Saturday, September 04, 2010

Social, Seth, and Who's in Charge

I've started a Saturday routine of featuring a Seth Godin Blog post at this time on Saturday evening.

One aspects of social media that I like is that it gives the people in a company a voice to interact with customers without going thru the hassles of 800 numbers and forms to fill out.

Got a complaint with Comcast? Post it on Twitter and you're bound to get help from @ComcastBonnie or some of her co-workers.

This one I felt was very appropriate for labor day weekend:

The corporate conscience

There isn't one.

Corporations don't have a conscience, people do.

That means that every time you say, "It's just my job," or "My department has a policy," or "All I do is work here," what you've done is abdicated responsibility--to no one.

It's convenient and even comfortable to blame the anonymous actions of many working in concert on a evanescent brand or organization, but that starts you on an inevitable race to the bottom. Organizations have more power than ever before. They are better synchronized, faster, and possess more tools to change the economy and the people in it than ever before. And the only option available to the rest of us is for individuals to take responsibility (it's not given) for what they do and how they do it.

The very same tools that permit organizations to synchronize their efforts are now available to you and to me. I guess the question is: will we use that power to humanize the systems we've created?

PS It's not just about being a good citizen: when bad behavior comes back to hurt the company, it hurts you, too.

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Humanizing Brands

An interesting post from the Diva Marketing blog:

Social Media Redefines The Brand Experience

Brands abc blocks Random thoughts on a late summer afternoon. How do you define a "brand experience?"

It seems to me .. the traditional "brand experience" is evolving into what it might be more appropriate to call .. the "human experience." It seems to me .. brand experience goes beyond the customer use of the product/service, ad messaging, PR spins or slick logos that are all wrapped up in a beautiful bow of consistency across all communication channels.

It seems to me .. that while those elements may be important to build the structure of a brand promise, they become part of the new brand equation. Add to that a not so minor detail of peer-to-peer influence.

Example: What makes Zappos a great brand? It's not so much its offering of a zillion different shoe options or even the free return policy. It's the commitment to customer care which begins with its trust in its own employees. Employees are encouraged to take good care of its customers, as well as, to build people-to-people not brand-to-people, relationships from call center exchanges to tweets.

How odd it seems in 2010, to build a relationship with an inanimate object when people (employees & customers), who are really the heart of a brand, are out from the shadows.

Your thoughts?

Sidebar: Zappo CEO Tony Hsieh's, book Delivering Happiness, is worth a read.

Me again. three thumbs up for Tony's book. I started reading it last weekend and am looking forward to finishing it soon!

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Is Busy making you Crazy?

then read this from Jill Konrath's blog:

If You're Crazy-Busy Too, This Might Help

Posted: 01 Sep 2010 05:48 AM PDT

Ever read a book and saw yourself in it? That's what happened recently when Mike started reading my new book, SNAP Selling.

As I described today's frazzled prospects who are struggling to get everything done, it hit home. But what really bothered him was when I pointed out that their frenetic multi-tasking actually caused them to accomplish less.

Juggling Businessman
He knew it was true, but didn't know how could he stop this sales-derailing behavior. So he wrote to me for advice.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Block out times in the day where you are uninterrupted. No reading email or allowing yourself to go off on a tangent. Unplug what you can. Do just the work that needs to get done. Be vigilant in protecting this time. It's AMAZING how much more work you can do.
  • Give yourself time limits. For example, give yourself 60 minutes to make prospecting calls. No more. No less. That way, it will get it done. It can even become a game for you.
  • Prepare your plan for the next day before you leave work. Just take 10 minutes to do it. Then stick to the plan the next morning.
  • Don't start the day with emails. You'll get sucked in and before you know it 2 hours have disappeared. Do them at 11 am & 4 pm. That's all. Try it for a week. It's really different. And, like I said, you actually get a lot more done.

Please, please share your best advice too. We are all crazy-busy and it's killing us.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Even though it's Labor Day weekend, there will be the usual 3 to 4 daily updates Saturday, Sunday, & Monday.

by Karl Greenberg
Jaguar first showed off the XJ car at the Sunset Marquis Hotel earlier this year. The automaker's posh-positioning grassroots strategy is central to its "City Takeover" marketing plan, which includes broadcast, print, digital and outdoor advertising and sponsorship and PR efforts in Los Angeles and New York. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Contests in which consumers help design or contribute to special product labeling -- closely tied in with digital/social media and larger marketing missions, of course -- seem to be popping up with increasing frequency among food manufacturers these days. Two examples are Chiquita Brands International and Knorr, Unilever's largest brand. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The initiative, from G2 USA, includes an online recipe contest, live cookoff events and a sweepstakes. The recipe contest kicked off Sept. 1, with an employee event at Aetna's corporate headquarters in Hartford, Conn. that featured TV celebrity chef Bobby Flay. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Limited was a stand-out, with same-store sales gaining 10% for the month. The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer says the gains came from a 15% same-store jump at its Victoria's Secret unit, fueled by a bra and fragrance launch, as well as steady back-to-school gains in its Pink collection. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Sharp has been an innovative leader for the past 50 years," Neal Lattner, Sharp's senior director of marketing communications, tells Marketing Daily. "And as the competitive set has been growing, we need to start branding our solar products." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"While coupon use gained 13% in the first quarter of this year, it grew only 1% in the second quarter," Matthew Tilley, director of marketing for Inmar Corp., tells Marketing Daily. "And while that is still way up from two years ago and we expect to see somewhere between 3.3 and 3.5 billion coupons redeemed this year, the increases are sort of leveling off. We're not sure yet if the slower growth is just a blip or a trend." ...Read the whole story >>

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Mom Money

from Mediapost:

You Should Be Talking To Women
The Khasi tribe in the remote Indian state of Meghalaya is among the last surviving matriarchal societies of the world. In this tribe, it is the daughters of the families who inherit all their ancestral property. All decisions related to the livelihood of the family are made by women.

In fact, so completely do women dominate the worlds of work and home in Meghalaya, that angry men formed a liberation group called Symbai Rimbai Tongbai. Most women in the state were unfazed by the development. "Nothing happens in the family unless we want it," the BBC quoted Julia Lyngdoh. "My husband leaves it all to me and same is the case throughout our state."

Well, here's breaking news for the rest of the world. While there is still a lot of patriarchy in the world, the spirit of Meghalaya is well and alive on the Internet, and in the great American marketplace. And marketers would do well to be cognizant of the importance of speaking to women.

Sometimes, numbers are worth more than a thousand words.

In 2009, Ad Age reported that women controlled $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending, or 73% of household spending. And in a trend that continues to go up, up and away, DM News reported this year that women influence as much as 85% of the household purchases.

And moms (a subset of women) have a disproportionately high impact on the economy. Marketing Sherpa reports that the buying power of moms was over $2.1 trillion annually. The book, Trillion Dollar Moms, states that moms account for 55% of spending on consumer electronics and 51% of all food purchases in America.

So, no matter what your product category is, you might want to be targeting your message to women. At the BDI Conference hosted by CUNY in New York City in August, Matt Gentile, director of PR and Communication at Century 21, revealed that the entire social marketing effort of the real estate firm was geared to reach women.

"If it were left to my devices," he said, "I would still be in Florida. My wife played a very influential role in our moving and buying property in New York." And Century 21 is not alone. The marketing efforts of brands like Axe and Old Spice have women as the preferred demographic for both creative development as well as media placements.

But just what is the best way to get your message across to this highly influential segment? All roads point to the Internet.

According to the June 2010 UNICast What Women Want from the Web Report, 64% of women plan to use the Internet to find sales and compare prices whenever they plan to make a purchase, for small- and big-ticket items alike. In fact, women 18 to 24 are much more inclined to do this kind of comparison shopping research solely online.

"Plainly put, women are utilizing the Internet as a resource for simple and complex purchasing inquiries. They enjoy, arguably more so than men, educating themselves through the use of the Net," says Emily Carroll, manager, Strategic Insights, Leapfrog Interactive. "They're looking for more shortcuts to save time and money. In doing so, they're searching more, browsing more, consuming more content, and seeking input from their trusted friends and confidants online."

With these dynamics, social networking is especially important when it comes to marketing to women. Social networks like Facebook and community sites like Graco Nation enable women to make a connection with one another, and have discussions over a product, service or brand.

This is why marketers looking to get their message across to women effectively would not be advised to make one message and broadcast it to a wide audience. Instead, they can look to capture the basic contact information of an end user, build trust through relevant communications over a period of time, before extending the conversation to social networks.

And that's not all. Marketing to women via social networks requires a highly nuanced approach.

"There are vast differences in the way that men and women use social media," says Carroll. "Men might engage in games like Mafia Wars or post information about what they are doing, like attending a sporting event with their sons. Women, on the other hand, will typically discuss products they use and like as well as coupons or information about sales that are going on."

Huggies is a great example of a brand leveraging the unique dynamics of this segment to maximize the impact of its message. In its weekly email communications stream, Huggies embeds links to download a pregnancy countdown widget. Once an expectant mother downloads the widget, she can choose to embed it in her social networking profile. Huggies sends relevant information to the mom through the widget daily -- information that she can then share and discuss with her friends and other expectant moms.

The Old Spice viral video, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," is another great example of a brand using social media to get their message across to women effectively. Unless you have been staying underneath the great oil covered ocean, you've probably seen or at least heard of the commercial. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Old Spice YouTube channel has already garnered 75 million views -- and it shows no signs of slowing down.

In summary, no matter what your product, there's a good chance you should be talking to women. And for your campaign to be effective, they should find it easy to talk about you. As marketers have found out in recent years, the rewards of recognizing these shifts in market and marketing dynamics are manifold. It does appear that at least on the Internet, the spirit of the Khasi tribe has just received a massively new lease on life.

Zephrin Lasker is the CEO and co-founder of Pontiflex. Reach him here.

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No Arm Twisting

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Manipulation or Persuasion?

Manipulation is getting prospects or customers to do something for your benefit. Persuasion is getting them to do something for your mutual benefit.

What's the difference? Manipulation is usually bad. It's done to serve your own interests without any regard to what you're doing for the prospect or customer.

Persuasion is good because it's done for the best interests of you and the prospect or customer. Here are some tips that may increase your persuasive powers:

Persisting. Persuaders realize that 80% of sales are made on the fifth call or later. They recognize that one of their most persuasive abilities is the refusal to give up. They understand that more than 75% of salespeople quit after calling on a prospect three times. Persuaders are in the elite 20% of the sales force that close 80% of the sales.

Personalizing. Persuaders recognize that a prospect wants to know one thing: "What's in it for me?" They add persuasion by personalizing every part of their presentation to meet prospects' own personal needs and wants.

Proving. Facts and testimonials are very persuasive. Persuaders recognize that third-party endorsements go a long way to building credibility. They're prepared to prove every claim they make with hard data, test results and performance records.

Positive. The best persuaders are positive about themselves, the company they represent, the products or services they're selling, and the prospects they're attempting to persuade. Enthusiasm is contagious. They persuade with power because they get customers and prospects feeling the same way.

Source: Adapted from Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want, by sales trainer/consultant David Lakhani.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Aaron Baar
The effort, which will expand globally over the next few months, introduces the tagline, "Ready for real business." The campaign also includes a microsite,, which illustrates case studies and other examples of Xerox helping companies get back to doing what they do best, which is the insight behind the entire campaign. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
If the sale were to take place, one restaurant industry consultant says that while customers likely would notice no difference in ownership, "in the longer term ... it's always possible that a new board might decide to introduce a new management team or make other changes, such as repositioning the brand or reassessing geographic growth strategy." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Toyota's Midwest regional office is taking advantage of the size of the club's fan base as first-string sponsor of the Chicago Bears through the 2011 season. The effort, being handled through Toyota's Midwest regional office, takes the brand from "Proud Partner" of the Bears in 2009, to "Official Car of the Chicago Bears." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Sales of new cars and trucks in August reflect as much the short-term strength of the government's Cash-for-Clunkers program last year as consumer interest now. It is a difficult market to gauge because automakers showing sales declines last month are vying against their own successes with the program. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
The collaboration, which kicks off Sept. 1, features TV spots, online and cinema content which is written, directed and produced by the "Glee" creative team and features characters from the show. In addition, viewers can enter the "Glee" Members Project Sweepstakes. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
"There's certainly more fearlessness about spending among younger, affluent shoppers," Ed Jay, SVP/American Express Business Insights, tells Marketing Daily. "And there's been pent-up demand. But what surprised us most is that the biggest spending increases for these younger women were for other people -- on gifts, charities, and children -- as well as on fitness." ...Read the whole story >>

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New Ad Campaigns

From Amy:

Creamy chocolate balls. Pizza. A psychedelic Sweet'N Low world. Let's launch!

There is something sexy about an attractive, shirtless man holding a package of maxi pads. It's so unexpected and progressive. Never mind his preparing a romantic dinner of risotto, one of my favorite dishes. Mr. Metrosexual gets points for staying in touch with his feminine side -- and his trainer. He's quick to point out the beauty of ultra-thin sanitary napkins; though happily, he doesn't skimp on sex appeal. Stayfree launched three online videos in Canada on YouTube, VideoEgg and Facebook. "A Date with Stayfree," the brand's first Canadian advertising in four years, takes women on virtual dates with seemingly perfect men -- who will love you regardless of what time of the month it is. "Brad" cooks risotto, feeds his lady, takes his shirt off, and places three maxi pad brands atop a candlelit dinner table. It gives new meaning to setting the mood. See it here. Trevor cleans house, has numerous medical degrees and hates moisture. Cue the maxi pad absorption test, atop a piano, no less. Watch it here. Ryan carves toys for needy children overseas, finds homes for stray cats and loves to do laundry. He's the gift that keeps on giving. See it here. Each video concludes with a link where ladies can receive a free 18 pack of pads. (They should include the skincare products the men use. They're not only buffed, they shine!) You know who else likes to help underprivileged kids? Brawny Man, in an ad campaign for the paper towel brand from 2007. Have a look. BBDO Toronto created the campaign and J3 handled the media buy.

Sugar is addicting, and artificial sweeteners are downright trippy. Sweet'N Low launched a print, outdoor and online campaign that combines its iconic pink packaging with sweet, adorable animals, also pink. Birds and ladybugs tear open a package of Sweet'N Low and release the love in ads seen here and here. I like the coffee cups used as spots on the ladybugs. A peacock and owl hide sweetener between their feathers, taste buds come to life and a final ad is just plain trippy. Who needs hallucinogens when you have advertising? See ads here, here, here and here, created by Mother New York.

Lindt launched a TV ad featuring Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis champ and lover of Swiss chocolate balls. Whenever I hear chocolate balls, I immediately think of Chef from "South Park" and his chocolate salty balls. Watch Chef here. The ad launched during the Emmys and shows Federer taking his luggage through airport security. Two women see a bag of balls through the X-ray machine and automatically think tennis player, tennis balls. Wrong. It's a duffel bag of Lindt chocolate balls, because the ladies opened his bag. They didn't stop there. They tested the product, then insisted Federer be strip-searched, one imagines, in search of the real thing. Watch it here. In an extended version, the security women force Federer to turn around slowly so they can ogle his backside. They still keep his chocolate, a consolation prize. See it here. Gotham created the campaign.

Anthony's Pizza & Pasta, Denver launched an outdoor campaign that takes a jab at national pizza chains. I'm talking to you, Domino's. Creative consists of a red billboard, a paper plate with Anthony's logo and headlines, such as: "We never had to change our recipe. Because it never sucked," and "If their ingredients are better, why isn't their pizza better?" The ads, seen here, herehere, are running in Denver and Front Range highway and downtown locations. Cultivator Advertising & Design created the campaign and Explore Communications handled the media buy. and

Women of Belgium: "Take your pleasure seriously," instructs Feeling, a lifestyle magazine debuting its relaunch this week. Print ads feature women diving headfirst into their gastronomy, beauty, culture and travel pleasures, categories that also serve as themes of Feeling. The tagline, "Take your pleasure seriously," is written in English, rather than Dutch, to give the pub an international flavor. A woman relaxes in a bath full of chocolate to represent beauty. See it here. Portraying travel and culture, respectively, one woman travels on a yak and another imitates a ballerina in an art gallery painting. See creative here and here. My favorite ad revolves around food, or rather, being adventurous on the culinary journey of life. It's a woman hugging a big squid and looking quite happy. Apparently, she's never met Brad, Trevor or Ryan. See it here. Happiness Brussels created the campaign.

SportChek, Canada's largest sporting-goods store, launched a quirky ad that outlines what not to do when removing a tight helmet. In theory, it wasn't a bad idea. A man is covered head-to-toe in grease, yet the helmet stuck on his head won't budge. The man's girlfriend asks the grease handler to spray him again with grease. "You're a horrible woman," he says. "You're a horrible woman," she responds. Like I said, quirky. And SportChek finds proper-fitting helmets for its consumers. Watch it here. Bos, Toronto created the ad, directed by Brian Lee Hughes of OPC.

Volvo Australia launched "Attention Seeker," targeting luxury European car buyers. In the ad, seen here, the Volvo C30 coupe, C70 convertible, XC60 cross-over and XC90 SUV slowly drive past pedestrians, a surfer and outdoor exercise buffs, piquing their interest in the vehicles. SapientNitro Australia created the campaign.

Age is nothing but a number. This is, however, coming from a pair of ads from AARP. "What's Next," targets boomer audiences and celebrates the fact that it's never too late to pursue your dreams. It's true: people are living longer, their quality of life is improving and many people are having second careers, much like the people shown in the first ad, seen here. The second ad showcases more lighthearted goals, such as taking a grandchild on his first airplane ride and running a marathon. Watch it here. GSD&M Idea City created the campaign.

Random iPhone App of the week: Schwinn bicycles launched an app dedicated to all things cycling. Shocking, I know! The app offers tips on which bike is right for you and your lifestyle, a series of workouts and tips for parents teaching their kids how to ride. It also features family bike trip ideas and a trail finder to locate bike paths in your neighborhood or on vacation. The app costs $.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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Another Look at your ABC's

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Simple As ABC

The primary rule in selling has been and always will be ABC: Always Be Closing. Unfortunately, some prospects identify ABC with pushy, aggressive, manipulative or offensive salesepeople.

Closing shouldn't be manipulative, tricky or based on a technique you apply at the end of a presentation. Closing should begin the second you qualify a prospect. It's an attitude you maintain throughout the selling process.

Sales are not closed for two reasons: Either the prospect didn't see the need to make the change, or the salesperson failed to explain the advantages of the product or service being sold.

You begin to close the sale the moment you open it. You're closing when you believe 100% in what you do and what you sell. You're closing by showing prospects a passion for what you sell. You're closing when you keep you word, walk your talk, and behave in a thoroughly professional manner.

You're closing when you ask intelligent questions to identify the specific ways your products or services will contribute to the lives of your prospects. You're closing when you listen, giving prospects the respect they want and expect. You're closing when you present expert solutions to the specific needs and concerns of your prospects.

Source: Adapted from 22 Keys To Sales Success, by James M. Benson and Paul Karasik

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Do you have a favorite "Dollar" store?

Click and read:

Packaged Goods
by Sarah Mahoney
The insurance policy (from Lloyd's of London) and site are just the latest part of P&G's plan to maximize its NFL connection. Now in its second year as the official sponsor of the league, it hopes its ads will appeal not just to football fans, but to the women who love them -- as well as the women who just think those girly-curls are cute. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"What radio does is encourage dialogue with listeners, and there is a tight relationship between radio personalities, the station, and the public," Katz Marketing Solutions SVP Chris Hamer tells Marketing Daily. "For marketers, it can supercharge great TV campaigns." He says that while auto marketers can get inexpensive advertising by doing audio versions of TV ads, getting endorsements from personalities is powerful because listeners trust the radio jocks they like. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
"The ad campaign and the Web site work hand-in-hand to help consumers understand how best to accumulate and protect their retirement savings," Ann Glover, CMO of ING Insurance U.S., tells Marketing Daily."ING understands that getting your arms around retirement finances can be overwhelming. However, that's not an excuse for inertia. This is our attempt to break through inertia and help people get ready for retirement." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
A core goal of the community is enabling fans to educate others about Wasa crispbreads and their snacking versatility. "Our research tells us that once consumers discover Wasa, they are very vocal about touting the product's benefits to their friends," notes brand manager Catherine Terry. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
To further its sponsorship of the bout, to be held at Los Angeles' Staples Center and broadcast on HBO PPV, Tecate will tailor its TV, radio and out-of-home advertising carrying a "Cerveza Con Caracter" theme, with information about the fight. The brand will also augment the effort with retail programs in its key markets. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Nine West has incorporated the barcode into print advertising (to run in Lucky Magazine's October issue), in-store signage, boxes and on a special microsite for the campaign, all clearly marked how to use the virtual barcode. "This is the first time we've been on packaging," CEO Ed Jordan says. "It's a way for people to interact with the brand in ways that might not have done before." ...Read the whole story >>

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Payday is Spend-day

When I read this headline, I wondered what was really going on....

Are consumers maxed out on their credit cards?

Are they unable to get credit?

Or are they simply becoming more thrifty and not spending until they actually have the cash in hand?

Shoppers Still Stick To Payday Purchases

Consumer-products makers continue to see shoppers stock up on necessities around payday, a sign that some of the frugal habits consumers picked up in the recession linger.

The so-called "paycheck cycle" -- where shoppers make purchases in tandem with salary checks or government payouts and then pull back on spending as they run out -- became more prevalent at the height of the recession. But many consumers are stubbornly sticking to that buying pattern even as the economy improves.

Unilever NV said it continues to see a sales jump in the first week of the month in the U.S., with brands like its lower-priced Suave shampoo, and kitchen staples Skippy peanut butter and Ragu sauces getting some of the biggest lifts as paychecks are cashed.

"A lot of people are still truly living paycheck to paycheck," said Lisa Klauser, vice president for consumer and customer solutions at Unilever North America.

Consumers typically shop close to payday, but the paycheck cycle "heightened during the recession, and it's one of the behaviors we would now call the new normal," said Ms. Klauser.

Finding ways to appeal to frugal Americans has turned into one of the biggest challenges for consumer companies. The persistence of a marked paycheck cycle suggests that some recessionary patterns will be hard to shake off -- particularly among consumers with lower incomes.

Some brands are trying to reach payday shoppers. Jeff Ettinger, chief executive of Hormel Foods Corp., said retailers still talk of the paycheck cycle as having an impact on the timing of sales. Hormel is trying to time some promotions around the cycle and is working with retailers to make sure it has the right brands stocked at pay time. Ms. Klauser said Unilever tries to time marketing programs like coupons for when shoppers are likely to have more money.

The exact cycle can be hard to predict as timings of paychecks and government payouts vary, but many companies notice a jump at the beginning of the month. The cycle has become more prominent in brands popular with shoppers on low incomes or getting government benefits. Food-stamp benefits, which more people are using, generally are received in the early days of the month in many states.

ConAgra Foods Inc. said it sees a sales spike of about 2% to 5% in the first two weeks of the month for brands like Banquet frozen meals, Snack Pack pudding, Manwich sloppy joe sauce and Hunt's ketchup. ConAgra said that the brands tend to be heavily used by households on government-assistance programs, and it attributes the sales lift early in the month to factors like paychecks, government checks and food stamps.

Dawn Brown, a single mother in Rockford, Ill., who makes about $33,000 annually, said she lives paycheck-to-paycheck and stocks up on necessities early and mid-month when she gets paid. She became more careful during the recession, timing purchases early in the month when her neighborhood stores offer big discounts. Ms. Brown, who works as a credit counselor at Chicago nonprofit Family Credit Management, said many of the people she counsels tend to have similar purchasing habits.

The paycheck cycle also appears in more discretionary categories. Jim Moseley, a senior vice president for consumer planning at Diageo PLC said the company sees the cycle play out most in its "subpremium," or more-affordable brands. Lines like the company's more affordable Gordon's Vodka appeal to consumers looking particularly hard for value, he said. At the height of the recession the company saw the paycheck cycle play out a little in premium brands as well, though that trend has since eased out.

The big brands say that consumers remain willing to pay for a higher-end product, but want to ensure they get good value for money. That focus on value is another recession habit likely to stick. "We have created a generation of smarter consumers," said Mr. Moseley.

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/10)

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The opposite of rest is...


from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Always Shoot for the Next Level

The most successful salespeople stay that way by maintaining an edge on the competition.

The majority of them read industry literature, join trade organizations, and regularly attend conferences and seminars to keep up to date on what's changing in their industry, and what new and emerging trends they need to be aware of.

In that spirit, a lot of top salespeople are continually looking for new ways to move upward in their own organization, whether that means attaining a new benchmark, earning a new title, or striving to achieve some type of incentive.

They always have something that propels them forward, keeping them in a state of perpetual motion.

Source: Ron LaVine, president of Intellworks, a national sales training and consulting firm

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read:

by Karlene Lukovitz
The 30-second spot, initially airing in a two-week national flight corresponding with the U.S. Open (Aug. 29 - Sept. 12) -- which Federer has won five times in the past six years -- shows two female airport security agents taste-testing the athlete's stash of Lindor Truffles and confiscating them for further "investigation" (as well as checking out Federer's well-toned posterior and considering a strip search). ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Best Buy's trade-in program is the latest in its efforts to increase its gaming edge. Its magazine, @Gamer, is already sold in all Best Buy stores and by subscription, and offers discounts; it also offers the Best Buy gaming app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. It also offers product discounts. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The site, which went live Friday, is closely tied to Facebook and Twitter (users can use Facebook Connect login to begin posting), and a concurrent contest (which awards a prize for every 100 miles of virtual Red Vine created and a $5,000 grand prize to help one winner take a trip around the world) is tied to Facebook and Twitter response. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The nominations lead up to a series of awards in the fourth quarter based on consumer voting online and through Facebook and Twitter. When people vote they can alert and encourage friends or followers to cast their votes as well on things like "Sexiest Place on Earth," "Best Breakout Destination," "Ultimate Luxury Hotel" and "Best Gay Bar in the World." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"At this point we are looking for separate showrooms only; down the road as we roll out the full line of Fiat vehicles, we will be looking for separate facilities for the brand. Right now a lot of dealers marketing all four brands have a used car building already in use that could easily be converted to a separate showroom for Fiat." ...Read the whole story >>

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Many Happy Returns

What is your customer retention rate? It's a question that I was asked recently by the president of the group of radio stations I work for.

See, we've made a couple of changes this year, and a couple of our stations are almost sold out all the time, and the other two have room to grow.

So, as we look to sell out the two that have room for more advertisers, the first place to look is at former and current clients.

The Customers Rock! blog featured a post on this subject:

Growing Business the Old-Fashioned Way


Here is a blast from the past, a classic Customers Rock! post on taking care of your current customers. Thanks to @Foundora for bringing it back to my attention. Enjoy!

Many companies spend a lot of time and money on attracting new customers to their product or service. Much of the marketing budget is spent on mass approaches such as advertising and direct mail. While those media may have their place in attracting prospects, they don’t help companies with their most valuable asset: their existing customer base.

Taking care of existing customers is a fantastic, cost-effective way to grow your business.

Drew McLellan shares some advantages we have when we concentrate on the “old” customers. I especially like the first advantage he lists:

“They know who you are and trust/like you enough that they’ve done business with you”

How well is your organization doing in its communications with your customers? What would cause them to trust you and want to come back for more?

Take a brief break here and think about the last 5 communications you received from companies you (or your company) are doing business with. What kinds of touches were they? Interactions with existing customers tend to be one of the following types:

  • A bill
  • An upsell offer
  • A cross-sell offer
  • A renewal offer

While there may be some customer value in these actions, they tend to be more favorable to the company than the customer. In order to keep and grow existing customers, a proactive strategy is needed. Here are some great ideas from a few of my favorite bloggers:

Meikah of Customer Relations shares with us some insight from Jack Stahl, former president of Coca-Cola and CEO of Revlon, on how to strengthen relationships in a B2B setting:

Persist in offering value. Give consistent and routine attention, which shows that you are always interested in your customer’s business, in good times and bad. Also, have an ongoing dialogue with the retailer, when an opportunity arises to regain your business.”

Offering something of value to your customers is very important to furthering the relationship. If there isn’t value, customers may continue to do business with you for awhile, but the relationship will be short-lived. Keeping the communications line open, whether or not the customer has recently purchased something, is one of the keys to keeping up a conversation with customers.

Joe Rawlinson of Return Customer gives us some ideas on communicating appreciation with existing customers.

“When was the last time someone told you how much they appreciated you? How do you feel when you get a thank you note? If you’re like most, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. You smile. You feel a little bit better.

Don’t you think your customers would like to feel that same joy?”

Words of thanks are greatly valued by customers. They are a nice antithesis to all the sales calls and could actually make the next call more fruitful!

Rosa Say of Managing with Aloha tells us how to deliver on the promise of our customers’ dreams. She tells her readers about the art of creating loyal customers:

Managing with Aloha incorporates the art of Ho‘okipa to achieve a service and product delivery that is unparalleled in the dreams of your customers, turning them into loyal customers for life. When people feel they have experienced the ultimate in good service and in hospitality, they return for more of it time and again.”

Customer loyalty comes from more than just great products and services. The customer experience has a very strong influence on customer attitudes towards an organization. I love the way Rosa describes it above – an experience that makes you want to return again and again.

Other ideas on how to create meaningful interactions with existing customers:

  • Birthday cards/anniversary of start of relationship
  • Invitations to customer appreciation events
  • Asking for customer feedback, then acting on it and letting customers know the results
  • Customer apologies, where needed
  • Customer advisory boards

Which types of interactions you use depends on the company, it depends on the culture, and of course, it depends on what is important to the customer.

Finally, one can always use the element of surprise to keep relationships fresh. Here is an unexpected example from Bounce fabric softener shared in Andy Nulman’s blog.

Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference.

(Photo credit: cookelma)

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Please read this carefully.

It is not saying you should talk a lot. More sales are lost by too much coming out of your mouth and not enough out of your customers mouth...

Daily Sales Tip: People Love a Good Story

Over the years as a speaker, manager and facilitator, I have observed the greatest retention of my message was from stories that I told.

The impact went beyond facts and theories. Stories engage the audience, were conversational, and tapped into the emotions and senses. Often I would encounter people years later and they would playback a story I had shared with them, and more importantly, voice the point of the story and how it helped them overcome barriers or create solutions to problems.

How to use stories to educate and explain:

Listen. Learn to listen to your audience for clues as to what would resonate with them and what is important in their world. Be prepared to tell a variety of stories from your arsenal.

Use personal experience as a basis for your story. The greatest way to build trust and relationships is to be vulnerable. The story can demonstrate how you had to overcome an obstacle or barrier, reveal up-close and personal experiences that your audience can relate to, and encourage them to remember we are all human.

Be genuine. Share real-life stories that can demonstrate how you can learn from your mistakes (usually the best lessons are from our mistakes), and demonstrate effective techniques on how to overcome barriers.

Engage your audience. Stories capture the imagination by allowing people to paint their own pictures and images of what you are sharing. Have a beginning, a middle, and end with a clear take-away. Like a good joke, it is all in the delivery of the story and your conviction.

Be conversational. The delivery should be natural in a conversational tone. You are letting your audience behind the scenes with this revealing story about people and events. It can be fun, serious, sad, dramatic -- all the range of human emotions. People love a good story.

Source: Sales coach Paul Anovick

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Sarah Mahoney
"We are still not at 2008 levels, but it's really good to see an increase over last year," Heather Hunter, a spokesperson for AAA, tells Marketing Daily. Last year, 31.3 million Americans hit the road. And if the holiday had fallen a little earlier in the month this year, even more people would be traveling. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
An exception is Chrysler, which had a near-death experience last year and may see an 11.6% improvement in August, if Edmunds is right. The firm predicts Ford sales will drop 6.9%, while GM sales will drop 20.1% inclusive of brands like Hummer and Saab that are officially no longer around. Honda, Nissan and Toyota will see 24.7%, 23.5% and 25.4% drops in sales this month versus the month last year, respectively. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"If sharing is a means to self-expression, this Thr!ve space is all about self-expression," says Blake Harrop, vice president and group director at agency Digitas. The program works like a game by awarding people badges based on certain things shared or how much is shared. The app is meant to enhance Samsung Mobile's commitment to social networking and sharing. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Jack Pitney was about to be shifted from the top marketing spot at BMW in the U.S. to head of the automaker's Eastern region. Pitney joined BMW in the mid-1990s, first as a public relations executive, but in 2001 was shifted into a trial-by-fire marketing position as general manager of the nascent Mini brand in the U.S. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The Emeryville, Calif.-based specialty retailer is building on its commitment to support schools and community organizations that encourage health and wellness. Timed to coincide with back-to-school fund-raising drives, the program provides a year-round fund-raising tool for schools and community organizations to raise money for their local priorities. ...Read the whole story >>

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