Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Big Boys

are seeing the value of Social Media:

Starbucks, Microsoft Target Social Media

Starbucks, the U.S. coffee house chain, and Microsoft, the IT giant, are both seeking to utilize a number of social media tools to connect with consumers and gain an insight into the preferences of their customers.

A recent study by the Altimeter Group argued that Starbucks and Dell were among the brands from Interbrand's Top 100 global rankings that are making the best use of social media at present.

Earlier this month, an analysis of the online "buzz" received by this same group of brands found that Google, Microsoft and Apple generated the highest levels of electronic word-of-mouth in September.

Starbucks has sought to develop a wide range of initiatives, working across a number of different portals, as it seeks to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this emerging channel.

These have included establishing its own service, MyStarBucksIdeas -- allowing web users and its staff to make suggestions to the company -- and running a Free Pastry Day and ice cream giveaway on Facebook.

Indeed, the Seattle-based firm's page on Facebook is among the most popular on the social network, with more than 4.5 million "fans" at present.

Chris Bruzzo, vice president of brand, content and online at Starbucks, said that adapting to the demands of these types of service required moving beyond traditional conceptions of marketing.

"If you approach it as a marketing channel you can only go so far," argued Bruzzo, one of six specialist members of staff at the coffee house chain. "If you approach it as a customer relationship and as a multi-faceted human connection between Starbucks and customers, then we can have more than a conversation about products -- it can be a customer-insight channel and we can learn things from them."

Microsoft employed a mixture of blogs and social media properties to promote the launch of Bing, its re-branded "decision engine", in June.

Research carried out by the company revealed that as many as 5% of consumers discovered information about the introduction of Bing through these sorts of sites. Each week, it also adds a new question to Twitter, and gives away a free T-shirt to every member of the social messaging utility who responds with the appropriate "hashtag" before their reply.

Overall, Microsoft operates 50 accounts on the popular microblogging service, both official and unofficial, as well as 20 pages on Facebook for its various products.

Gayle Troberman, Microsoft's general manager of advertising and customer engagement, said social media offers a "deep, highly engaged audience who actively wants to hear your message."

With regard to strategy, there are certain key areas to focus on, she continued, including honesty and authenticity, as well as attempting to respond to users as quickly as possible.

"There's sort of a new reality in advertising that we pay attention to. In the social sphere, the immediacy of reaction and response is different," said Troberman. "You see when you put yourself out there in the media, or free media, sphere, it's not just about what you're saying, it's about what people are seeing and what they say in response."

As such, interaction is an essential ingredient to successfully communicating via these tools, separating them from most forms of traditional media.

"Social media really has its own rules. Done well, it's not just pushing messages, it's listening...It's reminded us that we need to listen more than shout," said Troberman. "You can reach people pretty effectively when they've chosen to follow you on things such as Twitter."

Mobile Social Media
About 65 million of Facebook's 300 million members are mobile users. Eight months ago, it was 20 million. Of MySpace's estimated 125 million members worldwide, about 25 million use mobile devices. A year ago, it was 6 million.

A significant slice of the growth is taking place in urban settings and developing countries, among young people who cannot afford PCs.

An interesting video on social network stats and the social media revolution can be found here. Watch it in HD.

(Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer and USA Today; additional content by RAB staff and World Advertising Research Center staff, 10/21/09)

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The Word VALUE

from Mediapost:

Faux Frugality: Are Consumers Really Any Different?
Sarah Mahoney, Oct 23, 2009 04:48 PM

food shopping

While much has been made of America's newfound thriftiness, a new study suggests that shoppers are less focused on price than most marketers think.

"Marketers are very focused on the word value, but have very little sense of what that actually means to consumers," says Jarrett Paschel, VP at The Hartman Group, tells Marketing Daily. "Everyone assumes it must be something about the way consumers are trying to save money. But that doesn't mean we've entered a new era of frugality."

As part of its study, "The New Value Paradigm: Theatrics of Thrift," the Bellevue, Wash.-based market research company asked consumers to rank 25 different statements about grocery store products. "It works well/tastes good," came in No. 1, he says, followed by concerns about waste, such as "Will this product actually be consumed in its entirety by my family?" "Price only came in at No. 6," he says.

For example, one of the items that ranked poorly in its research was a Costco multipack of chips. "While everyone said their family ate the BBQ and other flavors, no one ate the blue cheese or ranch. Although the price was very low, consumers saw it as having a poor value."

That means marketers have to take a closer look at consumers who say they are more than willing to trade down, but don't actually do so. "We found they are even willing to pay a little more for a product they believe they will use fully," adds SVP Michelle Barry. "Waste is something they see as costly."

Barry believes that while consumers are managing their economic anxieties with the pretense of saving at supermarkets, by using shopping lists and coupons, the actual amount they are spending on groceries, and the items they purchase, aren't all that different than what they tossed into their baskets before the slump started.

As a result, while marketers all around them are predicting that these sweeping changes will stick, "we think, in terms of food, that consumers will come out of this recession with little in the way of changed habits," she says.

Certainly, families are spending a bit less, but often in ways that are not related to the recession. A big example, says Paschel, is the sharp decline in bottled water purchases. "It's not that shoppers see the product as overpriced. They say they are no longer buying it because they see it as unnecessary, and out of fashion, neither of which are related to the economy."

The company's research also revealed consumer fatigue about all things economic. "They don't want to hear any more that companies understand how worried they are, and that they'll lower prices," he adds. "What they are responding very well to are marketing efforts that surprise and delight them," he says.

One example, he says, is the "Feel Good Ripple" created by Servus, a Canadian credit union. The bank recently gave away $200,000 to customers in $10 increments, with the admonition that the money had to be used to make someone else feel good. At the same time, it launched a contest, in which people could share their "Feel Good" stories and win prize money for their charities.

Another example is the way Burger King introduced its Apple Fries, by delivering samples to bloggers. "So many other companies would have sent a coupon," Barry says. "But smart marketers are looking for unusual promotions to spark excitement, and really evangelize people."

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The Value of a Customer

from Art:

This Week's Tip:
Preventing Huge Losses


While sharing some customer service horror stories,
a seminar attendee told me he quit using a certain
airline because he had an encounter with a rude
telephone rep. He spent about $50,000 a year
with the airline. Fifty grand. Gone. One bad
call. Wow.

Perhaps you've experienced the sting of having
a valuable customer of yours jumping ship. You
can't do much about it once it has happened.
Oh, sure, you can call and grovel ... asking for
another chance, but we know that does little good.
The damage didn't occur overnight. It festered over
time. Best case, after the fact, we can learn from
our mistakes to prevent it from happening again.

The best route is Preventive Customering.
That's simply paying attention to your customers ...
performing routine maintenance so they don't pack
up and leave when you least expect it.

And it really is simple and fundamental. But
sometimes those are the things that fall by the
wayside, just like in other types of relationships.

When other sales reps call your customers, you
want the customers to say what you might have
heard before when prospecting: "I'm satisfied
with (your company)." Here are some incredibly
simple, but time-tested truths to help
keep customers.

Go out of your way to leave an indelible
pleasing memory after the first sale. Underpromise
and overdeliver when it comes to delivery times.
Throw in something free as a welcome gift. Mail a
handwritten thank you note. Call after the order
has been delivered with additional useful information.
Reinforce their wise buying decision.

The bottom line is the bottom line. There's a lot
to be said for building relationships on a personal
level, but the best way to become truly indispensable
is to be an integral part of their business. The more
you know about them, the better-equipped you are to make
profit-building recommendations. If you're looked at
as a sales-boosting consultant as opposed to a
salesperson, customers will never consider listening
to the overtures of competitors attempting to stick
their foot in the door with promises of lower prices.

Don't call to "just touch base," to "check in," or,
"to just stay in touch to see if they need anything."
Customers could potentially view these reactive,
no-substance contacts as a nuisance. Make it policy
that every time you call you have a value-added reason
for doing so. Answer this question: What information
can you call with that would cause the customer to
say they were better off after taking your call
than they were before it? Any kind of industry or
product news they might find interesting, notification
of sales or promotions, or ideas you feel they could
use are all value-added reasons for calling. Come
up with your own.

This is so incredibly simple, yet it's rarely used
by companies. What you might think is a great benefit
of doing business with your company could be meaningless
to your customer; they might buy for a totally
unrelated reason. My dry cleaner might like to believe
she gets my business because she does superb work and
has competitive prices; I use her because she calls
me by name when I walk in the door. She has never asked.

Ask your customers, "Pat, I want to make sure we continue
providing you what you want. What is it you like best about
doing business with us? What else would you like to

With new customers, at appropriate points during calls
(such as the end), ask innocuous questions about their
plans for the weekend, or for the summer. Listen
carefully to the answers, and react accordingly,
sharing of yourself as well. If they mention they're
going to curl up in a beach chair with a good book,
find out more about what they like to read, and what else,
if anything they do at the beach. Again, common sense
stuff, but this works. One word of caution: I've seen
reps who were everyone's best buddy, but rarely sold
anything. Likeable, yes. But also very easy to get
rid of by customers, and reluctant to directly ask for
business, fearful of being too "pushy." Build
relationships, sure ... in the context of business.

You don't need to call every week, indeed you shouldn't,
if you don't have a valid reason for doing so.
However, in between your calls, stay in touch in other
ways. I've received postcards from sales reps' personal
vacations. Well-read reps clip industry-specific
articles from any and every appropriate source and photocopy
and send them to customers with a note attached.
Send a fax to customers with confidential news of an
upcoming sale. E-mail them. Advertisers call this
strategy getting your piece of "mindshare," meaning
they'll think of you if they have a need before your
next contact, or when a competitor comes courting.

Some sales reps are passionate about chasing the
business, but lose interest once the relationship
has begun. You need to be committed to the relationship,
and be fanatical about service. Otherwise, nothing
else matters.

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action
without vision just passes the time. Vision with
action can change the world."
Joel Arthur Barker

Continue having your best week ever!


Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Martha and others:

by Karlene Lukovitz
Stewart will "raise awareness of the brand's promise and commitment to 100% real chocolate" and cocoa sustainability efforts with a segment on her Dec. 9 show "telling the Dove Chocolate bean-to-bar story." Viewers will be informed about the Mars Center for Cocoa Science and Dove's Center of Excellence. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
The winning team will install the new gizmo in a Ford Fiesta for what Ford has dubbed the "American Journey 2.0," a group expedition to test and show off their efforts at the 2010 Maker Faire, the world's largest do-it-yourself convention held next spring. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
A spokesperson says Chrysler's market research suggests there's broad interest in the product, "but particularly for families who will use this during trips around town of 30-minutes or less, when they normally wouldn't bother with a DVD," she says. "We expect minivan, truck and crossover vehicle buyers to be most interested." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"When people pulled back last year, they realized that more important than the gift are the connections, and they are spending more time with friends and family," says Deloitte's Stacy Janiak. "... Consumers may be using holiday time to replenish items they've held off buying for some time." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
A dedicated site proclaims itself to be the "best place to find last-minute costume ideas." Buttons on the site offer suggestions to create nine costumes such as The Quiznos Toaster, a Toasty Torpedo sandwich or a hillbilly character from one of the company's recent ads. ... Read the whole story > >
by David Goetzl
Procter & Gamble indicated Thursday that it will boost marketing spending over the next year as it introduces a run of new and refashioned brands. The world's largest advertiser said it plans to increase product "innovations" by 30% this year -- with the bulk coming in the back half. ... Read the whole story > >
Sears Offers Free Credit Scores To Cardholders

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Denial is not..

just a river. From Marketing Profs:

No Escapin' This

Ask 100 people for their opinion of social-media tools like Twitter and you'll likely get 100 different responses—ranging from extreme enthusiasm to extreme derision. However you feel about social media, here is one simple fact: Even if you're a naysayer who considers these tools inane and a waste of time, a large number of your most influential customers do not. And that means you must at least monitor the conversation for possible signs of trouble.

In a Premium article at MarketingProfs, Mack Collier outlines five such tools you simply cannot ignore. They include Google Sidewiki, a new add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. Once installed, it can open a side panel where visitors are able to read other visitors' feedback—and leave their own—on any page at any website.

"Every webpage now can be commented on," explains Collier. "Every. Single. One. Potentially, your competitor could comment on your company's website criticizing your products and services. So can your customers. Did you launch a blog and turn off comments? Now your readers can still comment 'on' your blog."

In other words, you can no longer control the conversation, even on your own homepage—because for those with the Sidewiki tool, every site is a social-media site.

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Cold & Flu Season Marketing

From Drew:

Confused stock boy...or brilliant product placement?

by Drew McLellan

Picture 11

So simple...and yet so smart.

Check out where BBDO got grocery stores to stock Campbell Soup's Chicken Noodle soup.

Sometimes you don't have to spend millions on a campaign. You just have to ask a different question.

In this case:

"Would you be willing to stock some soup in your cold meds aisle?"

Smart, smart, smart.

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How will this change your activity?

• 48% of sales people never follow up with their prospects.
• 25% of sales people make a second contact with their prospect and then they stop.
• 12% of sales people make three contacts with their prospect and then they stop.
• Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts with their prospects.

• 2% of sales are made on the first contact with a prospect.
• 3% of sales are made on the second contact with a prospect.
• 5% of sales are made on the third contact with a prospect.
• 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact with a prospect.
• 80% of sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact with a prospect.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click to read more:

by Aaron Baar
Copycat packaging tends to be the biggest factor when it comes to accidental purchases. According to a study by The Brand Union, half of consumers said they accidentally purchased the wrong product because they were misled by the color or name of the imitator. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"People are seeing that boxing does well, crosses all demographics, and is global in scope. My events are bigger than any NFL game or NBA game [globally]. I don't believe this story of boxing has been told correctly. Now it's starting to get there. There's real momentum." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The ads bring together elements known to appeal to the "attention-depleted" young adult online viewer: fast-paced, compelling, entertaining and bite-sized or "snackable" content, Southern Comfort U.S. brand marketing director Lena DerOhannessian tells Marketing Daily. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Banks shouldn't get rid of their Web sites and stop emailing all together. Young adults are likely to prefer online and email communications when they want to contact their banks. Over half of Echo Boomers and Gen Xers (52% each) say they like reaching their bank through a secure website. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"Timex is perceived as trusted, friendly and conservative," says Heberto Calves, VP of marketing. "Those are good things that any brand would want to be associated with, but we want to increase awareness of products with a younger audience and add energy. It's a fine line. We don't want to be 'trendy,' and we don't want to be another Swatch." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"Golfers," an Orbitz spot that ran on national TV, received the award for outstanding television in mainstream markets. The ad has generated both kudos and criticism for its subtlety: It shows four men on a golf course (a place where plenty of straight men congregate, too) and one is wearing a polo shirt with the Human Rights Campaign logo. ... Read the whole story > >
T.G.I. Friday's Intros Burgers, Chicken Sandwiches

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The Bandwagon

Ever here the expression, "Jumping on the Bandwagon"?

The concept is everyone is doing it, so you might as well too. After all there must be something going on here and we don't want to be left out.

Last week I saw the following story from and wondered how the Bandwagon theory applied.

Only 9% of SMBs Use Twitter for Marketing

More than three in 10 (32%) small-business advertisers plan to include social media in their marketing mix in the next 12 months by using a page on a social networking site such as Facebook, Linkedin or MySpace, according to the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study.

The study also explored other forms of Web 2.0 marketing and found that 39% of SMBs plan to include customer ratings or reviews on their websites, 23% plan to incorporate video on their websites, and 31% plan to include links or ads placed on social sites or blogs.


Current Use Remains Low

Despite the significant number reporting plans to use social media, far fewer SMBs appear to be putting it into practice today. For example, only 9% of SMBs report using Twitter to market their business in the past 12 months. Similarly, only 23% have used social sites in the past 12 months, only 16% have incorporated video into their website and 29% have included customer ratings and reviews.

Fewer Established SMBs Tweet

The study also revealed that the adoption of social media - including Twitter - by SMBs is more prevalent among younger businesses. While 16% of businesses that are three years old or younger say they use Twitter, only 2% of those in business 11+ years report doing so:


The same phenomenon is true for plans to use pages on social sites. While 44% of businesses that are three years old or younger say they plan to market this way, only 22% of those in business 11+ years say they will.


BIA/Kelsey’s research is the latest in a string of unaffiliated surveys with different methodologies that have attempted to gauge social media use among SMBs. Recent research from Citibank about how small businesses market themselves seems to support BIA/Kelsey’s findings that many SMBs are not currently using social media. However, another survey by Internet2Go and MerchantCircle discovered a growing segment of online small-business owners who are aggressively promoting their businesses with social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

About the study: Study results come from the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor, the firm’s annual tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses, conducted with research partner ConStat since 1999. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. Local Commerce Monitor draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, which include first- and second-tier markets. Local Commerce Monitor Wave XIII was conducted in August 2009 via an online survey of 1,092 SMBs, comprising a core sample of 302 SMBs, plus SMBs from three ’super vertical’ categories: home/trade services, professional services and financial services.

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Yellow Tail defies gravity. New Balance lets runners focus on their run, and little else. Nissan Altima is put through the wringer. Let's launch!

The BC Dairy Foundation launched The Weak Shop, an online and brick and mortar store in Vancouver where the calcium-deficient can purchase products that help improve their quality of life. Without milk, bodies might feel weaker, making the simplest tasks daunting. Like eating, for example. Enter the Food Lift, a contraption that brings dinner to you, rather than using a fork. See the ad here. Chair Pants might be my favorite product. Two chair legs are attached to pants so when you're waiting in line and feeling sluggish, you can lean back and sit down. Watch the infomercial here. Additional infomercials feature a Support Hat, which keeps one's head upright via suction cups and the Wallet Walker, an invention similar to "walking a tiny dog, without the mess." Some of these outlandish products can actually be purchased, with proceeds benefiting KidSport BC, a program that provides sport grants for kids. BCDF is also looking for consumer-created ideas on additional products. The winner gets a MacBook Pro and will work with an industrial designer to make his or her vision into a reality. DDB Canada created the campaign and Rob Johnston, an industrial designer, crafted the products.

Apple launched three ads in its ongoing "Get a Mac" campaign. "Broken Promises" shows an enthusiastic PC touting the launch of Windows 7, an operating system sure to be devoid of problems found in past OS. Mac is not so convinced. Cue the flashback. PC and Mac go back in time to relive previous discussions about Vista, Windows Me, Windows 98 and Windows 95, while PCs continually urges Mac to trust him. See it here. "PC News," seen here, connects to a live feed of people switching to a Mac rather than upgrading to Windows 7. "Cut that feed. Let's go to a commercial," says PC. "We are a commercial," responds Mac. The final ad, "Teeter Tottering," features a woman switching from a PC to Mac based on Mac's high customer satisfaction rating. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

This is not an ad for Energizer. Some trivia: Duracell bunnies predate the Energizer bunny, but Duracell let its U.S. trademark expire; Energizer snatched it, and voila: no more Duracell bunnies stateside. Duracell Lithium batteries are so strong, that each battery packs the strength of not one, but thousands of pink bunnies. A group of rabbits take on the strength of a tornado, sumo wrestler and elephant in a European ad, seen here. "Bunny Fusion" was created by Ogilvy, Paris and produced by Chuck & Lulu, Paris.

As a runner who's recovering from a foot injury, I desperately wanted to like this ad. The concept is good but the execution, not so much. New Balance created a video set to run in conjunction with the New York Marathon and aimed at a young running demographic. Apparently, a male running demographic, since I saw zero female runners in the nearly two-minute video. We have a man running throughout New York with a pair of feet, resembling horns, poking from his head. He passes runners sans feet on head and makes a beeline to the nearest hospital. An X-ray shows what we already know -- and surgeons perform the delicate task of removing his old shoes and fitting him with a pair of New Balance. He leaves lighter and passes a waiting room full of men with the same problem. "Think about your run, not your feet," closes the ad. Watch it here. I much prefer the Marathon-themed outdoor ads and T-shirts, seen here, here, here, here and here. BBDO New York created the campaign.

Nike's Jordan brand launched "Slap," part of the "Become Legendary campaign." The moral of this ad is simple: teamwork is vital in succeeding, and if you want something bad enough, you need to work at it, even when you're tired, frustrated and ready to give up. Athletes are shown pushing themselves through the pain and displaying a range of emotions, good and bad. See the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York.

Yellow Tail wine is "Open for Anything" in two TV ads that launched Oct. 23. A couple operatically cries over a bottle of spilled wine in "Tragedy." The man does some searching and finds two additional bottles. Crisis averted. See it here. Wine defies gravity in "Swirl." A woman swooshes wine from her glass into the empty glass of a man standing above her. And then they're married. Really. Watch it here. The BurnsGroup New York created the ads.

Abuse your Nissan Altima all you want; it's nothing compared to the rigorous testing it goes through prior to being sold. To the song "Love Hurts," Altima owners drive through potholes, open their car door against a pole and see a child kick a ball close to the front headlights. And the Altima is easily able to withstand each obstacle. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles.

ADP Small Business Services launched a print campaign showcasing actual clients enjoying their favorite activities. "Paid by ADP" ads are running in Accountant Today, Accounting Technology, CPA Technology Advisor, Journal of Accountancy and CPA Journal. Look for one client relaxing outside her Volkswagen Bus and another fishing in the early hours of the morning. See the ads here, here and here. Nelson Schmidt created the campaign and MayoSeitz Media handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: LSN Mobile created a "Local News, Weather and More" app that culls news and information from its 170 local broadcast affiliates. The free app allows consumers to access local breaking news, video clips, weather, sports scores and school closings. In addition, users can share news and content with other users on any network or any handset via SMS or email. The app is available in the App Store.

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

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Keep Movin'

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Maintain Momentum When Closing

To be confident to close, follow the adage, "One step at a time!" Get feedback throughout the call and even if you are not at the point of asking for the business, never stop taking small steps.

End each call on an action step so that you move to your close more quickly. But make sure that next step is very specific and moves the process forward. If you walk out with a clear action step you are moving forward. If you walk out without a clear action step, you are likely going backward.

The difference between, "I'll follow up with you next week" and a specific actionable close like, "So we can (client benefit), how do you feel about our meeting with your head of IT?" or "Can we have the go-ahead to begin?" is the difference between closing business and marking time.

Source: Sales consultant/author Linda Richardson (

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

13 stories...

by Karl Greenberg
Efforts include ads, social media, interactive games on a cross-promotional Web site, and sweepstakes in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The campaign includes the site, where consumers can enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the film's premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, where they will also get to meet the cast. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The company is rolling out a new paid advertising campaign with a simple message: "Please don't text and drive." The headline will begin appearing on billboards nationwide starting this week. The simplicity of the message is intended to connect with drivers as they are on the road and either engaged in or considering sending a text. ... Read the whole story > >
by Tanya Irwin
With international business travelers as its target audience, the ad campaign will deploy mainly in print and digital media, with focus on key markets like New York/Newark. Star Alliance will launch a parallel campaign to help attract new customers and reinforce understanding of customer benefits. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
This rapid rise appears to have been driven in part by aggressive, post-Labor Day advertising focused on new menu items, such as Wendy's Bacon Deluxe, Burger King's $1 double cheeseburger, Taco Bell's Black Jack Taco and KFC's grilled chicken, says BrandIndex SVP and Global Managing Director Ted Marzilli. ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
The contest, which went live this week, requires people to submit a story about a holiday "connection wish" -- someone they want to visit -- for a chance to win the all-expenses-paid trip to do so. The winner of the viral program will be selected and notified in December. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Marketing costs accounted for just 13.6 % of direct revenue this quarter, he says, compared with 15% a year ago. In the months ahead, he says, "we'll be less aggressive in cutting catalog pages, but we will switch more toward Internet marketing." ... Read the whole story > >
Juicy Juice Partners With N.Y. State Parks

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Building relationships

Everyone likes a good story. From

Tell Them a Story

A recent post at Bazaarblog touts the power of customer outreach through story-telling. The blog offers an inspired effort by CVS Caremark as an example.

The CVS outreach campaign and website, For All the Ways You Care, features stories about caregivers—the thousands of "unsung heroes" who patronize CVS pharmacies daily. "CVS Caremark provides more prescriptions than any other pharmacy," Bazaarblog reports. Dedicating a site to customers who are caregivers was, therefore, a perfect fit. "The remarkable stories found on this site are divided into segments including everything from adoption to disaster relief," the blog notes.

CVS wisely remains in the background at the site, serving simply as a respectful host. The result is a vital portal boosting customer loyalty. "While the stories don't specifically mention or tie to CVS Caremark pharmacies, they build a brand association with CVS and caregivers," Bazaarblog explains.

To keep readers engaged, For All the Ways You Care recently ran a contest to award the best caregiver stories submitted to the site. The contest boosted engagement even further.

"While winners were chosen in May 2009, [and] heralded with a national media blitz," Bazaarblog notes, "the site still attracts new stories, even allowing writers to create their own scrapbook around each story."

The message for marketers? "This brand association campaign helps turn a faceless pharmacy into a hub for caregivers," Bazaarblog concludes. In short, an honest outreach campaign like this one can help humanize a company to its customers and boost honest, heartfelt engagement.

The Po!nt: Extend a hand. Might there be some unsung heroes among your customers? Consider telling their stories to add a human touch to your outreach campaign.

Source: Bazaarblog. Read the full post here.

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The Mama Factor

Don't ignore it! From Mediapost:

Millennial Mom 101
Moms and college students have long been critical targets for brands, moms for their hefty control of household spending and college students for the important transitional life stage they are in, which shapes their brand preferences for years to come.

Most Millennials, born between 1977 and 1996, are well within their baby-rearing years. These new parents have been raised on the Internet, email, SMS and IM and quickly adopted social networking in their teens or early 20s. What may have seemed like two polar opposites a decade ago now bear considerable resemblance as a result of changes in communications spawned by technology.

4 Ways Millennial Moms Mirror College Students

I.They're Multi-Tech Multi-Taskers

Family Management 2.0: As do college kids, Moms view technology as a way to integrate all areas of their lives. According to BSM Media, moms' primary objective in using technology is for scheduling and to stay in touch with their busy families. In fact, 65% of moms use five or more separate technologies each day, including video, blogs and wireless devices to multi-task.

Unlikely Tech Trendsetters: In a recent study of over 1,000 people that included 300 moms and 300 college students, conducted through Mr Youth's RepNation word-of-mouth influencer network, a nearly identical percentage of moms (49%) and college students (48%) agreed with the statement, "I am enthusiastic about learning about the latest products and technologies."

II.They Build Communities To Ease Transition

It Takes a Virtual Village: As moms seek advice and reassurance, many turn to online support systems to help them raise their children. Millennial Moms use this digital community to reinforce their parenting ideas or seek out new ones that fit instead of looking for "expert" books and advice that promote a singular way of thinking.

Community Leaders: While online communities first targeted the youth market, moms could be the ideal users. A recent study by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association found that moms are 10% more likely to be on Facebook, nearly 10% more likely to be on MySpace and more likely to be on Twitter than the general adult population.

Social Networkers Anonymous: Communicating online has become an integral part of moms' daily lives. While addiction may be a strong word, the Mr Youth/RepNation study found that half visit social networking sites "many times a day." Moms' usage patterns are a major driving force for why women's online communities are among the fastest-growing Internet categories.

III.They Crowdsource Ideas

Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd: Moms recognize that they have networks of other moms within their reach and are not shy in leveraging them for advice. According to a BabyCenter survey, 44% use social media for word-of-mouth recommendations on brands and 73% feel they find trustworthy information about products and services there.

Giving Brands a Piece of their Mind: This is one area where moms differ greatly from college students. While college students "hardly ever" post reviews about products or services, moms are most likely to post such reviews "once a week," according to Mr Youth/RepNation study. Keeping a two-way dialogue open and involving mom early in the product development and marketing cycles is critical for brands in helping to shape the online conversation.

Peer Pressure Prevails: Moms strongly weigh recommendations from friends and peers. Like college students, the majority of moms surveyed agreed that online reviews and recommendations from a friend, relative or co-worker are "highly influential" when deciding whether to purchase a product or service.

IV.They're Masters of the Overshare

TMI (Too Much Information): While the acronym was surely coined by the youth market, moms are more freely sharing their life experiences publicly. Many parents are now finding themselves oversharing everything from baby barf, boogers and circumcisions that need to be redone, as the hilarious Tumblr," Shut the F**k Up Parents," chronicles. Certainly moms now view a much larger network as a viable audience for all their life experiences.

Boasting Goes Beyond Bumper Stickers: We all know of the "My Kid's an Honor Student" badge that proud moms have displayed on their cars for decades. Now, with social networking, Millennial Moms have an open forum to share almost everything about children and family lives. As reported in the New York Times, moms are even updating Twitter and Facebook through the eyes of their babies or creating their own pages through lil grams, totspot and kidmondo.

Hold the Presses: Many moms enjoy sharing so much that they create blogs and publish their lives frequently in them. Organizations like Mom Bloggers Club and Twitter Moms have found no shortage of willing members as more and more moms continue to find value in having an outlet to air their thoughts and hear others' similar stories.

So How Does This Change Things?

Millennial Moms have quickly become technology's early adopters, ├╝ber social connectors and a powerful online voice. The implications of the changes cannot be underestimated. Brands that plan to market to Millennial Moms in the coming years will need to quickly get up to speed and stay in the loop on the latest trends, technologies and communication patterns to stay connected to their consumers.

To view the full whitepaper published Oct. 23, including 10 tips to marketing to Millennial Moms, visit .

A pioneer in word-of-mouth and social media marketing, Brandon Evans is Managing Partner, Chief Strategy Officer for NY-based social marketing agency Mr Youth. In this role, Brandon overseas strategy and innovation, helping Mr Youth continue to create cutting edge solutions that truly engage consumers with clients like Microsoft, Pepsi, T-Mobile and Nike. He founded Mr Youth's proprietary WOM network, RepNation, the first and largest word-of-mouth network for Millennials that has over 100,000 members. Reach him here.

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Tell the Truth

from Art Sobczak:

Don't Hide the Purpose for the Call


The caller greeted me with,

"Mr. Soba-E-zack?"

ME: "It's pronounced Sub-check. What do you need?"

"Oh, uh, sorry. I'm Pat Jones with Trojan Golf.
You're still a golfer, aren't you?"

(I'll normally listen to ANYTHING golf-related,
even if it is a telemarketer reading from a
script, as this person was. At least their
target marketing was good.)

ME: "Yeah, I golf quite a bit."

"Well, good news! As an avid golf fanatic,
you've been selected to try out our new titanium
irons. We're looking for feedback from golfers on
these revolutionary new irons. These new irons ..."

ME: "Stop. I know the routine. You send out the
clubs, and then I get an invoice after a trial
period. You're not looking for feedback on your
clubs--this is how you sell them, right?"

"Uh, sure we offer the opportunity to buy them after
a free trial period. But there's no obligation."

ME: "I understand, but again, the purpose of this
call is to sell golf clubs, not get feedback on
them, right?"

"Welllll, again, you are under no obligation, and
even if you nicked or scuffed them, you wouldn't
have to pay for them."

Lucky me. How kind of them.

I had enough and ended the call.

This is the problem with some sales calls, both
to consumers and businesses. Callers misrepresent
themselves to get and keep someone on the phone.
They use such guises as,

... we're taking a survey ...
... we want to update our information ...
... we're doing an opinion study ...
... we're updating our records ...
... we're conducting some marketing research ...

... and then later in the call, they inform the
person about their "offer," or that they'd like a
salesperson to visit.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying surveys and
marketing research do not have a useful function--
they do. Just don't mask a lead generation or
sales call as something that it's not. After all,
if a company must use less-than-upfront tactics
to get you to buy, wouldn't it justifiably make
someone leery about its product and character?

OK, so what is the suggested alternative?

It's no different than what I always suggest:

Have a good opening, generate interest, ask questions,
make a recommendation, then ask for commitment.

For example, the golf club salesperson could have

"Art, the reason for the call is that we have
introduced a line of irons that have been designed
to help high handicappers eliminate hooks and slices,
and help better golfers shave those last few strokes
off their scores. You still golf, right?

Great! Because we don't spend millions on
advertising, and market these directly to golfers on a
free trial, no-risk basis, we're able to give
wholesale prices for custom-fitted clubs as good as
what the pros use. I'd simply like to ask a few questions
about your game, and your satisfaction with the
equipment you use to see if you'd like more information
on these clubs."

Granted, that might seem a bit long when you read it
on a computer screen. But, delivered in a
conversational way, to the right audience, (as all
openings should be anyway) most people would be at
least interested enough to continue, and not be
skeptical about the call. With well-planned and
executed questions based upon the prospect's answers,
reps could make persuasive, tailored recommendations
and then ask for commitment.

Bottom line, if someone has to hide the reason they're
calling, they either don't have anything worth buying
or they don't have a sound strategy, tactics, and the
skill to execute them. The good news is, the latter
problem is fixable.

"Chance never helps those who do not help themselves."

Continue having your best week ever!


Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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