Fall 2007
   Volume 20, Issue 3


Take control of your sales operation

Do not assume that your new sales hire has an organized process for converting sales leads to clients. Put in place a training program for new and continuing sales personnel. Brand it as your own. “You may have a different way of doing things, but this is our way and we find it most effective”. Through this training, you give your sales force structure that will make them better sales people, and better ambassadors for your company. Insist that they conform to your process. If you do this successfully, your people will be better prepared, appear more professional, and ultimately, improve your sales.
An important part of your sales orientation should be to introduce new sales hires to your company’s products, services, and benefits. This may seem obvious, but organizations sometimes forget this important step. Your sales people must be as knowledgeable about your product as your CEO, maybe more so, as the CEO is unlikely to make sales calls. Preparation for any engagement with a client or potential client is critical to the relationship. The client’s time is precious (the golden rule of sales); an unprepared sales person alienates clients. A well-prepared sales person shows respect for the client and reflects an organization that is professional. Why would a client entrust his business to a company that sends, as its public face, someone who has not taken the time to learn about the client’s business, industry, market, and can’t explain the benefits of his/her company’s product, and any edge it holds over competitors. Research is part of all preparation. Your sales orientation program should identify resources to be used to learn more about target clients: the company library, online databases and news sources, client files, a CRM system, etc.
The sales process is iterative: meeting with a client provides new information about the client’s business, spurs questions, and identifies problems and needs that may be satisfied by your company. The best outcome is one where your sales person comes away with a problem to solve for the client. The client may not recognize the problem at first, or may not think the your company can solve it. Through active listening, i.e., encouraging the client to talk about his/her business in terms of future goals and challenges, and asking good follow-up questions, your sales person helps the client to identify problems that your company can solve.


Juice guy launches Plum TV

Tom Scott, co-founder of Nantucket Nectars, has turned his entrepreneurial talents to providing television to the rich and famous. In Nantucket Television, a lone station serving mostly local news to the island of Nantucket, Scott saw potential for a network of such stations, all based in expensive vacation spots. He bought the company, renamed it Plum TV, and expanded to other toney locations like Martha’s Vineyard, Aspen, Vail, and the Hamptons. Member stations share costs of national programming and content. Sixty percent of programming is local, a mix of arts and entertainment, politics, sports, and weather. The MorningNoon&Night Show, a live morning broadcast at 8am, repeats at 1pm and 8pm. A screen crawl gives weather forecasts and Plum-generated news throughout the day.
Plum TV makes it possible for sellers of luxury goods and services to reach a very affluent demographic through a single medium. Scott believes that when people are on vacation, they’ll try new things – start an exercise program, go on a diet, read books, and make major purchasing decisions. And watch Plum TV.


ebay media-trading system prototype a flop

The Cabletelevision Advertising Board has rejected eBay’s proposed auction system for electronic media buying. CAB gave cost as a major factor in their decision—the participating cable networks would have incurred a 2% fee for each transaction—but they also had serious concerns with the functionality of the system.
Cable execs thought the system was not sophisticated enough. It forces users to do manual calculations, and input factors like number of cable subscribers, viewers-per-thousand, and ratings. There is no built-in function for added-value. Instead, a comment box is provided for any extraordinary details. Instead of something many feared would commoditize their business, the resulting prototype is just an electronic RFP system. Perhaps the failure is a reflection on the complicated nature of these negotiations. The search for a system to relieve media buyers and sellers of those activities that can be automated, goes on.


TV Guide debuts online video guide

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., has taken its popular publication to the Web and the result is an easy to use site where users can search for, and play, videos and clips, as well as check TV schedules. Ad-supported content from sixty mainstream entertainment sites, including broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox—and some cable networks, is available at no charge. All the attributes of the print guide are present, plus the flexibility of search and browse functions. Unlike other video search tools, this one does not select user-generated videos. This results in fewer hits of better quality.
Sneak previews of the new fall lineup are available, as well as daily picks, trailers, full episodes of popular shows, movie reviews, and celebrity gossip. Content can be retrieved in many different ways— by show name, keyword, top videos, top shows and movies, top celebrities, genres, or networks.


go2 Mobile Content Network: on-the-go access to local information

76% of Americans have access to the Web from their cell phones, making this an advertising venue with great potential. P&G is already using mobile technology as a branding opportunity through go2, a mobile search and content portal. Office Depot has chosen go2 for its first mobile marketing campaign. “The mobile phone has become a huge medium for companies looking to gain a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace,” said Lee Hancock, CEO and founder of go2.
go2 owns and operates numerous online and mobile websites as components of the go2 Mobile Content Network, including go2 Movies, go2 Dining, go2 Golf, go2 Travel, go2 Winter Sports and over 300 mobile websites dedicated to specific colleges and universities. Go2 provides on-the-go access to local information over web-enabled phones, including driving directions, movies times and theater locations, restaurants, weather, and more. Ads placed with go2 are displayed in response to a cell phone user’s search, making them especially relevant.
“Click-through rates have been really good because we’re so much of a directed medium,” says Hancock. Because most queries are for local information and services, go2 is an attractive advertising option for local businesses. They can distribute promotional offers at the optimal time and place, target ads and promotional messages based on consumer areas of interest or geographic location. go2 premium listings cost less than $20 a month. That includes click-throughs and phone calls. Your company will be seen by go2 users who are searching near your store and ready to buy your products. Because go2’s search directory results are tied to geography, your business will move to the top of the search list.
go2 reaches desirable demographics:
70% of go2 users are 25-45 years old (75% are male/25% female)
Over 50% of go2 users have annual household income of
75K or more
Feedback from users of go2 has been positive:
96% of users plan to use go2 again
90% use go2 to find detailed information about
specific stores, locations, products and services
65% have made purchases based on search results from go2


Marketing Myopia still relevant four decades after publication

Marketing Myopia, by a young lecturer named Theodore Levitt, first appeared in a 1960 issue of the Harvard Business Review. So influential was the article that Levitt has been credited with sparking the modern marketing era. And it has stood the test of time. Hundreds of thousands of reprints of the article have been sold since its publication. It’s a must-read for students studying business and marketing.
When Marketing Myopia was first published, it was a shot across the bow to successful industries that had become comfortable with growing sales and expanding markets, and who saw lowering costs per unit and moving product as their only challenge. Levitt warned that this product-centric orientation would ultimately lead to decline. But companies that focused on their customers’ needs could continually reinvigorate themselves and prolong success.
Levitt encourages companies to define their industries broadly to take advantage of growth opportunities. One example he uses is the railroad industry, which suffered a decline because it had a product orientation—seeing itself in the business of railroads, not transportation. Their customers still had a need for passenger and freight transportation, but other industries stepped in to meet those needs. The railroads let others take customers away from them.
“Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others which are thought of as seasoned growth industries have actually stopped growing. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management”.
Growth is a stage in the life of a business, not a constant state. When in the stage of tremendous growth, companies often forget the customer, focusing on productivity and sales. An expanding market contributes to complacency in management. The focus is inward, on the needs of the seller instead of the needs of the buyer. Levitt gives a succinct definition of marketing versus selling: “It (selling) is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs. The customer is someone “out there” who, with proper cunning, can be separated from his loose change”.
Companies cannot expect to grow indefinitely. Events, competition, and changing consumer tastes eventually force them to adapt or suffer a decline. Smart management is always looking for new opportunities, while improving its product and processes, keeping an eye on its competition, and listening to its customers.
Marketing Myopia, Harvard Business Review, 1960, HBR Classic no. 75507


Radio is a personal medium

* Rated on a scale of 1 to 7
What it means for advertisers
Radio reaches people at an emotional level at least as well as television, and much more than newspapers. The personal nature of the radio medium is also reflected in the expectation that radio advertising is directed personally to the listener, and that radio advertisers are “trying to reach me personally”. This has some specific implications for the planning and creation of radio advertising:
• Radio ads, more than other media, need to be compatible with their surroundings. There is no one-fits-all ad for radio (at least not one that’s effective) and format-specific advertising matters.
• Radio ads need to speak to people at a personal level, not as a group. Consumers expect television and newspaper ads to try reaching a large population, but radio ads need to speak to the individual.
• While radio can be used to provide synergy with other media, that doesn’t mean that radio ads can simply duplicate the content or style of the other medium. Effective radio communication requires an approach that is more personal.
• And because radio ads work differently than those in other media, advertisers would be well-served by the use of more radio commercial pretesting to make sure the message is appropriate to the medium.
It’s widely acknowledged in the advertising community that it’s no longer enough to present consumers with product/service attributes and benefits. To be truly motivating, advertising must include an emotional appeal. The tendency of radio listeners to interact with the medium on an emotional level represents a great opportunity for advertising to leverage that emotional receptivity.
Source: Radio Advertising Effectiveness Laboratory (RAEL ) White Paper No. 3

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