Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bad Economy means Good News

At least for some businesses:

For Some Products, Recession Is Not All Bad

It's not all doom and gloom in the U.S. economy. Some products are bucking the recession and flying off store shelves.

Sales of chocolate and running shoes are up. Wine drinkers haven't stopped sipping; they just seem to be choosing cheaper vintages.

Gold coins are selling like hot cakes. So are gardening seeds. Tanning products are piling up in shopping carts; maybe more people are finding color in a bottle than from sun-worshipping on a faraway beach.

Strong sales of Spam, Dinty Moore stew and chili helped Hormel Foods Corp. post a 6 percent increase in first quarter sales in its grocery products unit.

Consumers have trimmed household budgets and postponed buying cars, major appliances and other big-ticket items. Yet they still are willing to shell out for small indulgences and goods that make life more comfortable at home, where they are spending more time.

Recession shoppers also are drawn to items that make them feel safe, both personally and financially.

"The focus on the family hearth is something that has happened in nearly every recession. It's, 'How can I have more fun at home?"' said Paco Underhill, whose company, Envirosell, monitors the behavior of shoppers and sellers across the U.S. and in other countries.

"People are much more focused on their homes and their immediate happiness and they're buying things that they can use themselves -- seeds, fishing equipment. Lipstick and chocolate are small rewards that make you feel better."

Profits in the first three months of 2009 at Hershey Co., the nation's second-largest candy maker, surged 20 percent and beat Wall Street's expectations. Kraft Foods Inc. reported double-digit growth in macaroni and cheese dinners -- the consummate comfort food.

Recessions, it seems, are good for love, too. Over the final three months of 2008, condom sales rose 5 percent and reported its strongest performance in seven years.

But economic woes are as rough on the tummy as they are on the wallet. Chicago-based market researcher Information Resources Inc. reports that sales of laxative liquids and powders rose 11.5 percent for the 52 weeks ending April 19. Sales of stomach remedy tablets, including Pepto-Bismol and Phillips brands, climbed 8 percent.

As expected during any economic slump, recession shoppers looking for deals have boosted sales at discount chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Dollar Tree Inc. sneaked into this year's Fortune 500 for the first time, at No. 499.

There's a general tendency to trade down, according to Leo J. Shapiro & Associates, a consulting firm in Chicago. That means eating dinner at the kitchen table instead of restaurants, buying used cars and shopping at do-it-yourself auto parts stores. It means spending less on clothes. Sales at luxury retailer Saks Inc. fell 32 percent last month. Sales at Goodwill Industries International stores in the U.S. and Canada jumped by 7 percent in March.

"If you're used to eating out, maybe you're now buying a high-end steak at the supermarket," said Bill Patterson, a senior analyst in Chicago with Mintel International, which supplies consumer, product and media intelligence. "If you eat at home mostly, maybe you are going down from the branded product to a private label."

People are not drinking as much beer or wine at bars and restaurants, but they haven't stopped drinking. The Wine Institute says that despite the recession, U.S. sales of California wines totaled about 467 million gallons last year -- 2 percent more than the year before. But people are looking more closely at cheaper selections: The overall retail value of California wine sales fell slightly from 2007, the institute said.

Those on the go are not shying away from footing the bill for sturdy running shoes. Sales increased 2 percent in 2008, said Tom Doyle at the National Sporting Goods Association in Mount Prospect, Ill.

"Runners aren't going to hurt themselves to save a few bucks," he said. Likewise, sales of bicycle helmets are up as parents continue to spend money to protect youngsters, he said.

The financial meltdown produced more interest in home safes. Coin dealers are awash in customers as investors big and small see the safety of gold.

Sunshine Minting Inc. in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which supplies gold blanks to the U.S. Mint, doubled its work force in 2008.

"It just came on like gangbusters," said president Tom Power, who struggled to hire, train and get new equipment to handle demand that doubled, then tripled. "You can't just flip a switch and jump up production overnight."

Guns are selling well, too. Total firearms sales rose 27.5 percent at Smith & Wesson for the three months ending Jan. 31. It's not a sudden interest in hunting behind the increase; hunting firearm sales at the company declined during the quarter by 46 percent.

Gun sales are being driven by concern that the Obama administration will tighten gun laws. But people also are feeling a level of fear and heightened interest in self-reliance as they weather the recession.

"They are looking down the road going 'What could happen here?"' Underhill said. "I think a lot of Americans are truly scared. One of the things that tickles is our pioneer ethos, which is, 'I feel better with a year's supply of toilet paper' and 'Maybe I should start canning and pickling."'

Many people already are.

The number of home vegetable gardens is predicted to jump more than 40 percent this year, compared with two years ago, according to the National Gardening Association. Sales of vegetable seeds such as green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and lettuce climbed 30 percent as of March at W. Atlee Burpee, a large seed company in Warminster, Pa. It organized a basic training course called "root camp" for hundreds of would-be gardeners this month outside Philadelphia.

Still, when the economy grinds to a halt, people clench their teeth. That could mean spending money at the dentist.

There's no statistical evidence, but dentists such as Dr. Matthew Messina in Cleveland, Ohio., are seeing more people with tooth-grinding injuries.

"The body responds the same way to a real threat, 'There's a burglar in the house,' as it does to a perceived stress like 'I'm worried I'm going to lose the house,"' Messina said.

(Source: Associated Press, 05/16/09)

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Who knows?

And what are you know for?

A few interesting thoughts from Seth Godin recently:

On becoming a household name

The guidance office at the high school has a big poster for Wellesley College hanging by the door. It's just a picture of a building, no features, no benefits, no text at all.

Kids apply to schools (a quarter of a million dollar investment) for crazy reasons. A big one: "Well, I've heard of it."

Gonzaga University features basketball players on their home page. No doubt a few people attend to play basketball, but my guess is that the school believes that the fame of their school will somehow get someone who doesn't play to attend.

It's completely irrational and it's also what your customers do every day.

Being a familiar name takes you miles closer to closing a sale. People like to buy from companies they've heard of.

It turns out that this is an overlooked benefit of banner ads. Banner ads are fairly worthless in terms of generating clickthroughs... you have to trick too much and manipulate too much to get clicks worth much of anything. But, if you build ads with no intent of clicks, no hope for clicks... then you can focus on ads that drill your name or picture or phrase into my head. 100 impressions and you're almost famous.

A household name. Not for everyone, but for people who matter.

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Free E-book

from Jill Konrath:

Selling to Big Companies Blog

Complimentary Ebook: 5 Essential Strategies for Highly Effective Initial Meetings

Posted: 19 May 2009 06:35 AM PDT

G2MC_5EssentialsIt's not easy to secure the full attention of decision makers - even for just a few minutes. Whether you have 15 minutes for a phone conversation or 30 minutes for an online presentation, your prospect must feel like their time is well spent.

To make that happen, your initial meeting must be strategically designed for a lasting (and profitable) impact. My new eBook shows you how to do that. In it, you'll discover:

  • Why most first meetings fail miserably.
  • What it takes to really engage customers in the conversation.
  • How to flip your focus to what's really important.
  • Strategies to enhance your credibility in just one meeting.
  • How to effortlessly advance to the logical next step.
  • ...and much more!

Get your complimentary copy of 5 Essential Strategies for Highly Effective Initial Meetings now.

I hope you enjoy it! And, please forward this to your colleagues who might be interested in learning more.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Pop-tarts and booze:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The celebrity tie-ins include a "Call of the Wild" sweepstakes in which the winner and three friends will receive an "all-access" weekend to see Kid Rock perform live in Las Vegas, as well as other prizes. Fans can enter through the Jim Beam and Red Stag sites, their Facebook fan pages, or via SMS mobile messaging. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Levi's move comes at an interesting time, because while both jeans marketers and specialty retailers continue to struggle, there's plenty of evidence that the denim market is way tougher than other types of discretionary spending, and shoppers just aren't letting the recession scare them away from buying new jeans. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
All this week, the company has been announcing band participation via news, gaming and entertainment programming (both Web and television). Through the game's official site,, consumers are encouraged to find these news items. Properties involved in the announcements include,, Yahoo News, G4 (and G4TV), as well as the sites of the bands themselves. ...Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The American Legacy Foundation's Eric Asche says the cinema verite approach is what "truth" has done along with street theatre campaigns and guerrilla marketing activities. "It's so much better than anything we could possibly script because it's genuine; you can't replicate the shock people have when they learn the facts [about tobacco]." ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
The fully integrated marketing campaign also includes print, radio, online and outdoor advertisements. A new Web site,, includes links to the TV spots. There's also a Food Lions Brand Matching Game where consumers can win coupons while getting to know the store brands that the grocer carries. ... Read the whole story > >
by Mark Walsh
Heralding potentially broader sales, netbooks are gaining traction among the digerati in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles. New data from market research firm NPD Group shows that major coastal markets are driving netbook sales, which in turn are boosting overall sales of laptops. ...Read the whole story > >

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Junk Mail?

Here's a prediction from

Eclipsed by E-mail, Direct Mail to Tumble 39% by 2013

Direct mail is being negatively affected by online efforts, specifically email, and is expected to decline 39% in the next five years - from $49.7 billion in annual spend in 2008 to $29.8 billion by then end of 2013, according to a report from Borrell Associates, writes MarketingVOX.

This decline will relegate direct mail from the primary beneficiary of ad revenue to the fourth, as it falls behind the internet, broadcast TV and newspapers, the firm predicted, noting that “direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover.”

The report, entitled “Direct Mail Falls, E-mail Soars,” said the increase in e-mail is the primary reason for the corresponding decline in direct-mail revenues. “Last year, e-mail advertising quietly moved to the #1 online ad category spot, surpassing all other forms of interactive advertising,” Borrell Associates wrote.

In ‘08, advertisers spent $12.1 billion on email marketing - more than what they spent on search ads or display/banner ads. The report predicts that e-mail will grow to $15.7 billion by 2013 and remain the preferred channel among many marketers:


Local Email to Rise

Local e-mail is expected to account for a significant portion of e-mail growth overall. Borrell Associates forecasts that local e-mail advertising will grow from $848 million in 2008, to $2 billion in 2013, as more small businesses abandon direct-mail couponing and promotions and turn to the measurable and less costly online medium.

Online coupons are credited, in part, with expediting direct mail’s demise. A report by PriceGrabber noted 53% of online Americans say the recession compels them to spend more time on the internet, where they research purchases to suppress impulse buying and shopping for deals that do not include shipping fees or sales tax.

According to Platform-A and Information Resources (IRI), 90 million US consumers (78% of retail shoppers) currently use newspaper coupons, and 40 million (40% of shoppers) say they are likely to use coupons accessed online.

Borrell Associates observed that 8% of US adults now claim to use coupons delivered via e-mail or the internet at large.

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Another approach to No

from a recent email:

Daily Sales Tip: Reject Rejection

Whether times are good or bad, you encounter rejection every day.

When you're creating new business in challenging times, rejection may be harder to accept. In reality, rejection should give you more drive and ambition to succeed.

Rejection can come from many sources: Catching someone on a bad day; customers' lack of desire to try something new; your products and services don't seem to fit the problem; or the message may not be clear and concise.

Your role in creating new business is to actively zero in on where rejection is coming from. Confirm that the opportunity is correct and try again with improved strategies.

The most successful business sale often comes after multiple rejections. Stay positive, focused, and flexible -- using rejection to help define the road you take to build success.

Source: Sales consultant/trainer Christine Corelli (

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Mediapost writes 'em:

by Karlene Lukovitz
A decline in the number of kids eating out is also contributing to the trend. After three years of growth, traffic for parties with kids declined by 5% during the three months ending in February 2009 compared to the same period last year. Both quick-serve and full-service restaurants saw such traffic losses, and the declines were heaviest among kids under six. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
The campaign highlights the power of control the gel offers to overactive bladder patients rather than focusing on the predictable embarrassment and stigma associated with OAB. Gelnique is a quick-drying, clear and colorless, fragrance-free hydroalcoholic gel containing oxybutynin chloride. It is applied once daily to the thigh, abdomen, upper arm or shoulder. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
In North America, after adjusting for that acquisition, sales fell 13% in U.S. dollars, and internationally, sales slipped 11% in local currency. On a comparable-store basis, sales declined 8%, "reflecting declines in average order size and weakness in durable categories such as business machines and furniture, somewhat offset by growth in ink and cut sheet paper." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Ford is showing all its cars at once in a campaign focused on design for the European market. The campaign features a TV spot meant to illustrate that Ford's kinetic designs for its Euro vehicles make the cars look like they are going fast even if they're standing still. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
Although most carriers have cell phone recycling programs, other ideas -- such as committing to plant a tree for each purchase or supplying a cell phone recycling envelope with the purchase of a new phone -- have yet to catch on as they have in other consumer technology sectors. ... Read the whole story > >
by Erik Sass
Tom Thumb and Randalls -- both owned by Safeway -- are currently cooperating with packaged-goods manufacturers General Mills, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark to offer shoppers 21 coupons for goods like pre-packaged tossed salad and children's cereal. Selected coupons are registered with shoppers' loyalty accounts. ... Read the whole story > >

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New Ad Campaigns

From Amy at Mediapost:

Camping products that are out of this world. A bank that cuts the crap. Time for a "spending intervention." Let's launch!

EA Sports Active for the Wii debuted on May 19, and Electronic Arts launched a TV, print and event marketing campaign, targeting women, prior to the launch. "I'm Active" shows women boxing, running in place, doing lunges and bicep curls, with EA Sports Active keeping score. The reasons to get fit differ from woman to woman: strength, endurance and date night are a few causes for motivation. This is a workout that offers convenience because it's done at home and saves users a trip to the gym. And you can sweat on your home rug! See the 30- and 60-second spots here and here. Print ads, running in People, InStyle, Shape and Family Circle, offer additional reasons for being active. Think skinny jeans and bikinis. See the ads here, here and here, created by Draftfcb San Francisco.

This ad makes me want to plant something while wearing a shirt that reads, "compost happens." Clearly, I'm a fan of garden humor. The ad for yard equipment manufacturer Troy-Bilt is the brand's first TV spot in five years. It also includes a clip from the song "Shinin' Down," written by Austin Hartley-Leonard solely for the TV spot. The song can be downloaded for free at and for a limited time on iTunes. The ad is full of DIYers wearing their love of gardening on their shirts, cars and belt buckles, adorned with quirky sayings like, "compost happens," "kiss my grass" and "I love heirlooms." Watch the ad here. Marcus Thomas created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Children tell it like it is, so if you want an honest, unfiltered answer, ask a kid. Ally Bank, a unit of GMAC Financial Services, launched four great TV spots where children play the role of consumer and react to a bank's hidden clauses and fine-print jargon. A little girl is about to take her bike for a ride when a suit stops her from moving the bike out of a red, rectangular box. If she leaves the box, he'll have to charge her. "I can't really ride in this little space," says the girl. Exactly! The spot, seen here, promotes Ally's no-penalty CD. The man plays hide and seek with a boy in the next ad, shown here, and promptly leaves the tyke once he's hidden in a playhouse. "Pony" is my favorite ad. Two girls sit across from the suit, who asks the first girl if she wants a pony. She says yes and receives a toy. The next girl answers similarly to the same question, except she gets a REAL pony. The look on the first girl's face is priceless. "You didn't say I could have a real one," says the first girl. "Well, you didn't ask," replies the suit. See the ad here. "Truck" is the final ad in the series and watches the suit take away a toy truck from a boy because it was a limited-time offer. He replaces the truck with a cardboard cutout and the boy calls it junk. Love it. Watch the ad here. BBH New York created the ads.

I didn't think Boost Mobile could get any more "Unwrong'd" than its TV spot See it here. The next ad shows Patrick's pit crew dressed in drag as they pump gas and change tires. See it here. Both spots promote Boost Mobile's $50 a month unlimited service. 180LA created the ads. of a hungry coroner who eats his burrito after it dropped on a cadaver, but I'm wrong. Man boobs trump hunger. The latest ads in the company's "Unwrong'd" campaign star Danica Patrick, man boobs and men in drag. Patrick signs two sets of man boobs in the first ad, even remarking that one man had a great rack. Oy.

Live long and prosper. And charge your cell phone while camping, for that authentic wilderness feel. Brunton launched a print campaign for its high-tech camping products that's out of this world. Really. Creative takes place on another planet, and launched about the same time that "Star Trek" was released. Ads, running in Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, Backpacker, Field & Stream and Camping Life, promote a solar panel, which provides electricity anywhere, a dual-fuel coffee maker and combination range/grill. Under the tag line "The Future of Camping," ads feature a sky filled with two moons, floating square and hexagonal boulders and pithy copy such as, "screw flying cars." See the ads here, here and here. Cultivator Advertising & Design created the campaign and Backbone Media handled the media buy.

Qwest offers free Wi-Fi at places you'd want to frequent, as opposed to being an unmarried man who attends birthing classes so he can snag free Wi-Fi. Once the teacher discovers him, he asks her for a pillow. See the ad here. Two previous ads from the company touted its free automatic data back-up option for customers. One ad showed a young boy forced to relive his childhood because his Dad ruined his laptop and lost all baby pictures. Watch the ad here. Another ad features a grad student who lost her thesis when her computer crashed. She now spends her time milking and artificially inseminating cows. See it here. Draftfcb Chicago created the ads and Initiative handled the media buy.

Marshalls/T.J. Maxx launched two "Spending Intervention" TV spots, marking the first time the companies have been featured together in a campaign. The ads follow a group of girlfriends who stage interventions for their friends who spend entirely too much money on designer labels when they can simply shop at Marshalls or T.J. Maxx for the same products at lower prices. See the ads here and here. GSD&M Idea City created the ads and Hill Holiday handled the media buy.

Earlier this year, Ovaltine launched a print campaign touting the wealth of vitamins and minerals packed into one glass, and an online video that places an operatic twist on children spitting out deplorable vegetables. The video is precious and the operatic voice belts out "The Yuck Song" to the tune of the "Habanera," from "Carmen." Watch it here. Four print ads, running in Parents, Parenting, American Baby and Wondertime, show a side-by-side comparison of Ovaltine and a gross culinary concoction that contains less vitamins than Ovaltine. Who wants spinach-sardine yogurt? See the ads here, here, here and here. Marcus Thomas created the campaign, Moxie Interactive handled the online media buy and Zenith Optimedia handled the print media buy.
Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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A few details that make a difference...

Part of my new business involves cleaning up and improving the small details that can make a big difference in your marketing. This article mentions a few of them...
New Dog, Old Tricks It is interesting that New Media is learning from Radio how to achieve success for advertisers. Here is an article from last month's Media Post.

The Science & Art of Audio-Based Mobile Ads

Ask 100 mobile marketers why a particular mobile ad works and another doesn't and you're likely to get 100 different opinions. Unfortunately, there's no right answer. But with voice ads, we've discovered there are some things you can do, with both the art and the science, which can make the difference between good response and great.

The Art of Crafting Voice Ads
Just because audio ads can sound like Radio spots doesn't mean they necessarily should. In-call voice ads aren't broadcasts....they're effectively uni-casts, delivered right into the ear of a listener. Most of us don't talk like Radio announcers when we call our friends, so it makes sense that the most successful ads use voices and vocal deliveries that sound personal....dare I say, intimate. Our best-performing ads have been those that sound and feel like a personal conversation, rather than a pre-packaged monologue.

Also, the gender of the voice matters a lot, depending on what the promotion is. Campaign opt-in rates almost double from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent when switching from a male voice to a female voice. Why? Because the ad was targeting parents, and the motherly voice was more reassuring to our callers. In other campaigns, though, the male voice got the better response, usually those that were targeting teens and young adults. We've seen responses in the 6-8 percent range for some of our more "manly" promotions.

The Art of The Offer
Sure, hearing a targeted brand message on the phone is worth something, but with mobile, you can do so much more, such as offering things like promo codes, coupons, directions, or links to free stuff. In fact, one recent A/B test we did had response rates shoot up nearly 4X by offering a free mobile ringtone.

How about a little reminder? One option is SMS messages that can be scheduled for delivery at a specific time in the future. We are currently running a TV tune-in campaign that will send out an alert with details of that week's show (special guests, clues, teasers, etc). This way, we are mobilizing thousands of viewers to watch each week. It's key to keep the messages targeted and relevant and even a little quirky to keep the audience wanting more.

The Science of Crafting Voice Ads
Voice User Interface (VUI) Designers can talk for hours on the science of how to structure effective voice ads. For example, there's a big difference between, "Press 1 now to get your coupon," and "To get your coupon, press 1 now." The reason comes down to our faulty memories. By putting the offer BEFORE the action, people are better able to remember what they're supposed to do and are consistently more likely to do it.

It is also important to align the call-to-action with how the brain would think about it. Here's a typical marketing versus VUI discussion I had last week. I wanted to have the call-to-action of a particular campaign be the brand name of our customer (assume it was Gatorade), so it would say "To get your dollar-off coupon, say Gatorade." I figured it would further impress the brand in the customer's mind and on their lips. But I lost out to the argument that the time-tested, most effective way to get someone to act is to align the action word with the requested behavior, so our call-to-action now says "To get your coupon, say 'Send it!'" And, by golly, it is working well.

The Next Frontier
Voice advertising is new to many marketers, but has been gaining wider and following. It works on all 5 billion phones in the world, including 3.5 billion mobile phones, and usually gets 5 to 10X the opt-in rates of online ads. As with every emerging advertising medium, we learn new and interesting things on a daily basis, on both the science and art of creating effective ads.

(Source: Media Post, 04/13/09. The complete story can be found here.)

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Fixing the Sales Slump

A free e-book you can download...

Selling through a Slump: An Industry-Specific Guide on How to Sell Your Way to Recovery

Download this Free New Ebook from The Customer Collective

Selling in a recession is tough. And simply doing more of the same is not the way to survive, much less thrive, in a recession. There are important dos and don'ts in times like these. This eBook is your industry-specific roadmap out of the economic slump.

Selling through a Slump: An Industry-by-Industry Playbook
brings together sales strategies and best practices from 11 top sales experts from 11 distinct vertical market sectors, ranging from retail to health care to telecom—because one size doesn’t always fit all.
The practical tips and experience-based wisdom here aren't just limited to any single industry, though. Regardless of your market sector, you're bound to find value in this arsenal of great sales ideas. Download Now

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

Wow, Wednesday already. Short week due to Memorial Day in the USA. Here's the latest from Mediapost:

by Sarah Mahoney
"Consumers are clearly showing us that they value this avenue for beauty," says the NPD Group. "The Internet crosses all channels from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, to TV, to direct sellers. There is still room for more Internet shoppers to buy through Web sites, instead of going somewhere else to make the actual purchases." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
BMW's Mini USA division is launching a campaign aimed at vampires. Actually, the effort is from HBO -- and although it seems like a Mini campaign, it's really to promote the show "True Blood." The effort, for the second season of the show extends last year's launch campaign centering on faux ads for the eponymous blood substitute. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
Advertisers seem to be on a litigious streak, with the latest example a lawsuit by the maker of Ball Park hot dogs against Kraft Foods Inc.'s Oscar Mayer brand. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
While many categories would have welcomed 6% growth last year, that represented a slowdown for functional foods, which grew by 8% in 2007. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Financial services firms have sunk to their lowest rating ever in Forrester Research Inc.'s annual customer advocacy ranking. "Given the mistrust and anger that consumers currently have toward the financial services sector, customer advocacy has never been more relevant," said Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Bill Doyle in a statement. ... Read the whole story > >

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Teaming Up

Sounds like a winner for all:

This Packaging Makes Mother Earth Glad

Especially for those of us trying to reduce our negative impact on the planet, the volume of waste generated by food packaging is discouraging. Cardboard cartons, plastic bottles and vacuum-sealed pouches—a single meal might produce a pile of trash. You can recycle, certainly, but it would be nicer to limit what winds up in a bin of any color.

That's why luncheon meats sold by Hillshire Farms hold special appeal, not because of the product itself but because of the standard-issue Gladware it comes in. Simply peel the label off of the lid, and you have small storage container—branded as Glad—that can be used again and again.

A post at the Recipeeps 4 Us blog notes that the decision to purchase Hillshire Farms ham and turkey was cinched by the container. "I liked the idea of being able to reuse the packaging instead of just throwing it away," the writer says, "plus I needed some more Gladware that size anyway. The price was right in line with all the rest of the lunch meat, as well."

Hillshire Farms delivers Marketing Inspiration by giving customers an added incentive to choose its products; they not only cut down on waste, they get a brand-name item that's probably next to the cold cuts on their shopping list.

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Not really about baseball

This was in my email last Friday from Drew...

The Marketing Minute

Five Sales Pitch Fundamentals That Win Business in a Recession (Joey Asher)

Posted: 22 May 2009 03:19 AM PDT

32139748 Drew's Note: As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet another thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado...Joey Asher. Again. Enjoy!

I attended many high school parties where there weren’t enough girls. Competition for dance partners was fierce. That’s what the marketplace looks like in today’s recession. New business is scarce. And competition is fierce.

Just as when there aren’t enough dance partners, when business is scarce you need to hone your pitch. In your next sales presentation, focus on five fundamentals to separate yourself from your competition.

Fundamental #1. Present a solution and nothing else. Many of your competitors start presentations by talking about themselves. “Before we start, let me tell you about how our company began . . .” Blah. Blah. Blah. Who cares? Your prospect only cares about is how you can save them money, grow their revenues, or reduce their risk. Detail your plan to help your prospect and tell stories about how the plan has worked for others.

Fundamental # 2. Keep it simple. I watched three construction firms pitch to build a new school. No presentation had less than 10 points. None of the messages were memorable. Instead, you should hammer at three messages. “We’ll build your project on time. We’ll meet your budget. We’ll deliver quality work.” Simplicity separates you from the competition.

Fundamental # 3. Speak with passion. If you’re one of three firms competing, you know that your competition can do a great job. Personal style can be the separator. “When it’s close, many of the decisions just come down to who connects with us best,” one CEO told me. Passion in the voice helps you connect.

Fundamental #4. Leave half of your time for questions. Questions address your prospect’s hot buttons. Your competition often makes Q&A an afterthought. Avoid that mistake.

Fundamental #5. Rehearse. “I can always tell who has rehearsed,” said one CEO who has heard hundreds of sales presentations. Most people don’t rehearse much. Practicing sets you apart.

In a recession, the pool of new business is small. Focus on fundamentals to grab your share.

Joey Asher is Joey Asher is President of Speechworks, a communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people communicate more effectively for over 20 years. This post is adapted from Joey Asher’s new book “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition. You can also read Joey's blog at Talking Points.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News

Wrapping up a busy & productive day with this from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Destination DC ran promotions with "National Treasure" and its sequel, but the organization says this is bigger because it involves partnerships with major national brands tied to the movie. The organization is coordinating airfare and accommodations for two separate major consumer brand promotions. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The road show is being sponsored by the Dallas/Fort Worth Area Tourism Council, the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau and SeaWorld San Antonio. Tourism is one Texas's largest industries. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The traditional, social media, out-of-home, and grassroots elements are intended to give the films the feel of a campaign for a studio release or a new TV show. Movie-banner type outdoor ads focused in the New York metro area are in New York's Penn Station, on double-decker buses, on New Jersey Transit, and on New York City wild-posting sites. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Themed "There's More to Maine," online, print and TV ads target New York, Boston, and Canada, long the state's key markets. And the effort is aimed at letting potential visitors know the state has plenty of additional recreation opportunities. "Typically, Maine's competition is the other New England states," says a spokesperson. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
One ad shows a boy and his father in a tent lit by the flickering glow of a fire. "The crickets sure are loud tonight," the father says in response to a chirping noise. The noise is revealed to be a fax machine, the fire is on the man's laptop and the tent is in an office cubicle. "There's no substitute for a great Minnesota vacation," says a voiceover as the scene switches to a real campsite. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
Michigan is running its first-ever national tourism campaign, including a $10 million national cable TV buy. State officials say it's a sound investment since it will help diversify the state's economy. Four new television commercials will air more than 5,000 times nationally on cable TV. ... Read the whole story > >

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Combining Social Media & Local Radio

Since I work in both of these medias, I found this very interesting. Hope you do too:

Content Marketing Today

Deliver a Content Marketing K.O. with a One-Two Radio Combination

wheeler talk radio station WFIR Build Your Brand and Your Business by Using Local Radio to Drive Prospects to Your Blog

The key to a powerful online presence is great content that targets your best buyers. Over time, as you increase the critical mass of relevant and compelling content, you will attract increasing levels of traffic. This is the essence of content marketing strategy. But, you can do more without breaking the bank by extending and enhancing your online persona with carefully crafted radio commercials.

Although traditional media is facing enormous challenges, smart media companies will certainly survive. I became even more convinced of this following my recent visit to Roanoke Virginia where I spent some quality time with the Mel Wheeler, Inc. radio folks and quite a few of their customers and prospects.

Wheeler, and especially my host, Lynda Foster, work closely with clients to help them succeed by teaching them how to do a better job of marketing. This may not always result in immediate radio advertising dollars, but it does strengthen the local businesses and the business community. I am certain that it will ultimately bond dozens and dozens of local advertisers to Wheeler’s Southwest Virginia radio stations as we work our way out of the recession. This is great content marketing by Lynda and her colleagues.

Accelerating the impact of content marketing with smart radio strategies

As we explored the ways in which enhanced content marketing strategies could benefit many of Wheeler’s customers, what became obvious was that, by combining terrific online content with the power of radio to drive targeted traffic, even very small companies can achieve accelerated marketing results. This is especially true in the arena of personal branding.

Superb content marketing creates a powerful personal brand because it establishes you as an expert in your field. It positions you as the person that you’re current and future customers can trust to solve their problems.

The first, and most important step in establishing your content marketing presence is to create a blog powered website which is chock-full of timely, targeted, and compelling content.

The second very important step is to establish a promotional strategy which moves lots of prospective customers to your online home. Much of this will be done by maximizing your site for search engines so that you are easily findable by Google and its competitors. But that strategy takes time to succeed. You can generate tangible results more quickly by adding other marketing weapons to your arsenal. It seems to me that a smart local radio campaign may be an excellent next step.

Here’s why I think radio plus content marketing can be a powerful combination:

  • You can easily extend the reach of your content marketing approach to a 60 second radio spot. You can do your own commercials in which you share content that is intrinsically valuable and that is an engaging introduction to what’s available online. Thus, you are both strengthening your personal brand and driving traffic to your website.
  • Radio is both a personal and a local media entity. This makes it appropriate for small companies who market within the local economy and are trying to build personal brands in the minds of their prospects.
  • Radio is one of the more affordable of the traditional media choices. Although the cost varies by market, Lynda Foster pointed out that an effective radio campaign would probably cost about as much as a one third page ad in the Yellow Pages. This might translate into $1500-$2000 per month in a market like SW Virginia where Wheeler is located.
  • Radio advertising results are easily measured, particularly if you are asking people to go to your website. All marketers are looking for tangible ROI for their marketing investment. Unlike many other choices, the ability of radio to drive traffic instantly to your content rich website delivers exactly such results. Very importantly, with tools such as Google analytics you can measure results precisely, including the time of day visitors flocked to your site following a commercial.
  • Your local radio stations can help you create effective 60 second spots. Few of us know what works well as advertising within a medium such as radio. Fortunately, the folks who are working with you to develop a campaign are experts at creating commercials designed specifically to generate traffic.
  • You can experiment with different approaches such as time of day, programming format, frequency, and message without being locked in full year contract as you are with the Yellow Pages. Because your results will be almost immediate, it is easy to fine-tune your approach to maximize its effectiveness. If it’s not working, stop. If it’s working do more of it.

One critical note: make sure that you’ve got a critical mass of really solid content available for your visitors before you launch any kind of aggressive marketing campaign. There’s no point in spending money and driving prospects to a website bereft of rich, meaningful, and well organized information.

The bottom line: you must have an effective content marketing strategy. An intelligent local radio campaign can help you accelerate results for that strategy, particularly if it is important to build your personal brand.

To see some of the outside the box marketing and business help Wheeler is giving to the regional business community, check out their ‘Synergy Session’ program by clicking here.

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Body Talk

From a recent email:

Daily Sales Tip: Reading Non-Verbal Buying Signals

Would you like to know what your customers are really thinking? Read their non-verbal signals. You can gauge their interest by what they display through their body language.

We can describe language as Open or Closed.

Open body language encourages interaction. Closed body language sends the signal to stay away. The important thing in reading body language is to look for a cluster of movements, as a single movement can easily be misinterpreted.

The act of opening or closing is the most significant part of body language. It is a signal of a change in thinking or feeling, often in response to the other person.

Open body language

-- Open body language welcomes interaction. It involves facing others squarely, chest to chest and eye to eye.

-- People show openness with a cluster of body movements. They may take actions such as to loosen clothing, or remove a jacket or unbutton a collar. Look for the transition and the triggers that may have caused this change.

-- In open body language, the face becomes more animated and friendly. Eye contact is relaxed and prolonged. The arms are relaxed, and they may be animated and moving.

Closed body language

-- People display closed body language when they feel threatened or uncomfortable. They withdraw or hide their bodies by using various stances and physical shields for protection.

-- People who are angry, nervous or defensive often draw inward by crossing their arms, legs or ankles, or lowering their heads. They lower their chin, covering their neck. Their arms may be held across their chest or face.

-- They may avoid making eye contact, or make overly aggressive eye contact, such as staring someone down.

Source: Author/business consultant Lynda Goldman (

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Brand Extension?

From Mediapost:

3 Questions That Drive Successful Brand Extensions

To extend or not to extend? With apologies to the Bard, allow me to suggest that is the question -- for marketers. The lure of sales growth combined with lower advertising and promotion costs makes brand extensions an attractive move, but success is not guaranteed. For every brand extension win (iTunes), there are countless failures (Google print ads, Hooters airline, Bic underwear ...)

Brand extensions are risky - but by following the methods of successful extenders, marketers can increase their chances of a win. Looking at what drove recent brand extension success stories, we find the questions of why, what, and how have been carefully considered.

Perhaps the most important question for a brand extension opportunity is, why should we do this? After all, brand extensions should be governed by what I call the "Spandex principle": Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Some brands enjoy deep brand identities -- their brand is like a character in a story which captivates the imagination of its readers. When a brand's target is eager to learn more about it, there's good reason to introduce extensions.

Zappos enjoys this kind of interest. Starting as an online shoe store, Zappos has extended its brand into handbags, apparel, accessories, and now even electronics. In a word, the Zappos brand is about happiness, and so its customers are eager to experience happiness in a broad range of categories. Giving customers opportunities to discover new experiences of its brand identity has been good reason for Zappos to extend. Its deep brand identity has grown the business into a billion-dollar-a-year retailer in less than 10 years.

Aspiring brand extenders ask -- and answer intelligently -- the what question of brand extensions. Determining what products to extend into what categories has been the make or break.

The appropriateness of an extension can be evaluated along three dimensions:

functional similarity -- similar value is delivered by the current product and extension

fit with brand values and personality -- the principles and character of the brand resonate in the new category

organizational capabilities -- the extension leverages organizational strengths and established advantages

P&G has experienced success with Febreze brand extensions because they have been appropriate on all of these dimensions. What they started as a fabric freshener they've extended into candles, air fresheners, and laundry detergent, capitalizing on the categories' similarities in freshening function, brand fit as encapsulated by the tagline "a breath of fresh air," and the company's existing manufacturing and channel strengths. Febreze is a billion dollar brand now.

With the why and what addressed, the last question successful brand extensions have nailed is how do we execute it? This has required fitting the new product into the architecture of the organization's brand portfolio and applying the appropriate visual, nomenclature, and promotional approach.

Whether in a branded house or a house of brands, most successful extensions are introduced within the existing brand architecture of the company's brand portfolio. Google, for example, uses a master brand strategy and continues to add new services and applications under it.

Furthermore Google has implemented a consistent visual and nomenclature approach in its extensions - Google Maps, Google Alerts, Google Finance, etc. all employ the primary Google logo plus a descriptive name featured immediately beneath it. And in promoting extensions Google has relied primarily on awareness generation and messaging to existing users. Google is the world's most valuable brand in part because it's gotten the how of brand extensions right.

Following these brand extensions best practices should enable you to answer a confident "yes" to the ultimate question: "Will the brand extension be a success?"

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Harry at the THINGing Blog wrote this recently:


Link to THINKing

The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same

Posted: 15 May 2009 06:08 AM PDT

As the marketing world morphs daily under the influence of new technology, we elders in the business sit back and marvel at how things have changed. Just last night I was talking with Dave Ruggerio and Randy Seeds of Synergy Studios about the pace of technological advance. We all reminisced about how we used to do things in our first jobs.

For me, the oldest in the group, I remembered using a Royal manual typewriter in my first job as a reporter. Cut and paste was a true manual affair then. You took a straight edge, tore a paragraph out of your story and taped the new paragraph in. Then, you took the story to the typesetter. In those days, Randy says corporate logos were hand drawn with India ink.

But here’s the point of all this. Technology may have changed, bringing us blogs and social media, but people haven’t changed since we came out of the trees and onto the African plains.

Marketers need to remember that no matter what vehicle you are using to deliver your message, you should set strategy first, then tightly define your audience. It is, after all, the people that matter most in the marketing equation. Once you clearly understand your target audience, the message almost crafts itself. That hasn’t changed and never will. End of sermon.

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