Saturday, October 16, 2010

Classic Ad of the Week

Well, it was the future...

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The rest of your Marketing

Just when you thought you had all your marketing bases covered, here's a few more to consider from

Four Ways to Impress Customers With Social Responsibility

"It's a global trend," writes Geri Stengel at MarketingProfs. "Consumers want to buy from, employees want to work for, and other businesses want supplies from, socially responsible enterprises." So how can you demonstrate your commitment while improving your bottom line? Stengel suggests the following:

Treat your employees with respect. Social responsibility begins within your organization and can yield tremendous rewards. "Employees who feel valued because they are paid a living wage or treated as an asset in a startup will serve customers better and generate a friendly atmosphere" says Stengel. "[T]hey feel as if they have a stake in the success of the business."

Partner with a worthy cause. The smaller your business, she argues, the more you'll benefit from an association with charitable organizations. You might sponsor an event, provide prizes for a raffle or serve as a drop-off point for donations. "Just do your research first," she says. "Make sure the cause is one that matters to your target customers, and inform them about how you are helping."

Make a monetary contribution. "Give part of your profits, whether for one night or on a regular basis, to a nonprofit or a fundraising event, such as Pizza Night for Little League," she recommends. "Chances are, you'll get new customers from among the nonprofit's supporters."

Buy from socially responsible suppliers. Customers want to know that the products or services they buy have a "clean" supply chain. They will look kindly, for instance, on materials acquired through Fair Trade channels and goods assembled without sweatshop labor.

The Po!nt: With a socially responsible game plan, you do right by your community and your community does right by you.

Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full article.

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from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Pushy vs. Persistence

Clients often perceive salespeople as pushy. Salespeople would prefer to be perceived as persistent.

Pushy is when a salesperson appears to be trying to sell an advertiser because it is good for the station and the salesperson. Pushing station features rather than client benefits encourages this perception.

Salespeople who present client benefits -- repeatedly -- more likely appear to be interested in the client. This leads to the perception of the salesperson being persistent.

If you have a qualified prospect, don't give up. Just make sure you talk in terms of benefits.

Source: John Potter, VP/Training, Radio Advertising Bureau

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Karl Greenberg
The 100th annual Association of National Advertisers convention, "Growth: Mastering Brands/Driving Results," at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek resort, began with ANA President Bob Liodice listing 10 hero brands, each evincing one of the 10 "Articles of the Marketer's Constitution," introduced last year and published as a series in Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
John Abel, Mazda's director of marketing for North America, tells Marketing Daily the company's decision to start fresh was in part driven by the automaker's adoption of a new design language evinced by vehicles coming out in the next year and a half. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Jim Beam Black Double Aged Bourbon is building on its "8 Years Changes Everything" advertising campaign -- which spotlights the spirit's eight-year aging process -- with a bonfire-themed, Facebook-hosted online game and sweepstakes. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"One sixth of the Internet-at-home population isn't paying for it," Billy Hulkower, senior analyst at Mintel, tells Marketing Daily. He added that home Internet penetration barely moved between 2006 and 2009 despite the rise of Internet sites such as Facebook, Pandora and YouTube. The data suggest that people are using different methods to access the Internet "even if they haven't paid for access themselves." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
People who present a pack of Trident Layers -- either purchased or one of the free sample packs that will be distributed at the promotion location, while supplies last -- can use the pack to "pay" for a trip anywhere within the city limits in designated Trident Layers cabs. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Called the Duet, the machines exceed the current government requirements by 160%, on average. The washer can use as few as 11.5 gallons of water per load. It includes an "EcoBoost" option, which reduces the water temperature and increases agitation duration, delivering the same results while using less water and energy. ...Read the whole story >>

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Starbucks Lessons


I could have said, "Don't be Stupid like Starbucks", but I said that a couple years ago when they were falling apart.

And lot's of companies and brands make these same mistakes.

Now that they've worked on getting themselves upright again, here's some lessons that we can learn from their recent history as told to us by Craig Arthur:

How the Quest For Growth Can Be Disastrous for Your Business

Two valuable lessons for all business owners.

By Craig Arthur, Wizard of Ads Partner

Starbucks. The rise. The stumble. The back to basics.

*(Bolding in all quotes by editor)

In his 1997 book “Pour Your Heart into It” then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said…

“A company can grow big without losing the passion and personality that built it, but only if it’s driven not by profits but by values and people.”

Schultz went on to say…

“The number-one factor in creating a great, enduring brand is having an appealing product. There’s no substitute. In Starbucks’ case, our product is a lot more than coffee. Customers choose to come to us for three reasons: our coffee, our people, and the experience in our stores.

“We could save millions of dollars every year if we bought even slightly cheaper coffee. If you can raise profits by shaving costs on your main product and 90 percent of your customers wouldn’t even notice, why not do it? Because we can tell the difference.“

”Higher profits, at the cost of poorer quality? The best people would leave. Morale would fall. The mistake would eventually catch up with us.“

Every business has a memory. The memory of sacrificing quality for profit would have been fixed in the minds of Starbucks people forever. It would have been an impossible price to pay.“

Starbucks success was built on a Memorable Customer Experience and Prime Locations.

”What’s the first thing you notice when you approach a Starbucks store? Almost always, it’s the aroma. Aroma triggers memories more strongly than any of the other senses, and obviously plays a major role in attracting people to our stores.“

”The hiss of the expresso machine, the clunk-clunk as the barista knocks the coffee grounds out of the filter, the bubbling of the milk steaming in the metal pitcher, and, at the bean counter, the swish of the metal scoop shovelling out a half-pound of beans, the clatter as they hit the scale - for our customers, these are all familiar, comforting sounds.

“Authentic brands do not emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything a company does, from store design and site selection to training, production, packaging, and merchandise buying. In companies with strong brands, every senior manager has to evaluate each decision by asking: “Will it strengthen or dilute the brand?”

The CEO’s who followed Schultz should have had that quote etched on their desks.

Schultz stepped down as CEO of Starbucks in 2000, with a total 2,498 stores.

Orin Smith took the reins and at the end of his 5-year term (2000-2004) the total number of Starbucks stores stood at 8,569.

Under new CEO Jim Donald, (2005-2007) the push for expansion accelerated sharply. He added 6,414 stores in three years, bringing the total to 15,011 stores worldwide.

But in the race to please shareholders with increased turnover and increased profits, Starbucks made the major blunder of diluting the customer experience and opening stores in less than prime locations.

On February 14 2007, Schultz sent an email to the Starbucks executive team, with a subject line, “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience”.

Here are a few excerpts:
Over the past 10 years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.”

“For example we went to automatic expresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines.”

“This, coupled with the need for fresh roasted coffee… moved us toward the decision and the need for flavour locked packaging.”

“We achieved fresh roasted coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma-perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage.”

Luckily for Stabucks, Schultz took back control, and once again they are back on track, but only after a mighty big scare.

In Smart Growth, Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth, author Edward D. Hess wrote, Starbucks shows that: (1) small changes can add up and can have a big impact; (2) rapid growth can dilute a company’s culture; (3) rapid growth can dilute the customer proposition; and (4) the pressure from the public market to grow can cause dilution of quality controls. All of these outcomes can result in a competitive position vulnerable to attack by new competitors.”

Business success can breed arrogance and give business owners a sense of invincibility.

And the race for business growth and increased profit can lead to business failure.

Lessons from the Starbucks experience:

1. Even a strong brand struggles in a poor location. Remember, expensive rent is the cheapest advertising your money can buy.

2. Dilute the customer experience and watch your business collapse. As a business owner you must evaluate each marketing and cost saving decision by asking: “Will it strengthen or dilute our brand?”

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No, not you.

Read this from Jill Konrath:

Dealing With Slacker Prospects Without Sounding Like a Pathetic, Needy Salesperson

Posted: 11 Oct 2010 08:25 PM PDT

Ever had an interested prospect who really liked your stuff, but then never followed through? That's exactly why Jerry wrote me this email.

BagoverheadThe logical next step is for us to review parts for the prospect to see if we're a possible fit. My problem is many of them tell me that they'll send over the specs for us to review but then never do it.

I'd like to either call or email them back after a week or two to remind them. However, I don't want to sound like I'm begging.

Any suggestions on how best to handle this type of situation to keep things moving forward with the client AND avoid my sounding like a pathetic, needy salesperson?

Here are some of my thoughts ...

After they agree to send the drawings, say something like this: "Great. I look forward to getting them. And, based on my experience working with other crazy-busy people like you, after we hang up the phone one of two things will happen ....

  1. You'll go get the drawings right away so you don't forget ... or
  2. You'll immediately get back to work on another project and totally forget. Am I right?

(Pause ... he will laugh and agree.)

Then say, "So how do you want me to handle this situation. You know I'm going to keep bugging you till I get them."

When you call back 2 weeks later AND 3 weeks later, you can say, "Hey. Me again calling to bug you about those drawings. We can't get you the pricing without them. And, as I mentioned in our earlier conversations, we've helped other firms reduce their costs by 23.6%."

Have fun with it. Tell him what you're going to do and enjoy it. Pretend it's your brother (or other relative) who was supposed to do something for you but keeps forgetting. And don't worry about sounding pathetic.

Now that's just one approach. What would you suggest?

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
"Over the next few years, we will introduce new formats to help us enter new markets," Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, says in the company's release following the meeting. "Walmart U.S. will move toward a three-format portfolio, which will drive expansion to urban markets and small towns, as well as fill in gaps in existing markets." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Craig Bierley oversees the marketing organizations for two disparate General Motors brands -- one premium cars, the other trucks and SUVs. Having something like a bicameral mind is probably mandatory for that job. Luckily, when it comes to how to approach consumers, there are some big similarities between GMC and Buick, especially now, when people are as likely to talk to each other as they are to listen to brands talk to them. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The efforts to woo active young adults to sign on as fans on the brand's Facebook page span display ads, digital out-of-home, search marketing and other social media. The digital media strategy, created by Horizon Media, includes roadblocks designed to drive consumers to the Facebook promotion from, and other sites popular with the demographic. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
A General Motors release says it did not share all the details until now because the information was competitive and it awaited patent approvals.'s Jeremy Anwyl argues that the release "is the absolute worst way of going about it. In an era of transparency, with the Internet, there was nothing wrong with telling people what happened." ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Lands' End is promoting the contest via the microsite, Facebook, Twitter and customer emails. The retailer will hold a Twitter party on Oct. 19 from noon to 2 p.m. complete with outerwear prizes to promote the contest, according to a Lands' End spokesperson. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"It's about sustained growth and brand value. We look at it as 'Who has increased their brand strength based on that equation,'" Landor's Hayes Roth says. "It's not about them being big, it's about them improving their relevance to consumers in comparison to their competitors." ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Having Stella Artois is better than having a woman. Snickers frightens while Butterfinger electrifies. Let's launch!

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta offers consumers a car that's "Great. For the price of good." A group of designers and engineers tirelessly work to perfect the Jetta in "Dream Team." The team attends a gala to debut Jetta, and, presumably earn themselves accolades. When Jetta's $15,995 price tag is revealed, tears are shed -- and they're not happy ones. Watch it here. "Moonlighting" is my favorite spot. A man has his sights set on owning a Jetta, so he takes any side work he can get his hands on, including giver of sponge baths, dog walker, rodeo clown, self-defense punching bag and nude model, complete with bruises from other gigs. Upon eyeing the Jetta's price, the man drops his sponge bath bucket in favor of a car-washing bucket to clean his two Jettas. See it here. "Split Second" highlights Jetta's standard safety features. Watch it here. Print ads, seen here and here, also focus on Jetta's low price: "It's like 'who are you wearing,' for the price of 'what are you wearing.'" Deutsch Los Angeles created the campaign.

Nissan Juke has launched globally, so let's critique Juke ads globally. Two weeks ago, I wrote about Juke's European ads, created by TBWA/G1 and TBWA/Paris. See them here. This week, we have American and Canadian spots. In Canada, Juke takes on "The Dread," a 500-ton steel monster with tank treads for feet and an appetite for destruction. An urban legend for an urban-proof car? I thought that was Nissan Qashqai's job. Juke throws a wrench in Dread's plans, concluding with an explosion and Dread's demise. See it here, created by TBWA/Toronto, directed by Psyop with visual effects by MassMarket. Stateside, we have Robert Downey, Jr. as our voiceover in a light-hearted spot where a businessman named "Kowalczyk" saves the day when he navigates his Juke to the closest donut shop for staff meeting treats. And is that the theme from "Superman" I hear in the background? Watch "Donut Action" here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles. Europe's spot remains my favorite of the three, followed by Canada and U.S.

Stella Artois launched "Apartomatic," a TV ad in the United States, directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. In 1960s Europe, a young man brings a woman to his apartment that's chock-full of gadgets, ranging from a revolving sofa, pop-up fireplace, mood lighting and an automatic Stella Artois-pouring machine. As the man changes in another room, the woman plays with the gadget board, turning lights on, pouring a Stella Artois, and winds up getting swallowed by the sofa. The man emerges, sees his Stella awaiting him, along with the faint sound of his name, coming from inside the couch. Of course, he thinks it's his beer speaking to him, causing him to respond, "Mon amour." What girl? His only woman is Stella. Watch it here, created by Mother London. Media buying was handled in-house.

When it comes to receiving medical treatment, ever feel like you're stuck on a treadmill that never brings you closer to your destination? Axa has a solution. A woman, clad in hospital gown, walks towards a medical center, on a treadmill going in the opposite direction. She passes a Cruella de Vil look-alike and remains unable to reach the center, even when her walk turns into a run. Her solution is Axa PPP Healthcare, which offers a 6-week option that helps consumers receive treatment when needed. Watch "Treadmill" here, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, London, directed by Arno Salters, and produced by Stink.

AT&T launched "Paper Dolls," the latest ad in its "Rethink Possible" campaign, highlighting its 97% coverage. The star of the ad is an orange cut-out paper doll, yet I immediately thought of George Clooney's character from "Up in the Air." The paper doll constantly travels for business, witnessed by his continual flights, hotel stays, and dinners alone. With AT&T's coverage, the paper doll becomes a string of connected paper dolls holding hands and leading to his family. Paper hands across America? "You're never far away when you're covered," closes the ad, seen here and created by BBDO New York.

A Southern belle goes from polite to "shocking" when her friend tries to lay a finger on her Butterfinger Snackerz, bite-sized chocolate candies with a Butterfinger center, topped with peanut butter drizzle. "Southern Bellz" features a genteel woman entertaining her friend, both in full ball gowns, of course. When the friend tries to help herself to a Snackerz, the candy bowl comes alive and delivers an electric shock to her fingers. Watch the ad here. Dailey created the ad and Zenith Optimedia handled the media buy.

Snickers launched a creepy, yet amusing Halloween ad starring two kids who take to the supermarket to ensure their neighborhood will be stocked with their favorite candy. Did I mention that the kids are dressed in costume, wearing a mask that's eerily similar to the actual face of the cat woman herself, Jocelyn Wildenstein? The pair stands in front of the Snickers shelf and chide Mrs. Jensen for not having any Snickers in her shopping cart. A handful of bags make their way into her cart before she sets off in the opposite direction. The kid on the bottom of the costume then peeks out and says, "We're definitely going to her house." Watch the ad here, created by BBDO New York.

Werewolf or vampire? You can choose both with Eclipse Secrets, a cross-promotion between Wrigley's Eclipse gum and the December 4 DVD release of "Twilight Saga: Eclipse." The Web site offers exclusive video and images that Twihards can access through logos on packs of specially marked packages of Eclipse gum. There are five different packages to choose from: Villains, Cullens, Love Triangle, Wolf Pack and Bella. Hold a pack of gum up to your Web cam and exclusive pictures and videos will be yours. The site uses advanced image recognition technology to determine that the Eclipse pack logo is legit and not just a logo unrelated to the cross-promotion. Firstborn created the site.

Random iPhone App of the week: REDBOOK launched One Stop Shop, its first app, available for free in the App Store. Developed by NearbyNow, the app features REDBOOK's weekly picks on fashion, beauty, styling tips, recipes and decorating advice. One Stop Shop allows users to search, locate and reserve products at their local retailers.

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

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One Size

Doesn't fit all.

Seth explains:

Getting smart about the hierarchy of smart

Don't talk to all your employees, all your users or all your prospects the same way, because they're not the same.

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition posits that there are five stages people go through:

1. Novice
--wants to be given a manual, told what to do, with no decisions possible

2. Advanced beginner
--needs a bit of freedom, but is unable to quickly describe a hierarchy of which parts are more important than others

3. Competent
--wants the ability to make plans, create routines and choose among activities

4. Proficient
--the more freedom you offer, the more you expect, the more you'll get

5. Expert
--writes the manual, doesn't follow it.

If you treat an expert like a novice, you'll fail.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
The program makes Buick the sponsor of "40 Under 40," a cross-title editorial package that takes a Fortune Magazine staple to Entertainment Weekly, Golf, Sports Illustrated, Time and American Express Publishing's Food & Wine. The idea is that each of the magazines will extol the virtues of people under 40 years old who are leaders in the magazines' respective verticals. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"We want consumers to take away that Lenovo is a fun brand and understands how people might use PCs to talk to each other," Michael Littler, head of the Idea product marketing group at Lenovo, tells Marketing Daily. "We want to come across as a fun brand. This is a first step to do that." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Tedious setup and unclear next steps are common on banking mobile sites, says Steve Ellis, one of the report's authors. "On one big bank site (HSBC) we were unable to find any information about mobile services at all," Ellis tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Perhaps the biggest shock is that even the most techno-savvy would rather not learn or talk about products online: Women are still three times as likely to talk to friends and family as they are to go to their computers. And 92% say they prefer face-to-face communications over online research. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The sweepstakes is being promoted via a 30-second TV spot featuring retired NFL star John Lynch. The commercial, from Dentsu America (Santa Monica), shows Lynch being repeatedly shut out of a game-watching party until he finally gets the message and returns bearing a tray of hors d'oeuvres made with Hass Avocados. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
Right Guard deodorant brand, since 2006 a division of Henkel North America, has signed on for a long-term deal with the National Basketball Association to promote its Total Defense 5 products. The company also promoted its relationship to the NBA by putting the league's logo on packaging on Total Defense 5 deodorant dispensers. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Gap Logo Lessons

from Laura Ries:

Gap's Fall into the Mushy Middle


They used to sing “Fall into the Gap.” And consumers did. Since the Woodstock era, the Gap has outfitted millions of consumers with its lines of basic clothing.

But over the past few years, it is the Gap brand that is doing the “falling.”

The latest fiasco is Gap’s logo redesign.

Changing a brand that is 50 years old and as well-known as the Gap is not well advised. If you do make a change, it had better be subtle and definitely not drastic.

Look at what happened when Tropicana went for a drastic make-over? Another disaster. The backlash was so intense that it eventually led them to bring back the previous package design. The message, don’t mess with my orange.

The internet is burning up with criticism surrounding the new Gap logo. It has pretty much been universally panned. And rightfully so.

The biggest mistake with the redesign is that Gap thought it had equity in the blue square. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word GAP reversed on blue was the focus. The original design was problematic not because it wasn't cool, it was problematic because it was too hard to read. Never neglect legibility in a design.

If I was helping the Gap, I would recommend updating its logo so that it was more legible. Perhaps like this?

My gap logo
This change uses the new typeface which makes it much more legible, but it doesn't change the overall look of the words reversed on blue. A change like this would likely have been far less controversial.

But the quality of the design is irrelevant. Because even if the new design was beautiful, it would still generate outrage. Changing an icon, freaks people out.

All the criticism didn’t go unnoticed at the Gap. Marka Hanson, President of Gap North America, started back peddling right away and issued this statement after the debuted and backlash trying to explain why they made the change and why they may not implement it.

“The natural step for us on this journey is to see how our logo - one that we've had for more than 20 years - should evolve. Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that.

We want our customers to take notice of Gap and see what it stands for today.

We chose this design as it's more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.

Now, given the passionate outpouring from customers that followed, we've decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap.

From this online dialogue, it's clear that Gap still has a close connection to our customers, so tapping into this energy is right. We've posted a message on the Gap Facebook Page that says we plan to ask people to share their designs with us as well. We welcome the participation we've seen so far.

We'll explain specifics on how everyone can share designs in a few days.”

Well, we got the specifics today. Gap is scraping the new logo, scraping the idea of letting consumers participate in creating a new logo and going back to the old logo. Good for them. At least they admitted they were wrong and did the right thing to correct it.

Unfortunately, the Gap still has a huge problem. The problem has nothing do with the logo or with being a more contemporary brand. Gap isn’t as much out of style as it is out of place in the market.

What is the Gap?

It used to be the place for everyday basics. Neat, affordable and classic.

“Affordable Basics” built the Gap into a multi-billion-dollar brand and the biggest specialty apparel retailer in the U.S.

Two things have undermined the Gap brand in the mind of consumers.

Gap extensions

1. Expansion

When management sees the great success of its brand, the next thing they usually say is, “What else can we get into with our hot brand?” The answer is usually trouble.

Gap expanded into four varieties: GapBody, GapKids, GapBaby and regular Gap.

Teenagers and 20-somethings don’t want to wear the same outfits as kids and babies. All the expansion diluted the power of the Gap brand. And it diluted the time and energy of management. Instead of thinking about how to make the Gap better. They were focused on building the line-extension stores like GapKids, GapBaby and GapBody.

We have seen this type of extension disasters before.

After the success of Blockbuster, management expanded and introduced Blockbuster Music stores. They should have stayed focused on movies. Today Blockbuster is bankrupted and trapped in the mushy middle between Netflix and Red Box.

Toys R Us became the number one toy retailer in the U.S., then management expanded the brand into Kids R Us and Babies R Us. The line-extension distractions let Walmart and Target takeover the toy leadership position.


2. Old Navy

Nothing hurt the Gap brand as much as the introduction of Old Navy in 1994.

Sixteen years later the thriving Old Navy chain accounts for 41% of the company’s revenues. The Gap accounts for 40%. Banana Republic 17%.

Old Navy is a no-frills, low-price clothing chain. A great concept, but the company already had a no-frills, low-price clothing chain called the Gap.

To make room for Old Navy, the Gap brand had to move slightly more upscale. The moved the Gap right into the mushy middle of the market. The mushy middle is not the place to be and the Gap has had problems ever since.

Take this as a warning. Don’t let your brand fall into the mushy middle Gap.

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The Contract

I don't do verbals when it comes to money.

I need something in writing.

It can be an email, a fax, or a signed contract. But a verbal is a no-no.

Daily Sales Tip: When the Prospect Says Yes, Then Does Nothing

This situation occurs in about 1 in 3 sales training sessions I conduct. It's one of my favorite (not really) things to hear from salespeople:


You got the verbal? You got nothing.

If you're a professional salesperson, you probably already know this. If you're new or struggling, here's the tip:


Deals go bad. Prospects lie. Things change. All of these events can change the VERBAL in a New York minute. So what should you do?

1. Watch what they do, forget what they say. If someone gives you a VERBAL, take it at face value and keep your own emotions and expectations in check.

2. Drive the process. Once the VERBAL comes, it's your job to drive to an end. Share the crystal clear steps: i.e., Thanks, Joe. Here is a document that outlines specifically what happens next.

3. Stay mentally behind the deal. Everyone around you will want to "get excited." Not you. You stay even-keeled. You get excited when the money hits your checking account.

Last but not least. No matter who asks, never again say: I GOT THE VERBAL.

Source: Bryan Neale, sales trainer/consultant

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:

by Sarah Mahoney
Target says it is discounting prices on more than 1,000 toys -- including 250 that can be found exclusively at Target. The bargains include some of the toys expected to be the season's biggest hits, such as Sing-a-ma-jigs, Bigfoot, Squinkies, Toy Story 3 items, Zoobles, Kung Zhu hamsters, and Leapster Explorer Learning System. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
They discovered that once an app had reached a rate of about 55 installations a day, its popularity then soared to reach stellar proportions. A typical app was installed by 1,000 users, but the most popular app "Top Friends" was in a different league, being adopted by almost a fifth (12 million users) of the entire Facebook population. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Tips from Empathica include: Understand your top promoters and worst detractors in order to create a better customer experience. Although they are dining out less frequently and spending less, Americans expect unprecedented levels of service, and this is a key factor in maintaining their brand loyalty. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Given the amount of organic traffic that results from search, CPG companies need to develop more comprehensive search programs that capitalize on attributes and qualities a brand may want to be associated with. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
While a lot of the former quirky wonders of the state are gone, Florida's tourism board is hoping to shed some new light on the state's natural attractions. Visit Florida, the state's marketing corporation for tourism, is pitching nature buffs with America's first state trails-tourism website. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Steve Cannon says the Generation Benz program has come out of a "getting to know you" phase and is now generating ideas the company is acting upon. "At a certain point I'll say [to the Gen Benz community], 'Take a look at the iPad demo. Press play.' They will watch and give feedback. It allows us to close the gap between customer and marketer to almost zero." ...Read the whole story >>

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The Power of a Name

Al Ries latest from

Big Changes Demand More Than Just a Change in Marketing

by Al Ries

In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter).

We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money.

We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers.

"Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.

Take the automobile industry. Coming down the road at a rapid rate of speed is the electric car. Every major automobile manufacturer in the world is busy developing and introducing electric cars. Some recent announcements.

  • The Nissan Leaf
  • The Chevrolet Volt
  • The Mini E
  • The BMW Megacity
  • The Hyundai BlueOn
  • The Mitsubishi i-MiEV
In addition, Toyota, Honda, Daimler, Volkwagen and Audi have declared their intentions to introduce electric vehicles.

So the cry goes up, "Change the marketing. Let's let the world know our brand is the one that is pioneering the electric vehicle."

Witness the massive marketing campaign for the Nissan Leaf featuring the advertising industry's old, reliable spokes-animal, the polar bear.

The theme: "Innovation for all."

"The Leaf is the most recent example to believe that Nissan is an innovative company," said Jon Brancheau, VP-Marketing in a recent conversation with Ad Age.

Nissan and the other electric-car wannabes are missing a major opportunity. Nissan is a gasoline-engine brand. Not an electric-engine brand. And given the history of similar developments, it's going to be difficult to move the brand from one to the other.

Take the personal computer. Like the electric car, the first personal computers arrived with a massive dose of publicity. So almost every high-tech company in the world responded in a similar way.

"Change the marketing. Let's let the world know our brand is the one that is pioneering the personal computer."

So almost every high-tech company in the world introduced a personal computer (under their own brand names, of course): AT&T, Burroughs, Dictaphone, Digital Equipment, IBM, ITT, Lanier, NCR, NEC, Siemens, Sony and Xerox, among others.

So which one of these high-tech companies is the world leader in personal computers? No one, of course.

For a number of years, the world leader in personal computer was Dell Computer, a startup that traces its origins to 1984, when Michael Dell was a second-year student at the University of Texas at Austin. That was three years after the launch of the IBM PC.

The current world leader in personal computers is Hewlett-Packard, which might elicit an "Ah-hah. That proves a high-tech company can launch a line-extension and become the world leader."

Not exactly. In the year 2000, the world leader in personal computers was another startup, Compaq Computer, with 12.1% of the market. Like Dell, Compaq was founded after the launch of the IBM PC.

In the year 2001, Hewlett-Packard bought Compaq and began its rise to the top. Furthermore, the previous year Hewlett-Packard spun off its test and measuring equipment into a new company named Agilent Technologies, leaving HP as a company focused on computers and computer printers.

But that's not the whole story either. By its thoughtless marketing decisions over the years, Dell gave a big boost to Hewlett-Packard. First by moving into the consumer field and destroying its business focus. And second, by introducing line extensions including TV sets, handheld computers, digital audio players and printers, all under the Dell name.

One could argue it was better products, not better brands, that built Compaq and Dell into their leadership positions. But is this logical? Two startups that got into the game late could build "better" personal computers than high-tech companies like IBM, Xerox, Digital Equipment, Siemens and Sony?

But "the better product wins in the marketplace" is a concept so deeply embedded in management thinking that the facts alone will never change this perception.

Take the smartphone. Like the personal computer, the first smartphones were line extensions introduced by Nokia and Ericsson, traditional mobile-phone manufacturers, and by Palm, the handheld computer company. They all reacted in a typical way.

"Change the marketing. Let's let the world know our brands are the ones that are pioneering the smartphone category." After a while, Dell and Hewlett-Packard joined the smartphone pack with line extensions of their own.

So who is winning the smartphone battle? The leading mobile-phone manufacturers or the leading personal-computer makers?

Silly question. When a category is a truly revolutionary category, line extensions almost never work.

In January of this year, Nokia and Motorola together had just 7% of the U.S. smartphone market while BlackBerry and the iPhone together had 68% of the market.

Today, Nokia is in serious trouble. Since Apple introduced its iPhone in January 2007, Nokia shares have fallen 65%. Its CEO has been fired and the head of its smartphone business has resigned.

So why didn't Nokia use a second brand name to launch its lines of smartphones?

Having worked with many high-tech companies in similar situations, I would expect the same response: "It's not the brand name that matters. It's the product."

Sure. And Lexus would have been just as successful if it had called its brand "Toyota Supreme."

And L'eggs would have been just as successful if it had called its brand "Hanes Too."

And the Geek Squad would have been just as successful if it had called its brand "Best Buy repair service."

And Dockers would have been just as successful if it had called its brand "Levi's Tailored Classics." (Which was the original name until the company wised up.)

And DeWalt would have been just as successful if it had called its brand Black & Decker Pro." (Which was also its original name.)

Unfortunately, when you start to document the success of second brands, you rapidly run out of examples. Almost all new products launched today are line extensions.

Yet when you look at recent successes, they invariably are new brands launched by established companies or startups: Red Bull, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Starbucks, Amazon, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Red Box, Netflix, eBay, Activia, Fusion, Zappos, Zara, Oracle, SAP, Flip, Fresh Express, Geox, Grey Goose, Home Depot, Horizon, Five Guys.

Line extensions almost never become a big deal.

This is not a recent development. Take the automobile, which made its appearance at the beginning of the 20th century. At the time, the leading bicycle company was Columbia.

So what do you suppose Columbia did? "Change the marketing. Let's let the world know our brand is the one that is pioneering the automobile."

As you might expect, the Columbia automobile went nowhere. Instead, the Ford Model T, a vehicle produced by a startup company, went on to dominant the industry for decades.

Until General Motors pioneered its multiple-brand strategy.

So now we're into the 21st century and it's Ford's turn to make a decision about its electric car. So what strategy is Ford planning to use?

Silly question. The same strategy Columbia used. "Change the marketing. Let's let the world know that the Ford Focus Electric is the brand that is pioneering the electric-car category."

Reminds me of the song in the movie, Casablanca. Play it, Sam.

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.
So, too, with marketing. The fundamental things apply . . . as time goes by.
Al Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm he runs with his daughter and partner Laura.

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Selling with Email?

These days, we need to use any and all available tools to reach our prospects. has some tips on using email:

Tips For Selling with Email
by Michael Dalton Johnson
Email is a very powerful sales and business growth tool. To increase your sales, the ability to write effective emails is critically important. Here are a few basic tips to help you send out email that will interest your prospects.

Get to the point. Make sure the first paragraph of your business email gives the recipient a clear picture of what your communication is all about. Don't waste time with a long winded opening. No one is interested in your company's history or mission statement.

Show them the money. Include the biggest benefit to the buyer in your all important opening paragraph.

Keep it easy to understand. Do not assume that everyone knows your industry's jargon. Dump it. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Never use all caps for a word or phrase to emphasize its importance.

The human eye is repelled by a sea of type. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Your message should be crystal clear, complete, accurate and brief. Most people get deluged with spam and unsolicited email everyday. To get yours read, keep it short and to the point.

Never begin an email with "My name is..." No one opening your email is the least interested in your name. They are interested in why you have emailed them. They will learn your name when they reach the bottom of the text.

Personalize. It is important to use the recipient's name in the salutation. I prefer less formal greetings such as Hello Susan or Hi John. However, there may be times when a more formal salutation is appropriate.

Avoid rhetorical questions. Asking such questions as, “Do you want to save 50 percent on your printing costs?" is too salesy.

Give them a reason to act. Close with a strong rationale for the action you want the recipient to take.

Signing off. Your email represents you and your organization and should always include your name, address, city and state, zip code, phone, fax and email address. This makes you and your company look professional, legitimate and accessible.

Note: SalesDog's business partner, Kendra Lee, has a comprehensive audio program with workbook on how to successfully prospect and sell with email. I like it because she includes tested subject lines that get high opening rates and actual copies of email messages that have brought in big sales. You can see it here.

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