Saturday, August 01, 2009

Consumers are Hungry for...

..more food choices?

Just when I thought we had enough to choose from:

Consumers Want New Food Products
A recent study conducted by Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods, shows that when compared to other sectors, consumer packaged goods (notably, food and beverages, personal products and household products) rate among the lowest in terms of consumer perceptions of innovativeness. And within consumer packaged goods, household and personal products are viewed to be more innovative than food and beverages.

Extremely or Very Innovative CPG Category (% of Global Consumers)


% Saying Innovative

Computer equipment


Electronic media


Cameras & video equipment


Household products




Personal products


Food & Beverage


Financial institutions


Source: Ipsos Marketing, July 2009

However, When specifically asked how willing they would be to try new food, household and personal products, consumers were overwhelmingly interested, as evidenced by top two box scores ranging from 81% to 89%.

Consumers Interested in Trying New (% Global Consumers)

Product Category

% Very or Somewhat Interested



Household products


Personal products


Source: Ipsos Marketing, July 2009

Lauren Demar, CEO of Ipsos Marketing, Global Consumer Goods Sector, says "... (though) consumer packaged goods are viewed to be innovative by less than one-third of global consumers... (with) food and beverages viewed as less innovative than household and personal products... consumers crave new food products the most... " Demar concludes, "A critical step... in product development... is communicating to consumers (availability)... and what differentiates them... "

Findings from a study by Ipsos Marketing, in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the U.S.

For more information, please visit Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods, here.

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Facebook Page Marketing

Need some ideas on how to use Facebook for your business? Read this from

How to Develop a Successful Facebook Page by Mark Ivey

Businesses have begun to flock to Facebook Pages in the past year and no wonder. With a Facebook Page (essentially, a mini website on Facebook), you can post company news, announce events, offer tutorials, highlight videos, conduct polls, and create community with discussion boards.

Facebook Pages are good for building your brand and creating conversations, allowing users to get more deeply connected with your business.

Recent changes to Facebook Pages mean they're now more like personal profiles, with a real-time news stream and the ability to create your own specialized tabs. Facebook Pages are also searchable from outside Facebook, and they're easy to set up.

They're also potentially viral. That's because when Facebook members become "fans" of your site, your name and logo will appear on their personal-profile newsfeeds (your status updates usually text-only messages also appear in their newsfeeds). News Feed also tells their friends they've become a fan, which in turn (if they join) can alert their friends, creating a viral effect.

A Good Example

Check out one of the step-by-step guides noted at the end of this article for detailed setup instructions. Meanwhile, I'll focus on strategies and highlighting some of the key features, using as an example the Dell Social Media for Small Business site/Page, which has 32,000 fans (Dell has several platforms on Facebook).

  • Audience: First, define your audience. Dell's social media site is obviously aimed at its small-business buyers, a market that accounts for a large percentage of Dell's computer business.
  • Goals/objectives/strategy: Think through your goals/objectives and strategy for the site. Before you launch, determine how you will measure success (e.g., how much traffic you drive to your website)

Dell's Social Media for Small Business Page is designed as a one-stop resource shop of social-media resources for small business. It offers PDF articles on how to jump into social media, how to start a blog, how to do business on Facebook, and more (note that each one has a "share" button for user to share with their networks). There are also introductions to Twitter, WordPress (blogging), Technorati, and more. But you can also develop a resource site to target new markets. So Dell could have alternatively developed a site for college students or enterprise customers.

  • Settings: Pick your settings carefully to manage your site. You can choose which tab will be your default landing page (e.g., you may want newcomers to land on your About page rather than your homepage), and whether you want more than one Admin to operate the Page. You can also allow readers to write on your wall and post photos, pics, and links (or not).
  • Create a compelling Page: Make your Page as rich and compelling as possible. Facebook Pages are organized by tabs: dynamic information (see below) is in the "Wall" tab; the info tab contains static info such as your mission statement and website links; and Photos tab contains pics, fan photos, etc. The "boxes" tab is where you can add applications. You can choose up to six visible tabs, and more in the background.

Facebook has made many of its most popular applications available for tabs, including Events, Reviews, and Discussions. But you're not limited to those; you can create your own. Importantly, you can also choose any of these tabs as your landing page if, for instance, you want new users to land on a special promotion (rather than your homepage). Dell has one page dedicated to audio and video guides.

The core of your Page is the "Wall," where readers post comments and engage in conversations and discussions. When your "fans" interact with your Facebook Page, their activities can show up in their friends' news streams, allowing you to keep reaching a wider circle of people (imagine a pebble hitting a lake, and the resulting ripples). It is this viral nature of Facebook's news stream that makes it so powerful.

Dell's Wall

Use your imagination and think like your audience. What type of content can you post to draw readers and engage? The more rich content you provide, the more you can potentially interact with your readers. How about behind-the-scenes videos of your restaurant or quick interview clips with an engineer, CEO, or new employees?

What's really cool are tabs that allow you to share content and generate discussions. These can be customized to drive specific events or promotions, add valuable content, or generate discussions. You can direct readers directly to that section, setting them up as landing pages.

Discussions, of course, are critical to building a community. A Dell Discussion board lists topics (generated by readers) ranging from pricing social-media marketing services to social media in niche industries. There's even a section focused on "Dells' horrible customer service," where people air their complaints about Dell systems.

You can devote entire tabs to several Facebook apps, such as Photos, Reviews, and Discussion Board. Applications built outside of Facebook can also use the Page tabs.

Other ideas

  • Research tool: Most companies neglect this, but you can query and poll your audience. A recent Dell poll asks: Does your company leverage mobile security technology?
  • Events: Events are huge on Facebook Pages. You can list an event for a grand opening sale, upcoming promotion or a big conference coming up, where your company is presenting. Encourage your fans to invite their friends, and watch the numbers grow (hopefully).
  • Resources: One surefire way to get people returning is to continually offer good resources. Dell has some great social-media guides on Twitter, Facebook, business blogging, and more. See here. It has one tabbed area called YouTube box, where currently UK viewers can get business tips via an app called Small Business Advice TV ( is a specialist online TV resource aimed specifically at UK small businesses.)

Summary and final tips

It's easy to go crazy with all the Facebook resources. But make sure all of these tools, features, and applications are a good fit for your brand. You don't want an application, for instance, that clashes with your brand or even offends your audience.

Also, start out small with discussion boards and content that directly hooks into your audience's interest. Establish a plan for regular email updates and postings, but don't spam. Use your own judgment: With some audiences, once a week would be considered overkill, while others would welcome frequent updates.

Other tips that Dell offers in its guide:

  • Assign an employee to create and manage your company's Facebook Page. It's important to post new information, photos, and videos regularly to keep it fresh.
  • Respond within 24 hours to messages and questions left on your Page's discussion board and "Wall."
  • Build a creative application using Facebook Platform to drive traffic to your Page.
  • Don't fall victim to the "If I build it, they will come" mentality. It's important to develop a strategy to attract fans; it may involve both paid and unpaid tactics.

The goal, of course, is to create a connection with your fans, enhancing your brand. You can do so with good content and discussions, and by sending updates to fans regularly if you have special news or offers. You need to be authentic and transparent and to offer value to your fans.


Mark Ivey is a partner and consultant with the ION Group ( a marketing communications company based in San Jose, CA, specializing in social media. Reach him via

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Sales Tools

From Jill Konrath:

Update: Sales 2.0 Tools You Can Use

Posted: 30 Jul 2009 09:48 AM PDT

To be successful in selling today, you need to be using Sales 2.0* tools. In short, these productivity-enhancing technologies and processes help you speed up your sales cycle, quality leads, drive more profitable deals and reduce competition.

DISCLAIMER: These Sales 2.0 tools do NOT take the place of good selling skills. Instead, they enhance them. You need both to excel.

That being said, I've decided to keep you updated on the various Sales 2.0 tools you can use.

Insideview_logo InsideView is one of my favorite tools because it alerts you when trigger events occur - enabling you to act quickly and get the first mover advantage. They minimize the need to spend hours online researching customers or prospects.

As of today, InsideView is now expanding their information-provider network to include: Thomson Reuters, Capital IQ (a Standard & Poor’s company), Cortera and NetProspex. This is in addition to recent alliances with Jigsaw, D&B, Hoovers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and over 20,000 online news sources. This makes InsideView even more valuable for sellers.

MastheadGeniusLogo GENIUS tools span both sales/marketing. They do email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, website tracking, instant alerts, and closed-loop reporting capabilities.

As a seller, I've always loved how they give you the ability to track who clicked through on your email campaigns/messages. That way you know who's most interested and can take immediate action.

Genius has just come out GURLS, which are url shorteners that allow you to track prospect's interest on social media sites like Twitter. In their beta testing, they discovered that lead conversions they achieve through Twitter turn into qualified leads at a faster rate.

For more information, I recommend checking out:

When these Sales 2.0 tools are coupled with excellent selling skills, you become unbeatable.

*Sales 2.0 is a registered trademark of Sales 2.0 LLC.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Wow, 7 months of 2009 are over.

Here's our final nightly marketing news until next month, however, I'll have at least 6 more updates over the weekend!

by Tanya Irwin
The game features three skill levels, 24 game variations and eight pictures sets to choose from. Gamers can test their memory skills by matching images hiding behind L.L.Bean-branded card tiles. Images include L.L.Bean and Maine iconic items such as Bean Boots, lighthouses and wildlife critters. The mobile app will be promoted on social network sites as well as in an email blast to customers. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The media plan includes Ford's highest-ever percentage of digital, experiential and lifestyle events for a product launch. "It is also a first for an auto manufacturer to use digital tags on brochures for smartphones and PDAs that bring sight, sound and motion," says Ford's Matt VanDyke, "and we are using traditional media in new ways." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The company is touting SunnyD Smoothies as a way to get people their righteous does of calcium and vitamin D. The line extension launched in April with Orange Whirl and Strawberry Swirl flavors. The edible film strips are currently available in shelf-edge dispensers in Food Lion supermarkets. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
A national online survey found that sweets dominate category choices regardless of age. Nearly half (46%) of men and women across the Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y segments say they turn to baked goods, sweets and dessert for comfort, versus 19% citing entrées, 14% salty snacks, 13% side dishes, and 4% breakfast foods. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Aaron Baar
Members of Generation X are starting to see the value of insurance, and are interested in the product. According to Mintel, 63% of Gen Xers agreed with the statement, "It is important to be well-insured when it comes to life insurance." (By comparison, only 58% of the general population agreed with the statement.) ... Read the whole story > >

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Compete by Not Competing

Don't be afraid of the big boys.

Instead, focus on what you can do that they can't. From

Book Soup for the Soul

At Book Soup on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip, you'll pay full retail for the latest bestseller, and you won't find an exhaustive midlist inventory. But the small, independent bookseller competes with heavyweights like and Barnes & Noble by providing its loyal customers an experience they're unlikely to find elsewhere.

It centers on a regular schedule of well-attended readings given by authors, followed by signings. Customers who know they'll miss the event can preorder a signed copy online. The shop also secures a stack of signed copies for later purchase, either in-store and online: these always sport a familiar "Signed at Book Soup" sticker on the cover. Just recently, for example, the Book Soup website was offering signed copies of books such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, Augusten Burroughs' A Wolf at the Table and Ralph Nader's The Seventeen Traditions.

And then there's the small restroom, where nine or ten nails support stacks of one-page book excerpts arranged in an artful array around the toilet. The diverse selection, printed on heavy off-white paper, recently included the poem "Afroditi of the Flowers at Knossos" by Sappho, and text from Joan Didion's essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem. They serve the practical purpose of giving visitors something to read, but they also warm a booklover's heart and probably spur sales.

Bookshelves, meanwhile, feature interesting staff recommendations, and often highlight books that might be overlooked. One recommendation, written about Jonathan Goldstein's Lenny Bruce is Dead notes, "Because you're neurotic and delusional, but at least you're not alone. Random, but a satisfying read." The praise worked well on the store's Hollywood clientele: The book sold out.

Book Soup can't compete with discount retailers, but it provides Marketing Inspiration by giving its customers something the big guys can't—a unique shopping experience and signed first editions.

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from Jeff Garrison:

F.E.A.R. Kills Sales

Posted: 27 Jul 2009 01:19 PM PDT

Back in the early 90's I was a guest at the Pecos River Learning Center in New Mexico. I was there with leaders from companies such as Toyota and Pioneer where we were learning about change management.

It was there that I first heard that the word "fear" is an acronym for "False Events Appearing Real." We were told that when you imagine something occurring, your brain experiences that event. Think back to a time when you were apprehensive, scared, or embarrassed. Can you feel it?

Gargoyle As a young sales person I experienced all kinds of "fears." For example:

  • The prospect will be offended or angry when they receive my cold call.
  • The prospect will think I am too young or inexperienced to know what I am talking about.
  • What if I can't answer their questions?
  • They won't see the value in what I am offering and will chastise me for what I charge.
  • I won't know what to say when they pick up the phone.

I was right! All those things happened.

Of course, my real fear was that I would not recover. I might somehow die. Well, that didn't happen. After thousands of cold calls and presentations, all those things did happen once or twice. Howeverer, it was rare.

Odds are, it you are trying, you will run into a few jerks. But don't let "fear" of a few people discourage you from doing what you need to do. The fact is, for every jerk, there were dozens who appreciated my call and a lot who became clients.

The fact is, the population of courteous and curios people far outweigh those who are not.

So, what do you do to overcome fear?

  1. Have a game plan for your prospecting calls, prospect appointments, presentations, etc. Imagine how the questions you will get and your responses.
  2. Practice! Every world class performer spends more time practicing than playing.
  3. Celebrate! At the end of the day, review the good things that happened and reward yourself for creating some momentum.
  4. Build on positive energy! When something good happens like you just turned a new introduction into an appointment or if you just made a sale, take that energy and call a prospect or a client.

Photo by ClatieK

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Aaron Baar
"Everything we're doing starts with the digital property," the brand's Lena DerOhannessian tells Marketing Daily. "Whether it's a traditional media site or an entirely Web-based site, the entire program is developed around a digital platform, and then if there's a promotional opportunity to take it outside other digital realms, we're negotiating that as added value." ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The ads are designed so that when consumers hold them up to their computer web cams the ads become animated 3D demonstrations of the Always Infinity product. The ad is set to run in Seventeen, Star, Teen Vogue and several other women's lifestyle magazines and is available on www ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
"Mad Men Yourself," launched Wednesday on its own microsite (madmenyourself .com), lets fans create customized, '60s-style avatars reminiscent of the show's characters. Dyna Moe, who's become Internet-famous as a result of her drawings of scenes from the show, also lent her illustration style to the avatar app. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"Do You Have What It Takes?," which launched in June at a mock recruiting office in New York City, is being extended with three new spots -- on TV, in cinemas, at Truth .com and at ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
The weddings will be available at the 12 "Luxury Included" Sandals Resorts and four Beaches Resorts across the Caribbean beginning Jan. 1. Guests will be able to book a Martha Stewart Wedding starting in October in one of five themes. A la carte items such as personalized cake toppers, welcome gifts and candy buffets also will be available. ... Read the whole story > >

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Ries & Trout on the GM Brand Campaign

20 years ago Al Ries & Jack Trout co-authored a book on Positioning that was one of the influences that started my marketing career.

These days they are no longer partners and they each wrote about GM for Advertising Age:

GM's Appointment of Lutz Shows No Respect for Marketing

Without a Story, Carmaker's Advertising Isn't Going to Cut It

General Motors' new advertising and marketing czar is Bob Lutz, who until April of this year headed global product development. According to CEO Fritz Henderson: "Bob's responsibilities beyond creative design will include brands, marketing, advertising and communications." (I can visualize Bob at his first meeting with one of GM's agencies: "I'm not a marketing expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.")

Has respect for marketing fallen so low that the most difficult job in the profession (getting GM out of the ditch) can be given to someone with so little experience in marketing?

I'm afraid so. The fact is that most companies do not assign much value to the marketing function. Nor do they compensate marketing people at the same level as they do financial, legal and other functional occupations.

A recent survey of Fortune 1000 companies conducted by Ernst & Young found that only about 15% employ some sort of marketing person with a chief- or senior-level title such as chief marketing officer.

It gets worse as far as money is concerned. According to SEC regulations, a company has to list the total compensation of its CEO and its CFO in addition to its three highest-paid executive officers. According to the Ernst & Young survey, only 7% of Fortune 1000 companies included a marketing executive on their lists.

That's strange in light of what Peter Drucker, the management guru of the 20th century, had to say about marketing. "Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two -- and only two --basic functions: marketing and innovation."

"Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs," reported Mr. Drucker. "Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."

Marketing is worshiped in the abstract but not in the specific. There's no need to hire a chief marketing officer, goes the thinking, because marketing is just common sense. Let's just assign the function to one of our senior officers.

His or her first assignment: an overnight stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Left-brain management types often confuse marketing with advertising. But the two are totally different. Advertising is focused externally and attempts to set up a dialog with customers and prospects. Marketing is focused internally and attempts to set up a dialog with top management in order to develop a product or a service "with a story."

Without a story, no advertising, no matter how brilliant, is going to work.

BMW's story is "driving." Toyota's story is "reliability." Mercedes' story is "prestige."

Marketing comes first, advertising comes second. That's why Bob Lutz seems to be on the wrong tack when he immediately focuses on fixing the advertising. "I think you will very quickly see a drastic change in the tone and content of our advertising," said Mr. Lutz. "And if you don't, it will mean that I have failed."

"My top priority now," he added, "is to enhance the ability of GM to let the public know about what great cars and trucks we build. For all the money spent in the past, this seemingly simple task has eluded us." (Note: GM spent $36 billion on U.S. advertising in the past ten years.)

"Our current product lineup is arguably the best of any mass producer in the world, and our task is to use enhanced advertising and communications methods to convince more Americans to give us a try again," said Mr. Lutz.

I think he's wrong. Advertising at GM is not broken. Marketing is.

Marketing's job is to coordinate all the various disciplines inside a corporation in order to develop the right product, the right price, the right position, the right distribution strategy and the right brand name.

Advertising's job is to position that brand name in the minds of consumers.

Good marketing makes advertising relatively easy. Bad marketing makes advertising difficult, if not impossible.

Marketing is a discipline that can take years of study and work. A discipline that's just as complicated and as hard to learn as medicine or accounting or automobile repair. Furthermore, the principles of marketing are counterintuitive. Invariably they are the opposite of what most people would call "common sense."

What is GM's marketing problem? One complaint of commentators in the media is that "General Motors doesn't build cars that people want to buy." This is true.

People want to buy Toyotas, Hondas, BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus and other brands. People want to buy brands, not just vehicles.

What you park in your garage is your family's most visible status symbol. Nobody wants to buy a Walmart V-8, no matter how cheap it would be. And few people want to buy a Buick (average age of buyer: 62) even though Buick (along with Jaguar) was rated as the most dependable vehicle in J.D. Power's 2009 vehicle dependability study.

Another complaint of commentators in the media is that "You can't make money building motor vehicles in America because labor and health-care costs are too high."

Is that so? Compare General Motors with that motor-vehicle company on the other side of Lake Michigan, Harley-Davidson.

In the last four years, General Motors lost $82.0 billion while Harley made $3.6 billion. Furthermore Harley's net profit margin was 15.8%, three times the profit margin of the average Fortune 500 company.

Harley competes with Honda, BMW and some of the same companies that General Motors competes with. The difference is that Harley has built a strong brand by narrowing its focus to heavy-duty motorcycles while General Motors has gone in the opposite direction by expanding its brands so they don't stand for anything. (Chevrolet sells everything from the $13,000 Aveo subcompact to the $25,000 Impala full-size sedan to the $40,000 Suburban sport-utility vehicle to the $105,000 Corvette ZR1 sports car, in addition to a full line of pickup trucks.)

Nor is Harley shy about spelling out its marketing strategy. The Harley Owners Group and its nickname HOG let prospective customers know exactly what Harley stands for. Today, Harley has 46% of the U.S. heavy-duty cycle market and, according to Interbrand, is the world's 50th most-valuable brand. (None of General Motors eight brands made the latest list.)

You don't make money building products; you make money building brands. Last year General Motors built and sold 7,451,510 vehicles and managed to lose $4,141 on every one.

Harley's preference for brand over product is demonstrated by the unique "potato, potato" sound (which the company once tried to patent) of its two-cylinder V-twin engines with dual-fire ignition systems. Though obsolete from an engineering standpoint, the dual-fire system is maintained because of the strong connection between its distinctive sound and the Harley-Davidson brand.

For similar reasons, Rolex continues to make mechanical watches even though quartz watches would be cheaper and more accurate. Brand is more important than product.

Many left-brain management types are also confused about the role and function of advertising itself. Their assumption is that advertising is communications.

Hence Bob Lutz's approach: "We're going to have design have a powerful influence on public relations and advertising, and vice versa. It's really going to be, for the first time, an integrated communications approach.

"We're going to go from being very defensive and risk-adverse in communications," he said, and become "much bolder in getting our story out."

Bob, you have no story.

Advertising is not communications. Advertising is positioning. What position is Chevrolet trying to occupy? Or Buick? Or Cadillac? Or GMC?

An effective marketing program isolates a singular position and then tries to occupy that position in the prospect's mind with advertising that reinforces its singular position.

"Think small" isolated the small-car position for Volkswagen and then filled that position with brilliant advertising that spelled out of the advantages of owning a small car. Some sample headlines:

"It makes your house look bigger."

"Live below your means."

"And if you run out of gas, it's easy to push."

As soon as Volkswagen moved into larger, more expensive vehicles, the marketing rationale for the program fell apart, along with Volkswagen sales. (The advertising looked the same, sounded the same, but didn't work the same.)

What singular position can Chevrolet possibly own?

As design czar, in charge of global product development for General Motors, it was part of Bob Lutz's job to answer that question and then to make sure the vehicles sold in Chevrolet showrooms reinforced that position. But he needed a chief marketing officer to force him to make that decision.

It's time for a new era in marketing. Strangely enough, I think the timing is right for such a new era to begin. Things have to hit rock bottom before a revolution can occur.

The golden age of advertising was the 1960s, precisely because advertising in the decade of the 1950s was so dreadful. "See the USA in your Chevrolet" was a typical example.

Marketing in the first decade of the 21st century is equally bad. Instead of visiting the USA in your Chevrolet, the marketing program wound up with "An American revolution."

Bob, your problem is marketing, not advertising. I don't care how good your cars are. I don't care that Buick is the most dependable vehicle made in America. It doesn't matter. You have no story.

"It will be Buick's task to take on Lexus," said Mr. Lutz. That's wishful thinking at best. Last year, according to J.D. Power, only 1% of Lexus buyers considered Buick.

Nor did Tiger Woods do much for the brand. In the eight years of the Tiger, Buick sales fell from 404,612 in the year 2000 to 137,197 last year, a decline of 66%. (Why didn't the marketing people at Buick ask the obvious question: Is the owner of a $20 million yacht likely to drive a $30,000 Buick?)

Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet Bob Lutz some day. Maybe he'll let me fly his Czech-built L39 Albatros.

I'm not a jet pilot, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently.

~ ~ ~
Al Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm that he runs with his daughter and partner Laura. Their website is

And now, here's Jack:

Why Should GM Give Marketing Any Respect?

Bob Lutz Can Keep Focus on Brands' Stories -- and They Do Have Stories

By Jack Trout

My ex-partner Al Ries and I rarely disagree, but we do part company on his column titled "GM's Lutz Appointment Shows No Respect for Marketing." In my estimation this move supports what Dave Packard of Hewlett-Packard once said: "Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing people."

It also reinforces what I consider a brilliant statement made by Bob Lutz in a recent interview with BusinessWeek: "To spend $200 million on manufacturing, we have to get board approval with top management involved from an early stage. Yet we spend billions on marketing and delegate that to too many people at the lowest levels. It's insanity." He's absolutely right. Top management has to be involved, and obviously with Mr. Lutz in charge they will be involved.

My main problem with the Ries thesis is why marketing should be given respect. Chief marketing officers have shorter tenures than NFL coaches. They rarely last two years before they are gone.

As BusinessWeek commented in an article on the subject, "the job is radioactive." The article cited a well-known search company as stating that 70% of the companies don't know what they're looking for when they recruit a CMO.

In my estimation, Advertising Age had the answer to the short CMO tenure in an interesting piece of research on senior marketers. It was done by Anderson Analytics, which surveyed a group of 1,657 senior marketing executives (600 replied).

Anderson asked respondents to rank the marketing concepts they pay most attention to in their jobs. They spend the most time on customer satisfaction (88%), customer retention (86%), segmentation (83%), competitive intelligence (82%), brand loyalty (82%), search-engine optimization (81%), marketing ROI (80%), quality (79%), data mining (78%) and personalization (79%).

This is why CMOs are being fired left and right. On the list of things on which they are working, differentiation doesn't even make the top 10. While they are worrying about customers or segmentation or ROI or search-engine optimization, their brands are sinking into a sea of commoditization.

If you think I'm overstating the problem of commoditization, let me give you some numbers. A research organization called Brand Keys has been tracking this problem via an analysis of 1,847 products and services in 75 categories. The results are frightening. On average, the study found that only 21% of all products and services examined had any points of differentiation that were meaningful to consumers. That's nearly 10% less than in a benchmark study that was conducted in 2003.

To better understand this, take the automotive category. It has a reasonable percentage of differentiation, at 38%. That means you have a fair number of differentiated brands such as Toyota (reliability) or BMW (driving) or Volvo (safety) or Mercedes (prestige). It also means you have a large number of placeholders such as GM and Ford. The marketers at these companies are certainly not earning any respect.

Figuring out the right differentiating strategy is only the beginning. Marketing then has to convince the CEO and CFO that building or even maintaining a brand is a long-term process that requires patience and incremental change. You'll have to avoid line extensions that undermine what the brand stands for in the mind. And Wall Street will be a problem you will have to get around, with its focus on quarterly and monthly results. With Mr. Lutz in charge, he is in a perfect position to do the convincing.

Al Ries does make some important points about Bob Lutz's new job. It will be all about the four remaining brands and developing their stories. Al felt there were no stories. I'm not so negative. Chevrolet is America's favorite American car, which is a good leadership story. Buick can be about high quality without having to pay for prestige, which is the imports' weakness. Cadillac can be about leading-edge automotive technology and GMC about rugged reliability. Bob Lutz, being so closely connected to product and design, can make sure the brands stay focused on their stories -- for example, no more cheap Buicks. And I know he can make sure the agencies involved properly implement and dramatize these stories.

So I'm rooting for Bob Lutz to prove me right at GM. After all, with all that taxpayer money, we're all part owners of this company.

Jack Trout is president of Trout & Partners, an international marketing consulting firm in Old Greenwich, Conn.

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New Ad Campaigns

Here's this weeks report from Amy:

Comedy. Cheese rolling. Ice cream cakes. Let's launch!

Kids who play sports become well-adjusted adults who can catch, throw and use slam-dunk in a sentence. KidSport BC, a program that provides grants for children to play sports, launched a trio of TV spots starring seemingly ordinary adults thrown off-track by everyday occurrences. A man gets a cramp while swimming and asks a spectator to throw him a life preserver. Instead of flinging it, the man throws overhand and the life preserver lands nowhere near the swimmer. See it here. An office worker asks his good-looking co-worker for Post-Its. She knows how to think fast; sadly, he does not. Watch it here. "Nice one. Total dunk slam," begins another ad, shown here. A confused man listens to his co-worker describe their successful meeting as a dunk slam, while swinging an invisible baseball bat. "Sports skills are life skills," ends the spots, created by DDB Vancouver.

"There's a time and a place for comedy." Communal showers and parole hearings are not ideal locales. Spots for the Toronto Just for Laughs Festival show the importance of location when it comes to telling jokes. Things are looking up for a prisoner at his parole hearing until a board member with an Irish accent speaks. The prisoner baits the man into saying "diddly dee potatoes," guaranteeing the prisoner additional jail time. Watch the ad here. A man decides to tell a joke in the communal shower. The words screw and horny make an appearance, prompting one man to drop his soap and the rest to vacate the premises. See it here. Zig created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Baseball fields, basketball courts and roller hockey rinks in Canada are empty, because the 2nd Annual Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival is back. And it looks like fun. The Dairy Farmers of Canada are supporting the Aug. 15 event with a cinema spot, transit shelter and newspaper ads and interactive mirror clings. The winner snags an 11-pound wheel of Cracked Pepper Verdelait cheese and Whistler Winter season passes for two. The cinema spot opens with sporting equipment left at athletic courts and fields. Everyone is too busy participating in the cheese rolling festival to do much else. Snippets of last year's participants running and falling downhill, chasing a cheese wheel, close out the ad, seen here. I wonder what they call the person who lets the cheese roll downhill? The cheese cutter? Print ads, seen here, here and here, resemble athletic trading cards, showing participants in motion and the winner savoring his prize. See a picture of a mirror cling in action, here. TAXI Vancouver created the campaign and M2 handled the media buy.

Take that, $5 foot longs. Quiznos is taking aim at its competition with the Bullet sandwich, an 8-inch sub that costs $3. At this rate, lunch should cost $1.50 by mid-August. I can live with that. The talking Quiznos Toaster makes an appearance in two spots that eavesdrop on a man's therapy session. The toaster tries to convince the patient, Brian, to leave his session and head to Quiznos for a Bullet. The shrink asks Brian if the "talking toaster is in the room." See it here. In another ad, the shrink wants to know how the talking toaster makes Brian feel. "Hungry," he replies. Watch the ad here. Siltanen & Partners created the campaign.

The Buckwheat Boyz took their hit song "Peanut Butter Jelly Time," replaced the words with "Ice Cream and Cake," and what we have is an ad for Baskin-Robbins. The song is not nearly as catchy as "Peanut Butter Jelly Time," but it does make me crave an ice cream cake. The Claymation ad is guaranteed to render with young kids. See the ad here, created by Cliff Freeman & Partners.

No other brand so excels at consistently choosing the right music for its ads than Nike. The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done" is used for a branding spot that begins with the words "everything you need is already inside." "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier" is the repeated mantra throughout the ad, while snippets of monumental moments in sports, space and science are shown. Look for Steve Prefontaine, Carl Lewis, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, John McEnroe, Mary Lou Retton and many other past and present athletes. Watch "Bottled Courage" here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

Daffy's launched a branding campaign and contest where consumers can audition to win a rental lease for a luxury apartment in New York's West Village. A zero is dropped from the monthly rent; the lucky winner will pay $700 a month for an apartment that normally goes for $7,000. Online, print, radio, wild postings and in-store initiatives promote the campaign. See ads here, here and here. In addition, Daffy's opened a temporary pop-up store at One 7th Avenue South. Consumers have until Aug. 14 to submit a 30-second video in-store explaining why they should win the lease. Daffy's will choose five finalists and the public will choose the grand prize winner. Johannes Leonardo created the campaign.

TELUS placed hundreds of gecko-shaped magnets over transit shelter ads in downtown Vancouver to encourage consumers to purchase their Internet and phone plans with the company. The magnetic side of the geckos read "Bundle and save on the sure-footed network." All the magnets were gone the next day. No surprise here, because people love freebies. See the magnets here and here. TAXI Vancouver created the campaign and Media Experts handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: How many calories are in your apple? There's an App for that. The CalorieSmart App can tell users calorie and nutrition details for 75,000 foods. Full nutrition facts for generic items, name brand and restaurant items are listed. A person's meals, snacks and workouts can be tracked. Coheso created the App, which costs $2.99.

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

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Assumed Expectations

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Know Those 'Unwritten' Expectations
Customer satisfaction is a very subjective thing to measure. It really is a matter of perception and experience.

If you meet or exceed the "unsaid-unwritten" expectations of your customers, their perception will be a positive one. Fail to meet these expectations, and you will find them less than satisfied or happy with you.

One method to make sure you meet or beat these "unsaid unwritten" expectations is to do your homework or research. Often, within an industry there are certain "unwritten, but still valid" expectations, which serve as the norm. Make sure you know what they are and use them as the bottom line in your service and performance.

If you want to succeed in gaining their repeat business and loyalty, make sure you go well past the "normal" expectations.

Source: Sales consultant/author Bob Hooey (

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

My wife and I have noticed a lot of those "Smart" cars in our town this summer. Take a look at this update from Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
Would-be owners tend to be young, well-educated, and affluent for their age, with good jobs, says AutoPacific. They tend to own Japanese or Korean vehicles now, meaning the Indian or Chinese cars would most likely compete with imports rather than domestic brands Ford, Chrysler and GM. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The effort is being supported by a national advertising campaign via Draftfcb-Chicago. The print, out-of-home, point-of-sale and online push plays off of the lucky-charm connotation of the horseshoe brand iconography also featured on the new packaging. Tag: "Good Fortune Awaits." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"Wal-Mart has spent the past decade getting the brand right for themselves," Brand Keys President Robert Passikoff says of consumers' continued preference for the retailer. "With all the companies outsourcing production to the same places, the quality is about the same, and Wal-Mart has been able to capitalize on that." ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
"As business travelers are traveling less for the short term, marketers can really focus on these customers and focus on the retention of these fliers," Colloquy Editorial Director Rick Ferguson tells Marketing Daily. "It requires smart analysis of their customer data base to know which customers are worth spending the extra effort to try to retain." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
A 30-second commercial, for example, features strange-looking, dressed-alike male adult twins eating in synchrony. The habit, observes their father, "was OK when you were kids, but now it's just creepy." Loud squabbling ensues among the three, but Mom restores civility by observing, "The pizza's good, huh?" All, of course, must agree. ... Read the whole story > >

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How to Ruin a Theme Park

First, you ignore the fun factor in your marketing and make it creepy instead. Anthony Juliano wrote this:

Marketing Mistakes: Six Red Flags to Avoid

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Most marketing is bad. Awful, actually. When the creative is good, it’s often poorly targeted; when the targeting is dead on, the creative usually sucks. And more often than you’d think, the creative and the targeting aren’t what they should be.

Here’s one example: Six Flags’s revived campaign for its theme parks, featuring “Mr. Six,” whom Time calls a “creepy dancing old guy.” And that’s not the only insult Time and its sources hurl at Mr. Six:

“[H]is troll-like antics may prevent you from ever setting foot in a Six Flags park,” Time writer Sean Gregory says.

“It's a pretty miserable piece of advertising,” says Barbara Lippert, a critic for Adweek, the trade publication. “It's as dumb as can be, and talks down to us. He's like an Elmer Fudd who never made it out into the country.”

So what’s the root of evil campaigns like this one? Why does bad marketing happen? There are a lot of reasons, but in honor of Mr. Six and his favorite theme park, here are Six Red Flags to avoid:

• Too many decision-makers. Marketing designed to please everyone in the boardroom usually pleases no one in the audience. If you find yourself making concessions that ensure your campaign flies, it’s time to make a difficult decision. Either risk making someone unhappy, or start over.

• Not focused on the right audience. Who is Six Flags’s audience? Teens and tweens, right? Now, does Mr. Six look like a character who resonates with teens and tweens? Take a look at his Twitter bio. Do most teens and tweens even know who Fred Astaire is?

• No clear branding strategy. If a company cannot concisely and quickly say how they are differentiated, it’s going to be hard to develop a 30-second message that tells the audience why they should care.

• Too much navel gazing. Comments like this one from a Six Flags exec are a good reminder that your audience doesn’t think about your brand nearly as much as you do: "We had a lot of internal conversations about Mr. Six, and we were like, look, he's beloved by our guests," says Vieira Barocas. "There are definitely people who are not fans of him. But he has more fans than not. And at a time when there's all sorts of uncertainty, people like the familiar and the known." Remember: “familiar and known” to you does NOT necessarily equal “familiar and known” to your audience.

• Doing what you’ve always done. Change is hard. It’s clear that one of the main reasons why Mr. Six was revived is that bringing him back seemed easier than starting over. Easier, yes; but better? Not so much.

• Not knowing what else to do. Six Flags is in trouble—they filed for bankruptcy protection in June, as Time notes—and Mr. Six seems like an act of desperation. Would the company have been better served by some market research? Might have their money been better spent on rebranding its theme parks? Probably. But the unfortunate, common rule of thumb is, “when you don’t know what to do, throw more money at the ad budget.”

There’s good news in all of this. Avoid these marketing red flags, and your campaign will stand out. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the extra effort.

-Anthony J.

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The Max with the Min

Craig Garber:

Hi Scott,

Recently, I said, "So before you do anything
else... before you try and sell something... you have to
find people who want to buy your stuff, first. This way,
there's no "convincing" going on. Because like I always
say, the convincing business sucks.

So sometime today, go and review your marketing and make
sure you're not wasting time and money putting all the
right messages in front of the all the wrong people."

In case you weren't 100% clear on this, let me explain the
biggest benefit of doing this. What it comes down to is
whether or not you want to chase prospects (and business)
down, or whether you want to attract them and BE chased
down, instead.

See, when you find people who already what to buy whatever it
is you're selling, then all you need to do is put your
offer in front of them, and they'll either come to you...
or they won't. At this point, your job is just to give
them enough of an excuse to buy from you instead of someone

And whether they do this or not, depends on how hungry they
are and how tempting you make it for them.

No different than putting cookies out on the table for your
kids just before they get home from school. You know they
want them, it's just a matter of how many they're going to
eat. Just the same way you don't have to convince your
kids to eat freshly-baked cookies, you shouldn't have to
convince your prospects to buy stuff from you, either.

If you're always thinking about "attracting" over "chasing,"
then you'll be speaking to the right audience in your
marketing, and any potential 'convincing' you might
otherwise be inclined to put into an ad, will automatically
be eliminated.

This way you're only speaking to those people who are
qualified prospects in the first place. And THAT is how
you make maximum money with minimum customers.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. Big article along with a LIVE marketing example about
"Pursuing versus Attracting," in this month's Seductive
Selling Newsletter - get it free along with 18 (yes,
eighteen!) bonus gifts at -
just watch the video to see each one of these gifts.

"How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers" - get
three free chapters of my newest book at

Hottest offline marketing newsletter gets you more leads,
higher conversions... proven marketing strategies, no
nonsense. Now get two issues free at

Copywriting and emotional direct response marketing "how to"
products at

Marketing videos that answer your toughest questions at

Craig Garber on Facebook - friend me now at

If you enjoyed this, forward it on to a few of your friends
and business associates. And if you have any comments,
just leave them here on my blog:

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Night Marketing News

Every night, the latest from Mediapost:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Nimble restaurants and food service businesses can benefit from a "can't beat 'em, then join 'em" strategy. "... Catering is one of the strongest segments of the foodservice industry and appears somewhat immune from recessionary spending cut-backs," note Technomic's analysts. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"The Blue Crew is going to present themselves as a selfless group of individuals who work in service of the customer," Eddie Combs, CMO for Sears Holdings electronics, tells Marketing Daily. "We're developing new programs, so that we're not just a bunch of branded guys standing around in a store, but rather something that gives the customer something." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The spots show a clunker being crushed in reference to a tenet of the CARS program that traded-in vehicles must be scrapped. The ads tell viewers that the automaker has 25 car and truck models that qualify for federal rebates, ranging from $3,500 to $4,500. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Two spots, "Cobbler" and "Toothpaste," broke in February and were joined by "Load," which broke in early July. A fourth spot, "Job," will break late this year, Georgina Flores told Marketing Daily. The spots show consumers stretching their dollars and emphasize that Allstate can save them money. They close with "Are You In Good Hands," the same tagline as English-language efforts. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"We think we will have an increase over June, and that SAAR will be at 10 million for the first time in 2009," says Jesse Toprak, head of auto industry analysis at Edmunds. "The significance is that if this rate of sales can be maintained, the economy may be recovering gradually; it could be the beginning of turnaround." ... Read the whole story > >

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