Saturday, September 24, 2011

BIG or small?

Just 3 months until Christmas eve....

from my email:

Stores Reversing Big-Box Trend

The belief in retail that bigger is better may be fading. National chains known for their huge stores are starting to think smaller.

Big-box retailers are moving away from the one-large-size-fits-all strategy to a philosophy of getting more out of smaller spaces and assessing the needs of each location.

Wal-Mart Stores, whose Supercenters typically encompass over 185,000 square feet, has announced plans to build a number of 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot stores.

Many other big-box retailers -- including Best Buy, Office Depot, Target, Kohl's and J.C. Penney -- are looking to downsize existing stores, said Howard Davidowitz, president of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting and investment banking firm in New York.

"It's the biggest retail trend in the U.S. -- almost everybody is downsizing," he said.

Some chains are looking to downsize existing stores, while others are planning to make future stores smaller, Davidowitz said.

In Houston, Office Depot, Best Buy, Old Navy and Ashley Furniture HomeStores are among the chains looking to downsize existing stores, said Ed Wulfe, chairman and CEO of Wulfe & Co., a retail development and brokerage firm.

"Almost all big-box retailers are reassessing store size," Wulfe said. "It's different than 10 years ago when bigger was better." They're looking at ways to better utilize their space and get more sales per square foot, he said.

Subleasing strategy
Department stores, including Sears, are seeking opportunities to sublease space in their stores, he noted.

Gary Seals, CEO of Hill Country Holdings, the owners of nine Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Houston as well as Ashley stores in other cities, said his company is considering decreasing the size of its stores by subleasing space to other retailers.

"It would have to be a good fit," Seals said.

Ashley would adapt to a smaller space by taking slower-selling merchandise off the floor, Seals said.

His Houston Ashley stores vary from 30,000 to 45,000 square feet in size, and he's considering downsizing by anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 square feet, Seals said. He leases the Houston properties.

He said he feels no urgency to downsize.

"We're bullish on Houston," Seals said. "All of our stores in Houston had double-digit increases for Labor Day," compared to the same time last year.

What consumers want
Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a consumer research and consulting firm based in New Canaan, Conn., sees the national downsizing trend being driven partly by consumer demand.

Consumers are looking at quicker, easier shopping experiences, rather than navigating 190,000-square-foot super stores, Johnson said.

"Retailers want smaller stores, but more stores," he said, so that consumers will be more likely to find one no matter where they go.

Best Buy, for example, has been opening kiosks at airports, he noted. There are seven Best Buy kiosks at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport, said Chad Stiernagle, the company's director of automated retail. The machines offer iPods, cameras, phone chargers and other items.

In many cases, the wish to downsize stems from pressure to cut costs, said Kenneth Katz, a Houston commercial real estate broker, whether it's due to increasing competition from online retailers or more sluggish consumer demand.

Retailers such as Target are planning smaller future stores because they are going into more urban locations where it's harder and more expensive to buy larger tracts of land, Davidowitz said.

Target is planning smaller-format stores that will be 60,000 to 100,000 square feet, compared with 135,000 in a traditional Target, company spokeswoman Amy Reilly said.

All the smaller-format Targets will be located in urban areas and, unlike more traditional Targets, will feature windows and have multiple floors.

Most suburban Targets are owned by the retailer, whereas urban stores will be leased, Reilly said.

"Many of our customers live in the city and drive to our stores in the suburbs," Reilly said. "We'll be bringing the Target experience to them."

The first four urban format Targets will be in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and they will open starting in summer of next year. Target is initially focused on 10 markets.

Retail giant Wal-Mart has announced a major downsizing strategy, saying it will build hundreds of smaller stores over the next three years in rural and urban locations.

Inventory in the 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot stores will include groceries, health and beauty items and limited general merchandise, and some will have pharmacies, according to a company statement.

Opening up options
Mindy Kramer, Office Depot's director of public relations, emailed comments from Kevin Peters, the company's president of North American retail, explaining why Office Depot is considering trying new store formats.

"Smart retailers are finding ways to shrink their footprints," Peters wrote, and "the smaller footprint strategy" provides Office Depot with new growth options, including the opportunity to enter new and remote markets.

Office Depot could reduce store size from 24,000 square feet to about 15,000 to 17,000 square feet, Peters wrote.

The preferred downsizing strategy for many retailers is to renegotiate their existing leases, allowing their landlords to get space back, said Lance Gilliam, managing partner of UCR moodyrambin, a retail real estate brokerage firm.

When landlords are unwilling or unable to reclaim space and reduce the size of a tenant's space, retailers will seek subtenants, said Gilliam.

Subleasing can be challenging for a big-box retailer, Katz said.

Retailers typically expect landlords to give them improvement allowances when they move to a space, and they are not used to being in the position of providing improvement allowances for the subleasing retailer, he said.

(Source: Houston Chronicle, 09/19/11)

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The Future belongs to Digital

A few years ago I saw many in my generation with their iPhones, but not many of the younger generations; that has changed as prices have dropped and expectations have risen:

Millennials High on Digital and Friends

According to the "American Millennials" study from Barkley, with Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group, Millennials, compared to other generations, reported greater awareness of newer, youth-oriented cause marketing campaigns and greater exposure to campaigns through social media, while Non-Millennials rely on newspaper and direct mail.

Jeff Fromm, senior vice president, Barkley, says "... since the Millennials generation is larger than the Baby Boomers... and three times bigger than Generation X... understanding of Millennials' needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly shape... future business decisions... "

Highlights from the Study:

  • Millennials watch significantly less TV than Non-Millennials, says the report, watching 20-plus hours/week (26% versus 49%). When not watching live TV, Millennials are much more likely to watch shows mainly on their laptops (42% versus 18%), with DVR (40% versus 36%), or On-Demand (26% versus 18%)
  • 70% of Millennials reported feeling more excited when their friends agreed with them about where to shop, eat and play. Only 48% of older adults were as heavily influenced by their friends and colleagues. Additionally, more Millennials than Non-Millennials reported using a mobile device while shopping to research products (50% versus 21%)
  • The majority of all respondents shop alone (60% Millennials, 69% Non- Millennials). However, Millennials report more shopping than Non-Millennials with family unit, spouse and children (13% versus 6%) and with adult friends (4% versus 2%)
  • 70% of Millennials want to visit every continent in their lifetime. Fewer than half of older adults report that goal
  • Millennials accounted for 18% of their monthly restaurant spend in the fast-casual format, compared to only 13% for Non-Millennials. Additionally, Millennials crave snacking opportunities, and are more than twice as likely as older people to seek them out mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night
  • Millennials demand more knowledgeable and fashionable sales associates (29% versus 19%) while Non-Millennials value sales associates who know to apply discounts and offer promotions (65% versus 51%)
And, additional study information reported by EMarketer, shows that a third of Millennials like brands more if they use social media, nearly double the percentage of older adults who said the same. In addition, over 30% of Millennials thought it was annoying for brands to be on sites like Facebook and Twitter, making this group less tolerant of social media marketing.

23.5% of Millennials interacted with content from a brand's Facebook page at least once a daily, vs. 17% of older adults who did the same. Millennials were also 4.4 percentage points more likely to interact with brand content between one and six times per week. Overall older adults were nearly twice as likely never to engage with brand content on Facebook.

(Source: The Center For Media Research, 09/7/11)

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Sales Manager Tips

I've been in management and I've been on the other end too.

Usually I really hated having my boss ride along with me, unless I needed him/her for a specific reason:

Here's why (from

Managing the Sales Call

As a sales manager, there's no better way of coaching than joint sales calls in the field with your sales personnel. However, the big mistake many sales managers make on a joint call is that when the salesperson gets in trouble, the manager takes over the call. This is the worst thing that can happen.

The salesperson learns nothing and many times resents the manager for interfering. In making field sales calls, take the time to properly plan the call. If it is to be a joint presentation with the manager and the salesperson, then plan out what parts of the sales procedure each will cover.

If the objective on the sales call is for the manager to observe the salesperson in a selling situation, then it should be clarified before the call.

The salesperson is to handle the call and accomplish the objective. What typically happens, however, is that the prospect or customer will direct his/her question to the manager instead of the salesperson. When that occurs, the manager should just look to the salesperson to answer the question. Otherwise the manager ends up taking over the call and therefore learns nothing about the salesperson's selling abilities.

Source: Sales consultant/trainer Roy Chitwood

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & read:

by Sarah Mahoney
Toys R Us has unfurled its holiday Hot List, which this year includes Sesame Street Let's Rock, Elmo from Hasbro, Air Hogs Hyper Actives from Spin Master, LEGO's Ninjago Lightning Dragon and Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls from MGA Entertainment. The Wayne, N.J.-based toy retailer says it is also working Facebook more prominently into its holiday marketing plans, using its page as "the ultimate hub of hot toy information for gift-givers." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The food and beverage industry has renamed its new, voluntary front-of-package nutrition labeling system, from "Nutrition Keys" to "Facts Up Front." The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced the new name, as well as the launch of a website, The site is a first effort in a $50 million consumer awareness/education campaign that will go into full throttle next year. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Actor Jason Bateman, the star of "Horrible Bosses," does the voiceover in Honda's latest Accord sedan TV spot. The actor will also be in upcoming spots for the Accord and the redesigned 2012 Pilot. Automakers have, in recent years, been particularly fond of hiring A-listers to be their voices, leading to some interesting snaggles. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
This summer Ford brought racing, Millennials, and the Fiesta, Mustang and Ranger vehicles together via a marketing partnership with the X-Games around several racing categories. Nissan is doing a similar program, but the reward is different and the vehicle for getting there begins in the virtual world. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Time Warner Cable is looking to inject a little luxury into the television subscription space via a new ad campaign touting its nearly year-old SignatureHome packages. One spot begins with a woman dropping her robe to reveal a black silk nightgown getting into her bed with (presumably) her husband to watch some television, as onscreen text reads "Enhanced TV." ...Read the whole story >>

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Social Sharing

So, you have a website.

Are you using Social Share buttons to help others help you?

From Mediapost:

Share Buttons on Social Sites Increase Exposure Sevenfold

According to BrightEdge, an in-depth analysis of more than 4 million tweets shows pages that display Twitter share buttons get 7 times the social media mentions than sites that do not, pointing to enormous social marketing opportunity.

The September issue of the BrightEdge SocialShare Analysis shows that almost half of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web still don't display any kind of social sharing links or buttons. 53.6% of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web display some social links or buttons on their front pages, up from 52.8 percent in late July.

Adoption of Social on Homepages of Top Websites (Top 10,000 Websites)

Type of Site

% of Total

Sites with social links of plugins


No social links or plugins


Source: BrightEdge Research, September 2011

Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge, notes that "... social sharing buttons can drive real social traffic that will inevitably drive sales, brand awareness or affinity... but... brands are not taking advantage of this simple, cost free tool... "

The study analyzed a representative data stream of 4 million tweets that were selected at random to determine which tweets carried shared information, and if it was shared with tools and buttons, links or other methods.
The examination revealed that pages that display Twitter share buttons or links were distributed to followers on average about seven times more often than pages that did not have similar sharing tools. This could lead to exposure to millions of additional consumers for the sites that took the modest step of just installing social sharing buttons, opines the report.

Average Number of Link Mentions Per Site



Sites with no Buttons


Sites with Tweet Button


Source: BrightEdge Research, Aug 2011

In the social adoption analysis, all of the leading social sites saw increases in usage compared to the previous month, but the two largest and most established social platforms have commanding leads in market share. Facebook plugins (e.g. the Like button and links to fan pages) are seen on homepages of more than 50 percent of the world's largest sites. While buttons and links for Twitter are seen on 42.5 percent of the top 10,000 sites. Google plus continues to grow, but is still only used on about 8.5 percent of the largest 10,000 sites.

Social Links/Plugins on Homepages of Top Sites

Social Site

With Social Links/Plugins

Change From Previous Month



Up from 49.5%



Up from 42.4%



Up from 7.3%




Source: BrightEdge Research, SocialShare Analysis, September 2011

While this growth is healthy, concludes the report, there are still a surprising number of major sites that have not fully embraced social marketing. The absence of any social engagement vehicles such as Social Links, Facebook plugins and Twitter Buttons on the homepages of a large number of major sites shows there is significant untapped opportunity for social media to drive greater marketing exposure for brands.

The release may be found here.

And if you help with this, contact me.

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Excellent advice from Jill:

How to Make Your Prospects Believe You When They Don't
By Jill Konrath
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We were just approaching Des Moines, traveling at 72 miles per hour on I-35 when it hit me. My husband, who was driving, didn't even notice. But for me, the effect was jarring.

"Holy cow!" I exclaimed. (That's really appropriate when you're in Iowa.) I held up Wikibrands , the book I was reading. "Did you know that the Edelman Trust Barometer says that only 8 percent of people trust what companies say about themselves?"

My husband shrugged his shoulders and gave me that "Duh" look. Clearly, wasn't impacting him the way it did me. All I could think about was what salespeople were saying and what their prospects were hearing.

Seller: We offer state-of-the art technology.
Prospect: I don't believe it. And even if it's true, your lead will only last a short time.

Seller: We really care about our customers.
Prospect: That's what they all say before the get the order. Then they ignore you.

Seller: We're #1 in the XYZ Ranking.
Prospect: Statistics can easily lie.

Seller: We offer a unique approach to solving your problems.
Prospect: Sure. You, along with everyone else.

This is serious. 92% of the time you talk about your own company, you're not believable. And they more wonderful things you spout, the more unbelievable you are.

So what's the answer?

Here are three strategies you can use to be more believable.
  1. Don't say anything nice about your product/service.

    Not one blasted thing, because it only destroys your credibility. Don't pass out any of your "aren't we wonderful" marketing brochures either. They have the same negative impact. This is especially important in your early conversations.

  2. Focus on being helpful in every interaction.

    Let your prospect know about the results your other clients have achieved. Talk about their critical business issues. Share ideas, insights and information that you think would be beneficial to them. Ask questions. But most of all, make sure they have no doubts that your intent is to provide value to them.

  3. Be truthful, even when it hurts.

    Your product, service or solution is not perfect for everyone. When you're under corporate or self-induced pressure to close more sales, this can be really hard to do. There are times you might even recommend a competitor because it's the right thing to do.
Developing trust is essential. Without it, you don't have a chance to get the business. With it, you'll have an opportunity to grow long-standing, highly profitable relationships. It's worth the effort.

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies , helps sellers get more prospects in their pipeline, speed up sales cycles and land bigger contracts. She's a frequent speaker at sales conferences. For more fresh sales strategies that work with crazy-busy prospects, visit

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read.

I'm busy having fun.

by Karl Greenberg
GMC is the official vehicle of the NFL, but the General Motors division isn't filling that bucket with TV ads, and will not have vehicles at stadium parking lots during games. But it has something that might be better: A road show called the "GMC Monday Night Football Tour" that targets important game markets the weekend before games, and gets a media boost from NFL players themselves. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
In the second year of its efforts to convince the world that it makes more than copiers, Xerox is showcasing how it helps two new businesses in different ways while looking to get more people involved via a Twitter contest. The Twitter-based sweepstakes asks people to complete the line, "To me, real business means ....", and add the hashtag #FlyWithXerox. One winner will win two round-trip tickets on Virgin America. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
CKE Restaurants, Inc. has signed a deal with the new mobile news site to reach the site's young users with interactive, geo-targeted video advertising for its Carl's Jr. and Hardee's chains. The deal makes CKE the first advertiser to employ the privately held site's video solution. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
'Tis the season to read holiday tea leaves, and three just-released forecasts predict that consumer spending will be lukewarm, at best. At the low end, the International Council of Shopping Centers is looking for a 2.2% rise. And while the trade group points out that there are many components to such forecast, the overall trend is tepid. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has issued new guidelines for alcohol advertising and marketing on social networking sites and other digital communications platforms. The guidelines suggest "Age-gating" before direct dialogue between advertisers and consumers as well as privacy policies that protect consumers from data collection and use of personal information by advertisers. ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

Another weekly update from Amy:

Strip to your SmartWool. Warm up those hands. Zombies. Let's launch!

Legal SeafoodsLegal Sea Foods managed to create three TV ads that reference the issue of seafood sustainability while mocking it at the same time. In one ad, a lone crab is shown on a beach as a voiceover says: "Save the crab. Save it to show that every creature is sacred, no matter how small. Or just save it so we can chop it up into tasty little crab cakes." Ouch. See it here. Salmon might look great swimming upstream, but how good would they taste covered in lemon chive butter sauce? Watch it here. Trout can't catch a break, either. They look peaceful swimming and tasty atop a grill. See it here. DeVito/Verdi created the campaign.

eBayeBay launched a trio of funny ads to promote its mobile app. "When it's on your mind, it's on eBay," shows consumers buying items on the fly, and saving one woman from wearing mom jeans. A daughter, on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans, shares her dilemma with mom. Next thing you know, mom tells daughter to save her money since she has a bin of jeans lying around. Mom jeans. Nice and loose. The daughter quickly scoops up three pairs of jeans on eBay and thanks her lucky stars she's not driving home with a trunk full of mom jeans. See it here. Celebrity magazines are good for finding trendy shoes and mindless gossip while at the salon. One woman is not a fan of a certain actress -- but loves, and buys, the same shoes modeled by the A-lister. Watch it here. "Left Out" is my favorite. An office staff meeting begins, and everyone whips out their tablets for note taking, except one man who goes old-school with a pad and pen. As he's being ridiculed, he buys a tablet on eBay. Not so he'll fit in, mainly because his pen leaked through his shirt, adding to his embarrassment. See it here. Venables Bell & Partners created the campaign.

Call of Duty"Because you're not truly alive until you're out killing the undead." So says the voiceover for the final ad promoting Thursday's launch of "Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection." The Zombie Lab is again open for roving eyes to see mind-blowing experiments. Heads will roll, so scientists must have stomachs of steel to work this lab. Ever wonder how zombies react to the moon's low gravity or extreme G-force? It's a very detached experience. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day LA and The Ant Farm.

Gears of War"Dust to Dust" is a 60-second ad promoting the launch of "Gears of War 3," which hit shelves yesterday. The final game in the GOW trilogy follows Marcus Fenix, his fellow Gear Dominic Santiago, and the other members of Delta squad, as they work their way through a war-torn battlefield. The ad is perfectly set to the song "Into Dust" by Mazzy Star and features historical markers from past GOW games, like Emergence Day and The Flooding of Jacinto. The ad ends with Marcus and Dominic, side-by-side, looking at a frenzied battlefield. "Brothers to the end" closes the ad, seen here, and created by twofifteenmccann.

MicrosoftMeet Tad, a salesman for the tech company VMlimited. Tad sells outdated tech solutions from his mobile office, a tricked-out van from the 1970s. Look for tight pants, a Rolodex, and felt pictures of animals. Tad conducts serious business about cloud computing and unlimited pricing plans, things his consumers want but he can't deliver. "Clouds aren't bad, but they're a fad," says Tad. The online video promotes Microsoft's cloud offerings. See the video here, created by Deutsch NY.

SamsungSamsung launched "The Way We're Wired," a 60-second spot promoting its latest Galaxy phone. "Never Settle" shows mobile users watching videos on their phones, ranging from a child taking first steps, the iconic running scene in "Rocky," to a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech and a motocross tournament. The voiceover within the spot says: "Nobody ever set their sights on second place. Who aspires to be almost remembered? There's a reason there are no giant foam fingers that say we're number three." Essentially: nobody's perfect, but we all aspire to be. See the ad here, created by Leo Burnett.

ZippoThe Zippo hand warmer might be ideal for hunters, ice fishermen and skiers, but it should be required for all doctors for use pre-patient examinations. Brunner created an amusing TV spot for the product, starring a farmer and his cow. The first time the cow is milked, it lets out a moo that screams: Hey, warm up those hands, pal. The farmer goes back to his house, retrieves his hand warmer and presents the cow with warm hands the second time around. The spot, seen here, is running in U.S. and European markets.

Smart WoolSmartWool launched a Facebook application encouraging consumers to take a picture of themselves on a skiing or camping trip stripped down to their SmartWool gear, post it to Facebook and tag themselves. With the way Facebook changed its newsfeed setting today, everyone and their mother will see the pics. Judging by the amount of submissions, this app is as popular as Smartwool is warm. Lucky submissions will be used for a future Smartwool print ad campaign. Currently, the app is promoted via online and print ads, running in Ski, Outside, Backpacker and Mountain Sports. See the ads here and here, created by Victors & Spoils.

Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaRandom iPhone App of the week: Fans of FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," get ready for some Flipadelphia flip cup action with a free app created by HUGE. The app is based on "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry" episode, and places Paddy's Pub and the game of flip cup close by at all times. Users can play solo against a timer or use Bluetooth to play against friends in the "versus" mode. Miss your flips and expect to be berated by the show's cast. Players can share scores and challenge friends via Facebook, Twitter or email. Download it here.

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

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Diagnose with these 3 Steps


Daily Sales Tip: Troubleshooting the Closing Process

When executives contact me for help, the conversation usually starts with, "My sales people can't close! Can you help me?" Rarely does "weak closing" turn out to be the real issue. Closing is merely the final step of the process. If a runner isn't winning races, it's not because he doesn't have the ability to pull down the finish line tape. There is something else in his game that is impacting performance.

Not sure why your team isn't performing as you expect, let's troubleshoot the issue. Two questions for starters...

1. Did you hire the right salesperson for the role? If you aren't getting the performance levels you expect, you may have selected the wrong person to do the job? If you haven't defined your ideal salesperson for the role, this could be your smoking gun!

2. How did you bring the salesperson onto your team? Many companies leave success to chance and don't have an onboarding program in place during which the salesperson learns how to apply their sales skills in your sales role. Without this bridge, you have a high risk of new hire failure.

If you feel you have the right person on your team and have prepared him/her for success...and you still aren't achieving the results, here are some other areas to investigate.

1. Do you have a well-defined Ideal Client Profile? Not every prospect is a match for your offerings. If you don't have a clear definition of your ideal client, your salespeople could be chasing deals that are nothing more than a mirage. If you are a value-provider and the prospect buys cheap, there's little chance of a deal being consummated.

2. Have you documented your Needs Analysis Strategy? Salespeople need your guidance in determining what questions to ask prospects, when to ask them, why they are relevant and where to direct the conversation based on the received responses.

3. Have you set expectations for Pre-Call Research? No one wants to feel like the sales call of the day. Your salespeople need to master the industry, competitors, prospects and the people who affect the buying decision. Remember, companies don't buy anything...people do!

4. Have your salespeople mastered the Two Most Powerful Words in Sales? These aren't trick words. Yet, mastery of them will guarantee that your salespeople sell more than they ever have before. Unfortunately, they never get to say these words to prospects.

Those two words...Synergy and Priority. Synergy is the connection between buyer challenges and supplier capabilities...the solutions to the problems. Priority answers why now? Synergy gets deals into the sales pipeline. Priority gets them to come out the other side. If your seller can't position priority, he/she will be quickly reminded of the old Roach Motel. Deals will come into the funnel, but they'll never come out!

The next time you think that "weak closing" is the reason your team isn't selling, run through these troubleshooting steps to get to the real issues.

Source: Sales management strategist Lee Salz, founder of Sales Architects

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The new, much less edgy and teen-oriented creative approach has been second-guessed by some in the industry. However, as Technomic President Ron Paul has pointed out, focusing on "fresh" has worked incredibly well for Whole Foods and Subway, and is also now the rallying cry for Target, 7-Eleven and a growing number of other brands. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
In the hopes that it can encourage American men to pull up their pants and ditch their XXL t-shirts, Van Heusen is introducing an "Institute of Style." A partnership with GQ and ESPN, the effort hopes to challenge men to step up their style game, and even share their transformation in a "From Schlub to Swagger" contest on the campaign's website. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Car share company Zipcar has tapped comedian Dan Levy for a video series central to a social media push to promote the Boston-based service as an automotive solution to the frenetic urban life. The effort, "One Crazy Day," is a Facebook-based program where consumers give Levy a series of tasks that have to be completed in one day via Zipcar. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"A leveling out is obviously not a change," Forrest Morgeson, ACSI's director of research, tells Marketing Daily. "Obviously for all customers and the industry, you'd like to see it increase, but [staying still] is not necessarily a bad thing." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The key to getting college students interested in music that falls, broadly, under the banner of "folk" probably isn't that different than trying to get them into cars called Cadillac. Except instead of a "butts in seats" strategy, it's about "buds in ears." ...Read the whole story >>

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The NetFlix Fix?

The words of Laura Ries:

Netflix Strategy is Right and Wrong


There are several important lessons to be learned from the Netflix brand story. In recent days, the story has heated up after CEO Reed Hasting’s Sunday night email blast and blog post.

In his email, Hasting apologized profusely, then turned around and further enraged his loyal 23-million subscriber base by taking the Netflix brand away from its red envelopes. Let me break down the good, the bad and the ugly of this classic story.

In the beginning.

Netflix was founded in 1997 and two years later it became the subscription-based DVD-by-mail service millions of customers in the United States and around the world were incredibly passionate about.

Netflix turned the Blockbuster model on its head. With its strict and steep late fees, Blockbuster created a lot of unhappy customers. So Netflix did the opposite and let consumers keep a movie as long as they wanted. When they returned one movie, they got another one.

It wasn’t as fast as Blockbuster; customers had to wait to get their DVDs in the mail. But no late fees, the fun of picking out your own movies, and the excitement of seeing the red package in the mail built a powerful Netflex brand.

Intense consumer loyalty and unbelievable word-of-mouth helped the Netflix brand took off like a rocket. Ten years later, Netflix had a library of 100,000 titles and 10 million subscribers.

Today, Netflix has 23 million subscribers, a high-flying stock and is very profitable. Last year its stock increased over 200%. Revenue in 2010 jumped 29% to $2.16 billion and net income was up 39% to $161 million. But with profits sometimes comes arrogance.

What’s next

One thing is always certain with technology: change is coming. In music, we went from record, to tape, to CD to digital. In video rental, we went from Betamax, to VHS, to DVD, to pay-per-view, to digital streaming.

Yet, it takes time for a new technology to completely replace an old one. This leaves existing brands in a bind. Do we stick with our profitable bread-and-butter product or do we move to the new technology? It might be small now but one day will probably take over the industry? How do we cross the chasm?

Netflix owns movies-by-mail. They might make a lot of money today, but are not the future. Netflix has wisely bet on streaming as its future. And they have wisely made an aggressive move to be first in the mind in order to dominate the new streaming-video industry. Currently, Netflix is the leader in the category.

But Netflix made a critical error by using the same name on its new streaming business as it does on its existing mail business. It might be logical to take a trusted and loved brand name and extend it from one business to the next. But it doesn’t make marketing sense. As time goes, each business will compete and clash with each other. Having the same name on both businesses is confusing from both a product and especially a pricing stand-point.

What Netflix needed was a new brand name. In his email to subscribers, Reed Hastings eloquently points this out. Except there is one huge problem. Netflix needed the new name for the streaming business and not the mail business.

Netflix means mail. You can’t move a brand so strongly held in the mind into a new position, especially one that is more technologically sophisticated. It is the same reason Barnes & Noble had trouble moving online for books (with the B&N name.) Or Blockbuster had trouble moving from stores to mail or streaming with the Blockbuster name. Both Barnes & Noble and Blockbuster needed new brand names for their online businesses. Now Blockbuster is bankrupt and Barnes & Noble is in trouble. They lost $74 million on sales of $7 billion last year.


Too late

Netflix also made a huge error by doing the name change now. The time for the new streaming brand name was when it launched its streaming business. Not several years later.

Netflix should have launched the new brand using its strong Netflix brand as the endorser. Never underestimate the power of a second brand. Especially when it is launched by a leader. Toyota successfully used this strategy when it launched Lexus, Scion and Prius.

You can’t change the past, but this summer Netflix had much better options than the ones it chose. In July, the company announced price hikes and new separate streaming plans. Almost two months later, it took the Netflix brand away from the 23-million loyal subscribers who love it and slapped it on its streaming service.

To add insult to injury, Netflix will give its movies-by-mail customers a new brand name, Qwikster. Why not just throw your customers down and stomp on their faces?

This summer, the better alternative would have been to buy Hulu. Netflex could then have used Hulu as its streaming TV/movie brand. Netflix, of course, would remain as the mail brand.


When you need a better name, buying a company to use its name can be a great strategy. Chemical Bank bought Chase. And ValueJet brought Airtran.

And if the rumors are right, and a spin-off is in the process, leaving the Netflix name with the mail business would make it more desirable to potential investors. Who wants to own Qwikster? The value of a business has a lot to do with a strong brand name.

For Netflix the future is uncertain. They have created a mess of their own making which has gotten customers extremely angry. The strategy of keeping up with a rapidly-changing technology by launching a second brand was an astute one. Unfortunately they fell down on the branding part and got it all backwards. Netflix is mail and the new brand should have been streaming. Sad to see it happen to such a nice company. Reed, next time call me first.

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Why You Need to Listen 1st

Short and to the point, an extra dose of Seth Godin this week:

Can't watch your parade if the house is on fire

People are in pain. Often of their own making, they tell themselves a story that obsesses/distracts and compels them. "I'll never get a movie gig again," "I can't believe they didn't like what I offered," "My job is in jeopardy," "Money's too tight to buy all the things I want..." "Does my butt look fat in these shorts?"

You can jump up and down and sing and dance and launch fireworks, but if the consumer's story of pain is vivid enough, you will be ignored. When the house is on fire, all your audience wants is a hose.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

By now you know about Netflix, but do you know about these other stories?

by Tanya Irwin
The name Qwikster was chosen because it refers to quick delivery. There are no new pricing changes. Some other things won't change, CEO Reed Hastings told subscribers in a Sept. 19 email. "For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy," he wrote. "The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
NASCAR is bringing back its "Send Me 2 Vegas" promotion and Ford Motor Co., Coca-Cola and the Game Show Network are all on board as sponsors. The grand prize is a 2012 Ford Explorer XLT SUV, two VIP tickets to NASCAR "After The Lap," the opportunity to be featured in an on-air promotional spot on the Game Show Network and a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Sarah Mahoney
Alberto VO5's new owner says it will reposition the old haircare brand, with marketing and advertising expected to appear early next year. "Our intent is to reinvigorate the brands with product innovation, and by re-engaging with the consumer," Brynwood's managing partner Dario U. Margve tells Marketing Daily, including new packaging, new marketing and new ads. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Customer experience management (CEM) is in danger of being "misunderstood into extinction," maintains Steven Walden, senior head of research and consulting for Beyond Philosophy. The study found that 78% of executives now in CE have been redeployed from areas such as marketing and customer service, with no background in CE. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Ally Bank is launching its first new ad campaign in almost exactly one year. Creative centers on the concept of "people sense" -- or on the financial institution's goal of doing right by its customers, because it also makes good business sense. This is the first new work for Ally in almost exactly one year. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Automakers are moving into the mobile media market, particularly with location-based programs. Mobile automotive display advertising increased 169% from 2009 to 2010. That's 33,277 versus 19,724 auto, aftermarket, and related entities, according to comScore. ...Read the whole story >>

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Dealing With Shorter Attention Spans

Mediapost featured a story from a 20-something year old, (Gen Y), that gives some tips on how to deal with shorter attention spans.

Don't think it's just Gen Y.

I know 60 year olds who have this same condition.

As a matter of fact, it's not just a generational thing, it's a lifestyle thing. So, everyone ought to pay attention to this:

How To Break Through Gen Y's ADD
My generation -- Gen Y -- is the most over-stimulated group of people there will likely ever be. We came into a rapidly evolving world of technology, with TVs in every room of our childhood houses and our phones buzzing every five minutes with a text from a friend.

The good thing is that this is an evolution and some brands -- such as and Hipmunk -- are snagging Gen Yers by breaking through that mass of confusion-inducing, Flash-saturated websites to put together a model of working with Gen Y consumers.

Perfect Your User Interface Take a look at and then check out It's pretty easy to guess which one has venture capitalists falling over themselves to back.

Hipmunk is revolutionizing travel search by stripping its website to a uber-functional search engine and removing all of the distractions. The search results let you sort by a number of criteria and make it easy to see which flights have WiFi.

Hipmunk makes it easy to focus because it's streamlined and functional. There is very little chance I will click on a banner and break away from my path to booking.

Remind to Retain One of the top iPhone apps in a survey from L2 ThinkTank of Gen Y affluents is The financial management website with bank-level security pulls in your checking, savings, investment, and credit card accounts to make budgeting a cinch.

It's free, it has the simplest interface of any of the popular financial websites and it has a brilliant system of reminders about everything from upcoming bills and low checking account balances to notices that I'm paying more than the average user for car insurance. becomes somewhat indispensable for Gen Y users who are risk averse when it comes to investing, according to a recent survey from MFS Investment Management. The worry of managing your money is at least relieved a little by this amazing system of notices and reminders.

Take that one step further, how awesome would it be to have my local J. Crew send me a notification that the pants I wanted are now in stock in my size?

Set it and forget it.

Hire Amazing Copywriters Know what you want to say and get people who can convey that in a simple, clever, straightforward manner.

Cut out the clutter of your product descriptions and sales messages to grab a Gen Y user's attention, hold on to it and convert a sale. From a website to a brochure or flyer, copywriting should be a priority.

The multi-screen, multi-tab Gen Y consumer is unlikely to become any more focused in the near future, so design well, follow-up often and write the best copy you possibly can.

Patrick Evans is a Gen Y member marketing to Gen Y consumers as marketing and communications manager at STA Travel, the youth travel expert enabling students and young adults to explore the world by creating experiences filled with adventure, discovery and personal growth. Chat with him on Twitter at @statravelUS or @thatpatrick.

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Listen to what's not being Said


Uncovering the REAL Reason

As a business owner or sales manager, we constantly hear the same responses from our sales team when they fail to close a deal. Here are some common examples: "The competition bought the business;" "Everything is on hold right now;" "Budgets are frozen;" or the number one response, "Our price was too high."

What's the real reason they turned us down? We'll never really know, unless we ask the right, and sometimes tough, questions up front. The more accurately you identify the issues and the prospect's concerns, the easier it is to qualify the opportunity.

Identifying our prospect's resistance to buy also requires listening between the lines. Not everything said in conversation represents the whole story. Your sales team needs to read body language, eye contact and voice inflection throughout the sales process to identify where their prospect is raising an objection -- even when they don't say it out loud. For example, did they cringe when the salesperson mentioned price, delivery schedule or quantity. When that happened, did the salesperson seize the opportunity to ask direct questions on that issue?

By asking the right questions and "reading" the prospect, salespeople may not always get a "Yes" answer, but at least they'll find out why the prospect said "No' or "Not right now."

Source: Sales consultant Steve Hackett

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
A new series of videos featuring Doug and his perpetually chagrined sidekick and ersatz Ford marketer John reflect a partnership with auto-vertical publisher Bonita Springs, Fla.-based Source Interlink Media (SIM). The videos star the real staff of SIM's Automobile Magazine. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
According to a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by Insight Research Group (along with digital music service eMusic), more than half (53%) of those who purchase music online also buy digital music files to own. The survey found consumers like to use streaming services to discover and listen to new music before they purchase it. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
In addition to underscoring the universally free shipping offer, it builds on the Freeport, Maine-based company's commitment to both customer service and quality, David Hughes, account director at GSD&M, which handles the account, tells Marketing Daily. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Miller Lite will give a "man cave" to two winners every time race car driver Brad Keselowski wins during The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New Sprint Cup Series sponsor Dollar General is running a sweepstakes through Nov. 12 in 9,500 stores nationwide, with participation from such NASCAR official partners as Unilever and Coca-Cola. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
With the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new MyPlate icon driving home the message that healthy eating means making vegetables and fruits half of each meal and First Lady Michelle Obama aggressively promoting her "Let's Move" initiatives to stem childhood obesity, Birds Eye sees an unprecedented opportunity to get more of its frozen vegetables onto Americans' plates. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"One of the most interesting developments in the area of social good is the rise of 'shared value' -- by putting social issues at the center of their strategy, brands can benefit their business, their customers and society in general." ...Read the whole story >>

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