Saturday, February 19, 2011

Emailing it?

I get emails every week from businesses that are trying to make a possitive impression on me. Most are just glorified brag letters.

Here's 4 tips to improve your emails:

Four Tips for Crafting B2B Emails That Get Results

Any successful B2B marketing strategy "involves the integration of email marketing," Maria Pergolino asserts in a post at the Marketo blog. Whether designed for lead generation or nurturing leads and repeat buyers, carefully crafted email campaigns and messages can still achieve optimal results, she notes.

To help B2B marketers keep email as a vital component of their marketing mix, Pergolino offers seven best-practices that "alleviate common issues and ensure each email will not only reach the targeted recipient, but also compel the reader to open it." Among her recommendations:

Start with a clear objective. "Is it to send out an email newsletter purely for informational purposes?" she asks. "Is it for lead generation or to share information to solve a customer’s problem?" Never send an email without knowing what you want to achieve, and how the message will help you reach that goal.

Choose a "from" name the recipient will recognize. That might be the name of your company rather than a person she has never met. "Having a trusted from name encourages higher open rates," Pergolino notes.

Time delivery for optimal open rates. "Many believe sending email on Tuesday is optimal while Fridays are the worst day to send out B2B messaging," she explains. However, others argue for weekend delivery. The key is determining when your customers are most likely to open your messages.

Use analytics to improve every aspect of a campaign. Gathering strong analytics data helps marketers understand success and failure, and "iterate accordingly," Pergolino notes.

The Po!nt: Email is still a player. But terrific open rates won't happen on their own: It's up to you to apply tactics that will help make your B2B e-messages effective—and downright irresistible.

Source: Marketo.

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Email Insights

Got a couple of emails recently about email!

Here's the first one, another one coming at 6pm tonight.

This is from American Music Concepts:

MailChimp is one of the world's most successful email marketing service companies and they just released some super valuable statistics ... These stats are based on over 9.5 billion emails and the research is very interesting.

88% of business people only have one email address and they use that email address for work and play. Only 12% of business people have two email addresses. The most effective time to send an email is on the weekend ... In fact early Sunday morning between 6A - 8A and Saturday nights between 10P and 12:00 midnight are the two peak times during the week when your email is most likely to be read. 80.8% of email is now opened and read on Smart Phones ... That's right, less than 20% of email is now read on a computer. Customers prefer to hear from AE's through email at least once a week if you are sending "value messages" ... In fact, unsubscribing/deleting is high if they only hear from you once a month. Send useful information via email once a week and don't be afraid to send too much.

Finally, How much of your email do you read? MailChimp reports 20% all of it, 50% most of it, 20% 1/2 of it and 5% very little. Business people love email. If clients expect it and it shows up on time ... It becomes a ritual.

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Everyone Is In Sales

from the Vertical Response site:

3 Ways Any Employee Can Be Your Best Salesperson

If youScreen shot 2011-01-09 at 11.37.03 AM're in business, chances are you've got salespeople, whether they're on the phones or greeting people as they walk through your doors. But not all of your employees have the title "salesperson" do they? You might have an accounts payable employee, a person working in your tasting room at your winery or you might have someone who stocks shelves in your store. So how do you get those people "selling" for you?

They Need to Like Their Jobs

Even the most mundane jobs can be fun! It's time to inject some fun into the jobs of your employees. Why not try having contests around specific tasks your employees need to do. Then reward them in a fun way with a gift certificate or an award.

Recognizing a job well done might even be more important than cold hard cash. So make sure you do this in a public forum to ensure your entire company knows a great job done.

They Need to Like Your Company

One way to make employees proud of your company is to give them a reason to be. People like to work for award-winning companies, so why not display your Yelp sticker or any award you've received prominently in your workspace so that every time they pass by it's a reminder that they work for a successful business? Also include these awards all over your site and in your marketing materials.

Employees who are advocates for companies also know what's happening in the company so being very vocal, especially if you're doing well, could go a long way.

Employees also like companies that give back to their communities. I know that here at VerticalResponse, one of the things that employees are very proud of is that fact that we give our product away free to non-profits. I bet that each employee has had at least one conversation about us to someone they know in the non-profit world advocating our program.

You might even encourage your employees to get their friends to work at your company. If you've got top-notch employees, chances are they're hanging with other folks who would do as good of a job as they do. In my opinion if they get their friends to work for you, this is the utmost sign that they're advocating your business.

They Need to Like Your Customers

People want to work with customers they like. If your customers are saying nice things about you, why not let your employees know about it. Post your customer testimonials on your walls or your website, or email your staff when someone has something nice to say about your business on Twitter or Facebook.

At VerticalResponse we host special events and seminars for our customers. We try to get as many employees as we can talking to our customers to find out what really makes them tick. We learn things that customers like and don't like, which in the end helps us be a better company. Our employees often leave energized and wanting to do more for our amazing customers who took time out of their busy day to be with us.

If you've got employees who like what they do and who they do it for, chances are they're already your best salesperson. After all, it's what they spend most of their day doing!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Better late than never:

by Aaron Baar
For the campaign, which launches via television commercials Thursday, people can use the Shazam app on their phones to tag the original music from the ads, launching a virtual store where they can view the fashions from the ads, download the music and even purchase the clothing featured in the ads. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
It should be no surprise that consumers are heading to places like drug stores and dollar stores for more food purchases: Supermarkets keep finding ways to tick their shoppers off. The list of shopper peeves include high prices, hard-to-reach shelves and misplaced signs, reports a new survey from Supermarket Guru. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
In a perhaps-inevitable development, this year, New Belgium and agency Cultivator Advertising & Design have pulled inspiration right out of the pages of Mad. The idea: Adopt Mad's iconic, irreverent fold-in spread feature format for a new campaign for flagship brew Fat Tire (named to commemorate the Belgian bike trip that led Jeff Lebesch to co-found New Belgium in 1991). ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Rick Scheidt, who became U.S. VP Chevrolet marketing this month, says the key to MyLink is simplicity. "The message is basically you bring the smartphone, we bring the car," he says, explaining that what people want is to be able to get into their vehicle and connect their device seamlessly with the vehicle's infotainment system without having to go through a series of logic-twisting steps. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Moms are planning more family vacations this year, but they're still watching their wallets, according to a national survey. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the employed moms are optimistic about taking all of their paid vacation days, up from 57% last year. However, like last year, most plan to pay for vacations out of current resources instead of using credit. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Speaking at the monthly New York meeting of the International Motor Press Association, Laura Soave, Fiat's North America brand chief, prefaced her presentation with a brand-positioning video that is not a preview of Fiat TV spots to come -- she said there won't be any -- but of the brand's positioning as it rolls out the first two models in the U.S. this year. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
On Feb. 16, Kraft Foods' Oreo brand was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as being the first brand to attempt, and achieve, the record for most "likes" on a Facebook post within a 24-hour period. ...Read the whole story >>

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Love 'em

It may be comforting to know that if I walk into a Starbucks in Vermont, or Indiana, they will both taste the same.

But then there is also a personal touch that can make it even better:

Retailers on Quest to Rekindle the Personal Touch of a Bygone Era

In days of yore, retailers knew their customers. Sales clerks sent invitations to store events, called when items of interest arrived and had Rolodexes crammed with notes about shoppers' favorite brands and styles. That style of shopping -- an intimate experience, not an anonymous one -- has long been thought dead, driven to extinction by the invasion of the big-box retailer. But now retailers are hoping to recapture some of the old magic.

They're doing so by updating and expanding loyalty programs, which once rewarded shoppers only for frequent purchasing, and by offering locally relevant marketing and merchandising. "We've got a highly educated consumer who is probably more demanding than she's been in the past," said Martine Reardon, VP-marketing at Macy's. "She wants to go to a retailer that understands her, is really relevant to the lifestyle she's living, and really does pay attention."

My Macy's, now in its third year, seeks to be more relevant to consumers by stocking shelves with items popular in local markets -- Elvis Christmas ornaments in Memphis, Tenn., and electric pizzelle presses used to make the Italian cookie in Parma, Ohio, for example.

The program also extends to marketing. Events celebrating the Kentucky Derby have been held in advance of the race at Louisville, Ky.-area stores. And big wins for local sports teams are recognized with ads in the hometown newspaper. This month, Macy's Star Beach Party program will launch in Chicago, targeting college students from 10 area campuses including Columbia College, Northwestern and Loyola. The program pairs texting and pop-up events to lure students shopping for spring break fashions and, eventually, interview suits, the retailer hopes. The program was conceived by a regional executive who saw an untapped audience of 65,000 college students, a Macy's spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Food Lion has launched My Food Lion, inspired, in part, by My Macy's, said Cathy Green, president of the Food Lion family of banners, during a recent National Retail Federation conference. The program allows customers to create a profile personalized with relevant specials and recipes.

Worth noting: My Macy's and My Food Lion are separate from those retailers' loyalty programs, Macy's Star Rewards and Food Lion's MVP Card. The former focuses on understanding the customer and delivering desirable products and information, Ms. Reardon said. The latter is meant to reward customers for frequent shopping.

Retailers are also getting savvier about how they use customer information. PetSmart uses its database of email addresses to send out targeted emails with editorial content, as well as coupons. A recent note to reptile owners who typically buy crickets extolled the virtues of worms, included a link to information on reptiles and provided a $2 coupon for any live worm purchase. "Crickets are an important part of a reptile's diet -- but did you know that worms are an even better source of energy?" the email said. "Come on in and ask a store associate to help you design a diet that's just right for your reptile."

Likewise, Sears Holdings has overhauled its loyalty program in the past two years, morphing it into Shop Your Way. The program, which rolled out nationwide in November 2009, now counts more than 50 million members. Shoppers earn 10 points for every $1 spent in store or online and get access to bonus offers and prizes, as well as perks, such as the ability to return items without receipts. The program is cost-effective and gives Kmart and Sears the opportunity to build a robust database of consumers.

"The spectacular growth of Sears' Shop Your Way program is testimony to the ongoing power of a very simple, classic idea: rewarding loyalty based on customer behavior," said Lawrence Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association.

More robust databases and better targeted communications will go a long way toward helping retailers recapture the magic of retailing days past. But it's not easy or simple. In the fall, Macy's sent out a mailing with upward of 30,000 different versions. Using information gleaned from its database, the retailer varied the page count and the items promoted. The catalogs varied in size from 32 pages to 76 pages, featuring additional pages of shoes for footwear fanatics or children's clothing for moms.

"What we tried to do was really customize (catalogs) to what the customer is really looking for and her past behavior shows she might want," Ms. Reardon said. "I still have circles under my eyes from it. It was pretty resource intensive. But we learned a lot, and we are going to do similar things in the future."

(Source: Advertising Age, 02/14/11)

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Sex isn't just for Teens

It was the Baby Boomers that were the rebels that created the free love movement in the 1960's.

So, just because Boomers are creeping into their 60's, doesn't mean sex stops.

Remember the warning, "....consult a doctor if ______ lasts more than 4 hours".

First, Mick & Tina:

And this from Mediapost:

Bringing Sexy Back

Sex sells, right? It's an adage as old as... well, far older than any of the consumers marketers typically seem to apply it to. When it comes to younger demographics, brands have used sex to sell everything from cars to toilet paper.

So, why is it that, outside of ads for erectile dysfunction products, sexuality in advertising aimed at middle-aged and older consumers is as rare as marketers seem to think sex itself is beyond the age of 45?

The absence of sexuality in advertising highlights one of the most significant differences between the reality of Boomers' lives, and the way they have been traditionally portrayed in the media.

The truth is, sex is a major part of Boomers' lives, a fact that film and television executives are beginning to acknowledge. The result? They're being rewarded with the loyalty of their intended demographic. For evidence, look no further than the popularity of TNT's critically acclaimed "Men of a Certain Age," the comedic series "Hot in Cleveland" (which ranks as TV Land's biggest success to date) or the hit film "It's Complicated."

If marketers begin to fill the gap between perception and reality, demonstrating a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Boomers' lives, they could get a leg up on the competition in strengthening brand reputation and loyalty.

Consider the following:

  • According to a Gfk Roper report, 67% of Boomers consider maintaining a fulfilling sex life to be extremely important. This is just slightly off the mark of 77% set by younger consumers, and ranks above looking good and having a lot of money.
  • AARP adds credence to the argument in a recent study, which reports that a majority of 45+ Americans believe that sexual activity is a critical part of a good relationship, with only 4% claiming that sex is only for younger people.
  • AARP also asserts that more than 70% of men and 50% of women age 45-59 have had sexual intercourse in the last six months. Those numbers decline only slightly (to 60% and 45%, respectively) for those in their sixties.

These findings shed light on an opportunity for advertisers to connect with Boomers on a level on which they once were accustomed to, but are no longer, being reached. However, given the subject matter and the potential downside of failure, it could be a tricky proposition. As fellow Engage:Boomers contributor Jim Gilmartin recently noted, "Older customers tend to be quicker than younger customers to emotionally reflect lack of interest in or negative reaction to an offered product."

On the other hand, if advertisers are able to push the right emotional triggers, the risk could pay off. Gilmartin also argues that "A positive first impression can become embedded especially deep in the emotions of the older person -- so much so that the older customer is often more disposed to be a faithful customer than the younger customer is."

So, what's the best way to handle sexuality when targeting the Boomer+ generations? A soft sell may be key. Gfk Roper reports that roughly 8 in 10 Boomers (82% of men and 76% of women) hold romance as an "extremely important" priority, which suggests that appealing to the romantic side could be as equally effective for male and female consumers.

Another option may be to offer messages or product benefits that counter the dissatisfaction many Boomers experience when it comes to sex. According to AARP, only a fraction of boomers are extremely satisfied with their sex lives. Changes Boomers say would increase their satisfaction include improving their body image, having less stress in their lives, finding a partner, and more favorable social attitudes toward older people and sex.

My goal here is not to provide a specific solution. When it comes to sex, there are no hard and fast rules (pardon the pun), and there may not be an opportunity for every product or brand. I'm just looking to point out the fact that sex doesn't stop selling at 45. Marketers have an underutilized tool in their toolboxes (seriously, the puns are not intentional), which could provide the opportunity for the right brand with the right message to tap (alright, that one was intentional) into the benefits of recognizing Boomers as the sexual beings they are, and to watch their bottom lines, uh ... peak.

Mark Bradbury is research director for AARP Media Sales.

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from Harvey Mackay:

Creating sales requires creativity

By Harvey Mackay

A cartoon in The New Yorker magazine showed two assistants preparing a conference room. One says to the other, "And don't forget the little notepads in case one of them has an idea."

Good ideas in sales -- that don't look like a gimmick -- are hard to come by. They are certainly not a dime a dozen. Maybe that's why American poet Robert Frost penned, "The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment it gets up in the morning and doesn't stop until it gets to the office."

As any successful salesperson will tell you, no one can afford to have the idea factory shut down when the work day begins. Great ideas produce great sales.

When I speak to Fortune 1000 companies, I often address the sales and marketing staffs. In preparation for my speeches, I always talk with eight to ten people who will be in the audience. These folks have shared some terrific ideas that you may be able to use.

The super-smart sales reps check out the people they are calling on in advance. They never make a cold call. When they call on a customer they check out their office. They look at the walls for plaques or photos of family or any signs of hobbies or interests. And then they use it in conversation. You can't talk about business all the time.

One fellow was working for a long distance company in South Dakota calling on a large account. As he entered the office, he noticed that the key decision maker had several pictures of black labs. He told him that he had a black lab puppy, and he could use some training tips. After a few lab stories, the customer asked if he could meet the dog. The next week, the sales rep brought the puppy for his scheduled appointment. The customer immediately took her though some drills and said she has some talent and was a good dog. For the next hour, they did some more drills. Finally, the sales rep asked for the order, and he got it.

Good sales reps build relationships with all their customers. They humanize their approaches.

Some play softball with their customers. One guy formed a bowling league for his clients. Others take their kids and their customer and their kids to parks. Everyone needs to eat -- breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings make a great backdrop for business discussions. And if you can ever get your customer on a golf course, that's a hole-in-one.

Treats usually get a good reception. It might be candy, donuts and coffee, or fruit. Be sure to bring enough to share with others in the office. One account executive said she makes holiday treat bags for her customers for different occasions -- on Valentine's Day, there's a card attached that says "I LOVE doing business with you!" A St. Patrick's Day message says "I'm lucky to be your supplier!"

I heard from one fellow who took things to a different level. He brings alcoholic miniatures -- vodka and Bloody Mary mix -- and tells his customers, "This is for after work." And it goes over big. Of course, he knows his customers and is very careful about not offending recipients.

In these trying times, many of your customers may be struggling. Give them a pat on the back. An account executive told me she gave her customers a lot of pep talks. She happens to be a master networker, and her clients know they can call her for references, leads or introductions. And they will keep doing business with her because she can help their business too.

Training is another big advantage for sales staffs to offer clients, especially with slashed budgets.

One rep does a lot of quizzes and trivia questions -- at least once a month. Winners receive gift cards or movie passes. That way he can see who is reading his email blasts. He also gives these same prizes as thank-you gifts.

The same rep uses a lot of humor. Everyone loves to laugh at people. He shares a lot of embarrassing stories about himself -- putting him as the butt of jokes.

One account executive started a football fantasy league. There are weekly winners that are entered in a year-end drawing for a large prize -- a big-screen TV, which she got her company to pay for. This promotion got her foot in the door of a lot of mortgage brokers that normally wouldn't give her the time of day.

Mackay's Moral: You're not just selling your product. You're selling yourself.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Aaron Baar
According to the survey, health insurance brands could gain the most, an estimated $6 billion by offering greater transparency and simplicity in their products, says Brian Rafferty, global director of consumer insights for Siegel + Gale. "People were willing to pay significantly more to get simpler communications" from health insurance companies. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
CVS ExtraCare cardholders can save when they join Weight Watchers meetings, and Weight Watchers members will receive CVS/pharmacy ExtraBucks offers on health-related items including blood pressure monitors, blood glucose testing equipment, healthy snacks and more. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg, which has been tracking traffic to its site since the Bowl game for each of the auto brands that advertised during the game broadcast found that Chrysler's spot has lifted consideration for the brand by 87% compared to the brand's average on during the four weeks prior to the game. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Macy's hopes to change the way it connects with college-age shoppers, and is testing an intense Spring Break-themed promotion in the Chicago market. Bikini-clad models will hand out hot chocolate and "booty bags" at pop-up events on 10 different campuses, encouraging the 150,000-plus college students to attend a March 5 event at its downtown State Street store. ...Read the whole story >>
Food and Beverages
by Karlene Lukovitz
More not-great news for soda manufacturers, on the heels of last week's study concluding that daily diet soda drinkers have elevated risk of strokes: Consumer nutrition advocate group the Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban use of certain types of "caramel coloring" in colas and various foods. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
Right Guard is boosting its Hispanic-market efforts and celebrating its 50th anniversary as part of its new sponsorship deal with the National Basketball Association. The Henkel-owned brand will be both the Official Deodorant of the National Basketball Association, and presenting partner of Noche Latina (Latin Night) 2011. The brand first signed a multi-year deal with the NBA in 2008. ...Read the whole story >>

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Stupid Stuff

One of my wife's favorite shows is Undercover Boss on CBS. I wonder what the head honcho of FTD thinks about this?

(From Drew):

Things are not rosy at FTD!

Posted: 15 Feb 2011 10:11 PM PST

Happy Valentine’s Day?

Like many of you probably did, I grabbed a couple of the Groupon deals for FTD to help manage the Valentine’s Day floral budget. (Yes, I gave some local florists my money too)

Let me say this — I feel sorry for any business that has killer days like florists do. I am sure Valentine’s Day is a nightmare for them. However… it’s not like it’s a big surprise. So they should be ready for it, right?

When one of the arrangements I had ordered hadn’t arrived at 7 pm, I called their 800 number. The first message I got was that they were very busy and it would be 15 minutes before I could speak with someone. Then, a couple minutes later, the recorded voice came back on the line and said, due to the volume of calls and it being Valentine’s Day, they would not be able to answer my call and promptly disconnected me.


I called back and held for over 30 minutes. Somehow, I dodged the hang-up. I have no idea how long I would have continued to wait — I got word that the flowers had finally arrived and so I hung up.

Not a good day for FTD. But wait…

This morning, the flowers are wilted. I am talking D-E-A-D. Even with the coupon, they were $50 so I call the 800 number. This is really how the conversation went.

FTD guy: How may I help you?

Drew: I ordered flowers that were delivered yesterday and this morning, they are all wilted.

FTD guy: I am very sorry to hear that Sir.

Drew: Thank you. What can we do about it?

FTD guy: May I have the order number?

Drew: FRK372912

FTD guy: May I have your full name?

Drew: Drew McLellan

FTD guy: Thank you, Mr. McLellan. May I have your billing address?

Drew : I give him the address.

FTD guy: Thank you Mr. McLellan. May I have your phone number?

Drew: I give him the phone number.

FTD guy: Thank you Mr. McLellan. May I have the recipient’s name?

Drew: I give him the name.

FTD guy: Thank you Mr. McLellan. May I have the recipient’s address?

Drew: I don’t have it handy.

FTD guy: I’m sorry Mr. McLellan but I am trying to verify the order.

Drew: Wait a second — I have told you the order number, my name, address, phone number and the recipient’s name. Isn’t that enough information to verify the order?

FTD guy: I really do need to verify the order, Mr. McLellan. (by now…we’ve had enough Mr. McLellans)

Drew: Seriously — you think there might be two orders with the identical order number, buyer and recipient? You are looking at the order on your computer, aren’t you?

FTD guy: Yes Mr. McLellan, I am.

Drew: Have I gotten any of the questions wrong yet?

FTD guy: No, Mr. McLellan. Should I wait while you get the recipient’s address?

Insanity. Pure insanity. This is a man who is following a script, no matter how ridiculous it is. He doesn’t care about my order, my frustration or my repeat business. (I kept wondering how call center expert Tom Vander Well would react to this.)

I told him I didn’t have the address with me and couldn’t get it. Yes, I was being churlish. But come on. So you know what he made me do to finally verify the order? I will send flowers to the first correct guesser. (But not from FTD)

My point — when something goes wrong, you have a huge opportunity to win a customer for life. (read how Disney says I’m sorry) But you don’t get a second chance. You cannot add insult to the injury. FTD lost more than my $50. They lost the chance to begin to create a love affair with me. That cost them a lot more than $50.

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Mona Lisa smiles. Mitsubishi breaks records... so does Usain Bolt. Let's launch!

1Who knew grocery store ads could be so romantic? The Co-Operative launched two TV ads for Valentine's Day, featuring a husband and wife describing things they'd rather be doing than grocery shopping. In the first ad, a husband would rather sleep in late on Saturday, hold hands with his wife and feed the ducks than sit in traffic, throw away uneaten sausages and shop in bulk once a week. Watch it here. The wife responds with her own ad, forgiving him for making a commercial because she, too, would rather bond with her husband and children than spend Saturdays grocery shopping. "Only buy what you want, when you want it," closes the ad, seen here. Now go kiss your significant other, stat! TBWA/Manchester created the campaign, edited by Cut + Run.

2Everyone's a critic, especially when it comes to Super Bowl ads and Academy Award nominations. iN DEMAND, a distributor of movies on demand, launched a TV spot illustrating critics of all ages and sizes. "Everyone's a Critic" highlights a number of nominated films available for viewing on cable via MoD. A little girl pleads with her tea party guests (stuffed animals and dolls) about why an actress should win big Oscar night. A woman playing Bingo with her friend discusses movie sound editing and who should win. Her friend just wants to play Bingo. Watch the ad here, created by Thornberg & Forester.

3If only all McDonald's spots were this amusing. Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci and Napoleon Bonaparte star in two ads that answer historical mysteries: What made Mona Lisa smile and why did Napoleon always have his hand inside his pocket? The answer is, of course, Big Mac. Da Vinci is frustrated with his subject, who sits sullen and gloomy. "Can you smile," he asks. During his fit of aggravation, Mona Lisa sneaks inside the stack of books she's leaning on and grabs a bite of a Big Mac. It puts a smile on her face, and da Vinci's. See it here. Many wonder why Napoleon always rested his hand in his chest pocket. It wasn't for fashionable purposes or to alleviate his gout; he was also hiding a Big Mac. Watch it here. TBWA/Brussels created the campaign.

4Jordan Brand launched "Gadgets," the latest in its "Dominate Another Day" campaign. Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade stars as Agent D3, tasked with bringing the NBA championship back to Miami. Agent D3 is inside the lab of H, his partner in charge of gadgets and goodies. H made advancements to D3's game shoes, allowing him to be fast and explosive on the court. Inside H's obstacle course, D3 can avoid Chinese throwing stars and dunk a basket under pressure. Watch the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York.

5Mankind, a Toronto-based grooming studio for men, launched a funny TV spot about a convenience store clerk who was robbed by a man with perfect hair. When asked to describe the perpetrator, the clerk leaves no details behind: "His hair was chocolate brown. Gently tapered on the sides... Textured to appear more full-bodied." It doesn't take the police long to render this description useless. See the ad here. Cossette, Toronto, created the ad, directed by Patrick Sherman and edited by Poster Boy, Toronto.

6Mitsubishi launched a TV, online and social media campaign promoting an impressive feat: breaking five Guinness World Records in 24 hours. Two Mitsubishi cars broke the following world records: greatest distance driven by a vehicle in reverse on snow in 30 seconds; shortest braking distance by a vehicle on ice; most vehicle figure eights on ice in two minutes; fastest vehicle slalom relay on ice; and fastest driven square lap. Who comes up with these categories? TV ads show a condensed version of the record-breaking performances and drive viewers online to watch extreme driving in its entirety. See an ad here, created by 180LA

7Track and field star Usain Bolt stars in a TV spot promoting Gatorade's G Series of performance-enhancing products and beverages. The ad shows Bolt hydrating and practicing his skills. His goal is to beat his previous times, making his main competition himself. "Outdo yourself," closes the ad, as Bolt bests his previous time. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles.

8"It's not easy finding great fish." Just ask Legal Sea Foods. They're picky when it comes to the seafood they serve. Three TV ads depict how picky. The first ad features a crabber, who complains how the company won't buy a crab from him because it doesn't meet their standards. Watch it here. Another spot shows a bear successfully capturing a fish in its mouth, and spitting it back into the water. See it here. Even the seagulls are picky, asking one another if they've found worthy fish. Watch it here. Print ads don't mince words on how important fresh fish is to Legal Sea Foods: "There are plenty of fish in the sea. We should know, we throw most of them back," reads one ad. See ads here, here, here and here, created by DeVito/Verdi.

9Random iPhone App of the week: MedHelp and GE created Sleep On It, an app to improve a person's sleep quality and overall health. Sleep On It has a virtual alarm that allows users to track sleep patterns to determine what factors may affect their sleep. Users can also record their mood each morning and record medications, health symptoms and naps to learn what triggers poor sleep cycles. The app is available for free in the App Store.

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

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from the Labov Sales Channel:

Sales Hostage

Last week I was witness to a very unfortunate sales experience, and by unfortunate, I mean absolutely horrible. A friend of mine was essentially held hostage while a salesperson tried to sell a big-ticket product. It took being demanding and rude to leave.

Do you have to essentially hold potential customers hostage to get their attention? Is the only way they’ll buy from you is by developing Stockholm Syndrome? Do you find yourself arguing with the customer or insulting them?

If so–you are doing something wrong. A lot wrong. Heavy-handed and desperate sales tactics may get you an occasional sale, but they do not create loyalty, a re-purchase, owner satisfaction, a recommendation or same-customer growth. It creates an unhealthy, negative experience that the owner must relive every month when the installment payment comes due.

This type of sales process is argumentative, hostile, absurd, illogical and self-serving. I saw every clumsy old-school technique used one after the other. It was at times funny because of the absurdity.

Give your customers the respect they are due and be professional. LISTEN to them and see if there is a solution you can offer them. Don’t listen to them to just find points to counter attack. Be an advisor, an advocate. Sales should not be a fighting match. That’s the type of behavior that makes people distrust and dislike salespeople. Rise above it and do what’s best. Or do something else.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
Lexus and Nissan are both featuring beautiful models in some new marketing efforts, and they aren't just the cars. Both automakers are doing thematic advertising for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, hitting stands Feb. 15, and swimsuit models are central to both efforts.< ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Abdul-Jabbar's appearance in the TV spot was serendipitous. "We were shooting the spot in Los Angeles and the agency had connections," Priceline spokesperson Brian Ek tells Marketing Daily. "That specific ad was a spoof on Shatner and Naomi Pryce using different disguises as part of their negotiations. Having little Naomi disguise herself as Kareem, we thought was pretty funny." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Apple has come out on top of Barron's annual "World's Most Respected Companies" list for the second consecutive year, while Johnson & Johnson -- which has ranked either #1 or #2 since the survey of professional money managers was launched seven years ago -- has this year plummeted to 25th place. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
So much for the "Americans love to shop" theory: The latest rankings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) show that actually, we don't. The index has taken its biggest slump since 2008, driven primarily by our dissatisfaction with buying gas (really, who likes these prices?) and government services. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart stars in a new Ford campaign touting the 2011 Ford Explorer. The TV, print, radio and push will break on BET's The Game. A 60-second version of the ad broke during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on TNT. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Hoover's has always been about helping our customers do their jobs better," says James Rogers, vice president of marketing for Hoover's. "That's the promise that has always motivated our team -- whether we're publishing books, posting our data online, or feeding our information directly to mobile devices." ...Read the whole story >>

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They Will Talk

The latest from Harvey:

Customer service in the Internet age

By Harvey Mackay

For years, we believed that if customers received bad service, they would pass the word along to 20 or so people. Conversely, if they were on the receiving end of great service, they might tell a few folks, but not in numbers anywhere near the bad-news story.

Enter the Internet. Bad reports can span the globe instantly. Good reports can too, but they are not shared as frequently.

One company that learned this lesson the hard way is United Airlines. In March 2008, Dave Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell, were flying on United Airlines from Halifax to Omaha with a stopover in Chicago. At that first stop, a woman seated near the band looked out the window and exclaimed, "They're throwing guitars out there!"

Band members witnessed their expensive instruments being handled roughly. Carroll's guitar alone was a $3,500 Taylor model. Concerned, he approached the flight attendant and was sent to another agent outside the plane. But that person claimed to have no authority and walked away. A third employee at the gate dismissed his complaint, explaining "that's why we make you sign the waiver." Problem: Carroll and the band members had neither been offered nor signed such a waiver.

When he finally got to check out his guitar in Omaha, he discovered the base of the guitar had been smashed. Even a $1,200 repair didn't restore it to its original condition. And Carroll's experience with United as he sought restitution is a horror story that spanned nine months of phone calls, emails, faxes, buck-passing, and a final "Sorry, but we're not paying."

Most of us would have given up at that point, but then most of us aren't as creative as Dave Carroll. He turned it into a career opportunity.

"At that moment it occurred to me that I had been fighting a losing battle ..." Carroll wrote. "The system is designed to frustrate affected customers into giving up their claims, and United is very good at it. But I realized then that as a songwriter and traveling musician I wasn't without options.

"In my final reply to (the United rep) I told her that I would be writing three songs about United and my experience in the whole matter. I would then make videos for these songs and offer them for free download on YouTube . . . My goal: to get one million hits in one year."

Dave Carroll got his one million hits -- and nine million more. Two years later, he passed the ten million mark, and the videos are still enormously popular.

United did take notice, and it was reported on CNN that after 50,000 views, they admitted that it was a "unique learning opportunity" and made the experience part of their training program. At that point, they finally offered Carroll restitution, which he refused and encouraged them to give it to another deserving passenger.

Can any company afford this kind of publicity? United has survived, albeit with a tarnished reputation.

Customer service has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of websites like Angie's List and Yelp, which provide unfiltered reviews of services and products. Some require subscriptions, others are free. Google your company and see if you appear in the blogosphere. And never underestimate the power of YouTube and Facebook groups.

Undertake a top-to-bottom evaluation of your company. Examine the return policies, the authority given to representatives who deal with the public, the follow-up after a sale, and even more importantly, after an issue has been resolved to make sure the customer is satisfied with the outcome.

Then take a brutally honest look at your top management and reinforce the attitude that the customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer. Message: Excellent customer service is paramount to your success.

Survey your customers and give them the opportunity to rate your service. It's a chance to improve your company without having to hire a consultant. Then, incorporate the changes that you can.

How you serve your customers should never be debatable. When there are unrealistic expectations from a customer, honesty is the only acceptable answer. If you can't make a customer happy, at least help them understand your limitations. Help them find the company that can satisfy them, if necessary. Even if you must absorb the cost, it's probably going to be cheaper than fighting 10,000,000 hits on YouTube.

Mackay's Moral: If you don't serve your customer, they'll serve notice.

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Why Won't They Buy?

Don't sell stuff that people don't want to buy.

It usually won't work.

From Marketing Profs:

When Your Slam Dunk Isn't: Customer Misdirection

"What do you do if you've created a product that, by your reckoning, should sell easily—but then it doesn't?" asks Tom Davenport at Harvard Business Online. For Greg Burrill, owner of WGB Homes, the inexplicable failure was a house he built in a suburban Boston development. Despite a price drop and plenty of potential buyers, it sat unsold for 18 months. "Priced at about $550,000," notes Davenport, "it was a substantial investment to carry for a family firm." Like WGB.

The house's unusual layout was, admittedly, something new for WGB—based on feedback from empty nesters who wanted to stay in a family neighborhood but liked the idea of a first-floor master bedroom. "As well as anticipating the day when they would not want to climb stairs so frequently," notes Davenport, "many customers thought the aging of the baby-boom generation would give such houses high resale value."

To figure out why buyers weren't responding to this desirable feature, Burrill asked for input from colleagues, employees, subcontractors and neighborhood residents. And he got his answer: "It seemed that, while those target buyers might imagine they wanted a first-floor master," writes Davenport, "when it came down to buying, they ended up purchasing what they were used to—especially when the trade-off sank in, that they would lose space on the first floor to entertain."

So Burrill reconfigured the floor plan to include an additional master suite on the second floor—giving buyers the flexibility of moving downstairs. And it worked. He not only got his buyer, but also plans to build another house with the same, revised plan.

The Po!nt: What customers tell you they want, and what they actually buy, aren't always the same thing.

Source: Harvard Business Online.

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Doing the Impossible...When it Can't be Done
by Zig Ziglar
Way back in 1954 Roger Bannister ran a sub-four-minute mile and it ignited the athletic world. In 1994, Eamonn Coghlan of Ireland, at age 41, ran a sub-four-minute mile. Incredibly enough, Kip Keino of Ethiopia, at age 55, ran a 4.06 mile. The fastest mile run to date is a blazing 3:43:13 accomplished by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in Rome in 1999.

But back in 1954 more than 50 medical journals had published articles saying that the four-minute mile was not humanly possible. Doctors were warning athletes of the dire consequences to anyone who broke that "unbreakable" barrier...

SalesDog 2701 Loker Ave. West, Ste. 148, Carlsbad, CA 92010
Tel: 760-476-3700 • Fax: 760-476-3733 • Web:

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Packaged Facts' analysts believe that consumers' uptake of location-based services will be rapid, and that context-aware restaurant advertising will take off "sharply" this year, with check-in services such as Foursquare and competitors "not only becoming ubiquitous, but also more sophisticated." ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is launching a nationwide marketing and communications campaign to celebrate the nation's community banks. The group, which represents nearly 5,000 community banks nationwide, has launched ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Karl Greenberg
Allstate is taking a much bigger sponsorship position around soccer. The company, which has partnered with Federacion Mexicana de Futbol Asociacion (FMF) around its games in the U.S. for several years, will now be the Official Insurance Sponsor of Major League Soccer (MLS), as well. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
According to comScore's "2010 Mobile Year in Review," smartphone adoption rates in the U.S. reached 27% of the market by December 2010, up 10 percentage points from the previous year. At the same time, 36% of Americans used their mobile devices to access the Web in 2010. Across all global regions, mobile Web access increased 7-9%, according to comScore. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While the romantic announcement was timed for Valentine's Day, more cynical observers might think it's a career ploy from the 50-something fashion doll: It coincides with the opening of Toy Fair, the industry's biggest annual event, now underway in New York. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Kia is activating more this year against its three-year-old sponsorship program with the National Basketball Association. The Irvine, Calif. U.S. sales arm for Kia, which expanded the partnership last October, had a big presence in this weekend's NBA All-Star game. ...Read the whole story >>

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Employee Assets

Monday at 2pm I posted the first part of this two-parter from Drew....

Your employees = your 24/7 news source

Posted: 14 Feb 2011 05:43 AM PST

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Everyone’s a publisher today

In the “good old days” you could control the messages generated by your company and about your company. Your CEO might be quoted in the newspaper or interviewed on TV. You had a corporate brochure or maybe an annual report.

However word got out — it had the company’s seal of approval on it. Not today. Today, the kid who comes in for 10 hours a week to help with inventory or answer the phones is as likely to be a spokesperson as the well-versed CEO.

Actually, in fairness, that’s always been the case. Employees have always talked about their employer, the work they do, etc. But now, thanks to digital publishing, social media and technology — instead of talking around their dinner table to 3 other people, a single Facebook post or blog entry could go viral and be exposed to millions in a matter of hours.

As I said in my last post — this is not cause for breathing into a paper bag. It’s actually good news. Here’s how to harness the buzz your employees can create for you:

Keep them plugged in: No one likes to be kept in the dark. Talk to your people. Don’t just tell them about the past — share your vision for the future. Show them prototypes or the new delivery model. Keep them informed. Be clear about what is and is not for public consumption but be willing to share all the news, not just the good news. Be honest. Be ready to answer some tough questions. Be real.

Listen: Don’t just talk. Ask their opinion. Seek their ideas. Ask them to help you monitor what customers are saying about your brand. Tap into their insights and instincts. They may be more plugged into the social media tools than you are. So ask them how to best connect with your customers.

Set clear expectations: Be very clear about how you would like them to use social media in terms of your organization. I’ve said this before — but soon every company will have a social media policy, just like we all adopted sexual harassment policies 20 years ago. (Here are some excellent social media policy examples) Define your boundaries and the consequences for breaching them.

Celebrate them doing it well: If you have an employee who is really using their social media clout to serve a customer, sing your praises, answer consumer questions, recruit new team members — shout it out. Thank them publicly and use their behavior as a model to teach other employees.

This is one of those — lemon or lemonade kinds of choices. Your employees aren’t going to disconnect any time soon. So why not recognize the opportunity of having every single employee out there, talking about your organization and the work you do?

If that idea frightens you — you’d better ask yourself why. My guess is, it has little to do with the employees.

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