Auto Industry Speeds Up Online Spending

Sw_automotive1I worked for several years in the early 80’s in automotive marketing and still keep tabs on the industry.  It’s a fascinating one in which so many other industries are tied into it’s success (oil, glass, rubber, electronics etc.,).

It will be interesting to watch their increased marketing efforts online. After leading the US in advertising spending, the automotive sector has dropped into the number two spot behind retail. Ad spending in the
sector is going in reverse—except on the Internet.

According an eMarketer report, Automotive Marketing Online: Negotiating the Curves, even as new-vehicle sales decline, automotive
marketers will spend nearly $3 billion online this year, up 21.6%. And by 2012, automotive online ad spending will top $5.6 billion.


shows that 80% of consumers now consult the Internet at least once during the
car-buying process. The firm report

ed the percentage was 71% in 2006 and 64% in
2004. Recommendations from family and friends are being replaced in
importance by online customer reviews. And it’s commonplace.

A joint comScore and the
Kelsey Group study showed
that 78% of Internet users who read an online review in the automotive category said it influenced their offline purchase decision.

Can you think of
ways to ad online reviews and/or testimonials to your Web site?


50 Most Influential Brands

50goldenTo celebrate its 50-year anniversary, the UK’s Marketing Society launched 50 Golden Brands, that influenced
of the past 50 years

For example, 1959 was ruled the year of Barbie. ’85 went to Microsoft, ’88 to
Nike, ’01 to the iPod, and so on.

All decisions are subject to change and open for debate by anyone. Take a look and tell them if they’re wrong. I think several are missing especially certain people, rock bands etc. It’s certainly a cool topic for discussion and debate.

An even better discussion is the top brand of the last 50 years! How about the Rolling Stones or Beatles? How about Tiger Woods when he becomes the first billion dollar athlete?  Where is Ali? The void in this list is the absence of the individual brand.


Apple’s Spectacular Service


It took me nearly 25 years of my professional life to become an Apple convert and I’m never looking back. The DuoCore technology helped kick me over the fence along with seeing  some fantastic Keynote presentations too. 

However, their incredible service is what’s going to keep me married to them. From my first buying experience to my first service experience they hooked me.

Apple has boosted the number of concierges who greet and direct you with a simple greeting as
soon as you walk in the door, "How can I help you, and where would you like to go?"

Their Genius Bar staffed by smart folks who eat their own dog food – that is, they devour Apple products – is a strategic asset for they no doubt look upon problems as opportunities to serve brand loyalty. And, the way you can schedule an appointment is outstanding too. They’re clearly positioning their service as a marketing strategy and winning people over.

Study Apple’s simple service methods and find ways to apply them to your business and become the "Mac-Daddy" in your space!


Pizza Hut Makes Pasta To Go

Pizza_hutlarge The Pizza Wars are really heating up in the $37 billion industry as sales have slowed down. Back
on April 6th, Pizza Hut, the nation’s largest pizza chain started
delivering pasta — something no pizza chain does nationally
. Its new Tuscani Pastas are Creamy Chicken Alfredo
and Meaty Marinara.

The pasta prices are $11.95, the same as a large pizza
with one topping, and Pizza Hut says they’ll feed a family of six. The pastas
are baked in the pizza ovens and come with five breadsticks. And, they’re good!

Burger and Chicken chains have expanded their menus, but Pizza has been slow to innovate. Based on test market results, a Pizza Hut executive says Pasta could be 15% of Pizza Hut’s business within a
year – all incremental – without hurting pizza sales!

Pizza Hut wants to be a player in "home meal
replacement" and wants a big fat slice of
the $13.7 billion restaurant and take-out pasta business. Domino’s and Papa John’s have no intention to add pasta anytime soon, but I bet they will and I’ll bet Pizza Hut is successful. Just wait until the Super Bowl and March Madness roll around to firmly cement these new product offerings.

The commercial testimonials are real and true and are excellent.

Order a Pizza Hut Pasta tray for your office staff today and ask everyone:

  • Do we budget for innovation?
  • Why do we wait for sales to drop or stall before we innovate?
  • Why don’t we bake-in innovation and invest more in R&D?


Make Your Email Greeting a Welcoming One

Welcome_mat_for_web_5Do you know ho to make your email more welcoming? Kristina Knight has a few good common sense tips, but in short she says (and I agree) you should:

  • Make your note simple HTML
    and optimized
    so that if your reader has images turned off, her message will display correctly
  • Give the basics – thank them for coming on board, tell them how frequently you’ll be pinging them and offers they can expect
  • GIVE THEM SOMETHING – reward them in some way (coupon, free stuff/shipping, a download of a report etc.,) – it’s not all about YOU
  • Let them know about your Privacy ethics
  • Ask them to add your contact info to their favs and email contact lists too

Get started and finish yours now. Don’t take away from your cool HTML emails with a loser welcome email – close the loop!


Sampling is the New Mass Medium

Caught this article in Ad Age, Sampling: the New Mass Medium. It’s a good article to read to inspire you to build a sampling program for your brand.

Sampling has been around a long time, but it has come a long way.  You see it in Supermarkets,  Costco and more brands seem to be baking it into their marketing plans.

Even huge mass media brands such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Coca-Cola are doing it big time and treating it as a media buy.

In tough economic times, freebies are apprecoated by consumers and its a less expensive way for Marketers to get their messages out, sample products and generate trial and word of mouth buzz.

Thurston, president of Street Sampling, says that a giveaway of 50,000 samples
would require 250 man hours translating to between $15,000 and $20,000
for labor. The company can then add on publicity stunts, promotional
vehicles and the like. Compare that with $335,000 to produce a
30-second spot, according to a 2006 study conducted by the American
Association of Advertising Agencies, and somewhere between $100,000 to
$250,000 to run that spot during most prime-time network TV shows.

Sampling provides brands with a quality impression and its accountable too.

McDonald’s is doing it big-time.  For example, it has sampled its Chicken strips a few years ago, Southern-Style chicken biscuit and Southern-Style chicken sandwich and McSkillet burrito.

Compared to discounting over the long term, sampling actually builds brand equity.

Try it, you’ll like it and so will your customers.


Your 1-to-1 Marketing Future


It’s a tough being a Marketer with everything changing around us and its hard to predict the future with so much uncertainty.

A study by 1to1 Media asked 150 members of its Xchange panel the question, "What will one-to-one marketing look like in 2020?" The overwhelming response was a more connected and informed customer-company relationship.

Here’s what the study showed:

  • 84% say there will be moderate to high levels of positive change occurring within one-to-one marketing by 2020. With significant improvement in company’s ability to collect and share information, understand customer needs, calculate customer lifetime value, improve the customer experience, and provide customers with relevant messaging in their preferred channel.
  • 78% agree that the future of marketing will be based on building authentic relationships more so than the development of new products. And customers will continue to gain control of the relationship. Online chats, blogs, and Internet-based social communities increasingly put control of the brand image into the hands of customers. On the customer service side, one bad experience can have an exponential impact on a company’s reputation as customers share their stories electronically.
  • Companies that will break through to customers are the ones that will focus on fairness, transparency, and building trust across the board.
  • By 2020, marketers will focus less on gaining short-term advantage and more on working to win and maintain customer trust — 84% of respondents agree that building customer trust will become marketing’s primary objective. Historically, the goal of marketing was to promote sales. This shift in mindset suggests that marketers are more fully recognizing that a message can’t influence customer behavior if the messenger isn’t trusted.
  • 82% agree that customer collaboration will prevail over marketing to customers. And, it will only increase as the tools to enable and track customer insight and participation improve.

Some of the chalenges we will face involve governmental regulations that impact privacy, the amount of solicitations and messaging across channels, and the fact that customers’ attention spans are in short supply and under increasing pressure.

Nobody asked me, but it seems as though the future is here!

So, to improve your 1 to 1 strategy you need to put one-to-one marketing into the day-to-day operation of the organization to improve the customer experience. Tactically speaking you can create more meaningful, relevant and timely communications.

Staying ahead of the curve will not be easy and will require a consistent planned effort and dedicated customer insight.


Nestle’s Sweet Strategy

Caught this WSJ article about Nestlé Aims to Raise Its Share of Sales Of Premium Sweets and thought how many of you do not aim high for the affluent or top brands.  Or, if you don;t pay enough attention to thos writing you the BIG CHECKS!

Create a premium package for your goods and services and try it out.  People aren;t always looking for the lowest price, however they will if you package yourself as a commodity.

Is chocolate, coffee, tea a commodity? No. It’s what YOU make of it!

Nestlé SA is entering the premium-chocolate market to
increase sales.  Analysts say it will take time and money, but who cares. With annual growth rates of as much as
8% for high-end chocolate products — 2X the rate of the general
chocolate market.

This year, Nestlé is so jacked about it that they opened a luxury-chocolate research center in western Switzerland.

In fact, Marketing Daily
reported that Nestle, the world’s
largest food company, even increased prices by the most in a decade and demand did not decline! Nestle revenue jumped to $25 billion in the three months ended March 31, up from $23.8
billion in the year-ago period.

Here’s a twist. Nestle sells Jenny Craig diet meals too!


Closed-loop Marketing Rocks

An Aberdeen Group study found that enterprises with best-in-class closed-loop marketing achieved:

  • 36% average increase in year-over-year revenue
  • 21% average lift in year-over-year conversion rates
  • 26% average increase in year-over-year marketing ROI

End-to-end, cradle-to-grave marketing is a key process driven strategy to bake into your brand executions.


Corporate Citizenry

Here is a list of the Top 10 Corporate Citizens – study their success and character traits. Pretty impressive list of profitable, well respected companies.  Do you have a line item budget for community goodwill? Consider donations of your expertise, dollars or people power. You’ll do your company good by doing good for others.

  1. Intel Corp.
  2. Eaton Corp.
  3. Nike Inc.
  4. Deere & Co.
  5. Genentech Inc.
  6. Corning Inc.
  7. Humana Inc.
  8. Bank of America Corp.
  9. ITT Corp.
  10. PG&E Corp.

Source: Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine