Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doing it Like Tony


What Zappos Can (Still) Teach Us About Customer Service

In the last few years, Zappos has become as famous for its stellar customer service as for the shoes, apparel and accessories it sells. And on a recent visit to the Zappos headquarters, blogger Chris Moody was impressed by the lessons the company continues to teach. For instance:

An extraordinary hiring program takes time and money, but it's a good investment. "We discussed one example of a candidate that had 16—yes SIXTEEN—interviews before joining the Zappos team," he writes. "Once you join the team, the folks in your department must all approve of you. In other words, you fit their culture." The company helps employees maintain professional momentum with progression plans, ongoing coaching and the opportunity to shape their jobs to fit their passions.

Leading by example doesn't mean much unless employees can actually see the example. Zappos founder Tony Hsieh occupies a cubicle just like everyone else. And when the holidays bring millions of orders, he fields phone calls alongside his entire team.

Metrics don't matter if they don't help you reach your goals. Zappos wants repeat customers who tell their friends about the company. Accordingly, it measures customer service representatives on net promoter scores (NPS) and personal service levels (PSL). "We discussed several 7+ hour phone calls with some resulting in no sales," notes Moody. "How would you react if one of your direct reports was on the phone for 7 hours and didn't make a sale?"

The Po!nt: To illustrate how exceptional customer service improves your bottom line, Moody quotes his friend Scott Stratten: "People don't spread meh."

Source: Chris Moody.

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What's Mama Gonna Do?

Time to start making predictions for the new year, this is from Mediapost.

Dusting Off The Crystal Ball For 2011
Every January, I predict trends within the mom market and how companies might better connect with mothers in the coming year. However, I've come to realize that, since most marketing professionals are putting their finishing touches on their 2011 Mom marketing plans now, making predictions for next year now is more timely and relevant. So why wait? Halloween is over, Christmas ads are fattening our Sunday papers already, and moms are already exhibiting the behaviors I believe will drive the smartest marketing tactics for 2011.

1. Moms will hit the big screen, well, the computer screen at least. Online mom broadcasting will become as popular and common as blogging. You see it with the emergence of The Pulse Network, the continued growth of MomTV and the expansion of most mom bloggers into "their blog name +". More moms are discovering the ease of connecting with their peers face to face via video chat, webisodes and online digital content.

This means that companies will quickly follow in their desire to be a part of these digital communities. Marketers should begin to recognize that online video doesn't have to be professionally produced to be effective in capturing the attention of mothers and that enlisting moms to step in front of the camera to talk about your brand can be a great buzz builder.

2. Local will become the new global. Many of the most popular global and national mom bloggers are beginning to realize that they influence as many local moms as they do moms across the U.S. At the same time, they are also getting requests from local businesses to help them tap the mom market and localize social media. Moms are reacting by creating local sites that are scalable yet focus on an individual city or region.

Two examples include Sarah Pinnix, who gained popularity with her blog,, and now with her local site, NC Blog Buzz Network, and Andrea Deckard, whose first blog,, attracted brands like Pepsi and Disney and has since launched, featuring, a local blog network. Both of these secondary sites contain local advertisements and attract moms in the local community.

3. There's a Mom-App for that. Moms love applications. Why? Because most of the apps they are downloading help them save time or money. Marketers need to recognize an application as another way to deliver relevant content to a mother and a means to continue a valuable dialogue. Remember the application doesn't necessarily need to be pushing content out but can be a branded tool that makes sense for you to sponsor.

4. Foursquare for product, pricing and availability. Technology will finally catch up with moms who already tweet when they find a great price on bread at Walmart or find a scarce toy on the shelf at Target during the holidays. In 2011, we will see moms covering each other's backs by sharing best price and product availability news all in one place.

Currently this information is available, but scattered among niche topic blogs or Silicon Valley start-ups trying to race to market with the hottest new tool for moms. The problem with the latter lies with middle age or college men trying to imitate word of mom with databases and testosterone (no offense to anyone).

5. Companies will finally recognize Moms as business owners, inventors and professionals. I actually predicted this trend in 2010, 2009 and 2008. I have had it on my list since 1999. I think it's me, throwing it out there each year, hoping it will be the year it finally happens. For the companies who do connect with moms as business owners, the payoff is great.

This year, Kimberly-Clark (through the Huggies brand) launched, a program that award grants to worthy mom inventors. It awarded its first round of grants last month to 15 moms who have produced millions of impressions via Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs. Additionally, Kimberly-Clark has won several industry awards for this innovative program. Supporting moms as business owners is a wide-open opportunity (but not for long) and allows brands to demonstrate their support of "mompreneurs" on a whole new platform.

I hope I am sharing these insights with you soon enough to impact your 2011 marketing plans. Take a look at the programs and campaigns you conducted in 2010. Are the technologies and tactics outdated or have they passed the test of time? If it's time to try something new, you have five great ways to tap the mom market in 2011.

Maria Bailey is CEO of BSM Media, and author of "Marketing to Moms," "Trillion Dollar Moms" and "Mom 3.0: Marketing With Today's Mothers." She is also Host of MomTalkRadio, www.momtalkradio, co-Founder of, and For more than a decade, Maria and BSM Media have connected brands around the globe with the mom market. Contact her at or follower her on Twitter @momtalkradio. Follow her on Twitter @ MariaBailey or reach her here.

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When you argue, you lose

from my email:

Sales Tip #70

Dated: 11 November,2010

Always take the customer’s point of view. More importantly – always work to help the customers achieve their goals.

Try to demonstrate a willingness to support your customers in growing their companies and fulfilling their business needs and desires. This attitude will go a long way in gaining their returned support and their appreciation for your expertise and advice. They will soon realize that they can rely on you for excellent input and will value your efforts.

By taking the customer’s point of view, you will automatically think from their perspective, making decisions that will benefit the business and add value to their bottom line. There are very few customers who can say “no” to that kind of service!

Click here to read this post at The Science and Art of Selling by Alen Majer.

602-100 Strachan Ave, Toronto, ON, M6K 3M6

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
In a fortuitous development for citrus growers, the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) is launching a digital campaign for Florida orange juice featuring TV personality Nancy O'Dell, just as her visibility is on the rise, big-time. The campaign also employs educator/parenting expert/author Michele Borba, a frequent guest on "The Today Show" and talk shows. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"We are the ultimate considered purchase: you buy this product, you could lose your life. Right now, you aren't signing up for employment, you are signing up for deployment. So transparency is critical. The thing in Afghanistan is real. The thing in Iraq is real. The chances are very good that recruits will be deployed, so the onus is on us to talk about it in a no-BS way." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Ultimate Rewards is available for Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Ink from Chase and Chase debit card members. Marketing for the promotions include a microsite at which includes tips from gift giving expert Leah Ingram. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Our business is about protecting businesses and consumers from online threats, and the question came up, 'How can we protect consumers from themselves?," Webroot chief marketing officer Chris Benham tells Marketing Daily. "It's based on the same idea [as other inebriation tests]. We thought we'd do it in a lighthearted way." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
CEO Seth Goldman says the company still eschews advertising, preferring the kind of guerilla marketing tactics it has been using from day one. Speaking this week at the Conference Board in New York, Goldman recounted how 13 years ago, as he was making the tea in his kitchen, his first retail point, Whole Foods Market, expressed interest. ...Read the whole story >>

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Smell Good, Look Good...

One of my favorite conversation games I play on Sunday morning at a local coffee shop is finding the exceptions to the claims from one of the older guys who uses terms like, "Always" and "Never".

I just like to prove him wrong.

But there is power in statistics too. It helps us to recognize trends, buying habits, etc.

Like this report about 20 year olds:

External Validation Drives Gen Y Purchases

While Gen Y consumers are considerably more engaged in societal issues than those in older generations, they are 15% to 25% less likely to base their actual purchasing decisions on issues they deem important, according to research from attitudinal targeting company Resonate Networks.

Instead, those 18 to 34 are most likely to buy products that reflect and convey their personal achievement and success to others.

Compared to those 35 and older, Gen Y's are more likely to base purchases on product attributes that include innovation, esthetics, popularity and prestige, the research shows. In fact, they are five times more likely to purchase products perceived as prestigious, and more than twice as likely to buy products they consider popular or esthetically appealing.

While concern about status is clearly involved, the underlying drivers are external validation of personal progress and self-expression, as opposed to braggadocio. "These young adults are finding their place in the world, and looking for products that can help communicate what they stand for," says Nick Tabbal, SVP research for Resonate. "Many define success as growing and maturing as a person. And they tend to view brands as a means of expressing themselves, which is good news for brands."

Prompted about which values they deem important in products and services, Gen Y's are more likely than older consumers to rank a number of personal achievement and social interaction factors as "very important."

Comparing the percentages of Gen Y's and older consumers who rank these values as very important, with older consumers indexed at 100, here is how Gen Y indexes: "show others I have succeeded" (191); "show the world where I am heading as a person" (176); "help me achieve more in the future" (139); "help me feel attractive" (129); "make me feel like I've attained important milestones in my life and career" (126); "show others I am doing important things" (123); "reward my hard work and success" (122); and "show others that I am responsible" (107).

The values ranked very important by the highest percentages of Gen Y's included "help me achieve more in the future" (29%, versus 21% of those 35 and up); "reward my hard work and success" (27% versus 22% of elders); and the "responsible" and "attractive" values (each at 21%, versus 19% and 16%, respectively, of elders).

In addition to image-conscious criteria, Gen Y consumers -- like older generations -- emphasize value, functionality and quality in making purchasing decisions. (Younger Gen Y's are more value-conscious than older ones.)

As noted, in comparison with older generations, Gen Y's are more engaged in societal issues -- engagement being defined as having taken actions such as joining advocacy groups, attending rallies, writing to politicians, and writing articles or blogs on issues. For instance, they are 48% more engaged in climate-change issues, 36% more engaged in energy issues, and 24% more engaged in animal rights issues.

However, in general, perceptions of a product's or brand's or company's performance in relation to such issues is a secondary factor in their buying decisions. "The greater emphasis is on what the product can do for me, versus what it can do for society," sums up Tabbal. Still, once a product or service meets the desired image and value criteria, Gen Y's are willing to pay more for it if it or the company that produces it reflects or contributes to the issues they care about.

Based on the research, Resonate recommends that marketers looking to attract and build loyalty with Gen Y consumers:

  • Align a brand's values with the values of subsegments within Gen Y.
  • Use messaging that spotlights product attributes that are perceived to enhance a consumer's image and prestige, but also highlight product value.
  • Focus primary messaging on personal achievement attributes and value, rather than pricepoint.
  • If possible, include secondary messaging that mentions corporate responsibility initiatives.
Resonate offers attitudinal targeting to online advertisers, using ongoing, online research (representative of the U.S. adult online population) to gather and analyze data on attitudes and behaviors across a wide range of social issues and lifestyle topics. This data is then correlated with permission-based data on which sites consumers visit most frequently.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 10/21/10)

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7 Questions to ask Yourself

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Preparing for the Sales Call

Sales representatives can improve their preparedness by asking and answering for themselves questions such as:

1. What data might help me engage and intrigue my prospect?

2. What is the main objective of my meeting with this prospect?

3. What possible issues might be influencing my prospects buying decision?

4. How can I create desire for my product in my prospect?

5. What questions might my prospect ask me and how will I answer?

6. What hurdles can I anticipate between where the sale is now and finalizing the sale?

7. How will my presentation help my prospect understand the value I offer?

Source: Steve Young, CEO of esm4, Inc., and founder of The Sales Standard

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
Ford's Doug Scott says fuel economy is the biggest unmet need in pickups. He says customers have said if there is a manufacturer who can deliver significant improvement in fuel economy -- 20% or greater improvement -- then they will consider switching brands. "The good news for Ford is, the owners of GM and Toyota trucks are more fuel conscious, so our opportunity to conquest is enhanced." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Karl Greenberg
The company takes the same contrarian approach to branding, according to Kuhlmann, with pithy, sometimes risqué, copy ("Bank fees are the sand in your swimsuit." "Dear spending, it's not you. It's me.") And outré things like sponsoring movies on the beach, taking over subway rides, hot air balloon contests, and wrapping cars orange. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
TV ads, called "Who's on your list?," are scheduled to air beginning next week on major TV and cable networks, and an additional spot will promote its Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree online initiative. The Plano, Tex.-based retailer will also use outdoor, print, digital and direct mail, as well as mobile and social media marketing. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Restaurant gift-card sales rose significantly during this year's first half. At QSRs, the number of cards sold rose 12.4% and their total dollar value rose 14%, with the average gift-card amount up 1.4%, to $13.45, according to First Data numbers reported in Nation's Restaurant News. Moreover, the dollar value of reloads of QSR gift cards rose 47%, compared to a 25% increase all types of merchants. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The Dallas-based airline has more than 750 employees who currently serve in the National Guard and Reserves, along with thousands of customers who served or are serving in the armed forces. Southwest is working with select nonprofit organizations across the country throughout November to thank and give back to the military service members and their families. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The Pernod-Ricard brand is stressing its Mexican heritage and coffee and sugar cane roots in a new advertising campaign highlighting the brand as "muy delicioso." The effort from TBWA/Chiat/Day, moves away from the Mayan and Incan of previous campaigns to one with a lighter touch that emphasizes the product's Veracruz origins and drinks that don't require a cream-based mixer. ...Read the whole story >>
by Mark Walsh
Nearly four in ten mobile users are disappointed with applications from their favorite brands, according to a new study by Harris Interactive commissioned by design agency EffectiveUI. The survey of 781 online adults who download and use mobile apps found that 38% are dissatisfied with branded apps. Nearly 70% agreed that a mobile app that isn't useful or easy to use contributes to a negative perception about a brand. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

Our Weekly update from Amy @ Mediapost:

Jean-Claude Van Damme for Sony. T-Pain for Toshiba computers. Mr. Peanut speaks. Let's launch!

SonySony's latest in-dash audio/video navigation system comes equipped with TomTom technology, allowing drivers to listen to music and find their final destinations. That's something to sing about. The brand launched two music videos that use driving directions as emotional lyrics. The rock ballad, by "GpyeS," sounds like an authentic love song, until one pays attention to the lyrics, giving directions through Los Angeles: "Drive north 6.1 miles. Then continue onto Highway 53 West. Towards Fresno. Take Exit 1A. You missed your turn. Recalculating Route, Recalculating Route." It's fantastic. Watch it here. The R&B video is similar to Beyonce's "Single Ladies," complete with three scantily clad women dancing in unison while giving directions throughout Chicago. See it here. 180LA created the videos.

KindleIt's not Thanksgiving yet, but that doesn't deter holiday ads from running. launched a pair of TV spots Monday for its $139 Kindle. "Zest" highlights the portability and versatility of Kindle, comparing it to the size of a paperback book, while easily transportable in a handbag or pants pocket. And if it gets dirty, your dog can lick it clean! Watch it here. In the next ad, seen here, Grandma can't keep track of all the book genres that interest her grandson, so she buy him a Kindle, letting him choose what to read and download first. The ads were created in-house and produced by Eyeball.

Mr. PeanutSince 1916, Mr. Peanut has never had a voice. Until now. And it's a famous one: Robert Downey Jr., who's also the voiceover for Nissan ads stateside. Planters launched its "Naturally Remarkable" campaign yesterday, giving viewers an inside look into Mr. Peanut's personal life. His top hat, cane and monocle remain part of his identity. The debut ad, seen here, takes place at Mr. Peanut's holiday party. An unexpected guest shows up: Richard the nutcracker. Cue to a hysterical close-up of Mr. Peanut's head, bandaged from a close encounter. Mr. Peanut turns his head; Richard makes his move, but Mr. Peanut expects this and shoves his cane inside Richard's mouth. Now, the party can safely continue. This ad is very precious and I can't wait for the next batch of ads. And check out this holiday card where Mr. Peanut sings "The Christmas Song." BEING New York, a spin-off of TBWA, created the campaign.

M&M'sCanadians, be on the lookout for M&M's throughout Toronto. Specifically, Red, who's gone missing. The search begins on, where Canadians can use a version of Google Maps Street View API to look for three virtual Toronto locations where Red is hidden. Remaining M&M colors will seed clues to Red's location through Facebook on M&M'S Canadian fan page. A video posted on its Facebook page shows how Red went missing in action. It involves Yellow spilling water on a computer keyboard, causing Red to get sucked inside the computer. Watch it here. Canadians can also follow Red on Twitter to receive clues and discuss the search with others, using the hashtag #FindRed. Red will also be checking into Toronto locations using Foursquare. Wild postings throughout the city contain QR codes that release a community clue about Red when activated. With all these check-ins and clues, this should be one easy find. The grand-prize winner receives a red smart coupe for two. Proximity Canada created the campaign.

DVDSony Pictures Home Entertainment in Australia launched "The Great DVD Amnesty," an effort aimed to boost DVD sales throughout the holiday season. The program encourages consumers to turn in DVDs that no longer get watched and receive $5 per DVD. Of course, you have to buy a specially marked DVD to receive the $5. The ad packs numerous punches, each coming from spokesman Jean-Claude Van Damme. That's right, JCVD angrily hits a punching bag, getting his aggression out at feel-good, fluffy movies that hide in the back of most people's DVD collections. He's mad as hell and will not take it anymore. See it here. There's also a Web site to guide consumers through the DVD returning process, a wall of shame and a section to send a Van Damme-a-gram. iris Sydney created the campaign.

T-PainT-Pain collaborated with Toshiba on its latest line of laptops. It probably wasn't the type of partnership he had in mind. The rapper met with Toshiba executives and gave a technical, passionate pitch, while holding a sandwich. Whenever he spoke, food would fly in his face and onto nearby laptops. The meeting left one woman with a bright idea: a wipeable keyboard. See a 60- and 30-second spot here and here. Goodness Mfg. created the ads.

JackJack in the Box launched "Dentist," a lame ad starring Jack feeling the effects of laughing gas prior to having a tooth extracted. Jack is so loopy that he promises free tacos to everyone! So get down to a Jack in the Box on Nov.16 to receive two free tacos after 2 pm. Watch the ad here, created by Secret Weapon Marketing.

NissanTBWA/Toronto created this ad for Nissan Sentra SE-R earlier this year in an effort to increase interest for Nissan in Canada. "Drift" is a short film that follows a 1/10-scale model remote-control Sentra SE-R as it maneuvers through town. At first glimpse, viewers can't see that the car is a remote-control vehicle until it's shown from an aerial view. Then the mini vehicle races through leaves and nearly gets hit by a life-sized truck. The spot ends with the remote-control car driving atop a pizza box, through a doggie door, and parking beside an actual-sized model of itself. See it here.

Washington Post appRandom iPhone App of the week:'s blog, "The Big Picture," has been made into an iPad and iPhone app. The photo blog presents news stories through pictures from around the world. "The Big Picture" contains pictures from the Icelandic volcano eruption, the war in Afghanistan and planet earth, among other topics. New pictures are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The app costs $2.99 and can be downloaded from the App Store.

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

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Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

Besides this blog which is updated 3 to 4 times daily with wisdom from others, (thus the name "Collective Wisdom"), I also write my own bits of wisdom once or twice a week on this blog:

Click on Pic

Here's a sample from earlier this year:

A Business without a Plan

Sure, it would be nice to just "wing it", and be successful. But life doesn't work that way.

Earlier this month I got a phone call from a barber who was calling to get a quote for advertising for the salon that he works at. So I set up an appointment and visited them a couple days later and discovered that they were "Winging it".

9 months ago they moved from one side of town to downtown. I've driven by their shop 50 times, yet never noticed them. Even the day of my meeting I went around the block twice before I found them.

At this particular small business, they have about 6 or 7 employees including the two owners and they must be doing a decent job in order to stay in business for the past several months. They are planning a "Grand Opening" next month and reached out to a couple radio stations that they listen to for ideas.

I was honest with them. I told them what it would take to build their business and they really didn't want to hear it.

A 52 week advertising plan with a minimum of 15 ads per week at $400 per week is not what they wanted to hear.

I predict that their store front will have a For Rent sign in the window within the next 52 weeks instead.

Now, some other radio salesperson will sell them what they want, but it's not what they need.

The reason so many businesses close within 2 years, and even fewer last 5 years, is they don't have a plan to get customers who will pay them money, which in turn keeps them in business.

I understand that many of these people have the best of intentions, they have a great idea, they are above average in their area of expertise, but they are often missing that one ingredient, the advertising and marketing side of success.

And it hurts to see these fine people invest their hearts, dreams, time, passion and funds into something that won't last.

I've said this before and it bears repeating over and over and over again:

"If you are planning a party but never send out invitations, NO ONE WILL SHOW UP."

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90 days

from Jill Konrath:

How to Reach Your Unreachable Goals - Quickly!

When I hung up the phone, I was in a state of shock. I'd just agreed to do something that was vital to my business growth, yet totally unreasonable to accomplish in only 90 days. To top it off - I had no extra time in my already over-flowing schedule.

It all started when leadership coach Caitlin Miller invited me to participate in the Breakthrough Game. When it came time to identify my goal, she insisted that I select one that was the "other side of possible."

So, with a great deal of angst and a bit of excitement, I committed to increase my database by 50% in three months.

Was I crazy? Perhaps. But trying to pull this off in such a short timeframe was a challenge I couldn't resist.

The Failure of Incrementalism

Most of us are used to dealing with incremental goals. Our quota goes up 15% each year. We decide that we'd like to earn 10% more money.
We'd want to increase our closing ratio by 5%.

These small increases keep us thinking and acting small. We commit to making one extra call each day. We focus on working harder. Perhaps we even think about working smarter.

But the reality of it is, incremental goals feel like a burden. They don't inspire us to greater heights. Mostly, they just wear us down as we face a never-ending cycle of doing more, more, more.

The Real Secret to Success

When we set unreachable goals that require us to stretch beyond what we think we're capable of achieving, we're forced to consider new options.

Take my situation: It took me seven years to build by database to its current size. Now I needed to increase it by 50% in a totally unrealistic timeframe. Clearly, my normal modus operandi wouldn't work.

New strategies were needed - ones that I'd never considered before. I had to think differently about this challenge.

I started by asking new questions:

  • How could I double my database virtually overnight?
  • Where could I find a critical mass of people who'd want to receive my newsletter?
  • What partnerships could I put together?
  • What resources did I have at my disposal?
  • If I had all the money in the world, what would I do?
  • What would Steve Jobs do if he were given this challenge?

You see, your brain cannot resist an unanswered question. It goes to work connecting ideas and tidbits of information to create new options for you. It operates on hyper-alert as it goes about the day, searching for possible solutions from what it observes, reads or hears.

New ideas start to pop up- ones you may never have considered before.
Some will be good. Others will be lousy or off-the-wall, but they may be just what you need to spark the next great idea.

The Clock Starts Ticking

When you give yourself an unreachable goal with an unrealistic deadline, you also need to plot out a plan. Personally, I divided my 90 days into three one-month segments.

In the first 30 days, I focused on exploring the challenge. I actively searched for ideas that I could implement. I challenged myself to find solutions that wouldn't push me to the brink, were easy to implement and low cost.

I spent the next 30 days, creating some lead generation tools as well as modifying my website. And, the final 30 days were allotted for implementation.

Did I achieve my goal? Not quite. I only grew my database by 25% in those 90 days, but that in itself was an unachievable goals. I was totally elated with these results - especially since I abandoned the project in the final three weeks in order to meet my publisher's deadline for my newest book, SNAP Selling.

I Double Dare You

Now that I've told you my story, it's your turn. What kind of unreachable goal can you set for yourself in the upcoming 90 days?

It has to be something that you'd really like to achieve - and, as Caitlin Miller says, "is on the other side of possible." You have to feel a little bit scared to tackle it, but it excites you too.

How about increasing your hot prospects by 50% in the next three months? Perhaps it's landing five new appointments with big companies in your area? Maybe it's pulling together an educational event for your prospects and getting 35 people to attend?

Think about it! I double dare you to take this challenge. And 90 days from now, I'd like to hear what you accomplished!


Jill Konrath, sales strategist and bestselling author of Selling to Big Companies and SNAP Selling, is a frequent speaker at annual sales meetings, kick-off events and professional conferences.

For more articles like this, visit Sign up for the newsletter and get a BONUS Sales Call Planning Guide.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Tanya Irwin
The Atlanta-based company is calling it "the hotel industry's largest Twitter exclusive Black Friday deal." IHG's more than 3,100 U.S. locations will participate in the Black Friday frenzy. People must follow IHG on Twitter to uncover the link where they can find the deal. The goal is two-fold: to reward current customers and reach new ones, according to Del Ross, IHG vice president U.S. sales and marketing. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Sears' Thanksgiving Day event will include such doorbuster deals as a Panasonic 58' 1080p Plasma TV, plus two bonus Blu-Ray DVDs, for $1,099, a savings of $745, and diamond or ruby pendants for $20, regularly $60. Kmart, also owned by Sears Holdings, has been open on Thanksgiving Day for more than a decade, he says. "It will give people a chance to shop when it is a little less hectic," says a spokesperson. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The application has a potentially large consumer base of women from their late teens through 30s. Says a spokesperson: "We see mobile as the key way to connect with these women -- college-age girls, for instance, who are constantly on the go and who often don't even have time to check something on their computer, much less track their periods." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The "Let's Go Further" campaign positions Canon as the natural imaging choice for all businesses regardless of their size, type or particular need. The print campaign, which began this week, uses striking photography and simple headlines (such as "Begin" or "Possibility") to convey the message that incorporating the Océ brand means new offerings and solutions for businesses. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The commercials feature Thomas reminiscing about her father, his philosophy and his bent for new, sometimes out-there ideas, with emphasis on how proud he would be to have the new, premium cheeseburgers bear his name. "They would have made dad more than proud -- they would've made him hungry," says Thomas. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"Consumers need to be compensated for the intangible costs of switching," says a marketing professor. "People spend a lot of time adding to their queues in Netflix, for example, and that would be lost in switching over. So there's a built-in reluctance to switch brands, and this model helps marketers know exactly how low the price needs to go to make it worth their while." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"What we have here is -- in part -- the public's desire to seem environmentally aware, so when they speak with their hearts rather than wallets, they will choose the environmentally friendly car," says Synovate Motoresearch's Stephen Popiel. "But when push comes to shove, people will still gravitate toward the best value." ...Read the whole story >>

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Water, Dad, and Crappy Service

William Shatner has the staring role in the CBS Comedy Sh*t My Dad Says. I prefer Bill in his previous role on Boston Legal.

The Sh*t My Dad Says is based on a Twitter feed and is now also a book, I have a copy that somehow I won from the author.

As I get older, I realize that my fathers voice, or at least his words are coming out of my mouth now. I still feel like a 35 year old, but that was 15 years ago. There are some generational changes, but somethings never go out of style, like customer service, manners, competency, etc.

Randy Clark of TKOGraphix wrote about these things recently on his company blog. If you recognize any of these things going on at your place of business, please stop and train or re-train, or replace those who are responsible for dealing with your customers.

Here's Randy:

Water Jugs and Customer Service

by Randy Clark

Every Sunday, I take dad to the grocery store. On the way, we stop by a
big-box hardware store to pick up two 5-gallon jugs of water. The emptied returned jugs are supposed to be processed through a shoot, into a bin, followed by a return receipt. This is only in theory. Dad and I have done this for over a year, and have never received a receipt. Dad usually waits patiently in the car for my return with the water and the day’s water story. It is almost always a challenge, but today …was …special. I got in line with an empty cart. The water, which weighs 40 lb., was by the door on the way out. I waited patiently for my turn. When it was my turn, I politely said:

Me “I returned two empties, and I’d like two 5-gallon waters, please.”
First Cashier “There’s nothing in your cart.”
Me “Yes, I know; I returned two empties, and I’d like two 5-gallon waters, please.”
First Cashier “They’re over there.” (She points)
Me “Thank you, I know, I’d like two of them, please.” The cashier didn’t say anything. She simply pointed.
Me “Can you ring me up, and I’ll pick them up on my way out, please?”
First Cashier “No, I have to scan them.”

So you know, in over a year of my coming to this business, no one at the big-box has ever scanned the water. They have charged me the wrong price, not credited my returns, called management to ask for help — but they have never asked to scan the 40 lb., 5-gallon water jugs, because they have one of those little scanner card thingies, like when you buy water-softener salt.

Me “I think you have one of those little scanner card thingies you can scan for the water.”
First Cashier “No… no I don’t, no little scanner card thingy here. You have to bring the water here so I can scan it.”
Me “Okay.”

So I go lug the jugs — it’s only 15-20 feet, not worth arguing. The cashier did not wait the 18 seconds it took me to get the water and bring it back. She had taken the next customer. Several more customers were waiting in line. They looked at me like I was an interloper, a line cutter. The only other open line was shorter. I went to the other line; it only had three customers in front of me. When it was my turn, I politely repeated.

Me “I returned two empties I’d like credited towards these two 5-gallon waters, please.”
Second Cashier
“You want to return these? I can’t take water back!”
“No… I do not want to return these. I returned two empties and I’d like to buy these two (I point) 5-gallon waters, please.”
Second Cashier
“Okay, you know you don’t have to get the jugs and bring them here, because we can scan them from this little scanner card thingy?”
“Thank you, I’ll try to remember.”

Gum-Chomping, Speed-Texting, Teenage Cashier
I do have a point — besides the one atop my head — and it’s a question. Is it me, or has customer service become an afterthought? Is my view skewed because I am, well, old, and fondly remember being greeted, waited on with a smile, and treated as if there was nothing more important than my patronage? Don’t get me wrong — I’m not “that” grumpy, old hermit, who believes there are no friendly people remaining on this planet. That’s my dad’s job. However, poor service happens enough to make me wonder: in this economy, aren’t there niches available for service, or do we accept the gum-chomping, speed-texting, teenage cashier, who ignores us when we ask, “what aisle is the cat food on?”

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It Starts with Communication

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Effective Communication

Think of being in an area where you have a weak signal for your mobile phone. When passing through a poor reception area, receiving is difficult, often your call is dropped -- the interference hinders your ability to communicate effectively. Apply this analogy to personal communication. Whether it is an interview, sales presentation, family discussion or manager-to-employee feedback session; effective communication requires openness and trust.

If you are the sender, here are several tips to increase your effectiveness. PREP: Plan, Rehearse, Edit and Psych. Preparation is key -- plan what you want to communicate. Who, what, where, when, how and why are all elements of the plan. Plan to make your message audience focused by finding out what is important to the receiver of your message, how can you best reach them and why is your communication important to THEM.

During your "PREP," find out as much about your audience as possible, this will help you forge a stronger connection with them. Use the Internet to gather your intelligence. Google them, check them out on LinkedIn, Facebook and company websites. With this information you will be able to relate on a more personal and specific level. Take time to put your audience at ease with you, and the direction you are going, before you attempt to communicate your message. Remember, it is all about them -- not you!

The two-way process requires that you are an effective listener. In order to build trust you need to demonstrate mutual respect, by listening to what your audience is saying. Understand and verify, by repeating back key points and summarizing what you believe the other person has told you. Be helpful and patient in communicating any information that your audience may have difficulty understanding. Ask to be certain there is clarity and understanding for both of you. Remember, we all process information differently.

Several barriers that limit communication:

* We assume that sending messages equals sharing meaning. Think of how we are suffering from information overload, emails, social websites, phone calls, mobile devices and the tyranny of the urgent. How effective is your message in this environment?

* We forget that meanings are held in people, not in words. In our rush to do all that we "must" do we fail to connect and make time for EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.

* Effective communication is not about the speaker's intended is about what the listener perceives. Listen for understanding; build trust with mutual respect and think of the value of each individual.

Source: Sales coach Paul Anovick

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
The 60-second ad, "Inside Elliot's Head," touts the Acura/ ELS 10-speaker audio system, and its 5.1 surround sound system. The key to the effort is that it calls attention to the fact that the system was designed by recording engineer legend Elliot L. Scheiner in a collaboration with Panasonic. His initials are represented by the "ELS" in the Acura sound system's name. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
It may not be as sexy as social media, Internet advertising, or mobile, but shopper marketing is on fire. In the next three years, 83% of food, beverage and consumer product marketers plan to crank up their investments in shopper marketing, with 55% planning increases of more than 5% annually, according to a new report issued today by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Booz & Co. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Procter & Gamble and Walmart continue to head the lists of manufacturers and retailers that perform best in the estimation of their trading partners, according to the just-released 2010 "PoweRanking" study from Kantar Retail. The annual study asks leading retailers to rank manufacturers, and leading manufacturers to rank retailers, in eight key areas relating to the working relationships among trading partners. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Among the participants in the ING New York City Marathon was Marketing Daily's own Karl Greenberg. He says that Nissan's involvement was prevalent throughout the race, though he wasn't anywhere near close enough to the pace car to smell the absence of exhaust. Marketing Daily talks to Marketing Daily about the race. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Traditionally, we're used to seeing a new console launch every four to six years," Tal Blevins, vice president of games content at IGN Entertainment, tells Marketing Daily. "[The gaming companies] are looking to see how they're going to be extending the life of their hardware, and motion gaming is where they're putting that emphasis." ...Read the whole story >>

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Building Relationships

Another great post from Drew's blog:

Marketing tip # 71: How many hooks have you set?

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 05:58 AM PDT

94738500Whether it comes to fish or our customers, the more hooks we have in them, the more likely we're going to be able to keep them!

I'd like to think the "hooks" we have in our customers -- the reasons they can't imagine going anywhere else to buy what we sell, aren't painful, but in fact... they're the little things we do to be so remarkable and so unforgettable, we have earned their business and their love for life.

That's the way we should be setting our hooks. With love. It's all about creating that love affair with our customers.

I was speaking to a banking association last week and told them the story of a bank who happens to have a significant population of 70+ aged customers. Which makes social security day a busy one! Lots of elderly ladies showing up to deposit those checks and then they hang out for awhile.

The bank saw the opportunity and began providing cookies and coffee. It was a white haired networking extravaganza. Now, that's a nice hook.

But the bank tellers took it to a whole new level. They started noticing if some of the regulars hadn't been in the bank for awhile and they took it upon themselves to call those customers (often widows who lived alone) to make sure they were okay and if they needed any assistance. Some of the elderly actually broke down and cried on the phone because they were so touched by the concern.

That's setting a hook with love. And that's how you keep a customer for life.

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It's not the Price

I was digging thru my email archives and found this gem:

Are You Caught in the Trap of Short-Term Sales Rather Than Long-Term Growth?

When times are slow in your business, the easiest thing to do is to cut your prices.

However… as Michele Miller points out, it could also be the strategy that kills your business.

Excerpt: The key is to make a subtle shift in perspective.

Instead of price, focus on VALUE.

What is VALUE?

VALUE is simply “perceived price” vs. “actual price.”

If a customer looks at what a product has to offer, guesses a price in her head, then finds out it costs less than what she expected, that’s VALUE. And VALUE sells every time.

So, how do we talk about VALUE?

Read the full story… Why Your Focus On Low, Low Prices Could Be Killing Your Business

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
Michael Stelmaszek, group creative director at Campbell-Ewald, says the campaign reflects what heavy-duty truck owners actually do socially: poke fun at each other's vehicles. "Truck guys have this kind of debate with one another all the time. And they are well-informed consumers. You can look at it as a bit of an inside joke." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"Macy's is trying to zig when others are zagging," says Sally Mueller, a former marketing exec with Target. "It's trying to rebuild an emotional brand connection, which department stores were once known for, while straddling the balance -- it doesn't want to come across as a middle-tier store, like Penney or Kohl's, and still compete with higher-end stores, plus all the regional players." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The new, all-digital campaign's "Healthy Ha!" theme plays off the brand's name and the fact that "both heart health and laughter help people live longer," bringing personality to the brand and encouraging engagement, says Millennium creative director John Murphy. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The program encompasses music, culinary arts and design through hotel-branded entertainment during on-property experiences. First up is music, with the hotel chain hosting an eclectic fleet of emerging artists at various Renaissance Hotels throughout 2010 and into 2011. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The deal extends Discover's limited involvement in hockey. Discover also can develop hockey-themed rewards and customer experiences across NHL special events. A sweepstakes under Discover NHL Rewards Program offers the winner a chance to spend the day with the Stanley Cup. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
A new television spot openly imitates Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ads. An attractive woman introduces herself as a T-Mobile myTouch 4G smartphone, while a man (who is carrying another man on his back), introduces himself as an iPhone 4. "Who's your friend?" the woman asks. When the man responds that it's the AT&T 3G network, she says: "That will slow you down." ...Read the whole story >>

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