Saturday, June 11, 2011

Do You Read This?

In your newspaper?

Probably not.

Black, White and Red All Over: Newspaper Ads Dive

The first quarter of 2011 brought no relief for the newspaper industry, which suffered another round of declines in print advertising revenues.

The first-quarter results from the Newspaper Association of America stand out against a general recovery in ad spending for other media, and suggest that newspaper print ad revenues are locked into a permanent, long-term decline.

Total print advertising revenues fell 9.5% from $5.25 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $4.75 billion in the first quarter of 2011, according to the NAA -- the lowest first-quarter revenue figure since 1983.

Those stats are down 55% from 2006, when total first-quarter print revenues came to $10.5 billion. This marks the 20th straight quarter of year-over-year print revenue declines.

As in previous quarters, the losses were spread across all of the main advertising categories. National advertising fell 11% from $1.04 billion to $924 million; retail fell 9.5% from $2.95 billion to $2.67 billion; and classifieds fell 8.15% from $1.25 billion to $1.15 billion.

Within the classifieds category, automotive slipped 4.7% to $266.5 million and real estate tumbled 19.3% to $197.7 million. Only recruitment increased, ticking up 4.3% to $165.7 million. All other types of classifieds fell 8.5% to $520.8 million.

The one bright spot on the newspaper balance sheet was online ad revenues, which increased 10.6% from $730.4 million to $807.9 million, representing 14.5% of total industry advertising revenues. Combined online and print ad revenues decreased 7% to $5.56 billion.

(Source: Media Daily News, 06/01/11)

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How is Your Economy?

Sundays at 6pm on this website I feature a reposting from Seth Godin's blog to challenge our thinking for the week ahead.

And sometimes, I can't wait until Sunday:

All economics is local

The media tries to report on the world economy or the national economy, or even the economy in Detroit or LA. This is easy to talk about, statistically driven and apparently important to everyone.

Alas, this has virtually nothing to do with your day, your job and your approach to the market. That's because geography isn't as important as it used to be, but more than that, it has to do with the fact that you don't sell to everyone, and the economy is unevenly distributed.

If the unemployment rate in your industry doesn't match the national numbers, the national numbers don't matter so much.

At the largest Lexus dealer in New Jersey, they're sold out of many models, with a waiting list. In some towns in Missouri, the unemployment rate is twice what it is in your town. In the tech industry, the rate you can charge for developing killer social apps on a tablet is high and going up.

Economics used to be stuck in town. Now, as markets and industries transcend location, useful economic stats describe the state of the people you're working with and selling to.

If your segment is stuck, it might make sense to stick it out. It also might be worth thinking about the cost of moving to a different economy.

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Good vs. Great

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Good vs. Great Salespeople

Good salespeople are polished and professional. And just a little slick. They've got a great pitch. They might be very likeable, but they make most prospects just a bit wary.

Great salespeople might be as polished as the Crown Prince of Moravia, if that's who they are, or they might be as folksie as Will Rogers or Abe Lincoln. They might be a disorganized sloppy mess and not particularly articulate, though they're always likeable, very likeable. And somehow they do always say just the right thing. Since they so obviously seems to believe in what they're saying, it doesn't seem to be a pitch. They "just seem to make a lot of sense."

And they're never slick. They're genuine. The longer they talk, the less wary the prospect becomes. When the time comes for the great salesperson to close, buying from him or her is often as natural and as easy as ordering a fine meal at a favorite restaurant.

Great salespeople are aggressive and persistent and non-threatening: Which means they're subtle and likeable enough that few ever perceive them as aggressive and persistent.

If a prospect tells you you're a great salesperson, you aren't. What he's saying is that he feels that he's being "sold" something he would never purchase on his own. He may roll over and buy, but he won't be happy about it. He won't be happy to see you on your next visit, and he's far more likely to develop buyer's remorse and re-contact you the next day.

To me, the highest praise a salesperson can receive from a prospect is simply, "You make a lot of sense." People who say that don't feel sold, and they feel their needs are being met. Of course, they may never have realized they had those needs until you walked in the door. And I guarantee they'll buy more from the salesperson who appears to make sense than from anyone they consider "a great salesperson."

Source: Sales consultant/author Barry Maher

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Bye, Bye Brands?

Al Ries & Jack Trout wrote one of the first books I read when I got in the advertising world 25 years ago, Positioning.

These days Al writes for Ad Age:

Have We Killed Brand Advertising?

It's Hard to Market a Name That's Been Expanded to Oblivion

Brand advertising seems to be on its way out.

Take Starbucks, which used to advertise its coffee shops. And very effectively, too. Today, the brand is strongly positioned at the top of the coffee-shop market.

What's next for Starbucks? The company's recent decision to drop the words "Starbucks coffee" from its logotype seems to indicate where the company is going. According to media reports, Starbucks is in the midst of a transformation from a coffee company to a food and beverage organization.

Starbucks is following a well-worn path. Build a brand that stands for something and then try to figure out what other products you can hang the brand name on.

Take Crest, a Procter & Gamble brand that used to stand for cavity-prevention toothpaste. Today, Crest is a toothpaste, a toothbrush, a mouthwash, a dental floss and a tooth whitener.

There is no such thing as a Crest advertising program. And if there were, what would the message be? Probably some variation of the slogan used on the Crest website: "Healthy, beautiful smiles for life."

It's not that Procter & Gamble doesn't advertise. In 2009, P&G was the largest advertiser in America, spending $4.2 billion.

They just don't advertise brands. They advertise various products their brand names are attached to.

That's typical of many categories.

The car conundrum
Consider automobiles. When was the last time you saw an automobile brand advertisement? Automobile companies don't advertise brands, they advertise individual models and hope you form a favorable impression of the brand by osmosis.

Take a typical Ford advertisement featuring the "all-new Focus," which is likely to be a big success. But what does it do for the Ford brand? Not much, especially with one of the weakest slogans in the automotive field: "Drive one."

There are 23 automobile brands on the American market that each sold more than 100,000 vehicles last year. It must be extremely difficult for an automobile prospect to differentiate between 23 advertising campaigns for these 23 brands.

But that's not the real problem. These 23 brands encompass 205 different models and almost all automobile advertising is "model" advertising rather than "brand" advertising. And I suspect most of this advertising is ignored because there is no way for the average consumer to find positions in the mind for so many different models.

Once in a while, an automobile company finds a reason to advertise its brand rather than one of its models. In January 2009, Hyundai launched its Assurance program, offering to take back cars sold to customers who lost their jobs. This idea created enormous awareness for the Hyundai brand. But campaigns like that one are rare.

It's not the fault of the advertising agency. How can you run an advertising campaign for an automobile brand that sells cheap cars and expensive trucks (and everything in between) under the same brand name?

No, the fault lies with the company that expands the line into oblivion, and then expects to run an advertising program to enhance the value of the brand.

New and improved
Years ago, Procter & Gamble pioneered the "new-and-improved" philosophy. Every few years, each brand was updated with one of the latest developments created in P&G laboratories. Not only did these developments keep the brand ahead of the competition, but they also provided ammunition for the brand's advertising.

Today, the philosophy has changed: Introduce the new-and-improved version, but also keep the "old-and-obsolete" version on the shelves. That way, the company gives the consumer more "choice" and, equally important, allows the new-and-improved version to sell for more money. In the process, the strategy also creates more "facings" for the brand on the shelves.

Look at Campbell's tomato soup. With all the negative publicity about sodium, the company wisely introduced versions with "25% less sodium than our regular product." But it also kept the regular product on the shelves. (Now it turns out that the company didn't really mean to compare the low-sodium product with its regular soup, but with the average sodium content of the soup category.)

You pay a penalty when you do this. The consumer assumes the 25%-less-sodium product doesn't taste as good as the regular product and the regular product has too much sodium, otherwise why introduce a 25%-less-sodium product? Now the consumer has no reason for buying either the regular soup or the low-sodium version.

Then there's Campbell's Healthy Request tomato soup with "0g trans fat per serving" advertised on the front of the can. But Campbell's regular tomato soup also has zero grams of trans fat per serving. (At Publix, the Healthy Request version sells for 50% more than the regular tomato soup.)

Instead of playing verbal games with consumers, a better strategy, in my opinion, would be to eliminate trans fat in all Campbell's soups, reduce the sodium content and then run a massive advertising program with the general theme, "All Campbell's soups are now new and improved."

Nothing to advertise

It's strange. With all the innovations that have occurred over the years, very few brands have anything to advertise, except the merits of individual models or products. In today's overcommunicated society, this "model" strategy is wasteful and ineffective.

And so it goes. As a brand expands into different varieties and different categories, the brand itself loses its ability to stand for anything specific. And if a brand cannot stand for something specific, it cannot be advertised in an effective way.

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Be a Problem Solver

From Pat Mcgraw:

Music to my ears

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 08:58 AM PDT

Metallica at Rock Werchter 2009 from crsan -

“Just tell me what to sell, and I’ll sell it.”

I hate that statement. It implies that the individual isn’t interested in solving the needs and wants of a qualified buyer. It implies they are proud of their ability to convince fools that they should soon be parted from their money. It brings up images of over promising and under-delivering, disgruntled customers, high returns and bad word-of-mouth.

“Who was this product designed for and how does it provide them with a unique, valuable solution for their needs and wants?”

I love this statement. It implies that the individual is interested in solving the needs and wants of a qualified buyer. It means they see themselves as an ally, a partner, a solution-provider, a problem-solver. It brings up images of happy customers that come back again and again. And it brings up images of evangelists, raving fans, positive word-of-mouth and referrals.

So, the next time you hire a new salesperson or launch a new product, listen. Are you hearing music? Or static?

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
In a step away from most retail advertising, the Gap's Old Navy division is uncorking two viral videos that don't promote Old Navy clothes at all--they just make fun of other people. Tagged "Dress like a guy. Not that guy," the spots are aimed at married men 25-35 with kids -- spoofing fashion ads in general, and certain guys in particular. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The best-known non-team sports event in New York is the yearly ING New York City Marathon. Millions watch around the world, and thousands participate. Now, the Tampa, Fla.-based World Triathlon Corporation is hoping to create its own space in New York's sports landscape by bringing the Ironman U.S. Championship to the metro area next year. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines rank highest in customer satisfaction in their respective categories, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Consumers over 50 typically express more interest in healthful foods than younger groups, but 70% of them also say they expect to pay no more for healthier offerings than for other menu items in restaurants, according to a new report from The NPD Group. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

This weeks update from Amy:

"Find your beach," and watch films for Call of Duty Elite and Halo 4. Let's launch!

D1ress like a guy, not a "Supar Tool," pleads Old Navy. The brand is launching its first of a series of viral videos Thursday, targeting 25-35-year-old men. The first video, "Supar Tool" spoofs high-end fashion shoots that never seem to make any sense. Our model dons a crown and mink stole, while sitting beside a pear, in one scene. In another, he's a man around town, carrying a lamb. After he's finished showing off his abs, two graphics cover him, saying, "dress like a guy, not that guy." The Old Navy logo is revealed, along with the Web site. See it here. "Corporado" will be the next video launched, this one poking fun at cookie-cutter businessmen who wear Ralph Lauren shirts and khakis. The preppy businessman is standing atop a rock in the wilderness. He channels his inner cowboy to take on venomous snakes, when he's not eating Chinese takeout, talking on the phone or working on his laptop. Watch it here. A print ad, seen here, shows Supar Tool alongside Old Navy apparel options. Camp & King created the campaign.

2Now this is one way to impress a lady. Heineken launched the second film from its global campaign, Open Your World, called "The Date." The first film, "The Entrance," launched last December. For a refresher, read my review and watch the ad here. The date begins by entering a club through the back of its restaurant, chatting with chefs and showing off the guy's chopping skills. Next, he smoothes down a man's deplorable comb-over and goes head-to-head with a magician. One pulls a rabbit out of thin air and the other pulls a cold Heineken from his mouth. The man and his date wind up onstage, dancing beside a singer and his band. The spot ends with the pair drinking Heinekens. See the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

3Corona Extra's "Find Your Beach" mantra is expanding to include non-beach places because it's more of a state of mind, not being at a physical place. In the brand's latest TV spot, "Flight," a man relaxes on a beach as an airline beverage cart passes by. Turns out, he's mid-flight on the plane, wishing he was on a beach sipping a Corona. The spot ends with his woman ordering a Corona, the clinking of bottles and visions of the duo sitting on a beach. Watch the ad here, created by Cramer-Krasselt.

4Activision launched a 3:50 video to introduce gamers to Call of Duty Elite. Voiced by comedian T.J. Miller, theLEGENDofKARL profiles an ordinary man with a sharp sense of humor and decent gaming skills. Call of Duty Elite lets gamers compete with fellow gamers online, study maps and weapons and learn how to improve their game. Players can win actual prizes and prepare for the Nov. 8 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The first intro video shows Karl playing a multiplayer round of Call of Duty: Black Ops as he explains the purpose of Call of Duty Elite. The video was shot using Call of Duty: Black Ops' Theater mode, allowing viewers to be up close and personal whenever Karl takes a hit. Watch the video here, created by DOJO SF and directed by Jeff Tomsic.

5At the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Xbox debuted a sneak peak of Halo 4, being released in December of 2012. "Awakening" takes place following the aftermath of Halo 3, with the return of Master Chief confronting his own destiny and trying to save the universe. Essentially, we have explosions, fire and shooting throughout the 90-second snippet. Halo 4 will be the start of a new, and surely profitable, trilogy. See the video here, created by Twofifteen McCann.

6This takes showering with a friend to a whole new level. Henkel chose the Sasquatch Music Festival, held at Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash., to launch its collection of got2b "rockin' it" hair products. What better way to promote a line of dry shampoo than by erecting a 40-foot showerhead and encouraging concertgoers to break world records? "Let's Sing in the Shower" allowed concertgoers to break random world records, like the longest handstand in a shower and longest worm dance in a shower. There were plenty of product demos, but that doesn't count as record-breaking. See a video here, created by. BBDO San Francisco.

7Sherwin-Williams launched "HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams," a line of interior paint and painting supplies that includes eight different color collections. Supporting the partnership are two TV ads and one print ad, running in Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Country Living and Real Simple, among others. A "Stork" made from paint swatches delivers a HGTV-branded paint can to a Sherwin-Williams store. See it here. A "River," made from paint swatches, runs through a forest and canyons, and guides a sailboat into the ocean, where additional sailboats roam. "See colors flow naturally," closes the ad, seen here. A paint can is used to chill champagne and celebrate the Sherwin-Williams and HGTV Home collaboration. See it here. McKinney created the campaign.

8Well, don't it make my brown eyes blue. The color of Valspar Paint is so electric that it changes eye color. A woman opens a can of Valspar and once the brush hits its canvas (a wall), an electric current surges through the woman, turning her brown eyes the color of her soon-to-be blue wall. See the ad here, created by Draftfcb Chicago.

9Random iPad App of the week: House Beautiful launched an iPad app called 500+ Favorite Paint Colors, in an effort to help homeowners choose ideal colors for every room imaginable. Users can search for paint colors by brand, view "Editors' Picks" for their fave colors or take the color personality test to see what colors match their personality. App users can also scroll through colors by spaces (kitchen, living room, etc.) and mood. The app was

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

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Safe can be Sorry

Salestip for today is from Jim's Marketing Blog:

If you don’t take a risk now you will hate yourself later!

Posted: 02 Jun 2011 11:54 PM PDT

Photo: takomabibelot

If you look at the world’s most successful businesspeople, none of them play it safe.

If you look at the people at the top of your profession, none of them play it safe.

However, if you look at the hundreds of millions of people, who live uninspiring, average lives, all of them play it safe.

Risk, creators and consumers

In their quest for the good life, successful people learn to embrace risk. They know that the only job security is when you are your own boss, so they risk it and build a business. They tend not to waste their lives watching reality TV; because their own reality is compelling. They prefer to meet with friends in the evenings, chew over their plans or develop their ideas. They get it. They are the creators.

In the quest for security, the masses choose not to risk anything. They don’t want to leave the security of a salaried job, even though as an employee, their job is never secure and their destiny is always out of their control. They let their boss take the risks. They console themselves with a brainwashing kit: A 5 foot TV and a diet of reality TV shows. They are happier to watch the risk takers, who live on the other side of their TV screen. They are the consumers.

The paradox?

The real kicker here, is that the person trying to avoid the risks, is actually playing a far riskier game. They are constantly under threat of unemployment. Their boss can fire them, their boss can sell the business, their boss can go broke. All this is out of their control and can happen tomorrow. Zero security.

Maybe the most valuable lesson anyone can teach a teenager, is to embrace smart risks. If something looks like a great potential idea, do the research and if it seems to stack up, try it! It’s the least risky option and leads to a life worth living.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Tanya Irwin
Nestle Purina PetCare has unseated Pedigree to become the official pet food sponsor of the Westminster Kennel Club, which hosts the world-renowned annual all-breed dog show. The switch ends a 24-year relationship between Pedigree and Westminster. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Big Y Foods -- a regional supermarket known for its experimental approach to marketing -- is offering a deal through Groupon, a first for large grocery stores. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Glass has been around so long it has become commonplace. Riding an environmental and healthful tide, Owens-Illinois, which crafts glass containers, is launching a global advertising campaign to remind people, primarily business leaders, about some of the qualities of glass: it comes from nature, doesn't affect taste and is a sustainable resource. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Executives from the two brands told the Conversational Marketing Summit that marketers have to get into the content business. "With the advent of third-party sites hosting branded content, owned content has exploded for us. We will reach 60 million people with this alone," said Brian Wallace, Research In Motion vice president of global digital marketing and media. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Taco Bell's aggressive media response to the class-action suit claiming that its taco filling shouldn't be advertised as beef -- a suit filed Jan. 19 and dropped three months later -- appears to be improving consumer perceptions of the chain, based on recent YouGov BrandIndex social media-based metrics. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Consumers who use smartphones to shop or visit brand web sites are time-constrained, attention-compromised, and trying to engage a brand on a tiny screen. And there are lots of them, so ignore them at your own risk. Kari Wilson, product marketing manager, Google Mobile Ads, and Sebastien Chalmeton, vice president, mobile strategy, Phonevalley, raised those points Tuesday at OMMA Mobile. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Walls are Falling

The separation of medias is eroding.

Having worked in the radio business for 20+ years and working with other traditional advertising medias, there was a bit of a wall between the old traditional and the new internet and social media.

That's changing as explained in the story from Mediapost:

The End Of Media As We Know It?

Maybe Harold Camping was actually on to something. Perhaps there actually will be an end to the world as we know it ... as it pertains to media; what he was predicting could have been a nod to the first sign of a looming Mediapocalypse.

The veil has been lifted, and brands must enhance their approaches between now and October (the news date for the end of the world) or they're not going to be as successful connecting with Millennials.

Being social or social networking is not limited to Facebook as one brand cleverly demonstrates in its new write-on label demo. Mobile communications are not restricted to a phone, smart or not so smart. And digital communications are not limited to a computer, especially if it's one of those nifty new Motorola devices. Like celery is to peanut butter and ranch dressing, all of these are simply delivery devices.

And all of these devices function together. There are no separate worlds. No digital world. No mobile world. No social world, etc. They're all real, and as U2 so passionately proclaims, they're all "Oneeeee."

This single world provides a variety of exciting, ever-evolving ways of connecting. These connections do not take place separately, they take place simultaneously. And they take place all the time. In fact, with Millennials, they never really stop. As Marshall McLuhan "told" Wired, "The real message of media today is ubiquity. It is no longer something we do, but something we are part of."

For example, look at how big that part was last night:

After work, I watched TV to find out if Scotty McCreery was going to win on "American Idol" while flipping through Brides magazine. I scanned a QR code on hair style ideas for an upcoming wedding during commercials, while browsing Twitter updates about Scotty online and texting with a friend about her airline debacle. Then, after some emailing, I did some Facebook stalking to see if any of my friends are as fond of McCreery.

Millennials will be fond of brands, and brands will remain relevant for now by investing money and resources into learning about and using the myriad connections technology has made possible. However, to be relevant in the future, their approaches need some tweaking. Spending X amount toward only one or two delivery devices is a disconnect, literally. It's like unearthing a global campaign only focusing on a message translating appropriately in two countries, when there are some many more connections that could have been made.

To survive the Mediapocalypse and continue to connect with Millennials, focus efforts on the ubiquity of media. No fragmenting. Invest in learning how to craft messages across it, simultaneously, to create relevant connections. And, think about the many ways we can be and already are a part of media.

Cori Ferman is in account management at Leo Burnett in Chicago.

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The Worst You Can Be

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Salespeople Are Pushy

We've asked hundreds of people what word comes to mind when we say "Salesperson." The most common answer is "Pushy." It's likely when you cold-call prospects they think you will be pushy so they refuse an appointment.

Here's how you earn their respect as a sales professional:

-- Identify the decision-maker. Research who you want to talk to before trying to talk to that person. Research online, by calling the business, or by stopping in. Ask staff who makes the decisions, obtain information about the decision-maker, and how does that person like to communicate: phone, e-mail, or drop-by.

-- Get to the point. Be direct and concise. Tell decision-makers why you are contacting them and what your intentions are.

-- Give them a benefit. Tell them what is in it for them if they take time to meet with you.

-- Be persistent, not pushy. There's a fine line. If at first you do not get an appointment, send marketing articles that can be helpful to them and their business. Let them know you want to provide the best service, but not be pushy and it is up to them to tell you if you cross the line.

Source: John Potter, VP/Training, RAB

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click it and Read it!

by Karlene Lukovitz
Technology-empowered consumers are so radically disrupting the traditional competitive scenario across industries that companies must now be "customer-obsessed," not just "customer-centric," in order to survive and thrive, contends a new report from Forrester Research, Inc. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While it's no news that girls and women are diving deeper into gaming every day, a new ranking from NBCU shows that brands offering women a way to play are gaining buzz. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Hard as it is to imagine, some cars out there have 300,000 miles on their odometers. Not many, but some. Quaker State motor oil is launching a campaign that promises to reward drivers who use one of its specialty motor oil brands on a regular basis -- and keep their vehicles alive for a few hundred thousand miles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Luxury brands continue to lead the pack in the Brand Keys Fashion 15 rankings. On trend with a growing desire among consumers for product differentiation, the role of fashion brands doubled in importance last year (to 28%) and sentiment is holding firm again this year at 29%. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Already one of the most popular video games available, Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 is looking to gain some more market share and awareness by sponsoring pop star Katy Perry's upcoming North American tour. ...Read the whole story >>

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Mobile & Moms

Update with a link below...

I've shared reports in the past about mobile, which in most cases is smart phones.

Even before the iPhone and Droid, I made the observation that a phone was going to be the lifeline that many people hang on to... I've seen homeless people with all of their possessions in a backpack who had a cellphone.

My step-daughter lost her phone for a few hours and said she lost her "life".

No, she's not homeless, in a few years she will become one of these Mobile Moms talked about in this report from Mediapost:

Yeah, There's An App For That ...

My iPhone is overflowing with apps. Okay, I admit that I let my kids download one too many games -- maybe a few during dinners in restaurants where I would have paid a thousand dollars for them just to quiet down and sit still for a few minutes. Yes, guilty of purchasing the full bells and whistles version of "Cut the Rope," but a peaceful dinner seemed worth the $2.99 toll. Nonetheless, there are all kinds of apps from maps to cooking to shopping to an NFL sports ticker. They are a reflection of all the aspects of my life and most of them are incredibly useful, especially the NFL one.

However, there are some apps that, after I loaded, set up accounts and organized my information; I wished I could apply for the time rebate. Complete wastes of the time that they were supposed to save me. My favorite "bad app" is for grocery shopping that I downloaded under the premise of "saving money and time." It seemed good on paper, easy to use, barcode scanner, price checker, calorie information. Easy and useful? Bah, humbug.

Here are my complaints in no particular order:

1. Don't offer me coupons for chains of stores that are not in my region of the country. I love Kroger and all, being from the Midwest, but we don't have this store in Boston. Has geo-targeting not come further, I mean I did spend all that time loading my personal information, including my address and zip code.

2. Don't make it harder that it needs to be. I usually can get in and out of the grocery store in under 30 minutes if it is not a busy shopping hour. I purposely went with my new app when it was quieter so I could really shop without confusion. It took me almost an hour and a half just to get through my shopping list and price checking. I was close to a hostage situation by the time I got to the dairy aisle.

3. I love the immediate coupon transfer attempt to my loyalty card but ... It would have been so worth it if it hadn't slowed the check-out line down to a dead stop. You know those people who make a lot of exasperated noises behind you in line while you look for your bank card at the bottom of a messy handbag? Yeah, they are not any happier to see you trying to get service by holding your phone like the Statue of Liberty while your coupons download to your frequent buyer card. Trust me. Good idea, bad execution.

4. Keep it simple. The guide to the app, version 3.2.2 had more pages than my last real paper phone book. (Do they still make those?) It included the ability to upload pictures of my favorite items, in case I forgot what they looked like; international setting adjustments in case I was at a Kroger in Paris; and a section called Data Objects complete with a diagram explaining the relationship between the items, the store and the buyer. Really?

I could go on for pages but suffice to say that I learned a great lesson from this exercise. I am guessing that somewhere in that big corporate grocery HQ, someone in a planning meeting said, "We need an app for that" and in their attempt to make the app robust and worthy, they included everything but the kitchen sink, which only served to make it confusing and complicated.

I don't need a Data Object diagram to go to the grocery store. I want to go to the store with a list, a list that includes the items that I buy over and over, same brand, same size. I would like to get coupons for the items that I buy and need. I would like to be rewarded for my loyalty of choosing the same store over and over. I would like to receive offers that really apply to me and my family. I would like it if someone would carry my bags to the car and load it for me. Okay, maybe the last one was pushing it, but can someone please tell me: is there really an app for that?

Kimberly Jackson is an editorial strategist at King Fish Media, a custom media firm. Kimberly is a former executive at Ziff Davis, Carat Interactive and a mom of three kids.

And for more info, click here:

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Ever Hear of the Internet?

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip:

The goal of pre-appointment research is to allow you to know as much about the client as possible before your first appointment. Companies on the Internet, like Hoover's, provide a plethora of information about most major companies. The information you learn will add to your credibility and may expose new ideas that add dollars to your sale.

Source: Brandeis C. Hall, RAB

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Just a word of warning that there may be a couple of days this week that I will not have access to the web to provide you with this evening update from Mediapost on this site.

If this is the case, I already have a couple of articles ready to go that qualify as Collective Wisdom.

Here's tonight's update:

by Karl Greenberg
Call it Madison, Vine and Houston. 7-Eleven is sending someone into space as part of a campaign around the Steven Spielberg-produced Paramount sci-fi horror feature "Super 8," which hits theaters next week. The capstone in the effort is an honest-to-goodness trip into near-orbit for the winner of a Foursquare location-based promotion. Private aerospace firm Space Adventures, Ltd. is providing the seat into suborbital space. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
As all experienced marketers know, product launches don't always pan out exactly the way they were envisioned. But the unexpected outcome isn't always failure. Sometimes, it's a realization that there's actually a different and more profitable market for the product. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The new 10-minute film, which is being shown at, profiles two Chinese wedding photographers, Kitty and Lala, who take stunning and creative wedding photos (such as a kitschy fairy tale and a tongue-in-cheek portrait of soccer fans in tracksuits) and also run one of China's most popular blogs. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
The National Retail Federation reports that people are more willing to dabble in social commerce than many retailers realize, with 42% of those who shop online saying they at least occasionally "follow" a store on social media. More than 56% of Facebook users have clicked through to a retail site, while 67% of Twitter users have done so. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The promotion began June 2 at midnight and runs through June 9. FarmVille players can get "double mastery" points on crops and trees harvested within seven days when they place a Capital One Visigoth statue on their farms. The double mastery points help players advance to higher levels in the game at a faster pace. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Rather than drive volume with advertising, the company has deals with third-party aggregators and has a retail-based fleet distribution channel. The online program involves placement on travel sites like Expedia, and Orbitz; regional travel web sites in places like Germany and Japan; and through travel companies like Virgin Holidays. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Other Side of Change

Tuesday mornings at 7am, I feature another chapter in the Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo on this website:

Here's last weeks chapter:

Embrace Change, Beware of Change (Part 2)

Last week I encouraged you to Embrace Change.

This week a few words of caution.

Change for the sake of change without consideration of the past and an eye on the future is full of risk, sometimes too much risk.

I have had clients who wanted to move their radio ads from one station to another every 3 months because they felt it only took three months to become established and they moved on to the next group of radio listeners. It doesn't work that way.

Instead of simply changing by stopping something and starting something else, perhaps you need to add something to your business marketing.

In the 8+ years I have worked for a group of radio stations, whenever we changed the format of a station, we threw away the thousands of listeners of the old format in the hopes of finding a new and better audience for our advertisers.

The most recent change we did in the past year was more transitional, more cautious. We added a 3 hour talk show to an all music station, then 9 months later added another 3 hour talk show. Now, instead of 24 hours of music, we have 18 (to preserve the old audience) and 6 hours of talk to attract a new audience. Depending on the results we may add more talk programming in the future.

My recommendations to you:

Keep tabs on trends, investigate where they are going.
A short-term fad is now a couple of weeks.
Anything lasting a month or longer may be a trend to consider.

Know your strengths, weaknesses, core values, and reasons for your past and current success.
With this knowledge, you will begin to see what NOT to change, and what you can adapt to meet your marketplace.

Your comments are always welcome.

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Value is What They Really Want

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Creating a Value Proposition

To develop a winning value proposition, first think about why customers buy. These reasons typically fall into three buckets --we call these the three legs of the value proposition stool:

1. Resonate: Resonance is all about cutting through the never-ending chatter of the marketplace and speaking to prospect needs and wants. A buyer must quickly understand how to fit you into the "how can they help me" bucket or they move on. You have but one chance to capture someone's attention, so avoid describing what you do or the tasks you perform. To resonate, make it all about them, and speak to the needs of the marketplace. Be straightforward, clear, and concise. It's not time to get cute with clever language as you want to be quickly understood.

2. Differentiate: You want buyers to see you as the best possible option in your space. Your area of distinction may be many things: your products and services, customer experiences, operations, point of view, or even the way you are structured. As you work to distinguish yourself, be sure to position yourself as the best possible resource for solving the prospect's need. This may lead to different areas of distinction for different prospects, so don't think in terms of just one differentiator. Think of the prospect first and how what you do and how you do it benefits them.

3. Substantiate: You made the claim; now it's time to show your cards and prove you're not bluffing. Prospects are inherently skeptical, so walk them through a case study, show them research you've published, schedule a demonstration, or discuss likely results based on work you've done with similar customers. Proof mitigates risk and erases skepticism, two major obstacles in any sale.

Source: Bob Croston, Vice President and Principal Consultant at RAIN Group

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Problem with Competition that you can never rest.

My Sunday Seth:

Brand exceptionalism

Your brand is your favorite. After all, it's yours. You understand it, you helped build it, you're obsessed with the nuance behind it. Your organization's actions make sense to you, you sat in the room as they were being argued about... you might even have helped make some of the decisions.

So, your brand doesn't do anything wrong. What it does is the best it could do under the circumstances. Someone who knew what you know would make the very same decision, because under the circumstances it was the only/best option.

Of course we should buy from you. You're better!

When your brand starts falling behind a competitor (Dell vs. Apple, Microsoft vs. Google, Washington Mutual vs. Everyone and then Apple vs. Android, Google vs. Facebook)... you say it's not fair, nor expected.

The problem with brand exceptionalism is that once you believe it, it's almost impossible to innovate. Innovation involves failure, which an exceptional brand shouldn't do, and the only reason to endure failure is to get ahead, which you don't need to do. Because you're exceptional.

In the battle for attention or market share, the market makes new decisions every day. And the market tends to be selfish. Often, it will pick the arrogant market leader (because the market also tends to be lazy), but upstarts and new competitors always have an incentive to change the game or the story.

Brand humility is the only response to a fast-changing and competitive marketplace. The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day.

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Local can be National

You need to define your geographic marketplace.

There's a local chain of coffee shops that was in town long before Starbucks came to Fort Wayne, Indiana and he was prepared to do battle.

Walmart used to be proud of the American Made Products they carried, until they realized that their niche was not American Made, but Cheap Crap, or as they say, Always Low Prices.

And price is not the only consideration, value is. Some of us are willing to even spend more to support American industries.

Check out this report from Bloomberg:

Olsen Twins Use Made-in-America Hook to Lure Wealthy Shoppers

The Made-in-America label has undergone a deluxe makeover. Everyone from Brooks Brothers to the Olsen twins is using it to hawk luxury goods, a tactic made popular by blue-collar brands such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Chrysler Corp.

Menswear maker Joseph Abboud has a “Made in USA” banner on his website with a link to footage of the Massachusetts factory that crafts his suits. Brooks Brothers has factories from New York to North Carolina, and The Row, the luxury fashion line from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, manufactures most of its clothes in America’s biggest cities.

“There is a customer that appreciates that the product is made in the United States and is willing to pay for the difference,” Brooks Brothers Chief Executive Officer Claudio Del Vecchio said in an interview. While Brooks Brothers made few goods in the U.S. 10 years ago, today a “large percentage” is American-made, he said.

The U.S.’s reputation for quality is benefiting upscale labels as more Americans question where their goods come from, and how their buying affects the economy, said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing Inc.

“Made in America feeds into the values proposition,” she said. “They are voting with their money not just for U.S. jobs, but for a way of life. In 2007, they were on a spending jag -- they weren’t thinking about things like this.”

Shopper Surveys

Now that they are, luxury-goods makers in the U.S., the largest market, stand to profit: Almost two-thirds of wealthy consumers say they try to buy American when they can. Global spending on luxury apparel, accessories, watches, jewelry, perfume and other products may climb to 185 billion euros (about $260 billion) in 2011 from 172 billion euros last year, excluding currency moves, Bain & Co. said May 3 in a report.

More than three-quarters of affluent consumers surveyed this year by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group, a luxury research firm, said they like brands made in America, up 5 percentage points from 2008. Sixty-five percent say they try to buy U.S. products whenever possible, a 3-point gain.

Among more than 1,300 affluent shoppers surveyed by Unity in April, the U.S. ranked highest on an index measuring the quality of its luxury goods manufacturing, scoring 267 compared with an average of 100, the Stevens, Pennsylvania-based firm said. That topped Italy and France, home to Salvatore Ferragamo Italia SpA and Hermes International (RMS) SCA, respectively.

Blue-collar goods have a history of using patriotism to attract U.S. consumers. Denim makers such as Levi Strauss have harked back to Wild West origins, while Chrysler, which has used the slogan “Imported from Detroit,” created TV ads urging prospective buyers to remember their American roots.


The self-made nature of much of America’s wealth may be one of the reasons the pitch is so appealing, says Andrew Sacks, head of of New York luxury ad firm Agency Sacks.

“There is a built-in inherent interest among those successful people to do whatever they can do to help,” Sacks said. Recent increases in labor costs in China, a sagging greenback and stalling U.S. economic growth probably will lead to more American manufacturing, he said.

Take Enfield, Connecticut-based Brooks Brothers. Almost all its suits are made in its factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, while made-to-measure shirts and Black Fleece shirts are put together in Garland, North Carolina. The price on an American Brooks Brothers shirt is as much as $150, or 70 percent more than one made in Malaysia.

Fashion Fans

The Olsens’ women’s label, New York-based The Row, uses factories in its home city and Los Angeles to make fashions such as its $250 white T-shirts and $2,350 short dresses. The brand has found favor with the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Julianne Moore, as well as with critics: The former “Full House” child stars got a nomination this year for a new talent award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) has moved past its Northeast home turf and into the South by expanding its manufacturing base to Lexington, Kentucky. The New York-based company makes 60 percent of its jewelry itself, all of it in the U.S., compared with 20 percent 15 years ago, according to Mark Aaron, a company spokesman.

The Made-in-America mystique isn’t a requisite for success: Most of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL)’s goods are made outside the country, and Coach Inc. (COH), the largest U.S. luxury handbag maker, manufactures a small portion of its goods in the U.S.

Still, says Brooks Brothers’ Del Vecchio, making things in America is about more than just the label: It’s about having the goods to back it up.

“The quality is really the reason,” he said. “It gives us better control of the product.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Cotten Timberlake in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at

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