Saturday, June 04, 2011

Classic Ad of the Month

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Are You Customer Friendly?

Are you sure?

This is from a weekly email I receive, the Wizard Chronicles:

From The Vault in the New Wizard's Tower Libary

Returns Policies and Customer Guarantees

Kick the Devil…

By Sonya Winterbotham, Wizard of Ads partner

"How many of your store policies are based on the assumption your customer might be fraudulent?... When deciding on returns policies and customer guarantees you need to find a balance between protecting yourself and protecting the customer."

A death certificate. The airline actually requested a death certificate for Daniel Kitson to prove his grandfather had died forcing him to change flights. If he could prove it, he could avoid paying the additional airline charges.

“Hi mum, I know you’re in the middle of grieving and organizing a funeral and stuff, but could you just fax granddad’s death certificate through to the airline… cheers”.

If it hadn’t been a comedy show nobody would have laughed. Still it was that “how ridiculous is the world” type of laugh, because we knew this was a true story.

Daniel got me thinking. How often do businesses listen a little too strongly to the devil’s advocate in their heads and make decisions based on the lowest common denominator?

How many of your store policies are based on the assumption your customer might be fraudulent? Do you really believe the world is full of Bart Simpsons trying to rip you off? Or do you know he only accounts for about one percent? But you still say “it’s not worth the risk”.

I recently spoke to a bedding retailer about a 30 day sleep guarantee… If you’re not happy with your mattress within 30 days you return it and get your money back. The devil’s advocate stepped right in, “we can’t afford that, what about the returns?”

In those few minutes what she was forgetting was that nobody buys a bed hoping they’ll have to return it. You buy a bed hoping it’ll give you the best night’s sleep of your life. But knowing you can return it makes you feel safer when deciding on your purchase.
The business generated from this policy will far outweigh the cost of the minimal returns she’ll get over a year. Here’s a business that’s already ignored their devil - – it’s an online clothing and shoe store. Now in e-tailing customers feel even less secure when buying – particular when there’s no option to “try on before you buy”. So Zappos offers free shipping and free return shipping. When you consider that 36% of online shoppers are influenced by returns policies… it’s no wonder Zappos more than tripled sales when word got out. When deciding on returns policies and customer guarantees you need to find a balance between protecting yourself and protecting the customer. Only about one percent of your customer base will ever look for a loop hole… the rest are the good guys… Will you talk to the one percent or will you talk to the other ninety-nine? For every devil’s advocate that’s whispering to you in one ear, make sure you have an entrepreneurial angel whispering in the other.

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from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Timeliness

Prospects get turned off when they have to listen to product details that may or may not be important to them. Or when they receive calls they are not expecting. Or when they don't get callbacks when the calls were promised.

These convey the message that the salesperson's time is more important than the prospect's time.

If you want to convey trust, don't assume prospects have time to talk to you. Be selective in your scheduling and respect their time.

Source: Adapted from Killing the Sale, by Todd Duncan, CEO and founder of The Duncan Group.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

Government Spending and some less Annoying Topics

First off, I'm sure the amount of $$ our government spent to redesign the Food Pyramid from a triangle into a circle was outrageous.

But enough with that, let's just look at the rest of the Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost...

by Karlene Lukovitz
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's just-unveiled replacement for the decades-old, complex and much-criticized food pyramid graphic -- a plate divided into food groups shown in the recommended portions -- is meeting with a largely positive response from groups ranging from nutritionists and consumer advocates to food producers. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
About 54% of clients surveyed by a brand protection agency in the U.K. this year said they would acquire TLD extensions of their brand names. He said several brands, including Canon, Hitachi, Unicef, and Deloitte, have said they would do so. As have the cities of Paris, (.Paris) and New York, and the League of Arab States, which has plans to grab ".Arab." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
While past "Just Do It" campaigns have featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and LeBron James, this year's effort is focused on Nike 6.0 action sports athletes like skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, surfer Laura Enever, snowboarder Danny Kass and freestyle BMXer Garrett Reynolds. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Scoring 864 out of 1,000 points, the Madison, Wis.-based insurer performs well in the policy offerings and distribution channel factors, primarily driven by the performance of their exclusive agents. Rounding out the top three are Auto-Owners Insurance, with an overall average satisfaction score of 860, and Erie Insurance, with 857. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Saks posted a whopping 20.2% gain, in part because of a timing shift with a promotional event. But even without that change, it says sales would have shown a percentage gain in the mid-teens, fueled by a strong demand for women's designer apparel, shoes, handbags, and accessories; men's clothing, shoes, and accessories; jewelry; cosmetics; and fragrances. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
People are interested in finding ways to lower their electricity bills, but they're still in the dark about how upgrading to a smart grid or other electricity management systems might help them do so, says the Consumer Electronics Association. ...Read the whole story >>

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Are You Smartphone Friendly?

I'm an early adopter in some area's and more cautious in others.

When the iPhone came out, I watched others with theirs, but waited.

And waited, and waited some more.

It was a combination of events that led me to buy my first smartphone last summer, and I hope you are prepared for the smartphone revolution that we are in the midst of...

Mobile Users Are Ad Clickers

According to the Mojiva Mobile Audience Guide, 60% of mobile users click on mobile ads at least once a week. When seeing an ad, half of users indicated that they would play a game, download an application, or visit a Web site after seeing an ad, but only 22% said they would make a purchase, and only 40% would download a coupon.

Tony Nethercutt, General Manager of Mojiva, notes that "... mobile marketing performs well when it lines up the services and products that affect people on an everyday basis ... mobile advertising is part of the conversation for major national brand advertising..."

Some additional findings from Mojiva and InsightExpress in the Mojiva Mobile Audience Guide include:

  • Over 84% of users deemed 'normal banner ads,' 'video ads,' 'ads that let me interact with them,' or 'animated banner ads' as the forms of marketing they would likely pay attention to.
  • Text ads perform modestly with 13% of users most likely to pay attention; however, only 2% pay attention to expanding screen takeover ads.
  • Marketing offers related to magazines, social/dating, airlines, traffic and banking had the least effective performance.
With user statistics from InsightExpress, the MAG offers a look into what resonates with users through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This month's research shows that marketers need to focus on engaging creative executions that encourage user interaction.

Joy Liuzzo, Senior Director from InsightExpress says "... InsightExpress research continues to demonstrate that mobile consumers are evolving, with new behaviors, attitudes, and demographic segments emerging almost monthly..."

There are opportunities to advertise with mobile ads, says the report, as respondents are frequently clicking on mobile ads. Graphic ads as a whole appear to be successful in grabbing attention. Content and type of ad will impact overall reach:
  • More than half indicated they would "play a game," "download a mobile application" or "browse a website" after seeing an ad on their mobile phones.
  • Fewer than one-fourth of respondents would "purchase a product" after viewing an ad on their mobile phones.
For the most part, graphic ads as a whole were successful in capturing the attention of respondents:
  • Over 20% of respondents said that normal banner ads, video ads and ads that let me interact with them are most likely to be paid attention to.
  • Respondents were least likely to pay attention to expanding screen take-over ads, which may be too aggressive.
Ads pertaining to retail stores, weather, restaurants or bars and sports are most likely to be clicked on by someone using their mobile phone:

-- Respondents tended to gravitate more towards mobile ads that focus on providing information pertaining to everyday life, rather than more specific and direct ads.

-- 60% of respondents click on a mobile ad for more information at least once a week. Of those, 19% click on a mobile ad for more information several times a day.

(Source: The Center For Media Research, 05/31/11)

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Are You Surprise-Proof ?

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: The Planned Presentation

The best sales presentation possible is not vastly different each time. There are certain benefits and features of every product that must be communicated, and those benefits and features must be communicated in the best way possible. Best, by definition, means one, exclusive, alone; the best way is better than any other way by its very definition. There are not five best ways; there can be only one best way.

Your goal is to give the best presentation you can to each and every prospect. How do you get there? You have a choice based on your experience -- shoot from the hip, go with the flow, or plan your presentation. It's your choice, but the only way to give the ever-elusive "best" presentation and to give it every time is to plan it.

Here are some thoughts about why it pays to plan your presentation:

I. Have Planned Responses
If your presentation is planned, you'll have time to think about your prospects' verbal and non-verbal reactions and comments. If you have to think of what you're going to say next, you simply can't do that.

II. Gain Heightened Efficiency
Efficiency is the second advantage of planning your presentation. No non-relevant material can creep into your presentation to distract you or your prospect. You don't repeat yourself. You cover all the salient points in the most efficient manner possible.

III. Guarantee Thoroughness
Third, you guarantee that you are more thorough. Perhaps that is really just a part of efficiency, but it helps to think of it separately. You never leave anything out, and you never present important points in the wrong place in your presentation if you've planned and practiced.

Unplanned presentations can go on forever, leave important points out, and in general be wastes of qualified prospects' time. You can also miss important buying signs, interest signs, and signs of concern because you have to worry about what you are going to say next rather than pay attention to the nonverbal communication that is taking place. If you are only listening to yourself, you can't listen to the prospect!

IV. Practice to Make Perfect
Another reason for giving a planned presentation is to better gauge your results. No professional athlete experiments with his shot, stroke, or swing.

All the pros tweak and constantly strive to improve, but their basic motions stay the same. It's when they stray from that basic motion that they have slumps or bad games.

The same is true in sales. Great salespeople can have bad days, bad weeks, or longer slumps when they stray from their basic planned presentation.

Source: Author/entrepreneur/sales coach Tom Black

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Better Late than Dead

I used to say better late than never, but let's be honest. I forgot to schedule this Thursday night marketing news update from Mediapost:

Packaged Goods
by Karlene Lukovitz
The target audience for the brand is extremely well-defined: empty nesters age 45 to 54 with household incomes of $100,000-plus. "These are people whose kids are now busy with high school or off at college or in jobs now, and who are now lavishing their affection and attention on their pets, which they basically view as their 'children,'" says Freshpet VP, marketing Kathryn Winstanley. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Women now in their 40's and 50's were really the first to believe in large numbers in the possibility of having it all. "So, what do labels mean for us? And why are [marketers] looking at labels that don't fit when we should be seeking what's really underneath this generation's pursuit of happiness?" ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Honda on Wednesday launched a complex social media and Web campaign for the new Civic that is as much a statement about the nature of the digital universe as it is a second phase of a campaign for the car and its variants that began in April. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Macy's says its same-store sales rose a healthy 7.5% in May -- higher than expected. As a result, the company, which is releasing its results a day ahead of the rest of the retail pack, is also bumping up its quarterly and annual forecasts.< ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Contrary to popular practice, personalized ads not only don't drive conversions, but are likely to be ignored, according to the study by MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Catherine Tucker and London Business School Prof. Anja Lambrecht. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
People can send in a variety of old consumer electronics -- ranging from printers, digital cameras, camcorders and picture frames -- regardless of brand, in return for cash and discounts on Kodak products. For products that have no remaining resale value, Kodak will direct consumers to local electronic recycling centers. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

Here's this weeks edition from Amy at Mediapost:

Love thy pits. Man returns rabbit's feet to a peg-legged rabbit. Let's launch!

1Hertz launched two new TV ads for its "The Gas and The Brake" campaign, featuring a voiceover from Owen Wilson. A woman makes the best of a crowded bus ride by befriending a card shark and leaving him wearing nothing but his boxers. Her other half books a rental car online, with help from a rooster. See it here. You might be unable to afford a SUV, sports car or hybrid vehicle, but renting one is doable. Drive off in your fantasy vehicle, if only for a few days. Watch it here. DDB NY created the campaign.

2New South Wales Tourism launched three TV ads encouraging young Australians to plan an adventure in their own backyard. "Captured by the Country" shows 20-something women on a road trip laden with food, wine, animals, boats and beaches. Sign me up. In "Food and Wine," the ladies pick apples, make cheese, stomp grapes for wine and play with chocolate. Sounds like a great day in my book. Watch it here. The trio becomes one with nature in the next ad, seen here. They hike through a forest, find a waterfall, go horseback riding, skim stones and camp beneath the stars. Break out the SPF, for the final ad takes place at the beach. The ladies swim, collect seashells, visit a lighthouse, go fishing and dolphin watching. See it here. The same song is used in each 60-second ad, so by the time you watch the last ad, you'll probably be sick of hearing it and know 80% of the lyrics. The campaign was created in-house and directed by Matilda Brown of The Colony.

3Phillips 66 considers itself a high-performance gasoline. A TV, outdoor and online campaign has the brand on a mission to find "local legends": high-performance individuals with various talents. The first TV spot, seen here, pays tribute to a Pee Wee linebacker that "tackles quarterbacks like [Phillips 66] tackles dirty injectors." The next ad highlights a man who's really good at staring contests. The smell of freshly chopped onions or silly string shot in his direction is no match for him. Watch it here. Anyone with a random quirk or talent is encouraged to submit a video to, between now and Nov. 27. Consumers will vote on submissions and the top three winners receive free gas for a year. Venables Bell & Partners created the campaign.

4Snickers launched "Party," the fourth TV spot in its "you're not you when you're hungry" campaign. Initial pairings included Betty White and Abe Vigoda, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minelli, and Roseanne with Richard Lewis. This time around, we have Joe Pesci and Don Rickles. Pesci plays his usual tough guy persona at a party where he and his friend are chatting up two ladies. Pesci gets testy when he thinks a woman is distracted by something else, and knocks her appearance by implying she models gloves. After leaving to eat a Snickers, our angry man returns as himself only to be called a loser by one of the ladies, who has morphed into Don Rickles. Hysterical. Watch the ad here, created by BBDO New York.

5Mitchum antiperspirant launched "Love Thy Pits," a global ad campaign supporting the launch of its Mitchum Advanced Control stick/solid deodorant. This bad boy offers 48 hours of sweat protection, so regardless of how sticky a situation you might be in, your pits will never reveal your secret stress. The first TV spot, "Lie," begins with a whopper of a fib. An unemployed man scored a job as a translator at Going Dutch Inc. Only problem is he lied on his resume about being fluent in Dutch. Thankfully, his boss will never see him sweat. Watch it here. Print ads, shown here and here, have love for armpits, sketching hearts on dry pits. Check out Mitchum's Facebook page and Love Thy Pits Web site for more information. Mother created the campaign, directed by Brand New School.

6The past meets the present in a TV ad for Nokia Astound, available through T-Mobile. Present-day viral videos are combined with cowboys, villains and King Kong while the Black Iris' cover of "Don't Fence Me In" plays. My favorite scene is the old-school cowboy shooting at his rival and having the bullet morph into an Angry Bird. Needless to say, the phone can play music, games and video. See it here. Wieden + Kennedy, New York created the ad, produced by 1stAveMachine.

7You don't need luck when you have Poker Wingman to help calculate whether you should fold, call or raise when playing online poker. So you can return your lucky rabbit's foot - or feet, in this man's case - to their rightful owner: a peg-legged bunny that wasn't happy to see his feet inside his mailbox. This bunny has a serious accent and looks threatening, until his peg legs slide on the floor. Poor guy. Watch the ad here, created in-house and produced by OPC Toronto.

8PacSun launched a cutesy TV as called "Dress Irresponsibly" that pairs skate, surf and motocross athletes with the sound of Ol' Blue Eyes singing "Call Me Irresponsible." Chances are 70% of the kids in the ad have no idea who Ol' Blue Eyes is. The ad features crowd surfing, jumping in pools with clothes on, trading bikini tops with your BFF, making jean shorts out of jeans and skateboarding. So, a typical day for a teenager, right? "Dress irresponsibly," closes the ad, seen here and created by72andSunny, produced by Caviar Content and edited by Arcade Edit.

9Random iPhone App of the week: I'd laugh at this app if finding a bra weren't always such an expedition. AvatarLabs created the Natori Bra Finder to help the estimated 80% of women who wear the wrong bra size. Women are instructed how to measure themselves for a comfortable fit. Those that take the "Find Your Perfect Bra" quiz and email the results are registered in a contest to win a Natori Bra each month for a year. The contest ends June 10. The app is available fore free in the App Store.

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

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Wrapping it Up

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Five Key Closing Questions

Recently I got a request for questions that could be used during the close or presentation stage. These questions will vary from taking a prospect's pulse, to seeing if they are with you, to finding out if a benefit you just listed would work for them, all the way to a trial close.

1. After giving any part of your presentation, you should ask, "Are you with me so far?" You can vary this with, "How does that sound?" Or, "Do you see what I mean?" and, "Does that make sense?"

Always listen carefully to not only what they say, but to how they say it. And always allow a few seconds after they respond to give them time to add something else.

2. Any time you give a benefit, ask, "How would you use that?" or, "Could you use that?" Or, "Would that work for you?" Or, "Would that be of benefit in your situation?"

Again, LISTEN to what and how they respond...

3. Another good question to ask throughout your presentation is, "Do you have any questions so far?"

This is one of the best questions to ask, and it's also one of the least used. You'd be amazed by the kinds of questions you'll get, and each one reveals what your prospect is thinking. You must use this question often!

4. Trial closes are always good -- "Does this seem to be the kind of solution you are looking for?" or, "How is this sounding so far?" or, with a smile, "Am I getting close to having a new client yet?"

Even though that sounds cheesy, you'd be amazed by how it will often break the ice and get your prospect to lower his/her guard.

5. When you're done with your presentation, always ask, "What haven't I covered yet that is important to you?"

This is a great way to end your presentation, because if they tell you they don't have any questions, then you get to ask for the order! If they do have questions, you answer them and then ask for the order!

The bottom line is that asking questions -- and then shutting up and listening -- is still one of the most important things you can do either during the qualification stage or during the close. Use the above questions during your next presentation and watch your closes get stronger and your income get bigger!

Source: Veteran sales consultant Mike Brooks

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Just click and read. I'm sort of busy.

by Karl Greenberg
Joe Mastroianni, chief marketing officer at Mitsubishi Electric's heating, ventilation and air conditioning division, tells Marketing Daily the opportunity for Mitsubishi ductless systems in the U.S. is both for new houses and older central systems that cost a fortune and aren't doing the trick. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
During the Home Run Challenge, MLB and the Prostate Cancer Foundation will encourage baseball fans to pledge between $.25 to $10,000 for every home run hit during select games. Last year, 112 home runs were hit, raising nearly $2.3 million for accelerating research and scientific discovery that will lead to better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The "Beyond the Cracker" campaign is anchored in a site of the same name, where legal-age Florida residents were offered a sweepstakes (grand prize: kitchen appliance package worth $5,000) and a $1-off coupon on any one-pound domestic cheese product purchased in participating grocery retailers throughout the state. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Clothing -- including the dreaded necktie -- will be the choice of 38.2% of shoppers, closely followed by gift cards and gift certificates (36.9%). Books and CDs are also a popular choice (25.3%), as are consumer electronics (18.5%). And 67.5% of the survey, conducted by BIGresearch and based on about 8,300 adults, plan to buy a greeting card. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Saab says it has ramped up operations at its production facility in Trollhattan, Sweden, starting with an initial batch of 100 cars. The company says it plans to increase daily production in the coming weeks in parallel with the full re-establishment of the supply chain. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
In addition to their pre-planned stops at retailers, community events, businesses ("office invasions") and other high-traffic locations, the trucks' teams will be checking in on Foursquare -- which directly posts to the tour's Twitter account -- and sending tweets encouraging local fans to tweet back (or use other social media) to request a stop near their locations. ...Read the whole story >>

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Inside A Guys Wallet

Or at least our shopping habits...

Don't Make Assumptions Regarding Male Shopping Habits

A new study that delves into the increasingly important male shopper shows that men are becoming more conservative in their spending habits, although not to as great an extent as women shoppers.

SymphonyIRI Group recently studied the increasingly important male shopper in its latest Point of View, "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus...Or Maybe Not?" and found that while there are several attitudinal and behavioral similarities with female shopper behavior, there are several important distinct differences.

"Our research shatters the stereotype of clueless men wandering around a grocery store," said John McIndoe, senior vice president, Marketing, SymphonyIRI. "During the recent recession, men adopted money-saving strategies that point to deliberate and well thought-out grocery purchase processes that are worth noting, so that CPG marketers can connect with male shoppers more effectively."

The following are just a few highlights found in the report:

Male Shoppers More Likely to Resist Lifestyle Changes
Difficult economic conditions have prompted consumers to become more conservative and self-reliant in many ways. While fewer men are making changes compared to women, the ranks of those adapting remain significant. For example:

  • 54 percent of men eat out less often
  • 44 percent of men make cleaning products last longer
  • 27 percent of men go to the doctor less often and are self-treating more
  • 19 percent of men use at-home beauty treatments more (e.g., hair coloring, facials)
Money-Saving Strategies
Shoppers are stretching their CPG dollars by shopping across multiple CPG channels to make their purchases. In addition, scaling back is quite pervasive in the retail store as consumers re-examine their priorities and allocate their limited funds accordingly.

Across a range of "scaling back" behaviors, though, male shoppers are showing a lesser inclination to change versus their female counterparts. The disparity is largely explained by the fact that men demonstrate a more optimistic perspective on the economy and personal finances. A few examples include:
  • 35 percent of men shop at multiple stores to find the lowest prices
  • 35 percent of men purchase only needed items, rather than stocking up, to keep a weekly budget in check
  • 31 percent of men buy more "all purpose" cleaning supplies to reduce the number of items needed
Men Don't Ask for Directions, But Do Make Lists
Nearly two-thirds of male shoppers are making shopping lists before entering the grocery store. In many instances, these lists are quite detailed. Itemized lists are common for both men and women but are slightly more prevalent among males. A few surprising list-making behaviors include:
  • 56 percent of men listed categories to buy (e.g., coffee, frozen pizza, toothpaste)
  • 16 percent of men listed specific brands to buy
  • 12 percent of men listed specific private label/store brands to buy
"Overall, men have adopted a wide range of money-saving rituals and shopping strategies in much greater numbers than the traditional stereotype of the male shopper would indicate," added McIndoe. "In fact, in many regards, men shop similarly to women. That said, as with any consumer segment, it is the knowledge of nuanced differences that separates the wheat from the chaff. CPG marketers must evaluate the rituals, attitudes and behaviors of male shoppers very closely and understand how these factors impact each aspect of the decision and purchase process for their own categories and brands."

(Source: Convenience Store News, 05/25/11)

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You Need These Answers

But are you asking the questions?

I read this last week from Pat McGraw, (it came in my email and I also follow Pat on Twitter) and was a bit envious that he wrote it.

Not really, because he saved me the work!

And that is the whole purpose of this website, Collective Wisdom:

It's a collection of wisdom from others on the subject of Sales, Marketing, Advertising and Media, updated 3 times a day, 7 days a week.

Here's Pat:

5 Steps to Improving your Customer’s Experience

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:00 PM PDT

interview [mcgraw | marketing]

Knowledge is power – and the best way to educate yourself is to make the time and have a clear plan of action. When you want honest insight into your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, ask potential, current and former customers. And then do a little ‘shopping’ yourself.

Here are some questions to get you started…

Interview a former customers.

  • Who did you buy from prior to buying from us?
  • What motivated you to buy from us for the first time?
  • Were we your primary, secondary or tertiary source?
  • Why?
  • What did we do well?
  • What could we have done better?
  • What didn’t we do that you wish we had done?
  • Why did you take your business elsewhere?
  • Is your new supplier meeting or exceeding your expectations?
  • Is there anything we could do to win-back your business?

Interview a current customer that has been buying from you for more than 12 months.

  • Do you consider us your primary, secondary or tertiary source for the products/services you buy?
  • How did you become aware of us?
  • What motivated you to buy from us the first time?
  • How have your needs changed since you first began doing business with us?
  • Do we consistently meet or exceed your expectations?
  • What do we do well?
  • What do we need to improve?
  • What do we need to do that we currently don’t do at all?
  • Who do you see as our competitors?
  • Why?
  • Would you recommend others to buy from us?
  • Why/Why not?

Interview a new customer that made their first purchase from you within the past 30-60 days.

  • How did you become aware of us?
  • Before buying from us, who did you turn to in order to fill your needs?
  • What motivated you to look for a new supplier?
  • What is our unique value to you?
  • What do we do well?
  • What do we need to improve?
  • What don’t we do at all but need to offer?
  • Who do you view as our competitors?
  • When compared with us, what do you see as their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do we need to do in order to strengthen our relationship so we become your primary source?

Interview a prospective customer.

  • Who have you been buying from?
  • What do you feel they do well?
  • What do you feel they could improve?
  • What do you wish they did?
  • Why are you considering us as a supplier?
  • What is your perception of our business and products?
  • What are your expectations?
  • To date, have we met or exceeded your expectations?
  • Ask for specifics.
  • What could I do right now to motivate you to buy from us?

Be your own customer. Call and see how your team handles your inquiry. How long does it take to get literature and product information? Does that information answer your questions – or is it missing the mark and need to be modified? Call the wrong department and see if they can quickly get you to the right person to answer your questions. Buy something and see how long it takes to arrive – then try to return it.

Do these things a couple days a week and you will learn how to improve your customers’ experience – and your business will see higher conversion rates, retention rates, order size, order frequency and referrals.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Looks like traveling is the subject...

by Karl Greenberg
The effort includes four 15-second teasers and a 60-second ad. Says VP marketing Jon Brancheau, "This campaign was conceived to challenge the notion that cars can only run on gas. By using humor and asking the simple question, 'what if everything ran on gas,' we're able to rationally make the case that electric cars' time has arrived." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"There is definitely going to be a bump in the number of leisure trips compared to last year," TripAdvisor spokesperson Brooke Ferencsik tells Marketing Daily. "Most Americans only have two to three weeks a year, and not taking advantage of that precious time just isn't an option." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Montreal's 11 summer festivals already draw some 3 million visitors (out of a total 6 million visiting the city during the summer). But Montreal is now building on these key tourism assets, with the goal of becoming North America's premiere festival destination by 2015. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Our job is to leverage the passion and experiences of current boaters to draw new boaters to the sport," Carl Blackwell, chief marketing officer at the National Marine Manufacturers Association (which manages the industry's "Discover Boating" marketing initiative), tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Industry analysts are predicting that the improving economy, growing consumer confidence and a steady decline in gas prices will put more motorists on the road. And the parks are banking on it with new attractions and accompanying promotions, many aimed at families seeking value. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The bipartite effort comprises an exclusive Facebook buy to appeal to families in 16 of Florida's key drive markets. The effort centers on a sweepstakes promotion encouraging visitors to upload their favorite Florida vacation images. The consumer-contributed photo gallery will appear on Visit Florida's Facebook page, where followers can vote for their favorite photo ...Read the whole story >>

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Good Enough isn't Good Enough


How to Enchant Your Customers and Employees

Guy Kawasaki recently spoke with Stephen Denny about his new book, Enchantment, and the themes in its subtitle: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. "As he says, there are other ways to reach success," notes Denny at MarketingProfs. "But the rhetorical question remains: Why would we pursue avenues that don't include likability, trustworthiness, and quality?"

It's a good question. And in their conversation Kawasaki says we shouldn't underestimate the power of enchanting unlikely demographics:

Enchant the nobodies. Kawasaki questions the idea that online superstars wield influence over multitudes of followers. "My theory is that social media has inverted this pyramid," he says. "Now, nobodies are the new somebodies—if enough nobodies like your product, then the somebodies, too, have to pay attention to you. So now the A-listers don't make a product, they report on made products. The key is to get a lot of people to try your product because you don't know who will make your product tip."

Enchant your employees. Give employees the opportunity to master new skills in an autonomous environment and with a higher purpose. "Notice that I don't include monetary compensation in this recommendation," says Kawasaki. "Companies should pay people reasonably, but money is not the key to enchantment. Mastery, autonomy, and purpose, warm and fuzzy stuff, are more important."

The Po!nt: There is no single path to enchanting customers and employees; each company will facilitate mastery, autonomy and purpose in its own way. Says Kawasaki, "Enchantment is a pragmatic skill—whatever works for you, works for you."

Source: MarketingProfs.

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A Sales Conversation is not 50/50

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Timing is Everything

When preparing your sales presentation, a guideline I subscribe to is to limit yourself from talking for more than 20 seconds at a time without asking a question. The question you ask should be one directed at the comments you just made. By doing so, you're checking with the customer to see if they understood what you just shared with them.

This is something many salespeople overlook. They get caught up in sharing with the customer their expertise and the features of their product or service and forget all about what the customer is thinking. Even if your product or service requires a complex presentation, you should still follow this rule.

Your goal on any sales call is to talk only 20% of the time. To help ensure that this takes place, you have to plan ahead. Before you start developing your sales presentation, create your list of questions. This is contrary to the pattern of most salespeople who often spend a substantial portion of their time developing their presentation and, at the last minute, develop their list of questions.

Consider that if you're expecting to have a 20-minute presentation, you should have 40 questions (2 questions per minute). Even though you may not use all 40, you'll definitely be more prepared. In addition, you'll be able to pick and choose which ones you want to ask. If you're following the rule of asking short questions, you'll ensure that the customer is doing most of the talking. You'll learn valuable information that will help you better understand the customer's needs.

If you want to move your questioning process to the next level, make half of the questions you ask be ones that help the customer see and feel the pain they have. By doing so, they will be much more open to receiving your solution.

Source: Sales and marketing consultant Mark Hunter

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Seth Godin is full of it...

Earlier this month, I had a conversation with a 20 something who thought that Seth Godin was full of himself.


She thought that the things that Seth says are just common sense and people make too big a deal of his words.


But for someone who is old enough to be her Dad, (I'm not), I also understand why he is so appealing.

Some of the stuff he writes about and speaks about is common sense if you were not "brain washed" by your parents to find a good job with a good company that has a good pension plan and stick it out for 40 years.

I recall my Dad offering similar advice but I refused to take it. I was in charge of my own destiny and staying with the same company for too long was the wrong way in my mind.

Seth pushes people further than some feel comfortable.


I subscribe to his blog and Sundays at 6pm feature a Seth Godin blog post. I find it as a way to challenge my thinking for the week ahead.

Others think highly of him too.

I wouldn't go as far as the genius label that Jim Connolly gives Seth..


The magic of Seth Godin

Posted: 21 May 2011 01:57 PM PDT

It is my honest belief, that Seth Godin is a genius.


Without interrupting me, Seth somehow manages to compel me to need to tell you about his work from time to time. Seriously, I feel like I am actually under-serving the community here, if I forget to mention him periodically; in case new readers have not yet discovered him.

Conversely, I am currently being bombarded with sales emails, from a vocal advocate of Seth’s work and permission marketing in general. I gave them permission to email me, but with each additional pushy sales message they send me, I become less and less inclined to want to recommend them. I have never bought a product from them either. Professional curiosity is all that’s keeping me on their list.

When Seth’s blog posts arrive in my inbox each day, they are keenly awaited. Each post delivers value. Seth’s posts are written by him, but for us. The guys sending me the pushy emails also offer valuable blog posts, but they are written by them, for them. It always seems like I am being sold to. I feel like I need to keep my guard up.

If I see a link in one of Seth’s posts, I click it eagerly. I trust him. My guard is down. I believe that the link will offer me value. I’ve been educated to expect something positive. It works beautifully. You know what? Seth has never sold me a book, but I have bought every book he has ever written. In fact, I usually buy a dozen copies of each new book. I keep one and give the others away to people I know, who are ready to read what Seth has to say.

If you want to know what I am talking about, do this:

  1. Go to Seth’s blog.
  2. Subscribe.
  3. Then, take some time to read your way through his posts. Do not just read the latest posts. Bookmark the blog and work your way backwards!

If you do, you may learn how to inspire people to write posts like this, about you and your work.

Photo: Seth Godin

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Feeling Unloved

Unloved is a pretty strong emotion, but it's appropriate as you read the following from the Wizard Chronicles email I received recently.

Why Do Businesses Lose Customers?

The biggest reason may surprise you.

By Steve Clack, CEO of New School Selling

According to well documented studies your business loses customers for the following reasons:

1% die

3% move away

5% leave because of a recommendation from a friend or relative

9% leave because they percieve that another company has better products, serivces or prices than you do

14% leave because they are dissatified with your product or service

Add all of those together and you only have 32%.

That leaves 68% of the customers who defect to your competitors unaccounted for. What other reasons could there possibly be for why customers defect? It is not what you think.

Buckle your seat belt because the answer will knock your socks off. Here it is. Sixty-Eight (68) percent of customers who leave your company and start doing business with another company do so because they feel taken for granted by employees who display an attitude of indifference.

That’s right they don’t feel appreciated, valued or cared for. It is the same reason why many employees leave jobs and why many wives leave husbands. William James, the father of modern psychology, said that the greatest human emotional need is the need to be recognized and appreciated.

In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the need to be loved and cared for is the third most basic human need behind the physiological need for food and water and the need for shelter and safety.

In our fast paced dehumanized world employees and customers are starved for a little personal attention that validates their existence.

  • What are you doing to teach your employees how to value and appreciate your customers?
  • Do you have a customer and employee appreciation practice at your company?
  • Do you really care enough about your customers and employees to make the effort to change?
PS. New School Selling Web Based Training New School Selling is changing salespeople. It’s changing their language, their appreciation of the individual, the way they feel about selling, and the way they feel about themselves. And by the way, it’s helping salespeople sell more. Find out more about this web based program.

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Your Attitude

In the United States, many of us have the day off for Memorial Day.

I recall a few years ago when I realized that I enjoyed my days off better than my workdays, which led to a career change.

The subject today is Attitude:

Daily Sales Tip: Your Attitude

Attitude is the "advance man" of our true selves. Its roots are inward, based on past experiences, but its fruit is outward. It is our best friend, or our worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It is a thing which draws people to us, or repels us. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past, the speaker of our present and the prophet of our future. Yet, your attitude is under whose control?

Your attitude is 100 percent under your control! There are a lot of things in life that we have no control over. For example, there is absolutely nothing we can do about how prospects react to us or our products and services. All we can do is control the way we react. Yet, so many salespeople let the prospect's reaction determine their outlook for the day. Think about it, are you as positive, upbeat and driven on a day full of rejection as you would be on a highly successful day?

How do you react to negative prospects? Do you walk away discouraged and complain about it or do you take control, stay focused and go on to the next call? Success is based on good judgment, and that is based on experience. And the only way one can gain experience is through failure. Isn't sales a numbers game? We have to fail often to succeed once. This is all about attitude.

How you react, how you think, what you say to yourself or what you believe about yourself is all under your control and comes out in your attitude. You must first realize that your attitude is 100 percent under your control and learn to reflect, confirm and take hold of your attitude. You must take hold of your attitude towards yourself, overcome fear and be able to deal with rejection in order to increase your productivity while saving time and money.

What is your attitude towards your organization, its team players and products and services? Do you have an owner's mentality? If so, what would you do differently? Now, why are you not doing it? You have to address these issues and have a strong belief before you can move on.

What is your attitude towards the market that you represent? Do you have a clear, full-color picture of your ideal prospect? Do you know your competition and their strengths and weaknesses? If you don't, is it fair to say that you don't know what you are doing?

If you don't believe in:
-- Yourself
-- The organization that you represent, its team, products and services and
-- The market that you are selling in; move on and find something you do believe in.

How could you convince anyone else to believe in something that you yourself don't believe in?

Source: Sales speaker/author Bob Urichuck

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