Saturday, August 07, 2010

Email Marketing to Boomers


One Easy Way to Make Your Emails More Readable

Writing at the Retail Email blog, Chad White offers some interesting facts about the Baby-Boomer generation. First, by 2015, nearly half of the US population will be age 50 or older (AARP). Second, Boomers currently control over 80% of personal financial assets and account for more than 50% of the country's discretionary spending power (ThirdAge).

According to White, marketers have failed to address a simple issue critical to continued patronage from this growing, affluent audience: readable font sizes. "[They] regularly use small text on their websites and in their emails and other marketing materials," he says, "creating unnecessary legibility issues for some of their most valuable customers."

With this in mind, he has created the acronym-friendly Boomer Legibility Initiative for a New Decade (BLIND). Its mission? To increase font size by one point in 2010, by another in 2015 and by one more in 2020.

"Increasing font sizes is also becoming vital as more email and websites are viewed on mobile devices, which often scale content down, making text even harder to read," he notes at the initiative's LinkedIn page, where he also recommends limiting the use of:

  • Reverse type, with a lighter text on a darker background.
  • Low-contrast pages, with little difference between colors used for text and background.
  • Background images with a text overlay.

"Not considering the needs of Boomers when designing marketing materials means lost revenue for marketers and a poor user experience for many Boomers," he concludes, "not to mention other visually challenged people like myself."

The Po!nt: They have to see you to believe you. Make sure the Boomers in your audience are capable of reading your messages. Otherwise, you won't see much ROI from them.

Source: Retail Email blog. Read the full post.

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Boom Time

I've been talking about this for the past 6 months..

Why Is It News That Marketers Can't Afford To Ignore Boomers?

As Media Daily News reported last month, research giant Nielsen generated news by issuing a release confirming what readers of this newsletter already know: "Marketers Can't Afford to Ignore Baby Boomers."

While Nielsen's release consolidated some useful and recent information for the broader market, more important than its content was the identity of its source, a mainstream research firm and one of the two largest sources of consumer insights for Fortune 500 companies and the agencies that represent their brands.

Two quick highlights from Nielsen's release:

  • Boomers dominate 1,023 out of 1,083 consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories
  • While Boomers spend almost 39% of all CPG dollars, only 5% of advertising is directed at them.

Because Nielsen didn't reveal anything new for anyone who has looked into Boomer marketing even briefly, I was more interested in two facts besides those included in the release itself: first, its timing, and, second, the reaction to it.

The Timing: Why Boomers Now?

I think the shopping information may be what made Nielsen think this was the right time for such a release. Nielsen is paid to pay close attention to who is buying what, especially in the mass, drug and supermarket channels important to Nielsen's CPG clients. And I have a feeling that this is the first time Nielsen itself recognized how Boomers were dominating so many of the categories it researches. This information will make it harder for CPG marketers to take Boomers for granted, and could mark a turning point if brand managers start giving Boomers a bigger place in next year's marketing plans.

Another reason for the timing of the release may also relate to the facts it discloses. In the ongoing recession, the dominance of Boomers in so many categories is probably growing even more remarkable. As younger consumers continue scaling back their purchases across the board, the Boomer's relative importance in each of those categories (clothing, restaurants, cars, travel) becomes even more pronounced.

The Reaction: Stereotypes and Insights

I was also fascinated by the opinionated responses to the Nielsen release, here at MediaPost as well as at The feedback suggests that we still have a long way to go before marketers understand that being a Boomer is something different from being old. And it confirms my belief that Boomers are, in fact, fascinated with how marketers engage (or ignore) them, which itself offers marketers an interesting opportunity.

As for the misunderstanding, one TV ad sales manager asked about Nielsen, "How many cars do they think a 58-year-old is going to buy in the next 30 years? How many is a 25-year-old going to buy? It is all about reaching people who are in the formative years of setting their brand preferences. Older people do far less brand changes than younger, and the success of any company relies on building new customers. No marketer wants his company/product to end up like Oldsmobile."

These questions suggest that Nielsen's release, full of data familiar to many of us, is serving an important purpose. Responses like this confirm stereotypes that are both illogical (who is buying cars this year if not 58-year olds?) and disproven by research (Boomers are actively changing brands, and are willing to embrace new brands that embrace them). We will need a lot more Nielsen releases to changes the minds of people like this.

But all the research in the world couldn't say it better than another respondent did on "I am a married father of 3 kids (22, 20, 16), paying for 2 college tuitions, 4 cars and some highly professional female shoppers. We watch lots of TV, spend WAY more than the average family and are always on the go... I happen to be 55, so I guess I'm past the 'old' demo of 35-54 and not worth being targeted? Pay attention to my shopping/usage habits and you'll figure out how to best influence me -- but don't talk to me as if I'm anywhere near retirement age."

This 55-year old shared two of the most important insights for marketers who do decide to engage Boomers.

Boomer does not mean old or, as this articulate man says, "anywhere near retirement age." Marketers have still not really internalized the fact that there is now a generation or life stage that is no longer young but is a long way from old. That is what it means to be 50+ now, and messages geared at grandparents and retirees will fall flat.

Finally, this man's response reminds us that Boomers pay a lot of attention to the ways that marketers talk to them (or ignore them). Marketers should consider ageless messaging (like Apple's) to reach Boomers, but should also consider starting a conversation with Boomer consumers about the topic of marketing itself.

Everyone likes being recognized, especially if they've been feeling ignored. Marketers who want to follow Nielsen's advice should consider telling Boomers, who more than other generations seek recognition for their ability to change the world, "You've made us understand why we were wrong. We can't afford to ignore you. So let's start talking."

Stephen Reily is Vibrant Nation's CEO, an entrepreneur, marketing expert and Flash Forward Blogger. is an online community for the fast-growing demographic of smart and successful women over 50. Reach him here.

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Goals and Zig


Set Your Goals and
You'll Go Far!

by Zig Ziglar

Are goals important? Well, I'll let you be the judge. Several years ago, a study by UCLA School of Medicine was conducted at a series of seminars I was conducting. The audience was divided into two groups: those who set goals and developed a plan of action to reach them, and those who took no specific action to reach their goals.

Results: The goal setters earned an average of $7,401 each month. The non-action group earned an average of $3,397 each month. Not surprisingly, the action group tended to be more enthusiastic, more satisfied with life and work, happier in marriage, and their overall health was better. As the experts stated in the study findings, "These results also confirm...

Click here to continue reading.

Reprinted with permission of For a free subscription to SalesDog's weekly sales tips and inspiration newsletter, click here.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

How Many Steps?

From Chuck Mckay:

Zen and the Art of Persuasion.

There’s a gas station at one of the Interstate 20 off ramps in Columbia, South Carolina that is rumored to have the lowest prices in town. If they don’t have the lowest prices, they certainly have convinced a large group of drivers that they do. Most hours of the day they have a constant line of cars at each of the eight pumps.

A casual observer will notice a young man drifting from car to car, speaking with each driver in sequence. The young man you notice on Monday will not be there on Thursday. Another young man will have taken his place.

And should the observer become an eavesdropper, he’ll hear the young man explain that he works for a glass company “up in Greenville,” has his materials with him, and can repair the dings and chips in the driver’s windshield for between forty and sixty-five dollars. He opines that the motorists insurance will cover it, reimbursing the driver so there will be no “out of pocket” expense.

Apparently, enough people accept his offer that it’s profitable for the young man, or one very much like him. They keep coming back.

Occasionally one of the motorists, wanting to “think it over,” will ask the young man du jour for a business card. He never seems to have one on him. Although he can name the company he works for, he can’t remember it’s phone number. No, he doesn’t carry a cell, so he can’t provide that number either.

In any buyer / prospective seller relationship, there are two basic reasons that people choose not to buy, and the young man carrying the battery-powered drill and pocket epoxy illustrates them vividly.

People don’t buy when they don’t feel the need for what you’re selling.

They don’t buy when don’t trust you.

People avoid risk on three levels.

  1. The biggest risk is that they’ll purchase the wrong solution – that they’ll have spent the money and still have the problem.
  2. But, there’s also the risk that the solution they purchase won’t last, and their problem will be back. (The variant on this is buying from a company who won’t warrant the purchase, or even be in business if the purchaser ever needs their support).
  3. And finally, if all of the solutions seem roughly equal, there’s the risk of over paying.
Put yourself in the mindset of someone who’s just become aware of a problem, which could be anything from “ring around the collar” to “my back hurts every morning when I wake up.” Whatever the problem she’s identified, she’s now looking for a solution.

Ring around the collar? One of the oldest formulas in advertising was perfected by major packaged goods companies like Lever Brothers and Proctor and Gamble. The familiar presentation is called slice-of-life, and is presented as if we, the viewers / listeners / readers are peeking in on a conversation between real people.

The formula is basic: State problem. Agitate problem. Announce solution.

  1. First, our slice of life dialog establishes that “ring around the collar” is an easily noticed condition which will reduce social standing.
  2. The off-camera announcer states the problem: “You’ve got ring around the collar.”
  3. He now agitates the problem: “Those dirty rings. You’ve tried scrubbing. You’ve tried soaking. You’ve tried powders. And nothing works.
  4. We’re treated to a close-up demonstration of Wisk liquid laundry detergent being poured on the offensive sweat stain. The camera cuts to a close up of the same collar without the stains.
  5. The off-camera announcer proudly announces the solution: “Wisk around the collar gets ring around the collar every time.”
This is a good example of a single-step ad. Its also known as an order generation ad. Its purpose is to get the prospect to recognize her problem, accept the solution, and purchase it. Now.

Does order generation advertising work? Most assuredly, it does. You’ve seen examples of it every day of your life.

The catalog from Sears or Terry’s Village. Every Yellow Pages ad. The “cash for gold” ads on television. The long-running television or magazine ads for Miracle Grow. A significant percentage of the letters in your mailbox from companies you’ve never heard of.

Let’s review those three risks.

Our slice-of-life laundry lady is highly likely to purchase Wisk, now that she’s seen, and accepted, the premise of the ad: “Wisk around the collar gets ring around the collar.”

  1. Is she risking the wrong solution (no pun intended)? She recognizes ring around the collar as her problem, because she sees the sweat stains every time she does laundry. This appears to be an exact solution. Minimal risk.
  2. Is she risking that her solution will be temporary? No. It’s a disposable product. If it doesn’t work as well as she expected, she can simply not replace it when she runs out. Again, no real risk.
  3. Is she risking paying too much?* Probably not. If our shopper purchases the economy size “32 load” bottle of Wisk, she can expect to pay roughly $7.50. If she pays $7.83 will that price increase damage her cleaning budget? Hardly
Without the perception of risk it shouldn’t surprise us that this customer will quickly decide to buy the product.

Single-step ads tend to work best for simple, non-technical, and inexpensive products. The simpler the proposal, the easier it is to explain in a small ad. This is the principle which makes classified advertising work.

But what if the product or service needs more explanation than will fit into a small space ad, or half a minute on TV or radio? In general, the more complex the product, the more technical the nature of the product, the higher the price, the less likely a single-step ad will convert people from prospects to customers.

Back to the lady with the backache.

She wakes up, and groans while getting out of bed. By her second cup of coffee she’s moving freely and has forgotten about the stiffness.

But one day she realizes that this “back hurts first thing in the morning” business has gone on for weeks. In her mind (which is where it counts), that realization moves her backache to the status of a problem. Problems need resolution.

She begins to pay attention to what web marketers call “keywords.” Keywords aren’t limited to the Internet. Regardless of medium, they are one or two word phrases that trigger her reticular activation system and reach her conscious brain. In her case, the words will be “backache,” and “morning backache.”

Now that her subconscious is aware that they are important she begins to notice the advertising messages which surround her. As her eye skims the newspaper the keywords seem to leap off the page. She’ll be riveted to certain radio ads. She’ll stop talking during television advertising in which the keywords resonate in her conscious mind.

  • “Morning backache is a sign of a too soft mattress. See how good you feel after 30 nights on a Simmons Beauty Rest.”
  • “Morning backache is a sign of poor posture. WalkFit Orthotic Shoe Inserts helped over 90% of the people tested reduce pain levels in their feet, knees, spine and pelvis.”
  • “Morning backache is a sign of poor spinal alignment. Should that stiff neck or sore back persist, call your Doctor of Chiropractic.”
  • “Morning backache can be treated with Doan’s Backache Pills. They relieve the aches and pains and that helpless feeling of stiffness, so that the system can be restored to full health.”
  • “Morning backache is a sign that the vital magnetic energy from the earth’s natural magnetic field has been interrupted. Magnetic insoles provide penetrating magnetic therapy for the entire body while soft massage nodes stimulate reflexology points.”
Multiple products promise to relieve her discomfort. Multiple disciplines claim to treat her condition. With the limited knowledge she possesses as an entry level shopper, she could easily choose the wrong solution, or one that doesn’t last. Without knowing which solution is appropriate she could easily overpay. She’s swimming in risk.

Sellers would love for her to buy from a single-step ad.

From the seller’s perspective a single-step order generation ad is a quick sale. It doesn’t require any follow up. Done well, salespeople may not even be necessary. The process seems so simple, so straightforward, so easy. “Here’s my offer. Come buy it.” There is no intent for these ads to build image or “brand” the advertiser. Their only purpose is to get the sale. Miss Prospect will buy, or not. No second chance.

But Miss Prospect may not be ready to buy when you want to sell. She may not need it today. Even if you do, she doesn’t know you. She doesn’t know your product. From her perspective she’s surrounded by risk. Did I mention that she doesn’t know you?

She needs information about how you can solve her problem. She needs information about your professional reputation. She requires more information than can fit into a small newspaper or magazine ad; more than will fit into a radio or television ad.

When she’s in the early stages of seeking a solution for her problem, Miss Prospect will want to see a demonstration, read a specification sheet, see an estimate, meet for a consultation, or expect a presentation before she buys.

See the problem? One-step ads work best when the offer is simple, and inexpensive. They work when the prospect is a late stage shopper, and is very close to making a purchase. But when Miss Prospect is an entry stage shopper, is bewildered by the sheer number of choices, and feels overwhelmed by risk, they tend not to work at all. Mr. Advertiser schedules his single-step offer to run in the noon newscast, and at 12:15 is standing at the door wondering where all of the buyers are.

If we’re selling mattresses, orthotic shoe inserts, chiropractic services, analgesic pills, or magnetic therapy – if we’re selling anything which takes a more detailed explanation than “this detergent gets the dirt out” – we’ll do better breaking the sales process into two or more parts.

Instead of asking Miss Prospect to commit to the purchase, we ask that she only commit to the risk-free next step in our selling process.

What’s the risk-free first step?

Example 1:

How do Proctor and Gamble minimize the customer’s $7.50 risk for any of their new detergents? They offer a free sample of the product. Enough for two or three uses. Miss Prospect tries the soap, likes the way it cleans, really likes the new fragrance, and adds the product to her next shopping list.

Summary: the manufacturer invests roughly 57₵ to acquire a new customer of their consumable product. Its likely that she’ll spend roughly $90 per year re-purchasing it.

Example 2:

“If we pre-qualify you and your claim is denied, the Scooter Store will GIVE you your new power chair or scooter, FREE.”
Summary: by offering a “pre-qualification,” the advertiser gets the complete personal information on an active prospect.

Example 3:

“Well I married my dream girl, I married my dream girl, but she didn’t tell me her credit was bad…” This delightful ad for Free Credit Report dot com offers a three bureau credit report, at no cost to the caller. There are two reasons this one is worthy of note. First, it uses network television (with only :30 seconds to tell a story) to drive traffic to a web site where there’s no limit to the amount of information which can be presented to the prospect.

But, pay close attention to both the tiny screen writing and the subdued voice over, each of which say, “Offer applies with enrollment in Triple Advantage.” Did you catch it? The entire 30 seconds pushes the free credit report which people get by enrolling in a monthly credit monitoring service for $14.95 per month.
Summary: for the price of a single credit report (no incremental cost to the advertiser), and by focusing ONLY on the premium – the free report – they get a subscriber who will pay nearly $180 per year.
Imagine trying to convince people to sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service in a :30 second single-step TV ad. “Call now. Protect yourself from identity theft for only $14.95 a month. Operators are standing by…..” But asking them to identify themselves by requesting their own credit report? How elegantly simple.

They call it two-step marketing, but…

It may be the second, third, or forth step which closes the sale after the first step provides the “lead.”

Or it may be a series of progressively larger sales. Roy H. Williams says the subscribers to his free newsletter may become familiar enough with his writing to purchase a $12.95 book. Some of the book buyers may purchase a $49.00 video, or a $495 training program, or a $3,000 three-day seminar. Some of those purchasers will become consulting clients. Roy calls this his “gravity well.”

Whether you call the two-step process a prospect funnel, a gravity well, or lead generation, there are a few things you can do to maximize its effectiveness.

  1. Create a free brochure, a white paper, or report that will be of interest to people who are seriously considering the purchase of what you sell. Your information becomes a no obligation, low risk, non-threatening reason to start a relationship with you.
  2. Instead of trying to sell your service, or product, sell the value of your information. Make it useful. Make potential customers feel that there’s information they must have before they make a final decision to buy. “The seven things you must ask your HVAC contractor before you sign the contract for a new air conditioning unit.”
  3. Send an e-mail or a conventional letter. Run a radio ad, offer it on your website, or print an insert for the local newspaper. Get the word out that you’re offering valuable information for anyone considering buying what you sell. At this point, your hot prospects will identify themselves by asking for a copy.
  4. You did capture their contact information, didn’t you? Names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses? Because now is time for the follow ups, in which you cultivate a relationship and turn them into customers. Sign them up for your newsletter. Invite them to an open house. Offer a free consultation, or an invitation to a free seminar. Offer a special promotion. Offer more information. Build the relationship.
Not everyone you meet will be a qualified prospect for what you sell. And remember that qualified prospects still won’t buy if they don’t believe they need what you’re selling, or if they don’t trust you.

Two-step marketing allows you to persuade your prospects that what you sell is the exact solution they’re seeking. More importantly, it allows them to experience your trustworthiness. And both are critical to the reduction of perceived risk among your prospects.


*Doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that so many business people skip by the two more critical perceived risks, and immediately cut price to stimulate sales?

SChuck Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover, and choose your business. Questions about single-step and two-step advertising may be directed to

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Anger & Passion

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Dealing With An Angry Client

Prospects who react strongly to what you present, even with anger, are going to be more involved and passionate about your offerings.

Sometimes the best strategy is to let them vent. Anger is emotional, not logical. Often as prospects vent anger they will not give a logical reason for it.

If you listen carefully for the feeling behind the behavior, the reason may become clear. Responding to the feeling that drives the anger may get you to the heart of the matter.

Source: Adapted from Presentations That Change Minds, by Josh Gordon

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

New Ad Campaigns

from Amy at Mediapost:

Bouncing bowling balls. Corona Light drinkers get active. Airport ad tires young children. Let's launch!

Kids fight cavities while chewing gum and causing trouble in a trio of spots for Trident sugarless gum. In "Makeup," a young girl chews gum and applies makeup... to her kid brother. And not a bad job, either. See it here. A brother and sister spy a neighbor's jet ski in "Rocket." The duo aims their foam water rocket next door, and it's a direct hit. Watch it here. Two boys attempt to scale a living room wall, using plungers attached to their legs and arms in "Wall Walk." Mom asks what the pair is up to and their response is, "fighting cavities." See it here. Each ad, created by JWT New York, uses the new tagline "Smile on."

Aug. 10 is a big day for gamers: EA SPORTS' Madden NFL 11 comes out. The spot begins with Drew Brees breezing into Times Square, challenging fans to a game of Madden on a ginormous 40' x 40' screen. The San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates drops in on an unexpected gamer and Luis Castillo, also from the Chargers, crashes an 11-year-old's birthday party. The ad's tagline, "Madden to the People," was taken literally. In total, 2,000 games were distributed to fans while filming the campaign. Watch the ad here. Heat created the campaign and Wieden + Kennedy Portland handled the media buy.

The year was 2005. Sony Bravia shot an ad in San Francisco using 250,000 bouncy balls that changed the way people viewed advertising. It clocked in at 2 minutes 30 seconds, yet not once did you feel as if you were watching a commercial. In 2010, the ad gets spoofed. My question: What took so long? Save for this spoof ad from four years ago, it was quiet on the spoof homefront. Nissan Qashqai uses colorful, bouncing bowling balls in "Urban Bowling." Yes, damage is done. The ad begins much like "Balls": atop a steep hill, coupled with slow music. As the balls get closer, viewers realize they're bowling balls and the music changes to a more grungy tone. That's when the havoc begins. Trash cans fall, a motorcycle tips, cars are dented, and windshields are shattered, along with headlights and side mirrors. Post-carnage, the balls slowly roll down the street as a Nissan Qashqai pulls out of its parking spot without a scratch. "Urbanproof" closes the spot, seen here and created by TBWA/G1 and TBWA/Paris.

Corona Light launched "Moonlight," an energetic TV spot featuring the Michael Franti and Spearhead song, "Say Hey." The ad takes place at the beach, where a group of friends are dancing to music just before sunset. Once it gets dark, the sound system is unplugged and schlepped through the jungle to the other side of the beach, where dancing resumes by moonlight. "It Only Gets Better," closes the ad, seen here and created by La Comunidad.

The mini-giraffe gets me every time. A wealthy Russian man is extravagant with his money in an ad for DirecTV. "Opulence" follows the Russian throughout his home, where dogs really do play poker and his TV remote sits atop six gold bars. Despite the excessive spending, our guy likes saving money. So he signed up for five free months of DirecTV's premium package. The spot closes with the Russian kissing his mini-giraffe, lounging on a pillow. Watch it here. Grey, New York created the campaign, directed by Tim Godsall of Biscuit Filmworks and edited by Goeff Hounsell of Arcade Edit.

I hope there's a hand sanitizer station posted nearby this interactive campaign. FirstBank launched an outdoor campaign at the Denver International Airport with one objective. "Tire your kids out so they sleep on the plane," reads a plexiglass rotating signboard. Below that are kid-sized handprints with instructions stating, "Have children place hand here." The signboard makes one revolution every 30 seconds. Who knows how many times a kid will walk around this signboard? See creative here and here. TDA Advertising & Design created the campaign and handled the media buy.

I feel the need. The need for speed. ESPN launched "Obsession" as part of its "Cause It's Racing" campaign that supports the network's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The ad takes place on a temporarily empty racetrack. Fans cheer from the sidelines as they patiently await the bevy of racecars barreling down past them. Talk about having the earth move under their feet. The ad placed viewers as close to the action as possible, ending with a close-up of one racer's eyes: they're focused and determined. See the ad here, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

Volvo launched a pair of TV spots earlier this year that illustrated differences in drivers despite vehicle similarities. An opera-loving man drives a Volvo 2011 C30. So does a hip-hop fan. The two merge at an intersection and smile. See it here. "Switch" is funny. Identical red Volvos are parked outside a coffee shop. Two men are inside the shop while their significant others wait in the cars. They decide to pull a switcheroo on their men. Clothes are swapped, sunglasses are worn and a car with the top down now has the top up. One man emerges with his coffee and drives off in the wrong car, leaving the other man staring at the remaining Volvo with a confused look. Watch it here. Arnold created the campaign and MPG/Media Contacts handled the media buy.

Random iPhone App of the week: Where's Waldo? He's on your iPhone. The beloved children's book is available as a game for your mobile device. The app has been downloaded more than 1 million times since its December 2009 launch. The app, created by Ludia and Classic Media, costs $2.99 and is available in the App Store.

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

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The Sales Funnel

This morning, I'm going back to basics:

Daily Sales Tip: The Sales Funnel

The sales funnel is just like a funnel you might use to pour liquid from one container into another.

If you stop pouring the liquid into the top part of the funnel, fluid stops coming out the bottom. If you try to pour too much liquid in at one time, the funnel overflows and you lose some of it. You'll also lose liquid if the funnel has leaks. If you have some blockages in your funnel, the flow may stop or back up causing an overflow situation again.

So how does this work for sales? Simple. If you stop putting potential sales opportunities into the top part of the funnel, closed sales stop coming out the bottom.

If you try to put too many sales opportunities in at one time, the sales funnel overflows and you lose some potential sales. This can happen after a trade show where you simply have too many leads to follow-up in a timely manner.

You'll also lose sales if the sales funnel has leaks. Leaks are simply lost sales that probably weren't going to happen in the first place.

A blockage in your sales funnel could be something as simple as the inability to get a proposal out in a timely manner, the inability to deliver on a specific date, or indecision on the part of someone in the company.

It would be nice if every sales opportunity you put into the top of the sales funnel poured out the bottom as a closed sale. The percentage of sales opportunities that actually end up closed is called your "closing ratio." A 25 percent closing ratio means that you get (close) one out of every four sales you start.

Just like your regular funnel can't go out and find liquids to pour into its top end, the sales funnel can't actively find potential opportunities. That's your job. It's called prospecting. And part of your job, particularly in slower times, is to keep a flow of potential opportunities flowing down through your prospecting pipeline and into the sales funnel.

Developing your prospecting pipelines is important to your long-term survival in sales. If you just wait around for the company to supply you leads, chances are you'll slowly starve to death, in a metaphorical sense. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Experience shows that the best salespeople are also the best prospectors.

Source: Sales trainer/consultant Brian Jeffrey

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The company compares the use of the two creative approaches to what GEICO has done by having both the gecko and caveman creative executions. "Ben [Stein] reinforces our service quality," says Phil Sandler, "and 'The Three Score Guys' communicate to consumers that they have three scores -- and you need to know all three before you make a major purchase or even apply for a job." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"The companies that understand the ways consumer spending is changing are going to fare the best and pick up market share," Giegengack tells Marketing Daily. "The recommendation that we made based on the study is not to assume that, when the economy turns around, the way you've always positioned yourself is going to work." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Dinner is by far the meal most likely to be eaten at casual/family formats. Nearly three-quarters (72%) reported eating dinner at these formats, versus 24% citing snacks, 3% citing breakfast, and 1% citing lunch. This points to a significant opportunity for these operators to create niches as lunch destinations, Market Force's analysts noted. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The deal includes a proviso that all vehicle testing and evaluations by these publications use Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, including Shell V-Power. Shell says the deal with the magazines will include point-of-purchase materials and radio and online ads, in combination with consumer giveaways and promotions. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
One exception, says Nielsen's James Russo, is likely to be consumer electronics, "including next-generation cell phones, iPads, and new computers." But it's not because parents see themselves as splurging, he says, "but that these are now viewed as necessary, not discretionary." ...Read the whole story >>

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Another Look at the Hispanic Market

The recent news stories regarding legal vs illegal immigration is overshadowing some basic numbers we need to understand...

From my email:

Hispanic Market Hits Tipping Point

Demo Accounts for One in Six U.S. Residents; Nearly Half Are at Ease in English

If you're looking to reach upholders of traditional American values, your best bet might be the Hispanic market.

The market is growing: The 2010 Census expected to count a record 50 million Hispanics, or one in every six U.S. residents, meaning the Hispanic population will have increased a stunning 42% from the previous census in 2000. (By comparison, the non-Hispanic population will have edged up just 5% in that decade.) It's also got scale: Hispanics are now the nation's second-largest consumer market after white non-Hispanics, who are still the largest group at about 200 million.

But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Hispanics in America is how closely they exemplify our idealized concept of 1950s America. They are young (their median age is about where the whole nation was in 1955) and more often live in large, traditional, married-with-children families with lots of participation from grandparents.

More often than not, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they eat family meals at home, and spend less than average on alcohol. They're moving to the suburbs, tend to be community-oriented, and have high aspirations for their children. In short, they are the sweet market for consumer goods and services that the entire nation used to be when baby boomers were young.

Hispanic children are overwhelmingly U.S. born. Fully 91% of Hispanic children were born in the U.S., compared to only 47% of Hispanic adults, which has great implications for the demographic's speed of acculturation. With the Hispanic market at this tipping point, one of the biggest challenges for marketers is reaching young, acculturated bilingual Hispanics who behave differently than their parents who didn't grow up in the U.S. and don't spend as much time with Spanish-language media, but still feel a deep sense of Latino identity.

More than 1 in 3 Hispanics in the U.S. (34.3%) are children under 18 years old, as compared to fewer than one in four children (22.5%) that are non-Hispanics. The youthful U.S.-born Hispanic population means that children of immigrants, who typically attend public schools, where they learn English, will acculturate much faster than their parents did. And, in fact, English is making gradual gains as the language U.S. Hispanics are most comfortable speaking. Some 27% are most comfortable in English, with another 17% comfortable in both English and Spanish; meaning that nearly half -- 44% -- of the demographic is at ease in English.

Over the next decade, as millions of bilingual Hispanic teens become young adults, we can expect their consumer behavior to move closer to other non-Hispanic young adults. However, the very large size of this segment suggests that the Hispanic culture is likely to remain strong, even among U.S.-born children.

The major difference between today's immigrants and those who have come before them is the phenomenon called globalization. Inexpensive air travel, the Internet and native-language TV stations featuring content from country of origin all allow this group of immigrants to come to the U.S. and become acculturated but still have close ties to their home countries in ways that past immigrant groups could not. That is having and will continue to have a transformative effect on the U.S. culture, including music, food and sports, as illustrated by this year's World Cup fervor.

Hispanics will become a major force in U.S. consumer-spending growth over the next decade and beyond. The slowing growth and aging population that characterizes other segments of consumers means that younger and larger Hispanic families will be more vital to future growth in consumer spending than at any time in the past.

The Hispanic population is, on average, more than 10 years younger than the average for non-Hispanics. Their median age is just under 28, which means that 75% of adult Hispanics are age 18-49, compared to 56% of non-Hispanics. The household size of U.S. Hispanic families is the largest of any segment. The average Hispanic family has 4.0 members, compared to 2.9 members in the average white, non-Hispanic family. And only 4% of adult Hispanics live alone, compared to 15% of white non-Hispanics.

Hispanic consumers are the most geographically concentrated of any large consumer segment. The eight states with the most Hispanics are home to 76% of all U.S. Hispanics. About half of Hispanic consumers live in California and Texas. The other six states having more than one million Hispanics are Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey and Colorado. By contrast, the eight states with the largest concentration of non-Hispanics have just 44% of that consumer segment.

By 2015, millions of baby boomers will have begun retiring, thus reducing their consumer spending. Hispanic consumers will play a major role in replacing those retirees in the consumer marketplace and will contribute to the upsurge of retail spending and economic growth.

And given their growing influence on this country's culture, perhaps one day we may be saying: "It's as American as dulce de leche."

(Source: Advertising Age, 07/26/10)

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Chasing or Following?

Another great piece of sales wisdom from Art:

This Week's Tip
Are Your Follow-Up's Accomplishments,
Or Just Activities


Do you really know where you stand with the
prospects in your follow-up files right now?

Come on, really now? I'm not trying to make
you feel bad, but my experience is that many
sales reps have no clue where they are in
the sales process with a majority of the
people they are following up with.

Yet, they continue to call, continue to
leave voice mail messages ("Hey, I'm just
checking in with you, wondering how it's
going..."), send an endless stream of emails,
and HOPE that something will happen.

It's like running on a treadmill. There's
lots of activity, but you don't go anywhere.

And it can exhaust you. (Actually, the
treadmill is better since at least you are
accomplishing something physically-more
people should do it. I digress.)

Although some reps argue that at least they
are making contact and "touching" their
prospects through their messages, I say,
bull. Here's why:

1. Repeated messages with no value puts you
in a position where you're viewed as a vendor...
a salesperson whose goal is to sell them
something. The more you call to "just check
in," the more the image of the "stalker
salesperson" is solidified in their mind.

2. You waste time, and money, on a couple
of levels. First, let me make the assumption
that many of these "prospects" never will
do anything with you. Therefore, you are
throwing away time--which translates into
money--by continuing to call them. Not only
are you wasting the time when you actually
DO reach them, but factor in all of the
attempts and messages you leave.

And then add the prep time for each call
(You are doing pre-call planning, right?)

OK, so what should we be doing?

Let's zoom in to a call. We need to gauge
the temperature of the prospect and get a
snapshot of precisely where we are with them.
I've found that it's always best to let the
prospect tell you their perception of the
progression of the sales cycle and what
the next steps should be.

For example, when you reach the point
where you feel things have moved sufficiently,

"So, where are we right now?"

"Where do we sit right now?"

"How far do you feel we have progressed
to this point?"

"How close are we to making this happen?"

"What are the next steps?"

"What next?"

"What needs to happen on your end to move

"How do you see us proceeding?"

And then...?

Assuming you've done this, received good
information, and the person truly is a good
prospect, then what?

Well, let's use a real situation posed to
me by a reader. Donald Holbrook with Stanford
Keene asked,

"I manage three guys that are on the phone
every day and talking to the top executives
in companies worldwide. I am continuously
working on my verbal communication as well
as theirs. As you can imagine, we have to
"follow up" with our contacts and have
found that it is common for these guys
to say that they are calling back to "touch
base" or "when is a good time for me to get
back in contact to touch base and see how
things have progressed?" What suggestions
would you have to replace these words?

To tie this into what I have covered earlier,
I always say the success of the follow up is
in direct relation to the success of the
previous call, and what is to happen next.

It involves getting a commitment that they
(the prospect) will do something and you'll
do something as a result of the call.

Then you can follow up with,

"I'm calling to continue our conversation
of last week where we had discussed ____
and you were going to review the statistics
I sent you. I'd like to go through those
with you and I have some additional
information I believe you'll find beneficial."

On your follow-up calls it's important to
remember that your prospects are likely
not doing pre-call planning like you.
Therefore, you can't assume they are in
the same frame of mind as you when your
call arrives. Actually, you should assume
they might not even remember you. Then
you'll make it a point to briefly review
where you left the previous conversation:

"The last time we spoke you had shown
interest in..."

"I'm calling to continue our conversation
from last week where we had discussed ____
and you were going to..."

Remember, activity is not accomplishment.

Worse, it could be costly. Use these ideas
to move your prospects forward, and your
sales higher.


"Listen long enough and the person will generally come
up with an adequate solution."

Mary Kay Ash

"Like" Art on Facebook and get a Free Ebook!
So Facebook has changed their Fan terminology to "Like."
I don't "like" it, but it's their playground and we're part of it.
Anyway, go to my Page, hit the "Like" button at the top
and I will even bribe you to do so. On the left at that page
you'll see the link to get your free ebook of 501 Sales Tips
You Can Use Right now.

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

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
For stores, hot equals value -- at least according to the new "Hot 100 Retailers" just released by the National Retail Federation. As consumers hunted harder for bargains, chains like Syms -- which came in #1 -- grew the fastest, as did those offering online convenience, including Amazon (#6) and Netflix (#7.) ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Finally, the summer auto sales jolt may show up in July, with automakers shouting out about summer clearance deals in preparation for 2011 models coming this fall. After a fairly lackadaisical June, auto sales may be heading up this month by 8.9%, if predictions from come true. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
While most "simple" offerings are still coming from smaller companies, often as offshoots of organics, large companies are also jumping on the trend, sometimes by introducing "simple" extensions of well-established brands (e.g., "Simply Heinz" tomato ketchup), Mintel reports. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The new campaign, which introduces a tagline, "Madden to the People," depicts NFL pros surprising unsuspecting real fans with games and challenges to game play. Television commercials begin showing Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees in Times Square challenging members of a crowd and passersby to play a "quick game of Madden." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Yes, it's an unstable ride since it relies on the ephemeral "anything goes" weirdness of Internet-video self aggrandizement. But it will surely reach a lot of young cell-phone-in-a-blender types who are about as likely to attend to traditional TV ads as they are to read "Common Sense." Marketing Daily sits down with Kia's Dave Schoonover. ...Read the whole story >>

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The word can be used to describe something good, or bad.

Last Saturday I experienced both. Read my story of the Good & Bad here.

Here's what you need to do to be both Remarkable and Rememberable from the CustomersRock blog:

Is Your “Lack of Remarkable” Preventing Customer Loyalty?

Posted by Becky Carroll on July 28th, 2010

target photoToday we have a guest blogger with us here on Customers Rock!, Nate Bagley. Nate is the Social Media Expert at Mindshare Technologies. Mindshare is a leader in the Voice of the Customer industry, helping companies foster consumer satisfaction, build customer loyalty, and support employee retention. Click here to learn more about Mindshare.

Is Your “Lack of Remarkable” Preventing Customer Loyalty? by Nate Bagley

The most important aspect of any customer-driven business is consistency. If you cannot provide a consistent experience, it is impossible to generate loyalty within your customers. Without loyal customers, a business is just a whole lot of wasting assets.

The businesses that thrive despite a struggling economy, intense competition, or market saturation are those who have built intense customer and employee loyalty.

The best way to create loyal relationships is rather simple: You must measure the customer experience continuously. Measuring your customers’ feedback and acting on any inconsistencies (both good and bad) should be how you approach your business every day!

Recently, I attended a sports themed restaurant to watch the World Cup match between England and the United States. By the middle of the first half, the restaurant was packed with crazed fans… standing room only. I kept an eye on our server as she tended to dozens of guests within her section. She remained pleasant, yet incredibly busy.

Somehow, through all of the tumult, she managed to check on our table every few minutes. When she noticed our cups were running low on water, she brought us a pitcher, knowing she wouldn’t have time to fill them individually. She kept us happy, assessed our needs, and did it with a smile, despite having to work a section that was far over capacity.

Will we be returning? You bet we will, especially if every subsequent experience is of the same caliber as this one.

How can this restaurant chain ensure that every location provides the same level of service consistently to every customer? How can they make sure every staff member within the organization is consistently hitting customer service home runs like this? They must set a standard and then measure as many transactions as possible against it until they are consistently hitting the mark. The easiest way to identify irregularities in customer experience is through customer feedback. You must consistently listen to what customers are saying! Keep doing the things they love, and improve the things they don’t.

“When we measure satisfaction, what we’re really measuring is the difference between what a customer expects, and what a customer perceives he gets.” (“The Experience Economy,” Joseph Pine II & James H. Gilmore)

What are you doing to provide a consistently remarkable experience for every transaction in your business?

(Flickr Photo Credit: ogimogi)

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Getting Started in this Crazy Business

The radio stations I work for sometimes use interns and this year we hired two of them full-time.

Except two weeks ago we fired one of them. She wasn't cutting it. Her job required her to pay attention to details and she wasn't.

Drew recently wrote a bit of advice for college grads:

College graduates -- stop listening to your parents and professors!

Posted: 14 Jun 2010 08:12 PM PDT

Henderson-Dollar At least stop listening to those parents and professors who still believe it's 1980.

As you might imagine...this is the time of year when we get bombarded with resumes, calls and college graduate drop ins -- all looking for their first job. I remember how frustrating my search was. Everyone wanted someone with experience...which of course, no one would give me!

I've spoken to several college classes and many a recent grad over the past couple months and I can tell you without a doubt that most of them are going about finding a job all wrong.

And sadly, this is due to the tutelage of their well meaning parents and some out of touch professors.

Entry level jobs are not won with marbled resume paper and cover letters that tell employers how much you like people. should not tell me that you're going to call to schedule an appointment. That's sort of my job. If I want to actually meet you. And seriously -- spell check.

I wrote a post outlining what I would do if I were looking for a marketing job today. (click on the link to check it out) Even if you aren't interested in marketing -- most of it still applies.

But bottom line -- you need to get our attention. And the standard resume/cover letter combo isn't going to cut it. You have to do something to stand out, to be noticed and most important -- to be remembered.

The photo above is a little something I got in the mail from job seeker Kurt Henderson. The copy is clever -- he acknowledges that time is money and he'd like a little bit of my time. He did several other things right. But...the bottom line, I've had this orange envelope (and the dollar) on my desk for about a month. I need to start talking to some entry level type folks. Guess who is getting my first call?

And in fairness -- not everything your parents tell you is out of date. Handwritten thank you notes never go out of style. Neither does doing your homework.

Good luck finding that elusive job. I promise, you'll never work as hard to get one as you will this first time out.

P.S. Check out this free e-book aimed at grads!

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How Many do You have?

From the Blog:

More than 1,000 decision makers were asked to describe what it means to be a great salesperson in one word or phrase. Here are the top 10 responses:

  1. Knowledgeable: Prospects gravitate to salespeople who are considered experts in the field, which is why ambitious salespeople looks for opportunities to boost their credibility by speaking at conferences, joining industry organizations, gaining professional certifications and contributing to industry publications.
  2. Professional: Handle every account like you would want your account handled and keep prospects in the loop every step of the way. Make respect and integrity the cornerstones of your approach.
  3. Thorough: Make sure you cover every detail with prospects and you follow up (and follow through) on every promise you make to them and their requests for more information. Make pre-call research part of the process, so you can offer solutions that speak directly to each prospect’s specific needs.
  4. Results-oriented: Quantify the type of ROI a prospect can expect, and provide some reference points so prospects can see how much money they stand to lose by not agreeing to do business with you.
  5. Problem-solving: Don’t just offer a product or service, offer solutions that can help each prospect’s business thrive.
  6. Relationship-oriented: Play for the long term, and gain as many internal champions as you can at each buyer’s company. Build the type of relationship where loyal customers think of you as an extended member of their corporate family.
  7. Customer-focused: Put the buyer’s needs before your own, and always present value propositions in a way that explains how each feature and benefit works to the prospect’s advantage. Work as an advocate who the buyer can trust to create a working relationship where everyone walks away a winner.
  8. Responsive: Take personal accountability for handling customer requests, and follow up with each customer personally to ensure he/she is satisfied with the outcome.
  9. Good communicators: Determine which mode of communication the prospect prefers (e.g., e-mail, cell phone, text, etc.) and use that as a way to stay in contact. In addition, keep prospects on top of any changes to existing products that may impact their business. The less buyers are taken by surprise, the better.
  10. Reliable: Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it and how you say you’ll do it. Let customers know they can count on you to get the job done — and better than anyone else.

Source: Value-Added Selling (3rd Edition) by Tom Reilly, McGraw Hill 2010.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Yep, it's Monday...

by Karlene Lukovitz
While Odwalla's marketing mix includes some traditional media advertising, as well as PR and in-store POS, a primary thrust in recent times has been making a splash at festivals that draw large numbers of young actives, and using social media to engage them before, during and after those events. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"We are trying to tie everything together," says Glenn McClanan, account director at Matrix Consultants, the Big Bear, Calif.-based agency that developed the program for Suzuki. McClanan says that in addition to generating social-media buzz about Suzuki, the program is designed to give people a reason to keep returning to Suzuki's consumer Web site.< ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Half [of Guinness World Records Live] will be around practicing and preparing for the record, and the other half is about the show," Claire Burgess, representative for Guinness World Records, tells Marketing Daily. "This is the start of it, the opportunities are almost endless." ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Tanya Irwin
The promotion -- which includes a contest, sweepstakes and instant-win game -- runs through Oct. 8. People can enter the sweepstakes through the "That's Wicked Fresh!" application on Facebook or on the Tom's of Maine Facebook page. Visitors to the pages automatically receive one sweepstakes entry and one instant win game play per day. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"We wanted to get people engaged emotionally with the car before we launch it," says Kevin Mayer, adding that some 60 blogs are pushing the content. "We are excited because this targeted more digital-centric consumers who are sharing information online. It's a social-first, traditional-second campaign." ...Read the whole story >>

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