Saturday, August 28, 2010

15 with Footnotes

If I were to give you a list of 15 ideas that you should consider as principle foundations for starting a business, would you accept it?

If I gave it to you at no cost because I care that you succeed, would it still be valuable to you?

If among those 15 ideas were a few you disagreed with, would you toss the whole list out?

These 15 ideas (with footnotes) are from Seth Godins blog.

He is one of the authors, speakers and leaders that I feature on Collective Wisdom.

Contact me if you have any questions or add your own comments.

Foundation elements for modern businesses

When you sit down to dream up a new business, you can imagine a world without constraints. Or you can choose to build in fundamental pieces that will make it more likely your idea will pay off.

Here are some fundamental pieces of most new successful businesses. The goal is to build these elements into the very nature of the business itself, not just to tack them on. For example, the Scotch tape people at 3M can't do #5, because of the structure of retail distribution and the way they mass produce and can't track who is buying what.

You can live without some of these, but go in with your eyes open if you do:

  1. Build in virality. Consider: Groupon.
  2. Don't sell a product that can be purchased cheaper at Amazon.
  3. Subscriptions beat one-off sales.
  4. Try to create an environment where your customers are happier when there are other customers doing business with you (see #1).
  5. Treat different customers differently.
  6. Generate joy, don't just satisfy a need for a commodity.
  7. Rely on unique individuals, not an easily copyable system.
  8. Plan on remarkable experiences, not remarkable ads.
  9. Don't build a fortress of secrets, bet on open.
  10. Unless there's a differentiating business reason, use off the shelf software and cheap cloud storage.
  11. The asset of the future is the embrace of a tribe, not a cheaper widget.
  12. Match expenses to cash flow--don't run out of money, because it's no longer 1999.
  13. Create scarcity but act with abundance. Free samples create demand for the valuable (but not unlimited) tier you offer.
  14. Tell a story, erect a mythology, walk the walk.
  15. Plan on obsolescence (of your products, not your customers).


3. The cost of selling a subscription to your product or service is not a lot higher than the cost of selling just one, but you benefit by having sales you can count on at low cost. Your customers benefit because you depend on them more and they save time.

5. Everyone has different needs and expectations and resources. The internet lets you tell people apart and give them what they need.

7. AKA as Linchpins.

9. If you're building a business on trade secrets or lack of information among your customers, you're trying to fill a leaky bucket. Far easier to bet on the more people know, the better you do.

10. Because cheap software and the cloud are going to continue to get cheaper, and custom work that's worth anything is going to continue to get more expensive.

12. The best people to fund your growth are your customers.

13. When the marginal cost of an interaction approaches zero, you benefit by creating plenty of them.

14. We can tell.

Sphere: Related Content

Power to the People

Your Employees...

Catch them Doing Something Right.

From Content Marketing:

Five Guys Burgers and Fries Really Understand in Person Content Marketing

five guys burgersHow They Use Secret Shoppers to Catch Their Team Members Doing the Right Thing.

If you are looking for great basic meat and potatoes cooking in a casual atmosphere, you can’t do much better than Five Guys Burgers and Fries. While working on a client project, I had the opportunity to learn about the way they operate their restaurants–and how they think about their customers and their employees.

The company launched with a single restaurant in the Washington, DC area in the 1980s and expanded conservatively through the use of 100% company owned outlets until very recently. The family that owns Five Guys were concerned that they could not maintain a high level of customer experience if they were to expand too far or to move into franchising. Ultimately, they did make the move but have worked very hard to ensure excellence in every one of their restaurants whether company owned or franchised.

The Secret: Outstanding in Person Content Marketing

Five Guys is all about great food and very happy customers. That’s where in person content marketing enters the picture. They understand their customers. They know what they’re looking for. And they know how to make them happy.

The challenge then becomes how to translate that understanding into consistently high operating behavior across all of their stores. Of course, they know how to run great restaurants. And, they have great processes in place. But they have added something unique that helps ensure the delivery of a terrific customer experience time after time. It has to do with their consistent and creative approach to secret shoppers.

My guess is that when most of us think about the concept of a secret shopper, we assume that the parent company, the owner or the franchisor wants to uncover less than excellent customer service. When that sub optimal behavior is observed, a store operator will be informed so that they can take corrective action. This approach is probably effective, but would contribute to an unending cycle of criticism. It also suggests to the employees that you don’t trust them to do the right thing. This might keep poor performers on their toes, but will almost certainly be the motivating the great performers

Five Guys takes exactly the opposite approach. The restaurant chain has integrated a secret shopping program to ensure a consistent and pervasive level of quality customer experience. They look to catch restaurant staffers performing outstanding work on behalf of their customers. And, when they do, the employees and the individual operators can earn substantial bonuses based on how they rank relative to their sister establishments.

Their secret shopper strategy is not kept secret from the employees. Far from it. In fact it’s a big deal in a very positive way. If you are an outstanding performer as an individual or as a store, you can count on lots of positive recognition and remuneration. The bottom line: happy employees and happy customers.

I like the way these Five Guys think.

Sphere: Related Content

2 of 4

from an email from Keith Ferrazzi:

Tip 228 - Four Simple Prep Steps to Make Every Meeting a Win-Win

Here’s a great framework to prepare yourself for a meeting, courtesy of RMA Coach Cindy Cornell’s awesome master class.

As you prep for a meeting, answer the questions below – in writing:
1. What do I want the other person to know?
Make sure you’re offering a clear, concise picture, with all the details needed to understand your idea/product/service.

2. What do I want them to believe?
What are the benefits? Have you done enough research to know what their problems are, and to deliver your solution in their language?

For Cindy's other two steps and to share your best meeting prep tips, hit the blog.


Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 27, 2010

Video & Social Media

A new study was released this week:

YouTube Still Outruns Yahoo! And Facebook For Video Viewers

According to July data from comScore, 178 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content during the month for an average of 14.7 hours per viewer. Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, ranked as the top online video content property with 143.2 million unique viewers, followed by Yahoo! Sites, with 55.1 million viewers. jumped one position to capture the #3 spot.

Google Sites had the highest number of overall viewing sessions with 1.9 billion and average time spent per viewer at 283 minutes, or 4.7 hours.

Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Video Content Views (July 2010 Total U.S. Home/Work/University Locations)


Total Unique Viewers (000)

Viewing Sessions (000)

Minutes per Viewer

Total Internet Audience




Google Sites




Yahoo! Sites







Microsoft Sites








Fox Interactive Media




Turner Network




Viacom Digital




Disney Online








Source: comScore Video Metrix

Americans viewed nearly 3.6 billion video ads in July, with Hulu generating the highest number of video ad impressions at 783 million. Tremor Media Video Network ranked second overall (and highest among video ad networks), followed by BrightRoll Video Network and Microsoft Sites. Video ads reached 44.5% of the total U.S. population an average of 27 times during the month. Hulu delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 27.9 over the course of the month.

Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Video Ads Viewed (July 2010 Total U.S. Home/Work/University Locations)


Video Ads (000)

Frequency (Ads per Viewer)

% Reach Total U.S. Population

Total Internet Audience








Tremor Media Video Network




BrightRoll Video Network




Microsoft Sites




Google Sites




Crosspoint Media




SpotXchange Video Ad Network




CBS Interactive








Viacom Digital




Source: comScore Video Metrix

Additional findings from July 2010 include:

  • The top video ad networks in terms of their potential reach of the total U.S. population were: ScanScout Network at 40.5%, BrightRoll Video Network at 39.4%, and Break Media Network at 38.7%
  • 84.9% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video
  • The duration of the average online content video was 4.8 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes
  • Video ads accounted for 9.8% of all videos viewed and 0.9% of all minutes spent viewing video online

More information from comScore may be found here.

Sphere: Related Content

Fun Research

Need an excuse to rent a movie?

This is from

How to Get Inside Your Target Audience's Head

It's one thing to market to people just like you. But what if you have nothing in common with your target audience? How do you get inside their head? In The Experience Effect, Jim Joseph offers a practical suggestion: "Read a book or go to a movie that depicts the customer—especially a book or movie that the target marketing is embracing," he says. "You'll get an incredible glimpse into their lives, their emotions, and their preferences."

When Joseph—then a single man in his twenties—began marketing Johnson's Baby Shampoo, he knew nothing about babies. He'd never even held one in his arms.

"So like every other new-mom-to-be," he says, "I read the classic book What to Expect When You're Expecting to see for myself what pregnant women are thinking about, worrying about, and purchasing as they go through the cycles of their pregnancy and as they make decisions for their baby's arrival."

But that's not all. When his pregnant friends would go to the doctor for a check-up, Joseph would tag along to observe mothers interacting with their newborns in the waiting room.

He adopted a similar approach when marketing to another demographic he didn't fit. "I used to watch Dawson's Creek and Beverly Hills 90210 religiously when I was a brand manager on Clean & Clear teen skin care at Johnson & Johnson so that I could learn about teenage girls and their lives."

Now the question: What can pop culture teach you about your audience?

The Po!nt: "Good marketing comes from turning theory into reality," writes Joseph, "so let's make our consumers real people, not just a collection of data."

Source: The Experience Effect.

Sphere: Related Content

Let's Talk Money

From an email I recieved last year from

Chris is a well known advertising consultant, but this applies to any selling situation:

How (and When) to Talk About Money
by Chris Lytle

I learned early in my career not to save the money discussion until the presentation stage of the sales process. In fact, if the customer doesn't bring up the money question in the first meeting, I do.

I started doing this when I was a young advertising salesperson. I would tell my prospects what our average weekly order was. That way they would know what it took to make an impact on our audience. Most of them appreciated the information.

I recently discovered another approach to bringing up the money issue. Mahan Khalsa suggests committing to memory your version of the following:

"I don't know how much this will cost you. Every client situation is unique. However, other companies in similar situations and trying to get the same results you've been talking about tend to invest between $X and $Y. Can you see yourself falling somewhere in that range?"

Khalsa believes Y should be about 25-50% more than X. A range of $100,000 to $150,000 is more believable than $100,000 and $2 million.

Not one prospect has ever dropped dead because you talked about money early. But a lot of salespeople have suffered tremendous disappointment because they didn't raise the money issue until it was time to make the proposal. When it comes to finding out that your prospect doesn't have the budget or isn't thinking as big as you are, remember this: Bad news early is good news.

Chris Lytle is President of Sparque Inc. and the bestselling author of The Accidental Salesperson. His current passion is partnering with sales managers to conduct sales meetings their people would attend even if they were optional. To learn more, visit his site.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Aaron Baar
"We wanted the star of the videos to be someone who could deliver the message about teen behaviors in a way that was both humorous and meaningful," Demetra Kavadeles, a representative for LG, tells Marketing Daily. "As a comedic actress, Jane has a unique style that worked perfectly for what we had in mind. It was also important that this person be a parent and could appeal to parents and teens alike." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Offering further proof that it is taking just as many competitive cues from the likes of Best Buy as it is from rival Wal-Mart, Target Corp. says it is substantially strengthening its electronics offerings, adding free tech support for all products as well as a tempting trade-in program. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
While the campaign makes the electric Leaf vehicle halo for the entire brand, Nissan's new VP of marketing, Jon Brancheau, concedes that a major challenge will be explaining to consumers in a market full of hybrids, mild hybrids, gas-assist hybrids, just what it is, precisely, that's under the hood. One of the new ads explains, for example, that -- as a pure electric car, the first mass-market electric -- there's no tailpipe. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Avon, which bills itself as "The company for women," says the contest will include a singing portion for women, but that the songwriting portion of the competition will be open to both men and women. The contest is a first for Avon. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The company is publicizing the effort on its homepage and via an email to the over 9 million Choice Privileges rewards program members, according to Heather Soule, a Choice Hotels spokesperson. On Aug. 28, Choice will host a special block party concert in New Orleans featuring the first artist featured as part of the effort. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
For many large corporations, the call center is the one human experience a consumer has with the company. "If a customer hangs up mad, it isn't the agent they are going to blame, it's the company that put them in that position in order to save a buck by sending their call overseas," says CFI Group's Sheri Teodoru. ...Read the whole story >>

Sphere: Related Content

Fresh Ideas

This is from

Carvertising campaign rewards drivers with gas
Automotive / Marketing & advertising

In a carvertising campaign from Singapore shopping magazine Chic
and Chevron's Caltex gas brand, drivers get gasoline worth SGD 50
in exchange for having an advertising decal affixed to their cars.

Chicken-sitting service for (sub)urban flocks
Homes & housing

Just Us Hens is a Portland-based venture dedicated to tending
local hens when their owners go away on holiday. The service
includes twice daily visits to feed the birds and let them out and in.

Trip-planning site helps find globetrotting companions
Tourism & travel / Life hacks

Globetrooper lets world travellers find like-minded companions to
share a jointly planned group trip. Trip ideas on the site can be ranked
according to difficulty, culture shock, remoteness and risk.

Tide helps disaster victims with free laundry services
Non-profit, social cause / Marketing & advertising

Inspired by the Hurricane Katrina disaster five years ago, detergent
brand Tide's Loads of Hope program is a mobile laundry service that
provides clothes-washing facilities to families affected by disaster.

Brand-sponsored being space for creatives
Marketing & advertising

Wix Lounge in Manhattan is a being space for creative professionals.
It's equipped with workstations, wifi and comfy seating. Software
developer Wix will host events there such as web design workshops.

Festival jackets & bags made from abandoned tents
Style & design / Eco & sustainability / Fashion & beauty

WiTHiNTENT in the UK salvages the fabric from tents abandoned
at music festivals and uses it to create rainproof hoodies, ponchos,
pac-a-macs and bags for the festival market.

Contest chooses apps to help fight childhood obesity
Government / Lifestyle & leisure / Telecom & mobile

The US Department of Agriculture has challenged game designers
and other software developers to come up with applications that
deliver nutrition and health concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Five businesses that look to the crowds for content
Marketing & advertising / Entertainment / Media & publishing

Crowdsourced business names, a news site where readers pick
the stories, decision advice via social networks, crowdcasting tools
for radio, and a TV show where viewers decide what happens next.

Urban campground to be crowd-funded & managed
Lifestyle & leisure / Eco & sustainability

Stadscamping Zwolle is launching a sustainable urban campground
that will be funded and managed by members. A EUR 35 fee covers
two nights stay plus voting rights on how the camp should be run.

Home energy monitor for less than $30
Eco & sustainability / Style & design

Consumers wishing to monitor their electricity use plug an appliance
into a Belkin Conserve Insight and use it as normal for a while.
Belkin's device will detail the running cost in watts, money and CO2.

Trial gear and showers for runners at Adidas store
Retail / Lifestyle & leisure / Marketing & advertising

Sports brand Adidas has a store in Tokyo that doubles as an urban
running club. There are shower cubicles and lockers for rent, plus
expert advisers who will provide tips and lend out shoes and clothing.

'Mobs' donate elbow grease to sustainable farms
Eco & sustainability / Food & beverage

The Crop Mob is a US organisation through which volunteers
descend on one lucky sustainable farm each month, and set
about tasks it would take the farmers months to complete alone.

Device lets workers exercise at their desks
Lifestyle & leisure

The DeskMate from New York-based Compactix can be used to burn
calories, decrease fatigue, flex muscles and relieve stress, even while
simultaneously typing, reading or talking on the phone.

Letting consumers choose their own phone number
Telecom & mobile

Name Your Number works with mobile operators internationally
to provide custom numbers based on existing numbers, dates,
lucky numbers or alphanumeric matches to a significant word.

Sphere: Related Content

New Ad Campaigns

From Amy:

Moms, whip out your boobs. Is it Monday yet? Time for a "printervention." Let's launch!

AT&T continues to create fabulous TV spots, especially those that depict adults having childhood fun throughout typical stressful workdays. The latest round of ads promotes the BlackBerry Torch. The moment I heard Buddy Holly's song "Rollercoaster" used in an ad with the same name, I knew I'd love it. Then it got better. If only my commute was this fun. Subways are roller coasters, taxis are bumper cars, roller skates are an office must and elevators are freefall rides. The Blackberry Torch combines business and fun. See it here. Timing is everything in "Ballet." Side-by-side windows show an aspiring ballet dancer waiting for her phone to load. Thanks to a fast connection, a series of events leads the dancer to meet two ballet producers, score an audition and land a leading role. With a slow connection, she misses the chance meeting, practices, continues to waitress and watches ballet performances from the audience. "Every second matters," closes the ad, seen here. BBDO New York created the campaign.

Do you need a "printervention"? Kodak launched a DRTV ad promoting its 3250 printer for $79.99. A TV host invites a family on to his show so he can perform a "printervention." The Ross family can print more photos and save hundreds a year by switching to a Kodak printer. The family concludes their "printervention" rescue by dunking their old printer into a "printervention" ink sink, a giant, dirty tank where bad printers go to die. Watch the ad here, created by Deutsch New York.

Vitaminwater launched "Time to Collect," a crazy video starring Gary Busey as a sports lawyer demanding that his client, Adrian Peterson, receives compensation for his fantasy football rights. If you want crazy, Gary Busey is the way to go. He screams and yells at the camera, spouting things like: "If you refuse to pay our athletes, we'll come find you and squeeze it out of you like a tube of toothpaste." That quote reminded me of the time Busey was interviewed, in real life, and told a reporter: "I'm going to pull your endocrine system our of your body." Good times. There's a cameo by Shaquille O'Neal, who touts Busey's Norman Tugwater character as the best, only, and worst fantasy sports lawyer. See the ad here. Zambezi created the ad and Starcom MediaVest Group handled the media buy.

National Breastfeeding Month is upon us, so moms, whip out your boobs. launched a national PSA to help promote breastfeeding. Celebrity moms like Kelly Rutherford, Lisa Loeb and Ali Landry tell viewers their favorite name for their breasts (think funbags, knockers, boulders and the girls) while educating moms about the benefits of breastfeeding. Watch it here. An extended version of the PSA, featuring celeb moms describing their first time breastfeeding and their opinions on public breastfeeding (whip 'em out!), can be seen here. Another video goes into greater detail to describe the benefits of breastfeeding, which range from burning 500 calories a day, being good for the baby's brain, and lessening your chances of developing breast cancer. See it here. Crew Cuts edited the campaign.

Finally. I've been waiting for an ad to combat all those shoes that claim you'll have a butt you can bounce a quarter off of, just by walking in their shoes. I call BS. You have to work to achieve results. Walking to the lunchroom in special shoes will not give me the calves that running does. Nike Women launched a print ad with bold copy: "The ultimate quick fix" it reads, promoting its Nike Trainer One shoes with Diamond FLX technology. What differentiates this ad from posture and leg toning shoe ads is one minor thing: the tagline. "This shoe works if you do." To get results, you need to work hard. See the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

Monday Night Football is almost here. Even ESPN is counting down to the excitement. "Monday Action" is part of the network's "Is It Monday Yet" campaign, and it compiles a series of things that could potentially go wrong en route to work. You can get rear-ended, have your umbrella turn inside out, get pooped on (although that's supposed to be good luck), sit on your glasses, or spill coffee on your keyboard. I'd like to add to the mix the time I was walking to work and a NYC bus drove through a puddle and splashed me. It was not a good day. The spot ends with an assembly line worker at a dessert factory coming across a treat shaped like a football. Watch the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York.

Miller Lite launched a billboard in Chicago on Monday that urges men to "Man Up." The billboard features an ad for Miller Lite, but it's missing the bottle. An adjoining ad shows a male model inside an ad for the faux brand Beaudoin Cologne holding the missing bottle. The billboards will remain up until October 2. See the ad here, created by Draftfcb Chicago.

The Florida Lottery launched a TV spot promoting its scratch-off game Lucky $200,000 a year for life. The ad spoofs home shopping channels by introducing viewers to the "Lottery Shopping Channel." Two hosts shill the $20 scratch-off ticket and take a viewer's phone call. The woman has won the big prize and cannot contain her excitement. She screams and drops the phone, while the hosts do the robot to celebrate her win. Watch the ad here, created by St. John & Partners.

Random iPhone App of the week: GE launched an updated version of its Morsel application for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices. Part of the brand's Healthymagination campaign, Morsel is a free application that offers manageable daily health goals for anyone looking to improve their health. The rewards are attainable and realistic: stretch your arms out to the side and move them in circles 10 times. Users can navigate to other morsels or select them by category, and customize their experience to meet their daily needs. The app uses a gaming/reward system, where users can earn badges and level up to be encouraged to complete additional morsels daily. Big Spaceship created the app, available at the App Store.

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

Sphere: Related Content

It's not the Price

That should be the focus of what you're doing according to this from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The Right Presentation

You have little control over price, but you do have control over presenting the prospect with enough reasons to buy.

Your price can be higher than the competition as long as the prospect feels it's justified in terms of the values and benefits offered.

Source: John R. Graham, president of Graham Communications

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
"While it's unclear what Ford paid for the Facebook reveal, I'm confident it was nowhere near the cost of even one $2.5 million Super Bowl commercial," said Jumpstart Media's Joe Kyriakoza. "Ford's campaign clearly demonstrates that while traditional media can be highly effective in driving consideration, a well-executed and deeply influential online program can shift car shopping intent with immediacy and efficacy." ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Marketing includes consumer incentives, cinema, newspaper and magazine ads, and public relations, as well as social and mobile activities. In addition, Kraft Foods is working with over 40 food retailers nationwide to implement unique in-store displays and programming. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
In addition, Quaker is adding two new products to its breakfast offerings. One, Quaker Mix-Up Creations Instant Oatmeal, is a kid-focused product that allows kids to mix oatmeal flavors into unique combinations. The second, Hearty Medleys Instate Multigrain Hot Cereal, is an adult-focused blend of four whole grains -- oats, wheat, barley and rye. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Marketers are stressing convenience. For example, CVS, which also owns MinuteClinics, is offering online scheduling for the first time. Walgreens, which owns Duane Reade and Take Care Clinics, is giving flu shots daily, with no appointment required. Walgreens is also offering a new, direct medical billing option through several insurance carriers, and it is even selling flu shot gift cards. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The multiyear deal makes the Shanghai Film Group, which owns 640 feature films and is the largest cinema chain in China, the first official movie partner of the league there. It is also the first time SFG has partnered with a U.S. sports league. ...Read the whole story >>

Sphere: Related Content

Christmas 2010 starts...

Well, it is just 4 months away...

Retailers Moving Christmas A Little Closer

Call it the year of the Creeping Christmas: Retailers -- especially those with a major online presence -- are pushing holiday sales messages earlier this year, according to the just-released annual holiday benchmark report from Experian Marketing Services.

Marketers are expected to advertise Black Friday sales sooner, and extend them over greater time periods, Bill Tancer, Experian's general manager of global research, tells Marketing Daily. "Timing is going to be much more important, given the economy," he says. "Knowing when consumers begin thinking about holiday purchases can provide marketers with a big advantage over the competition."

Target is pushing that concept to the extreme, and launched a "Black Friday in July" sale on its Web site last month. While that might seem small -- one chain, after all, hardly counts as a trend -- Tancer says it did send ripples of shopping interest through the online world. "During the same period last year, there were only two search terms used often enough to be measurable -- 'Black Friday' and 'Black Friday 2009.'

"But this year, there were not only more searches, but under many more terms. 'Black Friday' and 'Black Friday 2010' came in first and second, but 'Black Friday in July' came in fourth, and even though Walmart wasn't doing a Black Friday event, its name came up in searches more often than Target's." Experian expects intense Web searching under "Black Friday" to begin early in September this year.

When it comes to pushing Christmas earlier and earlier, "there's very little downside for online retailers," Ted Vaughan, a partner in BDO's Retail and Consumer Product Practice, tells Marketing Daily. "They have the product on hand in their warehouses -- it's not like they have to use up space in stores. And it's not just a single holiday sale. They are trying to get customers for the long term. This gives them something to do to compete with Walmart."

Nor is there much risk of alienating customers. Those who like to shop early "get the opportunity to spread purchases out, with earlier discounting spread over a longer period," he says.

Vaughan has also seen layaway ads already: "The genie is out of the bottle, and now consumers are expecting it."

But while stores can woo these ultra-early birds with promotions, Tancer says another major trend this year will be stepped-up consumer procrastination, fueled by more efficient online shipping, the rise of online gift cards, and the tendency to wait it out for bargains. "Just as shoppers want to get the best deal they can online, so do online gift-givers, which means they will push their online shopping closer and closer to the end of the season."

(Source: Marketing Daily, 08/11/10)

Sphere: Related Content

5 ways to Finish 2010 Stronger

from a recent email:

Five Things You Can Do To Perk Up Your Business

Sarah Petty, on her website, The Joy Of Marketing, shares five things retailers can do to perk up business between now and the end of the year. A strong database is necessary to fully implement all of her suggestions.

  • Start a referral program. We know that based on the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule), that 80 percent of our business comes from 20% of our clients. So, what are you doing to create loyalty with that valuable and profitable group of your clients? Perhaps it is a gift certificate when they refer someone to you. Maybe it is a random act of kindness. The most important thing is that you have a plan to reward those who love and refer business to you.
  • Partner with a charity. Many people think that when the economy is down, you shouldn’t give to charities and really, it is quite the opposite. Many charities are having a harder time than ever in this economy and believe it or not, they can help you grow your business. Take a day and contact all of the charities in your community. Talk to them about your talents and find out what you can do to help them. Many of them host large events or galas and maybe you can be a main sponsor through product or service donations. Also, most charities have a database of donors with whom are very qualified prospects for you. If you reach out to this group, they will be less price-sensitive than buyers who come to you for a discount. Send them an invitation to do business with you and when they do, reward the charity with a percentage of sales. Everyone wins and every new client you get will build your business the right way.
  • Co-market with another local business owner. Many small business owners forget that you can’t do it all alone. By reaching out to other small business owners who share your target market, you are in essence, introducing your clients to and endorsing each other’s products. Maybe you have an event together where you setup shop at one of the store’s locations. Maybe you can sample the other businesses’ products or even give your best clients with a gift certificate to the other business. There are many ways in which small business owners can work together in mutually beneficial ways.
  • Go through your database and contact past clients who haven’t been in lately. Sometimes as small business owners, we tend to constantly focus on attracting new clients when we could increase our sales by looking at our existing database. Your database is one of your greatest assets and you need to stay in touch with your best clients. Sometimes it is seeing them mentioned in the newspaper and writing a note. Sometimes it is calling to say, "oh my gosh, we just got in a product that would be perfect for you." You might even notice on Facebook that they are spearheading a fundraiser at their child’s school. Reach out and see what you can do to help. It will remind them to visit your business and create goodwill in the process.
  • Find a new product to offer that nobody else is offering. Nothing says freshness like a fun, new and exciting product. It may mean embellishing an old product or scouring around for something you have never seen before but your clients will appreciate you for continuing to offer new things. At least once per year, you should try to create a new product. If your best clients come in and find the exact same thing as the last time they were in, it doesn’t create much value for the experience. Make sure to create signage and displays to showcase your new product.
(Source: The Joy of Marketing, 07/10)

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:

by Sarah Mahoney
The Anew Platinum products, which include a night cream and serum, will be sold through reps, and spokesperson Jacqueline Bisset will also appear in the pages of the Avon brochure. TV ads are set to break in October, an Avon spokesperson tells Marketing Daily, followed by a magazine campaign in November issues. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
After the disaster, the tourism board launched, which offered real-time views of Florida beaches and social media elements so people could read what tourists, residents and others were saying. It also had time-stamped photos, Twitter, videos, blogs, vacation deals, travel and fishing reports. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Using its Facebook presence, Papa John's will look to insert itself into the various fantasy football leagues by offering league commissioners (or whomever submits an entry) the opportunity to attend the real-life NFL 2011 draft, as the company searches for the "ingredients to a better league," says Melissa Richards-Person, senior director of advertising and promotions for Papa John's. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"Initially, we were not sure there were going to be any differences," says Ipsos' Donna Sabino. "I come out of advertising, where you think in terms of targets -- say, 25-to-54 -- more than psychological definers. You don't think, for example, about how having a child under 18 impacts across product categories; stereotypically, you don't think of an affluent woman shopping at Kmart or Walmart." ...Read the whole story >>

Sphere: Related Content

The Pro's and Cons of Boomers

Mediapost was a weekly blog that is trying to set us straight on Boomers:

The Economy, Today And Tomorrow
Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a story headlined, "Another Threat to Economy: Boomers Cutting Back." In it, the reporter made the case that Boomers have cut back on spending, and since this has happened when they are entering an age segment (65 and older) where consumers traditionally spend less, the economy is sure to suffer.

This piece, like many on Boomers, is out of order. Literally.

First, it isn't Boomers threatening the economy, it's the other way around -- this lousy economy is threatening Boomers. Low interest rates, diminished stock prices, unemployment, shrunken home values and runaway government spending are ruining the immediate future for the nation's next generation to reach age 65.

And that's the second thing out of order: no Boomer is in the 65 to 74 age segment. Yet. The article featured a chart showing consumer household spending among this age segment now versus 10 years ago. Talk about not relevant. It is comparing today's younger Silent Generation to the older half of the same generation. Nary a Boomer in the picture.

We thought it might be more helpful to readers of this column if we compare today's Boomers at ages 55-64 to the spending the Silent Generation did 10 years ago at the same age. Oops. There's no comparison.

In fact, overall, as a group, Boomers 55 to 64 spent $500 billion more annually on consumer goods and services in 2008 than did the Silent Generation in 1998 (adjusted for inflation, therefore 2008 dollars; the source is the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Who is to say Boomers won't spend another half a trillion more annually than the current group of 65 to 74 year olds over the next 10 years? Or at least come close?

In category after category, Boomers 55 to 64 spent more than Silents at the same age. This is in part because Boomers spend more on a per capita basis in many categories. But, overall, it's true because there are simply many millions more Boomers than Silents (demography is surprisingly simple). In this age segment comparison, there are one and a half times more Boomers than Silents.

Take a category like "Eating Out." While both segments spent about the same annually on a per capita basis, in 2008 dollars, overall, Silents spent $35 billion and Boomers spent $52 billion. That's a 50% increase.

"Entertainment" spending jumped from $23 billion by the Silents to $46 billion by Boomers.

Even "Alcohol" jumped from $5 billion to $10 billion. Hiccup.

Of course, some Boomer spending increases reflect changes in costs today versus 10 years ago. Some examples:

CategorySilent SpendingBoomer SpendingChange
Education$6.6 billion$17.2 billion261%
Gas/motor oil$18.3 billion$55.9 billion306%
Health insurance$16.9 billion$38.6 billion230%
Healthcare$19.8 billion$37.3 billion198%

Perhaps the most reassuring news is that, on a per-capita basis, Boomers gave more money to charities, $2,163 to only $1,624 annually by Silents. Overall, Boomers gave close to $43 billion to the $21 billion donated by Silents.

The bottom line is always the bottom line, and it is too bad the Journal article didn't do the math. Sure, there's a "new fru" when it comes to consumer spending. Across the board.

But as Boomers cross the next milestone to age 65 and beyond, their sheer numbers will change the spending patterns for the 65 to 74 age segment. Just like they transformed spending for the 55 to 64 age segment.

Is your business remotely ready to earn any of that spending?

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

Sphere: Related Content

Prospecting by Branding Yourself

From Jill Konrath's Blog:

Creating Content that Attracts Prospects to You

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 06:48 AM PDT

Recently I had a conversation with Chas. Cooper about how important content is to capturing the attention of today's crazy-busy people. Personally, I believe if salespeople don't have quality content for all three stages of their prospect's decision process, they're fighting a tough battle that's hard to win.

Good content is delicious. It makes your prospects want more. They can't wait to take another bite. Mmmmm good.

That's why, when Chas posted the resulting article on his blog, I asked if I could share it with you. Here it is!

Maximizing the Time Value of Content

We all know about the time value of money. Getting money today is worth more than getting money tomorrow. But what happens when we turn the tables and look at the time value of content from the perspective of our prospects and customers?

Answer: We find out that the further upstream a prospect is in our marketing funnel, the more the prospect places a heavy premium on the value of time. The implications of this lesson for content marketing professionals is profound.

In a recent post on aligning content marketing with your customer lifecycle, you may have noticed that every micro-transaction in a good content marketing plan requires a prospect to make some commitment in time and attention. The customer lifecycle begins with trading companies’ content for prospects’ attention and then gradually transforms into trading companies’ products for customers’ business.

In the early stages of the customer lifecycle, the prospect’s time and attention is the most important asset the company seeks to get from the prospect. This is the stage when the company needs to communicate its brand messages to convince the prospect that the problem the company solves really exists, that the company is uniquely positioned to solve that problem, and that the problem is a high enough priority that it should be solved now.

All of this education requires the prospect to donate time and attention to the company’s messages. If the company’s content marketing cannot compel the prospect to spend the time and attention to get past the earliest stages in the customer lifecycle, the prospect will never become a paying customer.

At the same time, the early stages of the customer lifecycle are exactly when prospects are least likely to donate their time and attention. They’re already inundated with information overload from countless other companies pushing their messages.

They don’t know your company from the hundred others barraging them every day. And your company has not yet established any credibility or trust to justify spending any time listening to your marketing messages.

B2B prospects don’t make impulse buys. They’re not lounging on the couch or in line at the store wondering what to buy. They’re busy people with hectic schedules and they’re only willing to spend time and attention on something that will help them accomplish their missions. Everything else is noise.

So what’s a content marketing professional to do? The whole customer lifecycle depends on getting early-stage prospects to take that first step. A prospect’s time and attention is critical to achieving that goal. But the prospect places the heaviest premium on time and attention at this early stage in the relationship.

I was recently discussing this very dilemma with Jill Konrath, author of the blog Selling to Big Companies and the new book, SNAP Selling, which focuses on the topic of getting your message through to prospects whose scarcest asset is time and attention.

So I asked Jill for a quick summary (yes, putting her to her own test) of what content marketing folks can do to break through to time-sensitive, early stage prospects. Here’s what she had to say:

“You’ll speed up sales and convert more customer if you offer a simple message that’s aligned with your prospects’ top priorities, put high priority decision points in front of them in a timely manner, and become the person your prospects can’t live without.”

In case you’re still reading past the hook, she went on to offer more insights into exactly how you can put her advice to good use:

Today’s decision makers have less time than ever. Their inboxes and smart phones are filled with useless marketing messages. Getting their attention is more challenging than ever. To stand out from all this background noise, pack as much value into every word as you can.

Keep your message simple so it can be read quickly. Make sure it’s relevant to their top priorities. Once you’ve got their attention, don’t lose it. Make sure you’re always on topic with what matters to them most. That’s the path to being the one person your prospects can’t live without.”

Although Jill’s advice seems like common sense in many ways, I’d be wealthy beyond all measure if I had a nickel for every time I saw a marketer fail to execute on what Jill is describing.

Jargon replaces message simplicity. Product-focused marketing content fails to focus on the top priorities of prospects in favor of feature-oriented “show up and throw up” content. And sales reps rarely reach the status of trusted advisor.

So if you’re looking for ways to get early stage prospects to donate their coveted time and attention, I’d recommend listening to Jill’s advice. She’s nailed the key points right on the head.

In my own quick summary of her key points:

  • Keep the message short and simple.
  • Focus your content marketing from the point of view of the prospect (not your company or products).
  • Frame your content marketing within the context of solving the prospect’s highest-priority problems.
  • Create content that positions your sales reps as trusted advisors.

About the Author

Chas. Cooper, has over a decade of experience as a product marketing professional for cloud computing and software companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more articles like this, check out his B2B Internet Marketing Strategies blog.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

It's back by popular demand. The Mediapost Marketing News. I'm not sure if there will be an update on this blog on Thursday and Friday this week, due to some vacation time I'm taking...

Click and read:

Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
Aida Flick, brand director at Kotex, tells Marketing Daily the effort is a continuation of a program that started last fall with the "Panty Challenge" campaign, a promotion that encouraged women to try Kotex with a promise that any problems meant new undergarments on K-C's dime. She says that program promoted Kotex by getting women to get rid of those undergarments they wore only while menstruating with the underlying idea that Kotex provides leakage protection. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Legislation already passed in the U.S. House but awaiting action in the Senate (S.510) would increase the FDA's oversight of producers/processors and give the agency the authority to issue mandatory recalls of tainted products. Recalls are currently voluntary. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The bank's brand print and out-of-home ads have been featuring unusual factoids about global business such as "Only 4% of American films are made by women. In Iran, it's 25%." This and similar factoids will be featured on the napkins being passed out by the food trucks. The international flavor of the food reflects the theme of the current HSBC advertising campaign, "The world's local bank." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Nicole Dorrier, senior director, youth prevention marketing at the Legacy Foundation, says MTV and Truth first teamed up in 2006. "What we found is that it works best when we use MTV's voice the way they intended it and couple it with Truth's message." Truth worked with MTV's production team at its studios, with MTV handling production and Truth's creative team (Arnold Worldwide, Boston) helping to develop story lines. ...Read the whole story >>
by Mark Walsh
"The initial thought behind this was knowing that digital has become a more important channel for consumers," says Katie Hannify, a media manager at PepsiCo. "And we wanted to make sure our local bottling system had the ability to customize a relevant message for consumers in their markets as opposed to a national brand-equity message." ...Read the whole story >>

Sphere: Related Content