Saturday, October 23, 2010
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The new economy is here to stay for awhile:
When 50 Percent Off Just Won’t Do
When it comes to wooing wary shoppers, many retailers are playing the percentages.
Campaigns for stores, from giant chains to mom-and-pops, are promoting sales that are frequently expressed in percentages off from regular prices. Twenty or 25 percent off, once considered a hefty discount, is practically nothing nowadays, as most consumers must be enticed further to open their wallets or purses.
How willing shoppers are to shop is important as retailers approach the start of the crucial Christmas season. To prime the pump, ads are routinely proclaiming savings of 50, 60 and even 70 percent off. In some instances, the discounts are going as high as 85 percent.
Some retailers are subtracting atop subtraction by offering an "extra" percentage off merchandise, typically items that had been marked down earlier.
For instance, Bloomingdale's, part of Macy's Inc., promoted in newspaper ads on Sunday "an extra 30 percent-40 percent off" the reduced prices on clothing, handbags, accessories and jewelry for "a total savings of 40 percent-75 percent off original prices."
The Macy's division, not to be outdone, advertised in circulars a "fashion clearance" with "an extra 40 percent off already reduced prices for a total savings of 50 percent-80 percent off original prices." That was along with a clearance on home goods with an additional 30 percent off the previously cut prices "for a total savings of 40 percent-75 percent off original prices."
Although retailers are managing inventories and margins better than during the recession, there are still "a lot of sales and promotions," said Mariana Sanchez, chief strategic officer at Saatchi & Saatchi X in New York, a unit of the Saatchi & Saatchi division of the Publicis Groupe that specializes in shopper marketing.
The purpose of what seem to be "amazing discounts" is to offer "some trip-driving items," Ms. Sanchez said, meaning merchandise that would spur someone to shop a store and, the merchant hopes, also buy some items at full price.
There are shoppers who enjoy "comparing the circulars, clipping the coupons," she added, because they see it "almost like the sport of shopping, the hunt, as they're in the pursuit of what they want for a better value."
When such consumers make their purchase, she said, "they feel like they’ve won."
Despite the prevalence of the tactic, reducing prices by large percentages is still effective, Ms. Sanchez said, particularly as consumers become accustomed to discounts.
Sometimes, retailers vary the sales approaches so as not to wear out their effectiveness. One popular tactic is a "bogo," short for buy one, get one, as in a deal to buy an item -- at regular price or on sale -- and get a second item at, say, 50 percent off the regular or sale price.
There are also percent-off savings that are pegged to spending a minimum amount of money. A recent ad from Bloomingdale's offered an extra 15 percent off to shoppers who bought up to $1,999.99 worth of furniture and mattresses. For those whose purchases totaled $2,000 or more, the discount was 20 percent.
J. C. Penney occasionally offers a twist on the so-called door-buster sale with two tiers of percentage-off discounts based on time of day.
For example, early birds who shopped from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on a recent Saturday received 70 percent off gold jewelry, 60 percent off men's outerwear and 50 percent off women's boots. After 1 p.m., the discounts declined to 60 percent off the jewelry, 50 percent off the outerwear, and 30 to 40 percent off the boots.
The risk in cutting prices by percentages is that it could confuse some customers. Penney has adopted what the company calls a "clear pricing" policy.
In stores, signs on displays and tags on merchandise display the prices to be paid after subtracting the discounts. Circulars advertise the policy this way: "The price you see is the price you pay! No math required."
At the same time that retailers are demonstrating how eager they are to discount, many are also trying to burnish their brands with image campaigns that run separately from sale ads.
For instance, Lord & Taylor introduced on Tuesday a campaign to promote the renovation of its flagship Manhattan store, on Fifth Avenue and 39th Street. The campaign describes the overhaul, with a wink, as "The ultimate face-lift."
"Promotional messaging is something we do," said Amy Avitabile, senior vice president for marketing at Lord & Taylor, referring to percentage-off sales, "but our primary communication for this month is this campaign."
"We spent the last year renovating this building, and we’re excited to tell our customers about it," she added.
The goal of the campaign "is to get some attention on the brand" to reach those who do not shop at Lord & Taylor, Ms. Avitabile said, as well as "to validate for existing customers that they knew the secret of Lord & Taylor before it got out to everybody else."
The campaign includes shopping bags along with ads in magazines and atop taxi cabs, and on phone kiosks and buses. The campaign is being created internally and by Lipman, an agency in New York.
For Christmas, Lord & Taylor plans an image campaign centered on the word "share," Ms. Avitabile said, to be expressed in ways that will include "share tradition, share memories, share the warmth of cashmere."
(Source: The New York Times, 10/11/10)
I recommend Jill Konrath and her newsletter and her books (I have both of them)
Here's her an email she sent this week:
Friday, October 22, 2010
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from the Wonder Branding Blog:
Posted: 20 Oct 2010 07:00 AM PDT
A new report commissioned by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland identifies a shift in thinking about social media and what kind of business opportunities are available.
E-Marketer provides an excellent chart, showing what marketers expected social media to do for their business, and the modified results of what actually happened.
Surprise, surprise – businesses find that social media has been very effective in staying in touch with current customers, and has strengthened employee relationships internally.
Acquiring new customers within their target demographic? Not so much.
The bonus comes for small business owners, who recognized the “loyalty factor” of social media very early on, and are gaining the most from staying in touch with current customers through dialogue and word-of-mouth.This is an excellent sign that social media for business is gaining traction. It also means that many new apps will develop in the coming years – keep your eye on the horizon. Sphere: Related Content
In Fort Wayne, a new radio station was launched last week that stirred up some hoopla with their new name, "The Truth", a conservative FM Talk radio station.
But the real truth is not political, it is simply being honest.
Check out this insight from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Inviting the Truth
The main reason prospects suddenly vanish is that they're uncomfortable telling us the truth. They don't want to disappoint us, or they don't want to feel sales pressure from us. So keeping us at bay just feels better.
And we can't really blame them. How often have they been called and called, chased by salespeople who hope to wear them down?
Or how often has your own boss said, "Call them back and get the sale. Why is it taking so long?" Your boss blames you, and you feel that you're not very good at selling anymore. So now you have to put pressure on your prospect. And of course this only makes things worse.
This happens every day. We're stuck in that endless cycle of chasing prospects, trying to get them to respond to us. And the more we press, the more they run.
But the opposite is true, too. The more we relax and simply invite the truth, the more straightforward they'll be with us. Prospects feel okay sharing what's really going on when they know we're okay with hearing it.
The only way to discover the truth is to communicate in a way that helps the other person feel comfortable telling you the truth. What you don't want is for them to think you're calling just to make the sale.
Remember, prospects will trust you and reveal what they're thinking only if they feel like you're on their side.
Source: Sales consultant Ari Galper
Thursday, October 21, 2010
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Make your Frankensteiner come alive. Popcorn reenacts famous movie scenes. Let's launch!
Mother is clearly an agency that doesn't stress out about moving offices. The agency mingled with its new neighbors by creating faux storefronts at Mother's new digs. The first was a seller of rare animal hot dogs. Panda meat, koala bear, sea turtle and orangutan, anyone? No endangered animals were served to pedestrians. The next storefront offered cosmetic surgery for pets. The general consensus was the store was better suited for the West Coast. Then there was an insect funeral home that takes care of business when a moth dies. Last came the transsexual moustache clipping business, with a variety of moustache styles. Watch the video here or visit Mother's new office in Hell's Kitchen.
Burger King wants guys to offset their stupid with some smart and keep certain confessions to themselves, unless you're into awkward moments. Anyone plucked out of the "Jackass" franchise could have starred in "Ball Machine," where a guy stands dangerously close to a baseball machine doling out pitches. He bought a BK breakfast burrito for $1 to offset his stupidity, but he's hit in the chest before eating it. See it here. A man admits to enjoying a BK-stuffed steakhouse and trying on his roommate's clothes after he leaves. Creepy. Watch it here. In the director's cut of "Jorts," the BK-loving guy still has the hots for his oblivious roommate. He's wearing his crush's jorts and stroking them lovingly. See it here. Crispin Porter + Bogusky created the ads, directed by Brian Lee Hughes of Skunk.
McDonald's is bringing a little New York to Hong Kong. Happily, it's not the smell of hot garbage. It's yellow cabs and a Chicken Bacon Deluxe, part of the brand's "M Selections" line of sandwiches. Promoting the sandwich launch is a fleet of New York yellow cabs that will pick residents up and bring them to a McDonald's, free of charge. Customers will also be given a coupon to sample the CBD. The service is running until Oct. 23. A TV spot promoting the sandwich features two grown men greeting each other like teenagers, with a signature handshake. I haven't seen teenagers dole out handshakes like this in ages, nor have I ever heard of a CBD sandwich stateside, but I'm rolling with it. Take note of the portion size in the ad. I'm lovin' that. See the ad here and picture of a cab here. The Hong Kong offices of DDB, Tribal DDB and OMD made this campaign happen.
Another day, another video game ad that impresses me. This one comes from Xbox 360's "Fable III," on sale Oct. 26. "Revolution" takes place in Albion, 50 years after the events of "Fable II." A corrupt king is about to be dethroned, thanks to a new leader that enlisted citizens to help him fight. A statue of the king is destroyed, reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's statue toppling. Add the tune "Young Men Dead" from The Black Angels, and you're left with an entertaining 60-second ad. See it here. "Revolution" launched October 14 on Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, ESPN, Adult Swim and TBS, among others. agencytwofifteen created the ad, with visual effects handled by Psyop.
Pop Secret and the Kernel family are back to pay homage to another movie. Previously, it was "The Dark Knight." This time around, it's "When Harry Met Sally." I expected the brand to play off Meg Ryan's infamous scene in Katz's Deli. I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't. It's New Year's Eve and a guy (an animated popcorn kernel) is home alone, watching "When Harry Met Sally." His roommate sees this and is about say something when Mr. Sentimental recites Billy Crystal's famous last words: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody..." only to have the sentence completed by the macho roommate: "you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Both popcorn kernel guys pop, and then vow never to mention the moment again. See it here. Ads are running on ESPN, USA, TBS, TNT and Lifetime networks. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners created the ad, with animated handled by Nathan Love.
On Friday, Sony Electronics debuted Sony Internet TV, which gives users the ability to watch HDTV, surf the Internet and enjoy apps on one screen. Oh, and it's powered by Google. Supporting the launch is "Big Screen," a 60-second ad that brings people outdoors to experience Sony Internet TV on a giant screen. A massive tweet is sent from the screen, urging people to travel downtown and interact with the TV and other onlookers. People are watching "Jeopardy," then looking up an answer on Wikipedia. Add a cute dog video from YouTube, a movie off Netflix, a soccer game, and conclude the day by being on the 10 p.m. news. See the ad here, created by 180LA.
My Frankensteiner is alive! Kayem hot dogs launched a Web site that allows visitors to design and customize their own hot dog. Just think of the calories you're saving. Users can select a variety of conventional and unconventional hot dog toppings, from hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, guacamole, cheese, coleslaw, salsa, bacon, gravy and onion, among other goodies. Add as much or as little of each topping you want, then flip the switch and share your creation with friends. The VIA Group created the site.
Random iPad App of the week: Dexter Morgan is an app. Mark Ecko Entertainment created a game starring Showtime's serial killer/blood spatter analyst in Miami. Dexter kills murderers who cannot be brought to justice through a court of law. The game allows players to aid Dexter in selecting his next victims, while making sure he's not caught. Gamers can also help Dexter with his day job, which is both fascinating and legal. The game is available for $7.99 in the App Store.
from my email archives, this piece from Harvey Mackay:
Many humans share these characteristics. They thrive in familiar territory, doing what they know is safe and comfortable, but they won't take any risks for fear of failure. They would rather watch opportunities pass them by than jump over the wall.
Again, parallels can be drawn to human behavior. Some people will attach themselves to a job or company with no intention of doing much other than eating or being eaten. Even if I were stuck on a luxury yacht, I know I'd get bored in a hurry.
Have you ever wondered how a little stake in the ground attached to a chain can restrain a four-ton elephant? These powerful creatures must be trained to stay with their keepers. For the first few days they are in captivity, the elephants are tied to bamboo trees with heavy rope. After trying unsuccessfully to free themselves, the animals give up, and can be restrained thereafter by a rope anchored to a small stake.
Of course, we can also learn plenty of positive lessons from animal behavior.
In the 1930s, a leading zoologist concluded it should be impossible for a bumblebee to fly. That is because its size, weight and the shape of its body are all wrong in relation to its total wingspread. Fortunately, no bumblebees have ever studied aerodynamics so they just naively keep on doing what they should logically be incapable of doing.
This poem, "Plain Old Oyster," attributed to David Cohen, really captures what a determined spirit can achieve:
There once was an oyster, whose story I'll tell
Who found that some sand, had gotten into his shell
It was only a grain, but gave him great pain
For oysters have feelings, although they are plain.
Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him to such a deplorable state?
"No," he said to himself, "Since I cannot remove it,"
I'll lie in my shell, and think how to improve it."
The years rolled around, as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny ... stew.
Now the small grain of sand that had bothered him so,
Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.
This tale has a morale, for isn't it grand,
What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand?
Think ... what could we do, if we'd only begin,
With some fo the things that get under our skin.
Mackay's Moral: Even the turtle knows you have to stick your neck out to get ahead.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Last week I was reading a listing of "Senior Specials" that some area businesses are offering to attract new, mature, customers.
And ever since I turned 50 late last year, they think I'm ready for some "Senior Specials".
It was a bunch of bull.
It's that these businesses aren't really thinking with their hearts, they're thinking like accountants.
10% off Carpet Cleaning
10% off Auto Service
10% off Custom Golf Clubs
10% off Shoe Repair
The business that advertise these silly 10% off offers is looking at how much they can afford to lose by doing business with that old man or old woman. 10% isn't too painful for them.
10% off is stupid. I can negotiate a better deal by simply asking.
And is offering a lower price to old people going to attract new customers that will help you grow your business?
Older people are wiser than that.
I want my carpets to be really clean, and I'll pay a reasonable price.
I want my car fixed right, otherwise 10% off is still a waste of my time and money.
Get the picture?
Here's Roy H. Williams to really drive it home:
I’m going to explain a sophisticated ad-writing technique to you today, but I have confidence you’ll understand it perfectly.
Learn to incorporate it into your writing and your ads will produce better results, generate more comments and make people smile.
Tight-asses will criticize you, of course, but hey, they’re tight-asses.
We’ll begin with a couple of examples from a flyer I edited recently for a fish market that donated $500 to help finish the tower at Wizard Academy. The flyer offered a complete fish dinner for 4 for just 39.95, including gourmet salads and side dishes. When I finished my revision, the last 2 points made at the end of the meal description were these:
to pass out from the sheer wonderfulness of it.)
But the right hemisphere cares for none of that. The right half of the brain is where fantasy lives. And Righty doesn’t know fact from fiction.
If you merely exaggerate, your customer’s left brain will shoot your claims full of holes. But if you go beyond mere exaggeration – so far beyond it that the left brain knows you’re just clowning – the right brain will happily embrace your glowing fantasy in all its positive glory.
This is the technique:
Open with 2 or 3 quick jabs of fact:
Then hit the right brain with everything you’ve got: “Be sure you’re sitting down when you take your first bite. This bread is so amazing that people have been known to pass out from the sheer wonderfulness of it.”
Again, 2 or 3 quick jabs of fact:
Then electrify Righty with an impossible dream: “Fish so healthy you’ll live forever.”
Yes, we’re speaking to the unconscious. We don’t need the customer to believe our silly, over-the-top promise. They don't even have to think it’s cute.
All they have to do is hear it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is deep branding.
One last benefit of this technique is that Right Hooks often become “word flags” that are repeated by smiling customers. As they place their orders, they’re likely to say, “Make sure you give me some of that bread that makes you pass out!” And as they lift their fish dinners off the counter and turn to leave the store, they're likely to smile again and say, “Fish so healthy you’ll live forever.”
You gotta love it when customers quote memorable lines from your ads.
Anyone who has been in advertising longer than 10 minutes knows that saying, “Mention this ad and receive 10 percent off,” doesn’t work.
My theories are:
1. It makes people feel like Oliver Twist asking for another bowl of porridge.
2. Customers fear they’re going to mention the ad and some mouth-breathing employee is going to say, “What ad?” If they answer, “The ad that says I get ten percent off for mentioning it,” they risk Mouth Breather saying with a snort and a sneer, “Nice try.” Or worse, MB throws his head back and shouts across the store, “Ralphy! Do you know anything about an ad that says this guy gets ten percent off?”
Play it safe. Plant a word flag with a Right Hook. Customers mention word flags because it’s fun; a moment of friendly connection that’s guaranteed to make 3 people smile:
1. The witty customer who repeats the line.
2. The happy advertiser who hears it, and
3. The above-average writer who wrote it.
Be that above-average writer.
Roy H. WilliamsSphere: Related Content
from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Don't Aim Too High with Cold Calls
Just because you can make a cold call on a mover and shaker doesn't mean that you will get the sale.
Research shows that the most successful salespeople don't call at higher levels than their less successful colleagues. The best salespeople start their calls at the level where the problems are, which is generally lower in the organization.
Once they understand the prospect's problems, they may move up the ladder if it's necessary to close the sale.
Source: Wesley Forcier, president of the sales and marketing firm Alpha Marketing
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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If you're willing to do the work.
Today the work involves using social media in the way that social is the most effective, as a communication tool. And by communication, I mean two-way communication.
It's what I do and it has lead to all kinds of good things which I'll go into more detail one day.
How to Become a Newsmaker
When you're ready to position yourself as a media resource, says blogger Nettie Hartsock, you can hire publicists who pitch your expertise to journalists—or you can start making news at your blog. "The media is constantly sourcing blogs and the experts who write them to feature in both online and offline news stories," she writes. "Almost every single cable news show incorporates experts who are identified only by their blog or website." Further, she notes, the AP has announced it will now credit bloggers in news stories.
According to Hartsock, media outlets and bloggers enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. "Offline and online publications will assume that if you're quoted in a story, you will also link to that story on your blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. and that will help drive more readers to the media publication itself," she notes. "It's a win-win."
So how do you become a newsmaker? Hartsock has this advice:
- "Be ahead of the stories of the day and offer your expert opinion via your blog before you're asked to," she suggests. Make an interesting argument, offer an unusual angle and demonstrate your expertise. Don't forget to write clean, quotable copy that's snark-free.
- Give your posts titles with a newsy hook. "Look at the headlines on major media sites," she says, "and use the same form for some of your blog posts." A title should communicate the post's basic premise and whet a reader's appetite for what she will find once she clicks on the link.
The Po!nt: You've been pitching the media all this time—now let the media come to you.
Source: Nettie Hartsock's blog. Click here for the full post.Sphere: Related Content
However, even though the world around us may be dreary and depressing, that in no way reduces our personal need to do the best we can. That means we all have a responsibility to stay motivated.
It is amazing what a difference a few degrees of attitude adjustment can make in our performance. Try this little exercise. Tell yourself these things: "Business is terrible. All of my customers are struggling. Nobody wants to see me, and when they do, it's just to complain." Now wallow in those thoughts for a moment, and note how much energy and enthusiasm you have.
Now, think the opposite: "I have great opportunities. My customers need me more today than ever. I have valuable solutions for them. It's a great time to have this job." Roll those around in your mind for a while. Note how much energy and enthusiasm you have.
As you reflect on this exercise, it's clear that your energy, enthusiasm and drive to succeed come as a result of your thoughts. Here is one of the most powerful truths known to mankind: You can control your thoughts.
Going beyond "Positive Thinking"
Succeeding in difficult times depends a great deal on our motivation. Staying motivated requires us to take charge of our thoughts.
I've heard dozens of salespeople say, "I've tried positive thinking. It just isn't me." I agree that it is difficult to patch a bunch of positive thoughts on top of an essentially negative personality. The issue is deeper than that. Let's, therefore, examine the deeper issues.
At the heart of motivation lies a pair of powerful beliefs that you must embrace if you are going to successfully motivate yourself. Without a wholehearted commitment to these foundational beliefs, all the techniques and tactics for self-motivation are like spreading wallpaper over crumbling plaster. It may hold temporarily, but it is soon going to deteriorate into a mess.
Here's the first foundational principle: You must believe that you can do better than you are now doing. The second is this: You must accept that it is your responsibility to do so.
It's simple and commonsense, but, the more I observe people and salespeople specifically, the more convinced I am that the majority of people do not share these core beliefs. Rather, they are in the habit of making excuses for their situation. They believe fate, not their actions, determines their success. They believe success is for someone else, not them. They never really grab unto the first of these foundational principles.
Others believe that they can achieve greater degrees of success. They embrace the first principle, intellectually, but they never internalize the second. They become content with their situation and remain in pre-established comfort zones. They look at their manager as the person who is responsible for their success, or lack thereof. Maybe it's their parent's fault or their spouse's, or... the list goes on.
Whether you are struggling with a lack of energy that accompanies a bad day, or you're depressed and frustrated with your lack of progress on a larger scale, examine your core beliefs first. If you really accept these two principles, you have the keystone in place to become highly motivated.
Having said that, here are a couple proven techniques you can use to keep yourself motivated day-to-day.
Have a Compelling Purpose
Have something you are working to accomplish. This can be an important and compelling goal like saving enough money for a down payment on a house. When you are working toward something like that, your emotions of the moment tend to be a lower priority than your drive to achieve. If you are trying to make money for a home for your family, so what if you're tired or depressed? You get out and do it.
The same is true for having a compelling purpose. I believe that every salesperson should be able to articulate clearly his or her purpose in life. I once began a ten-week sales training program with a requirement that everyone write a two-sentence "life purpose." Why? Because it gives power and focus to everything you do. In your job as a salesperson, there will many difficult times when things don't go your way. You may lose a big deal, or be unable to get anyone to return your calls. At times like these, it helps to view them within the context of a larger perspective: your life purpose.
Choose Your Thoughts
Proactively put positive thoughts into your mind. Make a point of taking charge of your mind and the kind of thoughts you choose to think. Wise and thoughtful people for ages have discovered an extremely powerful principle: Your actions arise from your thoughts, and you can choose your thoughts.
Controlling and managing your thoughts is one of the basic tenants of Zen Buddhism, for example. In the Christian context, the apostle Paul said, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Philosophers, educators, and thinkers of every generation conclude the same thing.
But the power of this truth is not reserved just for philosophers. Salespeople can use it as well. The reason you may feel depressed or anxious is because you are thinking depressing or anxious thoughts. Change your thoughts, and you can change your feelings. Change your emotions, and you can change your behavior. Change your behavior and you can change your results. It's not as difficult as it may sound.
Do this: invest in a couple of audio programs filled with good, positive stuff, or find something at the local library. As you drive between appointments and on your way home from work, listen to those tapes or CDs. You'll find yourself thinking positive thoughts. Those positive thoughts will lead to a more positive attitude. That attitude will manifest in more focused actions. Those actions will lead to better results.
There is no limit to the amount of positive, educational material available to you. If you are not regularly exposing yourself to some of this, it is because you are choosing to not be motivated.
Succeeding in difficult times requires you to take charge of your motivation. Now is the time to take this most important step to becoming a true professional.
Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B salespeople and sales managers to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He's authored seven books and presented in 47 states and seven countries. Visit his site here. This article is excerpted from Top Dog Recession-Busting Sales Secrets. Sphere: Related Content