Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Email?

from one of my clients, Villing & Company:

Ten Email Marketing Tips You Can Implement Now

Feb. 25, 2011

Lesley Langfeldt
Lesley Langfeldt

Ten Email Marketing Tips You Can Implement Now

I recently listened to a webinar by Dan Zarrella from HubSpot. As marketers wanting to keep up with the changes going on in the industry, if you are not reading or listening to content from HubSpot, you are missing out. They have some great marketing resources on their website.

The title of his webinar was “The Science of Email Marketing.” This is one of the best webinars I have listened to because it was filled with ideas that any company could implement now. Here are some of the takeaways from the research performed:

1. Businesses are consumers.

Myth: B2B and B2C email marketing is very different. Fact: Did you know that only 12 percent of business people use separate inboxes for work and personal emails? That means 88 percent of business people are also reading personal emails throughout the day. So you are essentially emailing their consumer inboxes. Therefore, there is no reason to treat B2B email marketing any differently.

2. Saturdays and Sundays had the highest click-through-rate of any other days of the week.

They also had pretty low unsubscribe rates. Thursday’s unsubscribe rate was the lowest, while Tuesday’s was the highest. The research showed Monday and Tuesday as being the two highest days for unsubscribe rates because it is the beginning of the week and people are really busy, so they don’t have the time to read through email marketing messages. So the next time you send your email, consider sending it on the weekends and be sure to stay away from sending early in the week.

3. Most users report reading emails in the morning.

Six a.m. had by far the highest click-through-rate of the day. Try sending your next email marketing message early in the morning.

4. Over 80 percent of users reported reading email on a mobile device.

Make sure your email campaigns are optimized for the smaller screen.

5. Use several links in your emails.

The research shows that as the number of links goes up, so does the click-through-rate. The unsubscribe rate also decreases as the number of links increases.

6. To increase the chances of your email being archived and viewed again, include reference information.

Most people use their inbox as an archive. If they want information on their industry, business or something personally relevant to them, they check their inbox first. They consider it elite data because it is personalized to them. Think about how you can make your email worthy of archiving. What can you include to make people want to come back and access it later.

7. Subject line words.

Most clicked: posts, jobs, survey, week’s, e-newsletter, issue, digest, bulletin, edition

Most abuse reported: confirm, features, upgrade, magic, raffle, requested, rewards, christ, follow-up

Your subject line is an incredibly important part of your email message. This is what helps subscribers determine whether or not they will read your email. Choose your words carefully.

8. Give your subscribers exclusivity.

People want to know what’s in it for them. Make your subscribers feel special, like they are getting something no one else is. Give them special access to your company.

9. Send your email from someone subscribers have heard of.

The first thing most people check to decide whether or not they want to read your email is the Sender. If they don’t know the Sender, they more than likely are not going to open your email.

10. Don’t be afraid to send emails more than once per month.

Although sending one email per month has the highest click-through-rate at six percent, sending out three, four, eleven or even 22 or 27 still have click-through-rates of slightly more than four percent. And, as the number of emails sent per month increases, the unsubscribe rate decreases. However, this situation is going to vary from industry to industry and company to company. It might require some testing before you figure out what number is appropriate for your subscribers.

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Does Weird Work?

From the Copyblogger Blog:

image of New Jersey postage stamp

The Jersey Shore is back and up to its old antics again.

My guess — you being a respectable content marketer who finds that sort of display crude, irresponsible and embarrassing — is that you’re not tuning in.

Hey, I hear you. But do you know who isn’t offended by it?

The 8.4 million people who tuned in to the season premiere last month, making it the network’s most-watched series episode ever.

Whether you’re a true fan of Snooki, or you credit her with single-handedly hammering that last nail completing the Decline of Western Civilization, it doesn’t matter.

The fact is that each member of The Jersey Shore cast has gone on to create a recognizable and profitable personal brand in the 14 months the show has been on the air.

Not too shabby. And tucked inside the show’s success are personal branding lessons that any marketer can benefit from. Even if you’re not spray-tanned to a disturbing shade of orange.

Get a pen and paper because personal branding school is in session, Jersey Shore style.

Lesson 1: Own your oddities

If there’s one marketing principle reinforced by The Jersey Shore it’s that your oddities are what make you watchable.

Five minutes into checking out what’s going on in Seaside Heights this season and you’ll notice that most of the Jersey Shore cast barely looks human. They’re walking Halloween costumes, tanned, oiled and gym’d to the max.

And it’s their oddness that makes them interesting and what drives millions of people to tune in each week.

In an earlier Copyblogger post on branding and belly dancing, I spoke about the importance of creating a character — one that allows you to show off a heightened version of yourself to attract the right people to what you’re selling.

You’re probably not 4’9″ and God knows the world doesn’t need another Snooki, but what’s kooky and stand-out about you?

Figure out what it is and how you can make it work to your advantage.

Identify it. Use it. Become it.

Lesson 2: Polarization is a good thing

It doesn’t matter if you’re big, little or fall somewhere in between. Most of us are afraid to be a polarizing figure by taking a hard stance.

Just look at what happened to Groupon after the Super Bowl.

We hold back from going too far left, too far right or too far in our own direction in fear that we’ll be isolating our audience. And I get that – because you very often will be. But that’s not a bad thing.

The Jersey Shore kids are good examples of that. You’re either appalled by their train wreck or you’re mesmerized by it. And that’s why it works.

A post on the OK Cupid blog last month touched on the same concept, bringing up the mathematics of beauty. Specifically, it showed how playing up what some people don’t like about you allows you to attract the people who will.

It’s why edgy Meaghan Fox is more attractive than wholesome Kristen Bell, or why guys with tattoos are rated better looking than the average prepster.

If you want to be memorable, create a contrast. Going the safe route and trying to be everything to everyone won’t win you fans, it’ll only bring in people who don’t have an opinion about you either way.

Those people aren’t going to buy your stuff, and they won’t remember your name in the morning.

Lesson 3: People want a little drama

Season 3 of The Jersey Shore came with one promise -– that it would be the most drama-filled season to date.

So far, it’s lived up to the hype, with cast members getting into scary physical altercations, getting arrested, and with sudden character exits. The drama keeps people hooked because everyone wants to see what’s going to happen next and who is going to do what to whom.

If you’re working to build your personal brand, I wouldn’t recommend going out and getting arrested tomorrow, but do look for ways to create a little spice.

Maybe it’s Groupon releasing controversial commercials or you deciding to take an unpopular stance on your blog.

Associating your brand with a splash of excitement will help keep it top of mind and always relevant.

Lesson 4: You’ve got to build your platform

It’s easy to hate on The Jersey Shore kids for what they represent, but at the end of the day, they’ve created a platform that extends far past the show.

Snooki is a New York Times Bestselling author (wrap your head around that).

“The Situation” is said to have made $5 million from appearances and products (including his own vodka line and garment bags).

Jenny aka “JWOWW” has a book and bronzer, Ronnie endorses a popular weight loss drug, Angelina has a music single, Sammi has a perfume, and Vinny and Pauly D both have clothing lines.

Not bad for 14 months in the spotlight.

Sure, it’s ridiculous, but they created it.

The personal brand you create means nothing if you don’t have a business model. If you’re spending an hour a day on Twitter talking to people without finding a way to bring them back to your site or direct them somewhere else to do something, you’re leaving money on the table and you’re wasting your time.

Decide what you want these channels to give you and then create a plan for how you’ll be accomplishing that.

While The Jersey Shore certainly isn’t doing our younger generations any cultural favors, they are giving smart marketers some branding lessons worth tuning in for.

And now you have an excuse for the next time you’re caught watching …

About the Author: Lisa Barone has the totally pompous title of Chief Branding Officer at SEO consulting firm Outspoken Media. She tries to make up for the title by blogging Important Stuff on the Outspoken Media blog and being amusing on Twitter @lisabarone.

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from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Keep Your Efforts Organized

Sales can be a daunting task when you do not keep all of your contacts, leads, and activities in a central place. To make your sacred selling time most effective, use a CRM tool to keep track of your sales conversations. I use and recommend, though there are many other tools out there that you can use.

Take good notes, and at the end of each conversation, set a solid next step for yourself and record this in your CRM. This will help you stay organized as well as prioritize your follow-up and sales efforts.

Source: Erica Stritch, vice president of RAIN Group, a sales training/assessment company

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Aaron Baar
The campaign is a bit of an extension of the retailer's holiday effort, through which consumers took a photo of a 2D barcode and texted it to Macy's for access to a holiday themed video. This effort, however, is much more extensive, and will be communicated across multiple touchpoints, including television and print advertising, in-store signage and associate training. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Even with General Motors reporting its first annual profit since 2004, it may be too early to say the automotive market is back. However, auto executives around the world are feeling generally optimistic about 2011, thanks largely to China, where just about every brand is digging for gold. Market analysts agree. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Applebee's realized online exposure that would translate to more than $9.5 million if purchased through traditional media. Its buzz was driven in large part by its addition of three new Weight Watchers-endorsed entrées (it already offered two), according to the General Sentiment report. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
As Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of WPP, whose biggest client happens to be Ford, explained, the campaign is not about taking the "shock and awe" approach of big ads and anthem spots, but of creating quick, lasting impressions about specific vehicle elements. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Online banking continues to grow in popularity, and according to Mintel, 79% of consumers visit their banks' online website on a daily or weekly basis. But loyalty would vanish if the service wasn't free, as almost 80% of consumers would stop using their banks online bill pay services if their financial institutions charged a monthly fee. ...Read the whole story >>

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Doing the Math

from Drew:

Marketing math: how do you measure success?

Posted: 23 Feb 2011 07:03 AM PST

Are you measuring your marketing?

I don’t like math. It’s not that I can’t do it – I took advanced math all through high school. I just really don’t enjoy it.

But math matters.

If math = measurement. How can you justify your marketing budget/spend if you can’t point to how the dollars are moving some needle.

You see — there isn’t just one needle. No one indicator or sign of success. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Depending on the size of your organization, measurement does not have to be complicated. For most businesses — it’s more a matter of discipline than it is sophistication.

Let’s look at some common indicators and how you might measure for them.

Are you trying to measure perceptions/opinions?

A good way to measure mind shifts is to do some benchmark research and then repeat that exact same research after a given period of time. Compare the results for your measurement – does the marketplace see you differently than they did when you did the benchmark. (Depending on your size, budget etc. you should probably repeat the research every 2-3 years to get accurate results.)

Are you trying to measure a change in traffic (initial interest) either in your location or online?

Online is easy — track hits and unique visits with a tool like Google Analytics. Drive them to a specific landing page and simply monitor change/activity.

Offline is a little less scientific. You can guestimate foot traffic. Or you can ask people (as they check out or you engage with them) how they heard of your business.

You can also use a unique phone number or e-mail address in your marketing and track the number of inquiries that way as well.

Are you trying to measure inquiries or trials?

Again, this will differ on and offline. Online, you can track things like e-newsletter sign ups, downloads of coupons or e-books and requests for more information.

Offline, you might monitor phone calls and requests for proposals, bids or initial meetings. If you’re a retailer, you could also count redeemed coupons or how many samples you give out.

Are you trying to measure sales (new or residual)?

This should be pretty easy — just track sales. You’ll need some historical data so you have something to measure against. Be sure you divide up the data so you can track new versus repeat customers. For our purposes — you don’t need to boil down to the nitty gritty. That someone came in and spend $42.37 is enough. You don’t need to record that they bought a hammer, a box of nails and a garden hose.

Of course… the key to effective measurement in marketing is understanding why you’re doing it in the first place. Measurement isn’t an afterthought. It should be built into your marketing plan’s strategy.

Knowing what you are trying to accomplish will tell you what you should measure. But…it’s a what, not an if.

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Guide Them

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Taking Control

To close more business effectively, you must be the one who is controlling and directing the customer through each step of a sales process. Don't expect the customer to know what to do next. Most people are commitment-phobic. They're not going to make a decision until they are presented with options.

Have you ever faced a situation where you follow up with a customer after several months, only to be told that they have just finished negotiations with a different vendor? It's frustrating and yet it's entirely preventable.

By waiting so long to follow up, you may have been doing what you assumed the customer wanted. However, this does nothing to help position you where you need to be for when that customer is ready to buy.

Stay in control of your sales process by adopting a strategy that gets your customers to commit to a series of steps -- and to stick to it.

In my sales coaching sessions, my advice is that you need to be following up with each of your customers at a minimum of every 30 days in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be by phone, but you need to be doing something to stay in that top-of-mind position.

Source: Colleen Francis, founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Aaron Baar
"Snoop is a direct bull's-eye hit for our core customer target," Bob Fant, staff vice president of advertising and brand development for MetroPCS, tells Marketing Daily. "We thought [using him] would be a good way to get off the leash for this handset." MetroPCS draws heavily from minority customers (about 80% of the company's customers are African-American or Hispanic). ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
As part of its "Big Voices in Big Places" strategy, Hyundai Motor America will be, for the third consecutive year, auto-exclusive sponsor of the Academy Awards. The Fountain Valley, Calif. automaker will air nine TV ads during TV coverage of the event on ABC. Jeff Bridges will be absent as a voice in four of the spots because he is up for an award for "True Grit." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Planters is sponsoring creation of peanut-shaped community parks called "Planters Groves" in four U.S. cities, and launching a "Naturally Remarkable" campaign that encompasses this and other sustainability initiatives ... with a dash of fun. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
In its first work for Bank of the West, ad agency Heat is breaking from past creative efforts, which primarily featured lifestyle photography. The San Francisco bank is hoping to differentiate itself from some of the less-than-forthcoming offers made by competing banks. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The new effort, which extols consumers to "Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum," focuses on tradition and some of the mandates for producing the cane-based spirit that aren't the law in other rum-producing regions. It is also timed with a deal Bacardi recently signed with Puerto Rico's economic development organization that keeps Bacardi production in Puerto Rico for at least another 20 years. ...Read the whole story >>

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So You Want to Go Social?

From ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure, with a couple of adaptions for this site:

Last year, a few folks suggested I write more about Social Media.

Some wanted me to teach Social Media.

Others wanted me to justify Social Media.

That last one was a doozy.

So after giving it some thought, I started preparing another website that would share some of what I have learned over the past few years along with some guest posts from others.

Not every one of the previous 35 posts are note worthy, but some are worth checking out again, or if you didn't see them the first time, you can scan thru the list and see what captures your interest:

Here's a video that shows why we should care about Social Media. Pass this on to the skeptics. Click here.

Click here for an Illustrated guide to setting up a blog.

I also presented a weeks worth of Twitter information including this Illustrated guide to setting up your Twitter account, click here

Also regarding Twitter, click here for some Twitter Terms you should know.

And click here to see the application I use and recommend for managing LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure is updated every weekday at noon.

That's Monday through Friday, eastern time.

You can subscribe via email, or RSS feed and it won't cost you a dime or a dollar.

We call that Free in Indiana. Click here to go there.

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New Ad Campaigns

Our weekly update from Amy:

"When Will It Melt?" Target ads with "Top Chef" alums: my dream crossover comes true. Let's launch!

1Nissan has partnered with Sports Illustrated to find next year's swimsuit model. "Model Search" highlights eight up-and-coming models vying for a spot in next year's swimsuit issue. Participants can cast votes and help determine who makes it into the magazine. The contest marks the first time a guaranteed spot has been available for a model. Nissan's spokesman Kowalczyk conducts "serious" field study experiments, pitting a supermodel against a Nissan Juke. Kowalczyk sabotages an aerodynamics experiment so he can ogle Amber, a bikini-clad model on a bearskin rug. See it here. An agility test shows Juke and Amber maneuvering through an obstacle course with ease. Watch it here. What looks better curbside: Amber lounging on a bench or Juke? Ask the focus group member, sent into serious overdrive. See it here. We're not done objectifying Amber just yet. The final spot consists of a fast dash between Juke and Amber, running in slow motion. The funniest part was Kowalczyk handing Amber water with lemon, after saying aloud: "you must be starving." Watch it here. TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles and OMD created the campaign.

2Chobani yogurt launched "Real Love Stories," a campaign showcasing real people and their love of yogurt. Some people will do extreme things for Chobani, like bike 80 miles on a Saturday morning to see a Chobani factory. If I biked that long, I'd at least try and go inside for a tour... or some samples. See Stephen's journey here. One woman had her Chobani stolen from the office fridge. She never caught the culprit, but she did find a hiding place for her beloved snack. Watch it here. In addition to the TV spots, online videos featuring real-life consumers encourage fellow Chobani lovers to share their love stories online. See longer promos for Stephen and Stephanie here and here. Outdoor ads use real tweets from Chobani fans alongside pictures of fruity yogurts. See them here, here, here and here. Gotham created the campaign.

3I'm not usually a fan of cross-promotional ads, but Target's pair of 15-second spots that ran throughout last week's episode of "Top Chef" changed my tune. Temporarily, at least. Last week's episode gave the cheftestants free reign inside a Target. Their goal was to cook a meal using anything from the store. The winner made grilled cheese sandwiches and used an iron to add extra crunch. In "Quick Fire," former contestant Kevin made a lettuce and tomato sandwich. If only he'd added some bacon, thought host Padma Lakshmi. See it here. The next ad features Eli and Kevin competing in a quickfire challenge. Kevin's food is stuck inside his pan. Target sells non-stick cookware. Problem solved. Watch it here. Not that I expect to see Top Chefs buying cookware from Target or Padma shopping at one, but I loved the ads nonetheless. Wieden + Kennedy Portland created them.

4Digitas Boston launched a Twitter contest asking those who are tired of winter, "When Will It Melt?" The contest is easy: guess the date the snow will melt in Boston, using the Twitter hashtag #whenwillitmelt. Every day, the agency's in-house meteorologist (person who drew the shortest stick?) will go to Boston's Government Center and check on the amount of snow on the ground. The winner gets an iPad. Start guessing!

5The New York Lottery launched a TV spot to promote its Minute to Win It scratch-off game that's similar to the TV show with the same name, minus the physical challenges. A man spots the scratch-off while paying for odds and ends in a convenience store. The clerk has him perform embarrassing challenges, like juggling apples with socks on his hands, only to find out that physical challenges aren't a part of the scratch-off game. See the ad here, created by DDB New York.

6Keeping with lottery ads, the Oregon Lottery bowed "Lord of the Chance," promoting its St. Patrick's Day Raffle game. The winner of the St. Patrick's Day Raffle rolls into an Oregon town on the back of a truck. He's dressed in a green body suit, dancing the jig and showering himself with gold coins. A crowd of onlookers quickly gathers. "Just because you're lucky like an Irishman doesn't mean you can dance like one," closes the ad, seen here and created by Borders Perrin Norrander.

7Jim Beam launched "The Chase" this week in cinemas and TV, using a red stag that leaps tall city buildings to promote its black-cherry-infused whisky. Wherever the stag goes, a procession of black cherries are left behind. Watch the ad here, created by StrawberryFrog and produced by MassMarket.

8This campaign ran last year and I don't know how I missed it, because I'm a huge fan of unbranded ad campaigns. OK, maybe it's because the product is targeting male hair loss. Karsh/Hagan launched a print and outdoor campaign for American Crew Trichology Hair Recovery System. Unbranded print ads, that ran in GQ, Men's Health and ESPN Magazine, posed questions regarding what, specifically, causes hair loss. Is it heat, testosterone, medication, bandanas, helmets or mental state? Abandoned buildings were also powerwashed with various questions, directing passerby to American Crew's Web site. See creative here, here, here, here, here and here.

9Random iPad App pf the week: Travel + Leisure launched a free iPad app, powered by Woodwing. Users can check out bonus behind-the-scenes videos images not found in the print editions. Just because the app is free doesn't mean you can tap into print versions of T+L gratis. Like most apps, it gives users a discount to purchase issues via In App purchase. Each issue costs $3.99, a 20% savings from the mag's cover price. The app is available for download in the App Store.

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

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9 for the Money

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip:

Sales steps to take during a tough economy:

1. Go outside your normal contacts
2. Explore recession resistant categories (fuel, utilities, etc.)
3. Make 5 extra calls a day
4. Ask for referrals
5. Treat customers as partners
6. Write your goals
7. Be a consultative salesperson
8. Keep in touch with former sponsors
9. Don't get discouraged

Source: Sylvia Allen, Allen Consulting Inc.,, (732) 946-2711

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
For Dunkin', the deal to sell prepackaged K-Cup portions of its branded coffees exclusively in its restaurants represents an opportunity to drive incremental sales/profits for its franchisees and the overall company by providing consumers with "more occasions to enjoy" Dunkin' coffee at home, on "America's fastest-growing single-cup brewing system," said Dunkin' Brands CEO/Dunkin' Donuts president Nigel Travis. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
BMW is lining up a series of electric and hybrid cars. To support those vehicles, but also to do something it has really never done before -- develop extra-vehicular technology for urban mobility -- the company is launching a sub-brand. The new "BMW i" global brand is going to be as much about BMW's mobility-solutions efforts as new vehicles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Even a 109-year-old brand needs a facelift every now and then. As part of its annual spring marketing campaign during the Academy Awards telecast this Sunday, the JC Penney Company is introducing a new corporate logo intended to give the retailer a more modern identity. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The Pyrex brand and Sandra Lee have teamed up to educate consumers on how to cook with care when using glass bakeware. Lee, author and editor in chief of Semi-Homemade magazine, also is the host of "Sandra Lee Celebrates," a series of primetime specials on HGTV, and two highly rated television shows on Food Network. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The latest incarnation of Miracle Whip's distinctive "We're Miracle Whip and We Won't Tone It Down" brand positioning not only declares that the spread isn't for everyone, but is anchored by TV spots featuring both celebrities and actors representing average consumers who declare that they "hate" the brand, interspersed with praise from those who love it. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The National Hockey League (NHL) has signed a seven-year deal with Molson Coors in Canada and MillerCoors in the U.S., giving flagship brand Molson Canadian exclusive League rights in the beer sponsorship category. The deal gives Molson rights to the Official Beer of the NHL designation, beginning July 1, with the 2011-12 NHL season. ...Read the whole story >>

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Mall Marketing

Anything and everything that you do to promote your business is part of your marketing plan.

If you are a retailer and can afford to be in a major shopping mall, it might be a wise investment.

Here's an update on the state of these "little cities":

The American Mall: Back from the Dead

It has gotten progressively less cool to meet at the mall since the heyday of the mega shopping center in the 1980s. But starting in the 90s, a downward trend found "anchor" department stores in malls steadily losing their grip on young shoppers, and with them, retail market share. That is, until this year.

The swing hasn't been huge, but it's significant.

Department stores anchored to malls actually gained market share over off-mall retailers for the first time since the 1980s. In 2009, the market share of mall-bound department stores had fallen to 2.4%, according to a report by consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. But in 2010, it started to creep up to 2.5%.

"Even though it was only a tenth of a share point, for department stores, that is a huge change," says Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. "This is a real turn in the market. We're optimistic that the momentum is just gathering."

It's happening for a couple of reasons. Across the board, consumer spending is picking up since the recession. For decades, consumer spending had been shifting towards off-mall stores. Now, big department stores are doing better, and their success is helping boost the developers who build the malls themselves. So how did they break the cycle?

For one, the retail outlets doing well aren't following the traditional growth strategy of building more and more: "The country is kind of over-malled and over square footed," Johnson says. A couple of other factors are changing to make malls more profitable:

Department stores are making a comeback.

Namely, Macy's and Nordstrom, both anchor department stores for malls, are doing well. Revenue at Macy's was up to $25 billion for 2010, which is up 6.5% from the previous year. Nordstrom, another key department store for malls, increased total retail sales by 12.7% for 2010 compared to 2009. Part of that is due to the success of their outlet stores, Johnson says, but these retailers are also sharpening their anchor-store inventory to capitalize on consumer spending.

Stores that aren't doing well are on the outs.

Department stores like clothing store Mervyns and home décor retail outlet Montgomery Ward used to take up lots of square feet in malls. But post-recession, they have had to consolidate, which has meant that many of them have had to move out of malls. That led to the highest mall vacancy rates in decades during 2008 and 2009, according to the Customer Growth Partners report.

But the exodus had an upside. It cleaned out struggling stores, enabling a fresh cadre of retailers to move in. U.S. retailers including Aeropostale, Forever 21, Love Culture and Vera Bradley started leasing anchor-store sized space in malls as the failing department stores vacated them. So did foreign companies including H&M, Pandora and Sephora. The influx of newer stores keeps malls fresh for consumers, and appears to be keeping them coming back.

More and more, major mall developers including Simon, Tanger and Westfield are seeing vacant spaces fill back up. The turnoverover is providing a good opportunity to renovate and freshen up interiors, another tactic that is helping to keep malls at the forefront of shoppers' minds.

There's a new, more inclusive mall mentality.

Malls are also opening their arms to stores traditionally considered off-mall. For example, Australia-based mall developer Westfield is welcoming stores onto its mall properties that tap into a lower price range. Westfield, for example, has 9 Target stores in its properties. (And some retailers, Fortune recently noted, are creating "stores within stores" to earn rent on their unused square footage.)

The company has also been renovating its property by installing movie theaters, gyms, grocery stores and even hotels next to the lineup of fashion retailers. That's an industry trend, Johnson says.

Customers don't actually see a conflict between shopping at a high end clothing store and a Target in the same space, says Westfield spokeswoman Katy Dickey -- rather, they want it all. They also want to access stores easily. That means making changes down to the architectural level. For instance, developers are turning malls built like customer-trapping chutes into more open places with access to all major stores from multiple entrances.

Some of the most promising new developments by successful mall builders in mild climates are completely open-air, says Johnson. They don't feel very mall-like in the traditional sense.

Not that the mall model isn't sound, says Dickey. "I think the bones are still good. There's convenient parking and a wide range of goods and services -- those are the bones. They need to be well dressed. Not expensively dressed, but appealingly dressed."

The new generation of malls needs to be built with every kind of store, all of them as easy to access as a Safeway. Then, she says, as the positive results from Westfield's renovations show, customers will stay longer and spend more.

(Source: Fortune, 02/15/11)

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R U Social Yet?

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Become Part of the Social Conversation

Social media tools and online networking serve an important role in remaining on your customer's radar, because they help reinforce your presence in the minds of clients and prospects. By embracing social media, you're meeting clients where they live, and communicating with them using the tools they want to use.

Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the big three leaders today in the domain of social networking and the best way to build presence there can be summed up in two words: be useful. Join a group on LinkedIn on a topic you feel passionate about. Tweet about your own top-10 tips for your market and retweet others' posts that your followers may find useful. Share links and best practices on your Facebook page.

The key is to show what you know by being a resource to others. That's how you can engage in the social conversation online in a way that's authentic, meaningful and sincere.

Source: Colleen Francis, founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Tanya Irwin
The two groups aim to raise awareness and move dengue vaccination higher on the global health agenda. Currently, there is no specific treatment available for dengue fever, a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes. The infectious disease is a threat to nearly half of the world's population and a public health priority in many countries of Latin America and Asia where epidemics occur. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Timberland is weaving a new fabric into its earth-friendly repertoire, integrating Bionic canvas in its spring designs for both men and women. The Stratham, N.H.-based company says it has also added a new nano-coating to certain models. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Privately owned Chick-fil-A, the nation's second-largest chicken QSR (by sales), is reporting that it grew system-wide sales by 11.4% last year, to $3.58 billion. The growth included same-store sales growth of 5.9%. The company, which says its record of year-over-year sales growth has been unbroken since it launched in 1967, did not report profit performance. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Toyota has a serious problem in the U.S. market this year. It may be a bigger problem than its recalls in 2010. The company, which is expanding its lineup of Prius cars this year from just a single car -- the hybrid sedan -- to include a plug-in hybrid, and soon a hybrid crossover, has been at pains to figure out what the plural of Prius might be. Other brands don't have this problem: Civic, Civics; Malibu, Malibus; Focus ... Foci? ...Read the whole story >>

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Your Employees are your Marketing Too


When you hire someone, do you consider the impression they will make?

From Drew:

Would you hire a naughty girl?

Posted: 18 Jan 2011 07:10 AM PST

Shutterstock_865762One of the most tangible and visible aspects of any organization's brand are its employees.

How those employees look, act and perform their job functions speaks volumes to customers, prospects and even the other employees.

As I was driving into work this morning, I was behind a car with the vanity plate NAWTGRL. At first I just laughed to myself but then I got to thinking about the consequences of a license plate like that.

Putting legalities aside...let's say that you had interviewed a woman and found her to be qualified for a client-centric job opening. She would be out and about on your behalf (in her vehicle) and clients would not only see her but probably ride in her car to meetings, lunches etc.

In your mind, as the interview was winding down, you were thinking that she might be a good fit. But as you walked her to the door, you noticed her license plate -- NAWTGRL.

Would that influence your decision to hire her and have her represent your organization?

How do you balance a prospective or current employee's right to express themselves (vanity plates, tattoos, hair color/style, piercings, extreme (either side) political opinions/signage in their office, etc.) or do you think that has no business being a part of your hiring decision?

I don't know the "right" answer -- just curious to hear your thoughts.

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Wasting Words?

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Just ASK the Question

On the phone, what might seem like tiny nuances in speech can be major hindrances. Think about it. Because of the absence of visual communication, the listener's complete perception of you is based on the words you use, and the way you deliver them.

A habit that some people have is prefacing their questions with "May I ask...", as in, "May I ask how many locations you have?"

When you analyze it, this is a waste of words and also implies that the inquirer is tentative and lacks confidence in asking for the information.

Those who are guilty might argue that they don't want to appear pushy with their questions.


As long as you've piqued their curiosity with your opening and hinted at the value you might be able to deliver, you've earned the right to ask for information.

Plus, you can make your questions sound non-threatening with your tone of voice. Why not simply say, "How many locations do you have?" in a sincere tone of voice?

Here's another related offense: simply asking if you may ask a question. Such as, "May I ask you a few questions about your organization?"

If you say this, you just did ask a question!

The problem here is that their thinking now focuses on whether or not they want to answer any questions. However, contrast that with, "Tell me about how your organization is structured by region."

Now they aren't debating as to whether or not they want to answer your questions. They're thinking about the answer to your request. That's why questions are so powerful. They prompt the person to think about precisely what you ask them.

Source: Sales trainer Art Sobczak

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
Now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concurred with Toyota's own assessment that the company's recall problems were due to accelerator pedals and not the car's neurological systems, Toyota Motor Sales is hoping to retake the reputation hill with a new ad campaign timed with spring. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
On the heels of announcing strong fourth-quarter results, Nordstrom is jumping into the online private sales business, scooping up HauteLook. In a deal that may go as high as $270 million, it will buy the three-year-old HauteLook, based in Los Angeles, which offers limited time sale events on fashion and lifestyle brands, often with discounts of between 50 and 75%. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
After years of evolutionary change, digital media have now brought marketing communications to a "break point" requiring a new model. Companies that recognize this and implement fundamental structural changes to address the new realities of marketing management will thrive in the years ahead, and those that don't will fall by the wayside. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The rankings measure customer loyalty using Net Promoter Score (willingness to recommend). They are based on survey responses from more than 22,000 U.S. consumers nationwide, and include ratings for 170 individual brands across a large variety of industry sectors (insurance, financial services, airline, telecommunications, technology, retail and online services). ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The "2011 Customer Service Champions," J.D. Power & Associates annual ranking of brands based on customer feedback, includes five automotive brands: Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac. That puts them in the company of firms like Zappos, JetBlue, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Southwest Airlines. ...Read the whole story >>

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This 9 year old is Smarter than your Marketing VP

A few days ago, I found this story from my email archives.

Chuck Mckay wrote it in the summer of 2008.

See if you agree:

Basics of Retail Marketing from a Nine-Year-Old

Nine-year-old Lindsey, who's visiting her grandmother and me, obviously has the entrepreneurial gene.

She decided on Wednesday to open the classic American neighborhood business, the lemonade stand. I suspect there are a few retail marketing lessons every business person could take from her example.


Have you ever met a nine-year-old who didn't believe anything was possible? When told “that won't work,” her response is automatically, “well, what if we did this?

I'm not recommending that anyone take on the Don Quixote role, but there's something to be said for enthusiasm and attitude.


Although the ambient temperature hovered in the mid-90s, Lindsey chose to park her table in the direct sunshine next to the street, rather in the shaded (and much harder to see) front porch.

People must know you exist if they are to buy from you. If they can't see you, you're too easily ignored.


Her question wasn't “How much can I charge to make maximum profit,” but rather “how little can I charge so that everyone will want to buy?” She settled on twenty-five cents per eight ounce cup.


Lindsey posted signs a block in every direction. She also was quite vocal. Not a pedestrian nor the driver of any automobile on Collis Avenue missed the message that she had “ice cold lemonade for sale.”


As each customer finished a cup of lemonade, Lindsey first confirmed that they were satisfied. “It was good, wasn't it?” When her customer affirmed that it was, indeed, good, she pointed out that a single eight ounce cup probably hadn't completely quenched the customer's thirst. She poured another and held it out to each customer.

Most bought a second cup.

Location, Reprised

Discovering that a crowd had gathered half a block away at a yard sale, Lindsey re-located her table to the yard sale, and offered cups of her lemonade to the hostess, and to the yard sale customers as well.

Summary: paying attention to retail marketing basics is always worthwhile. In a single afternoon, Lindsey grossed thirty-three dollars. And at twenty-five cents each, creating that many customers from scratch seems to me to be a rather impressive success.


Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover you, and choose your business. Questions about basics of retail marketing may be directed to

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Stop Asking


Ask for Action, Not Permission
by Art Sobczak
An article that originally appeared in the New York Times titled "In War Against No-Shows, Restaurants Get Tougher," by William Grimes is especially relevant for us as salespeople. Here is an excerpt:

Gordon Sinclair, the owner of Gordon restaurant in Chicago, had an epiphany about 10 years ago when he began adding up the cost of no-shows and found that the grand total was $900,000 a year, a figure that got him thinking, fast.

He made a change in the restaurant's procedure that underlines the curious moral status of a restaurant reservation, which is less than a contract but something more binding than "let's have lunch."

He instructed his receptionists to stop saying, "Please call us if you change your plans," and start saying, "WILL you call us if you change your plans?"

His no-show rate dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent!

In other words -- by asking a question and eliciting a response, Sinclair created a sense of obligation. Getting that soft commitment made a huge impact.

"May I send you some information?" is asking the prospect to give you permission; "If I send you some information, will you look it over and we can talk again in a few weeks?" is asking the prospect to commit to the next step.

If you're able to engage them at all, you should be able to ask for some commitment--not permission.

If they're too busy right now -- or their budget monies are coming in two weeks -- "Will we be able to talk more about this when I call back in a few weeks?" is asking for commitment and implies that they need to be ready for that conversation when you do call back. Then, you have a reason to send them material, so they'll be ready. On the other hand, "May I call you in a few weeks?" is simply asking for permission.

People like to honor their commitments. If the call ends and they have only given you permission, why would they care what happens next? The ball is not in their court.

But, if the call ends and they've committed to doing something, odds are good they'll do it. And, if asking for that commitment doesn't feel right, then it probably means you've got more work to do in building interest.

Make it your goal on every call to ask a version of "Will you...?" as opposed to "May I...?"

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing rejection. Learn more here

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

First things First

My Sunday Seth:

What's the use case?

Visit an architect. On the first visit, right after shaking your hand, she unrolls plans for a house. "Here are some sketches..."

Wait. That's backward.

Sketches for what? How do you know if I want a house or an office building? How am I to judge these plans? Is it a mind reading exercise?

The most effective way to sell the execution of an idea is to describe the use case first. And before you can do that, you need to have both the trust of your client and enough information to figure out what would delight them.

Then, describe what a great solution would do. "If we could use 10,000 square feet of space to profitably service 100 customers an hour..." or "If we built a website that could convert x percent of ..." or "If we could blend a wine that would appeal to this type of diner..."

After the use case is agreed on, then feel free to share your sketches, brainstorms and mockups. At that point, the only question is, "does this execution support the use case we agreed on?"

Don't show me a project, a website, an ad buy or an essay without first telling me what it's supposed to do when it works properly. First, because I might not want that result. And second, how else am I supposed to judge if it's good or not without knowing what you're trying to do...

Too often, we're in such a hurry to show off what we'd like to build we forget to sell the notion of what we built it for.

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Beyond Branding

Brands aren't dead, but depending on what your brand stands for, you might want to retool how you present it:

Study: Gens X, Y Rely On Research, Less On Loyalty

Here's some advice to brands putting the onus on loyalty to drive sales: "Be very afraid." AMP Agency, a Boston-based branding firm, has just completed a study of consumers, "Inside the Buy," that suggests that actually very few consumers between the ages of 25 and 49 are moved to purchase by habit, or sentimental considerations for a brand.

The study, based on a Fall 2010 poll of 865 Gen X and Y consumers, looks at what happens in the "consideration phase" of the purchase path, where the Web and what AMP found to be a "new/modern path" to purchase hold sway. The quantitative and qualitative study also addressed a changing view of brand loyalty. The firm found that just 3% of consumers say they are loyal to a particular brand and never buy anything else.

The study, which looks at five product categories -- baby products, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty, and fashion -- finds that the very idea of loyalty has changed for 97% of consumers. "New consumer behavior is redefining what we view as 'contemporary loyalty'," said Allison Marsh, VP, Consumer Insights at AMP Agency. "With more information, consumers have seized control and are more open to the wide choices in the marketplace."

Forty-three percent of respondents polled by the study said they do some type of research before they buy. By product category, 64% of people AMP surveyed said they do research before buying electronics; 44% said they do research when buying baby products; 31% do so for health and beauty; and about a quarter said they do "some type of research" before making a decision in both the fashion and food and beverage categories.

According to the "Inside the Buy" study, men spend more time doing pre-purchase research in areas pertaining to personal style and appearance. Forty-six percent of male respondents said they always research fashion purchases, while only 32% of females said as much. For the health and beauty category, 37% of male respondents said they always research products, while a quarter of female respondents said they did so.

Ninety-four percent of consumers said online research positively influenced their decision to make a purchase, and nearly four in ten said they bought a product because of the research they found. Paradoxically, given the fire hose of content the Web disgorges, 30% of those polled said they cannot find enough of the information they are looking for online, and only 4% said they were overwhelmed by the amount of research available to them in a particular category.

About half of consumers go to a brand's Web site for pre-purchase research, while 46% said they go to a retailer's Web site initially. Forty percent said they visit third-party review sites, and 38% said they go to social media Web sites. Almost three-quarters of respondents said their first choice is general consumer reviews, which is about twice the importance they put on expert reviews on product durability and functionality. In fact, half of respondents said online consumer reviews most influenced their purchase. Forty-one percent said feedback from a friend was important, and 37% were influenced by the number of positive reviews they read online.

"By identifying the steps involved in the consideration process, we found that consumers are being strongly influenced by information and opinions shared online," said Marsh.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 02/07/11)

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