This Is Scary: Kmart Starts ‘Black Friday’ Two Days After Halloween
Retailer Says Early Sales Tactic Is Based on Consumers Already Jump-starting Their Holiday Shopping
Published: October 30, 2008
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — This year, Black Friday comes two days after Halloween.
Retailers try and rush the season every year, but Kmart is taking it to a new extreme, introducing “Early Black Friday” sales beginning this weekend. In moving Black Friday up from its traditional date the day after Thanksgiving to Nov. 2, some 26 days early, Kmart hopes to combat a dismal economy and slumping consumer spending.
Exclusive to home electronics
The retailer, part of Sears Holdings, said it will offer the deals exclusively in the home-electronics category to help customers kick-start their holiday shopping. The category has become an area of particular concern for retailers, as consumers pull back on discretionary items. Earlier this month, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse service reported that spending on consumer electronics and home appliances dropped 13.8% in September, following a 5.5% drop in August.
“Home electronics are relevant items customers will be looking for,” said Tom Aiello, divisional VP-public relations at Sears Holdings. “It’s those really super-deep discounted items that are really motivating that you would never see all year round.”
“Early Black Friday” sales on about 15 items will roll out in Sunday circulars between Nov. 2 and Nov. 23, as well as on Kmart.com. The deals are being worked into existing circular plans and will not garner additional advertising or promotional spending on the part of the marketer. Interpublic Group of Cos.’ DraftFCB, Chicago, is Kmart’s creative agency; MPG buys its media.
Mr. Aiello said the new initiative is based on consumer feedback. Kmart stores are already reporting that consumers have started shopping for holiday gifts as they attempt to spread out their spending and avoid using credit, he added.
“It all comes back to what the consumer was asking for,” he said, noting that the effort has always been a part of marketing plans. “When we were doing planning earlier in the year, the economy was already showing signs of where we are at today.”
Kmart’s deals are also meant to make holiday shopping more convenient, Mr. Aiello said. Unlike typical Black Friday sales, which require an early wake-up call and heavily promoted limited quantities, the specials will be available for an entire week, with ample supplies in stock.
Along with the following advice, I urge you to put in writing, print it and keep it in front of you daily.
A Clearly Good Marketing Plan
“Marketing plans are essential documents for virtually any business,” says Tim Calkins in an article at MarketingProfs. “[I]t is hard to do great marketing without a clear plan. Unfortunately, many marketing plans simply don’t work very well; they add little value and end up on a shelf, collecting dust.” How to create a plan you’ll actually use? Here are three of Calkins’ tips:
Don’t get bogged down in data. “The role of a marketing plan is to lay out a course of action,” he says. “A good plan should explain precisely what the business should do to build revenue and profits.” In other words, skip the endless pages of data analysis and get down to practical recommendations as soon as possible.
Include people from other departments in the development process. They can alert you when a proposal isn’t feasible and will be less likely to fight a plan they helped craft.
Frame your recommendations within a compelling rationale. Without supporting evidence, selling your marketing plan to key executives will be a challenge. Says Calkins, “The plan has to be convincing; it has to present what should be done and, more importantly, why the plan will actually work.”
The Po!nt: “Creating a great marketing plan isn’t all that complicated,” says Calkins. “[A] good plan simply presents the objectives for a business, the strategic initiatives, and the tactics.”
Source: MarketingProfs. Click here for the full article.
It’s time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! Our latest issue is now online. Here’s
a quick run-down of the promising new businesses featured on Springwise this week:
Tony Player takes online playlists to the dance floor
Entertainment / Telecom & mobile
When Twones members arrive at club that uses Tony Player, the
songs they’ve most recently listened to are automatically imported to
the DJ’s playlist.
Hotel search tool that’s all about location
Travel & tourism
Concentrating on one single aspect of hotel searches, SeeYourHotel
helps users skip information they don’t need and focus on where
hotels are located.
More free photocopying, this time for charity
Marketing & advertising / Non-profit & social cause
One more tale of free photocopying for students, this time launched
by one of our very own Springspotters in his home country of the
Design your own baby shoes
Fashion & beauty
It’s no longer a simple matter to rattle off all the “design-your-own”
opportunities we’ve covered in recent years, so numerous have they
become. Our latest spotting lets consumers design baby shoes.
Using pictures to give directions
Telecom & mobile / Transportation
A new application built for Google’s Android cellphone platform
incorporates pictures and personalization to help people answer the
question, “Can you show me how to get there?”
Site connects advertisers with content producers
Marketing & advertising / Media & publishing
PlaceVine connects content producers across film, television and the
web with brands seeking sponsorship and product-placement
Dry-erase basketball shoes
Fashion & beauty
White consumer goods mesh nicely with the human desire to scribble
on things. Expanding on that idea, Reebok has launched a dry-erase
basketball shoe that facilitates doodling and redoodling.
Making medicine as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola
Non-profit / Social cause
The ColaLife project aims to distribute oral rehydration salts to
people in developing countries through a partnership with Coca-Cola
by which its distributors carry medicine in addition to soft drinks.
This is annoying. Folks in L.A. having been watching this all week (and then some.)
An interesting piece of research from MarketingCharts.com:
Food Brands Losing Relevance; Consumers Demand Healthier, Lower-Priced Choices
Today’s consumers want to have a greater say about food ingredients, safety and quality, and believe food companies should be responsible for keeping people healthy and addressing societal nutrition issues, according to a recent study of consumers in five countries by Ketchum.
The “Food 2020: The Consumer as CEO” study examined the perceptions, expectations and considerations about food among consumers in the the US, UK, Germany, Argentina and China, and sought to provide an outlook on the food industry by the year 2020.
At least half of the 1,000 consumers surveyed say they want more consumer involvement in the use of ingredients and additives; the source of ingredients and the treatment of animals; nutritional content; and who should be responsible for food safety and quality.
With the exception of China, fewer than one-third of consumers are interested in being involved in making food easier to prepare or shop for.
Consumers around the world expect food companies to be responsible for their health and well-being, the survey found. Across all countries, 75% respondents say they would like to see food companies place a great emphasis on creating foods that reduce the risk of major health issues in the future.
Additional findings and country differences:
- Taste, quality and price are the top consideration in choosing foods, except in China where health benefits are most important. Across all countries , 74% of consumers cite taste as a key consideration, but China gives taste least consideration (69%). In China, 78% of consumers said “health benefits” are key, compared with just 53% of respondents from other countries.
- Knowledge, taste and availability are key barriers to healthier eating. When asked what factors, beside cost, prevent them from buying healthier foods, 44% of consumers cite “knowing what’s truly healthy;” 43% cite taste; and 35% cite availability. Consumers in Germany, Argentina and China are more likely to cite knowledge as a barrier, while consumers in the US and China cite taste. The top barrier in the UK is availability.
- Consumers want good taste, but also want to know more about their food. In all countries surveyed, 63% of consumers want to be able to recognize all of the ingredients on a food label and 34% want foods to be made with as few ingredients as possible. Concern about what’s on the label is highest in Argentina, where 73% want to recognize all the ingredients. Consumers in China are least concerned about recognizing ingredients, though still more than half (52%) want to.
- Brands are losing their relevance -except in Argentina and China. Only one-third of consumers cited “brand name” among factors they consider when buying food. Brand name lags well behind factors such as quality, price, health benefits, value, convenience of preparation and taste. In both Argentina and China, 45% of consumers said brand was a key factor.
- Consumers want local food, but they’re not willing to pay for it in terms of either cost or taste. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers think at least some of their foods are from other countries, but just 17% of consumers said they “don’t care where food comes from” as long as it’s affordable and tastes good. Consumers in Argentina are the most likely to care about food sourcing, with more than 60% disagreeing with the idea that taste and cost trump food origin. Consumers in China are the least concerned about sourcing, 30% agreeing that they “don’t care where food comes from” as long as it’s affordable and tastes good.
- Consumers think food companies should help solve societal issues related to food and nutrition, and they are willing to pay for it – within reason. Globally, more than 40% of consumers said they would be likely to pay more for food if it would improve the quality of water and food and bring medicines to those in need. Consumers in China and Argentina generally are more willing to pay for food if it could help others around the world. Sixty-five (65%) of consumers surveyed said that “improving human nutrition” would be their top priority if they were CEO of a global food company. “Making food that is safer” is a a close second (64%); and “making foods that taste great” is the third-highest priority (52%).
- Consumers want food companies to take away the temptations that lead to obesity, but don’t want to eat less. Forty-five percent (45%) of consumers think food companies should play a role in addressing obesity, with more than half of those in Argentina and the UK holding this view. 63% of consumers believe food companies should help reduce obesity by decreasing junk foods; while just 21% think companies should reduce portion sizes. 56% of consumers think companies should help reduce the risk of major health issues and disease by making foods with more nutrients per calorie. Consumers in Germany and China aremore likely to think that food companies should try to reduce health risks by linking good food choices with lower healthcare costs.
The 2020 Food Landscape
Consumers expect how they choose and shop for food to be different by 2020, but they still expect food companies to be responsible for their health and well-being:
- 43% of consumers believe that the kinds of foods we eat in the year 2020 will be different than what we eat today.
- 39% believe the way we shop for food will be different.
- 56% would like to see the food industry come up with easier ways to identify healthy foods on restaurant menus
- 53% would like restaurants to offer healthier foods.
“Consumers want more information about ingredients and health benefits from both supermarkets and restaurants,” said supermarket expert Phil Lempert, who helped Ketchum develop the survey and analyze the data. “Food companies should be aware of these expectations as they focus on product development in the future.”
While 78% of consumers say they would like to get their foods from local farms or companies by the year 2020, most expect even more of their foods will come from other countries by then – with 34% of consumers expecting most or all of their food to be imported by 2020, compared to 21% who think most or all of their food is imported today.
“Food companies often ask consumers about food preparation and convenience, but the areas where consumers want more control are the ones where food companies are least likely to seek consumer input,” said Linda Eatherton, partner and director of Ketchum’s Global Food & Nutrition Practice. “These survey results indicate that food companies are asking the wrong questions.”
About the survey: The survey polled 1,000 consumers in the US, UK, Germany, Argentina and China and included 200 respondents from each country. Among respondents in China, half resided in cities and the other half resided outside of cities. The survey was conducted through online distribution at various times in each country, with all taking place between the end of July 2008 through the end of August 2008.
Every morning at or before 7am, I feature an article on Sales Training. Today we have Chuck McKay:
What’s the Boss’s Most Important Job?
Robert Kiosaki, in his best selling business book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, explained that as an employee, you have a job. As a self-employed professional, you own the job. And the owner of a business hires people to perform the job.
So, in terms of making business happen you are either someone else’s employee, or you’re responsible. There are no other options. And though there’s an outside chance that in good times any business can just muddle through, over the next few years if you’re not aggressively pursuing new business you’re not likely to make it. Sorry.
Some people are just cut out to be employees.
Consider a carpet cleaning business. Not just any carpet cleaning business, this one was being contemplated by a young man who asked my help creating a marketing plan. He had worked for another, similar, business, enjoyed the work, and saw the profit potential.
We spent two days together researching and building that plan. When it was finished, I offered my best advice: DO NOT OPEN THIS BUSINESS.
The market was strong, there was room for another competitor, and the young man with the ambition and the new marketing plan actually enjoys cleaning carpets.
Unfortunately, he hates selling.
And, as we’ve already established, the owner’s primary function is to bring in the work.
Does that mean face-to-face selling? Possibly. But it definitely means that the owner can’t simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Business owners who avoid selling end up with skinny children.
At any given time, roughly 2 percent of any market is actively seeking what you sell. That 2 percent will come looking for you, or someone else who sells what you sell.
The other 98 percent?
You’re missing them. Most of your competitors are missing them, too.
Most of your competitors.
Care to know who’s attracting that other 98 percent? Those who actively sell the value of doing business with their companies.
The competitors who have television ads that are being watched by potential customers are getting some of the 98 percent. Those competitors who’s postcards and letters are making it to the homes, who’s public speaking and referral programs are producing familiarity, and who’s Yellow Pages ads are being read by the very people who need their goods or services are tapping into the other 98 percent.
But, like the young man waiting for carpet cleaning customers to find him, those businesses which wait for customers/clients/patients to seek them out are hoping that their “share” of the 2 percent will pay the bills. It won’t. After all, we’re discussing 2 percent of a pie that may be shrinking for a while.
What will grow your slice of that pie?
There are two things you can implement immediately, and you should be doing them both.
Find a reason to get back in touch with every customer and every former customer, then remind them of the reason they chose to do business with you. That reason shouldn’t be price.
If they were originally drawn to your business because of your selection, remind them that you can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. If customers chose you for the speed of your service, point out all the other things they can be doing when they finish with you. If they chose you for your detailed knowledge, help them recall the value of getting exactly what they need.
You may indeed lower prices, but only do it if it will help you to gain some of your competitor’s customers. And remember that he’s going to be strongly tempted to lower his prices, too. Reminding people of why you’re their best choice keeps you profitable.
Bringing in the business is the boss’s most important job.
Are you the boss?
It’s time to start selling.
Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who helps customers discover you, and choose your business. Questions about marketing your business during tough times may be directed to ChuckMcKay@ChuckMcKayOnLine.com.