New Dollar Bill

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After yesterday’s defeat of Congress’ proposal to bailout the economy, ever the marketer, the U.S. Mint released a new dollar bill reflective of the times!

After I catch my breath and figure out what to do with my shrinking portfolio, I’ll check back in with a few thoughts about how accountability, performance, truthfulness and TRUST can help you become a Marketing Rock Star!

P.S.: It’s a good thing my hometown of Pittsburgh has the most bridges in the world (a total of 446 bridges – three more than former world leader Venice, Italy), because every time I think about jumping off one in times like these, I don’t because I can’t figure out which one to leap from…jk!

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Pizza Hut’s Killer New Pasta Line

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Due to the success of its Tuscani Pastas line, Pizza Hut
is released a new, kid-friendlier pasta item just in time for
back-to-school: Premium Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese.

Check out the news here.

Mom and Pop Pizza Shops and casual Italian dining restaurants better be on the look-out, because the War going on right now between Papa John’s and Pizza Hut is going to leave a lot of you in the dust unless you start innovating, get online and serve better products in a more satisfying way!

Pizza Hut sold more than one million units of Tuscani Pastas in the first month, making them one of their most popular product launches in its history!

Here are a few reasons why these are killer products:

  1. Restaurant-quality pasta delivered to your
    home
  2. You can feed the family
    a hot, substantive, relatively inexpensive meal (with both kid and adult appeal)
    without so much as having to boil water or microwave a jar of sauce.
  3. No stops at
    the grocery store
  4. No cooking or clean-up
  5. Priced at
    $12.99–big enough to feed four, and accompanied by five breadsticks
  6. Pastas can be ordered by phone, online (including
    mobile) at www.pizzahut.com
  7. You can text your order too
  8. You can even download a desktop application that allows you to order your online

They launched this new product at the perfect, crazy "back-to-school" time period and just wait to see how much their sales skyrocket in Q4 with football season!

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Brand USA Ranked 7th

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I’m sick! We’re #7! Not something you want to have printed on a T-Shirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the USA and what we attempt to stand for, but know we are not even close to performing at our full potential.

Certainly we need better leadership, but it all starts with the individual – you, me etc.,

Or, to quote my man Gandhi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world!"

Germany is viewed as the best overall "brand," receiving
the highest ranking of the 50 nations measured.

Here’s the Top 10

1. Germany
2. France
3. United Kingdom
4.
Canada
5. Japan
6. Italy
7. United States
8. Switzerland
9.
Australia
10. Sweden

This article states that, the index is based on a survey in which respondents from
across 20 major developed and developing countries are asked to rate their
agreement with statements about each nation. The statements cover six
categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and
Immigration/Investment.

"The NBI is a report card for countries, measuring the
world’s perception of each nation as if it were a public brand," explains Simon
Anholt, NBI founder, in a statement. "Within the top 10 most positively
perceived countries, the ranking reveals a strong correlation between a nation’s
overall brand and its economic status."

Familiarity-wise, the U.S. comes out on top: a majority,
(91%) have at least some knowledge of the U.S. in general, which can be a
double-edged sword. For example, in the Governance aspect, which measures a
nation’s responsible behavior in the international arena as well as how well it
governs itself, the U.S. ranks No. 22, "the lowest of all Western democracies,
Zhao says.

SO MUCH FOR BRAND AWARENESS!

Brand image doesn’t change overnight, but you better be working on it day and night!

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Customer Satisfaction Trends

Customerservice
Do you measure customer satisfaction other than simply tracking sales?

If you do, how do you do it?

American customer satisfaction declined in the second quarter of
2008 with no reasonable momentum  according
to
the American Customer
Satisfaction Index
(ACSI) from the University of Michigan’s National Quality
Research Center, writes MarketingCharts.

Here are some brief highlights of top performing brands:

  • Google surged in the internet portals/search engines category (a 9 point gap between Yahoo)
  • Apple performed well (85)
    among a slumping personal computer manufacturer category (and as a recent Apple convert – I can say Amen to that)
  • Autos are at an all-time high, American automakers
    significantly trailed foreign competitors. Lexus and BMW are the leaders at 87 and Toyota and Honda are at 86. Mercedes Benz, once No. 1 in customer satisfaction, has seen slow, steady erosion to around
    the industry average.

With poor customer satisfaction, brands lose not only unit sales, but pricing power and more.

Commit to keeping your promises and doing better. And, commit to conducting a better form or multiple forms of customer satisfaction measures for both your internal and external customers.

Here are a few of the many dimensions you could measure when you develop your scorecard:

  • Quality of service
  • Speed of service
  • Pricing
  • Value
  • Complaints or problems
  • Trust in your employees

Then determine how you plan to measure with:

  • Focus groups
  • Customer Advisory Boards
  • Online Surveys etc.,

Put a plan now in place for year end and beyond.

Customer Satisfaction could be your category killer.

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Be More Than Green

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Going green may be the politically correct way to go but according to a recent study from Yankelovich, marketers need to do more than advertise their green products because consumers still aren’t buying green simply because the product is green. 

Only about one-third of consumers surveyed felt "much more concerned" about the environment now than last year.

Lots of people feel helpless – less
than one-quarter
of consumers feel they can make a positive difference in the environment.

Plus, it’s not a top priority among consumers.

So what can you do?

Make and market your Green products need as better products, more cost effective and cleaner or they won’t achieve their true sales potential.

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10 Steps for Success in a Down Economy

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I know times are tough, but tough people succeed in tough times.

And, I assure you that despite the times, Millionaires are being made – many self-made – every day!

You can’t control things that are out of your control, so let’s work to control the things within your circle of influence.

Here are a 10 things you can do to succeed in a down economy.

  1. Don’t accept that a recession is a good reason for you not to increase business.  There are people buying your stuff every day, you just have to work harder and smarter to get their business.
  2. Begin with an end in mind and plan proactively – first things first – get out and sell, follow-up etc.
  3. Work to prove your value (ROI) by increasing your client’s value
  4. Tailor your goods/services to meet today’s market climate
  5. Work to re-sign your current, profitable and most valuable clients
  6. Fire clients that you’re not making a significant profit or are slow to pay
  7. Focus on the basics of your business
  8. Worry about what you’re doing or need to do, NOT your competitors
  9. Solve client’s problems – offer unsolicited solutions – communicate
  10. COMMUNICATE – Share your pain with your team, bring them into the fold and explain the situation. Ask for their input, but demonstrate grace, passion and enthusiasm

    There are certainly more than 10 things you can do, but this is a good list to start working from.  Plus, I don’t have the time to add more – got to keep moving!

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Opening Email

I’m always interested in finding out the best times to deploy email campaigns, but through much trial and error, I find that the earlier the better and the more value – the more meaningful the better.

Here is some recent research about how frequently and where people open their email.

Internet users in the US check their personal e-mail throughout the day,
including at work according to eMarketer.  Nearly 25% of Internet users surveyed in June 2008 for an AOL-sponsored survey by Beta Research Corporation said
they were most likely to check their email upon waking. But more than 33%
said they checked throughout the day, and the rest of respondents said they
checked at various times, including throughout the night.

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More than seven out of 10 employed respondents also said they checked their
personal e-mail at work—and nearly one-third said they did so more than three
times a day.

Nearly 70% of respondents said they had multiple e-mail accounts.

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Measuring PR Success

Measuring_pr

This recent article from Bulldog Reporter discusses the ultimate impact of Public Relations.

Value varies, but most people prefer either "quality of completing objectives," and/or "delivery of key messages to target media." And, they should be meaningful, measurable and reasonable.

We’ve done our share of great PR campaigns, but know we can measure them better and need to do so in 2009. Several of the ideas the article mentions are great ones, but there is a cost involved that many SMEs simply cannot afford. 

As you move into a new calendar year, work with your client to come up with an agreeable goal that can be reasonably measured. You’ll both be much more happy with your relationship come year-end.

Start with free Google Alerts to track your success, work to create a balanced scorecard and dashboard too.

P.S.: Here’s a link to an exhaustive list of PR measurement sources.

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Downturn Causes New Consumer Beliefs

RecessionA new study from Cramer-Krasselt finds that consumer buying behaviors are shifting in new ways.

"This downturn is like no other in generations," the agency
notes in its study, "not because of its severity, but because it has given rise
to a new set of consumer beliefs." It isn’t just that people are frustrated (as
50% of the survey’s 500 respondents are), worried (48%) or annoyed (29%). And it
isn’t even that the sense of financial security is so weakened, although 61% of
the people polled feel less financially stable compared to a few years ago, and
only 26% of people feel very secure about their financial future.

A few new trends include:

  1. The simplicity movement. People are getting rid of stuf on eBay and Craigslist

  2. Locavorism

  3. Fewer people are saving money

Tap into these trends and work to help people make, save money and you can benefit from this downturn!

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