|T.G.I. Friday's Offers Dads Free Onion Rings|
|Friday, May 30, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| With the purchase of an entrée on Father's Day, fathers will get a free order of crispy beer-battered onion rings with roasted green chile sauce.|
On Mother's Day, Friday's offered free desserts to moms and provided vouchers to dads for the free crispy beer-battered onion rings redeemable on Father's Day.
The coupon is also available at http://fridays.com/FathersDay2008Home.htm. The coupon must be presented for the onion rings.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Our company, pruned the trees so to speak of our sales department last year. We trimmed the unproductive sales staff and wiped out a bunch of overhead.
It's not easy to do this, but it may be necessary in your organization too.
Steve Clark wrote about this recently:
Will You Be Relevant In The Future
Additional data confirms that 65% of everything that is sold in North America is sold by 15% of the sales people.
These numbers should be a wakeup call for owners, managers and sales reps.
Why Should You Care About Any of This?
That is a fair but naïve question to ask. If you are a manager you should realize that about one - third of your sales force is actually a profit center. The other two - thirds, while somewhat productive, are barely covering their cost.
If, as predicted by some, employee cost will more than double in the next forty-eight months this should scare the living hell out of YOU.
When this happens, I predict that companies will have a significant reduction in force of their sales teams, and that only the sales people who are determined to be a profit center will be retained. If you are a mediocre or marginal producer this should scare the hell out of YOU.
The End of the Company Gravy Train Is Insight
For too long companies and managers have tolerated mediocrity and provided what amounts to corporate well fare to non productive sales people. Because of shrinking margins, increased competition, and the need to increase productivity, companies can no longer do this and remain competitive and profitable. In the future, every employee from receptionist to CEO will have to prove their profitability. If they can't they will be sacked and rightly so.
Many employees somehow think that it is their birth right to be provided with a good paying job which doesn't require a great deal from them other than showing up and putting in their time. They have forgotten or never learned that in a Capitalistic Society rewards only come to those who provide value in the market place. No value no pay. Not a hard lesson to learn but one that the liberal do gooders of this world avoid talking about. Instead they pander to the lazy masses that willingly lap up their message, "that the government will take care of you", like a cat laps up warm milk.
What Can You Do to Prepare For This
Accept one - hundred percent responsibility for your own future. It is not your company's, or the country's responsibility to provide you with the skills and talents you need to excel.
Invest YOUR time and money in competent training and education that will make you more competitive and more skilled than your competitors both within and outside of your company.
Labels: sales training
Is Television going to be a minor media in the future?
Here's the trend as reported by MarketingCharts.com:
PC Encroaching on TV’s Dominance in Screen Time among Digital Video Users
While TV remains the preeminent channel for watching video content, the PC is slowly encroaching on TV’s territory by capturing an increasing amount of screen time among those who download or stream video online, according to research from Ipsos MediaCT.
The percentage of video consumed on a TV among video downloaders and streamers (some 52% of Americans age 12+ who have ever done so) declined from 75% in February 2007 to 70% in February 2008 - a small but significant drop in overall “share of screen time” among digital video users.
At the same time, the percentage of video consumed on a PC among digital video users increased from 11% to 19% during the same period, according to findings of Ipsos MediaCT’s MOTION - its quarterly tracking study investigating digital video usage and behaviors in the US.
In addition, the percentage of total screen time captured by movie theaters also declined significantly in the past year.
“Streaming video online has become an activity many Americans aren’t just experimenting with, but enjoy on a regular basis. Today, about half of all internet users aged 12 and up have streamed a video file online in the past 30 days,” said Director of Ipsos MediaCT Adam Wright
“While the number of device options are growing for consumers to access and watch their favorite video content, what isn’t necessarily changing is the location where we enjoy this video content - our homes,” Wright said.
Rise in PC’s Share Across Age, Gender Groups
The phenomenon of watching more video content on a PC is relatively consistent by age group and gender.
Teens age 12-17 are the only age group watching a significantly larger percentage of their video content on portable devices. Not surprisingly, then, teens also experienced the largest drop in the share of screen time they devote to the TV.
New video playback devices, such as the Apple TV and Roku’s Netflix Player, are coming onto the market specifically trying to bridge the gap between traditional viewing habits and the growing demand for more convenient access and management of digital video content, Ipsos said.
“We really see these share gains in nontraditional video channels as not simply an isolated, generation-driven market effect, but rather a large macro-trend in the way consumers want their video content delivered that those in the entertainment industry should increasingly be paying attention to as we look forward to the rest of 2008 and beyond,” Wright concluded.
About the study: Data were sourced from the Q1 ‘08 Deep Dive wave of fieldwork as part of Ipsos MediaCT’s MOTION study, which was conducted online among a representative US sample of internet users age 12 years and older in February 2008.Sphere: Related Content
"I'll never buy from you again."
"I'll never vote for that candidate if my candidate loses."
"I'll never invest in that stock."
Never seems like a really long time, doesn't it? Practically forever.
Here's the thing. People who say 'never' actually mean, "until my situation or the story changes materially." Making bad decisions in the now to honor absolute statements in the past isn't particularly sustainable. Consumers, short-sighted as they are sometimes, are able to realize this pretty quickly.
In fact, the only thing shorter than 'never' is 'always.'Sphere: Related Content
This report of what's our cousins across the Atlantic are doing could be a prediction of what will be occurring in the U.S....
Most UK Residents Time-Shift TV Content
More than half of UK residents (57%) watch at least one hour of on-demand TV or recorded TV each week, according to a UK nationwide survey measuring the popularity of on-demand TV and internet video.
Women watch more on-demand or recorded TV than men (58% vs. 55%), the survey found. Seniors (55+) and young adults (18-24) watch the most on-demand or recorded TV (60%); those age 25-34 watch the least (51%).
The most common methods for recording programs in the UK were Sky+ (22%), personal video recorders, and VHS machines (27%).On demand services are also used for later viewing: 11% use On demand TV services, and 16% use internet catch up services such as the BBC iPlayer.
Among the other primary findings of the survey:
- Of the 57% who time-shift content, about one-third watch at least three hours of on-demand TV per week.
- About half of online UK residents (48%) have watched video or TV on the internet, with the vast majority using internet-based TV services for on-demand viewing (70%).
- Of that 48%, 22% have watched internet TV or video over the past 7 days.
The survey also found that Internet TV and video are quickly becoming established as regular channels for consuming video content, changing the viewing habits and experience for a new generation of viewers.
Regarding those who have watched internet TV or video, the survey found as follows:
- UK residents expressed a clear preference for better internet video content (56%), better internet TV quality (47%), and the desire to watch more internet video on TV rather than the computer (38%).
- Most people watch internet TV or video in their home office or study (68%), followed by a communal room at home (39%) and then at work (20%). (Multiple responses allowed per user.)
- The biggest drivers that would encourage more people to watch internet TV or video are more free content available (56%), quality of picture (47%) and the ability to watch internet video on a TV screen, rather than a computer (38%).
- In terms of content, news (24%), entertainment (27%) and short videos (42%) are the most popular type of content to watch on computer rather than on TV.
- And just 9% of people use their mobile phone or PDA to watch internet TV or video.
“While the good old VHS recorder has created audience demand for time-shifted TV programs, it is new game-changing internet video services such as the BBC iPlayer which are reshaping how carriers upgrade their networks over time,” said Philip Wilton, Director of Sales and Operations in the UK for Redback Networks.
“This growth of video over broadband is reflected in what also we’re back hearing from our service provider customers, with HTTP streaming traffic now outstripping P2P for downloading video content.”
“Where Internet video was just about sharing content via P2P networks, it’s now moved into the mainstream with viewers able to consume time shifted content direct from content provider, placing new strains on the network and the traffic it supports,” Wilton concluded.
About the survey: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,168 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 11-14 April 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all online UK adults (age 18+).Sphere: Related Content
What's In It For Me.
My wife found this on the web recently. It's from Eric Pennington.
It's a good reminder for everyone:
Things Customers Don't Care About
Took on a consulting project with a company who's focus is on event marketing. As I talked to the president this morning, the following list came to my mind (we were discussing what customers care about specifically):
- Customers don't care about a salesperson's volume goal.
- Customers don't care about your sales ranking (specifically inside your organization).
- Customers don't care about the fine print in your literature/contract.
- Customers don't care if your manager read you the riot act in the morning conference call.
- Customers don't care about who should get the blame (inside your organization)for an order botched.
- Customers don't care about the poor technology your organization refuses to give up.
- Customers don't care about how tough your market is.
One thing was clear after our conversation; customers care about relationship (do you care, can you be trusted, can you be a difference-maker) and value (when the transaction is complete the customer feels good).
Remember the initials W.I.I.F.M. is what your customers are asking themselves when your lips are moving. Make sure you focus on W.I.I.F.M. from the customers perspective, not yours.
Friday, May 30, 2008
3 Lessons from a Top-Performer's School of Hard KnocksBy Jill Konrath, Contributing Editor
The pathway to sales success is strewn with lost opportunities, embarrassing moments, and downright stupid mistakes. In my opinion, one major difference between top sellers and average ones is their ability to turn these disasters into growth opportunities.
Painful though it may be, top performers revisit their gaffes to figure out how they can avoid similar outcomes in the future. Scarred, but not beaten, they gradually learn what it takes to be successful.
I know. I've been there. Over the years, I've had more than my share of blunders. And just the other day, some of my biggest ones came flooding back to me as I was driving to do a training program for a local printing company.
When I exited the highway onto Como Avenue, I was immediately transported back to my days as a Xerox sales trainee when I covered the 55414 zip code. It's where I learned many invaluable lessons that I still embrace today.
Lesson 1: How to Get Unstuck
After finishing the Xerox training program, I was assigned to follow Jim Farrell for several weeks to learn the ropes. But finally the day came when I was sent out on my own.
At 9 a.m., I pulled up in front of Quality Products to begin my cold calls. But I couldn't get out. I was terrified and tongue-tied, convinced that my sales career was over before it even began.
After nearly 30 minutes of being paralyzed in my seat, a song wiggled its way into my mind: "I Have Confidence" from the movie, The Sound of Music.
I started singing to myself, quietly at first, then louder and louder. I was particularly enamored with the refrain, "I have confidence in confidence alone, and as you can see, I have confidence in me."
I really didn't believe the words, but they got me moving off my "stuckness." I pulled out my cold call plan that I'd studiously prepared the night before and reviewed it. I practiced my opening lines again and again.
Then I got out of the car and went in. By the end of the day, I'd made over 20 cold calls and uncovered some potential prospects.
Over the years, I've been confronted with many tough situations that I didn't know how to handle because I lacked the requisite knowledge or experience. I've learned that you can't know everything before you start. And I've also learned that "movement" is key to discovering the answers.
Lesson 2: How to Get to Higher-Level Decision Makers
One of the prospects I uncovered while cold-calling was Trussbilt, a company directly across Como Avenue from Quality Products. They've been gone for many years, replaced by the printing company where I was doing the training. The deja vu I felt when I walked into their offices was palpable.
Back then, I was working with Tinsey, a very articulate woman who told me she was in charge of the copier decision. Shortly after our first meeting, I read a book that said salespeople should only work with the top dogs - not their underlings.
Since my contact was an administrative assistant, I realized I needed to rectify the situation immediately. I called Mr. Big directly and set up a time to meet. Then I prepared like crazy to ensure I did a great job.
Unfortunately, I never had a chance to capitalize on this opportunity. Tinsey came to the lobby to escort her boss's visitor to his office. When saw me, she demanded to know why I was there.
"I'm here to see Mr. Big," I replied, suddenly not so sure if the tactic I'd taken was appropriate. I was right. She proceeded to yell at me like I've never been yelled at before.
I was appalled. Mortified. And suddenly very light-headed and shaky. I fainted dead away right there in the middle of the lobby.
As you can imagine, I never did business with Tinsey or Trussbilt. But I sure did learn that once you're working with someone it's never appropriate to go around them without their knowledge. They'll get mad. Furious. It's a normal human reaction.
Today, to ensure my ability to work with whomever I want in an account, I always tell prospects, "Usually when I'm working with clients, I need to talk with the VP of Sales, Regional Sales Directors and sometimes even Marketing." Doing it this way prevents the people problems that can derail your sales efforts.
Lesson 3: How to Get to the Poing and Net it Out
The Kaplan Company was just down the street and around the corner from Trussbilt. When I walked in the front door, there were at least 30 desks filled with women who were busy doing order entry and handling customer service issues.
I told the receptionist that I wanted to speak to the person who made copier decisions. After a quick check with the boss, she escorted me past all those working women into his office.
"Sit down," he said gruffly. "You've got 5 minutes. Talk."
"If you're busy, I'll come back," I said, trying to be gracious.
"Nope," he stated. " 5 minutes. Tell me why I should buy your product. Your 5 minutes is starting now."
I mumbled. I stumbled. I tried to engage him in conversation. I tried to explain that I needed more time. He wasn't one bit interested. After 5 minutes, he arose and said, "Your time is up. You can leave now."
That ticked me off. I told him he was rude and obnoxious. Then I turned and stormed out of his office past all those women, shouting back at him, "I'll never sell you a Xerox machine. You don't deserve to work with Xerox."
I know it's hard to believe, but I really did lose my cool. And I'm also sure that guy never wanted to work with Xerox again. But he had a point. I couldn't concisely state why he should listen to me.
I wanted to build a relationship and warm up the call. That made me feel better. He was a busy man who chose to use his time judiciously. I didn't respect his needs. After that cold-calling disaster, I learned to net it out. That lesson is even more important today than it was years ago.
* * *
The School of Hard Knocks can be brutal. If you're making sales calls, you know how tough it can be. Every time you're knocked down or out, you have to make a choice about how to react. Are you going to get up again? Will you learn from the situation?
The hardest thing in the world is to look at your own complicity in the situation, yet that is where the maximum growth is for you and, ultimately, the key to your long-term sales success.
Jill Konrath is a Contributing Editor for RainToday.com and is a recognized expert in complex sales strategies and creating business value for B2B sales organizations. She is also founder of SellingtoBigCompanies – a web resource that helps professional services providers, consultants and salespeople win big contracts in the corporate market. E-mail Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sphere: Related Content
As a Dad, who usually buys what I want, all I need is a card anyway. Here's the lowdown:
|Father's Day Lament: 'No Mon, No Fun, Your Son'|
|by Karlene Lukovitz, Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| The sinking economy affected Mother's Day spending a bit, and it looks like it's going to hurt fathers even more. |
Fewer consumers--70% versus 77% last year--plan to buy one or more gifts this Father's Day.
Furthermore, they will spend $115 on average, or 8% less than in 2007, according to the 2008 installment of an annual survey conducted by the Brand Keys, Inc. brand and customer loyalty consultancy.
n comparison, a pre-Mother's Day consumer survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that spending for that holiday would be down very slightly (by 51 cents, or less than 1%), to average $138.63, this year.
As is true for all occasions these days, gift cards continue to grow in popularity for Father's Day. This year, they will account for 30% of gifts, up 5% from 2007.
Other common purchases will include clothing (25%), tools (13%), electronics (10%), wine/alcohol (9%), DVDs (8%) and phones (5%).
This year, so few reported planning to buy dad a computer that this item didn't even make the list, according to BrandKeys President Robert Passikoff, who notes that the electronics purchasing numbers are down, as well.
Furthermore, more gifts will be coming from discount stores (35%, up 9%) instead of department stores (22%) and specialty outlets (20%). Online and catalog channels will account for 15% and 8% of purchases, respectively.
Fathers will also get fewer personal visits: 30% of consumers are planning these, versus 35% last year--no doubt in part because of soaring gas prices. Instead, half will call, and 20% will reach out online.
But never fear, dads: You'll still get a greeting card (90% plan to buy these, up 7% from '07). And about half of you (48%, down 4%) will even get brunch, lunch or dinner.
Trying to reinvent themselves:
|Sears Teams Up With LL Cool J, Benetton|
|by Sarah Mahoney, Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| Sears, which is expected to announce some pretty depressing sales numbers later this week, is looking for an urban solution: The company says it's teaming up with rapper LL Cool J for a new line of clothing. |
"The collaboration between LL Cool J and Sears is the result of significant research on our part to choose an aspirational label that can be accessible to all," Irv Neger, Sears SVP for apparel, says in a statement. "Key considerations included choosing a persona that had broad demographic appeal, representing the true cross-section of the American public that Sears embodies, and working with someone who would be committed to making the good life attainable to our customers. We wanted a brand that would resonate with an existing customer who desired authentic streetwear, and LL Cool J wanted an American icon retailer to which he could entrust his name and his vision."
The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer, which also owns Kmart, says the line is expected to debut this fall in 450 Sears stores, adding more with the holiday season.
Separately, Benetton Group SpA, the Milan-based apparel company, says it signed a deal with Sears Mexico to distribute the United Colors of Benetton brand there in women's, men's and children's collections. (Almost 10 years ago, Sears' U.S. stores dropped Benetton's clothes, due to customer protests over the Italian company's controversial ad campaign on death-row inmates.)
The Wall Street Journal reported that Sears, which has had more than its share of sales declines in recent quarters, is expected to post an 8% drop in its quarterly same-store sales when it reports earnings Thursday.
Lessons to learn still:
|Study Finds Advertisers Don't Quite Get Shopper Marketing|
|by Sarah Mahoney, Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| When it comes to shopper marketing--reaching consumers when they are actually in shopping mode--a new study shows that major advertisers still have a lot to learn. |
Part of the problem is that while both retailers and marketers agree that it is primarily the marketers' job to bring consumer insights into the planning process, there's a fair amount of misunderstanding about what that means, says Bonnie Carlson, president of the Promotion Marketing Association, which fielded the study.
"Consumer insights are great, and it's important for marketers to know the psychographics and demographics of their customer. But shopper insights are different. That same consumer can actually be in multiple shopper mindsets even in a single week--she shops differently when she's doing a major shopping trip on Saturday than she does when she's in a rush to pick up dinner after work," she says. And retailers and marketers need to collaborate more closely to understand those mindsets--whether that means dual focus groups, or joint exit interviews.
"Retailers are doing more to get those insights, but they aren't necessarily sharing them with marketers," she says.
Done right, she says, shopper marketing--embraced by 60% of marketers in the PMA survey, while 94% of retailers believe that their competition is already doing it--"is all about making it easy for shoppers, so things like packaging and store layout become very important."
An example of a program done well, she says, is a little kitchen set up by Nabisco near the dairy case: "That puts its crackers near the cheese, and its cookies near the milk. It can both surprise and delight a shopper."
One surprise in the study, she says, is that both retailers and marketers named increasing sales as the No. 1 goal, and two-thirds of each group says they have achieved them. "We thought they'd say it was all about ROI, and profitability," she says.
Metrics are also an issue. Only one-third of both retailers and manufacturers report that they agree on the metrics for evaluating programs even "most of the time," while nearly two-thirds of marketers say they only reach agreement with retailers about how to measure success "occasionally" or "never."
Overall, she says, the study points to a greater need for alignment: "Both sides need to move a little closer together."
Sphere: Related Content
I want to share with you something that the founder of GoDaddy.com wrote a couple years ago.
GoDaddy is the leading seller of domain names and Bob Parsons has written his own rule book.
He even will sell you a copy of this list from his website. (How's that for marketing!!)
Bob Parson's 16 Rules:
1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."
2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.
3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."
4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."
5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."
6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.
7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.
8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."
9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.
10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.
11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.
12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.
13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).
14. Solve your own problems. You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."
15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.
16. There’s always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”
Copyright © 2005-2007 Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sphere: Related Content
Can concession prices at the theater go even higher!?!? Read on:
Rising Popcorn Costs Spell Trouble for Movies
Suddenly, in Hollywood and sticky-floored movie theaters across the nation, "corn" really is a four-letter word.
Thanks to the inflating cost of popcorn, the price of movie tickets is expected to skyrocket by as much as 30 percent this year, according to Ricard Gil, a University of Santa Cruz economist who studies the business. "You'e going to see a one- to two-dollar increase in the price of a movie ticket," he said. "And that's being conservative."
According to an Agriculture Department report, next year's corn stocks are expected to plunge to a 13-year low and, as a result, corn-futures contracts have soared to an all-time high. This can be attributed to the demand for ethanol, which will claim 40 percent of next year's corn crop, munching away at the margins of theaters that rely on concession sales for as much as 45 percent of their revenue.
"They're going to lose some of their customers," Mr. Gil said. "Some of them are just not going to go to the movies."
This is terra incognita for the movie-theater business. Ticket sales had been insulated for the past 30 years from both inflation and recession. (Adjusted for inflation, tickets today cost less than they did in 1977, according to the Motion Picture Association of America; the National Association of Theater Owners notes that in five of the past seven recession years, box office and admissions actually increased.)
That's in part because angst-riddled consumers sought relief from financial woes in the dark of the cinema, but also because roughly 25 percent of the price of admission is subsidized by popcorn, soda and candy sales -- a discovery Mr. Gil published in a landmark joint study with Stanford University's Graduate School of Business in February. (Popcorn accounts for an average of 32 percent of concession sales in the theater industry.)
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in March, Mike Campbell, CEO of Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater chain, conceded as much: "If we didn't charge as much for concessions as we did, the tickets to the movies would cost $20." (According to the MPAA, last year's average movie-ticket price was $6.88.)
But while ticket prices have more than quadrupled since 1970, per-capita spending at concessions has only a little more than doubled in the same period.
This year's popcorn crop is down roughly 10 percent, said Larry Etter, chairman of the National Association of Concessionaires. In the past 18 months, the cost of coconut oil used for popping corn has risen 24 percent. And the price of the paper pulp to produce popcorn tubs has jumped 40 percent in the past 36 months, making the tub more expensive than the corn inside it.
The new "ear-conomics," along with a looming and costly changeover to digital projection, also means that for the first time, many independent theater owners may find themselves unable to weather a downturn, as concession sales typically account for 40 percent of smaller movie theaters' revenue. According to Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research at the theater owners' assocation, while top-10 megachains control half the nation's screens, the other half are run by some 500 independent theater companies.
Raising prices at concession stands won't help much, as popcorn and soda are already at an 80 percent markup, said Mr. Etter, who is also VP-theater services for the Malco theater chain. For consumers facing the biggest food-price jump in 18 years and gas prices up 20 percent from April 2007, a $6 bag of popcorn isn't a pleasing proposition. Mr. Gil said higher prices will appear at the box office as more moviegoers pass on the corn.
More reliance on cinema ads is one option. In a 2007 Arbitron study, 63 percent of respondents 12 and older said they "do not mind the ads they put on before the movie begins."
But even its chief proponents say cinema advertising has limited prospects. Lauren Leff, a spokeswoman for National Cinemedia, the largest digital in-theater ad network in North America, said once a theater's ad inventory sells out, the cost per thousand rises substantially. She added that theaters' ad-revenue potential is always constrained by the need to start the next film on time.
MPAA President Bob Pisano calls both scenarios -- higher concession prices or more ads -- "mutually assured destruction" for theaters and movie studios, because both will try moviegoers' patience and may lead them to stay home and rent or, worse, illegally download a film.
Mr. Pisano said ticket prices may start to rise with demand. For example, going to see a blockbuster when it opens Friday night could run you a dollar more than going a week later.
(Source: AdAge.com, 05/19/08)
Even though it is still one of the top entertainment mediums in the USA, Television is suffering according to the numbers.
Locally TV time used to be expensive compared to Radio. Now it's much closer, except for production costs.
Read more from ABC/Disney:
|Tread Warily: Disney's Iger Calls TV 'Challenged Business'|
|by David Goetzl, Thursday, May 29, 2008 7:30 AM ET|
| On the eve of upfront deal-making, Disney CEO Bob Iger painted a grim picture of network TV's future, a contrast to the usual bravado expressed about the medium that reaches every home in the country. |
Sounding somewhat defeated in referring to ABC, Iger offered up: "It's a tough model--it's really tough." Soon after, he added: "It's a challenged business."
His reasoning--offered Wednesday at an industry event--wasn't based on anything particularly new about the hurdles broadcasters face, but his bluntness was striking.
Twice, he noted that the ABC leadership is exploring ways to trim costs and restructure.
ABC is looking for new revenue streams by exploiting its content on emerging platforms, Iger said--but he didn't express overwhelming optimism there, at least for the near term. People are increasingly viewing ABC shows online or via iTunes--"consumption is fairly compelling"--but the revenues are "still small," compared to traditional ad dollars spent on the network, he said.
That's complicated by "young consumers"--the ones advertisers most want to reach who will age up with their habits entrenched--being "much less tolerant of ... accessing or getting programming in a linear form on a traditional network." Iger said they will be "much more demanding of the product that they get in a video-on-demand form, meaning individually."
"And if you're not in that space, you get marginalized," Iger warned.
Offering up another ominous sign for broadcasting--this time on the local level--he said station groups touting retransmission consent dollars as a long-term financial game-changer are misguided. "That's not going to save that business," he said.
Disney owns 10 stations, but is not believed to push for retrans dollars from cable operators, instead its using negotiations with MSOs to extract higher subscription fees for its cable channels.
Iger did say that ABC is pleased with its progress over the last several seasons, where hits such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" have given it much-needed success after some fallow years. Within network TV, he said: "We like how we're positioned."
But he emphasized that continually replenishing the pipeline with more breakout hits is key to what's becoming the new business model at ABC. Iger said management is increasingly looking at the network as a studio, working closely with ABC Studios. Together, the pair can develop hits to be sold internationally, and over time, distributed profitably on new platforms.
"If we were not in the studio business and we did not have success there," he said, "I think, in this day and age, it would be pretty challenging to justify being in the network business unto itself--with all the incumbent risks associated that include the cost structure and the competition."
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My kids are in this generation. And I know one of them is actively involved in her financial planning.
The question is how do you reach them? Not with the newspaper. Not with cable TV. Not with the phone book.
She listens to the radio and uses the internet.
Gen Y Consumers Are Candidates For Financial Guidance
Generation Y may not be savers yet, but they will be someday -- out of necessity as much as desire -- and the opportunity to reach them is now.
"There's a niche opportunity there for those that want it," Susan Menke, senior financial services analyst at Mintel, told Marketing Daily. "They don't have the asset accumulation now, but in 10 to 20 years, they'll be making as much as Baby Boomers are now."
According to Mintel research, members of Generation Y -- defined as people born between 1977 and 1994 -- make up only about 5 percent of financial advisors' client base. And though those twenty-somethings may not have copious amounts of disposable income, they do have financial goals they'd like to achieve, Menke says.
"A lot of Gen Y kids are more responsible than people give them credit for," Menke says. "There's a segment that's responsible and ready for life-stage planning."
Many Gen Y consumers have a picture of where they'd like to be financially by the time they're 35, Menke says. Often, that picture includes owning a house, having children and being free of student loan debt. ("They've been saddled with a lot more student debt than the generation before them," Menke says.) A savvy financial firm would look to approach such consumers with a way to meet those life-stage goals to develop a longer-term relationship that could include investment and retirement planning.
"The key is to build your model so that you're targeting both short-term profit and long-term potential profit," she says.
Doing so, however, might mean altering some marketing strategies. According to Mintel Comperemedia, which tracks direct marketing, adults under the age of 30 only received 2 percent of investment direct mail offers in 2007. (By contrast, adults over age 60 received 41 percent of the mailings.) Other strategies would include savvier Internet marketing (such as setting up a Gen Y-dedicated Web portal) and more targeted segmenting of Gen Y consumers, Menke says.
Gen Y consumers are in need of financial advice, Menke says. They have been saddled with more student debt than previous generations, are continuing to rack up credit card debt, and are not putting money away for retirement or other savings. According to Mintel, less than a third of Gen Y workers who are able to participate in a tax-deferred retirement savings plan are doing so, even though they are the generation most in need of financial planning.
"They're the ones that are going to have the worst of it," Menke says. "Most members of Gen Y are not going to get an inheritance. They're going to have to rely on themselves more than any other generation."
(Source: Marketing Daily, 05/19/08)
Happy Hour? Try Nightcap.
2 Rock Resorts
5 Mandarin Oriental
6 Orient Express
7 St. Regis
8 Four Seasons
9 Leading Hotels of the World
10 Waldorf Astoria Collection
Source: The Luxury Institute's "Luxury Brand Status IndexSphere: Related Content
First, get a World Famous Football Team.
Next, get your hands on their old stadium.
Finally, mix in beer.
|Miller Plans Texas Promo To Seal New Cowboys Deal|
|by Karl Greenberg, Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to open a massive new stadium next year, the team has also completed a deal with the only exclusive beer sponsor it has ever had: Miller Lite. |
The team and Miller Brewing Company have extended for 12 more years--through 2020--a marketing relationship that began in 1990. The deal covers the state of Texas, minus Houston, and includes a raft of advertising and marketing opportunities at the stadium and regionally. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This fall, Miller will run a Texas promotional campaign with the Cowboys called "You Could Take Home History." The effort commemorates the team's exodus from Texas Stadium to the new digs. The program includes weekly giveaways of game tickets, team merchandise and stadium collectibles; commemorative packaging; point-of-sale highlighting great moments in Texas Stadium history; and TV, radio, print, out-of-home and digital advertising.
Miller Lite also will market to Hispanics this year, as the "Vive La Experiencia de Los Cowboys" program will give fans the chance to win game tickets and stadium merchandise.
With the extended deal, Miller gets TV, radio and print advertising via the Cowboys' media network in Texas, and can use the team logo on packaging and on POP material in Texas stores that sell Miller Lite. Once in the new stadium, Miller will have several branded venues: there will be a Miller Lite Champions Plaza at one of the stadium's entrances, where Miller Lite branding will be ubiquitous, and the company will sponsor pre-game events. There will also be a Miller Lite club that the team passes through on the way to the field; two beer gardens; a Miller Lite entertainment area at one end-zone platform; and VIP seating.
A company spokesperson says Miller has sponsorship deals with 12 NFL teams and deals similar in scope to the Cowboys arrangement with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. "And there are other teams where we have either exclusive or shared sponsors," he says, adding that Miller does similar deals with NBA, Nascar and professional baseball.
"We put a lot of energy and resources behind football," he says. "We will always have Miller Lite football-themed promotions from August through January."
"Retailers are looking for ways to sell more product. If we can come to them with Cowboys packaging which they can see their consumer base will like, they will be more likely to carry our brand."
More Email tips:
You've Got the Power!
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No matter how sophisticated our society becomes, it seems we still can't resist vocabulary that appeals to our basic instincts. As a result, there are certain "power" words that can significantly improve your email response rates. Here's Karen Talavera's Top Ten List of power words you should be using in your email messages. Post it next to your computer, and don't write another line without it! Top Ten Email Power Words 10. New. Anything that hints at novelty will spur reader curiosity. Guarantee: Using these words well could help boost your results. The Po!nt: These words work, if you respect them. "When it comes to power words, less is more," says Talavera. "Use them sparingly and strategically. Power words are just that—powerful—all on their own." Source: MarketingProfs. Click to read the article.
9. Save. Everyone loves to get something for less than it's worth.
8. Safety. Volvo has built an entire brand with this word.
7. Proven. It justifies your claim, and eases fear of the unknown.
6. Love. No matter how cynical we get, we're still in love with love.
5. Guarantee. Says Talavera, "It iron-clads your offer."
4. Immediate (also: Now or Instant). Online shoppers want it now.
3. Results. A word that tends to trigger instant conversions.
2. You. Your audience wants to hear what's in it for them.
1. Free. The Number One most potent motivator in direct response. The ultimate Power Word. CAUTION: Don't overuse it.
No matter how sophisticated our society becomes, it seems we still can't resist vocabulary that appeals to our basic instincts. As a result, there are certain "power" words that can significantly improve your email response rates.
Here's Karen Talavera's Top Ten List of power words you should be using in your email messages. Post it next to your computer, and don't write another line without it!
Top Ten Email Power Words
10. New. Anything that hints at novelty will spur reader curiosity.
Guarantee: Using these words well could help boost your results.
The Po!nt: These words work, if you respect them. "When it comes to power words, less is more," says Talavera. "Use them sparingly and strategically. Power words are just that—powerful—all on their own."
Source: MarketingProfs. Click to read the article.
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Got an old Ford Pinto for sale? Read this:
Old Economy Cars Enjoying A Revival
With gasoline prices closing in on $4 per gallon, some strange things are happening in the used-car world. Like aging crooners getting rediscovered -- think Tony Bennett or Mel Torme -- some of yesterday's high-mileage models are cool again.
There's a run on old economy cars, such as the early-'90s Geo Metro, Honda CRX HF and any diesel-powered Volkswagen. Prices for those cars --even if they have more than 200,000 miles on the clock and rust holes big enough to drop your wallet through -- are bringing crazy prices on eBay Motors and elsewhere.
Good used versions of the ugly duckling Geo Metro XFi, with its wheezing, 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 49-hp engine, are selling for $3,000 to $6,000 -- even though used-car guides such as Kelley Blue Book show them to be worth around $1,500. The XFi model, equipped with a manual transmission, should get about 51 mpg on the highway under the revised EPA fuel economy estimates.
The CRX HF, which has a revised EPA rating of 47 mpg on the highway, also is a hot item. Several have sold recently for more than $5,000.
A clean mid-'80s VW Jetta diesel with about 225,000 miles on the odometer is worth $3,000 to $4,000, according to completed auctions on eBay Motors. Old VW diesels get about 40 mpg on the highway.
Tom Kontos, an executive vice president and veteran data cruncher at auction giant ADESA, says he sees no solid statistical proof of an old-timers revival. Anecdotally, though, he says some buy-here, pay-here dealers have told him that "older cars were harder to find and more expensive to obtain."
(Source: Automotive News, 05/26/08)
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All you need is an idea to make money. Many of the success stories in business come from adapting ideas from others to your business.
If you are in the cell phone business listen up. If you are not in the cell phone business listen up, learn and apply to your business:
Customers Increasingly Unhappy with Wireless Sales Experience
Overall customer satisfaction with the wireless retail sales experience has steadily decreased since 2006, driven in large part by dissatisfaction with product information and promotional incentives, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction Study–Volume 1.
Now in its fifth year, the semi-annual study analyzes evaluations from customers who recently had a wireless retail sales experience. Overall customer satisfaction with major wireless carrier-branded stores is based on four factors. In order of importance, they are: sales staff (51 percent); store display (17 percent); store facility (16 percent); and price/promotion (16 percent).
The study finds that overall satisfaction with the wireless retail sales experience has reached its lowest level since 2005, and has declined to 699 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2008 -- down 10 points from the last reporting period (Volume 2 released in October 2007) and down 17 points since May 2007.
"Changes in the wireless service industry, such as an increase in the number of new products and services, have made it difficult for carriers to maintain the same level of customer satisfaction since the inaugural study in 2004," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "Overall customer satisfaction with retail service has steadily declined as wireless service becomes increasingly widespread, and as products and services have evolved in complexity."
The study also finds that while scores have declined in all four factors driving overall satisfaction, the most notable decreases occur in the store display and price/promotion factors. Customers are particularly dissatisfied with the rebates offered on phones and accessories, and with the availability of product and service information.
"Within the past year, there have been a number of new product and service plan innovations where, in most cases, consumers need to be re-educated in terms of usage and price plan information," said Parsons. "The information and materials used to explain these new services need to be readily available and easy to understand in order for wireless carriers to meet and exceed customer expectations. Additionally, as providers match each other on price, they are using rebates and promotional offers to build traffic to their retail outlets. In doing so, it's important that rebates are received quickly and without any surprises."
T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction among major wireless carrier-owned retail stores with a score of 716, performing particularly well in the sales staff and store display factors. Alltel (714) and Verizon Wireless (706), respectively, follow T-Mobile in the rankings.
The study also finds the following key retail wireless sales transaction patterns:
-- The average wireless retail sales transaction takes approximately 56 minutes to complete from the time the customer enters the store to the time the final paperwork is finished and the cellphone is received -- down nearly four minutes from the last reporting period.
-- Among customers who visited a retail store in the past six months, more than 60 percent did so to purchase a new cellphone, while 65 percent upgraded or replaced an existing phone. Additionally, 11 percent of customers visited a wireless retail store to sign up for new service for the first time, marking a 4 percent decline from six months ago.
Retail satisfaction is 15 percent lower among customers who report they were pressured during the sales process. The average overall satisfaction rating among customers who report experiencing no sales pressure is 721, compared with an average of just 610 among those who say they were pressured.
(Source: J.D. Power and Associates, 05/12/08)
I've already had 7 chicken meals this week, in 4 days. Now there is another choice:
|KFC Adds Third Fried Chicken Flavor In 68 Years|
|by Nina M. Lentini, Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:00 AM ET|
| KFC is adding only its third fried chicken flavor in 68 years to its menu, and has launched a supporting campaign featuring 15- and 30-second TV commercials by its AOR, DraftFCB. |
To its secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, the fast-food giant is adding chipotle and, for a limited time, offering Smoky Chipotle Crispy. The flavor joins Colonel Sanders' Original Recipe, begun in 1940, and Extra Crispy, introduced more than two decades ago.
In the 30-second spot, two young married couples dine outdoors, apparently on a pier at a marina. It's a sunny day reflective of blue and white colors as one husband joins the others and asks what it is they're eating. When he takes a bite, he's pleasantly surprised at the spicy flavor. "It's not spicy hot," he says, to which one of the wives says, "It's smoky."
As the other husband digs in, he, too, is nonplussed. "Wow, what is that?" he asks, to which a wife replies: "That's flavor." "I like flavor," he says, ingenuously. Voiceover says it's "flavor with a kick," and the spot ends with the slogan, "Life tastes better with KFC."
While the original recipe remains Top Secret, Doug Hasselo, chief food innovation office at KFC, offered a hint: The new recipe includes "slow-smoked chipotle peppers," he said.
"Our new Smoky Chipotle Crispy is designed to be the perfect combination of robust flavors with just the right kick," Hasselo added in a statement. "We're confident Colonel Sanders would have approved this new secret recipe. It truly is finger lickin' good."
While there are no online ads planned, a spokesperson said "The Quest for the Golden Chipotle" game at kfc.com is "meant to educate consumers about the origin of the Chipotle pepper while still being fun and interactive."
Clutter V Clarity. It is better to tell one idea well, than to tell ten badly. Are you trying to put too much into your message? Try to strip all the information bare and find the strongest message, so you can tell that story well. Put aside all the client information that meets our expectations and go digging for that one little piece that surpasses our expectations, that piece of new information that will surprise the customer. Simplify that core message down to one sentence, even one word, than start to build your masterpiece from there. This little piece of gold is your foundation... now you can build the creative and it won't fall over.
Commercial speak is passé... My rule is simple - write the way you speak... don't follow Dorothy and Toto down the yellow brick road to Adland. Customers live in the real world - so should we. Be natural in your writing style, it's warmer, fresher and more welcoming. Think about the very basics - use contractions, use natural stumbles and hesitations (Think Big Pond's ‘Too Many Rabbits' ad), use slang, most importantly get out there and study real life and real speech.
Clinical words... I like to call words that are cold, generic or overused - clinical. These words don't contain any emotion so they don't allow the customer to create an image in their head; they simply bounce off the brain without making an impact. Clinical words are words like ‘entertainment', ‘convenient', ‘quality'. Be more specific, describe the entertainment, what makes something more convenient, why is it such good quality? Lazy, or inexperienced writers tend to use clinical words, dig deeper, find a word or a way to give it meaning.
Be succinct... When time is critical, every word must earn its place. You're not writing an essay; in fact, you're writing style needs to be the opposite. The message needs to be delivered in a short sharp manner. Short sentences can carry a massive amount of impact, just think about the most famous speeches in history - It is those short powerful statements that we spit out and quote for decades.
Remember the elements - In writing for radio and television, a breath, a pause, music, sound effects are all just as important as the words themselves. Don't sacrifice these things in order to ‘squeeze' in another line. A good ad is good because every element is just right. The script wasn't rushed, or maybe it was because that's how you wanted it; the music played the role it needed to play; the sound effects had time to establish the feel. The visuals didn't overpower the audio. Don't underestimate the power of good delivery, because bad delivery can change the effectiveness of the entire commercial... lose it and you've just lost a customer.
Enough about me, let's talk about me. As a business owner often the biggest hurdle you'll face in advertising is - well, YOU. Advertisers want to do two things - One; talk about themselves, Two; decide whether ‘they' like the commercial not whether their customers will connect. Don't get trapped into writing about you, you need to write for the customer. Give the customer a reason to buy.
"I am the greatest"... So it may have worked for Cassius Clay all those years ago. Being ‘great' or ‘the best' even ‘better than the rest' are now advertising clichés. Statements of divine grandeur lack belief, because they lack qualification. Don't make a claim if you can't back it up with reasons, establish the claim and you will make it real.
Other articles by Sonya, Protect Every Inch of Your Brand. Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Funny thing about selling to people, you gotta deal with people!
And everyone has their own style, just like you do.
Here's some tips from the BusinessKnowHow.com website...
by Kelley Robertson
author of Stop, Ask, and Listen
Let’s face it. We all have those difficult customers to whom we are required to sell. From the demanding, abrasive buyer to the individual who never seems to make a buying decision, we encounter challenging people on a regular basis. Part of the reason this happens is due to the disconnect we have because of conflicting personalities. This article will look at the four key types of people and how to improve your results with each.
Direct Donna. Donna is very direct in her approach. She tends to be forceful and always wants to dominate or control the sales call. Her behavior is aggressive, she points at you while she talks, interrupts your to challenge you, and she seldom cares about hearing the details of your new product or service. Instead, she demands that you “cut to chase” and “tell me the bottom line.” Donna is very results-focused and goal-oriented and hates wasting time.
To achieve the best sales results with this individual you need to be more direct and assertive. Tell her at the beginning of the sales call or meeting that you know how busy she is and how valuable her time is. Tell her that you will “get right to the point” and focus your conversation on the results she will achieve by using you product or service. Resist the temptation to back down if she confronts you because you will lose her respect. To Donna, it is not personal, it’s just business.
Lastly, be direct in asking for her business—you don’t have to dance around this issue.
Talkative Tim. Tim is a gregarious and outgoing person but very ego-centric. He is often late for your meetings and his constant interruptions and long stories cause your sales calls to go beyond the scheduled time. He appears to be more concerned with listening to himself talk which is frustrating because you don’t always get enough time to discuss your solution.
Relationships are very important to Talkative Tim so invest more time in social conversation. Even if you don’t see the point in this, he will appreciate the gesture and will like you more. This person often makes buying decisions on intuition and how he feels about the sales person.
Be careful not to challenge Tim because he will feel rejected and when this happens he will “shut down” and become unresponsive. During your sales presentation, tell him how good your solution will make him look to others in the company or how his status or image will improve. In other words, appeal to his ego.
Steady Eddie. Soft-spoken, Eddie is a “nice” fellow who seems more focused on his team and coworkers than on his personal results. He is very quiet compared to some of your other prospects and can be difficult to read. But most frustrating is his reluctance to make a buying decision. Eddie’s mantra seems to be “I’m still thinking about but thanks for following up.”
Structure and security is important to these people and it is difficult for Eddie to make changes. He often contemplates how the decision will affect other people within the organization. That means you need to slow down the sales process, demonstrate how your solution will benefit the team, and remove as much risk from the decision-making process as possible. Soften your voice and make sure your sales presentation flows in a logical manner. Use words like “fair” “logical” and “your team” in your presentation.
Analytical Alice. She reads every point and specification about your product or service and regardless of how much information you give Alice, she always wants more, including written guarantees and back up documentation. She is very difficult to read and it is extremely difficult to get her engaged in an open conversation because personal feelings and emotions do not enter the picture when Alice makes a decision.
Whenever possible, give Alice a written, bullet-point agenda of your meeting—beforehand. Ideally, email it to her a few days in advance so she can prepare herself. Make sure it is completely free of typos, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. When you meet, follow the agenda in perfect order and if you make any type of claim, have supporting documentation available for her to read.
While the approach to use with each of these people may not make sense to you or seem completely rational, it is critical to recognize that how you naturally and instinctively sell may not be the best way to get results with someone else. Modifying your approach and style, even briefly, will help you better connect with your customers and prospects which means you will generate better sales.
Copyright 2008 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.
Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. He is also the author of Stop, Ask, and Listen: Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers Into Buyers. For information on his programs, visit his website at www.RobertsonTrainingGroup.com.
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Okay, I understand that it's the little things that count.
Because when you take a lot of little things and put them in a pile, you might end up with a pretty big pile.
But does redesigning the Starbucks Mermaid logo, really matter?
Mr. Schultz, I find the new design with the brown logo boring.
I liked the old green logo cups.
It had nothing to do with the color, or the amount of cleavage that was showing or not showing.
What I miss... the sayings that were on the cup. I almost always read them.
And now they're gone.
It's like the fortune inside the cookie after you've had your fill of fried rice and egg rolls.
I don't go to the Chinese restaurant for the fortune cookie. But I would miss it if I didn't get one.
I don't go to Starbucks because of the sayings on the cups. But it's just one more reason to feel disappointed.