Monday, October 03, 2011

The New ScLoHo Website

On Sunday October 2, 2011, I launched a new website, Scott Howard aka ScLoHo at .

While I set up domain redirects for the 4 separate blog sites, like this one, you will most likely need to resubscribe to the RSS and newsletter feeds on the new site.

Why the move? Here's the answer =


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Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Aaron Baar
With the NBA season already delayed (and unlikely to start anytime soon) thanks to a labor dispute, Adidas is prepping a new marketing campaign featuring last year's league MVP Derrick Rose as it launches his signature shoe, the adiZero Rose 2. Plans for the shoe's debut were made well in advance of the current lockout. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Neiman Marcus will hide 15 Nancy Gonzalez clutches (which retail for about $1,400) in secret locations throughout its stores nationwide between noon and 4 p.m. Participants will engage in a hunt for the clutches by unlocking a message when they check into Neiman Marcus stores on Foursquare. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
A seasonal "Got Milk?" campaign from the national Milk Processors Education Program (MilkPEP) is bringing Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and Schroeder together in a print ad for the first time in 15 years. The campaign continues recent years' efforts to make chocolate milk "the official drink of Halloween." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Someone's making Googles of money in the ad business this year. Online ad revenues in the first half of 2011 more than doubled versus the period in 2010, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The firm, whose report on first-half ad revenue was prepared with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, said revenue from online marketing efforts rose 23.2% to a record $14.9 billion in the first half. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Chrysler's Fiat brand is heading to Las Vegas. The division is promoting the 500 at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) annual convention as an after-market accessorizing machine for Chrysler's Mopar. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Danger of Generic

With technology evolving it should be easy for you to create different campaigns for different clients....

Here's an example why from

Don't Introduce Yourself to a Customer You've Already Met

How is an existing customer supposed to feel when you send a form letter inviting her to sample your product or service and become a new customer? According to Allison DeFord, mistakes like this unnecessarily alienate otherwise happy customers—and might even send them into the arms of competitor who can remember their name.

Your best defense is a two-pronged offense that combines meticulous database management with a solid content strategy. Writing at the FELT blog, DeFord recommends components like these:

  • Random letters of appreciation. Send a note of thanks—perhaps once each year—to let customers know you value their loyalty.
  • Acknowledgement of milestones. When you celebrate a customer's birthday, or the anniversary of his first purchase, it reminds him that he matters to you.
  • Handwritten notes of congratulation. Supply everyone in your company with high-quality note cards, advises DeFord, and encourage them to send handwritten notes that laud customers' accomplishments and promotions.
  • Exclusive customer-only offers and news. Giving customers a special discount or a pre-launch sneak-peak is a great way to make them feel special.
  • User forums and online communities. A private space for discussion and interaction is beneficial to customers—and enables you to take notes on their concerns and interests.

The Po!nt: Treating an existing customer like a potential customer might turn her into a former customer. So make sure she knows you know exactly who she is.

Source: FELT.

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Email Tips

Excellent Advice from Jill:

How to Write a Highly Effective Subject Line
By Jill Konrath

If you're like most sellers, you don't pay a lot of attention to the subject lines. They're an afterthought. No big deal, right?

Totally wrong. Your subject line is the most important part of your message. If it's not a good one, your email gets trashed in a nanosecond. In fact, research by ExactTarget (my email newsletter service) show that the average person spends only 2.7 seconds on a message before deciding if they'll delete it, forward it or read it.

Just 2.7 seconds. That's all the time you have to capture a readers attention. That's why your subject line is so darn critical.

First, let's talk about what you don't put in a subject line. In order to avoid auto-deletes, it's imperative for you to:

  • Avoid salesy verbiage. Get rid of words like excited, hot new product, free offer or special pricing.
  • Avoid info on your company. No one is interested in your new product announcements or company updates except you.
  • Avoid capital letters. Just the first word should be capped. Otherwise it seems like a headline, not a personal message.
Now, let's talk about what works in your prospecting emails. Here are several options that have proven effective with today's crazy-busy prospects.
  • Use a referral. If someone has referred you to this person, put that in your subject line. They'll want to know why. For example, you might write: Terry Jones said to get in touch.
  • Ask a quick question. If your prospect feels it's simple and relevant, they'll take a look. Your subject line might read: Quick question re: new client acquisition challenges.
  • Tempt with ideas or information. My prospects are always interested in subject lines like this: Idea to reduce your sales cycle time or How XYZ company increased sales to Fortune 500 companies by 127%.
  • Mention a trigger event. If something is happening within the company or in their greater business environment that's relevant to your offering, bring that up. For example, if you read about a recent merger, you might write: Impact of XYZ merger on (insert relevant business issue you address.)
Get the picture? To work, your subject lines must focus on something your prospect cares about. If you do that, they'll keep reading.

Here's a major caveat though. When they start reading your message, it needs to deliver exactly what you promised in your subject line.

If you move into salesy mode or talk about your company, you'll trigger your prospect's auto-delete reaction. They can't control it. And you've lost the opportunity to open the conversation.

Hopefully by now you understand just how critical those simple little subject lines are to your sales success. I'd suggest you sit down right now and create 10 new ones you can use in the upcoming weeks.

Finally, start your experiment. See if you can tell which subject lines are most effective with your prospects. Then create variations off the same theme. You'll immediately see the difference in your sale success.

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers get more prospects in their pipeline, speed up sales cycles and land bigger contracts. She's a frequent speaker at sales conferences. For more fresh sales strategies that work with crazy-busy prospects, visit

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Ad Campaigns

Amy shares:

Vagina monologues. Weird science. Let's launch!

VW PassatReally, what IS that unintelligible line in Elton John's "Rocket Man," that I've been singing incorrectly for years? A ride in a 2012 Volkswagen Passat will answer my question, not Google. In the first of two new spots, a hodgepodge of amateur singers belt out "Rocket Man" lyrics while showering, riding an elevator or making coffee. The song is butchered as people interpret the lyrics differently: musty motor home and cheap cologne are two possibilities: I always thought the line ended with "ever known," so I'm just as bad as the folks in the ad. It's not until a couple riding in a 2012 Passat, with a Fender sound system that the answer becomes clear: "burning out his fuse up here alone." Watch it here. Two friends take a 13-hour nonstop road trip, listening to Spanish 101 tapes the entire time. Needless to say, they're now fluent and the Passat gets good gas mileage. See it here. Deutsch LA created the campaign.

XeroxXerox is back with two TV ads for its "Ready for Real Business" campaign, highlighting how brands hire Xerox to handle business -- which allows them to handle real business. Michelin Man has little time to worry about accounts receivable numbers when he is busy fighting a gas pump with multiple nozzles for arms. Take it away, Xerox. Watch it here. A man on a Virgin America flight was looking to do some business in the bathroom but encountered a different business instead: a call center managed by an in-flight team. He's quickly removed and forced to wait for another bathroom. See it here. Y&R created the ads.

Science WorldFire down below! Science World launched "Beach Time," the latest ad in its "We Can Explain" campaign. This is your go-to source for strange-but-true facts. Did you know that bellybutton lint makes great kindling? One poor sunbather learned the hard way when he awoke on the beach to see smoke emerging from his bellybutton. He blows at the smoke, starting a fire in his belly, forcing him to think fast and flop atop the sand for relief. Watch the ad here, created by Rethink, Vancouver and directed by Wayne Craig of Holiday Films.

ECPAT"Dragons aren't the only monsters," closes a chilling ad for ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking). The 60-second PSA begins with a young girl reading a book under a blanket. The story begins with a girl falling in love with a prince, who sweeps her off her feet and takes her to live in his castle. The story then takes a horrific turn with the young girl describing abuse, rape and being held in captivity. A disturbing statistic: roughly 100,000 American children are at risk of being sold into the sex trade each year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Watch "Princess" here, created by JWT New York.

DragonDragon speech recognition software launched a trio of TV spots highlighting the product's ease of use. Just talk, no need to type. A young boy, writing a report on Blackbeard, decides the pirate isn't scary enough and embellishes a smidge. The updated Blackbeard has no eyes, an eggbeater for a hand and steals children. The last bit hits too close to home, prompting the boy to yell, "delete, delete." See it here. A man writes a sensual scene in his romance novel while he's ironing and the kids are running through the house in the next ad, seen here. A woman pitches her soap products to spas worldwide, hoping to play off the scents of the city. When she reaches New York, however, she realizes that the scent of hot garbage is not something one wants to lather up with. Watch it here. FORGE created the campaign and media buying was handled in-house.

HondaHonda TV ads have a new voiceover. Gone is Kevin Spacey, replaced by actor Jason Bateman. When I first watched the ad, I hardly recognized Bateman's voice, though. His debut ad promotes the Honda Accord. In it, Bateman describes the lessons learned from the first Honda Accord made, along with strides in racecars and private airplanes. Information from these realms is implemented in the latest Honda Accord. Watch "Through It All-5 Star" here, created by RPA.

Johnson & JohnsonThink of this as the Vagina Monologues: 2.0. Or, if your vagina blogged. The Colony produced a 2-minute Web film for Johnson & Johnson China called "Gyno." The ad is voiced by a woman's vagina. CG animation quickly lets that cat out the bag, with a voiceover offering further confirmation. "At times I am your charm, at other times, your wickedness. I can make you proud or embarrassed. At times I am tender, sweet, at times I am wild." The film drives viewers to a microsite, translated as "little v," where female consumers can submit stories about women's issues. See the film here, created by Ogilvy Raynet, Beijing.

DominosI am a huge fan of "Top Chef." That being said, I'm 100% convinced that season 5 favorite Fabio Viviani has a faux Italian accent and speaks better English than I do. Fabio stars in an ad for Domino's new line of Artisan Pizzas: Spinach & Feta, Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio and Tuscan Salami & Roasted Veggie. The ad plays off Fabio's too-cute accent and takes viewers through a set of multiple takes, as Fabio fudges his lines. Cue the shot of an actual Domino's chef, who's unconvinced that Fabio's charm will sell pizza. See the ad here, created by CP+B.

Ad Week AppRandom iPhone App of the week: Get your motor running: next week is Advertising Week in NYC. Deutsch updated its Advertising Week app from last year, providing real-time event updates, customized scheduling, local info and directions. This year, look for a new social media capability where users can tweet, post to Facebook and check-in with foursquare, all from within the app. Download it for free from the App Store.

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

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Closing Time


Daily Sales Tip: Salespeople Need to be Great at Closing

Actually, this is true, but not in the sense most people think.

A sale is not a sale until it is brought to a conclusion or closed. Good salespeople know that. Successful salespeople know that closing the sale is not a tactic to trick or maneuver a buyer into a decision. When buyers feel manipulated, they may later cancel the order they felt pressured to place.

Great salespeople know that the best conclusion is getting the buyer to say yes, then following through to see that the buyer is satisfied enough to continue to order again, or to make a referral to someone else who'll buy.

Selling is just finding out what the person wants -- that's the first step. The second step is to help them get it. That's closing the sale -- satisfying the buyer's want.

To close a sale a salesperson must first invest the time to understand exactly what the buyer wants. Second, the salesperson must show how his or her product or service meets that want. If the salesperson really understands the buyer and makes recommendations based on the want, the buyer will close himself or herself as soon as the connection between the want and the product or service is understood.

The close simply becomes pointing out the desired outcome to the buyer. A close is not trying to wrestle with the buyer and pressure him or her into making a purchase he or she may regret later.

Source: Sales author/speaker Terry L. Mayfield

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read:

by Karl Greenberg
The media business may be getting more and more automated, with algorithms determining everything from media mix to creative, but Kim Kadlec, speaking at the OMMA Global conference on Tuesday morning, said that ultimately, some very human factors determine how successful a brand is or isn't -- even in digital realms. And a lot of that has to do with the lost art of decorum. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Seven in 10 Americans, or 69.6%, will celebrate, up from 63.8% in last year's survey. Spending is also expected to rise, with the average person ponying up $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year. Those in the Northeast are most likely to observe the day, and those in the South the least. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The new eateries at Madison Square Garden cleave -- at least thematically -- to the traditional idea of stadium food as one-hand friendly, with a focus on burgers, dogs and sandwiches, but they eschew the commoditized nature of such food, by redefining for haute cuisine things like burgers and dogs. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
A new holiday spending forecast from Deloitte predicts a 2.5 to 3% gain this holiday season, with November through January retail sales expected to reach between $873 and $877 billion. Last year, sales grew 5.9%. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The promotion targets everyone who likes a "fresh, piping-hot cup of coffee," says Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven VP of marketing and guest experience. "It's an opportunity to feature our coffee as well as say 'thank you' to our customers," Smith tells Marketing Daily. "We'd like to build this program to become as almost as big as our Slurpee giveaway on 7-Eleven Day (July 11)." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Now that it looks like the release of a new Apple iPhone is imminent (the company has invited the press to its headquarters next week to "talk iPhone," according to published reports), it may be time for the makers of Android phones to look for an angle to compete. One possible solution: speed. ...Read the whole story >>

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A Few Secrets

This article from Mediapost is talking about teens, but I think most of it applies to all of us:

Unite To Ignite

Teens want to unite to ignite. They want to change the world. Teens want brands they support to be a part of the solution to solving the world's problems. They want corporations to do more than give money to a cause; they want them to make 'doing good' a part of their daily business.

Teens will not support a cause-marketing program that is a wolf (marketing) in sheep's clothing (cause marketing).

How do you build your brand and change the world? Here's what teens told us they want -- the top 9 list. Why 9? Because top 10 lists are getting boring (see #5 below).

1. Be authentic. Repeat: Be authentic. No gimmicks.

2. Engage them with more than 'stuff' and self-interest.

3. Be transparent. They want to know what charity you are supporting and the impact they and you are making. They don't want percentages (i.e., 2% of profits); they want real numbers.

4. Do not use cause marketing to fix a bad or broken product. This strategy will backfire.

5. Don't bore them. Contest fatigue is setting in. They love to vote, but too many lame voting campaigns are out there. This goes back to being transparent; they want to know that their votes count.

6. Keep it simple.

7. Be relevant. Ignite a movement around an issue that is important to them. Some of their hot buttons: Gender equality, clean water, combating child sex trade, ensuring environmental sustainability, ending poverty and hunger, universal education, attacking HIV/AIDS and other diseases, violence and bullying, health and fitness, animal welfare, and saving children.

8. Understand them and what motivates them. Here's just one example that will show that you need to do more than kitchen research to really understand what motivates them: Lulu Cerone, the teen founder of LemonAID Warriors, tells us: "I was motivated by the effectiveness of President Obama's grassroots movement during his 2008 election. At nine years old, I was a campaign volunteer. After the election, his online campaign continued to reach out to us volunteers and encourage community service. I took that seriously. When the earthquake in Haiti hit, I used what I learned about grassroots motivation to reach out to my friends and family and watched my little classroom lemonade stand spread across the country to raise $4,000 in two weeks. I decided to keep motivating my community and look for issues that could benefit from our work." Would you have learned this by asking your daughter or niece?

9. Educate people and move them to action (emotion).

Who does it right? One of my favorites that keeps getting better and hits all the points listed above:

From TOMS website -- it's on every page: "With every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One."

  • It's a movement that is about people making everyday choices that improve the lives of children.
  • TOMS makes shoes. Shoes are needed to protect children's health. TOMS gives children shoes. It's simple, it's their core business and it changes the world.
  • Their story creates conversations. One Day without Shoes (I love this video) -- on April 5, 2011, TOMS encouraged people to go without (shoes). It was the #1 Twitter trending topic and the #4 most-searched term on Google. They walk the walk and people walk with them.

Do you have a cause-marketing campaign? Is there a campaign that you like or don't like? Rate them; take the nine points listed above and see how the campaign scores. Can you check all the boxes above? More than five? Fewer? Please share your scores/thoughts via comments below.

Denise Restauri is founder and CEO of the tween-teen girl media company, AllyKatzz.

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Why My Business Card says Consultant

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Diagnose Before You Prescribe

Think about the last purchase you made where you felt you had a positive experience with the salesperson. Did the salesperson introduce themselves and immediately tell you what they thought you needed? Or did they ask you questions to better understand your situation and accurately diagnose your needs?

Here is a good way to test yourself to see if you understand your customer's real problems. Think of a specific opportunity you are working on and name two or three challenges that your prospect wants your capabilities to help them resolve. In most cases, this is the easy part.

Now comes the hard part. Ask yourself, "What bad thing will continue to happen if they don't do business with us?" It could be that their revenue won't grow, they will lose market share, miss a goal, etc. Obviously, it varies based on product or service.

But if you can't answer the question, chances are your prospect can't either.

The basic principle here is to diagnose before you prescribe. When you can answer the question, "What bad thing will continue to happen if they don t do business with us? , you are ready to provide your prospect with a recommended solution. Challenge yourself to answer that question for your clients. They will reward you with their business.

Source: Nick Maslanka, a Regional Sales Executive for Sales Performance International

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
In a perhaps-inevitable latest iteration of marketers' use of '60s and '70s culture to woo Baby Boomers to food products with digestive and other health-oriented benefits, General Mills has launched videos featuring Cheech & Chong promoting its new Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies.< ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
It's no secret that Under Armour is gunning for Nike, nor that it considers women to be one of its primary growth markets. But as the companypreps its first-ever marketing campaign just for women, it's also looking to broaden its demographic reach -- launching the Under Armour Challenge this week, a gauntlet-style competition on campuses. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Aaron Baar
"People's music tastes vary. But one thing we hope most people will agree with: whatever you're listening to, when you mix in the Energizer Bunny beats, the unstoppable energy and positive attitude amplifies the fun," Serge Traylor, brand manager for energizer, tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Chrysler is launching a program one typically associates with either very high-end cars, custom-production programs for vehicles like Corvette, niche vehicles with a certain cachet like Mini, or brands with a very passionate and particular owner base. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Tanya Irwin
"While woman are a primary purchaser, that's only one part of the story as to why Sharpie got involved with City of Hope," Sally Grimes, Sharpie global vice president of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. "On a more personal level, breast cancer is a disease that touches so many lives, including people within our own company." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Ford is hoping a new website will help people "get" Sync, its multifarious voice-activated, in-vehicle connectivity system. The site is meant both to give owners a resource for the platform and to give people at the lower end of the purchase funnel a nudge toward Ford and Lincoln vehicles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Mark Walsh
As the second season for Verizon's NFL Mobile app gets underway, both sides say the partnership has gotten off to a strong start, with the app drawing 4.5 million downloads and a mostly positive response from fans. But Verizon isn't cashing in just yet. ...Read the whole story >>

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Trade Show Tips for 2012

Now is the time to prep for next year.

Three Tips for Tradeshow Success

"Many have pronounced tradeshow marketing dead," writes Bob Hebeisen at MarketingProfs. "But with the right strategy, hard work, and flawless execution, tradeshows can still be a productive part of your marketing plan." To make the most of your lead-generating budget, he suggests a twelve-step process that takes you from pre-show planning to post-show analysis. Here's a sampling of his advice:

Make sure the audience will want your product or service. Most tradeshows have a "who should attend" page at their website, and that's a good place to start. Go one better, though, and ask to see a complete list of the previous year's attendees—you can check for relevant job titles and company names—and confirm actual attendance numbers. "Don't expect every registrant to be from your target audience," advises Hebeisen, "but determine whether the ratio is acceptable."

Get on the presentation agenda. "Tradeshow attendees in North America are so jaded about walking the exhibit floor, especially at the executive level, that exhibitor presence alone might not be worthwhile," he notes. When you're on the presentation agenda, it validates your relevance to the audience, and gives you an opportunity to mention your booth for follow-up discussions.

Demand professional and aggressive performance from booth staff. Hebeisen recommends a strong elevator pitch, uniform attire, a ban on distracting smartphone usage and engagement with everyone who walks past the booth. It's not for nothing—an active approach can make the difference between 50 and 500 leads.

The Po!nt: Tradeshows can still generate solid leads, but you have to plan and work for them.

Source: MarketingProfs.

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from my email:

Daily Sales Tip:

When presenting a written proposal, always remember your audience. Keep it simple. Eliminate media jargon and acronyms.

Instead, use short simple words and sentences. Include content specific to the customer's industry or vertical market, particularly in the cover letter and executive summary.

Remember that people buy ideas, solutions, and feelings. Data should support that, not the other way around.

Source: Brandeis C. Hall, RAB,, (972)753-6786

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read:

by Karl Greenberg
The effort for Toyota Yaris focuses on the vehicle's essence. "Yaris," says the campaign frontispiece, "It's a car." The campaign features a Web site, appropriately called The site stars actor, comedian and NYU faculty member Michael Showalter in a series of videos that border on performance art. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Millennials are the heaviest users of restaurants/foodservice options at lunch, but they're also the most likely age group to rely on "value" items for luncheon meals, according to a new Lunch Consumer Trend Report from foodservice industry consultancy/research firm Technomic, Inc. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While retail executives are looking for modest growth this holiday season, they're also bracing themselves for more last-minute markdowns, as consumers fret about the economy. "Compared to all the headlines about gloom and doom, you have to take some solace in this prediction of 3%," Doug Hart, partner in the retail and consumer product practice at BDO, tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Audi, which launched its campaign for the A6 this month with creative that shows the roads as they really are, is now focusing on fantasy with the show, "Untitled Jersey City Project."vStayed tuned for eight, two-minute episodes airing during FX's Sunday prime-time movies and at ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Guests at IHG's Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts can earn Nike golf equipment and a chance to perfect their swing with PGA golfer Stewart Cink via the "Get a Better Game" stay-and-earn promotion. In addition, the first registered guest who stays 50 nights during the promotional period will play in the Pro Am at the 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas with Cink. ...Read the whole story >>

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Ready to Win?

from the Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo:

No one cares how many hours you work.

No one cares if you are working 2 hours or 16 hours a day.

What they care about is if you are available (working) when the decision is being made.

Do you have the answers?

Do you have the solution?

Do you have it when they need it?

This is part of the beauty of the Internet.

It is why Google beat Microsoft, Yahoo and all the others as a search engine.

Google connects people to answers.

Do you have a website that provides answers?

Does Google connect people who are looking for answers to your website?

Is your website designed to move people from the visitor stage to the customer stage?

Are you sure?

Every day someone is looking for what you have to offer.

They are spending money, every day.

Once they buy from someone other than you, they are no longer going to buy from you.

You lost that one.

You can win more than you are right now.

This year I joined Cirrus ABS, the regions largest website development company that impressed me with their focus on net-centered marketing.

I can help, we can help.

Contact me at 260-255-4357 or

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo


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How Healthy Are You?

from a sales perspective:

Daily Sales Tip: Get An Annual Checkup

Just as you should regularly go to the doctor for a checkup, you need to get a sales checkup.

You need to see a videotape or listen to a recording of yourself that captures how you look and sound when you pitch. What's good enough for your golf swing goes double for how you make your living.

Even if you saw a tape of yourself 18 months ago, you've changed. And even if it's for the better, you need to know.

Source: Marketing consultant/author Michael Schrage

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Are you keeping the Magic?

Next month I will be writing about this subject in relation to websites and your online presence. In the meantime, here's our Sunday Seth:

Lousy tomatoes and the rare search for wonder

My local supermarket stocks waxy, tasteless tomatoes from Chile and Mexico and Florida. They even do this in early September, when local tomatoes are delicious, plentiful and ought to be a bargain.

Are they clueless, evil or incompetent?

Perhaps none of these. This supermarket, like most supermarkets, is a checklist institution, one that is in the business of providing good enough, in quantity, at a price that's both cheap and profitable. You need a staple, they have it. They have flour and salt and eggs and macaroni and cheese. They've trained their customers to see them as an invisible vendor, as an organization that satisfices demand. It's too much work, too demanding and too risky to do the alternative...

They could program the store instead.

Program it the way a great theater programs the stage. No one goes to the theatre two or three times a week, expecting a good enough show. No, we only go when we hear there's something magical or terrific happening.

Over time, as institutions create habits and earn subscribers, they often switch, gradually making the move from magical (worth a trip, worth a conversation) to good (there when you need it). Most TV is just good. Magazines, too. When was the last time People magazine did something that made you sit up and say, "wow"? Of course, you could argue that they're not in the wow business, and you might be right.

One of the disrupting forces of the new media is that it makes harder and harder to succeed without wow. Since you have to earn the conversation regularly, phone it in too often and in fact, attention disappears.

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Marketing/Sales = Water/Oil?

from Pat McGraw:

Are Marketing and Sales Working Together

The director of marketing was proudly displaying the new design for a 68-page 4-color brochure that was about to go to the printers. The project had taken her and her team almost 6 months of work because it was viewed as a ‘major deal’ and that meant that everyone and their spouse was involved in the process.

At the quantity they were going to print, the cost was slightly more than $1 per brochure and the total bill was in the low 6-figures. That included manpower (staff), outsourced services (writing, photography), printing and shipping.

The brochure was (and always had been) beautiful. And it offered a complete overview of the business and the many products and services offered.

At the end of a 45 minute meeting, one of the C-level executives asked me what I thought and I responded that I was impressed with the final product – but I did have one question.

“How are you going to use all those brochures?”

Now, you can probably imagine the reaction that brought. Laughter. Head shaking. Shifting in chairs. Whispers.

Finally, the marketing director spoke for the group and replied.

“We need to have this when people ask what we do – so we give them on these.”

So I asked another question.

“Do you qualify those people and make sure they are able to buy what you sell before handing them the brochure?”

More nervous laughter, whispering and shifting chairs ensued before the marketing director replied.

“I don’t know. That’s up to sales.”

Now, that’s a dangerous answer. The marketing team is spending a substantial amount of their resources (human, financial, technology) on something that looks wonderful – but it’s something they have no understanding of how it is used to achieve the goals and objectives of the business.

So I went over the sales department and asked the team how they used the 68-page, 4-color brochure. And, surprise – most weren’t. They thought it was too much information and it confused the prospect. (Most hadn’t gone past the first 30-pages before they lost interest and put the brochure down for good.)

Then I asked what they thought they needed and, together, we created a list of what they felt they needed to help certain buyer types at certain stages of the buying/selling process. I took this back to the marketing team and explained the rationale behind each one – and two important things happened.

First, the print run for the 68-page, 4-color brochure was significantly reduced – saving the company a solid 5-figures. (And that was before fulfillment costs that included postage.)

Second, within the next two months, the marketing team produced the collateral for the sales team at a cost far less than the 5-figure saving that came from the smaller print run for the brochure.

I went over to sales and asked how the new collateral was working for them. Moral went up. Conversion rates went up. Average order size was up.

Imagine what we could accomplish for your business if you took advantage of my free coaching session.

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No Sleaze Please

from the Real Sales Dog:

Eliminating the Sleaze Factor in Sales
by C.J. Hayden

In her 15-plus years teaching entrepreneurs about sales and marketing, business coach C.J. Hayden has found that many of her clients say the most significant barrier to success is that they simply don't like to sell.

"The roots of this dislike are varied," says Hayden. "Sometimes what gets in the way is fear of rejection, or self-doubt of one's abilities. Other times it's lack of knowledge or inexperience; most of us don't like to do things when we feel we can't do them well. But a theme that rears its ugly head over and over again is this: a belief that sales and marketing is dishonest, manipulative, and sleazy."

"You might expect me to argue that these negative portrayals of marketing are not true," continues Hayden. "But in reality, they often are. Most of us experience on a daily basis inauthentic marketing, manipulative selling, and attempts at persuasion that rub us the wrong way."

"I'm not suggesting that you, the person reading this, are a sleazy salesperson," says Hayden. "In fact, I suspect it's much more likely that you aren't. But it just may be that you need to convince yourself of that truth in order to raise your comfort level about sales and marketing. To that end, I offer the following guidelines."

You are NOT a sleazy salesperson, if:

Continue reading...

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

BIG or small?

Just 3 months until Christmas eve....

from my email:

Stores Reversing Big-Box Trend

The belief in retail that bigger is better may be fading. National chains known for their huge stores are starting to think smaller.

Big-box retailers are moving away from the one-large-size-fits-all strategy to a philosophy of getting more out of smaller spaces and assessing the needs of each location.

Wal-Mart Stores, whose Supercenters typically encompass over 185,000 square feet, has announced plans to build a number of 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot stores.

Many other big-box retailers -- including Best Buy, Office Depot, Target, Kohl's and J.C. Penney -- are looking to downsize existing stores, said Howard Davidowitz, president of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting and investment banking firm in New York.

"It's the biggest retail trend in the U.S. -- almost everybody is downsizing," he said.

Some chains are looking to downsize existing stores, while others are planning to make future stores smaller, Davidowitz said.

In Houston, Office Depot, Best Buy, Old Navy and Ashley Furniture HomeStores are among the chains looking to downsize existing stores, said Ed Wulfe, chairman and CEO of Wulfe & Co., a retail development and brokerage firm.

"Almost all big-box retailers are reassessing store size," Wulfe said. "It's different than 10 years ago when bigger was better." They're looking at ways to better utilize their space and get more sales per square foot, he said.

Subleasing strategy
Department stores, including Sears, are seeking opportunities to sublease space in their stores, he noted.

Gary Seals, CEO of Hill Country Holdings, the owners of nine Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Houston as well as Ashley stores in other cities, said his company is considering decreasing the size of its stores by subleasing space to other retailers.

"It would have to be a good fit," Seals said.

Ashley would adapt to a smaller space by taking slower-selling merchandise off the floor, Seals said.

His Houston Ashley stores vary from 30,000 to 45,000 square feet in size, and he's considering downsizing by anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 square feet, Seals said. He leases the Houston properties.

He said he feels no urgency to downsize.

"We're bullish on Houston," Seals said. "All of our stores in Houston had double-digit increases for Labor Day," compared to the same time last year.

What consumers want
Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a consumer research and consulting firm based in New Canaan, Conn., sees the national downsizing trend being driven partly by consumer demand.

Consumers are looking at quicker, easier shopping experiences, rather than navigating 190,000-square-foot super stores, Johnson said.

"Retailers want smaller stores, but more stores," he said, so that consumers will be more likely to find one no matter where they go.

Best Buy, for example, has been opening kiosks at airports, he noted. There are seven Best Buy kiosks at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport, said Chad Stiernagle, the company's director of automated retail. The machines offer iPods, cameras, phone chargers and other items.

In many cases, the wish to downsize stems from pressure to cut costs, said Kenneth Katz, a Houston commercial real estate broker, whether it's due to increasing competition from online retailers or more sluggish consumer demand.

Retailers such as Target are planning smaller future stores because they are going into more urban locations where it's harder and more expensive to buy larger tracts of land, Davidowitz said.

Target is planning smaller-format stores that will be 60,000 to 100,000 square feet, compared with 135,000 in a traditional Target, company spokeswoman Amy Reilly said.

All the smaller-format Targets will be located in urban areas and, unlike more traditional Targets, will feature windows and have multiple floors.

Most suburban Targets are owned by the retailer, whereas urban stores will be leased, Reilly said.

"Many of our customers live in the city and drive to our stores in the suburbs," Reilly said. "We'll be bringing the Target experience to them."

The first four urban format Targets will be in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and they will open starting in summer of next year. Target is initially focused on 10 markets.

Retail giant Wal-Mart has announced a major downsizing strategy, saying it will build hundreds of smaller stores over the next three years in rural and urban locations.

Inventory in the 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot stores will include groceries, health and beauty items and limited general merchandise, and some will have pharmacies, according to a company statement.

Opening up options
Mindy Kramer, Office Depot's director of public relations, emailed comments from Kevin Peters, the company's president of North American retail, explaining why Office Depot is considering trying new store formats.

"Smart retailers are finding ways to shrink their footprints," Peters wrote, and "the smaller footprint strategy" provides Office Depot with new growth options, including the opportunity to enter new and remote markets.

Office Depot could reduce store size from 24,000 square feet to about 15,000 to 17,000 square feet, Peters wrote.

The preferred downsizing strategy for many retailers is to renegotiate their existing leases, allowing their landlords to get space back, said Lance Gilliam, managing partner of UCR moodyrambin, a retail real estate brokerage firm.

When landlords are unwilling or unable to reclaim space and reduce the size of a tenant's space, retailers will seek subtenants, said Gilliam.

Subleasing can be challenging for a big-box retailer, Katz said.

Retailers typically expect landlords to give them improvement allowances when they move to a space, and they are not used to being in the position of providing improvement allowances for the subleasing retailer, he said.

(Source: Houston Chronicle, 09/19/11)

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The Future belongs to Digital

A few years ago I saw many in my generation with their iPhones, but not many of the younger generations; that has changed as prices have dropped and expectations have risen:

Millennials High on Digital and Friends

According to the "American Millennials" study from Barkley, with Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group, Millennials, compared to other generations, reported greater awareness of newer, youth-oriented cause marketing campaigns and greater exposure to campaigns through social media, while Non-Millennials rely on newspaper and direct mail.

Jeff Fromm, senior vice president, Barkley, says "... since the Millennials generation is larger than the Baby Boomers... and three times bigger than Generation X... understanding of Millennials' needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly shape... future business decisions... "

Highlights from the Study:

  • Millennials watch significantly less TV than Non-Millennials, says the report, watching 20-plus hours/week (26% versus 49%). When not watching live TV, Millennials are much more likely to watch shows mainly on their laptops (42% versus 18%), with DVR (40% versus 36%), or On-Demand (26% versus 18%)
  • 70% of Millennials reported feeling more excited when their friends agreed with them about where to shop, eat and play. Only 48% of older adults were as heavily influenced by their friends and colleagues. Additionally, more Millennials than Non-Millennials reported using a mobile device while shopping to research products (50% versus 21%)
  • The majority of all respondents shop alone (60% Millennials, 69% Non- Millennials). However, Millennials report more shopping than Non-Millennials with family unit, spouse and children (13% versus 6%) and with adult friends (4% versus 2%)
  • 70% of Millennials want to visit every continent in their lifetime. Fewer than half of older adults report that goal
  • Millennials accounted for 18% of their monthly restaurant spend in the fast-casual format, compared to only 13% for Non-Millennials. Additionally, Millennials crave snacking opportunities, and are more than twice as likely as older people to seek them out mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night
  • Millennials demand more knowledgeable and fashionable sales associates (29% versus 19%) while Non-Millennials value sales associates who know to apply discounts and offer promotions (65% versus 51%)
And, additional study information reported by EMarketer, shows that a third of Millennials like brands more if they use social media, nearly double the percentage of older adults who said the same. In addition, over 30% of Millennials thought it was annoying for brands to be on sites like Facebook and Twitter, making this group less tolerant of social media marketing.

23.5% of Millennials interacted with content from a brand's Facebook page at least once a daily, vs. 17% of older adults who did the same. Millennials were also 4.4 percentage points more likely to interact with brand content between one and six times per week. Overall older adults were nearly twice as likely never to engage with brand content on Facebook.

(Source: The Center For Media Research, 09/7/11)

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