Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mama's Thumbs

Last Saturday, I saw a young Mom texting or tweeting as she was walking into the grocery store.

This is becoming more and more commonplace according to this recent report from Mediapost:

Moms Mobile Addiction

According to the "21st Century Mobile Mom Report," by BabyCenter, mobile phones, and smartphones in particular, have become indispensible to moms, who are 18% more likely than average to have a smartphone. Smartphones among moms has risen 64% over the past two years, and 51% of moms say they are "addicted" to their smartphone.

Tina Sharkey, Chairman and Global President of BabyCenter, says "The smartphone screen is more intimate than any other medium... the majority of moms sleep with their cell phone next to their bed... more than half check their phone first thing in the morning and last thing before they go to sleep... it's her constant companion that makes juggling easier... "

53% of the women surveyed said they purchased a smartphone as a direct result of becoming a mom. The most important features of her phone changed from address book and text messaging to the camera, up 78% to #1, and video camera, which increased by 167% to #2. Apps, which weren't even on her top ten list of important mobile features before she became a mom, increased 67% to #3 on the list. 52% of the moms surveyed have ten or more apps downloaded, with nearly 25% of the apps being for her kids.

68% know how to use most of the features of their smartphone, and 75% troubleshoot their own phone. 33% of moms have used their smartphone for health and wellness in the past month, making a mom 50% more likely to do so than average. Moms are also 40% more likely than average to use their smartphone for social networking. The top three social activities include:

  • Reading social newsfeeds (56%)
  • Updating her status (54%)
  • Reading answers to posted questions (48%)

68% of moms use their smartphone while shopping, 15% more likely to do so than average. 46% claim the most convenient time to receive information about a product is when they are in the store. Also, 62% of moms use shopping apps to research or compare prices.

Mom spends 37% of her daily media time with her smartphone, which is double that spent on TV, and more time than with other media, including radio, magazines, and newspapers. 78% of moms saying they use e-mail on their smartphone to filter incoming communications on a daily basis. Moms are also 284% more likely than the average adult to text their friends rather than call them.

When it comes to mobile ads, coupons, nearby local deals, and bar code scanning round out the top three most appealing features of mobile ads. 46% of moms have taken action after seeing an ad on their smartphone.

Moms Respond to Mobile Ads

Action Seeing Ad

% of Respondents

Any action

· 46%

More research later

· 52

Talked to someone else about it

· 51

Clicked to go to mobile site

· 31

Purchased product later in store

· 31

Purchased product later online

· 14

Clicked to call

· 10

Source: BabyCenter, April 2011

62% of moms say the phone is their lifeline to the world beyond your kids. 96% have Facebook downloaded, and more than two-thirds are tapping onto social networking sites at least once a day to many times a day.

Michael Fogarty, Global Publisher of BabyCenter, concludes that "... mobile is mainstream for moms, and is always on... infinite possibilities for today's marketers... "

Based on which products index highest for each stage of parenthood, 21st Century Moms report they are 423% more likely to buy a digital camcorder in the first six months of motherhood than prior, and 153% more likely to buy life insurance in the latter half of the first year of the child's life.

85% of moms say having a baby changed their purchasing habits, and 73% say becoming a mom changed their purchasing criteria. Before having children, women care most about quality, features, and design and after, they shop for safety, quality, and price. 62% of moms report that having a baby changed the brands they purchase.

The study captured the opinions and behaviors of more than 5,000 moms and members of the general population as well as an ethnography study of 23 moms that included over 1,000 text logs, 200 video entries, and 32 hours of in-home interviews.

More information from BabyCenter may be found here.

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Teens & Tech

The first of two reports on Smartphones today from Mediapost. At 6pm, we'll look at Mobile Moms.

Smartphones, Wise Teens?

I'm feeling rather pensive today, thanks to a stat from "The Infinite Dial: 2011," a new report from Edison Research and Arbitron that examines the state of media, web, mobile, and social use in the United States today. The stat that has my gears turning is as follows:
  • 33% of 12-17 year olds own a smartphone today

As bleeding edge, tech-addicted marketers who are used to wielding the power of a smartphone 24/7, this number may not seem that impressive. However, it means that one in three high schoolers is carrying the Internet with them at all times (not to mention a host of apps, games, and social communication channels). Overall, Edison and Arbitron found that smartphone use more than doubled over last year. Were this to happen again, we could be looking at over 60% of teens with smartphones in hand by 2012.

The thought of mobile packs of texting, emailing, surfing, Googling, Facebooking, and Angry Birding teens would likely send shivers down the spines of high school administrators and teachers were it not for one simple fact. The use of cell phones and electronic devices is banned at most high schools today.

A quick Google search yields the relevant policy of my local, public high school:

Students wishing to place calls during school hours should report to their House Office to request permission and use of the House Office phone. Cell phones are not to be used as a communication device (voice calls, text messages, photo emails, etc.) during the school day unless under the direction of LHS staff or administration. Other use of cell phones must be approved by administration. Inappropriate use will be subject to confiscation and/or disciplinary action.

A local private school maintains a similar, no-tolerance policy relating to cell phones of any type:

Students are not to use their cell phones during the school day. Cell phones are to be turned off and are never to be taken out during the school day. In case of emergency students wishing to make a call to a parent may come to the Attendance Office to use their cell phone.

Interestingly, however, that same private school has a different policy when it comes to personal computers:

The use of personal computers is acceptable in class when per¬mission is granted by the student's guidance counselor and teach¬er. The student should fill out a form with their counselor that helps register and identify their computer. The student must keep the computer in their possession at all times or safely locked in their locker.

As a parent, I fully understand the logic of these policies. The teen attention span is an endangered species that doesn't need to be tempted by electronics throughout the day. As smartphones blur the line between cell phones and personal computers, however, one has to wonder if these policies will be modified to enable the use of education-worthy smartphone apps. After all, it wasn't too long ago that calculators were banned from schools. Now, they're ubiquitous.

Assuming that these policies don't change, the real evolution to watch will be how smartphones shape teen behavior after school and on weekends. Now that teens have communication options that go well beyond mere text messaging and encompass the full web, email, mobile, social, and location-based services, where will they disperse into even more fragmented digital cliques powered by group texting services like Beluga (recently acquired by Facebook) or GroupMe? Will there attention spans fray in the face of bottomless, handheld entertainment options? Or will their brain's geo-location capabilities atrophy thanks to overreliance on Google Maps and location-based services?

I don't have the answers, but I do have a singular hope. Namely, that these smartphone-wielding teens will tap the power of the mobile web in ways that are wise beyond their years, and that maybe -- just maybe -- their smartphone-free school days will teach them that they are not slaves to technology, but masters of it.

Jeffrey K. Rohrs heads up ExactTarget's Marketing Research & Education Group and is a driving force behind the company's SUBSCRIBERS RULE! philosophy. Follow him at @jkrohrs.

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Being Relational

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: What Is Rapport?

Rapport creates the space for the person to feel listened to, and heard, which doesn't necessarily mean they have to agree with what you say or do. You can appreciate each other's viewpoint.

When you have rapport with another person, you have the opportunity to enter their world and see things from their perspective, feel the way they do, get a better understanding of where they are coming from. And as a result, enhance the whole relationship. This will allow them to feel good about themselves, you, and the relationship you've started.

The key to establishing rapport is an ability to enter another person's world by assuming a similar state of mind. The first thing to do is to become more like the other person by matching and mirroring the person's unconscious behaviors - body language, voice, words, etc. Matching and mirroring is a powerful way of gaining an appreciation of how the other person is seeing/feeling/experiencing their world.

The simplest way to help build rapport is to match the micro-behaviors of those you wish to influence. Any observable behavior can be mirrored, for example:

* Body posture
* Spinal alignment
* Hand gestures
* Head tilt
* Blink rate
* Facial expression
* Energy level
* Breathing rate
* Vocal qualities (volume, tonality, and rhythm)
* Key phrases and words
* Anything else that you can observe...

At first, this may seem a little strange or uncomfortable for you as a salesperson; though I assure you, with a little practice you'll become natural and proficient at it in a short period of time. And remember this: The basis of rapport is a natural process, which is happening already within any interaction between two or more individuals. You are simply duplicating the process on a 'conscious' level with purpose and volition.

You may wish to start with family members by beginning to match different aspects of their posture, gestures, voice, and words. Have fun with it and see if they notice what you are doing. At work or socially, start by matching one specific behavior and once you are comfortable then match another. For friends with whom you really feel comfortable, notice how often you naturally match their postures, gestures, and tone of voice or words.

Matching comes naturally. You need to learn how to do it with everyone. Matching will then eventually become automatic.

Source: Sales speaker/author John Santangelo

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Friday, April 22, 2011

American Express=Not Just for the Snobs Anymore

Ok, so I've never had an American Express Card.

I really don't care or want one.

But I do recall when American Express was still a status symbol.

Not anymore, if they are teaming up with Facebook.

That and other stories in the Friday night Marketing News from Mediapost:

by Tanya Irwin
American Express Open and Facebook are partnering for a contest targeting small business owners. The "Facebook Big Break for Small Business" aims to help transform the way small businesses use Facebook to connect and engage with customers. Business owners can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Facebook headquarters for a two-day "boot camp" and a $20,000 cash prize ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
After a successful first run last year, Kraft Foods' Barnum's Animals Crackers brand is expanding a cause-related promotion with partner Lilly Pulitzer. This year, 1.5 million boxes are being distributed in Pulitzer-branded outlets. Barnum's will make a donation ) to the Urban Arts Partnership, reflecting the Pulitzer brand's 2011 "Lily Loves the Arts" theme. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights for the Hartman Group, says government changes in the food pyramid don't impact consumers directly, but filter down to them through changes by food marketers. Instore education doesn't work, either. Advice? "Focus on the whole food, not just the ingredients." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Porsche execs talk about steering through the recession and the company's new "Everyday Magic" campaign, including "swarming" media and product integration with cable's Speed and History. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Story of Collective Wisdom

Thank you for finding this site on the web.

Every once in awhile I need to re-introduce myself and what this site is about.

In 2005 I launched this site to store and share sales tips that I had gathered, and then within a couple years it evolved into what you see today.

My name is Scott Howard. If you Google Scott Howard, I may show up on the first page or 2nd page of results, but there any many, many Scott Howards and so I needed an alternative identity.

Not to hide who I am, but just to create a more distinct name than what my parents named me.

ScLoHo is a mash up of my first, middle and last names and I was using ScLoHo as an email address long before it became a personal brand.

ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom is not about me. I hand select each and every story that appears here. I do not write most of the material, except the introductions, like what you are reading right now.

Simply put, Collective Wisdom is an ongoing collection of wisdom that I place on this site 3 to 4 times a day, 7 days a week.

My areas of interest and expertise are: advertising, media, marketing, and sales. So every morning at 6am, I post a sales tip. There is also an update at 6pm every night. In between those 12 hours, there are 1 or 2 more updates, either one at noon, or if there are two they will be at 10am and 2pm.

This is one of 4 of my own sites that are updated at least once a week, there is a list on the right side of this page of the others with a brief description of each site.

Google gives me visitor stats on all my sites and this one has grown from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 visits a month.

Learning from others is the main thrust of Collective Wisdom, and back when I was 26 I started reading and learning from a few books written by Harvey Mackay. The past few years Harvey has been writing a weekly column and here's his latest:

Take my advice, if you dare

By Harvey Mackay

One afternoon when American League baseball umpire Bill Guthrie was working behind the plate, the catcher of the visiting team repeatedly protested his calls. Guthrie endured this for three innings. But in the fourth inning when the catcher started to complain again, Guthrie stopped him.

"Son," he said gently, "you've been a big help to me calling balls and strikes, and I appreciate it. But I think I've got the hang of it now. So I'm going to ask you to go to the clubhouse and show them how to take a shower."

There is a time to provide advice and offer an opinion, and there is a time not to. Don't be too quick to offer unsolicited advice. It certainly will not endear you to people. Sometimes it's better to wait for people to ask for advice or to be judicious in doling out advice.

Socrates learned this the hard way. The Greek philosopher went around giving people good advice. And they poisoned him.

Over the years I have been asked for business advice, career advice, public speaking advice, writing advice, travel advice, fundraising advice, and advice on topics I've never even heard of. Each time, I take a deep breath and hope what I have to offer will be helpful and pertinent.

As I write my weekly column, speak to a business organization, or choose topics for one of my books, I try to cover subjects that affect businesspeople everywhere. Through stories, examples and morals, I offer my thoughts on how to handle a variety of issues.

I realize that people are reading what I write and figuring out whether they can apply my ideas. If my advice is helpful, I have made a friend for life.

Before you respond to a request for advice, heed habit five in Stephen Covey's classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

When you have the strong urge to make someone understand your point of view, you should always step back and think before you speak. Why? Because you need to ask yourself what kind of situation you are commenting on. Has your opinion been requested? Do you have the experience or authority to offer help?

If you give advice, will it be appreciated-or rejected without being considered? If the other person truly is seeking help in solving a concrete problem, then advice might be appreciated. But if not, then you should consider that the other person might merely be looking for someone to listen to what his problem is. In this case advice is not usually appropriate or desired by the other party. This is a skill that is learned over time: determining the best response to another's needs.

Consider also the wisdom of Richard Saunders who said, "Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand."

And never forget, the real secret of giving advice is this: once you've given it, don't concern yourself with whether it is followed or not, and refrain from saying "I told you so." When advice is freely given, the receiver is free to use it as he or she sees fit.

The bottom line is to be picky about to whom and when you give advice. If you are concerned that your words may make you responsible for undesirable results beyond your control, think twice before you speak. If you know the person is asking for your insights just to be polite or politically correct, don't feel obligated but decline graciously. You might say, "I'm not sure I'm qualified to help you."

And as you are choosing your words and who will benefit from them, keep this in mind: The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others. If you wouldn't follow your own advice, you shouldn't share it.

A man went to see a doctor after feeling out-of-sorts for a month. "Have you been treated by anyone else?" asked the doc.

"No, sir," the man said, "but I did go see a pharmacist."

The doctor scolded him for seeking a layperson's advice. "What kind of idiotic advice did he give you?"

The man thought for a minute. "He told me I should come and see you."

Mackay's Moral: A person is silly who will not take anyone's advice, but a person is ignorant who takes everyone's advice.

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You Have to Do It...

I've been reading Seth Godin's material for the last few years.

His last book, Poke the Box urges you to Start and Finish, not just plan.

Harvey Mackay, wrote about what it takes to do this:

Discipline is the order of the day

By Harvey Mackay

Most people aim to do right; they just fail to pull the trigger. For whatever reason, they just don't have the wherewithal to finish the job. They are lacking discipline.

"Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure," said the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

It doesn't matter whether you are pursuing success in business, sports, the arts, or life in general. Hope is not an option. The difference between wishing and accomplishing is discipline.

Bob Knight, college basketball's winningest coach, said: "It has always been my thought that the most important single ingredient to success in athletics or life is discipline. I have many times felt that this word is the most ill-defined in all of our language. My definition of the word is as follows: 1. Do what has to be done; 2. When it has to be done; 3. As well as it can be done; and 4. Do it that way all the time."

Julie Andrews put it a little differently. She said, "Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly."

Arthur Rubenstein, one of the greatest pianists of all time said: "If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days of practice, the critics notice it. If I miss three days of practice, the audience notices."

Discipline is all about sitting down and setting goals, figuring out a schedule to achieve those goals, and then following your plan.

The formula is the same for athletes, business people, and students: have a no-nonsense attitude, work hard and improve every day. Arrive early and stay late if that's what it takes to get the job done. I always say to go the extra mile, which is one stretch of the highway where there are seldom any traffic jams. And few people are trying to pass you.

It's the old adage: the more you put in the more you get out.

"You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good," said Jerry West, the former Los Angeles Lakers great who was nicknamed "Mr. Clutch."

Health and fitness clubs get very busy at the beginning of each year. New Year's resolutions result in large numbers of people joining, wanting to get fit or lose weight. What happens in February, March and April? The number of people at the club starts to thin out but the well-intentioned folks who lacked discipline didn't thin down.

Good intentions aren't enough. People have good intentions when they set a goal to do something, but then they miss a deadline or a workout. Suddenly it gets a lot easier to miss again and again and again.

Golfing great Byron Nelson said: "The only way one can become proficient at anything is self-discipline and dedication. The people who succeed are the ones that really do not let personal feelings get in their way from giving their all in whatever they choose to do. The superstar golfers are people who are willing to do and give a little bit more than the others who do not succeed."

The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi maintained: "A player's got to know the basics of the game and how to play his position. Next, you've got to keep him in line."

That's discipline and what every good manager must have. It's not enough as a manager to teach your employees how to do the work. You also have to provide the motivation that keeps them moving forward. Perhaps most importantly, a good manager must model self-discipline.

To me it is better to prepare and prevent instead of repair and repent.

I like the way Jim Rohn described discipline: "It is the bridge between thought and accomplishment ... the glue that binds inspiration to achievement ... the magic that turns financial necessity into the creation of an inspired work of art.

"Discipline is the master key that unlocks the door to wealth and happiness, culture and sophistication, high self-esteem and high accomplishment and the accompanying feelings of pride, satisfaction and success. Discipline will do much for you. More importantly, though, is what it will do to you. It will make you feel terrific about yourself."

Mackay's Moral: If your willpower doesn't work, try your "won't" power.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do You Need An Oscar to Create a Commercial?

Lot's of news in the Thursday night update of Marketing News from Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
"The King's Speech" winner films 60-second live-action features set in the mid-1600s and featuring the Diageo brand's swashbuckling mascot. The creative is undoubtedly among the brand's most expensive, as well as unusual, to date. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Cadillac is bolstering its marketing program with a tripartite grassroots and experiential program designed to get consumers into its vehicles and re-tool their idea of what Cadillac means. The three elements of the program are golf clinics, a culinary tour and track-based racing events. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Nissan's Leaf electric car will continue as the automaker's halo vehicle, but other Nissan cars will also get the spotlight in spots featuring voiceovers from Robert Downey. Jr. And Leaf itself has a hilarious new spot coming. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Cash back ranks among the most important rewards sought by consumers shopping for a new credit card, according to a study from comScore. More than 20% of consumers reported shopping for a new credit card in the past year, with that number rising to 34% among consumers who self-identify as being optimistic about the improving economy. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Our reviewer looks at three new books: Look At More by Andy Stefanovich, Kama Sense Marketing: A Love Affair with your Customers by Jacob Levy, and Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in your Industry by Stephen Denny. She keeps the potshots to a minimum. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

From Amy at Mediapost:

Hanes and Diet Pepsi return to TV advertising. Skittles takes quirky ads to a global audience. Let's launch!

pepsi_sofiaDiet Pepsi returns to TV advertising with a spot starring two beautiful people: Sofia Vergara and David Beckham. Vergara is lounging at the beach, jonesing for a Diet Pepsi, but the line is too long. She tweets that she saw David Beckham at the pier -- and just like the swimmers ran from the water in "Jaws," the women in line for soda run to flock to the faux Beckham sighting. The joke's on Vergara, though. While she sips her drink, a soccer ball lands at her beach chair, retrieved by Beckham, who's curious about the fuss at the pier. I love Vergara's shocked look with a straw in her mouth. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles.

Jet BlueI am having a childhood flashback, thanks to a trio of TV ads for JetBlue. Fast talker John Moschitta, Jr. stars in the ads, but I remember him best from the Micro Machine ads from the 1980s. See one here. Running in Boston, the ads promote JetBlue's 100 departures per day, with more direct flights of any airline from Boston. In "People Mover," Moschitta recites the number of nonstop destinations offered by JetBlue. With only 15 seconds available, even Moschitta can't name every city. Watch it here. Moschitta likes JetBlue because they are fast, like him. So he has no problem taking over the "Gate Counter" and telling passengers their plane is ready to board, prompting suitcase handles to snap up. Too bad he was just kidding. See it here. I've never seen someone stuck sitting in the "Middle Seat" act so happy, let alone want to high-five his neighbors. Watch it here. Mullen created the campaign.

Hanes FireHanes launched its first TV ads for women in more than three years, promoting its ComfortFlex Fit Bras and No Ride Up Panties. Ads are running during morning, daytime and prime-time shows, and take place on a fictitious morning show. Two morning show hostesses present an atypical way of keeping photos at your fingertips -- think Lee Press-on Nails with photos of grandma on your pinky -- when a host loses a nail and her underwear rides up. You have to wait for a commercial break to fix that problem. Watch it here. I love the food segment where a blindfolded hostess tries to guess snack foods while her bra strap slips off her shoulder and she's swinging a marshmallow that caught on fire. Crisis averted, and the host eats a yummy burnt treat. See it here. The Martin Agency created the ads.

Skittles Broken RainbowSkittles is expanding its quirky "Rainbow" campaign into several global markets, including Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Everyone is in for a treat. Three TV ads continue with the craziness, because it's worked for the brand so far. A group of friends rejoice over a handheld rainbow that dispenses Skittles in "Borrow." An outcast is invited to join the celebration, but he slips on the Skittles and breaks the rainbow. He duct-tapes the rainbow back together, causing it to periodically dispense Skittles and liquid rainbow goo. See it here. A man finds a small door in his new home that spews Skittles when opened. Thrilled at the find, he approaches another tiny door, expecting the same results. That door hides a small, friendly man reading a book. Watch "Door" here. Adult-sized pigeons wearing trench coats peck at Skittles falling from a man seated on a park bench. A dog runs through the park, briefly breaking up the pecking. Don't think to hard about this ad. Run with it. See it here. TBWA/Chiat/Day New York created the campaign.

LottoThey do say that a bird pooping on you is good luck... The Washington Lottery launched "Find Your Way To Play," consisting of two TV spots demonstrating unique ways to pick lotto numbers. Some people choose the birthdays of loved ones, while others park their car in a popular pigeon area, tarp their car with a numbered sheet and select numbers that are pooped on. That's "Tarp" in a nutshell. See it here. An energetic man, clad in a Velcro suit, screams his best warrior scream, jumps on a trampoline and onto a Velcro wall full of lottery numbers. That's certainly a fun way to choose numbers. Watch it here. Cole & Weber United created the campaign.

Yahoo ChinaA young boy emails his mother, who's on a business trip to China, and metaphorically digs a hole there in an ad for Yahoo! Mail. The young boy's words come to life in the animated ad; once the boy sends his message, animated versions of him and his dog start digging in the backyard en route to China. The pair bypass dinosaur bones and buried treasure, use earthworms as rope and emerge from a manhole cover in China. In reality, mom received the email on her tablet device with ease. See the ad here. "Big Dig" was created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, produced by Blacklist and animated by Wizz.

NissanNissan asks consumers to define the value of zero in a TV ad for its 100% electric LEAF vehicle. Voiceover Robert Downey, Jr. has viewers "imagine zero dependency on foreign oil. Zero pollutants in our environment. Zero depletion of the ozone. Suddenly, zero starts adding up." Add to copy beautiful pictures of round and oval objects ranging from kiwis, tires, trees, avocados, frog eyes, icebergs and a woman's pregnant belly and zero does add up, as previously stated. Watch the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles.

VW Earth"By checking our tire pressure regularly, we could save 24 million liters of gasoline a day," says an ad for Volkswagen Canada. Who knew? "Globe" launched just in time for Earth Day, April 22. A deflated Mother Earth slowly inflates back to its normal shape when viewers are educated about how the simple act of checking tire pressure can save the planet from additional pollutants. The ad is part of Volkswagen's "Think Blue" program, where environmental protection and automotive progress go hand-in-hand. Watch the ad here, created by Red Urban Canada.

RightnetRandom iPhone App of the week: Conservative-leaning RIGHTNETWORK launched an iPhone and iPad app providing unseen footage from episodes of Amped, The American Dream animation, the Original series Whaddya Know Joe and Five 4 Friday, among others. New episodes are added weekly. The app, created by ZooVision is available for free from the App Store.

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

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Do you Really Need New Clients?

from my Sales Tip archives, April 2008:

Last week, we had an impromptu sales meeting on how to make the best use of our time considering changes in our local economy, changes in the marketplace, etc.

If you have not had a meeting of the minds in your organization recently, take 15 minutes, like we did, and do it.

The Answer to the question, Should we go wide and search for new clients, or get focused on new opportunities with existing clients, depends on your current practices. Small fuel wrote about this last week:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

Link to SmallFuel Marketing Blog

The Small Business Guide to Marketing More in Less Time

Posted: 17 Apr 2008 02:15 PM CDT

free time working on the beach
Marketing is an art that every small business needs to master—the art of painting a compelling picture that transforms prospects into customers. But like all great art, marketing takes time; and as you already know, time is at a premium for anyone involved in a small business.

Failing to make the time to market effectively could be the difference between a thriving business and a devastating year-end tax loss, so it is critical that you learn to manage your marketing time and effort to draw the greatest results from that important non-renewable resource—your schedule.

Let’s take a quick look at how you can give your marketing a boost without piling on the overtime.

The Core Concept Of “Less Time” Marketing: Refining Your Strategies

The simplest way to get more marketing results packed into less time is by systematically refining and improving your strategies so that they get you results faster. This isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t common practice either. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mad rush of doing business that we often don’t step back and ask ourselves how we can make what we’re doing more effective—but if we don’t, we sin our wheels a lot more than we have to.

Here are a few simple ways you can start refining your marketing so that you find customers faster, and cut the time you have to spend on marketing to them in the first place.

Strategy #1 – Focus More On Reaching Your Perfect Customers

Every business owner faces the temptation of wanting to reach every possible prospect—but that’s not a recipe for success. Spreading your marketing message too thin only guarantees that fewer sales will be made. Instead, focus on your perfect customers. The ones that recognize their need for you most easily, that take less courting, that buy more often; in other words, go where the fish are hungriest.

How do you determine who your perfect customer is? Look back over your last year’s sales and find them. Who were the ones that resonated with your marketing message the most and became your happiest customers? Take the hint, and pour your focus into those who reward your marketing efforts with the highest returns. Conversely, identify the customers with the longest sales cycle and evaluate whether they are worth the investment. They may buy three times as much as a typical customer, but if they take five times the effort you must reconsider the value of pursuing them.

The Takeaway: Boosting productivity in converting prospects = Boosting profits.

Strategy #2 – Leverage Existing Customers To Find New Ones

Once you decide to focus on the customers who come to you most easily and appreciate what you have to offer, it comes time to reflect on another marketing lesson: Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful type of marketing there is. Because people react most readily to the experiences of those they trust, no other marketing strategy even comes close. To market more in less time, you need to leverage this principle to the fullest, and give your customers every opportunity to share their stories and spread the word about your company.

There are so many ways to do this effectively. You could offer a discount or bonus to customers who give you success stories or case studies about your offerings. You could offer referral commissions to customers who send business your way. Or, you could take the simpler route and send your customers coupons with an attractive offer that they can give to others to increase goodwill for themselves—and sales for you. Whatever strategies you choose, focus on creating a compelling situation that motivates your customers to bring others into the fold (and frees up time for you to do other effective marketing tasks).

The Takeaway: Boosting customer-driven marketing = Boosting your free time.

Strategy #3 – Focus On Keeping Your Existing Customers Engaged

As you already know, it takes a certain amount of time and effort to warm up prospects and get them in the mood to pay attention to what you have to say, let alone buy from you. To cut this warm up time to zero and make your marketing job easier for subsequent promotions, don’t let your leads go cold in the first place. Condition them to hearing from you on a regular basis and you won’t have to spend time figuring out excuses to send out emails or make phone calls.

The key here is to condition them to receiving ongoing information that has real value to them and to give them plenty of opportunities to turn your communication into conversation. Blogs are a fantastic way to do this, as are carefully chosen article topics that you can send to a newsletter audience. When you allow your customers to speak to you and to each other about relevant information (that you, as their authoritative source, provide), you’ll spend a lot less time having to sell them when the time comes to do business with you.

The Takeaway: Boosting communication with prospects = Boosting conversion.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coffee, Cars & Earth Day

Marketing News from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Tony DiSalle, VP marketing at Buick, said the company's new campaign on NCAA basketball has increased Web traffic to to its highest level -- up 24% and "driven by offline activation of our partnership with the NCAA." He says the partnership will continue around Lacrosse championships, and college football this fall. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
As thousands of companies try to link their marketing messages to Earth Day, scheduled this year for April 22, a new study from OgilvyEarth finds that the vast majority aren't having any impact on consumer behavior. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
As Earth Day approaches, Starbucks is repeating its offer to give any customer who brings a reusable mug or tumbler into its stores a free brewed coffee or tea (hot or iced) on April 22. Customers can also buy a branded container for 20% off on Earth Day. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Broken down to the individual, the "2011 Forecast of U.S. Consumer Loyalty Program Points Value" study finds that the average household that is active in loyalty programs earns $622 a year, but does not redeem $205 of those rewards. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Linda Marshall is new to the automotive business, but not to the idea of customer service. Marshall, who became president of OnStar in February, has spent 25 years in the telecom business for companies like Verizon, Sprint and Nextel. "I've always been customer-focused," says the new head of the GM communications and telematics division. ...Read the whole story >>

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From "Why?" to Y

My kids are Gen Y. Seems like only yesterday when they were going through the "Terrible Twos" and always asking "Why?".

Right now we are in the midst of weddings (3 in 11 months), college graduations and grandkids being born.

Between my wife and I we have 5 and 3 of them are young women.

Mediapost tells me they are pretty normal:

7 Things You Need To Know About Millennial Women

Generation Y has moved well beyond the latest buzz word to an increasingly influential consumer force. Currently Gen Yers, or Millennials, make up 52% of the key 18-to-49 demographic, which means marketers can't afford to misunderstand them, particularly Gen Y women.

Here are seven things every marketer needs to know about Gen Y women:

  • They're ethnically diverse Based on 2008 U.S. Census estimates, Millennial women (aged 15 to 34) are 59% Caucasian, compared to 72% of Baby Boomer women.
  • They're educated Gen Y women are more educated than Gen Y men. According to the White House "Women in America" report, the percentage of women aged 25 to 34, with a college degree has more than tripled since 1968, while the share of men aged 25 to 34 has increased by one-half. Higher education rates for women holds true across multiple ethnicities.
  • They're got disposable income For the first time in history, women are making more money than men, which means Gen Y women have more money to spend. USA Today reported last fall that women ages 22 to 30 with no husband or children earn eight% more than comparable men in the top 366 metropolitan cities, with single Millennial women in Atlanta earning a whopping 21% more.
  • They're delaying marriage Gen Y women aren't getting married at as young an age as their Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors did. The White House report cited the median marrying age for women now is about 26, on a steady increase from about age 20 in the 1950s. In fact, now Gen Y men are the ones rushing to say "I do." In a study commissioned by, Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, found that men ages 21 to 34 are actually more eager to marry than their female counterparts.
  • They're independent Gen Y women are reluctant to give up their personal freedom (which may be a factor in the uptick in marrying age). Fisher also noted that Gen Y women are more likely than their male counterparts to: want nights out with their friends on a regular basis, want their own bank accounts, say they need their personal space and to take their own vacations without their romantic partners.
  • They're starting families Don't forget that a healthy chunk of Gen Y women are now mothers. The White House report estimates that about half of women aged 25 to 29 have a child. This means CPG companies, toy manufacturers and basically all companies targeting children/families/moms need understand Millennial moms. Post-Millennials (the yet-to-be-named generation following Millennials) are being raised primarily by Millennials and Xers. These moms have very different styles and philosophies, which need to be understood.
  • They're household COOs Gen Y women may be getting married and starting families later than previous generations, but they are no less savvy in running their household, and often approach it with a business-like efficiency. At Magid, we call it the "rise of the Alpha Mom." These take-charge Alpha moms are working fulltime and still accounting for more of the household duties than their husbands, according to the White House report.

It's easy and tempting to lump all Millennial women into broad categories such as college students, young professionals or moms, but smart marketers will seek to understand Millennial women specifically. That understanding provides a vital additional layer of insight to the historically-proven broad categories and will make all the difference in actually engaging consumers, not just reaching them.

Sharalyn Hartwell is executive director at Frank N Magid Associates, Inc.

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Stop & Listen

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Rushing to Judgment

As a salesperson, you should work to focus all of your attention on your customer and his/her needs. It's all too easy to swoop in to present a solution instead of listening to your customer's complaints and the specifics of his/her situation.

In this rush to cut to the chase, you're in danger of coming across as arrogant, and your customers end up feeling their input is unimportant and unappreciated. This understandable mistake happens for two reasons:

* You want to come off as the "expert" or "hero," showing off all your knowledge by providing the solution before your customer even has a chance to finish her thought.
* You're in a hurry and don't have the time and energy to devote to your customer.

For example, let's say you're about to leave for a week's vacation when a prospective customer calls. He starts to go into a long story about his business and all the problems he's encountered in the last five years. You realize that you have heard his story -- or at least a similar one -- many times before, so you interrupt him to give your answer to his problems. You try to end the call as soon as possible so you can leave for vacation.

In this case, even though you might have given your prospect a good solution, chances are he won't feel satisfied with the conversation. He didn't have an opportunity to tell you about his business, so he feels shortchanged.

What should you have done? Next time, embrace any information your prospect gives you, whether you believe it's valuable or not. If you truly didn't have time to talk at length with this prospect, you should have requested the opportunity to call him back after you returned from vacation. Otherwise, you should have put down your briefcase, closed your office door, and listened to him for as long as he needed.

Remember, even if you hear the story all the time, it is unique and personal for each customer. Instead of interrupting your customer with your standard solution, let him have the floor and explain his problem. Only then can you proceed with the process of finding a solution for whatever ails him.

Source: Paul Cherry, founder of the sales training firm Performance Based Results

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cars, Planes, and Subs (the kind you eat)

The Tuesday night Marketing Update from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
BMW has big plans for New York. The company, which a couple of weeks ago launched its BMW venture-capital program in the city, will spend $60 million to revamp its dealership on the West Side and build a new Mini store nearby. Both will be sustainability showcases. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The tourism ministry conducted a reality TV-style nationwide search to identify and send American travelers who had always wanted to go to Israel. A family of four from Texas and a couple from New York were chosen from the nearly 600 applications to go to Israel for 14 days, all the while sharing their daily experiences through written updates, videos and photographs. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The reductions, achieved in stages, required working with bread, meat and other ingredients vendors, testing to ensure that the sandwiches' "flavor profiles" continued to meet consumers' expectations, and vendor ramp-up to supply sufficient, lower-sodium products for the chain. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Earlier this year, the company formed a strategic alliance with Bulgari, and says it made gains via its TAG Heuer line, which strengthened its Carrera collection; Zenith, Hublot, and Chaumet. It also says its De Beers made significant progress in both Asia and the U.S. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
VW's global head of marketing, Luca de Meo, said that the new design is more masculine, more sports car-like and reflects Volkswagen's desire to make it a huge seller not just in its core market -- the U.S. -- but also in Asia and Europe ...Read the whole story >>

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Smart or Stupid?

One of the original Smartphone makers gets chewed out by Laura Ries for not being so smart...

Crazy for Consumers? RIM is insane.


Mike Lazaridis, one of the two chief executives of Research In Motion, is baffled and defensive. In a rare interview, Lazaridis complained, whined and spent more time asking questions than answering them.

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits?

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth?

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global?

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages?”

To make matters worse, the exasperated Lazaridis ended with: “I don’t fully understand why there’s this negative sentiment, and I just don’t have the time to battle it. Because in the end, what I’ve learned is you’ve just got to prove it over and over and over.”

Lazaridis is right and Lazaridis is wrong about RIM’s problem.

He is right because RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry, has been on a roll. It wasn’t nicknamed the BarakBerry for nothing. From the President in the White House to business people around the world, BlackBerry is the preferred phone.

During the last fiscal year, Research In Motion shipped a record 52.3 million phones, a 43 percent increase over the previous year. And RIM’s fourth quarter income of $924 million exceeded forecasts.

He is wrong because RIM has made many marketing mistakes. If you have to prove anything over and over again, you are doing something wrong. Repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. And RIM’s recent marketing moves have been insane.

What is RIM doing wrong? Why don’t people appreciate RIM’s BlackBerry brand, profits or growth? Because they are fighting the wrong battle. They are focused on the wrong target. BlackBerry has been chasing the consumer instead of chasing its less-sexy business customer.

Why it is that companies that have great success and profits with business clients feel the need to ditch them for the fickle, finicky and thin-margined consumer?

Dell has been making the very same mistake for years. Instead of staying focused on businesses, they continue to spend time and money chasing consumers. Consumers who will never think Dell is cool.

Cisco learned the consumer lesson the hard way, too. After buying Flip cameras for $590 million in an attempt to be cool, they are shutting Flip down. It didn’t work, Flip didn’t make Cisco cool, nor did it make them much money. Compared to enterprise networking systems the Flip profits likely looked too slim to make it worth continuing.

The reality is the business market isn’t cool or sexy, but it can be extremely profitable. Just ask Cisco. The business market also works very differently than the consumer market. Consumers are less loyal and always looking for the next new thing. Business users are extremely loyal and like to keep the same product or software for as long as possible, sometimes even if it is inferior.

BlackBerry has been chasing consumers with an array of new phones with touch screens and other flashy features. New, different and flashy is exactly what business consumers don’t want. Flashy and sexy turns off business buyers.

Not to mention that fighting the sexy war is a losing battle. If BlackBerry is going to compete on beauty, Apple is going to win every time.

You can’t beat or even compete with Apple on the cool “it” factor. The only way to succeed is to avoid Apple and do the opposite by stayed focused on your core customers.

For BlackBerry, the core customers are corporate users that value security above almost all else. Consumers who post every dumb photo of themselves online could obviously care less about security. But every company does. And with more and more business communication taking place via phone and email, security is going to get even more important.

But if RIM wants to get credit for BlackBerry’s successes and wants to continue to thrive in the future, it needs to refocus on security and business. If they let their brand erode too much longer, they risk losing their leadership as well as their luster the way Dell did.

No business could take a $50 million Dell contract seriously after they launched the “Dude, you got a Dell” commercials. BlackBerry is in the process of making the same mistake.

There are some other fundamental issues with RIM’s marketing that are problematic:

1. Why the double-naming?
Research In Motion is a long and meaningless name. And it usually gets shortened to the even worse-sounding “RIM.” The company would be better off just calling itself “BlackBerry.”

2. Where is the powerful visual?
Apple has the “Apple.” Android now has the “Robot.” Blackberry has some weird dots that nobody understands or even uses. Never underestimate the power of a visual.

3. Why not focus on three aspects of its core market?
Business. Security. Email. It doesn’t mean RIM can’t sell anything to consumers. It doesn’t mean RIM can’t add cool features like cameras or touch screens. It doesn’t mean RIM can’t launch a tablet. But it does mean that anything RIM does should be tailored to what the business customer wants and needs.

All brands need to stay focused on the battles they can win. Not the ones they can’t. RIM needs to forget about being cool. Ugly can be great and very profitable.

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