenon that is Cat Paint. It becomes addictive fast. Users have eight different cat brushes to choose from: my personal favorite is the fat white cat with a hint of gray on him. Once you've selected a cat, you can add cats to existing pictures in your photo library or take a picture, add cats and send to your friends. And don't forget to submit your masterpiece to the cat paint library. The app, created by Davander Mobile, cost 99 cents in the App Store.

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

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Too Comfortable

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The Comfort of the Status Quo

A lot of salespeople have evolved to the point where they have a comfortable routine. They make enough money and they have established routines and habits that are comfortable. They really don't want to expend the energy it takes to do things in a better way, or to become more successful or effective.

This can be good. Some of the habits and routines that we follow work well for us.

However, our rapidly changing world constantly demands new methods, techniques, habits and routines. Just because something has been effective for a few years doesn't mean that it continues to be so. This problem develops when salespeople are so content with the way things are, they have not changed anything in years.

If you haven't changed or challenged some habit or routine in the last few years, chances are you are not as effective as you could be.

For example, you could still be writing phone messages down on little slips of paper when entering them into your contact manager would be more effective. This is a simple example of a principle that can extend towards the most important things that we do. Are we using the same routines for organizing our work week, for determining who to call on, for understanding our customers, for collecting information, etc.? There is no practical end to the list.

Contentment with the status quo almost always means salespeople who are not as effective as they could be.

Source: Sales consultant/speaker Dave Kahle (

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The relationship between Price & Value

Excellent Insight from:

The Naive Marketer and Consumer

Does price really affect brand image?

Most of us have been led to believe that high pricing enhances brand image and conversely low pricing affects brand image. This is the reason why marketers fear to be the lowest priced brand in a category or do frequent price-led communication. Is this fear well founded?

What a brand sells isn’t price; but value. Consumers evaluate a brand by the value it offers and not by the price at which it sells. The purpose of any brand, therefore, is to create unique value that consumers would be willing to pay for. A brand that can offer this value at the least possible price would be the most preferred brand.

Consumers expect more value from a high priced brand and less from a low priced brand. This is how price and value are co-related. A brand that helps consumers rationalize, articulate and experience this value would be a “value for money” brand. Price by itself is not the value. A brand that does not offer any value would be perceived to be expensive, even if it isn’t. Sales of such brands would not increase even when there is a price drop.

The role of marketing communication is to make consumers want and prefer the value offered by a brand. Since price is relative to value, it is important to promote price along with value. Brand image would suffer only when a brand fails to communicate the value it offers for its price.

Brand image should have the least consideration in pricing decisions. Price should be a function of a brand’s target audience, context (business objective, brand life stage, product life stage, consumer life stage, and competitive environment), and cost and desired margin.

The notion that high priced, expensive brands have a better brand image is incorrect. Brands like Pepsi, Coca Cola, McDonalds and many others aren’t expensive; yet they have a good image. Apple iPhone’s image hasn’t suffered despite the many price reductions it has announced. Wal-Mart has built its business and brand image on the brand promise of “always low prices”.

My earlier post “What is value for money?” might also be of interest to you.

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The Path

to get where you are going begins with knowing where you want to go!

From Roy Williams:

What Are You Trying to Make Happen?
And How Will You Measure Progress?

Violent crime in America declined each year from 1993 to 2004. Then just about the time the iPod became popular in 2005, violent crime began trending upward.

CONCLUSION: iPods cause violent crime. Or at least that was the conclusion of a 2007 report published by The Urban Institute, a research organization based in Washington. (I swear I’m not making this up.)

Bad advertising strategies stem from just such logic: “Since one event precedes another, the first event must be the cause of the second.” This fallacy of logic is so common it has a Latin name: Post hoc, ergo, propter hoc, "after this, therefore, because of this," referring to the mistaken belief that temporal succession implies a causal relation.

Most business owners look around, observe their circumstances and then try to make sense of it all. Their thoughts and plans are guided by what they see. But any scientist will tell you correlation and causation are not the same thing.

Don’t tell me what you see. Tell me what you want to see. “What are you trying to make happen? And how will you measure progress?” When I ask these questions, most business owners stammer, stutter and hedge, then change the subject by asking a question of their own.

I usually ignore that question and ask, “How am I supposed to help you make something happen when you can’t tell me what it is?”


“When you don’t know where you’re going,
any road will get you there.”
- Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

How many of your actions are actually reactions triggered by circumstances? (Please know that I am as guilty of this as the rest of you.) Are we allowing the merely urgent to set aside the truly important?

Do you know what you’re trying to make happen? Can you tell me exactly how you plan to measure progress? The shortest distance from Point A to Point B is always a straight line. The best marketing strategies begin by drawing a straight line from Where We Are Today to Where We’d Like To Be Tomorrow.

You can’t navigate a ship by studying the wind and waves. Fix your gaze on your goal, a non-negotiable, fixed position that can never change. Let that be your lighthouse, your reference point, your North Star.

No stack of dollars can be your lighthouse. Dollars are merely a byproduct. Money fails as a compass because it can be found in every direction. Guiding directives and unifying principles are never merely financial.

Where do you want to be tomorrow?

Now point to your North Star so that I can see it, too.

Good. Now let’s get started.

Roy H. Williams

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The Unspoken Message

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: What is Rapport?

Rapport creates the space for the person to feel listened to, and heard, which doesn't necessarily mean they have to agree with what you say or do. You can appreciate each other's viewpoint.

When you have rapport with another person, you have the opportunity to enter their world and see things from their perspective, feel the way they do, get a better understanding of where they are coming from. And as a result, enhance the whole relationship. This will allow them to feel good about themselves, you, and the relationship you've started.

The key to establishing rapport is an ability to enter another person's world by assuming a similar state of mind. The first thing to do is to become more like the other person by matching and mirroring the person's unconscious behaviors - body language, voice, words, etc. Matching and mirroring is a powerful way of gaining an appreciation of how the other person is seeing/feeling/experiencing their world.

The simplest way to help build rapport is to match the micro-behaviors of those you wish to influence. Any observable behavior can be mirrored, for example:

* Body posture
* Spinal alignment
* Hand gestures
* Head tilt
* Blink rate
* Facial expression
* Energy level
* Breathing rate
* Vocal qualities (volume, tonality, and rhythm)
* Key phrases and words
* Anything else that you can observe...

At first, this may seem a little strange or uncomfortable for you as a salesperson; though I assure you, with a little practice you'll become natural and proficient at it in a short period of time. And remember this: The basis of rapport is a natural process, which is happening already within any interaction between two or more individuals. You are simply duplicating the process on a 'conscious' level with purpose and volition.

You may wish to start with family members by beginning to match different aspects of their posture, gestures, voice, and words. Have fun with it and see if they notice what you are doing. At work or socially, start by matching one specific behavior and once you are comfortable then match another. For friends with whom you really feel comfortable, notice how often you naturally match their postures, gestures, and tone of voice or words.

Matching comes naturally. You need to learn how to do it with everyone. Matching will then eventually become automatic.

Source: Speaker/author John Santangelo (

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Which Social Media Site?

from Drew:

Social Media Cheat Sheet

Posted: 05 Mar 2010 03:40 AM PST

Screen shot 2010-03-04  at 11.21.55 PM As I speak to conference audiences across the country about social media, one of the questions I always get asked is... how do I know which social media sites to use?

Of course... there is no single, magic or easy answer to that question. It all depends on your goals, your overall marketing strategy, your resources and your industry. It's not a cookie cutter sort of thing.

However...there's nothing wrong with a little cheat sheet to help you determine which sites are best for:

  • Customer communication
  • Brand exposure
  • Driving traffic to your site
  • SEO

Which is why the cheat sheet created by is so handy. It ranks the most popular/used social media sites (from the biggies like Facebook and Digg to the less talked about Reddit and as good, okay or bad for the four goals above.

You can download a much bigger, easier to read PDF version of it by clicking here.

Hat tip to my buddy Gavin Heaton, who wrote about this a couple weeks ago.

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When you Don't Advertise

take a look at the damage done:

Survey Indicates That Reducing Advertising in a Recession is a Mistake

More than 48 percent of U.S. adults believe that a lack of advertising by a retail store, bank or auto dealership during a recession indicates that the business is likely struggling, according to a study from Ad-ology Research.

At the same time, a large majority of consumers think businesses that continue to advertise are competitive and/or committed to doing business.

The research study, "Advertising's Impact in a Soft Economy," which was undertaken to determine whether stopping advertising during the recession could harm a business, takes an in-depth look at specific consumer perceptions regarding firms that continue to advertise in the current economy, as well as those that do not.

Not advertising can harm brand
Advertising appears to play a key role in consumers' view of how a business is doing, the study found. By not advertising, businesses may be sending a warning signal to current and potential customers, Ad-ology said.

For example, when consumers no longer see/hear advertising from an auto dealership during a down economy, 50 percent say they view the dealership as "struggling." In addition, 19 percent feel these dealers are "less willing to deal," and only 7 percent believe they "must be doing well."

On the other hand, when a dealership advertises during tough times, 34 percent believe the dealership to be committed to doing business.

Consumer perception is similar for stores and banks. When advertising ceases among the following businesses, consumers:

* View their bank as struggling (48 percent)

* Believe their bank may not be in business much longer (12 percent)

* View their favorite store as struggling (56 percent)

* Believe their favorite store may not be in business much longer (15 percent)

However, when the following businesses continue to advertise frequently, consumers:

* Believe their bank is committed to doing business (43 percent)

* View their bank as being competitive (30 percent)

* Believe their favorite store is committed to doing business (47 percent)

* View their favorite store as being competitive (30 percent)

"It is critical to advertise in the current economic climate, to maintain long-term positive consumer perception of your brand," said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. "Advertising not only assures consumers of a business' reliability in a soft economy, but it can influence where and what they buy, especially when the ads address concerns about value."

(Source: Marketing Charts, 05/25/09)

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from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The "Problem Creator"

Solving your prospects' or clients' problems is no longer an effective sales strategy. The successful salespeople in today's marketplace and the marketplace of tomorrow will be creative problem creators. Effective salespeople will be ruthless in their pursuit of uncovering or creating an awareness of client problems that they weren't even aware they had. They will think far ahead of their clients, not just along with them.

If you want to guarantee your success in the coming years, it will only take one approach. Find out what is preventing your prospects from getting a good night's sleep. Determine what is keeping them up at night worrying and you won't have to worry about customer loyalty, reducing prices or over-aggressive competition.

Source: Tim Connor, CEO of the Connor Resource Group (

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Beyond the Research



Turn on early morning television these days and you will find a zillion lawyer ads. Almost all follow the hackneyed lawyer ad script just like this ad, "Trust us. We will fight for your rights." But this morning I saw one that impressed me. Take a look at this ad. Sure, the production values stink but the message is custom-designed to resonate with the customer. "When you sue the hospital, it isn't just a grab for cash. You're saving children."

By focusing on the idea of "litigation as public good," he brings a sense of nobility and trust. Potential clients looking for an attorney will probably have a lot of trust issues. He sends the message "you can trust me" without ever using those words. He proves trust by deed, not by endlessly repeating the phrase "trust me."

Like most advertisers, lawyers have done their research, and they know the hot-button words and phrases that resonate with their customers: Trust us. Insurance companies will victimize you. Don't be a chump. But every lawyer has the same research, and most of them foolishly choose the parrot approach to brand implementation. They simply spit back the exact same words that show up in everyone's research. Everyone looks the same. This ubiquity creates a brand message that sells the category, not the individual business. The takeaway becomes, "you should get a lawyer," not, "you should choose me over all the other lawyers."

The same is true for a lot of television marketing. For the most part, we all have the same quantitative research studies. "What are you looking for in a weathercast?" "Accuracy, trust, reliability, technology, power." Just like the lawyer ads, selling these price-of-entry attributes brands you as just another nameless face in the herd. Just take a look at this example and you'll see a branding uniformity that is poisoning TV marketing.

I do a lot of research work with cable companies and Fortune 1000 types. Most of them have a finely honed one-two punch of quantitative research followed by qualitative research. Quantitative research can do a fine job finding out how customers feel about your product, but it usually does a lousy job of finding out how your brand fits into their life and their own personal identity. The truth is that most people don't really know how they feel about the weather. Sure, they will spit the buzz words back at you when you ask them naively simple questions like "is severe weather coverage important to you?" What do you think they're going to say? Our feelings about weather are all jumbled up inside of us, mixed in with feelings of family responsibility, annoyance, safety, fashion, fun and worry.

There is a saying in the research business that if you want to find out how someone really feels about something, one of the worst things you can do is ask them. Television has a love affair with quantitative research. It is what we know. We have done it for years and we are very comfortable with it. Quantitative research is important, but it has limited ability to help you navigate the tenuous world of feelings that surround brands. When there isn't much difference between your product and your competitor's product, that is when qualitative research becomes a necessity.

How did Dove get from something as sterile as soap and cleansing to this ad about the hope and pain of adolescent love? It was smart enough to know that a quantitative study that asked women about their soap needs would not cut it.

Take a look at this ad for Allan Gray, a South African investment firm. How did they get from the dry topic of cash flow and quarterly dividends to James Dean? Good qualitative research. Do a quantitative study where you ask an investor what he wants in a counselor and you'll get the standard list: trust, smarts, customer service, etc. By doing a qualitative study, this company uncovered his deepest held hopes and dreams. Take a look at its web site and you'll see the same adventurer archetype featured prominently. This is not how he feels about stocks. This who he dreams he'll be.

So take a look at your own marketing. Are you parroting back quantitative research buzzwords while showing endless vanity images of your own product? When was the last time your customers were featured prominently in your marketing?

--Graeme Newell is a broadcast and new media marketer who specializes in core emotional drivers. Find out more here.

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