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Wizard Wisdom

Craig Arthur sends this to me:


Dear Scott,

Often as a business owner, the biggest limiting factor you’ll face when it comes to marketing and advertising success, and ultimately revenue growth is YOU. It takes courage to realise that. How’s your courage level?

“The marketplace pie is shrinking for most business categories.

If, in fact, fewer customers spend fewer dollars in your category in 2009 than they did in 2008, doesn’t it make sense that you enact a plan to increase the size of your slice?” – Roy H. Williams

In This Issue:

How Can I Get More Customers?

Business Predictions for 2009

Articles I Like: Click the link to go to article.

Ecommerce Alchemy: Turning Disgruntled Customers Into Brand Advocates

On CMOs, Customer Service, and Birthing Elephants

The Collapse of Trust

Wyoming Working Hard to Become a Pioneer in Web Tourism

Upcoming Seminars:

Marketing Performance Seminar 19-20 Feb 2009, Denver, Colorado. 2 days of marketing wisdom for only $99 (if you are a business owner).

Books I Recommend:

DaVinci and the 40 Answers, a Maverick, Cold Shower Kick to Your Creativity by Mark Fox. If you need new solutions to grow your market share you need to buy Mark’s book.

How Can I Get More Customers?

By Craig Arthur

That’s the question I am asked most.

Before I have time to open my mouth the follow up question hits me, “Should I use TV, radio, newspaper or flyer’s?”. And then, “What about yellow pages, do yellow pages still work?” The really quick manage to get in, “What about web sites… my brother in-law knows a guy who can do me a cheap website, will that work?”

The first flaw in the above line of questioning assumes that the choice of media is the answer to more customers. “What media should I use?,” is a debate that diverts attention away from any possible solution to the opening question. Media selection is not the answer to getting more customers. The message you send out via the media is what attracts or repels customers.

So back to the question… “How can I get more customers?”

In the Monday Morning Memo “Breakthrough Answer 13. Turn It Upside Down. Do It Backwards,” my business partner Roy H. Williams offers this advice.

Continue reading… How Can I Get More Customers?

Business Predictions for 2009

Edited from original Memo – “A Preview of Coming Attractions.”

The air is cold, the sky is clear, these are my trend predictions:

Cheap Thrills
“If it feels good, do it.”

Sales of alcohol, movie tickets and ice cream will increase. This happens during every recession. How might you offer your customer an altered consciousness, an alternative reality, an escape from the merely mundane? Think about it.

Repair Instead of Replace
“Instead of buying a new one, I’ll hold on to the one I’ve got.”

Sellers of new houses, new cars, clothing and jewelry are going to have to get creative. Repair businesses will trend magically upward. Expensive items will find their way to eBay as we liquidate the luxuries we bought in better days. Resale shops will appear in nicer parts of town. How might your business participate in this trend?

Tightrope Budgeting
“Should I shepherd my resources or push harder than ever?”

Market share is up for grabs because your competitors have slashed their ad budgets. Should you hunker down and try to hang on, or push harder than ever while your competitors hibernate? Some businesses will quit advertising and go broke as a direct result. Other businesses will advertise aggressively and go broke because they lacked financial staying power. Your correct course of action depends on your competitive environment. Do you know how to read your competitive environment or do you need help?

Fewer Competitors
“If the economy stays tough and fewer businesses occupy my category, won’t that leave more for me?”

(1.) What was the sales volume of the failed competitor? (2.) How much has your category shrunk? If the competitor’s volume exceeded the shrinkage of your category, you might see some benefit. But if your competitor was a minor player, the shrinkage of your category will erase any good you might have experienced. You’ll get a larger slice, but of a smaller pie.

Media Makeover
“I walk to the end of the driveway each morning to retrieve a newspaper telling me things I’ve known for 24 hours.”

Very few newspapers are healthy. The New York Times, that standard bearer of journalism, would have collapsed but for last week’s infusion of $250 million by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. With that newspaper’s $1 billion in debt recently reduced to junk-bond status and only $46 million in cash reserves, the Times would have failed in May, 2009. In the past, “columnists” and “reporters” were merely people who had access to a publishing pipeline. But in an Internet-connected world, isn’t every blogger both columnist and reporter? Last week MSNBC.com said, “Got some good photos of the inauguration? Send them to us.” How many more months will pass before newspapers are published digitally and round-the-clock from volunteer reports submitted from around the world?

Websites are Essential
Hillary Clinton and John McCain underestimated the power of the Internet. Barack Obama did not. Now tell the truth, don’t be embarrassed: Was your website designed by an acquaintance who “is really good with computers?” Someone who “knows all about the internet?” Then why isn’t it doing more for you? This is the year to get serious about your website. Your webmaster is learning by trial and error. You should buy him or her some expert guidance.

Sending out a Flyer? 2 Factors You Must Understand

A Closing Thought
Where do you get your business ideas?

“…most high-growth companies have adopted some form of process to capture ideas from the front lines. Some of these processes are formal… Other are less formal, with ideas bubbling up from below. Generally, all ideas are quickly tested. The good ones survive; the bad ones are put to rest, but with respect.” – Jim Champy, from his book, OUTSMART! How to do what your competitors can’t.

Craig Arthur
Wizard of Ads

PS. Need help to attract more customers and grow your business?

Australia Call (07) 4728 4866 or email craigarthur@wizardofads.com

North America

Call 308-254-2732 or email daveyoung@wizardofads.com

Call 440-610-9746 or email tomwanek@wizardofads.com

We will never try and sell you. You may punch us in the arm really, really hard if we do.

Call or email to book a FREE alignment meeting. No obligation. No pressure. It is at this meeting we both decide if there is a fit between our 2 companies. It is only then can we explore your options. We will never try to sell you. Call (07) 4728 4866.

Wizard Partners Australia. Call Us: (07) 4728 4866

Wizard Wisdom

Lot’s of good stuff here….


Dear Scott,

Here is a tip for handling feedback.

“When you ask for feedback, be sure to listen carefully to the responses you receive, especially if they are not what you wanted or expected to hear; don’t explain, justify, or ague. It’s best not to comment at all; just listen. Record the feedback in your notebook for contemplation.” – Michael Gerb, author, How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci

In this issue:

One Way to Build a Successful Business

Why the Rule of Resemblance Fails

Delivery First… Words Second

One Way to Build a Successful Business

How you treat your people affects how they treat your customers.

Unhappy customers don’t come back, while happy customers spend more and become repeat customers. So look after your people and watch your business grow. Need proof?

In the latest issue of Strategy + Business journalist Bridget Finn wrote the article “The Life Cycle of Great Business Ideas.” Two quotes I found particularly relevant by Steve Wheeler I have included below. (Highlighting in bold by the editor)

“Sometimes it’s only the long-term comparison in performance that shows you what works. Jim Collins, a high school classmate of mine, wrote the best-selling book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. If you had taken the 18 companies that were profiled in that book and invested in each of them over the next 10 years, you would have gotten about a 150 percent return.

That’s not too bad — until you compare it with an S&P 500 index fund, which would have given you a 250 percent return. And if you’d had the foresight to pick up a copy of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For each year over that same period and just invested in the public companies, you would have gotten a 600 percent return.

So one way to build a successful business is to create an environment where people enjoy their jobs and are eager to work — in other words, a “best company to work for”.” – Steven Wheeler

“I think the most interesting changes will come when people start being strategic about building the capabilities they need for long-term success and avoiding the boom–bust cycles that most companies go through.” – Steven Wheeler

*Steven Wheeler is a former partner with Booz & Company and currently performs research, with the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations, on organization and leadership drivers of agility and sustained company performance.

Wegmans Food Markets comes in number 3 on the top 100 best companies to work for. Check out this short video on why staff and customers love Wegmans.

A 600% return on investment had you invested in the top 100 best companies to work for. Maybe there is something in this business strategy of looking after your people!

So the question for you is, “how are you treating your people?”

A tip… unfortunately your view is one of inside the bottle. You are going to answer that question based on your own experience. The current mood and moral of staff in your business is one you have created. Are you big enough and brave enough to see your business real? Is it time you had an outsiders perspective?

Subscribe to The Wizard Chronicle

The Rule of Resemblance bundles people together largely by demographics: age, sex, income, lifestyle, postcode etc. This largely flawed marketing strategy is used by media reps when selling to business owners. Don’t worry it is used by big business too.

As Wizard Partner Michele Miller puts it, “The Rule of Resemblance strategy usually results in weak response and low (if any) return on investment.”

Just because two people are the same age, listen to the same radio station and live in the same suburb does not mean they will respond the same way to your advertising message.

Michele Miller begins to explain the deeper complexities of customers and particularly female customers in her story The Business of Sisterhood. If you are serious about improving the ROI of your marketing dollars take a few minutes from your day and read this story.

Or you can listen and watch Michele in her Wondercast here.

Michele can be reached by email at: michelemiller@wizardofads.com

Delivery First… Words Second

“I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali

Ali re-enforced with his mouth what he delivered in the ring.
Delivery came first. His words simply fast tracked the legend.

Now to your marketing: First, look after your customers at store level. Second, tell the world how good you are. It should always be exceptional customer experience first, advertising second.

And when writing your ads, ask yourself this question. “Can my in-store or online experience consistently deliver my advertising promise?” If it can’t, don’t say it.

Subscribe to The Wizard Chronicle

Previous stories, just in case you missed them:

4 Things Never to Do When Writing Ads

Cost Cutting…Should it be an Ongoing Process or an Event?

How Well Does Your Business Rate on the Customer Visual Checklist?

How to Write Ads That Make the Phone Ring

7 Tips for Surviving a Recession

A Closing Thought

“The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.” – Robert J. Shiller

See you next week.

Craig Arthur
Wizard of Ads

PS. Need help to attract more customers and grow your business?

Australia Call (07) 4728 4866 or email craigarthur@wizardofads.com

North America

Call 308-254-2732 or email daveyoung@wizardofads.com

Call 440-610-9746 or email tomwanek@wizardofads.com

We will never try and sell you. You may punch us in the arm really, really hard if we do.

Call or email to book a FREE alignment meeting. No obligation. No pressure. It is at this meeting we both decide if there is a fit between our 2 companies. It is only then can we explore your options. We will never try to sell you. Call (07) 4728 4866.

Wizard Partners Australia. Call Us: (07) 4728 4866

Olympic Ad Wrap-Up

First, my favorite :

Here’s a wrap up from the New York Times:

August 25, 2008

America’s Commercials at the Olympics

AFTER two weeks of watching Olympic commercials on “the networks of NBC Universal,” as the employees of General Electric so grandly put it, it is time — at long last — to present imaginary medals in a post-Games advertising review.

Most of the thousands of spots that ran on networks like CNBC, NBC, MSNBC and USA expressed sentiments familiar to viewers of so-called big events on television. Patriotism is good. Striving for athletic achievement is noble. The world would be a better place if we all drank the same beverages, drove the same cars, shopped at the same stores and bought things with the same credit cards.

And too many commercials relied on predictable images to evoke China for Western consumers: dragons, pandas, ninjas, the Great Wall and homages to (or parodies of) “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Still, there were spots that stood out because they expressed familiar thoughts in a new fashion or they actually offered, as the Monty Python folks would say, something completely different.

Make-believe gold medals go to commercials that were actually worth watching. Some dreadful commercials are receiving lead medals, for base (and debased) performance. Some spots that fell short or rang false are getting tin medals.

Here are some examples, in alphabetical order, of how advertisers fared:

ANHEUSER-BUSCH It was nice to see again a delightful Super Bowl commercial about a Clydesdale training to make the Budweiser team. Gold. But spots that tried to rebrand Michelob as a craft beer from the “Michelob Brewing Company” seemed strained. Tin.

AT&T “We will shatter records,” a commercial for AT&T proclaimed. “We will pull off miracles. We will make history.” To paraphrase the punch line of an old joke, what do you mean “we,” couch potato? In another spot, a gymnast is covered with butterflies, which disappear as she performs a brilliant routine. Alas, it was too evocative of the playoff game in Cleveland when the midges attacked the Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain. Tin.

COCA-COLA More hits than misses as the Coca-Cola Company celebrated “the Coke side of life” with commercials infused with eye-catching animation. In one, birds use soda straws to make a replica of the Beijing stadium known as the Bird’s Nest. In another, members of the Chinese and United States basketball teams pause amid their rivalry to refresh together. Gold.

DIRECTV The comedian Jimmy Kimmel — minus his sense of humor — berated viewers without DirecTV as losers because they do not watch enough football each fall. No wonder Sarah Silverman broke up with him. Lead.

EXXON MOBIL Employees of Exxon Mobil fight malaria. And they help schoolchildren learn math and science. When did the company sell its oil and gas holdings and become a philanthropic organization? Tin.

GENERAL ELECTRIC A toga-clad hunk whose discus toss goes terribly awry led a memorable cast of characters in spots for G.E. Others included a Chinese couple who, as they say in Hollywood, meet cute: He’s a klutz and she’s an X-ray technician. Gold.

GENERAL MOTORS An imaginative commercial for the coming Chevrolet Volt, showing how a corner gas station changed through the decades, was worth watching every time it ran. And it ran a lot, as General Motors seeks to change its image as a purveyor of outdated gas guzzlers. Gold.

LENOVO A spot featuring dozens of sumo wrestlers who improbably transform into an airplane and take flight, demonstrating the light weight of the Lenovo ThinkPad, was charming. Gold. (But perhaps the commercial should have been saved for the next Olympics held in Japan.)

JOHN MCCAIN A commercial that attacked John McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama, misfired badly because it was out of place amid the myriad upbeat spots that came before and after. Worse yet, the first time the commercial appeared was during the feel-good Parade of Nations in the opening ceremony. A subsequent McCain commercial was also negative, but more subtly; it bashed President Bush by asserting that “we’re worse off than we were four years ago.” Lead.

MCDONALD’S Which were more peculiar, the commercials that compared workers at McDonald’s making sandwiches to athletes competing in Olympic sports or the commercials that presented athletes talking about McDonald’s sandwiches as if they were medals? It is hard to believe a fast feeder wants to liken eating its menu items to exercise. Lead.

MOVIES What possessed film studios like Universal and Warner Brothers to run commercials during the Olympics for dark, violent movies with harsh names like “Body of Lies,” “Death Race,” “Righteous Kill” and “Traitor”? The spots were even more out of place than the McCain commercials. Lead.

NBC Promotions for series like “America’s Got Talent,” “America’s Toughest Jobs” and “America’s Most American Americans” — just kidding on that last one — were more over the top than the NBC announcers who screamed their narrations of Michael Phelps’s races. And it seemed opportunistic that in the first commercial break after Mr. Phelps won his eighth gold medal, the network ran a spot peddling its own DVD set, “Michael Phelps: Greatest Olympic Champion … The Inside Story.” Tin.

NISSAN MOTOR A sedan and a sports car, side by side on a highway, fuse into a single vehicle to prove the 2009 Nissan Maxima is a “four-door sports car.” Shades of the vintage Certs spots that chirped, “It’s two, two, two mints in one!” Tin.

UNITED AIRLINES Some of the best Olympic commercials were for the struggling United Airlines unit of UAL. Exceptional animation made them lovely to watch, and lush versions of “Rhapsody in Blue” made them a pleasure to listen to. A spot featuring an orchestra of sea creatures was superb. Gold.

VISA Uplifting tales of Olympians past and present, delivered in a plummy voice by the actor Morgan Freeman, were accompanied by gauzy images in formulaic spots for Visa International. They seemed to be clones of the puffy, bathetic profiles of athletes that NBC typically inflicts upon Olympic viewers, which may be the reason the network ran so few of those vignettes. For that, Visa deserves a medal. Gold.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

2008 Consumer Spending Part 5

How has inflation affected our ability to spend?

Dollar By Dollar, Economy Eating Away At Consumer Spending
by Aaron Baar, Thursday, Jun 5, 2008 5:00 AM ET
The rising cost of basic household expenses–particularly gas and food–is cutting drastically into household budgets, affecting discretionary spending on all levels–from small things like movies and dining out to larger purchases like vacations and home improvements. And things don’t look to be improving anytime soon.

According to Discover Financial’s “U.S. Spending Monitor,” 56% of American consumers said they spent more in May than in April, and 46% said they expected to spend more in June than May. Much of that increase can be attributed to higher gas and food prices. According to the Monitor, nearly 36% of American consumers said they spent more than $200 a month on gas in May, compared with only 23% a year ago.

And consumers are not confident that high prices will abate any time soon. According to the Monitor, 65% of consumers said their expenses on basic necessities would rise in the next month, compared with a 40% response in February.

As a result consumers are cutting back. According to the Monitor, 54% of the country is cutting back on living expenses as a result of higher gas prices, compared with 45% in February. In addition, some 48% said they planned to spend less on major purchases, including summer vacations. Nearly 50% said they would put off home improvement projects, and 42% said they would have to put less into savings and investment.

“It seems clear that U.S. consumers are no longer choosing to spend more, but are being pressured to spend more due to record-high oil and food prices,” said Margo Georgiadis, Discover Financial Services’ chief marketing officer, in a statement. “But the cutbacks do not help a struggling economy and as gas prices continue to break records, consumers are showing signs that their budgets may be stretched a little too thin.”

Not surprisingly, only 15% of consumers rated the economy good or excellent, compared with 35% a year ago. But confidence may be on the rise. While only 12% said they felt the economy was getting better, that’s the first time the measure has been in double digits since February. (Yet, 72% said they felt things were getting worse.)

The brightest spot in the Riverwoods, Ill., company’s monthly survey is that consumers are still managing to have money left over after paying monthly bills. According to the Spending Monitor, 51% of consumers said they still had money left over at the end of the month, compared with 55% a year ago. However, the amount left over is dropping. Of those who have money left over, only 68% said they have the same or more left over compared with the previous month, compared with 81% last September.

Links to Research Sources

A couple of friends have asked me recently where I get the information for the posts on this website/blog, along with other good places for research.

So I’ll let the cat out of the bag.

Just click on the blue underlined links and you can sign up for free news letters, or you’ll be sent to the website.

Since I work in Media, I get various emails from Mediapost and Mediaweek. There are about 6 emails a day coming from them that I scan and sometimes pick a story or two.

Some info comes from Marketing Profs.

I also have access to the Radio Advertising Bureau, via a subscription from my company.

There are blogs that I subscribe to such as Anthony Juliano’s SoundBite Back,

Church of the Customer

Chuck McKay

Customers Rock!

Jim Meisenheimer

Marketing Genesis


Wizard of Ads

(As I was researching this information, I discovered about 75% of my source material is from the Mediapost and Mediaweek emails, since they use different sources including the Wall Street Journal, AdAge, and others.)

Now if there is a specific question I have like how Geico advertises, I simply type those words into Google and Google does the search for me.

A couple more resources for you.

Phone Book Battle

From MediaPost:

ANA Wants Better Yellow Pages Data, Publishers Say They Have It
by Erik Sass
The Association of National Advertisers and Yellow Pages publishers have been butting heads in recent weeks over the quality of research made available to advertisers by Yellow Pages publishers. The ANA’s Telephone Directory Committee published an open letter on Tuesday criticizing the narrow focus of the syndicated and proprietary research currently offered by publishers; the Yellow Pages Association is trying to head off the criticism with new research based on call-tracking. Some $2.3 billion was spent by national advertisers in the medium. – Read the whole story

Want to know more about Yellow Pages? Click here and follow the links...