Saturday, June 12, 2010

Creative & Effective

Nothing works better than honesty and a bit of wit in advertising:

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Your Spokesperson

Sometimes we think it is the President, C.E.O., or P.R. Department that speaks for your company.

But what if every employee were also a spokesperson?


If We Do Say so Ourselves

"You might have noticed a trend in more and more marketing," writes Rohit Bhargava at the Influential Marketing Blog, "where large brands are featuring real people and actual employees in their ads." Heavy hitters like Intel, Best Buy, Dominos, IBM and GE have all used real team members to tell a compelling story—and here's how you can get in on the action:

Identify your company's in-house cheerleaders. "Many times," notes Bhargava, "you can find the most vocal of your employees already online talking about what they do and what your company does." Also look for those who consistently earn high marks in customer surveys and close the most deals—they're likely to be your best ambassadors.

Aggregate their voices for the greatest impact. "If some of your employees are on Twitter," he suggests, "consider asking them to use the same naming convention for their accounts (such as @bobatyourcompany)."

Establish clear guidelines. Let employees know what flies—and what doesn't—when discussing your company in online forums. For instance, they should always disclose their professional affiliation and should never share the company's trade secrets or financial data.

Make social-media efforts part of their job description. "Having passionate employees who want to share online is great," he says, "but to sustain it you need to try and make sure that they are not overloaded with other facets of their 'real job.'" Bhargava recommends treating it as any other job component—with performance reviews, incentives and rewards.

The Po!nt: Make the most of employee-evangelists by giving them the tools and encouragement to tell your company's story.

Source: Influential Marketing Blog. Click here for the full post.

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7 Tips

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Being Responsive

You can't succeed in sales without being responsive to the needs of your prospects and customers. The only way to know what they want is to listen effectively.

Here are seven ideas which will help you to improve your listening skills:

1. Ask questions. Then try to be quiet and let customers get their entire point across before you say anything.

2. Pay attention. Force yourself to tune out distractions and concentrate on the customer.

3. Listen for clues to uncover hidden needs.

4. Use more questions to bring hidden needs out into the open.

5. Don't counterattack if your prospect gets angry. Keep your cool and hear him or her out.

6. Look at your prospect. Pay attention to body language to pick up on buying signals.

7. Use feedback. Repeat what you've just heard to confirm accuracy and prevent misunderstandings.

Source: Adapted from The Five Paths to Persuasion, by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
The effort is launching with a new spot, via Portland, Ore.-based Wieden+Kennedy, which is handling the launch, though GlobalHue remains AOR. Also new is the Jeep tag-line, "The things we make, make us," replacing, at least for the Grand Cherokee launch, GlobalHue's "I live. I ride. I am." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The message is that marketers need to look at kids as more than "just kids" when they introduce a new product. "You have to pay attention to them, to what platforms they are using, and to how they are using things like social networking, phones and video games," concludes a new study from Ipsos OTX MediaCT. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
"By providing a premium that's out of the ordinary, we have established our credentials that we are a bank that looks at our customer needs differently, from a holistic relationship approach," says KeyBank's Mark Knierim. "People don't think a bank will go that extra step to meet their needs." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Like the House bill, the Senate legislation contains an unprecedented agreement between health groups and food and beverage companies to improve the nutritional quality of foods sold out of vending machines and other school venues outside of cafeteria meals. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"They aren't completely cutting out indulgences, they're just finding other ways to enjoy themselves--'Maybe we can go to Cape Cod instead of Disney Land,' or 'Let's find a campground near home,'" says Susan Viamari. "Cost-cutting and saving money is in. Everybody is doing it and nobody is ashamed." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The service, which can be accessed either via a phone's web browser or through a downloadable app, uses the phone's location device to give people a list of businesses nearby. They can then select the business they want to rate, submit ratings and make other comments. The feedback is then immediately transferred to the business. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
From a marketing standpoint, it's interesting to note that the company is pushing forward with efforts to enhance its social media outreach, even as a new top-level strategic team tackles the job of reassessing the business's fundamentals. ...Read the whole story >>

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McDonalds handles a crisis...

They're one of my clients. Laura Ries writes about what has happened this week:

McDonald's Goes Above & Beyond


It seems that no brand is safe these days. From Toyota, the world’s largest car maker. To Tylenol, the country’s largest over-the-counter drug. To McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food chain.

Each of these three brands has suffered massive recalls with the potential for massive brand damage.

That said, even if its response to a disaster is less than perfect, a leading brand has an amazing ability to survive. Consumers believe the leader is better and runs a better company than its competition. As a result, consumers are willing to give the leader the benefit of the doubt. Consumers will almost always give a leader a second (or even a third) chance to make things right.

One catastrophe won’t normally bring down a leading brand. The only thing that will bring down a leading brand is continuous and escalating catastrophes. Something we haven’t yet seen. (Remember, way before the current Gulf spill, BP wasn’t the leading oil company and also had a poor reputation for safety.)

Even though a leading brand has more damage-control leeway doesn’t mean a leader should sit on its laurels when disaster strikes. A leading brand can reinforce its dominance by responding above and beyond what is expected.

That is exactly what McDonald’s is doing.

Last Friday, McDonald’s moved at lightning speed and initiated a voluntary recall of its popular Shrek glasses that contained trace amounts of a toxic metal in the paint. The tainted glasses were first discovered by a band of Moms with heavy-metal home-tests and then reported to California Congresswoman Jackie Speier and to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC.)

While the spread of the tainted-glassware story certainly posed a problem for McDonald’s, the glassware itself wasn’t all that dangerous. Chief spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission told Fortune magazine that “the product was not toxic and does not pose an acute risk to children,” adding that “the risk to consumers was very low.”

Many companies would have used this evidence to counter-attack critics. Many companies would have also shifted the blame to a supplier. (McDonald’s didn’t make the glasses and the supplier was a U.S. company. McDonald’s didn’t buy the glasses from a shady Chinese factory.)

McDonald’s did neither. In its response, McDonald’s went above and beyond. It quickly recalled all the glasses. And it is paying consumers a premium for returning them. McDonald’s will pay a whopping $3 in cash per glass. (They had been selling the glasses for $1.99 with a food purchase and $2.49 without food.)

For a company to pay above the purchase price for a recall is almost unheard of. But in McDonald’s case, the extra money is being well spent.

Paying above the price of the glasses does two things. First, it gets more of the unsafe products out of the marketplace. In a typical recall, only 10 to 30 percent of consumers respond. I imagine McDonald’s numbers will be much greater.

Two, it shows that McDonald’s doesn’t just care about the recall, it also cares about its customers. It is compensating them for the recall and making sure it gets as many glasses out of the hands of children as possible.

While Toyota and Tylenol underestimated their problems and delayed responding to them, McDonald’s has done just the opposite.

McDonald’s went above and beyond. They overestimated and overcompensated. I’m lovin’ it.


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How to Handle Call-Ins

You're sitting there minding your own business, wishing the phone would magically ring and someone would want to give you money....

Well it's not just a dream, it sometimes happens.

Do you know what to do? Art Sobczak does:

Help Them Tell You What They Want


If you handle incoming telephone inquiries
or follow-up on mail-in or web business leads
by phone, keep one thing in mind about these
people: Even though they took the initiative to
contact you, they might not know what they want,
or even which questions to ask you.

It's frustrating when an inquirer tells me,
"Uhh, we're just interested in training,"
and can't be more specific. They called me,
for gosh sakes! I guess that during my hectic
business day, I expect someone who calls me
to tell me exactly what they're looking for.

What a mistake on my part!

I need to realize that sometimes these people
don't know precisely what they want, and
likely aren't even aware of what's available.

It's like when I take my car in for a repair;
I'm mechanically inept, and they usually
realize that when I mumble something about
how "it makes a noise in there somewhere." I
usually have no clue about specifically what
I need, and therefore, I'm a prime candidate
for recommendations. (I am more picky about
where I go though--one guy told me the muffler
fluid was low. $50 isn't too much for muffler
fluid, is it?)

Be careful here. For lack of something
better to say, these folks often start with,
"Well, just tell me what you have." You don't want
to shift into data-dump mode, spewing in
laundry-list fashion everything you sell.
Since that is nothing more than a generic
verbal brochure, it's likely they won't
find anything of interest.

Instead, when you realize you have a prospect
who can't articulate what they're looking for,
be prepared with questions that get them to
open up. Try to first determine the reason
for the call:

"Tell me, what was it that prompted your call?"

"What ion the site caught your eye and persuaded
you to contact us?"

"How did you happen to decide to call us?"

Just think about the great information you
could get here. It could be like unlocking
the dam of information they have inside.

Or you could get, "Uh, I dunno. Just saw
the ad and thought I'd call."

OK. Then we need to focus the microscope a
bit more, and uncover the real reason for
the call...which would be the problem, the
irritation, the annoying pebble in their
shoe--not the solution; that's what they're
looking for from you. Begin questioning
with the big picture, then narrow it down.
Ask about the past:

"What has happened in your department
that helped you determine you needed to
look at additional training?"

"What have you done before that didn't
work as well as you would have liked? What
were those results?"

Ask about the present:
"What are you doing in this area right now?"

"What results are you getting?"

Or, "What do you anticipate?"

When you finally touch a tender area, then
it's time to embellish their answers even
further with additional questions:

"How is that affecting you/the department/
the organization?"

"And then what happened/happens?"

"What is that costing you?"

Then ask about the future. This should
help you determine specifically what
you should recommend:

"What results would you ideally like to see?"

Of course within this framework you'll
also ask your typical qualifying questions
regarding budget, authority, and time frame.
After getting all of this great information,
then you're in a prime position to tell them
what you can do for them, and recommend
your next action, whether it be a sale,
appointment, or simply sending them
information by mail or fax.

People who call you often don't know
exactly what they need. Your questions
help them tell you. And that helps them
sell themselves.

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

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Aaron Baar
"We're always looking for ways to promote Bing to build brand awareness," a Microsoft rep says. "We approached Colbert about the idea and worked with the show to make it happen. We thought it would be an innovative branded entertainment campaign, where we could do something good at the same time." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The company is moving 60% of its portfolio to all-natural this year. The effort will continue a branding theme that helped win the company two silver Effies this year for its "Happiness is Simple" campaign, which features real potato farmers whose yield is bought by Lay's for production and retail distribution nearby. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
As consumers tiptoe back into luxury spending, said Nordstrom's Rob Campbell, "the Rack's performance has moderated in recent months. That's good news for Nordstrom, because it means we've become a lot more adept at clearing full-line merchandise in our main stores. And it's an opportunity for the Rack, which is going to have to tweak its offerings. That's the beauty of having a portfolio." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Pink-haired and bubbly Erin Esurance, who served as the auto insurance company's spokesperson for many years and attracted many young male customers, is nowhere to be found in a new ad campaign. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Many of the IOM report's recommendations -- including registration of food manufacturing facilities and mandatory prevention measures and FDA recall authority -- are already included in the Food Safety Modernization Act, one version of which is awaiting a Senate vote. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
Procter & Gamble is hoping to turn shaving into "gliding" with its new Gillette Fusion ProGlide line of razors. The company, which is also introducing a line of Gillette Fusion ProSeries shaving and skin care products, will promote with print, broadcast, multicultural and online advertising, public relations, sports marketing, in-store initiatives and social media campaigns. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
In the commercial, the sun -- represented as a suit-wearing man of flames -- is impressed by the Dash and its ability to give people exactly what they want when they wake up in the morning (such as headlines, weather, music) directly from the Internet. The spot is running in major markets. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

Our weekly update from Amy:

Here comes the sun. Basketball, hockey and World Cup fever. Let's launch!

The hype surrounding the World Cup is out of this world, much like an ad for adidas that takes place in a galaxy far, far away. Thanks to a partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd, adidas re-edited the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine bar scene from "Star Wars," adding modern-day figures like David Beckham, Snoop Dogg, Noel Gallagher and Franz Beckenbauer alongside Han Solo, C-3P0 and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The campaign will launch on TV in the U.K. and the U.S. on June 12. Minutes before kick-off, the Mos Eisley Cantina is jumping with World Cup fans from varying planets. Snoop Dogg solves an argument with his light saber, disarming an alien foe. David Beckham is confronted by henchmen of Jabba the Hutt's, sent to recruit Beckham to play on Jabba's team. However, a gun winds up in actor Jay Baruchel's hands, causing conversation to cease... permanently. Talk about an original ad that takes its tagline seriously. "Celebrate originality," closes the ad, shown here and created by Sid Lee.

I'm learning a great deal about soccer from World Cup ads. In an ESPN ad promoting its World Cup coverage, I learned how important the number 10 is for players and fans alike. "Power of 10" explains how the number is reserved for the best player, team leader and person most likely to be remembered years to come. "Wear it well and an entire nation will wear it with you," ends the ad, seen here. "Passion" takes a light-hearted look at the enthusiasm exuded by World Cup fans. Their passion is so great, it results in a new generation of fans who come screaming into the world nine months later. Watch it here. In addition to the TV ads, South African artist collective AM I created 33 pieces of artwork, one for each participating country and one featuring all 32 teams en route to South Africa. Murals are inspired by hand-painted African signage and movie posters found in South Africa. Each ad illustrates a country's back-story and includes hidden "Easter eggs." I've included six this week, with more to come in the upcoming weeks. Here's a look at Brazil, Italy, Ivory Coast, Spain, Netherlands and USA. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign.

Another tidbit I learned: England's soccer team is similar to my New York Mets. Both haven't won a championship in years. They look good on paper, yet can't take it all the way. Carlsberg created "Team Talk," an imaginary look inside England's locker room, if Carlsberg was giving the pep talks. England's athletic royalty aligns to cheer the players as they make their way to the field. The "royals" includes boxer Nigel Benn, World Cup winners Jack Charlton and Stuart Pearce, world darts champion Phil Taylor and yachtswoman Dame Ellen McArthur, among many others. There's even a touching second of silence in the ad when the players pass below a painting of the late coach and player, Sir Bobby Robson. "Enough talk. Time for action. We haven't come here to be tourists. Men of England, it's time to join the immortals," closes the ad, seen here. Saatchi & Saatchi, London created the ad, directed by Labbe of RSA Films.

The BBC launched a colorful TV spot to promote its coverage of the World Cup. How can this ad not get you excited? Each color of the rainbow is illustrated in distinctive ways. Red is depicted with a sunrise and scenes of an animal through night vision; then there's orange stadium seats and soccer jerseys; a yellow Volkswagen bug and sunset; elephants swimming in green water; a shark in blue water; and purple flowers and fireworks. "The World Cup from the rainbow nation," says the copy, surrounded by the colors uniting. See the ad here, created by RKCR Y&R and produced by Digital Kitchen.

When I first saw a picture of the Sony Dash, I thought it was competition for the iPad, but it seems more like a pricey alarm clock that allows you to check Facebook, use Pandora and check live traffic and weather before you get out of bed. The spokesman in a TV ad is none other than the sun, an expert on morning-related things. Mr. Sun pays a visit to the Sony Innovation Center. He's bright and yellow, and clearly wearing a flame-retardant suit. He is a touchy-feely kind of star, which is fine for those he contacts, as long as a fire extinguisher is nearby. Watch the ad here, created by 180 Los Angeles.

Nike Basketball launched "All Together," supporting Kobe Bryant's pursuit of a fifth NBA championship. Andre 3000 performs "All Together Now" while vintage footage of Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Phil Jackson, John Stockton, LeBron James, Reggie Miller and Spike Lee, among others, is played. There's plenty of current Bryant and James footage, but I prefer the classic basketball footage, with most snippets displayed on old-school TV sets. The spot ends with a TV set flashing, "Just do it," and then going static. See the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

It's hard not to get choked up watching "No Words," a TV spot promoting the NHL playoffs. Grown men choke back tears and lack words to describe the emotions they feel at winning the Stanley Cup. It's simple, shows a great collage of past hockey players fulfilling their dreams, and proves that not all ads have to be heavy with copy to be heavy with emotion. Watch the ad here, created by Young & Rubicam New York.

Like hockey, live in a cold climate and yearn to have an ice rink nearby? Say hello to pond hockey. Honda launched "Outdoor Rink," running throughout the NHL playoffs and touting Honda's sponsorship of the NHL. Former NHL players Pat LaFontaine, Mike Richter and Neal Broten participate in building an outdoor rink and enjoying it with countless neighboring families. The Pilot, Ridgeline and Crosstour are prominently featured in the ad, seen here. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: Weight Watchers updated its weight loss app, allowing online and eTools subscribers to access recipes, articles, create shopping lists and read success stories. Users can also find meeting times and locations, track their daily POINTS values and calculate POINTS values of items while shopping or eating out. The app is available for free in the App Store.

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

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from my email archives:

Daily Sales Tip: The Eyes Have It

You can generally tell how your sales presentation is going simply by watching your prospect's eyes.

If they dart around the room, check paperwork, or gaze out the window, it's time to shift gears. Say something unexpected or introduce a new idea, but do something different.

Ask prospects what's on their mind, and why you lost their attention. You might even want to cut the meeting short and offer to come back another time.

Source: 123 Super Sales Tips

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
"Those of us who are boomers, entering a period where we will be drawing the biggest healthcare expenditure, will not put up with this," Jeff Kindler tells the Innovation Forum. "It's a system so far behind every other industry when it comes to customer control and choice that the paradigm has to change, and will change. And I include my industry among the guilty parties." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"Creatively, it was the engagement here," a judge tells Marketing Daily. "It got people involved. The engagement idea was hard to pull apart; it was robust and authentic. People could get involved at a very sincere level. They showed up at rallies, put signs on their lawns. This was not a 'send me your video.' This authenticity is refreshing in a sea of sameness in the brand world." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Kraft used consumer communities to explore "diet" product concepts. "What they learned was that people didn't want 'diet' foods ... they wanted tasty snacks and foods, but in portion-controlled packaging," says Communispace's Julie Wittes Schlack. "That was an insight with huge implications -- Kraft 100 Calorie Packs basically created a whole new category that's since been emulated by many competitors." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The Richmond, Va.-based financial services company has created a new Facebook fan page devoted to the celebration of parenthood. invites browsers to share a story about a time when their parents came through for them" ... when it mattered most." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
The company began the shift last year with the introduction of its Poppy line, Michael Tucci, president of the chain's retail division, explained at the event, which was webcast. That move, he says, took average ticket sales down to about $300, "the sweet spot." ...Read the whole story >>

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Can Brands Transition?

...from one Generation to another?

Take a look at this from Mediapost:

Boomer Brands Take Notice
Steve Cannon from Mercedes-Benz gave a great presentation at the recent Association of National Advertisers' Brand Innovation conference. Steve talked about how Mercedes realized it was a Boomer brand and all it would take is a cold shoulder from Gen Y to really hurt its business. It got proactive and through a market research online community (MROC) created an engaged "Gen-Benz" community to build customer intimacy with Gen Y.

This is exactly the type of smart engagement that I referred to in my last post ("Gen Prototype") as it recognizes Gen Yers as the digital natives they are and shows that the brand (in this case, Mercedes) cares about them by involving them in a wide variety of aspects of its business.

This got me thinking about other Boomer brands that are managing the transition to Gen Y well and those that aren't. Here are a few examples and what can be learned from each.

Dr. Scholl's has re-invented itself from just an orthotics company for your grandmother to a something cool that takes the "ow" out of your high heels. The transformation started with its fun gel campaign and partnerships with Stacey London, the style expert from TLC's show "What Not to Wear." Dr. Scholl has even become a shoe company whose shoes just happen to be good for your feet. Through collaborations with cachet brands like Burberry for espadrilles and distribution in places like Fred Segal, it has connected with culture, nostalgia and created collectability, which for Gen Y is key to a brand's worth.

Crate & Barrel recognized that while its simple and clean style is not overly expensive, it feels a bit too "grown up" for many Gen Yers, and it created CB2 which offers furniture and other accoutrements that feel hipper than your parents' stuff and are priced for first homes. It's a smart extension that provides a great runway into Crate & Barrel for their next life stage.

"Saturday Night Live" was created by Boomers for Boomers but the show has managed to maintain relevancy for 35+ crowd by being an active participant in pop culture and by embracing the lives of its viewers, including Gen Y. The Facebook campaign to get Betty White to host is an obvious example of Gen Y's cultural force. They saw how hilarious she was in her Super Bowl spots and turned her hosting gig into a mission. This is particularly interesting as it proves that like Betty White's brand (no offense to her), you don't have to be a new brand to appeal to Gen Y.

Others that are well on their way are Barnes & Noble, which is selling portable reading devices, and fashion brands like Lacoste and Ralph Lauren, which are embracing new sports and cultural references.

There are many brands (CNN, National Geographic, etc.) that have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the wallets of Gen Yers in the content business. For Gen Y, formats like CNN that were once revolutionary are irrelevant. Headlines along with a touch of analysis are available everywhere. Check out this article for a good read on CNN's woes.

For Gen Y, content can be informative and educational but also entertaining in the process (à la "The Daily Show," Huffington Post). There isn't time for both entertainment and information digestion separately. Content providers could learn from sites like and For National Geographic, it seems that with a new face and new ways to distribute its content, it could be reborn as the the content source for conscientious Gen Yers passionate about environmental and cultural issues worldwide.

Another category that comes to mind is over-the-counter drugs and healthcare. Gen Yers have headaches, sports injuries and backaches like the rest of us and they, too, need pain relief. Companies like Tylenol, Bayer, Advil and even Band-Aid could learn how to relate to Gen Y from brands like Vitaminwater, which helped the generation care about staying hydrated.

No brand can ever rest easy with one target audience, but brands that have relied heavily on Boomers for their success really need to think like Mercedes and consider how they will engage the wave of Gen Y consumers that could be the key to their futures.

Mike Doherty is president of Cole & Weber United. He is a marketer with more than 25 years of experience creating effective growth strategies for a diverse group of clients. Working on both the agency and client sides of the business, Mike's passion lies in helping clients find new ways to go beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising to effectively engage customers in branded experiences.

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Losing Customers

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Hidden Costs of Losing Customers

Salespeople have been warned for years about the economic impact of losing customers. Here are new hidden costs that should be considered:

* Negative word-of-mouth, especially with the advent of blogging and social networking where people can now broadcast their points of view to thousands or millions of people.

* Substantial costs in trying to acquire new customers to replace lost customers.

* The amount of time it takes for a customer to become profitable to a company.

* Lost opportunities for customer referrals and recommendations.

* The toll that losing customers takes on a company's employees resulting in layoffs and office closings due to lost revenues.

Source: Adapted from Retaining Customers in Tough Economic Times, by Kyle LaMalfa

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Aaron Baar
"As it becomes more challenging to engage consumers, and as new [media] platforms emerge, we thought: 'What better way to get in with them and support them?" Seth Kaufman, PepsiCo's director of media strategy and investment, tells Marketing Daily. "There's lots of emerging technology and emerging platforms. The question is, how can they connect brands with consumers?" ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Between the BP oil spill and privacy issues at Facebook and Google, the concept of brand trust is coasting at mighty low levels these days. But some marketing experts don't think the issue is always that brands are less trustworthy. It's that most companies haven't kept up with swiftly changing definitions of brand trust, especially among different age groups, says one expert we spoke with. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"I think the guy has more PR potential now that this unique thing happened," says Senesis' Jose Villa. He notes that with few exceptions -- Oscar de la Hoya, for instance, or Sammy Sosa -- country and region define celebrity in the Hispanic community, but that Galarraga might transcend that regionality, at least for a Warholian moment. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The advertising groups' amici curiae brief, written by First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, argues that the district court's decision went against 30 years of legal commercial speech precedents, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Honda will activate its sponsorship at the corporate level under its "Power of Dreams" platform. The effort, extending the "Dream the Impossible" via Honda's creative agency, Santa Monica-based RPA, includes its own documentary about engineers who work in different areas of the automaker's vehicle development system. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Online Woman

from my email:

Internet Occupies 40 Percent of Typical Day for Working Women

According to a new survey from The Media Audit, working women now make up 27.1% of all U.S. adults, and 10.1% of all U.S. adults are working women with a household income of more than $75,000. These women are termed "Affluent Working Women" by The Media Audit and represent an elusive but desirable target audience for many advertisers.

For example, Affluent Working Women are 31% more likely than the average adult to use a travel agent, 38% more likely to frequently dine out, and 35% more likely to be purchasing a new vehicle in the next 12 months.

Today, among all working women, 68.8% work full time and an even greater percent -- 76.6% of "Affluent Working Women" work full time. As a result, trying to reach these consumers via traditional media has become increasingly challenging.

According to a Media Day Analysis from The Media Audit, the Internet now represents the largest percent of an Affluent Working Woman's total time spent with media in a typical day. Forty percent of the typical day is spent online for this target audience, a figure that is 12% higher when compared to the average U.S. consumer.

Television ranks as the second most used medium among Affluent Working Women. The medium makes up 25.8% of an Affluent Working Woman's typical "media day." However, when compared to the typical U.S. adult, Affluent Working Women spend 20% less time watching TV.

Radio ranks third among Affluent Working Women, with 19.6% of the typical media day spent listening.

Surveys were conducted in 80 U.S. Cities between January 2009 and March 2010.

(Source: The Media Audit, 05/25/10)

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Rethink Ages

6 months ago I turned 50. It wasn't a mid-life crisis moment, because I am pretty happy with my life. My son turned 25 the month before and as I reflected on how my life has changed since I was his age, I got excited about what the next 25 years will be like.

Still, I get annoyed with some marketing people who think I should move into an assisted living center!

Click here to read my little rant about this yesterday.

Mediapost has this to say about the subject:

They Aren't Retiring -- And They Aren't Looking for Retirement Living Options

While we knew that Boomer women aren't contemplating anything traditionally identified as "retirement," we were surprised to learn something important about their thoughts about single homeownership: They aren't going anywhere.

In our recent survey, only a third of the Boomer women we questioned said they plan to move to a new home in the next 10 years. Another third said that they plan to remain right where they are, and a final third remains unsure.

And it's clear that they aren't considering moves for the reasons their parents did at the same age, or for the reasons many marketers seem to think.

Of those who plan a move in the next decade, 30% want to try out a new city; another 30% want a house and yard that are easier to maintain; and 17% want to be closer to their family.

Only 8% said they were contemplating a move for health-related reasons, a strong indication of how many want to move to places selling health assistance or benefits. And only 1% said they were preparing to move in with other family members -- a sharp reminder that even the oldest Boomer is hardly infirm.

What should the housing industry be selling Boomer women, who (married or not) will be driving any decisions about a move?

First, they should sell convenience and urban settings. Thirty-five percent said that they would be interested in a condo or patio home, and 25% expressed an interest in more urban settings. But the housing industry should also start exploring shared living options.

Among Boomers, there's a lot more interest in communal living (14%) than transitional or assisted living (8%), and interest in the former category is growing fast.

One respondent described what she loves about communal living: "We helped to create a co-housing community . . . . We are 34 townhomes with both shared and private gardens, chickens and solar panels. I love that we have our own beautiful home that is very energy efficient and has great daylight, but are also part of a community of people that I really know. My neighbors include 92-year-old Meg across the walkway and 3-year-old August down the way."

As for amenities, the vibrant Boomer woman wants the same things that younger adults seek: parks and green space (24%); on-site parking and pet-friendliness (19%), and walking distance to shopping and cultural activities (18%). Fitness centers and swimming pools rank lower for this generation, who remain active and are seeking fulfillment from the same places (such a gyms) and as younger adults.

We asked respondents what their "ideal living situation" looked like, and the common threads in their responses offer home-builders, developers, urban planners, and the real estate industry a lot to chew on:

  • A smaller house. Generally, the Boomer woman's ideal is either a cottage or ranch house.
  • A sunroom or protected outdoor seating space (depending on the climate).
  • Privacy. Whether it means having some protected space outdoors that neighbors can't see or living on a five-acre lot, the Boomer woman is not generally ready to live on top of someone else.
  • Trees and space to garden. Whether they seek "a fenced yard with plenty of space for flowers and other plants, blueberry, raspberry and strawberries and apple trees" or "just a bit of dirt," the Boomer woman wants to grow things in her own garden.
  • Space for pets. They want lots of space for their pets (and it needs to be fenced separately from the garden).

For the third of Boomer women (or more) who aren't moving, the renovation and landscaping industries should be thinking about how to offer her this ideal now. For those who are contemplating a move, the housing industry may be investing in (or selling her) the wrong features.

Either way, these results remind us once again that real Boomers (whose average age is only 53) still live a long way from where the housing industry (still confusing them with their "senior" parents) thinks they are.

Stephen Reily is Vibrant Nation's CEO, an entrepreneur, marketing expert and Flash Forward Blogger. is an online community for the fast-growing demographic of smart and successful women over 50. Reach him here.

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Why they Buy

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Why People Buy

A fundamental question in selling is not why people sell, but why people buy.

It is well known that people buy for their own reasons -- not for the seller's. In fact, their motivation to buy may have very little to do with the reasons why the seller thinks they should buy. When it comes down to it, people buy something to meet their needs, or resolve the problems they are facing.

According to Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, people decide to buy when, "the pain of the problem and desire for a solution have been built to the point where they are greater than the cost of the solution."

A good sales professional can help clients come to that realization. But it doesn't happen as easily as you might think. Most people learn the basics of conducting needs analysis, customizing solutions and linking benefits to pain in their Sales 101 class. However, once they are out in the real world, they forget to bring these classroom lessons to life, and somehow their competence, composure, and confidence suddenly evaporate. Faced with self-induced, pressure-filled selling situations, they confuse telling with selling.

As dairy farmers are apt to say, "Cows don't give milk. You have to take it from them." The same is true with selling. Nobody just gives you a sale. You have to take it. But how you "take it" is very counterintuitive. A natural tendency of most sellers is to rush in. And as the Newtonian principle outlines, the equal and opposite reaction on the part of the buyers is to shut them out.

Like milking a cow, selling can be a delicate operation. While a client probably won't threaten you with a hoof, you're still faced with the fact that the harder you push, the more pushback you get. Why? As Harry Truman once said, "The best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it."

Nobody likes to be told what to do -- not even children. Imagine going to a doctor who gives you the same prescription she gave the previous patient because it worked. By not listening, by not being inquisitive, by not clarifying assumptions, sellers come across as not caring -- or caring more about themselves -- and perpetuate the stereotype of the arrogant, pushy "salesman" we all love to hate.

Source: Abhay Padgaonkar, President of Innovative Solutions Consulting, LLC (

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

I may have some Johnsonville Brats for dinner tonight....

by Karlene Lukovitz
On the UGC/digital involvement front, Johnsonville is building on its strategy of differentiating itself from the competition by providing fans with a growing number of ways to connect on an emotional level with one another and take "ownership" of the brand, ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The addition of 3D content is a bit of a chicken-and-egg battle, says Interpret's Michael Cai. While many movie studios are beginning to release 3D DVDs and some networks and carriers are offering 3D television content, such availability may not take off until TV market saturation has reached a tipping point. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
And it looks like Macy's isn't the only sponsor to amp up its commitment level. This year's NYCPride March, for example, scheduled for June 27, has garnered close to $300,000 in corporate sponsorship, managing director Chris Frederick tells Marketing Daily, beating its record of $260,000 in 2006. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Teens, early careerists and boomers are advocates of green lifestyles through self education and legislative cause activism around issues like climate change, air quality and conservation. "However, as evidenced by much of the online commentary from these groups, they often stop short of adopting green habits, but display fervor in advocating for green legislation and policy," the J.D. Powers study says. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
At each stop, top local chefs will create Patrón-inspired events at the train to benefit the St. Bernard Project, and the spirits brand will collect donations in exchange for providing a unique opportunity to enjoy cocktails and dine aboard the historic coach. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
Kimberly-Clark's Depend brand today launched the second year of "The Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer." The four-month campaign, which kicks off this June in celebration of Men's Health Month, culminates in September with National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. ...Read the whole story >>

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Shoved in a Closet?

How would you feel if you were ushered into a waiting room, and it was a slightly upgraded closet?

Is this similar to what your customers experience?

This is from Tom Wanek author of :

Where’s The Breakdown In Your Personal Experience Factor?

Outdated Magazine and the Customer Experience

Last Thursday, I had the unfortunate experience of spending the day in a hospital lobby waiting for my dad to come out of surgery. But other than the worrying part, the experience wasn’t all that bad. The lobby was inviting and comfortable with plenty of seating. And the hospital staff was helpful and compassionate.

Unfortunately, I witnessed two breakdowns that lowered the hospital’s Personal Experience Factor. (Recall that your Personal Experience Factor is the degree to which you delight your customer.) One issue was minor, while the other was a bit more significant.

The first breakdown should come as no surprise. It’s what I call the Tattered Magazine Syndrome, which plagues the health and beauty, automotive and medical industries.

The most recent magazine I could find in the hospital lobby was from 2005. (No, I’m not joking.) Hospital administrators should appreciate that family members have to wait, nervously, for long periods of time. And few will be distracted by a magazine article that’s five years old.

On a side note, one would think this would be a helluva opportunity for a joint venture between health care providers and the publishing industry. I can think of no better way to expose your magazine to millions of new readers than to refresh the magazine racks in the lobbies of hospitals and doctors’ offices.

But let’s move on.

Bad Personal Experience FactorThe second breakdown in the hospital’s Personal Experience Factor came after my father was out of surgery. Following the procedure, a hospital staff member walked me and my mother down to a private room where we waited to be debriefed by the surgeon. Sadly, the hospital staff stuck us in what appeared to be a large closet, which also housed its Internet router and other equipment. The room was also near a service elevator, which had broken doors that kept slamming shut every 30 seconds or so. Not a pleasant experience when you’re anxiously awaiting to hear if your dad was okay.

Please understand, my goal isn’t to bash the hospital. (Hey, I’m just thrilled that my dad’s surgery was a success.) I only want you to appreciate that every customer touch point must be accounted for. A single breakdown in your Personal Experience Factor can forever tarnish the customer’s experience with your company.

So what about you, do you have an interesting customer experience to share – good or bad? Please leave a comment below.

P.S. My good friend and partner, Mike Dandridge, spent the past decade consulting business owners on how to elevate their Personal Experience Factor. You really should get to know him. Visit Mike’s site for a couple of free downloads that will help you score your Personal Experience Factor.

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