Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boomer Media & Shopping Habits


Are you a Boomer? Do you agree with this from Mediapost?

Creativity Works Magic

At the dawn of Advertising, a sage noted, "It ain't creative if it don't sell!" As a strategy-driven copywriter and creative director, I couldn't agree more. In advertising and marketing communications, the bottom line is the bottom line. Period. Whether you're promoting products, services, ideas, or all three, making the sale is all that counts. All else is window dressing, because if the cash register doesn't ring, the marketing strategies and creative executions aren't worth the time, money or effort it took to create them.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can ignore creativity in favor of communicating things in ways that would make even Bean Counters yawn. You've seen the kind of advertising and marcom that results from that approach. Ugh! Remember, you can't bore Baby Boomers into buying. So, if you try to tell or sell them something using Drivel and Pablum (wasn't that a Kansas City agency that closed back in the '90s?), don't expect Boomers to greet your efforts with anything but a yawn, or worse, disdain. And keep in mind that if creativity is magic, strategy-driven creativity that actually works is genius. To get the job done, you need to employ the most creative writers, art directors and producers around, but finding them can be as grueling as panning for gold.

I've hired and mentored many creative professionals over the past 40-some years, and the truly gifted ones are rare indeed. If you're looking for creative pros who can take your business to the next level, don't bother writing tight, logical job specs for them (unless you're forced to do so by corporate fiat), because creatives defy being boxed in by anyone or anything. Irrespective of education or experience, the one common quality I've noticed, is that their creativity never fails them. Wake them up at 3 a.m., give them a tough challenge, and they'll quickly come back with a very respectable professional solution, if not something that's borderline brilliant.

But there is something new in the air. Creative directors of the future will be required to challenge their own prejudices of aging while communicating with Boomers. Unfortunately for them, most of the hotshots in the field are just too young to understand or empathize with Boomers, and that will be their downfall.

Boomers are sophisticated, media-savvy consumers who have seen and heard it all. They simply won't tolerate advertising or marcom that tries to trick or talk down to them.

And no business can afford to try to marginalize the Boomers, because there are just too many of them. But be warned: If you get on their wrong side, Boomers can be just as temperamental as teens. The difference is that they won't spend it as impulsively as younger, trendy consumers, so you better be spot on with the creative approaches you take, in both concept and tone.

Fortunately, Boomers are as open to creative communications as anyone else. However, they tend to be rather contemplative in their shopping and deliberate in their buying. That makes them the toughest audience out there, so you need a lot more experience and expertise to reach them. And you're got to know more than just advertising and marcom. You've got to know the basic principles and techniques of gerontology counseling. That may sound esoteric, but as you'll see, that discipline can provide practical ways to understand, communicate with and motivate Boomers.

Reaching Boomers may well be the biggest challenge facing marketers over the next generation. If you have the skill and wisdom to devise and stick with a sound strategy, and if you have the courage to express it in the most creative ways possible, you've got a great shot at getting your share. Just remember, when you're communicating with Boomers, there's nothing more compelling than a memorable message that's actually worth remembering.


Vincent Vassolo is the founder of Vim, Vigor & Vassolo, an agency that creates strategies, advertising and marcom programs targeting Boomers.

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The Mailman Delivers...

but do you?

from Drew:

Direct mail marketing do’s and don’ts

Posted: 07 Mar 2011 05:15 AM PST

I’ve always been a fan of direct mail, especially 3-D direct mail. It’s pretty tough for someone to ignore a package addressed to them. Assuming you’re mailing to the right audience — it can be very effective.

I get a fair amount of 3-D direct mail related to the blog and my agency McLellan Marketing Group. So I thought we could examine two recent efforts and glean some do’s and don’ts.

beer tub nuts 300x225
A party in a box!

The first mailing came in a huge box and as you can see, it was this metal wash basin, filled with microbrew beers and some snacks. All it needed was some ice and we were ready to go.

photo e1299477341113
My own personalized mini trash can!

The second mailing came in a smaller box and the box itself was part of the message. Inside the box was a small novelty trash can and a personalized message adhered to the inside lid. Inside the trash can was the sales letter. (The teaser copy on the lid directed me to open the trash can.)

Let’s dig into the do’s and don’ts and see how these two efforts fared.

The Do’s:

Address it to the right person: Spell their name correctly and be sure you use the right “version” of their name. My full name is Andrew but no one calls me that. I know that you don’t have a clue who I am if the label says Andrew McLellan instead of Drew McLellan.

Tie what’s in the package to your message: Don’t just send me something random. Help me remember who you are and what you are selling by making the 3-D gift part of the message.

Give me the next step: Once I open the package, it’s my move. So what do you want me to do? Visit a website, send in a bounce back card, call you or wait for you to call me?

The Don’ts:

Don’t do a one and done: No matter how clever your mailing is, remember that in marketing, frequency still matters. So plan a series (you can mix flat and 3-D mailing to keep the budget in line) or tie the 3-D mailing to some other efforts (e-mail, calls, or even mass media).

Put yourself on the list: Unless you are assembling each package by hand, make sure you are on the recipient list. You want to see how it looks from the receiver’s point of view. Did the box get all dinged up? Was everything still in place or had the contents gotten jumbled in transit? Was everything that was supposed to be in the package included?

Don’t let the coy thing play out too far: Teaser campaigns can be a lot of fun. But, they only work if you pay off the tease pretty quickly. Odds are you’ve invested a fair amount of money in this campaign. So don’t waste it by not being clear about who it’s from and what should happen next.

So let’s go back and grade our two examples. The beer basin was addressed correctly, but that’s the only Do it got right. There was no message included in the box. I have no idea who it was from or what they wanted me to do next. Which is a real shame, because I am sure it cost a pretty penny.

On the Don’t list — obviously the coy thing, if the anonymity was intentional, was played out way too long. It’s been a couple weeks and I still haven’t heard another word. Which also means, at this point, it’s a one and done. So while it was an awesome mailing — memorable and something I will remember, it didn’t do much from a direct mail point of view.

On the flip side, the simple trash can mailing, which was clearly less expensive and a little more home grown, got all of the Do’s and Don’ts right. The message and next steps were very clear. I’ve already received an e-mail follow up and the mailing came through with everything in place.

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to create an effective 3-D mailing campaign. Far better to do it simply but well. (And if you send me the beer — please let me know so I can say thank you!)

How about you — what’s the most memorable 3-D direct mail piece you ever received?

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Manager Tips

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: One-Size-Fits-All Coaching

One of the key pitfalls for sales managers is when they take the "one-size-fits-all" approach to coaching.

How many times have we witnessed a sales rep working on auto pilot? This is the rep doing the same sales pitch to each customer and delivering the message in the same way. As coaches, we fail to see when we go into auto pilot, taking the same approach with each rep.

Do you ever find yourself coaching all your reps the same way? Your feedback to each rep is the same? If so, you have fallen into the rut of "one-size-fits-all" coaching.

Coaching differs from training. Training is about having everyone learn the same information or skills. Coaching, on the other hand, is about diagnosing each rep's particular area for improvement. It is about adapting your coaching style to the individual and about developing individualized development plans.

Coaching is a one-to-one sport. It is about growing individuals and helping them to develop their full potential.

Source: Sales coach Steven Rosen

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
The new marketing effort comes after an advertising slowdown of some months, Bill Simon, president/CEO, Walmart U.S., told investors at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer Conference, which was also webcast. "We've been quiet, because we wanted to be able to deliver on our 'Everyday Low Prices' and assortment promise, with a new ad match guarantee." ...Read the whole story >>
Beverages
by Karlene Lukovitz
So much for the speculation as to whether Starbucks was cooking up its own single-serve brewing machine -- or whether Green Mountain's two-week-old deal with Dunkin' Donuts in the single-serve space would preclude a Green Mountain deal with Starbucks. ...Read the whole story >>
Technology
by Aaron Baar
The video, called "A Day Made of Glass," was originally created for Corning's Investor Day in New York City on Feb. 4. The video subsequently hit YouTube and was quickly picked up in Android forums, then in discussions on Wired, Gizmodo and Awesomer. By March 7, it was the number one video on Unruly Media's "Viral Videos Chart." ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Tanya Irwin
Acquisitions and capital investments are reshaping the pet food market, which is likely to result in increased advertising in 2010 and 2011, as was the case in 2009, when pet food and pet care advertising surged 22% (the 2010 numbers are not yet in), according to David Lummis, senior pet market analyst for Packaged Facts. ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
Prominent, top-of-page units and banners on the site feature the new (sans brand name) Starbucks sea nymph logo accompanied by a "Tribute Days" text logo and an invitation to "Come celebrate 40 years with us. Buy any drink, get one of our Petites free. March 10-12, 2-5 p.m." ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Chrysler LLC's eponymous division has some heavy lifting to do this year. The division is launching a brand new 300 sedan -- the 200, which replaces the all-but-forgotten Sebring, and a brand new Town & Country minivan. While the new brand mantra is "Imported from Detroit," each nameplate will need to import its own solution to the unique challenges it faces in its respective segment. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Although these vehicles won't make or break a car company -- they represent only a sliver of the auto market -- automakers may have to spend time and money on educating consumers. That's because a lot of Americans don't really get what makes a hybrid different from a battery electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. And what's a hybrid, anyway? ...Read the whole story >>

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What to With Those New Email Addresses?

This weekend I'll be manning a booth at the Fort Wayne Golf Show for one of my radio stations ROCK 104.

We'll be collecting names, numbers and emails for a prize giveaway.

MarketingProfs.com has tips on what to do when you collect fresh email addresses at an event:

Email Lessons From a Bridal Expo

In a post at the Lunch Pail blog, bride-to-be Casey Barto recounts a visit to a bridal expo. "On the day of the show with pen in hand, I scribbled my email address and name on the contact lists of vendors who interested me most," she says. What happened next taught her a few best-practices about following up with prospects met at tradeshows.

Here are four key tips based on her experience:

Follow up promptly. "After the show was over, I was ready to receive at least a few welcome emails," she says. "I checked my email throughout the first week after the show—nothing. Didn't they want my business?" Then, nearly two weeks later, they flooded her inbox en masse. By the time she got all the messages, she had a hard time remembering who was who.

Explain why you're making contact. Jog a recipient's memory with a quick reminder of how you met or why you're touching base. "I can't tell you how many emails I've received … that have gone in the junk folder because I didn't remember talking to someone or signing up for something," she notes.

Avoid industry clich├ęs. In Barto's case, the sentence "You're getting married!" dominated subject lines and introductions. "Of course I'm getting married," she says. "That's why I signed up for your emails. Tell me something I don't know, like why I should do business with you, or what features may interest me."

Beware the opt-in faux pas. A vendor who was unavailable on Barto's wedding day continued to send promotional email. "Not only have you made it obvious that you don't know me as an individual," she says, "but now you've annoyed me."

The Po!nt: Take notes. Don't alienate tradeshow leads with an email campaign that treats them like they're still just a face in the crowd. Personalize your follow-ups.

Source: Lunch Pail.

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Brands & Line Extensions


Wisdom from Al Ries and his latest AdAge.com column:

In 1972, Jack Trout and I wrote a series of articles for Advertising Age called "The positioning era cometh." One of our key concepts: the line-extension trap.

"Just because a company is well-known in one field," we wrote, "doesn't mean it can transfer that recognition to another. In other words, your brand can be on top of one ladder and nowhere on another. And the further apart the products are conceptually, the greater the difficulty of making the jump."

That was 39 years ago. While positioning has become famous, the line-extension trap and other principles of positioning are mostly ignored.

Regretfully, line extension is still the preferred marketing strategy for many companies. Take Amazon.com, "Earth's biggest bookstore." It didn't take long for Amazon to move onto bigger and better things: computers, electronics, home & garden supplies, groceries, health and beauty aids, toys, clothing, jewelry, sports equipment.

By the end of 2010, Amazon had been in business for 17 years and had accumulated revenue of $136.3 billion.

And how much money has Amazon made in the past 17 years? Only $1.3 billion, or a net profit margin of less than 1%. (That kind of track record would get many CEOs fired.)

In spite of its less-than-spectacular past, Amazon has a bright future and is likely to continue to be profitable for decades to come. Which will lead many marketing gurus to the conclusion: Amazon proves that line extension is a successful marketing strategy.

Or does it?

Amazon's logo circa 1998
Amazon's logo circa 1998

What if Amazon had launched multiple brands?
What if Amazon had followed up its book success with the launch of product-specific websites, like a website for computers? And one for electronics? And one for home and garden supplies? And one for groceries? And one for health and beauty aids? And one for toys? And one for clothing? And one for jewelry? And one for sporting equipment? And one for shoes? (Instead of spending $1.2 billion to buy Zappos.com.)

Look at the success of Kindle, one of the few standalone brands Amazon has launched. Conventional wisdom would have the Sony e-reader the market leader.

Sony, the world's best-known consumer brand, combined with the company's electronic leadership, should have produced an e-book winner. But it didn't.

If Amazon.com had developed multiple websites with different brand names, where would the company be today, financially speaking?

In my opinion, the company would be financially much more like multiple-brand companies. Kimberly-Clark (net profit margin in past 10 years: 10.4%), PepsiCo, (12.9%) Colgate-Palmolive, (13.1%), Procter & Gamble (13.6%), Coca-Cola (20%).

Nor would a multiple-brand approach undermine concepts like Amazon Prime, unlimited two-day shipping for $79 a year. A second or third brand does not live in a vacuum. Consumers tend to associate a brand with a company. Lexus is associated with Toyota. Chevrolet with General Motors. Jeep with Chrysler.

Amazon's various brand-name websites could have been associated with the Amazon company name. Much like the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad are associated with the Apple company name.

IBM makes the cover of Time magazine.
IBM makes the cover of Time magazine.

What if IBM had launched multiple brands?
Take IBM, one of the most successful companies of the 20th century. "The colossus that works: Big is bountiful at IBM," said the cover story of the July 11, 1983, issue of Time magazine.

By 1985, IBM had profits of $6.6 billion, the largest any company anywhere in the world had ever achieved, and a net profit margin of 13.1%. That year, according to Fortune magazine, IBM was the most-admired company in America.

But what happened in the next 25 years?

Last year, IBM revenue was $99.9 billion, up 99% over the company's 1985 revenue of $50.1 billion. But that's less than the 103% rise in inflation over the same period.

Compare IBM in the last 25 years with a couple of other high-tech companies.

Hewlett-Packard: Up 1,838%

Intel: Up 3,096%

Apple: Up 3,301%

IBM is like Sony, Xerox and other high-tech single-brand companies that start out with an enormous technological advantage. The mainframe computer in the case of IBM. The transistor radio at Sony. The plain-paper copier at Xerox.

As the years roll by and the business booms, the brand becomes incredibly strong. But management refuses to associate the category with the brand. It's as if the brand exists in isolation. So they continue to launch line extensions that ultimately put a ceiling on sales and profits.

The Team Xerox strategy was a disaster.
The Team Xerox strategy was a disaster.

What if Xerox had launched multiple brands?
Among 20th century high-tech brands, Xerox was right up there with IBM. But like IBM, Xerox failed to capitalize on its position.

Both companies seemed to be confused about the best time to launch a second brand. The best time to launch a second brand is when the core brand is at its zenith. But that's exactly the time when management thinks the opposite. "Our brand is so powerful it can be infinitely expanded."

Back in the 1980s, Xerox introduced a complete line of printers, fax machines, personal computers and workstations. All under the Xerox name and all marketed under a "Team Xerox" strategy. It was a disaster.

Since then Xerox has been moving sideways while many other high-tech companies have been expanding rapidly. Ten years ago, Xerox sales were more than double that of Apple.

Last year, Apple's sales were more than triple that of Xerox. And furthermore, Apple made 23 times as much after-tax profits as Xerox.

Companies such as Dell, Polaroid, Digital Equipment and Kodak have followed a similar single-brand strategy. At some point in time, a single-brand company hits a wall where further growth is difficult or impossible.

Kodak in 1996, according to Interbrand, was the fourth most-valuable brand in the world. Today, it's not in the top 100.

Actually, Kodak is still the world's most-powerful photographic-film brand, if you happen to want to buy photographic film. And Polaroid is still the most-powerful instant-photography brand. And Xerox is still the most-powerful copier brand.

A brand stands for a category. And if the category declines, so does the brand.

The world's most valuable brand is Coca-Cola, worth $70.5 billion. But per-capita cola consumption in the U.S. since 2003 has been declining about 2.2%. Which accounts for Coca-Cola's flurry of new product introductions, including the purchase of Vitaminwater-maker Glaceau for $4.1 billion.

In theory, a company should be able to grow forever, as long as it continues to launch new brands to dominate new categories.

What if the media conglomerates had launched new Internet brands?
What accelerates the need for new brands is the arrival of a new category. And the more revolutionary the new category, the more urgent the need for new brands.

Take the internet, the most revolutionary new category since the arrival of the personal computer.

You might think the sophisticated, all-powerful media conglomerates would have jumped on the internet with new brand names. But they didn't.

Every media conglomerate line-extended its existing brands on the internet. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, etc.

When Newsweek plus Newsweek.com is worth $1 and the Huffington Post is worth $315 million, you know that something is wrong with traditional line-extension thinking.

(I should mention The Daily, recently launched by News Corp. as the first national publication created for the iPad. But it's awfully late in the game for a media conglomerate to be planning an internet-only brand. Furthermore, The Daily's generic name is going to be a serious handicap.)

One of the next revolutionary developments is going to be the electric car. And guess what? The sophisticated, all-powerful car conglomerates are following the same line-extension strategy. The Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, the Audi e-tron, the Fiat 500 EV, the Honda EV.

So who will win the electric-car sweepstakes? My bet is on the Tesla or one of the other new electric-car brands. Or even possibly Toyota if it can successfully transform its Prius hybrid brand into an all-electric brand.

Virgin has many line extensions.
Virgin has many line extensions.

What if Virgin had launched multiple brands?
Richard Branson has had an enormous impact on the marketing community. "If Virgin can do it, why can't we?" That's the attitude of many marketing people worldwide. But few marketing people seem to have dug into the actual sales results of Virgin's many line extensions.

"Virgin has created more than 300 branded companies worldwide," according to the group's website. "Global branded revenues in 2009 exceeded 11.5 billion [pounds] (approx. US $18 billion)."

Most of these 300 companies are private companies, so it's impossible to tell whether they are successful. But I was able to track down eight of the Virgin companies that reported revenue and profit (Virgin Active, Virgin Blue, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile Telecoms, Virgin Money, Virgin Rail, Virgin Unite and Virgin Wine).

These eight companies reported sales of $10.4 billion in a recent year and net profit after taxes of ... well in total they didn't make any money. They actually lost $429 million.

So if Virgin is a powerful brand, those 292 other companies that did some $7.6 billion in sales ($18 billion minus $10.4 billion) must be incredibly profitable. But I doubt it. When was the last time you saw someone order a Virgin cola, a Virgin vodka or a Virgin energy shot?

The most successful of those 292 other companies is probably Virgin Atlantic. But how profitable is the airline? In its last financial year, according to Virgin Atlantic's website, "The airline made 46.8m [pounds] (excluding Virgin Nigeria) pre-tax profits before exceptionals."

That's $75 million before taxes, before Virgin Nigeria and before exceptionals. Compare that with Southwest Airlines which made $459 million last year after taxes and after exceptionals.

Like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson is a PR genius, but as a marketing expert, he's no Steve Jobs.

Multiple brands vs. multiple products.
Most companies are multiple-product companies. "Let's market everything under a single brand name," goes the thinking. "That way we can save money and still build a strong brand. Probably an even stronger brand than if we spread our marketing dollars over multiple brands."

That's the line-extension trap. Logical, sound, sensible and, in the long run, wrong.

Counteracting the line-extension trap was the unifying idea behind positioning thinking. If the objective of a positioning program is to "own a word in the mind," then a line extension is in direct conflict with that objective.

IBM owns the word "mainframe" computer in the prospect's mind. So why did the company introduce an IBM "personal" computer? A thousand-dollar product is not in the same category as a million-dollar product.

No problem, thought the folks at IBM. We'll just consider the category to "computers" in general. A misguided idea.

Nothing, but nothing, is as strongly embedded in consumers' minds as categories, narrowly defined. Consumers think in terms of categories even though they might express their desires in terms of brands.

And as time goes on, categories get narrower and narrower as competitors chip away at the broad category, creating niche categories they can dominate.

Instead of getting bigger, categories shrink and get smaller. When you line-extend your brand, you are moving against the category tide. So before you launch your next line extension, ask yourself a simple question:

What if?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Al Riesis chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm he runs with his daughter and partner Laura. Their website is: www.ries.com.

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Knowledge

7 days a week at 6am, I share with you a sales tip.

Here's why:

Daily Sales Tip: Out-Read Your Competition

Sales articles are one of the best ways to acquire new and creative ideas you can use to grow your business.

Here's a dirty little secret that you can take to the bank: Most professional salespeople and entrepreneurs are way too busy multi-tasking to invest adequate time to read and digest the pearls of wisdom found in a well-written article.

You can find sales articles everywhere. Just type a key phrase into the Google search bar; for example, "Closing The Sale," and see how many resources you find. What you'll find is 4,440,000 links.

Whether you get your articles online (always print them) or from another source -- save them after you read them.

Create manila file folders for your sales articles and create file labels for important sales related topics such as closing the sale, proposals, time management, negotiating, goal-setting, communication skills, etc.

Imagine filling up these file folders with relevant and street-smart sales articles. Articles that you've read and your competitors haven't read. Now -- who has the advantage?

One of the best ways to outsmart your competition is to read more than they do. Invest as little as 15 minutes every day and you'll outsell your competition every day of the week.

The more you read, the more sales wisdom you'll gain, and the more selling resources you'll have access to.

Source: Sales author/trainer Jim Meisenheimer

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read more:

Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
The program, running through April, asks for submissions of green ideas in a "Repurposer" section for ideas focused on recycling; a "Power Miser" area on energy conservation; A "Gas Sipper" section for fuel-efficient thinking; and "Unconventionalist" for ideas covering everything else. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Red Bull also uses the vacation period to build its connection to Gen Y, and this year's Red Bull Soundclash in Las Vegas is scheduled to have Cee Lo Green facing off against the Ting Tings at the MGM Resorts International on March 12. (The Soundclash on South Padre Island, Texas on March 17 showcases Snoop Dogg and Ghostland Observatory at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.) ...Read the whole story >>
Food
by Karlene Lukovitz
While the Nestle brand is just now unfurling its full in-game promotion, some players are expressing "excitement" about the Stouffer's billboard teaser appearing in the loading screen while logging in to play. The promotion shows a box of Farmers' Harvest and promises that the new branded feature "coming soon" will let players "help grow wholesome ingredients and earn exclusive items." ...Read the whole story >>
Travel
by Tanya Irwin
Royal Caribbean International is debuting two original short films directed by and starring James Brolin and Jenny McCarthy in its "Ocean Views" film series project. McCarthy's "The Allure of Love" centers around romance while Brolin's "Royal Reunion" focuses on multi-generational family travel. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Toyota, which concedes the new corporate philosophy is consequent to its recall turmoil and sales declines during the recession, says the road map is meant both to give direction to some 300,000 employees worldwide and to convey to the public where Toyota is heading. ...Read the whole story >>

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Build It & They Will Come?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

In the internet age, you have seconds to capture someones attention.

I'm talking about online and offline.

From a friend and client of mine, Andy of Villing and Company:

Content and Context: The Social Media Royal Family

Mar. 7, 2011

Andy Fuller
Andy Fuller

Content and Context: The Social Media Royal Family

No matter how many of them I endure, I still loathe Midwestern winters. Last month when highs in South Bend barely broke double-digits, I went to a weather website to try to quantify the numbness in my toes. When the page loaded, I had to smile at the tile ad that appeared.

Next to the bad news of my local forecasted highs was a picture of an idyllic beach with a comforting warm sun, and the beckoning words: “Visit Myrtle Beach.” Talk about a soft sell. Kudos to the folks at the Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In social media circles it is often said, “Content is king.” The assumption is that if you’re producing great content, people should be tripping over themselves to be your fan or follower. But as the Myrtle Beach ad shows us, if content is king, then context must be his queen. The messages you put out on social media channels are only part of the equation. The timing, the tone, and the position of your audience are important pieces as well – maybe more important.

I’m not privy to the marketing plan of the Myrtle Beach CVB, but it’s clear mine is a zip code they target for their messages this time of year. Why? Because my context (trapped in the permacloud and frozen landscape of Indiana) is ripe for their content (messages of warm sandy beaches and abundant sunshine). Likewise, I’m not sure Myrtle Beach would have much luck marketing to folks in Florida or Hawaii. The context of Floridians’ or Hawaiians’ circumstances does not necessarily give Myrtle Beach a value proposition.

You could have the greatest product or idea or content (or weather) in the world, but if you’re not paying attention to where and how you’re being heard, it won’t matter.

How do you account for context? The first step is listening. Monitor your social media channels and look for ways to add value for the members of your audience. Look for people talking about problems your company can solve. What are their needs, history, or company culture? Offer to help, not to sell. It’s never an easy or a quick exercise, but it will provide a little sunshine on your efforts in social media and marketing in general.

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New Ad Campaigns

Our weekly update from Amy:

Doritos asks fans to "write the end" of its TV ad. Old Spice guy gets around. Let's launch!


1Looks can be deceiving when online dating. You choose someone from his or her profile picture that, you come to find out, was taken 10 years and 20 pounds ago. Imagine the woman's surprise in Orkin's "Blind Date." Her match went from Todd the hottie to a termite looking to colonize her house. Fortunately, the Orkin man brings her home safely -- which still doesn't stop the termite from driving by, playing romantic music, no less. Watch it here. Orkin launched a fun Web site to play off the online dating TV spot. BlindDateLove.com is an online dating site where users are matched up with ideal partners that soon prove otherwise. My ideal match is Robbie Rattall. His favorite movie is "Mallrats," and his favorite music is Garbage. I love how the likes of the profiled pests matches perfectly to real-life bands and movies. Users can share their matches on Twitter and Facebook. A second spot, "Vacation," won't air until June, to coincide with summer vacations. A family returns home to find a pair of rats playing Guitar Hero. Orkin Man removes the pests, who drive away in a rat rod. See a 30- and 60-second version here and here. The Richards Group created the TV campaign and THINK Interactive developed the Web site.

2Activision launched two online films supporting the Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike map pack. The first film, "Berlin," tells the story of East versus West; people separated by politics, yet sharing a love of singing the 1990 hit "The Winds Of Change" by The Scorpions and playing their weapons as guitars. I'm not afraid to admit that I sang along to the song I grew up listening to, but when the beautiful white dove bit it, I could sing no more. Watch it here. "Ascension" takes a more light-hearted, humorous approach, welcoming gamers to a place rampant with human and monkey zombies. "So put an end to animal testing by sending their hairy asses into the atmosphere," says the announcer. See the ad here. DOJO San Francisco created the campaign.

3Danone launched a TV spot for its Activia yogurt, starring a woman named Clarice and a creepy caller who's holding something for "Ransom." Her poop. I would have loved it if the caller asked her if the lambs stopped screaming. The woman drives to the grocery store, buys Activia, and hopes for regularity. This woman even looked constipated. I'm rooting for her. "Get your digestion back, " closes the ad, seen here and created by Young & Rubicam Prague.

4FAGE Greek yogurt launched its first TV spot in North America on March 2, entitled "Plain Extraordinary." The 45-second TV spot whimsically illustrates the evolution of the word plain and plain yogurt into something that redefines the word. A rhyming poem is recited while a sea of plain yogurt is combined with beautiful colors, representing fruit flavors. A cow emerges, as does a beautiful woman, between a stream of white and purple yogurt. The spot closes with a cup of Blueberry-Acai FAGE, the brand's newest flavor. Watch the ad here. Mullen created the ad, directed by Psyop.

5Ever wonder what's behind the curtain in the Emerald City? Apparently, it's where Doritos holds taste tests that determine what flavors stay and which are banished for eternity. Doritos Canada launched a TV campaign that asked viewers to "write the end." Inside the Doritos research facility, two flavors of are invented: onion rings n' ketchup and buffalo wings n' ranch. Each flavor is presented to the queen, hidden behind a green curtain. She tastes each flavor, then proclaims that the lesser flavor must be destroyed. The TV spot then asks Canadians to write the ad's ending, choosing which flavor remains on store shelves and which is destroyed. Canadians can submit their endings online for a chance to win $25,000 and 1% of future sales from the flavor remaining on shelves. Voters will select seven finalists for each flavor. The winner will be announced when the completed ad airs. Watch the ad here. BBDO Toronto created the campaign, directed by Nick Gordon, with visual effects provided by Crush.

6Relationships come and go. A man decides to part ways with his blender in "Fly," once he discover Skittles Blenders, which taste like blended fruit beverages. Keeping with the brand's unusual ads, the blenders is set free, to fly away into the world. The man wasn't expecting the blender to fly back inside the house, crashing through a window and unleashing damage. The blender is shooed out, only to crash inside a second time. Watch the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.

7Old Spice guy returned Monday with a 15-second TV spot where he rose from a sandy beach, playing a guitar filled with adorable puppies. This is how your man can smell, if he wears Old Spice "Fiji." Watch it here. Three accompanying print ads highlight Fiji and two other lines of Old Spice scents: Komodo and Matterhorn. Expect a volcanic eruption, a fire-breathing dragon and mountain climbing. See the ads here, here and here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

8Subway launched SubwayDunkFresh.com as part of its ongoing relationship with NBA star Blake Griffin. Users upload a photo of themselves and select one of five different ways to slam-dunk a basketball. Choose from tomahawk, windmill, two-handed, up & under and off the glass. The site launched NBA All Star Weekend, in hopes that Griffin would win the Slam Dunk Contest. And he did. Quick reminder: he jumped over a car. Catalyst came up with the original concept and the site was designed and built by Digitaria.

9Random iPhone App of the week: Excited about the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and a fan of countdowns? Destination Greenwich launched a useful app for visitors to the Olympic host city. There's 2012 Olympic news, a countdown to the festivities, and sightseeing tips for those visiting Greenwich, located in southeast London. Greenwich is known for historic landmarks such as the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park, London's oldest Royal Park. The app is available for free in the App Store.


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

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Your Success

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Promote Your Track Record

While past performance is not a guarantee of future performance, it is the best predictor. Sell your track record to the customer.

Talk about your successess and the benefits your other customers experienced. But also talk about the problems you've encountered along the way and what you and your company did to overcome them.

Strictly talking about successes can create a rose-colored picture and might raise some doubt within prospects. A balanced discussion that examines your successes and how you quickly resolved problems will give the customer a good idea of what he/she can realistically expect and help raise his/her comfort level with you.

Your straightforward manner also increases the likelihood of getting the sale.

Source: Sales trainer Dean Goettsch

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:


Spirits
by Karl Greenberg
The company is getting its message about being a handcrafted brand to U.S. consumers with a media and grassroots effort that's all about finding and promoting Americans who have established their own cottage industries selling things they have made by hand. ...Read the whole story >>
Technology
by Aaron Baar
The effort, from TDA Boulder, consists of three microsites designed to curry favor with the tax agency, in support of Webroot's positioning as "your online protector." One site enables users to add a flower (and, if desired, a name) to a giant bouquet the company will be sending to IRS commissioner Douglas H. Shulman on April 18. ...Read the whole story >>
Spirits
by Karlene Lukovitz
The app, which can be downloaded from the travel section of the iTunes store at no charge for one year, includes GPS technology to locate nearby rated locations, as well as an augmented reality feature providing an interactive view of the establishments through the iPhone camera. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
The survey, conducted by BIGResearch and based on responses from more than 8,000 adults, found that 102 million people (83.3%) plan to honor the shamrock by wearing something green. And 31.2% say they'll go to a party at a bar or restaurant -- also a record. (The holiday falls on a Thursday this year.) ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Tanya Irwin
The second annual Magnum Live Large Project, which will feature rap competitions in four major cities and an online voting competition on YouTube, kicks off nationally following local events in Detroit and San Francisco, and in advance of events in Miami and New York. ...Read the whole story >>
Research
by Karlene Lukovitz
These "retired for hire" adults, as Scarborough dubs them, also have robust investment portfolios. They are 46% more likely than the average adult to have money market funds, 35% more likely to have bonds, 27% more likely to have mutual funds, 23% more likely to have stocks or stock options and 36% more likely to have a second home or real estate property. ...Read the whole story >>

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Ignoring the Ads?


It all depends on the media....

Banner Blindness

Americans look at websites and mentally are blocking out the ads. An AdweekMedia/Harris Poll shows some 63% of consumers say they tend to ignore or disregard all Internet ads. Among this group, 43% say they don't pay attention to banner ads and 20% ignore search ads.
By comparison, only 7% of Americans said they ignore or disregard radio ads.

Overall, almost all Americans say they ignore some ads -- 91%.

Looking at the Internet space, men and women ignore ads at about the same levels -- 42% for men; 45% for women.

When it comes to education, 46% of those who have some college and those who are college graduates say they ignore banner ads, compared to just 40% of those who have a high school degree or less.

(Source: RAB, from reports in Media Daily News, 12/03/10)

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We're Still Young


Over the weekend my wife and I caught an interview with sisters Joan & Jackie Collins and were surprised how young they looked. Both are in their 70's.

My wife and I are now in our 50's, but we don't feel old, so don't patronize us:

Marketers Discreetly Retool for Aging Boomers

When baby boomers call ADT Security Services Inc. with questions about medical-alert alarms, they get operators specially trained to be sensitive to their needs. Top of the list: Don't remind them that they've aged.

"Boomers are used to being independent, and they get agitated if you're talking too slowly," says Barry Primm, an ADT home-health team manager who trains new operators to speak quickly and get to the point with these callers. "They just want to get it done, fast and business-like."

The generation that sent diaper sales soaring in the 1960s, bought power suits in the 1980s and indulged in luxury cars in the 2000s is getting ready to retire: The oldest boomers turn 65 this year. To accommodate their best customers' needs, American companies are overhauling product lines, changing their marketing and redesigning store layouts.

But there's a catch: Baby boomers, famously demanding and rebellious, don't want anyone suggesting they're old.

"We don't do anything to remind boomers that they are getting older," says Ken Romanzi, North America chief operating officer at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., which has targeted the health-conscious generation as its primary consumer base.

Surreptitiously, companies are making typefaces larger, lowering store shelves to make them more accessible and avoiding yellows and blues in packaging -- two colors that don't appear as sharply distinct to older eyes.

Invesco Van Kampen Consulting, an arm of Invesco Ltd., suggests financial advisers offer coffee cups with handles instead of Styrofoam (easier to hold), use lamps instead of overhead lights (less glare), and turn off the television when clients visit (background noise hampers hearing), says Scott West, a managing director.

Euphemisms are flourishing. ADT, owned by Tyco International Ltd., is marketing its medical-alert system to aging consumers as "Companion Services."

Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Depend brand, widely considered adult diapers in the past, has had a makeover in a new TV ad: "Looks and fits like underwear. Protects like nothing else."

Bathroom-fixture maker Kohler Co. struggled to come up with a more palatable word for "grab bar," which boomers resist. It introduced the "Belay" shower handrail -- named for the rock-climbing technique -- which blends subtly into the wall of a tiled shower. "When you say, 'We've got beautiful grab bars,' (boomers) just say, 'Naw,' because they don't want to identify as needing that," says Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at Kohler's design center.

In the past, most big consumer products companies didn't specifically target senior citizens, since people over 65 traditionally spent less and resisted trying new products. But many marketers believe the baby boom generation -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- will turn that conventional wisdom upside down.

The 76 million boomers already account for an estimated half of total U.S. consumer spending. With longer life expectancy and lower savings rates than previous seniors, they are projected to spend an additional $50 billion over the next decade, according to market-research firm SymphonyIRI. Rather than passing on their wealth to future generations, they're expected to splurge mostly on themselves as they move households and pursue active lifestyles.

"As a generation, they're large enough that they expect to be served uniquely as they age," says Sean Seitzinger, an analyst formerly with SymphonyIRI. "That's very different from the generations before them."

To be sure, companies catering to seniors face drawbacks. The recession whittled down many boomer nest eggs, requiring them to save more and rein in spending. By its very nature, an aging boomer demographic will shrink every year as the oldest members die.

Nevertheless, the generation that drove the growth of hula hoops, bell bottoms and personal computers will continue to be an influential market as it ages.

Companies are currently adjusting their approaches to new demands. Boomers are much more concerned with a product's appearance, for example, not just its utility. Kleenex recently redesigned its boxes to have fewer floral bouquets and more contemporary designs, photos and the latest hues. There is less difference in aesthetic taste between young people and boomers than there is between boomers and their elders, says Christine Mau, a design director at Kimberly-Clark, which owns Kleenex. "If boomers were acting as their predecessors did, we wouldn't be as trend-forward as we are today," says Ms. Mau.

Carol Roberts, 65 years old, is a retired elementary school teacher in Leland, N.C. But that doesn't mean she wants to behave like a "senior citizen," she says. She's using her retirement to travel and volunteer with schools and community groups. She lifts weights and does other frequent workouts to stay in shape.

She also wants to stay fashionable. "I don't want to look like I'm in my teens or 20s, but I want to look current," she says. "To me, it's really important to look your best, and not just say 'I'm over 65, therefore it doesn't matter what I look like.'"

To attract customers like Ms. Roberts, nuance is key.

Kimberly-Clark spent two years overhauling its Depend brand, anticipating boomers would demand changes to the image and design of a line long considered too diaper-like and institutional. By 2020, Kimberly-Clark expects 45 million boomers will need incontinence products, up from 38 million currently.

"Past generations were more accepting that they had a condition, and this was the product that they have to wear," says Mark Cammarota, Depend's brand director. "The boomers don't have that attitude. They demand and expect more."

In an effort to modernize its designs, Depend has introduced gender-specific versions and briefs with fashionable prints that imitate regular underwear. Some Depend packaging is labeled "underwear" and disguised to look like packs of cloth underwear, including transparent windows that show Depend undergarments folded just like regular briefs. The smaller packs hang on hooks instead of stacked on shelves like diapers.

When casting for recent Depend ads, the brand looked for actors who appeared to be in their early 50s, a far cry from the brand's former white-haired spokeswoman, June Allyson, who sometimes portrayed a grandmother.

The new ads -- which launched last month -- feature a fit and flirtatious man in a coffee shop and a fashionable woman strutting down a sidewalk while tossing her hair, not a gray strand in sight.

"We're very subtle in that we don't have to explain the problem and solution in the ads," says Mr. Cammarota. "Boomers like seeing the confidence part of it."

Despite concerns inside the company that the actors were too young to be believable, focus groups of boomers didn't mind a bit, says Mr. Cammarota.

A big driver of boomers' increased spending is the fact that over one-third plan to move to a new home within five years of becoming empty nesters, according to SymphonyIRI. Many more are expected to adapt their homes to better accommodate diminishing mobility, all in hopes of maintaining the independent lifestyles they have embraced since their rebellious teenage years.

"A lot of boomers have been downsizing into new homes, and when you move into a new home, you need to redecorate, which is a very good thing for us," says Ellen Moreau, vice president of marketing for Sherwin-Williams Co.

Sherwin-Williams, mindful of boomers' sensitivity about aging and not wanting to limit its customer base to one demographic, has subtly redesigned its 3,400 stores to make them more comfortable to older browsers. They now have more lighting and seating and serve coffee in most locations. Product displays feature less fine print, hence fewer squinting shoppers. The company believes the subtle changes will be appreciated by all age groups, including younger shoppers.

That's how 63-year-old Lynn Donadio prefers it. "Companies don't have to go to the highest mountain to shout out that something is made for a baby boomer," says Ms. Donadio, a retired real-estate agent in Long Valley, N.J. "They can go to the top of a hill and maybe whisper it."

After noticing older shoppers struggling to read its cat-litter packaging, Arm & Hammer began sharpening the color contrast for the text and gradually increasing the font size, which is now about 20% bigger than it was five years ago.

"Our research shows that 60% of boomers who are near 65 claim to feel much younger than their actual age," says David Cohen, vice president of the home-care division of Church & Dwight Co., which owns the Arm & Hammer brand. "So you provide a solution to issues that they may have, but it's not an explicit message," Mr. Cohen says.

Diamond Foods Inc. carefully engineered the packaging of its Emerald snack nut line to accommodate the declining agility of baby boomers' hands. But no such boast appears anywhere on the green plastic canisters.

"We're very careful not to come across as preachy," says Andrew Burke, Diamond Foods' chief marketing officer. "Boomers have a filter that says, 'If you're trying to sell me too hard, then I'm not sure about your intentions.'"

Diamond, which long sold nuts for baking, finalized plans to enter the snack nut category after research found doctors were advising boomers to incorporate nuts into healthy eating plans. To differentiate their product from entrenched competitors, Emerald executives focused on making their packages easy to use.

Indented sides make the canisters comfortable to hold, and grooves make the lids easier to grip. After noticing that arthritic users struggled to twist the cap into place, Emerald shortened the required rotation.

Emerald, introduced in 2004, now has about 6% of the $3 billion U.S. snack nut category, or about $193 million in sales, according to 2009 estimates by market-research firm Euromonitor International Inc.

Like Sherwin-Williams, other retailers have been quietly adapting to aging customers. CVS Caremark Corp. has retrofitted stores with carpeting to reduce slipping. Shelves have been lowered to 60 inches, from 72 inches, and signs no longer have plaster windows, allowing more natural light in stores to improve visibility. Wherever possible, curbs are eliminated from store entrances, and existing curbs are painted yellow to heighten awareness.

In the basement of a nondescript office building in Appleton, Wis., Kimberly-Clark has built a mockup of what it thinks a senior-friendly store aisle might look like in the future. The company believes it's crucial to overhaul these aisles or boomers will resist going into what had been considered an "old person's" section of the store.

The mock store aisles pair incontinence products and other personal-care items not associated solely with senior citizens, such as body washes and razors so boomers don't feel like they are in an age-specific section of the store. "This way it appears that it's all about your hygiene routine," says Deborah Hannah, Kimberly-Clark's integrated marketing planning director.

Over the past two years, Walgreen Co. has been gradually adapting its 7,655 stores to be more friendly to aging boomers.

Subtle changes make it easier to navigate stores. Many stores have positioned magnifying glasses in aisles that carry products like household cleaners, hair color and cold medicine that use lots of fine print. Reading glasses are getting snazzier, too, now that the chain updates styles more frequently. "This customer is focused not just on function but on fashion," says Robert Tompkins, Walgreen's divisional vice president and general merchandise manager.

Walgreen has introduced easier-to-open packages on its private-label painkillers and incontinence products, and expanded its vitamin aisles.

"The boomers are much more focused on enhancing their well-being versus just trying to address being sick, as the prior generation might have been," Mr. Tompkins says.

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 02/05/11)

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Learning from others

from Jim Meisenheimer:

Do you want to be a really smart salesperson?

Think about it for a minute.

If you want to be really smart about business - especially selling, here's the first step.

You need to recognize that all salespeople aren't really smart about selling.

Oh, but I bet most salespeople believe that they are smart.

Here's a litmus test for you.

You might not like it and even disagree with the results you get.

This litmus test involves only one word.

The word is - BOOKS.

How you determine how "Selling smart" you are will ultimately depend on the size of your library.

Sure, your experience counts for something. But it doesn't count for everything.

When you wrap selling books around your personal and professional experiences you're upping the readout on your "Selling smart" meter.

Books have so many built-in advantages for you.

Books are loaded with other people's ideas.

Books can get you thinking about things you haven't thought about before.

Books can change how you think about things.

Books can get you to start doing things differently.

Books can get you to start doing new things.

Books, especially if there good can linger on long after the book is put back in your personal library.

Books, especially the nonfiction ones, don't have to be read from cover to cover.

Selling books offer mental exercise for your brain. Think about what happens when you exercise your body and your brain. It's hard to imagine why more salespeople don't do it.

As soon as you decide you want to be a really smart sales person you have to decide how many books you're going to read.

One book a month equals 120 books over 10 years.

One book every two weeks equals 260 books over 10 years.

One book a week equals 520 books over 10 years.

So what's the difference?

The difference boils down to how smart you want to be.

The difference is the size of your library. Just for a moment imagine you want to outsmart the competition.

Having the biggest library, with books you've read, will add immensely to your selling competence.

It will also have an incredible and positive impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem.

If you want to be smarter than your competition you have to do what they're not willing to do.

Determine how many books you're going to read this year.

Of course your plate is already full, so you'll have to determine what you'll give up in exchange for more reading time.

Next step - just do it!

You can be a really smart salesperson - it's really quite easy.

It happens one page at a time.

Jim Meisenheimer
13506 Blythefield Terrace
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Tel: 800-266-1268
Fax: 941-907-0441
jim@meisenheimer.com
www.startsellingmore.com

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