Saturday, January 01, 2011

Classic Ad of the Month

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Gotta Eat in 2011

Some predictions for this new year:

11 Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch For in 2011

Restaurant operators can't be certain about much for 2011, as recent improvements in guest traffic, same-store sales and hiring are far from guaranteed to continue. About the only thing they can expect as they hope for traction in the economy's wobbly recovery is that the industry will continue to look different than it does today.

In forecasting what changes may lie ahead, Chicago-based market research firm Technomic Inc. identified 11 restaurant industry trends for next year.

1. Action in adult beverages

Technomic predicts that as optimism grows in 2011, consumers will want to celebrate with some higher-end alcoholic drinks. As such, retro cocktails and high-end spirits may get more play at fine-dining and independent establishments, craft beers could gain in popularity against their mass-market counterparts, and fast-casual concepts could turn to alcohol as a way to differentiate themselves. Casual-dining chain Ruby Tuesday already has positioned itself to get ahead of this trend, offering $5 premium-well cocktails and craft beers as part of an expanded beverage program that debuted with a rebranding. There also are several smart-phone apps like Find Craft Beer and Happy Houred that will list nearby restaurants offering specialty microbrews.

2. Beyond bricks and mortar

Food trucks are poised to move beyond New York and Los Angeles into more U.S. cities. Not only will gourmet food trucks proliferate, Technomic said, but traditional restaurants also will begin using the tactic as a way to extend their brands into new areas or add revenue streams like catering. Chains like Qdoba, Sizzler, Dairy Queen and Gold Star Chili already have done this. Regulatory agencies in cities with a new food truck presence will be scrambling to keep up.

3. Farmers as celebrities

The era of the celebrity chef may soon give way to that of the star farmer. Look for more attention to be paid to producers and suppliers on menus across the nation as a growing back-to-the-source mentality takes hold in the industry, Technomic said. Farmers and producers may soon be high-profile spokesmen for restaurants and host more special events and dinners. At the chain level, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Domino's Pizza have made their sourcing integral to their marketing -- Chipotle with its "Food With Integrity" campaign and Domino's with its commercials taking place on a dairy farm.

4. Social media and technology: evolutionary spurt

Look for more restaurants to gain a competitive edge with new technologies and applications, including kiosks for ordering and displaying nutritional information, iPads containing wine lists, and hand-held devices for tableside payments. Widespread adoption of location-based social media has a lot of room for scale, indicated not only by megachains Starbucks and McDonald's piloting uses for Facebook Deals, but also by CKE Restaurants' development of its own location-based mobile app, Happy Star Rewards.

5. Korean and beyond

"The Korean taco -- an only-in-America synthesis of Korean-style fillings and a Mexican format -- signals the rise of Korean barbecue and Korean food in general," Technomic writes. While that item made famous by Los Angeles food truck Kogi Korean BBQ-to-Go has the potential to touch off a proliferation of street foods and small plates across the industry, other restaurant dishes may incorporate traditional Korean flavors like kimchee and short rib.

6. Frugality fatigue

Consumers who are able to treat themselves again in 2011 will do so -- meaning that restaurants with a few indulgent menu items or experiences could see an uptick in orders of high-margin and high-price-point dishes. This could spell opportunity not only for casual-dining chains to entice diners with more premium dishes like the Flavor-Loaded Steaks at Applebee's, but also for higher-end chains like Fleming's Prime and Morton's to attract new customers with their bar menus, as they've done throughout the downturn. Technomic also predicted that more gastropubs would pop up next year.

7. How low can you go?

On the other hand, customers will continue to demand everyday value when dining out, Technomic said. As part of any balanced-menu strategy, restaurants should have permanent value fixtures available, not just limited-time offers. In its most recent earnings call, quick-service chain Wendy's said its value-driven LTOs did well with marketing support, but dropped off when advertising was pulled back, which necessitated the reformulation and promotion of its latest everyday-value lineup, "My 99," with seven items for 99 cents.

8. Carefully calibrated brand action

More restaurant concepts will update brand positioning through remodels and new formats, Technomic predicted. Many chains have begun on that front already, beginning with the debut this month of a fast-casual café variant for family dining brand Denny's, which also foresees future growth in nontraditional locations on college campuses. In a move to bolster carryout sales, Bob Evans has added a "Taste of the Farm" grab-and-go area to five of its locations, and plans to remodel 30 to 35 more units over the next six months. McDonald's also plans to remodel hundreds of units this year and next, continuing its image update featuring highlights like the McCafe beverage lineup and free Wi-Fi in its stores.

9. Back to our roots

Consumers will continue to turn to comfort foods when dining out, Technomic projected, creating demand for traditional Southern foods, retro Italian favorites like meatballs, or gourmet updates to nostalgic favorites like doughnuts and popsicles. There also could be more opportunities for family-style service and family-size portions, like the fare offered at Italian dinnerhouse Buca di Beppo, especially if more families have reasons to celebrate in the new year.

10. New competition from C-stores

"Retailers have been encroaching on restaurant turf for some time," Technomic said, "but now the hottest action is among convenience-store operators upgrading their foodservice, where margins are 40 percent to 60 percent instead of the 5 percent typical for gas." Restaurants can prevent customer defection to C-stores by focusing on their differentiated menu items, ambience and service, Technomic said, while other can fight back by taking some of their signatures into grocery stores, as Starbucks, California Pizza Kitchen and P.F. Chang’s have done.

11. Healthful versus indulgent: The little angel says one thing, the little devil another

The balance that restaurants usually strike between healthful and not-so-healthful food items could get complicated in 2011 when many menu-labeling requirements take effect. One possible trend emerging from the new regulations could be an upswing in limited-time offers, which are exempt from nutritional data-disclosure requirements. Technomic also predicted more moves to reformulate entire menus with an eye toward health, like Taco Bell's recent test of a lower-sodium menu, and more menus advertised as under a certain number of calories, similar to Applebee's under-550-calorie lineup.

(Source: Nation's Restaurant News, 11/18/10)

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Start the New Year the Golden Way

from Harvey:

The Golden Rule of Selling

By Harvey Mackay

After many decades of being a business owner and salesman, I have never, ever changed my Golden Rule of Selling: Know Your Customer.

Customers are the reason we open our doors every day, and keep the machines humming all night long. Customers determine what we eat, where we live, whether we stay in business. We can keep our factories and offices going until we run out of money, but unless we have customers to sell to, we have no purpose.

Economic times like we are experiencing right now challenge those selling even the most essential products. That's why knowing your customer positions you to retain business that may otherwise be subject to underbidding. A customer could decide that your product may no longer be necessary.

Anyone can research information on a company. A Google search usually produces more facts than you'll actually need. But the company isn't your real customer. There's a person in that company who makes decisions about how the company is going to spend money, and who will get their business. That's your customer.

I've written many times about the Mackay 66, a 66-question customer profile that I developed as a young salesman. It includes absolutely no information about the envelopes a company buys, but rather focuses on the person who does the buying. What are they like as human beings? What are they proud of accomplishing? What's their life like outside the office? In other words, what makes them tick?

Then, we guard this information with our lives, being very sensitive to how we use it and who has access. This is not office gossip. (You can access the Mackay 66 at my website,

In tough times, having an established relationship with a person often determines the outcome of the sales call. Here's a sample of what I've heard:

  • "We received a lower bid from a different company, but I'm a little concerned about their follow-through." (Our price is more than fair when you consider our track record.)
  • "Our end-of-year budgets are mighty tight; can we arrange for deferred billing?" (Sure, because we know the company is financially sound.)
  • "Our business has really fallen off lately. We'd sure appreciate any business you send our way." (May I take a few of your business cards?)
"Whenever you are faced with tough times, it's time to get busy," writes Tom Hopkins in his book, Selling in Tough Times. The subtitle, Secrets to Selling When No One is Buying, should grab the attention of any salesperson who has experienced a sales slump. But make no mistake, this book is not just for tough times -- the advice applies to every sales presentation you'll ever make.

While there is a goldmine of selling wisdom in every chapter, I was particularly interested in chapter 5 -- "Start by Keeping the Business You Already Have." Hopkins says, "If you have provided an exceptional level of service to your clients, there's a wonderful side benefit. During tough times you will likely be lower on their list of services to reduce or eliminate than another company that hasn't provided your level of extraordinary service."

He summarizes that chapter with five brief points. We all need to remember:
  • Loyalty is built over time and by giving consistent attention to your clients.
  • End every client meeting with these words: "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
  • Have multiple ideas for building client loyalty through phone calls, e-mail, and postal mail.
  • Know how to approach a neglected client to regain their trust and keep their business.
  • Begin a study of other companies that have loyal clients and incorporate some of their strategies into your business.
Hopkins' final bit of advice is critically important. "During challenging times, it's more important than ever to dedicate yourself to training, practicing, and improving everything you do," he writes.

"Being well trained will help you become one of those people who thrives not just now but when things turn back around, as they always do," Hopkins writes. "Don't just rely on your company to train you, either. . . Too many average salespeople try to blame the lack of training or motivation from an external source, such as the company, for their challenges. Nobody can motivate you but you."

In short, you have to ignite your own passion.

Mackay's Moral: Tough times come and go, but great salespeople just keep going.

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

As I wrap up the year, thanks for your support, thanks for your contributions, comments and feedback and stay safe tonight.

In 2011, Collective Wisdom will continue with at least 3 updates daily, 7 days a week including holidays. I am also launching another blog focusing on Social Media. More details next week.

Click and read:

by Nina Lentini
Although we cover a dozen or so industries from automotive to electronics to retail, when it comes to attracting readers to our stories -- well, we are what we eat, apparently. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
When it comes to what consumers do when they go shopping, Marketing Daily readers want to know two things: Who's spending (especially if it's Gen Y), and how much are they spending? Here are the top 10 retail/consumer behavior stories of the year. ...Read the whole story >>
Food and Beverages, Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
Twenty eleven saw food/beverage and restaurant brands pulling out the innovation stops in response to economy-driven "new normal" behaviors -- the former to combat private label incursion and capitalize on more at-home eating, the latter to woo consumers out of their homes at mealtimes. The common ground: CPG's and foodservice brands alike devised highly creative ways to harness social media. ...Read the whole story >>
Tourism, Travel
by Tanya Irwin
There's no power like star power, as evidenced by the attention Marketing Daily readers paid to a story about superstar Beyoncé Knowles starring in a Super Bowl spot for Vizio. ...Read the whole story >>
Electronics, Telecommunications
by Aaron Baar
If there's a new technology or media platform that can enable marketing programs, Marketing Daily readers want to know about it, judging from the most-read stories of 2010 covering the consumer electronics and telecommunications industries. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive, Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
My most-read story in 2010 was about social media. No! Wait. Really? Social media? No surprise, social was the "it" platform for marketers in 2010, and pundits have said it will be so this coming year as well, as metrics become more systematized and go deeper than mere hits and leads. ...Read the whole story >>

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Because Everything is your Marketing

from Villing & Company:

Fix Your Broken Windows

Lesley Langfeldt
Lesley Langfeldt

Fix Your Broken Windows

The broken windows theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may prevent further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime. In his book Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell writes,

“Broken Windows was the brainchild of the criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. Wilson and Kelling argued that crime is the inevitable result of disorder. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the building to the street on which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes.”

Broken windows in business occur when someone doesn’t care enough to pay attention to the details. And why would anyone do business with a company that doesn’t care?

Do you have broken windows? Whether it is wallpaper that is starting to peel, a stained ceiling tile, or a receptionist who doesn’t make a customer feel welcomed, fix your broken windows. Your brand encompasses every customer touch point. If you want to create a consistent brand image in the minds of your customers, make sure every experience is as they would expect. Your customers notice more than you think.

If you would like to receive your own personal "subscription" to Villing & Company's News & Views, click here to get free updates by e-mail or RSS. If you prefer to get updates on Facebook, visit the Villing Facebook Page and click the "Like" button next to our name.

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The Right Focus

from my email:

Sales Tip #78

Dated: 13 December,2010

It is not what the product costs, it is what it saves and earns for the buyer. Remember this when you speak with your customers.

Action Step

Cost is simply one element of the transaction. If a client can be convinced of the added value of a product – how much it can save them further down the line or what it may earn them in future – then the issue of cost fades into the background. As a salesperson you need to demonstrate to your clients how they will benefit from buying your product. Do not focus on the cost. Rather focus on what they will receive by investing in the product and how they can gain an advantage from it. Put the spotlight on the benefits and the issues of cost are far outweighed.

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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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

30 hours left to 2010. Spend them wisely.

Click and read:

by Sarah Mahoney
Describing it as a "makeover on steroids," the Cincinnati-based retailer will seek nominations through its Facebook page, with finalists decided by Facebook voting. The winner will get a total reinvention from Clinton Kelly, Macy's style expert and co-host of TLC's "What Not to Wear." ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
"We believe that MMOs will overwhelm the video game market in 2011," according to GamersFirst. "Gamers will have more MMOs than ever choose from, giving players a variety of games and publishers the biggest marketing challenge. Overall, there will be an MMO catering to each niche of gamer very soon." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Just 13% of beer drinkers currently express a preference for domestic craft or microbrew beers, compared to 43% for domestic and 22% for imported. However, 59% say that they like to try craft/microbrew beers, and 51% say that they would try more of these if they knew more about them, Mintel found. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Kelley Blue Book has come out with its list of new nameplates that the firm thinks will develop a following next year. These aren't redesigns, or next-generation cars and trucks bearing familiar nameplates. Rather, they are entirely new vehicles by automakers hoping to make forays into competitive territory. ...Read the whole story >>

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Social Tips for 2011


Three Ways to Influence Your Influencers

"In simplest terms, businesses are no longer in complete control of their products, brands and messages," writes Susan Gunelius at "End-users are now in control." And those end-users are largely influenced by so-called prosumers—brand and product advocates who use blogs, social networks and forums to shape opinions.

"To stay competitive in this ever-changing environment," she says, "businesses must learn how to harness these forces to their advantage." And once you've identified your key influencers, Gunelius recommends that you take the following steps:

1. Join the online conversation. Find out where your advocates congregate and open a dialogue. "It takes time and persistence to get on the radar screens of prosumers," she notes, "so be sure to consistently participate and offer information and insights that add value to the conversation."

2. Develop relationships. You want to appear human and accessible to any customer you encounter online, but step it up for your prosumers. Send them products and ask for their opinions. Leave comments on blog posts. Send @ replies on Twitter. "Like" a status update on Facebook.

3. Avoid self-promotion or direct marketing. "If they have a relationship with you that is already built on trust and respect, and you don't try to sell to them, but rather offer products, information and insight for their consumption," she says, "they're more likely to value what you give to them and share it with their own audiences, particularly if they believe your product or business can benefit their audiences."

The Po!nt: Prosumers will talk about your product or service one way or the other—so give them the tools and incentives to deliver the message you want them to send.


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Becoming Distinguishable

Are you following the same formula as everyone else?

This week I signed up a new advertising partnership on one of the radio stations I work with.

He is also going to use some other media including at least one other radio station. Each form of paid media is creating their own advertisements.

I had two challenges. First of all, was to distinguish myself in a meaningful way that he would want to spend money with us.

But the second challenge is just as important, and that is to distinguish his business from his competitors.

I have a plan in place and we start January 1st.

For more on this subject, check this out from Drew:

Marketing tip #81: Do you know what they notice?

Posted: 11 Nov 2010 01:46 PM PST

Collegematerials You probably bust a hump (and a decent budget) getting your prospects to notice you.

You study the demographics and know who your target market is. You are an expert in your industry. Your product/service is exceptional. Your marketing materials are professionally produced and tested well with the focus groups.

You got all of the big things right.

And you still may have it wrong.

So often, it's not about the big things. It's about the details. The tiny little thing that becomes the deal breaker or the deal maker.

Let me give you an example. My daughter is a high school senior and due to a lot of hard work on her part, a very successful student. As a result, she's being aggressively pursued by many colleges.

The mailbox is bulging every day with stunning four color brochures. She is receiving letters inviting her to bypass the regular application process and guarantees of academic scholarships of significance.

No argument -- all of these things are the right things. But she isn't noticing.

What's she's noticing is that one school seems to hold her in even higher esteem. Because they send handwritten notes. They take the time to attach a personal message on the drama page of their brochure because she's a drama kid. They send postcards telling her what's happening on campus that she might enjoy.

We toss around words like authentic and transparent. But you know what -- it's a lot easier to talk about than it is to actually do. It takes a lot of time to get the little things right. And you have to be able to sustain it.

So here's the question -- what little thing could you do that they would notice? And do you want their business badly enough to commit to doing it?

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Moving Mountains

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Overcoming 'Sales Inertia'

For top closers, the biggest obstacle is often the fact that a prospect has been doing business with one supplier for so long, they don't see any compelling need to change.

Instead of accepting the fact that prospects with entrenched suppliers are not worth the effort, the best closers do research and ask questions up front to uncover areas where the existing supplier is coming up short.

They may also focus on benefits they offer that the existing supplier cannot, and use those as a way of making the prospect at least consider a change.

Source: From Sales Presentation Techniques (That Really Work), by Stephan Schiffman

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The Special K Challenge's fundamentals are the same, but the campaign encourages women to focus on the lasting emotional benefits of shedding extra weight -- more self confidence, courage, pride in themselves, etc. -- rather than fixating primarily on the numbers on their scales. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
One-third (36%) feel just as secure and one in five (19%) now feel more secure. While this reflects the end of a troubling financial year, it also shows an improvement from what people felt last year at this time. One year ago, over half of Americans (56%) said they felt less secure about their financial situation when compared to the previous year. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
When it comes to winning the hearts and minds of e-shoppers, there's still no stopping either Amazon or Netflix: The e-commerce behemoths came in tied for the No. 1 spot in ForeSee's 2010 Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index. The top position has been held by one of the two e-retailers since the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based research company launched the index six years ago. ...Read the whole story >>
by Fern Siegel
Sears may have a new slogan: "Where America Shops ... for movie and TV downloads." The retailer, which also owns Kmart, has launched Alphaline Entertainment, an online movie service that lets users download TV shows and new movies on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. ...Read the whole story >>
by Mark Walsh
The new "Ratings" tab on AT&T's Facebook page essentially imports the five-star-scale ratings and reviews posted on the carrier's main Web site. Users can see recent reviews posted directly on Facebook or the brand site, along with those for featured, highest-rated and popular phones or other wireless gear sold by AT&T. ...Read the whole story >>

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Social Media Users

I'm not a big Facebook fan.

But I'm on it, because of it's popularity.

And there is a pretty cool feature that I use to stay in touch with my Facebook Friends, the birthday reminders. I send greetings nearly everyday. It's one of those touch points that helps us to develop and continue building relationships.

Next month, I will be doing a session on Personal Branding at a local University and that will include telling my own story which is due to various forms of Social Media I use.

Today, I have a report from on what's going on now and the year ahead:

A Perfect Storm: Social Media Reaches Important Life Stages

The Media Audit FYI
December, 2010

A preliminary analysis of The Media Audit's soon-to-be released 2010 National Report reveals for the first time how social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have reached critical mass with consumers who are in important life stages. The study, conducted among more than 65,000 consumers across the U.S., reveals that consumers, especially those who are younger and single, or who have young children living at home are visiting Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace at a higher rate when compared to the general population.

The significance of these findings lies in the fact that consumers who are single tend to have a higher disposable income while those who are married with young children are entering the "age of acquisition" in which they are consuming large ticket items such as automobiles, furniture and real estate for the first time. As a result, these audiences represent significant buying power and validate the lure that more and more advertisers are beginning to have with these social sites.

According to the national study, 51.3% of U.S. adults surveyed across The Media Audit's 80 measured markets have visited Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace in the last month. The figure represents more than 71 million adults who are 18 or over. However, among adults who are single, under 35 years old, and with no children, 80.6% have visited these sites. As a result, those consumers in this group are 57% more likely than the general population to visit Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter in a typical month.

The same report reveals that adults under the age of 35 years who are single and have no children have extremely active lifestyles and exhibit upscale shopping behavior, likely the result of not having children, and thus higher disposable income. Furthermore, these consumers are less likely to own a home, thus freeing up more income.

According to the study, adults who are single, under 35 years with no children are 60% more likely to visit bars or night clubs, 51% more likely to frequently attend college or professional sports events and 48% more likely to frequently visit a movie theatre. Furthermore, this group is 25% more likely than the general population to shop at upscale Neiman Marcus and 20% more likely to shop at Nordstrom. Not only is this audience attractive to advertisers, but it is also elusive. According to the same study, adults who are under 35, with no children and single are 47% more likely to be heavy internet users, however they are 12% less likely to be heavily exposed to outdoor billboards, 52% less likely to be heavily exposed to a newspaper, and 13% less likely to be heavily exposed to TV.

Among those adults who have children under the age of six years old, 71% visit Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter in a typical month, a figure that is 38% higher when compared to the general population. Furthermore, households with children under the age of six visit these social websites at a higher rate when compared to households with children older than six years old.

The same national study reveals that households with children under the age of six are more likely to be in the market for new cars, real estate, and household accessories such as new furniture, electronics, and appliances. According to the study, consumers with young children under the age of six are 15% more likely than the general population to be in the market for a new vehicle in the next 12 months, while the same group is 37% more likely to be shopping for new video equipment such as a camera, VCR or DVD player. Additionally, households with young children under the age of six are 69% more likely to be planning to buy a home in the next two years and 11% more likely to be planning a home remodeling project.

Data for this report is preliminary and was obtained from surveys conducted between January and October of 2010 among more than 65,000 respondents. The Media Audit's 2010 National Report will be released this spring after all interviews are concluded for its 80 measured markets. The Media Audit local and national reports represent the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of today's constantly changing media and consumer trends.

For more information on this report, or to obtain data on a local market, contact The Media Audit.

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65 is only 50?

I see a curious turn of events that I wasn't paying attention to 9 years ago. The age of "getting old" seems to be older than I thought it would be.

A couple of factors shaped my thinking:

1) Family History. I only had one grandparent alive when I was born. My Grandmother who was healthy until the last year of her life when she was diagnosed of the cancer that she died from in her late 60's. Then my own Dad passed away a few months after he turned 67. Three years later, my Mom died at age 68. I was only 42. I thought this was the norm until people told me that my parents died early.

2) Last year when I turned 50, I decided that I still had at least another 25 good productive years ahead and have decided that I'll live into my 80's or longer. I have an Aunt and Uncle in their 90's so it is not impossible.

Take a look at this report from Mediapost:

The Rush To Age 65 Begins
On Saturday, the first Boomers turn 65. The stories, articles, news features and research reports celebrating this milestone are reaching their dizzying peak, chronicling this tremendous transformative event.


As in the way kids say it today: "Real-ly, I mean real-ly?"

Boomers turning 65 is a big deal, but just not to Boomers themselves. Here is the real news: Boomers see 65 as just another birthday.

How do we know?

We asked them. Specially, we asked those about to turn age 65 about the big event. In our national survey, only one in four said it was a "big deal." Over half said it was most certainly "not a big deal." Sure, they said, now we'll qualify for Medicare and that will help with medical expenses. But, it simply isn't that big a deal anymore.

You wouldn't know it from two studies released last week, the timing of which was designed to tap into the monumental event. Pew Research Center published "Boomers Approach 65 -- Glumly," and AARP went with "Approaching 65: A Survey of Boomers Turning 65 Years Old." Other than using the same verb, the two reports are on polar ends when it comes to assessing Boomer attitudes.

Pew compares Boomers of all ages to other generations and finds them "more downbeat than other age groups about the trajectory of their own lives and about the direction of the nation as a whole."

Pew does admit that "some of this pessimism is related to life cycle -- for most people, middle age is the most demanding and stressful time of life." But mostly it implies that the funkitude is something innate in the Boomer generation. Yet, the data it reports show Boomers were the most impacted by the Great Recession, are dealing with delaying retirement to fund said retirement, and find themselves forever stuck in middle age, with adults kids at home and aging parents requiring caregiving. It is no wonder Boomers are glum.

AARP's findings are much more optimistic. They sum it up by telling us that this "first wave of the Boomer generation [is] generally satisfied with their lives and optimistic about the next third of life." (We're guessing they weren't surveyed by Pew.)

Who is Right?

In truth, both studies and conclusions about Boomers are right -- which, in itself, is today's lesson. Be careful with research.

Pew's study is perhaps the most interesting for marketers because it compares Boomer attitudes with other generations'. However, as Pew points out, there are life stage and age factors that play a role in attitudes. A Boomer at 56 (the median age of the generation in 2011) has a different worldview and perspective than a 36 year old or a 26 year old, no matter the generational cohort.

AARP focuses only on Boomers, and only those 4% set to reach age 65 in 2011. Those vanguard Boomers are not all Boomers, so their attitudes must be taken for what they are -- their attitudes.

The point is that, with a generation some 76 million large, there are countless variations. You can't sum up generational attitudes in a word or a phrase. There are tens of millions of very happy and satisfied Boomers of all ages, and there are some soon-to-be-65 Boomers who are depressed and, well, glum.

The only thing we can tell you with certainty is that Boomers are not old. Follow the logic: the median age is 56 and, according to Pew, the typical Boomer feels nine years younger (so age 47) and thinks "old age" starts at age 72 -- some 25 years in the future!

Let's do stories on Boomers reaching old age then, in December 2036.

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

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7 Expectations

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Skills That Buyers Expect of Salespeople

Howard Stevens came up with 7 skills buyers expect of salespeople in his book, Achieving Sales Excellence:

1. Be personally accountable for our desired results.
2. Understand our business.
3. Be a customer advocate.
4. Be knowledgeable of applications.
5. Be easily accessible.
6. Solve our problems.
7. Be innovative and responsive to our needs.

Source: The Selling Advantage (12/28/10)

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Tanya Irwin
The Miami-based cruise line will help people share, fulfill and celebrate first-time experiences throughout the year, driven by the "Didja Ever" campaign headquarters on Carnival's Facebook page and promoted through interactive, broadcast, online, social media and local marketing efforts. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Among the ads is the first for its first hybrid vehicle, the Sonata Hybrid. The spot, via Innocean Worldwide Americas, carries the message is that sometimes being in the second-wave of products is better than being first, as the second generation often demonstrates a big advance over its predecessors. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
The launch comes just weeks after Weight Watchers, the industry leader, kicked off its new Points Plus program, including a new ad campaign with success story Jennifer Hudson. That program is also based on new weight loss science, featured prominently in its marketing claims. Rival Nutri-System has also intensified its advertising, with spots featuring Marie Osmond. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Post, which reports that all Pebbles varieties are cholesterol-free, low in fat and good sources of Vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals, described the sugar content reduction as part of its "ongoing effort to address the rise in nutritional concerns among American consumers." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
In addition to enabling digital tracking of customer visits, the new app offers guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus and nutritional information. "We're dragging the antiquated punch-card type of loyalty programs into the 21st century," comments Carl's Jr./Hardee's EVP, marketing, Brad Haley. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Now that the year has just about gone through the hourglass and we are one year older and closer to shuffling off this mortal coil, it might be worth it to add some levity by regarding some brand screw-ups for 2010. Handily, Brand Keys has announced its annual list of "marketing misdemeanors." There are few surprises here. ...Read the whole story >>

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Self-Serve is Better Than Bad-Serve

From Pat Mcgraw:

Some People Don’t Want To Talk To You

Posted: 04 Dec 2010 09:42 AM PST


Recently, I wrote about the importance of creating a unique, valuable experience that can be consistently delivered to the customer in order to improve your customer acquisition and retention efforts.

Today, I am going to tell you that sometimes your customers don’t want to talk to you – they just want to take care of their own needs and move on.

That might explain why Norm occasionally tried to pour himself his own beer. Alright, probably not…but you get my point.

In our research on this topic (which we discuss in our recent HBR article “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers“), we’ve found that corporate leaders dramatically overestimate the extent to which their customers actually want to talk to them. In fact, on average, companies tend to think their customers value live service more than twice as much as they value self service. But our data show that customers today are statistically indifferent about this — they value self-service just as much as using the phone. And guess what? By and large, this indifference holds regardless of their age, demographic, issue type, or urgency.

When I first read this article, my reaction was ‘Wow!’ But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Heck, I would rather take care of my own needs rather than subject myself to some untrained 16-year-old employee at the local retailer.

But as the article explains, it’s more than just an aversion to poor service. I like to take care of myself. It’s about pride. It’s about ego.

So when you start looking at your business, look at it from the customer’s perspective and design processes that allow them to handle their own needs if that’s how they would prefer to do business with you. Offer them the option to self-serve or be helped by your staff – and make sure both experiences are simple, fun and effective.

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More Gifts

from Drew:

Something all wrapped up for you!

Posted: 27 Dec 2010 08:25 AM PST

Shutterstock_67803928No matter which holiday you choose to celebrate in December -- it seems like it's a season for sharing, for hanging with the people we care about and for giving gifts.

I don't want to get all mushy -- but I am so grateful that you keep coming back to the blog to share your ideas and thoughts on the blog posts, I value your friendship and collegial spirit and look forward to exploring 2011 with you.

To that end, I've rounded up some gifts I'd like to share. I think you'll find them both well worth the time to unwrap!

Junta42's annual Content Marketing & Social Media Predictions for 2011: Joe & his team reach out to marketing folk and ask them to contribute their predictions for the year.

With over 100 participants -- there is plenty to read, chew on and use as you plan out 2011 for your organization. (click here to download the PDF)

RainToday's Research Excerpt on Lead Generation: As you know, I am a huge fan of They provide lots of very pragmatic, B2B focused research, tools and how to advice. They just finished up a new study on best practices for lead generation.

If for no other reason that reading more about Best Practice #3 -- it is worth the download. click here to download the PDF)

I hope you find value in them both!

Photo courtesy of

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Wing It?


from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Don't Try to 'Wing It'

A well-designed and properly rehearsed phone script is a powerful tool for projecting a confident and competent professional image. In addition, a script guarantees that every call is delivered in a consistent and concise manner.

Sales reps that prefer to "wing it" and shoot from the hip, tend to lose focus and are quickly sidetracked down numerous unproductive paths. It's been said that the only thing worse than listening to a salesperson using a phone script, is to listen to one without a script.

Here are some proven tips to help you create a phone script that will keep your appointment calendar full:

1. Write out your entire phone script from hello to goodbye.

2. State your name and organization at the beginning of the call.

3. Timing is everything. Be considerate by asking your prospect if they have a minute to speak with you. If your call is viewed as an interruption, you're dead in the water before you even begin.

If your prospect indicates that it's not a good time for your call, apologize for the interruption and ask them when it would be OK for you to call back.

4. Use a series of open-ended questions to draw your prospect out. Keep in mind when you design your script that your primary goal is not to sell anything, but rather to build rapport, gather information, and make an appointment.

5. People are more comfortable with salespeople who they feel are similar to them. Use your voice to build trust and rapport quickly by "matching and mirroring" your prospect's voice tone, pitch, and pace.

6. Never interrupt your prospect and allow them plenty of time to respond to your questions.

7. Look for opportunities to make an appointment, don't just answer questions. Avoid the temptation to answer all of your prospect's questions over the phone but instead, guide them toward scheduling a face-to-face meeting.

Source: Sales trainer/business motivational speaker John Boe

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
December is looking to be a strong month for auto sales. And some are predicting that next year will do well. J.D. Power and Associates says the month will close out at 936,300 vehicles delivered from dealerships, 19% up from last year. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
About 1.2 billion offers for new credit cards were received by U.S. consumers in the third quarter of 2010, compared to just 391 million in the same period a year ago, according to the Chicago-based company. Issuers continue to focus on credit-worthy consumers, and as a result, eight in 10 offers are for rewards cards promoting points, miles or cash-back to consumers, up from six in 10 offers in 2008. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Kyocera, parent company of Sanyo Mobile, is promoting its Android-powered Zio smartphone, which is available from Sprint. In addition to the placement on the "People's Choice Awards," Sprint will be running ads promoting the phone during the program and the Zio's sponsorship will be highlighted during commercial bumpers. ...Read the whole story >>
by David Goetzl
Data collected in May found that adults -- those 18 and up -- living in homes with annual $75,000+ incomes account for 48.5% of all DVR owners. Adults in homes with incomes of $100,000+ account for 29%, more than any other income segment. ...Read the whole story >>

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Give me 7?

This week I am going to post a few things I've been hanging on to for awhile and want to share with you before 2011.

Here's one from Pat McGraw:

Seven-Fingered Gloves

Posted: 01 Jun 2010 08:51 AM PDT

Imagine if you were the most efficient manufacturer of seven-fingered gloves. You offer the best selection, the best service, and the best prices for seven-fingered gloves–but if there isn’t a big enough market for what you sell, you won’t get very far.

I love that quote. It comes from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and is part of a longer and very interesting post on Huffington Post.

Why do I love this quote? Because many will read that quote and wonder “Who the hell would make a 7-fingered glove?” – then they will get up and go to a meeting later in the day in order to discuss why their own company’s version of a seven-fingered glove is not hitting projected sales goals.

The blame will fall on marketing – specifically promotions that fail to deliver the quantity and quality of leads necessary to achieve sales goals. (Very aggressive sales goals that were based on ‘what do we want the company to earn’ rather than ‘what percentage of seven-gloved projected sales are we likely to capture?’)

Now, the blame should fall on “marketing” but only in those organizations that allow marketing to be involved (drive) product, price, place (distribution) and promotion. Because in those organizations, marketing decided that there was strong enough demand for seven-fingered gloves that the organization’s goals could be achieved.

But for too many organizations, marketing is assigned the ‘joyful, rewarding’ (sarcasm) job of trying to attract large numbers of qualified leads for products and services that don’t have large numbers of people that need the products and services.

How does your organization identify opportunities in the market and use that insight to develop the right products and services at the right price? How does your organization use that knowledge to execute a unique distribution strategy that brings your products and services to more qualified buyers?

Because when you do these things correctly, promotion becomes a lot easier and qualified buyers turn to you for their needs because more reasons than just promotion.

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Your Words

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Watch What You Say

There are four verbal communication rules to remember in sales:

-- Use descriptive language
-- Use short sentences
-- Avoid buzz words and jargon
-- Avoid tag questions and qualifiers ("I guess," "I hope," "sorta," "probably")

When preparing your sales presentation, keep your points focused, so you don't ramble on in long sentences. Adding tag questions (like "I think this is a good proposal, don't you?") weakens your position, and using words like "umm" and "like" and "you know" detract from what you are saying.

Think about what you really want to say, and then say exactly what you mean.

Source: Communication/sales consultant Marjorie Brody

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Same is for Losers

My Sunday Seth:

The one who isn't easily replaced

The law of the internet is simple: either you do something I can't do myself (or get from someone else), or I pay you less than you'd like.

Why else would it be any other way?

Twenty years ago, self-publishing a record was difficult and expensive. A big label could get you shelf space at Tower easily, you couldn't. A big label could pay for a recording session with available capital, but it was difficult for you to find the money or take the risk. A big label could reach the dozens of music reviewers, and do it with credibility. Hard for you to do that yourself.


Now when someone comes to a successful musician and says, "we'll take 90% and you do all the work," they're opening the door to an uncomfortable conversation. The label has no assets, just desire. That's great, but that's exactly what the musician has, and giving up so much pie (and control over his destiny) hardly seems like a fair trade.

Multiply this by a thousand industries and a billion freelancers and you come to one inescapable conclusion: be better, be different or be cheaper. And the last is no fun.

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Simple Stuff

From Drew:

Could being remarkable really be this simple?

Posted: 23 Dec 2010 05:55 AM PST

Picture 9 As you may know, I am a Disneyophile. I love the Disney parks, I love the Disney movies' happy endings, I love the unrelenting pursuit of better customer service that drives Disney to their own level of excellence.

I also love Walt Disney's story.

I know he wasn't perfect by a long shot. But he was a dreamer, a story teller and a man who believed so strongly in his own vision that he ignited the people around him until they were as caught up in the dream as he was. And despite being told no about a million times -- he just keep at it until his dream came to be.

But if you've studied his life like I have, you discover that his philosophies are incredibly simple. And in that simplicity, incredibly profound.

When asked how to build a successful business, he replied:

"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends."

Pretty much sums up referral selling, word of mouth marketing, and customer retention all in one sentence. And in the end -- isn't Walt talking about creating a love affair with your customers?

Do you think we make it too complicated? Do you think Walt was right? Is that really all there is to it?

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Generalizations about Generations

When I read this report from Mediapost a few days ago, it made me a little preturbed. I am 51. I am supposed to love my TV according to the fact that I am a BabyBoomer.

I was thinking the other day that if I had to give up Television of the Internet, I could easily say good bye to the Boob Tube.

But then again I've never been completely identifiable by the generalizations of generations.

So, as you read this piece about Generation Y, remember that these are not absolutes. Not all 20 year olds are on Facebook, not all Boomers are wearing Depends....

Gen Y Really Does LIKE Your Brand -- You Can Bet Your 2011 Budget On It

As 2010 winds down, two telling pieces of news broke last week that highlight the influence Generation Y had on the social media explosion of 2010: Mark Zuckerberg was named Time magazines's Person of the Year and L2, a think tank that focuses on digital innovation, released a study that dives into the media consumption of the affluent members of Gen Y.

There has already been an enormous amount of reporting and analysis on Zuckerberg's latest accolade, so I won't belabor the various and often conflicting story angles. What's mind blowing is seeing the creator of Facebook -- a member of Gen Y who has completely upended the ad industry -- on the cover of Time. And the findings in the L2 study, though not as earth shattering so much as confirming what most of us already know, contain some surprising stats worth factoring in when planning your 2011 marketing strategy and budget allocation.

The link between these two stories? Facebook, of course.

The Gen Y study focuses on media consumption and, in most of the research, ties this consumption back to Facebook. Eighty-one percent of the affluent Gen Y audience uses Facebook multiple times a day. What is even more enticing about this generation and their Facebook usage is their affinity towards brands and eagerness to "like" them.

Over three-quarters of the respondents "like" a brand and one-quarter of them have developed a "brand crush" through Facebook. Who wouldn't want their target audience to have a crush on their brand, and could you ask for anything more from your marketing dollars? The lesson here is to get your brand "liked" on Facebook and spend your money and your time doing it. But how?

That is where some of the additional statistics found in this research become very compelling, specifically regarding the consumption of the various media. Second to social or Facebook usage is Gen Y's devotion to reading blogs.

"If baby boomers are the TV generation, then Gen Y is the blog generation," the study reported. What's beautiful about blogs is they too are designed to be social in that they typically encourage comments or interaction. What this means for you is that as you are allocating your 2011 marketing dollars in an effort to boost your "likes" on Facebook, blogs should be at the top of the list. We find the most successful campaigns that run on our site encourage some type of social interaction or engagement.

This aligns with all that we know about Gen Y and is reinforced in this research -- Gen Y likes to share their opinion and showcase themselves and their views. The blog world is not about the authoritative voice of traditional media but more of an inclusive platform that prompts discussions and allows people to give their opinion. Use blogs to start the conversation and ensure that there is a mechanism for them to "like" your brand.

Something else that emerged in this research worth noting is the massive growth of video and mobile. For us in the marketing world, this isn't news. However, what struck me as interesting is the combination of the two: of those who responded, one in eight reported watching a video on a mobile device in the past 24 hours -- an impressive number that I imagine will only grow in 2011.

The message: dedicate money toward emerging platforms such as video and mobile. Take time to understand the consumption of these products and partner with publishers who can develop unique solutions combining these assets. Then, of course, make sure you can "like" your brand via mobile device or video.

Twenty ten was an eye-opening year for all of us in the marketing world. As social media rose, we gained knowledge and understanding of the space -- and learned how to work both within it and outside of it. But of all that stood out, perhaps what was most meaningful was the naming of Mark Zuckerberg as the Person of the Year and renewed understanding that "like" on Facebook now holds more weight than any click-through.

Kristine Shine is VP of PopSugar Media (, a division of Sugar, Inc., which provides content and social media for Gen Y women. She is responsible for helping marketers forge a trusting relationship with Y Women through PopSugar's sites. Follow her on Twitter.

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