Saturday, July 30, 2011

Are You a Copy Cat?

Here's why you shouldn't be, from Drew:

If you look just like your competition…

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:37 AM PDT

photo3
…Windows version of the Genius Bar

…then how will I know it’s you?


Continue reading here


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Boomers Rock


And I'm not talking about rocking chairs.

From Mediapost:


Show Some Respect: 7 Golden Rules

Unlike other cultures that revere the wisdom of their elders, American society is quick to devalue its adults as they age. While we're putting loved ones into nursing homes, other cultures are taking their parents into their households. While we're dismissing their opinions and advice, other cultures are leaning on them for the wisdom and insight that comes from a life well-lived. And while we're trying to reverse the aging process in its tracks, others are mastering the art of aging gracefully.

These attitudes may start at home, but they trickle down and are perpetuated by our marketing and advertising messages. While Boomers are far from elderly, the messages that many marketers use to reach them often tell a different story -- one marred by preconceived notions of retirement and aspirations that come with age.

Working side by side with a national organization dedicated to retired people on its upcoming house party, we've learned a lot about speaking to the commonalities of their vast and diverse target demographic. While there are several buyer personas that comprise the group "Boomers," they all tend to take one concept seriously: respect. The respect they have for their peers and the respect they expect from those they talk and listen to. When speaking to this demographic, there are seven golden rules marketers should uphold in order to respect their audience.

Respect their differences. Before I spend the rest of this article speaking in generalities about a group comprised by millions of people, with so many different attributes and desires, I want to preface it by saying that Boomers are more diverse than they are similar. They choose to spend their money in a plethora of different ways, from the decisions they make on luxury items and vacations to healthcare plans and investment opportunities.

As with any group, the first step is to understand the specific segment you're speaking to. Are they empty-nesters? Are they two-income families? Are they in a position to buy a second home? What do they value? Are they on the older or younger side of the generation? Because boomers tends to be treated as one unified mass of people just waiting to spend the rest of their lives, well, spending, gaining this type of insight will allow you to differentiate your messaging from that of those who are speaking to all of the above. All at once.

Respect the fact that they've been around the block. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can shock them. Or even worse, that they're strangers to the ways of the world. Remember, after all, that this is a socially conscious group, one that became sexually aware in the 50s/60s/70s and laid the groundwork for equal rights, women's liberation, and a whole host of other causes that mean something to them. Instead of relying on aged fear tactics, take a stand, be transparent, and show them some appreciation for what they've done.

Respect their wisdom. Some might say that one's BS detector becomes more fine-tuned with age. While there are always people who are easier to fool than others, don't tailor your message to the lowest common denominator when it comes to boomers. And assume that they'll be onto you if you do.

Respect their real lifestyle. Boomers lead active lifestyles. When determining how to speak in their language, imagine your audience as embarking on new challenges, not settling into the tired roles associated with the "retired" archetype.

Respect their work ethic. Unlike younger generations that value their leisure time, members of this generation tend to work hard and even work far past the government-defined retirement age ... because they want to.

Respect their digital savvy and communication skills. While Boomers haven't been quick to adopt texting, they've been quick to adopt other digital platforms like email and mobile. One thing we can say for certain of many boomers is that they're comfortable communicating in long form -- which these days, can mean any message that's longer than 140 characters. Start a conversation with them online by piquing their interests or giving them information that will bring value to their lives.

Follow up with them by email, and offer them tools they can access on their mobile phones. Keep the conversation going, in other words. Not just because they're comfortable with, and even crave, it, but because they're more apt to spread the words to their friends in real-life conversations and become reliable "recommendation engines" for you in the process. Or, alternatively, they're more likely to tell everyone about their horrible experience with your brand. Paging basic customer service ...

Respect their desire to make a difference. The final lesson we've gleaned as we work with our client is that Boomer-centric marketing efforts should tap into their desire to be a part of their local communities and make a difference. They want to be involved in volunteer work, see the tangible results/effects of giving back, and get down and dirty in support of grassroots initiatives. Is your brand helping them connect to their values and helping improve lives and communities? If so, they're more likely to try your products.

Michael Perry is CEO of House Party, responsible for overall company vision, business diversification and development, and management.

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Everyone can Win

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Ask For Something In Return

Sometimes concessions are necessary in order to get a deal done. Granting a concession may even go a long way toward earning a prospect's trust.

But even in a case where granting the concession is the best way to create a win-win outcome, it's often best to:

-- Tell the prospect you need to consider the request first, and

-- Ask for something in return (e.g., a higher volume purchase or a long-term contract).

Granting a concession immediately (especially a price concession) sends a message that salespeople don't stand by the inherent value of their offer.

It also makes buyers wonder if they might be entitled to additional concessions.

As a safeguard, some salespeople may even ask (before granting a concession), "If I can get my company to agree to the terms we've outlined, do you see any other reason you wouldn't move forward with the sale?"

It ensures the prospect won't ask for additional concessions and it moves you one step closer to finalizing the deal.

Source: Based in part on 7 Strategies to Build Negotiating Power, by Geoffrey James

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click, read & enjoy your weekend:


Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Mini is rolling out a campaign celebrating its "Manualhood," touting the virtues of old-fashioned shifting, and new-fashioned technology that makes it just a bit easier during those terrifying moments starting from zero on hills: the widgetry keeps the brake on for about three seconds so one does not ram the car behind when the light turns green. ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The campaign also spans Twitter, online and traditional media. Residents of nine metro areas are being encouraged to celebrate their home towns and engage in a friendly competition to win McCafé "parties" (beverage giveaways at McDonald's restaurants). ...Read the whole story >>
Technology
by Aaron Baar
"Clearly [sales are] part of it," David Cole, president of gaming market analysis company DFC Intelligence, tells Marketing Daily. "I think the other side of it is Sony launching a new system at a compelling price point means that the competition is going to be rough going forward." ...Read the whole story >>
Beverages
by Karlene Lukovitz
Blogger communities influence millions of women in a credible, community context, and as PepsiCo itself states, women are "the key consumer base, driving 70% of household decisions and an estimated 70% of income growth worldwide in the next five years." ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
The project gives Nissan ongoing Web listening and human analysis in various languages, detailed geographic breakdowns of online conversations, identifying the top topics of concern in each country, top influential Web sites and individuals per country, periodic qualitative analysis and so on. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The concept is embodied in the commercial's catchphrase: "There's a spirit in the West that drives people to do more," which is spoken by Daniel Stern of "The Wonder Years." The target is both general consumer and business customers, says Heat president John Elder. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Those gains, however, make quite a contrast to the luxury market in general. Unity Marketing, which tracks consumer confidence among America's most affluent shoppers, is reporting the steepest quarterly plunge since the recession in its Luxury Consumption Index. ...Read the whole story >>

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Becoming Customer Friendly

Great advice recently from Drew:

If you really walked a mile in their shoes…

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 09:47 AM PDT

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…have you really walked a mile in their shoes?

We give lip service to wanting to serve our customers better, but I see so many examples where people clearly didn’t bother to even consider their customer, that I wonder.

I’m betting we could walk into any business today and point to things that make life better or more enjoyable for the employees but make the customer feel less important or considered.

Here’s what it might look like if you genuinely walked a mile in your customer’s shoes if you owned/worked at…

A take out food establishment: I’d put all the cold food in one bag and all the hot items in another.

A oil change shop: I’d have more than just car magazines in the lobby.

A CPA/business banker: I’d take the forms I make you fill out every year and put them into excel so you could easily update them rather than re-writing pages and pages of numbers.

A pest control company: I’d show up at your house in an unmarked van so all your neighbors wouldn’t know you had a bug problem.

A movie theatre: I’d have a “in your seat 5 minutes before the show” rule like they do in live theatres.

A lawyer: I’d provide you with a cheat sheet of all the important legal documents you need, have and where they’re stored.

Your financial planner: I’d give you a template that captured all of your financial data (investments, bank accounts, credit cards etc.) to put with your will in case something happened to you.

A clothing store: I’d have a room you could enter and have a store employee take a picture of you (with your phone) so you could get other opinions on the potential new outfit.

Did you notice that none of these changes are a big or expensive deal?

If I can do this with 8 types of businesses — I’m pretty sure we could do it with yours too. Your turn — tell us your organization’s core business and what you’d do differently if you truly walked a mile in your customer’s shoes.

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But I Like It The Way It Is...

from MarketingProfs:

What to Do When the Buyer Wants the Status Quo

There's a good chance your typical B2B customer works in a state of constant overload: too many emails, too many meetings and too much buzzing in her ears. It doesn't matter if your product or service would instantly improve her business and lower her costs—she doesn't have the time or energy to consider replacing solutions that are doing an adequate job.

"Even if the seller makes a brilliant logical case for an offering," writes Michael Harris at MarketingProfs, "the buyer's counterarguments to protect the status quo will always win—because the final judge is in the buyer's head."

So how do you reach these potential buyers? Harris recommends mini-stories that illustrate how your solutions have worked for other customers. "When buyers can picture issues in a real-world scenario, they see how the results might apply also to them," he writes. "The issues start to make sense, and buyers gain insight."

In other words, when you talk about solving a problem the buyer doesn't particularly care to solve, she might become defensive of her status quo and critical of your proposed solution. If, however, you tell the story of a problem experienced by someone else—a narrative in which she doesn't have a personal stake—she can decide for herself that a similar solution might be just what she needs.

"The challenge is that to be insightful the stories need to be relevant to the buyer," notes Harris. "Creating relevant messaging is the heart of moving the buyer off of the status quo."

The Po!nt: A buyer who wants to protect the status quo will reject the most logical argument you can make—so disarm her ready objections with a mini-story to which she can relate.

Source: MarketingProfs.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
It will advertise the Olympics partnerships next year around a global pillar of innovation and technology. "We have committed to advertise during the Summer Games next year and we are going to be the only premium automotive advertisers during U.S. broadcast of the games, as well," says BMW's Trudy Hardy. ...Read the whole story >>
Entertainment
by Aaron Baar
This development is spurred by the explosive growth in touchscreen smartphones as a gaming platform, coupled with the innovation among developers to create games that are simple to understand and play. "Developers have finally figured out what makes a good mobile game," ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen says. ...Read the whole story >>
Food
by Karlene Lukovitz
The first two videos feature Giuliano Hazan using Safest Choice in preparing two recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs -- tiramisù and spaghetti alla carbonara. The chef is also making live appearances on behalf of the brand, including some in-store cooking demonstrations, and more videos are likely to be developed. ...Read the whole story >>
Research
by Tanya Irwin
Re/Max's high ranking is based primarily on strong performance in the "agent" and "office" factors in the study, Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power and Associates, tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
Research
by Karl Greenberg
It's one thing to effectively talk oneself into the "green" game, but that can backfire if the company doing the talking isn't doing the walking. Toyota is doing both well. In a first-ever "Best Global Green Brands" study by Interbrand, Toyota comes in first. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Inflation was listed as the top concern, with 72% mentioning higher food prices, and 70% citing higher energy prices. They plan to be more militant about pricing in the weeks ahead, with 65% saying that good deals are the things they will look for most. (And 29% say they are finding that back-to-school items are more costly than they were last year at this time.) ...Read the whole story >>

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Bucks for Bites


To be honest, I was struggling to come up with a headline for this story.

But it seems like many consumers have figured out a way to break free of the struggle of feeding the family in our current economy.

This is from RAB.com:

Study: People Outsmarting Higher Food Prices

There's not much consumers can do to avoid the distinctly higher prices they're faced with at supermarkets, but a new study from Deloitte shows they're not paying more without a fight.

"I was surprised to see that consumers are treating grocery shopping as a sport now," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, told Marketing Daily in an email. "They are no longer feeling like victims and instead have a mindset that (says) 'I can beat you at your own game when it comes to shopping in spite of you raising prices and decreasing package size'."

He says it's very apparent that "2011 is different than 2008. Consumers are more savvy, more conscientious, and have more tools at their disposal to squeeze the most out of their spend."

The study finds that consumers are extremely aware of the shift in prices, with 88% of respondents saying that costs in food stores are escalating, and 74% say the size of some packaged goods is smaller.

This -- combined with higher gas prices -- has them shopping less as spending strategy, with 73% making fewer trips to the grocery store, and 41% purchasing fewer items overall.

They're also shunning pricier national brands, with 75% tossing lower-priced products into their basket, and 40% buying more private-label products. And 34% are using smartphones to research food prices or product information while in a store, and an impressive 28% of the sample saying they've interacted with a food retailer via their mobile application or Web site. (And 53% say they are using technology more to find out about food products.)

"The use of shopping-related mobile applications by Smartphone owners in the grocery shopping process is higher than we expected," adds Conroy, "particularly around managing a shopping list and researching food prices or product information. By using Smartphone shopping related applications in the grocery store, consumers have more control over sticking to their budget and researching food prices and product information before coming into the store or while in the store."

(Source: Marketing Daily, 07/22/11)

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All About You

from RAB.com:

Daily Sales Tip: Selling Yourself

Just as you are selling to people, you must also remember that you are not only selling and representing a product or service, but you are in effect selling yourself. When beginning a sales relationship, it is important to remember a few key aspects to representing yourself well.

First, be interesting. If potential customers are bored by you, they have less of a chance of being enthralled by any product or service you are representing.

Develop intellect. Of course you are an intelligent person, but can you converse in an intelligent manner? Can you discuss related subjects with thoughtfulness and hold your clients' interest? You are in their territory now, can you speak their language?

Never be arrogant -- never talk up or down to your potential clients. It's rude and will serve only to alienate them. Respect the buyer, and they will respect you.

Along the same lines, develop your empathy levels. If you can relate to your customers' situations authentically, it helps to build rapport.

Rapport is the most important process in influencing others. It is vital if you want to maintain relationships. Without it, you are unlikely to achieve willing agreement to what you want. People who have excellent rapport with others create harmonious relationships based on trust and understanding of mutual needs.

Finally, the greatest compliment a customer can pay you is to describe you as "professional."

Being professional is not one thing, it is three -- It is what you do, what you say and how you present yourself.

Source: Business coach/consultant Jonathan Farrington

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Food and other stuff for your reading pleasure:


Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
Greg Ross, the VP of business extensions for GM, was in New York on Monday at Best Buy's flagship in Union Square. He tells Marketing Daily that the new effort "explains that all of the features, the technology, the engineering are packaged in a way that lets you easily put it in your car." He adds that Best Buy will be central to the message. ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
McDonald's' announcement of healthier Happy Meals and a commitment to achieving generally more healthy menu offerings in the longer term is meeting with largely favorable reactions from nutrition advocates, including First Lady Michelle Obama. ...Read the whole story >>
Hospitality
by Tanya Irwin
Featuring the slogan "This is my Tryp," the campaign will be seen online and in print and already is embedded in the brand's website, hotel collateral and signage. It is Tryp by Wyndham's first new global marketing campaign since Wyndham Hotel Group acquired the brand last year from Meliá Hotels International of Spain. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Even as bookstore fans are lamenting the liquidation of Borders, marketing experts are dissecting what went wrong in the very slow death of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based retailer. Marketing Daily asked Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, which measures customer loyalty, for his take. ...Read the whole story >>
Electronics
by Aaron Baar
According to new research from the NPD Group, it seems many consumer electronics purchases were completed with the express purpose of letting the kids use them. According to the company, 78% of portable video game systems purchased and 56% of portable digital media players were given to kids. ...Read the whole story >>
Food and Beverages
by Karlene Lukovitz
Despite the economy and trends to the contrary in other industries, leading U.S. food and beverage makers have ample cash -- and their growth strategies call for using that to make acquisitions over the next few years, according to a new survey of senior food/beverage executives from KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory services firm. ...Read the whole story >>
Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
You may really love what that new luxury car does for you at the test-drive, and in the days after you've purchase the new premium car, but after a few weeks of ownership, the experience of driving pretty much becomes the visceral version of gazing at a traffic jam from an overpass: it's kind of all the same, whether econobox or Maserati. ...Read the whole story >>

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Gimme My QR Code!



I've had my new laptop for a month and right there in front is a sticker with a QR Code and the instructions to "Scan for product features, videos, and reviews"

I have yet to scan it.

But I'm not a busy Mom.

From Mediapost:

Moms Can't Wait for QR Codes

The word is starting to spread about QR codes. Mom blogs, magazine articles and broadcast media are all talking about the latest in convenience for busy moms. That's what it's all about when marketing to moms sometimes.

QR (Quick Response) codes have been around awhile in Japan and China, but have just recently begun to pick up steam in the U.S. and the West. If you are not familiar with them, they are the next generation of barcodes, can be printed on just about anything and deliver a wide variety of information to consumers.

The beauty of the QR codes is that they can help marketers transition smoothly into a robust mobile strategy. As over 60% of moms now have smartphones, developing a credible mobile strategy is a must for most consumer brands. Sixty percent is a big number and while most moms are just getting used to using their smartphones to check email, many more have mastered emailing photos and video and posting mobile updates to their Facebook pages. Moms, in fact, are leading the way in smartphone adoption!

As brands scramble to capitalize on this ability to be constantly connected to their target consumer -- no mean feat -- a wide variety of ways to do that seems to be popping up. I hear talk of building apps, advertising and creating mobile websites. All of these are great, but they take time to study and implement. QR codes, on the other hand, are a no-brainer. They fit into your already existing programs, cost very little and are extremely flexible at delivering information about your brand.

QR codes can be and probably should be printed on all of your current promotional materials, from billboards to POP. They can deliver something as simple as a link to your website. On a billboard, where space is at a premium, commuters can snap your QR code on their smartphone cameras (preferably not while driving) and save the link to your website to visit while on the go or save for later. What a great way to cut through the clutter and instantly have your consumer remember your message!

QR codes can deliver e-coupons right in the store when printed on your POP materials or drive consumers to the store when printed in magazines and other advertising materials. More creatively they can get consumers to "like" your Facebook page instantly, deliver digital prizes and enter sweepstakes. Their use is limited only by imagination and what you can put on a website.

While building apps is long and involved, but sexy, unless you have a really useful benefit to provide to your target consumer on a regular basis, your app is going to languish on your consumer's phone and eventually be deleted. QR codes, on the other hand, are quick to make and easy to understand -- by both consumers and management.


Maryanne Conlin is a brand marketer and award-winning social media expert. Follow her on Twitter at @mcmilker

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You Have to do Steps 2 & 3

from RAB.com:

Daily Sales Tip: Overcoming Call Reluctance

Hesitation to make contact with prospective new clients causes more failures for salespeople than any other single factor. Why? Because if you don't approach enough people, it makes little difference how thorough your expertise is. Without a steady flow of prospects, your magnetic personality, credentials, product knowledge, and perfect presentations won't make much impact. Inactivity on the prospecting front nullifies your ability to engage these other strengths.

Successful selling usually involves five steps:

1. Identifying prospective clients (includes identifying referral sources).
2. Initiating contact with prospective clients and referral sources.
3. Introducing yourself, your products and your services.
4. Informing prospective clients of how you can help (giving your sales presentation).
5. Influencing the prospect's decision to buy from you.

Many salespeople are uncomfortable with steps 2 and 3, initiating and introducing -- but without them, informing and influencing can't happen! Ultra-professional presentation skills, dazzling rapport-building, detailed product knowledge and clever closes cannot and will not return a penny of profit if you don't have enough prospects.

The math is simple: Successful salespeople consistently initiate contact with more prospects than their less-than-successful counterparts.

Source: Sales coach/trainer Connie Kadansky

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Restaurants
by Karlene Lukovitz
The billboard initiative -- active through Aug. 23 -- is clearly designed to drive more online orders, as well as bring the latest element of novelty to the brand's now-familiar strategy of supporting the reformulation of its pizzas with marketing/advertising stressing its ongoing efforts to use customer feedback to improve continuously. ...Read the whole story >>
Media
by Karl Greenberg
Speedo has launched its largest ever digital effort, which centers on a new site called the Speedo Pace Club, an experiential site where e-commerce plays a secondary role to the real purpose: brand building by making Speedo the place to go for motivation, structured training information, and content by famous swimmers like Michael Phelps. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The personal one-on-one airport assistance program, which pampers ticket holders from curbside to boarding, will now be offered in 14 airports worldwide (expanded from 11 airports previously). To promote the service, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline is holding a sweepstakes. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
Starting with the basic pink-and-green packaging that has been used since the No. 1 brand launched 40 years ago, Maybelline invited designers Max Azria, Tracy Reese and Vivienne Tam to each give the little tube their own spin. (Reese's, for example, is bold and floral; Tam's includes the Chinese symbol for "lash.") ...Read the whole story >>
Electronics
by Aaron Baar
"Unlike other sports where people are involved with the league or with star players, with the NCAA they're really involved with the schools and the pageantry," Dustin Shekell, advertising manager for EA, tells Marketing Daily. "This year, the campaign is about taking that devotion to a certain level. That's what the sport is all about." ...Read the whole story >>
Sports
by Karl Greenberg
Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) stars like Hope Solo and Abby Wambach (who play for the Florida magicJack) and Alex Morgan (of the Western New York Flash) have been in the news since the U.S. team's narrow loss to Japan in a Women's World Cup Final in Germany that was the most-viewed soccer match ever televised by ESPN. ...Read the whole story >>

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Effective Email Campaigns

Back when I was the Communications V-P of my local Advertising Federation, I got some hands on experience with creating effective email campaigns.

Here's a few tips from Marketing Profs:

How to Keep Your Subscribers Engaged: A Checklist

Effective email campaigns rely on engaged subscribers—but most of the people on a typical list have gone three or six months without opening messages or clicking through. "It is truly a sad state of affairs when marketers are immune to the fact that at least 60% of email recipients ignore communications," writes Ryan Deutsch in an article at MarketingProfs.

To help you get your engagement rates up, Deutsch offers a handy checklist with questions like these:

Do you have a welcome series? These multi-email campaigns give new subscribers a crash-course in your program, telling them about the content you provide and how often it will arrive. "The more they understand and believe in the value of your program," Deutsch says, "the better their engagement with it will be."

Do you use automated triggers? Stay relevant by sending messages triggered by behavior or personal information. "Purchases, browser behavior, life events, and alerts/reminders are all examples of ways marketers can trigger email communications," he explains.

Do you have re-engagement campaigns? When subscriber interaction wanes, you can encourage re-engagement with special offers, subscription confirmations or an invitation to update preferences.

Do you use cause marketing? A growing trend in subscriber engagement, this enables subscribers to shop and support worthy charities. "The Gap recently launched a program called Give & Get, which offered consumers a 30% discount on purchases and the opportunity to donate 5% of their purchase price to a charity of their choice," Deutsch notes.

The Po!nt: Keep the magic alive. You have to be the one to occasionally engage your subscribers if they're going to stay engaged for a healthy amount of time.

Source: MarketingProfs.

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Q & A

from RAB.com:

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, July 25, 2011

Monday Night Markting News from Mediapost

Click & Read:


Automotive
by Karl Greenberg
The new Facebook integration on GMC.com and Buick.com lets consumers who are building and configuring Buick and GMC vehicles save them in their own directory on the site and then share the configured vehicles with Facebook "friends" who can post comments or "like" their customized selections. ...Read the whole story >>
Entertainment
by Aaron Baar
"It's a big announcement, and it's gotten a lot of press, so the attention's been magnified," Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex, tells Marketing Daily. "When you look at the metrics we track, they've moved in a statistically relevant negative way." ...Read the whole story >>
Restaurants
by Tanya Irwin
"Outdoor provides mass reach, but the campaign is really designed to target our loyal and less frequent customers (with boards strategically located near the restaurants) to create awareness of the new menu items, and provide a reason to visit again now," Dailey President Tom Lehr tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
Retail
by Sarah Mahoney
"I was surprised to see that consumers are treating grocery shopping as a sport now," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, tells Marketing Daily in an email. "They are no longer feeling like victims and instead have a mindset that [says] 'I can beat you at your own game when it comes to shopping in spite of you raising prices and decreasing package size'." ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The truck, a bright purple affair, matches the color scheme and packaging of the newest Trojan vibrator product, the Twister. It is also meant to look like food vans plying the streets of New York that are all the rage in Manhattan and Brooklyn these days. The van is hitting nightspots in the two boroughs next week to show off the products and do some sex education on the side. ...Read the whole story >>

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The Tale of 2 Coffee Shops

from the Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo:

You are in the People Business

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:00 AM PDT


I started writing this in March:

No matter what you produce, provide, sell....

No matter how automated and sleek your systems are...

No matter if you wear jeans or a three piece suit...

You are in the people business.

There's a couple of coffee shops on the same street in my town that have very different personalities.

My favorite has been in business for over 10 years and has switched coffee providers once or twice, changed some of the details and each year they seem to do a little remodeling.

They used to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They don't anymore. They used to be open late on weekends. Now they close at 8pm every night. They have a couple of the original staff, and the others that work there fit in to the culture.

Most of the furniture is old, some is getting a little threadbare, but it is a comfortable place to go and get a bite to eat, a white mocha, a smile and a little conversation.

Down the street is another coffee shop that roasts their own beans and is also family owned. They moved from across the street to the same side as the first shop and expanded their offerings.

Along with having coffee, they also have a full service bar and on Friday and Saturday evenings they would have a special theme menu that would include ingredients from their garden and recipes crafted from their own chef. Coffee shop #2 really had it going for them as a place that my wife and I would often visit for dinner on Saturdays.

Not anymore.

Recently on a Saturday night at 6pm we walk in the door and notice the weekend menu's were not out. They were on the door, but not on the tables or at the bar. The owner and his wife are usually there when we show up, but not this time.

Instead of feeling comfortable, it felt like sort of weird. The guy at the register was busy counting change, the young woman who took my wife's drink order not only had to pull out the recipe card but had to ask what kind of liquor to use and she seemed very unsure of herself.

When I asked for a menu, they said they aren't doing the weekend dinner menu on Saturdays, only Fridays. Which was very disappointing since the read the menu as we walked in and was trying to decide which delicious items we would enjoy. Instead we had a drink and left.

It's now 4 months later. Neither one of us have been back. As a matter of fact, a couple of days ago, she asked me if coffee shop #2 was still in business, as we drove by on Saturday afternoon. That's not the lasting impression you want to leave with your customers is it?

And yes, they are still in business.

Update: my wife and I visited them Friday night. Dinner was both unique and delicious. Service was a little better as one of the owners was tending the bar.

Saturday I told some friends about our Friday night experience and apparently they have done a lot of damage in their reputation beyond what I was aware of personally. These friends will never go back.

Which leads me to share once again: Where Did They Go?

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Make Them Your Ally

from RAB.com:

Daily Sales Tip: Empowering the Gatekeeper

Do not bypass gatekeepers. Build alliances. Do not come down to their level. Come up to their level. You never know with whom you are talking. For all you know, the "secretary" is the owner.

Gatekeepers' jobs are to push you away, but in the same respect it is their job to determine what might be a benefit for the company. Humanize with them. Make a joke. Have fun. Be respectful. Treat them like they are the owner.

And here's an interesting idea -- never ask for the person in charge. Assume they are the people in charge. Say you want to meet with them "and whoever else also makes the purchasing decisions." There are two reasons here:

1) Who you think is in charge and who really is could be different people. By letting them say if they are or not, you will get the real answer;

2) At the same time, by respecting them and their importance, you are separating yourself from every other sales rep who tramples upon them with disrespect as they try to reach the decision-maker.

Source: Sales consultant/author Todd Natenberg

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why I Switched Careers


It has now been a full month since I walked away from 8+ years working for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne Indiana.

All together I have spent 25+ years in the radio business with a couple of breaks. I started as a teenage disc-jockey and moved into the advertising and marketing world which I found fascinating.

Radio uses push marketing methods. In order to get the free music, they will push advertising messages out too.

Television broadcasting works this way too. Newspapers also use push marketing methods... you want to read the news, then you have to page thru the ads too.

Yellow Pages is not push marketing. I don't know of anyone who has casually paged thru the phone book as a source of entertainment.

The selling point for yellow pages sales reps was, the book was the place people go to find a business to spend money with to solve problems. Once you pick up the book, you are ready to spend.

Technology however has made the phone book and the yellow pages outdated. When we want an answer, we Google it. The web and search engines are replacing the yellow pages as the source for finding information and answers.

The other reason I switched careers, I believe in the methods used by my team at Cirrus ABS which combines sound technology, solid strategic planning and analytics to measure the results.

Our Sunday Seth talks more about this:

Paying attention to the attention economy

Most of us are happily obsessed with the economy of money. We earn it and we spend it and we generally pay attention to what things cost.

Certainly, salespeople and marketers are truly focused on the price of things, on commissions and shelving allowances and net margin and the cost of goods sold.

With all of these easily measured activity, it's easy to overlook the fast-growing and ever more important economy based around attention.

"If I alert my entire customer base, how much will this cost me in permission?"

"How much time do we save our customers with a better written manual?"

"When we fail to ask for (and reward) the privilege of following up, are we wasting permission?"

"Does launching this product to an audience of stangers waste the attention we're going to have to buy?"

Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they're not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.

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