Fashion prediction?

from the blog recently:

I found this amusing little clip from sometime in the 1930s, predicting what fashion would look like in the (gasp!) year 2000.

Somehow, I have a feeling Lady Gaga may have seen this at some point.

The comments of the narrator (ooooh, swish!) are truly entertaining.

And for you guys out there, you’re not left out. Looks like the predictions were just a few years off with the MC Hammer pants, but they did get it right with all the pockets needed for tech gadgets (and candies for cuties!).

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Invent, Innovate, or Wait

Seth Godin:

It’s (always) too soon to know for sure

The cost of being first is higher than it’s ever been…

It’s entirely possible that you’re racing.

Racing to the market with a new product or a news story or a decision or an innovation. The race keeps getting faster, doesn’t it?

If you’re racing, you better figure out what to do about the times that you don’t know for sure…because more and more of your inputs are going to be tenuous, speculative and possibly wrong. Day traders have always understood this–all they do is trade on uncertainty. But you, too, if you’re racing, are going to have to make decisions on less than perfect information.

Given that fact, what are you going to do about it? I think it’s worth a few cycles of your time.

Is it smart to blog on a rumor?

Worth dropping everything and panicking because of a news alert?

Should you hire someone based on information you’re not sure of?

What about changing your website (your pricing, your layout…) based on analytics that might not be absolutely correct? How long are you willing to wait?

Given that you will never know everything for sure (unless you’re opting out of the race), some of the issues are:

  • What’s the cost of waiting one more day?
  • Are you waiting (or not waiting) because of the cost of being wrong, or because loud people are yelling at you?
  • Is the risk of being wrong unreasonably amplified by part of the market or your team? What if you ignore them and focus on customers that matter?
  • And have you thought about the costs of waiting too long? If you don’t, you’ll probably end up last.

Have you noticed how often stock analysts quoted in the news are wrong? Wrong about new products, wrong about management decisions, wrong about the future of a company? In fact, they’re almost always first and almost always wrong.

Rule of thumb: being first helps in the short run. Being a little more right than the masses ultimately pays off in the long run. Being last is the worst of all three.

A few people care a lot about scoops. Most of us, though, care about alert people making insightful decisions. Decide who you’re trying to please, then ship.

Moving Forward

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: ‘Let’s Do This’

Get advances if you can’t close.

“Let’s do this” is a proven technique that allows you to talk about the next steps in the process while you move your prospect forward toward a final decision.

Let’s suppose you’re an hour into the sales call and the prospect has shared with you some of the problems he has, but he’s still unsure of your product or service’s value.

You want to go back to your office and study them prior to giving a proposal. In this case, you would say, “Let’s do this. I’m going to go back and put some thought into this and then let’s set a time we can come back in a week and take it a little further.”

The better process manager you are, the better salesperson you are.

Source: Sales trainer Bill Caskey

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

My folks were loyal Buick owners. I inhertited their LeSabre and Regal when they passed away:

by Karl Greenberg
The Moment of Truth site sits atop a platform that scours the web for anything Regal, filters out the dross and naughty verbiage and displays the resulting content on a visually arresting 3D billboard that displays video, tweets, comments, and blogs. Content ranges from consumer opinions and testimonials, to automotive reviews and critiques. …Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
CEO David Mackay noted that cereal as a whole tends to be among the highest-spending ad categories, and said that Kellogg sees important opportunities in marketing outreach to the Hispanic market, support of product launches and other areas. The company expects to grow ad spend by a percentage in the mid-single digits for the overall year. …Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
“It’s a genius cross-branding move,” Cathy Hotka, a retail branding consultant based in Washington D.C., tells Marketing Daily. “Target is known both for its high traffic and desirable demographic, and kiosks selling high-demand items do really well — this seems like smart partnering.” …Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
At Avon Products, which hiked its ad spending 19%, second-quarter revenue rose 8% to $2.7 billion, with beauty sales climbing 9% and increasing in all categories. And Revlon’s sales gains were propelled by color cosmetics and Revlon ColorSilk, but partially offset by lower sales of Almay cosmetics and Mitchum anti-perspirant deodorant. …Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The company is using a 24/7 strategy for Fiesta with a marketing program tied to the X Games 16. Ford will field souped-up Fiestas piloted by four drivers including Ken Block, who has been doing online stunt videos for Ford in his Fiesta. …Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
“It’s not just about making a customer happy, it’s actually exceeding that,” says Kirk Parsons. “It’s an opportunity for the carriers to use the care experience as a way to build loyalty. In today’s wireless market, a lot less new customers are coming in, and it’s really about stealing customers from your competitors.” …Read the whole story >>

Email Marketing

A couple years ago, I expanded my marketing knowledge by agreeing to be the V-P of Communication for my local Advertising Federation. I learned a lot about email marketing and how direct mail, (junk mail) is similar, since we used both to promote our monthly events.

Now, when I’m talking to a business or non-profit, I share the tips I learned from first hand experience and from other experts, like this:

Why ‘Spray and Pray’ Email Marketing Doesn’t Work

Your B2B email marketing program might have a good reason for sending a steady stream of one-size-fits-all messages to prospects. “The idea being that by keeping these folks exposed to your company’s name and logo, you’d stay ‘top of mind,'” notes Ardath Albee at Marketing Interactions. “That process is now referred to as ‘spray and pray’ marketing.”

As you might guess, there’s a problem with the “spray and pray” approach: It doesn’t work to gain or maintain customer loyalty.

Why? Because awareness doesn’t promote action, Albee explains. “I’m aware of Anheuser Busch. I love their Clydesdale ads. But I don’t drink beer. I’m also aware of many other beers. If I had to pick one, it would probably boil down to a ‘close my eyes and point’ exercise because I have no expertise in selecting beer.”

What’s a better approach? Albee creates a scenario in which a business needs to choose an email service provider (ESP).

  • Vendor A sends the usual offers and testimonials. “They rave about how well their customers are doing by using their superior system,” she says.
  • Vendor B, meanwhile, sends educational content that enables prospects to improve their email campaigns—even if they don’t become a customer—and demonstrates how other customers have succeeded.

While Vendor A is less expensive than Vendor B, the customer has gained more confidence in Vendor B. And even though the Vendor A service might equal that of Vendor B, it won’t be the company that gets the call. “[S]taying top of mind wasn’t enough to win [Vendor A] a customer when compared with all that Vendor B did to go beyond just staying top of mind,” Albee concludes.

The Po!nt: Give ’em info they can use. It’s not enough to stay at the top of customers’ minds; show them why you deserve to be there.

Source: Marketing Interactions. Read the full post.

It’s all about the Benefits, buddy

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Customers Buy Benefits

Sometimes, one of the most difficult things to teach beginning sales professionals (or sometimes even more senior sales professionals) is the difference between features and benefits.

All too frequently, salespeople list their product or service features, without articulating how those features will ultimately benefit that prospect or customer. Unfortunately, your prospects or customers are not always able to make that leap for themselves. And when they do not see the benefit, they do not buy. So, what is the difference between features and benefits? How do you articulate that difference?

Product or service features are facts — they are just there. There is no real value or judgement attached to them. They simply exist. For example, the product is blue, it’s a certain size or shape. Another example: The store is open 24 hours.

The most important thing you want to remember about features is: Nobody cares!

Your customers are buying benefits. They are saying to themselves, “What’s in it for me?” “What will this do for me?” “What will this do for my company?” “How will this affect my bottom line?” “How will this affect my employees?” “How will this affect customer relations?”

People buy for their own reasons, not for yours. And people buy because they believe that the product or service will get them what they want. And what they really want is a Big Benefit.

Customers and clients want what they want; not what you think they may want or should want. They have their own reasons for buying. You may have to help them identify those reasons, but they will be theirs, not yours.

Here is an easy way to identify benefits:

Make a list of all of the facts/features of your product or service. Don’t think about it, evaluate it or judge it. Just list them.

Once you have that list, go through the list item by item, putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Say to yourself (as your prospect), “What’s in it for me?”

Then, write down the answer. Once you have done that, you should have a compelling list of customer-centered benefits. Once you have that list of benefits, it will be easy to make your prospects and customers understand what’s in it for them.

Source: Sales trainer/author Wendy Weiss

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
“We have put together an extensive loyalty communications package, including a loyalty bonus for all customers, and we talk to customers on an ongoing basis either via direct mail or events,” says Mike Colleran. Saab last week was in Aurora, Ohio for the annual Saab owners convention, and the company has been wooing Saab-fan bloggers who wield enormous influence. …Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The start-ups selected will be given the opportunity to execute a pilot project with PepsiCo brand teams. PepsiCo has partnered with venture capitalist firm Highland Capital Partners and social media publication Mashable, and will connect some entrepreneurs with other business partners, including OMD Ignition Factory, TracyLocke, DMG::Events and Weber Shandwick. …Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
“In the short run, these word-of-mouth clients are more valuable because of higher margins,” Christophe Van den Bulte, a professor of marketing at Wharton University and one of the authors, tells Marketing Daily. “And in the long run, they are more valuable because there is less churn.” …Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The effort uses an application called the Campus Connector through which students can decorate a virtual dorm room with Sears products. Through the application, students can shop for products such as bedding, appliances, electronics and bath essentials, and place them in a virtual dorm room to be shared with others. …Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
It will support the Facebook game with ads. It’s just one piece of an integrated campaign that includes TV, cinema ads, online lifestyle/engagement sites, print, customer relationship marketing, a music tour and The campaign is likely the last from longtime Mazda agency Doner, which had the estimated $150 million account since 1997 and developed the “Zoom-Zoom” tag. …Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Given the huge popularity of cooking channels/shows and Americans’ current propensity to eat at home more often to save money, the poll results may point to an element of necessity versus enjoyment, and a preference for “watching others cook” versus having to actually cook oneself, observed Harris. …Read the whole story >>