Classic Ad of the Week

Yep, he needs lots of leg room.

Are you Dead?

I’ve worked with enough businesses over the past 20 years to see a cycle of failure when a new retailer opens their doors with a lot of flash and advertising, followed by a slow death and finally a big going out of business sale, (with more advertising).

Please, don’t follow this cycle.

Want more proof? Read this from Mediapost:

Advertise or Die

According to a new Ad-ology Research study, “Advertising’s Impact in a Soft Economy,” more than 48% of U.S. adults believe that a lack of advertising by a retail store, bank or auto dealership during a recession indicates the business must be struggling. Conversly, a vast majority perceives businesses that continue to advertise as being competitive or committed to doing business.

C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research, says “It is critical to advertise in the current economic climate, to maintain long-term positive consumer perception of your brand… advertising… assures consumers of a business’ reliability… “

Other key findings include:

  • 40% of consumers use coupons more now than a year ago
  • Most consumers are as willing or more willing to pay more for ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’ products than they were a year ago
  • A ‘deeply discounted price’ was the number-one factor that would make consumers more likely to purchase a big-ticket item (+$1,000)
  • TV, newspaper, direct mail, and Internet top local media from which consumers saw/heard an ad within the last 30 days that led them to take action
  • Store Web sites ranked second only to search engines as the way consumers research products and shop online

The Humble Pizza


Domino’s: Why We Reinvented Our Pizza — and Then Promoted How Crappy It Used to Be.

by Cait Murphy

“Where’s the love?” one woman asked scornfully. “The worst excuse for pizza I’ve ever had,” snapped another. Then there were the references to “cardboard” and “ketchup,” words that make any pizza-maker wince. But Domino’s asked for them, and has even posted them here on a company-run Web site. The remarks, conceded a company chef, “hit you right in the heart.”

Pizza is a $35 billion industry and Domino’s gets a big slice of that — about $1.5 billion. The chain, which was founded 50 years ago in Ypsilanti, Michigan, today boasts almost 9,000 stores that deliver more than 10 million pizzas a day.

But what Domino’s is known for is delivering pizzas quickly — not for making the most mouth-watering pie around. So in 2008, Domino execs began to reinvent its pizza. At the end of 2009, it rolled out the new and improved pizza, and launched an ad campaign that features consumers ruthlessly bashing its old recipe.

Scratching a known and popular product to roll out a new one is risky — as is letting people tell the world just what they thought of the old one. BNET spoke to Russell J. Weiner, Domino’s chief marketing officer, to gain some insight into the pizza transformation and the self-deprecating marketing campaign.

The media has had a field day with your ads. Slate said of your television campaign, “It’s hard to recall another recent ad in which a company self-flagellates with so much gusto.”

People may look at the ad campaign and see it as insulting. That’s not the way we see it. What we tried to do was tell a true story — not brutal, but the truth.

Also, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to change the perception of people who didn’t buy Domino’s. We talked to them, and read their blogs, and this is what they were saying. And I knew that, other than my mom, no one would care about “new and improved.” So if we just said, “Hey, this is a new and improved pizza,” we would not have gotten the doubters to try it.

Did you aim to get all this attention?

Emphatically yes! We have never seen the kind of reaction, from consumers and media, that we’re getting with our new pizza and from our advertising campaign. Awareness is high; we’re being talked about on blogs, in newspapers, on television news shows, and even the late-night entertainment programs. People are talking about Domino’s, and more importantly, they’re trying us — many for the first time in a long time.

When was the last time Domino’s changed the recipe?

When it was invented. Then in the early 90s, we went from 10 slices to eight and made a few small tweaks, but nothing like this has ever been done before.

What went into the decision?

The decision dates to early 2008, when we were having our annual strategic planning meeting in Ann Arbor, where the leadership looks five to seven years out.

Everyone knew — and there were a lot of analytics behind this — that we got high marks for delivery, convenience, and value. We thought the opportunity existed to get credit for taste, too. We know that a lot of people hadn’t tried us since college, or had stopped ordering from us five, 10 years ago. The idea was if we could win back some of those people, that would be a big opportunity.

So a conversation started to take place about how much we could capitalize on strength while addressing a perceived weakness. This was something [chairman and CEO] Dave Brandon laid out. So direction from the boss, combined with direction from our consumers, made it a no-brainer.

How did you go about redesigning the pizza?

We dissected our pizza, then reinvented it from the crust up. We tried scores of different sauces, cheeses, and doughs, with the idea of improving each of them. In each case, the market research found that the new elements recorded double-digit improvements in terms of purchase intent.

And we didn’t stop there. While we knew which individual components tasted good, we had to make sure they worked together. I always say that two good-looking people can make an ugly baby; ingredients that work well by themselves can fail in combination. So you have to make sure that all the elements taste great together.

Was there a “Eureka!” moment?

The closest thing to that was probably with the crust. No matter how much we worked on the dough, there is no way to get around the fact that most of it is covered with sauce and cheese. So we realized that the best way to improve the dough was to improve the part that was not covered up. It was when we put a garlic-butter-herb seasoning on the crust that put us over the top. This gave us the biggest jump in the data.

How do you test something like this?

Well, we have our own chefs and kitchens here in Ann Arbor, but obviously our plan is to sell outside of this building. So we spent tons of time — about 18 months — and millions of dollars looking at all the options.

Domino's Chief  Marketing Officer Russell J. Weiner and Domino's pizza chefs

Then we went to various parts of the country and did random sampling that we could then project to the U.S. as a whole. In the beginning, we focused on evaluating each element. We would make the exact same pizza, and change, say, just the sauce. Then we would ask people to taste the two samples, and give us their opinion — was the sauce too thick, too spicy, too sweet, too this, too that? This is what we call a “guidance test” and we did it on each separate ingredient — dough, crust, sauce, and cheese.

Once we established a sense of direction, we went back for another round of testing — the five best doughs, for example, and narrowed that down. Then we brought in different combinations — dough No. 1, say, with cheese No. 2; cheese No. 3 and sauce No. 4, and so on. We tested 36 different combinations. We took the favorites and put these through a robust quantitative test, with both the general population and heavy users, and we identified a clear winner.

The process sounds very data driven

Yes, but the decision was not just based on data. This is Domino’s pizza; it’s our baby. When the data came in, it was compelling, and we put it in front of the leadership team. We put the pizzas in front of them, too. David Brandon told us, ‘I don’t want to just see the data. I want to taste it.’ His point was that this change should be something that people could taste for themselves. The data was important, but the product much more so.

We made the same presentation to the board of directors, having a kind of pizza party in the conference room at our headquarters. Then we did a road show telling the story to the franchisees and we had them try it as well. The results were incredible; the amount of support when we were out there was just remarkable. These were people who had spent a lifetime making pizzas and they were able to taste the difference for themselves.

Was there opposition?

Well, I can’t say there were not people who were concerned. Heck, I was concerned. It’s normal to have discomfort in making a big decision, but other than that, we had 1,000 percent alignment on doing this. The “New Coke” analogy that we’ve heard isn’t quite right. The positions were different. Ours was a brand known much more for service; Coke was a brand known for taste, so they were changing a strength, while we were changing a relative weakness.


from my email as we wrap up the first month of 2010:

Daily Sales Tip: Respect the Client’s Turf

When you are giving a presentation, you are in control. Your posture and facial expression should project a confident professional image.

When you visit a client’s office, you are in their territory. It’s easy to feel intimidated when you enter the inner sanctum of a client’s office, so it’s important to be conscious of the non-verbal signals you may be sending.

Here are 3 tips to project confidence on a client’s turf:

1. If you sit down in the reception area to wait for your client, always stand up to shake hands. Sitting down may project lack of respect. As well, you always want to be at eye level when you shake hands, so you can make eye contact.

2. The client’s desk is intimate territory. Don’t place any papers, or your briefcase or handbag on it without asking permission.

3. Never have a more relaxed posture than your client. Stand and sit in a relaxed but upright manner, and don’t slump when you sit down.

Watch your body language when you are in a new place, so you send the right signals and get the sale.

Source: Career/sales consultant Lynda Goldman (

The Big Boys Are Becoming Social

Sort of… They are not using Twitter?!?

From AdAge:

P&G Embraces Facebook as Big Part of Its Marketing Plan

Opens Silicon Valley Office Aimed at Increasing Social-Media Presence

Published: January 25, 2010

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — Procter & Gamble Co. loves Facebook after all, and besides encouraging brands to develop a presence there, the world’s biggest marketer has opened an office in Silicon Valley to help develop social-networking systems and digital-marketing capabilities with the website.

P&G's outlook on Facebook and social media as marketing tools  appears rosier.
P&G’s outlook on Facebook and social media as marketing tools appears rosier.

–> Those messages came in a meeting last week between P&G executives and venture capitalists, recounted by David Hornik on VentureBlog in a post that quickly picked up currency over the weekend on, of all places, Twitter.

“P&G’s explicit goal for 2010 is to assure that each of its brands has a meaningful presence on Facebook, and they are willing to pay dearly for that,” Mr. Hornik wrote. “And while P&G’s thought leaders expressed some skepticism about the efficacy of Facebook’s ‘engagement ads,’ they certainly view Facebook as a must-have for digital advertising and brand building. They didn’t quantify what they are paying for that exposure, but it is quite clear that the numbers are very big.”

Mr. Hornik contrasted the enthusiastic outlook on Facebook to a less-enthusiastic one by P&G executives toward Twitter. “They described Twitter as ‘much more like television than one might think.’ To P&G, Twitter is a great broadcast medium — it is best for one-to-many communications that are short bursts of timely information,” he wrote. “P&G folks do not view it as particularly relevant to what they are doing on the brand-building and advertising side. … They do not believe that Twitter will ever approach the value they can get out of a Google or Facebook.”

Mr. Hornik, after being contacted by P&G over the weekend, did backtrack on one big number — a projection he had attributed to P&G that Facebook would reach 5 billion members globally. That 5 billion is actually the number of consumers P&G hopes to reach globally, up from the current 4 billion.

By whatever count, however, P&G’s outlook on Facebook and social media as marketing tools appears rosier than Ted McConnell, general manager-interactive marketing and innovation, portrayed in a talk to a digital-marketing forum in Cincinnati in late 2008.

“What in heaven’s name,” he asked, “made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”

“Who said this is media?” he said. “Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.”

He went on to say, noting it was personal preference rather than company policy, “I really don’t want to buy any more banner ads on Facebook.”

He also expressed discomfort about the level of personalized targeting available through Facebook, though he said that Facebook applications are potentially valuable vehicles for advertisers.

In an e-mail, a P&G spokeswoman wrote that Mr. McConnell was speaking for himself, not the company, at the time. “P&G sees the value of digital and social media in consumers’ lives and we want to connect with consumers in the environments where they are spending their time,” she said. “For example, Facebook fan pages for brands [are] an easy way to engage with consumers in a forum where they’ve chosen to engage with us. (i.e. Pringles’ fan page has over 2.8 million global fans). We don’t have social media figured out, but we are encouraging our brands to include digital and social media into their holistic brand-building strategies.”

She said the intended perspective on Twitter is that it’s “a communication platform that is good for ‘one-to-many’ communication, similar to TV. Additionally, some of our brands are using Twitter to engage with consumers one-on-one when they have questions. We also view Twitter as a valuable listening tool.”

She also clarified that what was referred to as an Innovation Center on VentureBlog is a “Connect & Develop” office near Palo Alto “to increase our presence in innovation hotspots,” but is not the size of the sprawling complexes that P&G typically terms “innovation centers.” Connect & Develop is a longstanding P&G program which seeks to solicit innovation from outside companies and consumers while also licensing its own technology to outside companies.

Buy this Book or


Despite the magazine cover…

I’ve been meaning to do a review of Seth Godin’s latest book, but…

I have not yet finished reading it.

I’ll read a few pages and then I have to stop and reflect.

I even received an advance copy 2 weeks before it was available to the public.

I recommended it to a class of college students after reading the first 15 pages.

This is an important book for you and those around you.

But I don’t want you to wait for me to finish reading it before you start reading it…


Earlier this week, I found this in my email from the Church of the Customer Blog:

Why it’s important to be a linchpin and an artist

Posted: 07 Jan 2010 02:11 PM PST

Linchpin If you want to succeed in today’s world of work, author Seth Godin says you should focus on being a “linchpin.” That’s the title of his new book, so we asked him a few questions about it.

Q: What is a linchpin, and why is it important to become one?

A linchpin is the part you can’t live without, the thing that makes a difference. In every organization there are one (or several) people like this. It might be the brilliant inventor who creates the impossible, but it’s far more likely to be the great sales rep or customer service person who makes a connection, or the marketer who knows how to tell a story that resonates.

In a post-factory world, manning the assembly line isn’t so critical. Stuffing the candies into the boxes, running the punch press, following the manual… these are easily replaced roles, ones where neither the worker nor the organization gains much on the margin. If you want real job satisfaction and security, then, you need to figure out how to do the unexpected, to do work that matters and to create human interactions.

Q: You talk about linchpins being artists. What’s the difference between a conventional marketer and one who thinks like an artist? Can you give an example of a marketer who is an artist?

Art, by my definition, has nothing to do with painting and everything to do with connecting with people in a generous way and causing a change to take place. A movie director is making art when she makes you cry. A product designer creates art when the UI is better than it needs to be and it creates efficiency or even joy. Marketers can find plenty of Dummies books and manuals and insider PDFs that demonstrate, step by step, how to follow the rules. That’s easy and not particularly valuable. A marketer becomes an artist when she goes out on a limb, does the unexpected or the risky and makes a difference.

I’d argue that you two do art when you stand up and give a talk about the 1%. Or Biz Stone was an artist when he figured out how to launch and scale Twitter’s marketing. Or Scott Monty at Ford when he does a car show rollout that bypasses the cocktail parties at AutoWeek in favor of individual interviews with social media mavens. The second time someone does something, it’s a copy. The first time, it’s art.

Q: We understand the concept of “physical labor” when it comes to work, but you stress the importance of “emotional labor.” What do you mean by that, and can you give us an example?

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t gotten paid to do physical labor in a really long time. Maybe typing.

Emotional labor is the act of smiling when you’re scared, or getting on a plane when you’re tired. It’s dreaming when you don’t feel like dreaming, caring when the other person is (frankly) acting like a jerk. Emotional labor is work with your heart and your soul and your feelings. We seem to feel it should be easy, but it’s not. It is, though, important.

Q: We love this quote in the book: “The easier it is to quantify, the less it’s worth.” Can you tell us, and our MBA friends, why this is true?

If you can quantify it, then probably someone before you figured out a why to grind it out. And if you can grind it out, someone can grind it out cheaper than you can.

On the other hand, the really valuable stuff, the stuff we pay a lot for, is unquantified. Things like creating joy or security or happiness. No easy measurements for those, thus they are art, and art is always worth more than the predicted.

We measure the quantified because we can. But we should create the unquantified because it’s so rare.

Q: Our lizard brain tells us to “Shut up. Don’t stand out. Don’t speak out. Blend in.” If we want to be a linchpin, how do we silence this negative part of our brain?

Steve Pressfield calls this the resistance. The voice in your head that destroys your art. There are a myriad of ways to defeat it. You can distract it. You can trick it. You can steamroll it. You can seduce it with small steps. I’m not sure there’s one best technique, but I know for certain that it must be done. My book has only one goal: to sell you on committing to this very task.


from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Learn from the Best

You begin succeeding in sales by finding successful people and surrounding yourself with them.

Be with the people whom you’d most like to become like. If you want to be average, then stick with average people. If it’s your desire to achieve greatness in sales, then learn what the great ones do and do it!

You’ll find that top professionals in this industry aren’t threatened by your desire to learn what they do. There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone, and really great leaders want to have followers who will get the job done.

Find out who the top producer is in your company, invite that person to lunch and listen to what they have to say. (Be sure to bring something to take notes. I didn’t do that the first time I asked a pro to lunch and ended up writing notes on napkins.)

Source: Sales trainer/author Tom Hopkins (