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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Take a Vote Hour

In the last election in 2004, 20% of registered voters who didn't make it to the polls said they were "too busy" or had conflicting work schedules (2004 US Census).

The Vote Hour is an independent, bipartisan effort among domestic CEOs and business owners to publicly announce their support for employees to take one hour away from the office to cast their vote for the next President of the United States.

All JDM employees will be granted their Vote Hour so their voices can be heard on November 4th.



Spread the word, forward this post and tell the country to take a Vote Hour.
It's the most important job we have on Election Day.

Learn more about the Vote Hour movement at: www.VoteHour.org

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2008 Internet Advertising Report Published

UK-based, Research and Markets announced yesterday the completion of their "Internet Advertising Market Assessment 2008."

Here's the gist:
  • 93% of respondents have Internet access from home
  • Of that 93%, 92% had broadband access at home, at work, or in their place of education
  • 82% of respondents reported shopping online this year
  • 48% reported being deterred from shopping due to perceived risks of fraud
  • 57% stated they were influenced to go online by offline media, like magazines
  • Traffic driven from other online advertising activities remained stable since 2006
  • 28% stated they had clicked on Internet advertisements
  • 52% reported that rich-media Internet advertisements worked better or attracted more attention
  • There was a 6-percentage point growth in installed internet advertisement blockers
Read the full release on Research and Markets’ website.

Is this data good news or bad news? Bring on the comments!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mistakes Marketing Professors Make

ProfessorIn last Monday’s Wall Street Journal, there was an article titled "Mistakes Marketers Make" written by Dr. David Corkindale from the Universirty of South Australia's International Graduate School of Business.

Unfortunately, Dr. Corkindale understands how to write the kind of article editors love to publish (i.e. trying to turn conventional wisdoms on their head) however; these "mistakes" are really his "misconceptions". Let’s take six--one at a time.

Misconception 1: Companies Need to Find and Target the Market Segments for Their Brands.

Wrong says Dr. Corkindale. Aim at the broader market. The profiles of those who buy different brands in a particular product category are not that different. Marketers who only target a certain buyer lose potential business - and spend unnecessary market research dollars on segmenting the market. In one recent marketing study, nearly 50% of consumers said they bought the same brand of gasoline regularly. However, after studying their purchasing behavior for 6 months it was found they only bought their brand 6% of the time.

Ironically, Dr. Corkindale has over-generalized his attack on targeting. Targeting is not a broad tactic. By its very nature it is designed to help tailor a marketing message for maximum effectiveness. Gasoline brand-loyalty is a terrible example. It's a limited homogeneous product. No one drives an extra 3 miles for brand loyalty when you’re running out of gas. Instead, ask yourself, "Pepsi or Coke?"; "Mac or PC?"; "Marlboro or Camel?".

Targeting and market research works. Otherwise, we’d shoot from the hip with a potato gun and hope we get close to our ideal buyers. This misconception stems from drawing broad generalities from minute observations. Anyone can see that logic gap.


Misconception 2: Loyal Customers are the Most Valuable.

Wrong again, according to Dr. Corkindale. Totally loyal buyers of a brand tend to make up only 10% of all buyers - and they often buy less frequently than other buyers. A company that focuses on gaining and retaining these buyers may not be doing the smartest thing.

First off, no customer is "totally loyal." Furthermore, how does Dr. Corkindale define a "loyal" customer? I would assume that a customer that buys less frequently than others is not a particularly loyal customer.

Loyal customers are indeed valuable. They can become the champions of your Brand. Treat every customer as the most valuable customer, but provide incentives for loyalty. Without loyalty, any incumbent competitor can swoop in and take all your hard-earned customers.


Misconception 3: To Succeed, You Must Differentiate Your Product.

Not according to Dr. Corkindale who says that doing so restricts your product's appeal to the small set of customers who like what you did differently. What most customers want is not differentiation but products or services that are simply better at doing the routine things they expect.

That is differentiation. It's crafting a message that demonstrations how your product or service 'does it better, faster or cheaper'. That’s the whole point. Without any differentiation, you're "me too"-marketing. Someone please remind Dr. Corkindale that necessity is the mother of invention—not marketing.


Misconception 4: Promotions Bring in Extra Worthwhile Business.

Nope - promotions just attract people who were already customers. The result? Giving discounts to the people who would have bought anyway. And the new customers you do attract often don't become frequent customers, says Dr. Corkindale.

This may be true, but not because promotions or incentives are a common marketing mistake. It's because they're commonly poorly executed. Most people don't have the faintest clue how to generate a buzz, develop a power-play promotion, and derive ideal buyers out of it such that the whole thing creates a positive return.

Give away a chance to win a tropical island with every can of soda, and you’ll convert very few new, loyal customers. Offer the latest iPhone with twice the memory at 1/3rd the original price, and watch everyone in America storm your stores.


Misconception 5: The Company that is best at Marketing the Four P's (product, placement, price, promotion) Wins.

Half correct says Dr. Corkindale who says that equally important is "brand strength". A strong brand is one that people trust and that has a track record of high quality and reliability. Companies need to do everything possible to nurture their brands.

There's nothing wrong with Branding. However, like a celebrity spending more time worrying about their public image than honing their craft, too many companies over-emphasize brand nurturing. It's hardly on par with the 4 P’s.


Misconception 6: Marketing is All About Hunting and Capturing Clients.

Not anymore says Dr. Corkindale. The Internet has changed everything. Consumers proactively hunt out and evaluate you online. They use the internet to find and make choices about the products they buy.

Try again, Dr. Corkindale. Customers are usually passive hunters until something peaks their interest in seeking you out. Maybe a potential customer is looking for a Halloween costume and so Googles it to find online shops. Building an optimized website, developing channels for traffic to enter your website and making it as easy as possible to make a purchasing decision are key to acquiring these customers. All are marketing activities designed to acquire and retain customers online. In other words, we might not be stalking our prey online, but we can set traps and use lures.

Although writing an article highlighting the mistakes in conventional marketing wisdom will get you published in the Wall Street Journal, it doesn’t mean you’re right. Marketing by its very nature is more art than science. There are no over-arching right and wrong ways to market. It takes an approach focused on the specific not on the general—a common misconception in Academia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Now That's a Scary Direct Mail Campaign!

I've always liked Halloween. No other holiday combines our love of bite-size candies, silly costumes and scary stories. In the spirit of Halloween, here's a scary direct mail campaign and it's a true story!


Let's Mail Severed Feet!

While working on a dimensional direct mail campaign with an HR services firm, the idea arose that there exists a company that sells chocolate feet. "Get our foot in the door!" exclaimed one of the marketing team members.

Soon the discussion meandered off course to whether we should send white or dark chocolate feet to prospects when the team leader stopped the conversation dead with a simple question, "Where is the mail list primarily focused?"

"Texas." Someone replied.

"It's 104 degrees in Texas right now! The chocolate will no doubt melt and the effect will be us sending what looks like severed, rotting human limbs to our prospects. Why don’t we just send chocolate horse heads while we’re at it?"

There was a long silence in the large conference room until someone muttered, "Their website doesn't offer chocolate horses..."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Publicity and the Toxic Shower Curtain

Toxic Shower Curtain

There was a news conference at the New York University Medical Center led by a doctor representing an obscure if official-sounding group. They claimed revelations about how shower curtains are "routinely sold at multiple retail outlets" and can "release as many as 108 volatile chemicals into the air."

Thus, the Toxic Shower Curtain story was born.

ABCNews.com picked it up, only to debunk it. But if the story was indeed untrue, its PR methodology was spot on.

Public Relations people want to focus their time on things that pass the 'who cares?' and 'so what?' tests. Anytime you have the word ‘toxic’ next to an item everyone has in their homes, you can be fairly sure it will get picked up in the news and it will spread throughout the Web like wildfire.

Here's where it can get a little tricky. Not only are you trying to write your release as if the story is going on the front page, but, today, you need to think about things like keyword density and anchor-text links. As David B. Armon, the President of PR Newswire, puts it: "Every word has to do heavy lifting."

The next time you’re putting together a press release for your next big PR play, remember the Toxic Shower Curtain. If you're having a little trouble getting started, register to download our Easy Marketing :: Online Public Relations white paper. We also recommend David Seaman’s new book, Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz.

What's news with JDM? Check out our online Media Center.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

JDM's Owner Celebrates Birthday

Justin Downey

Justin Downey, Owner and Managing Director of JDM, turned 28 today, October 9th. He’s part of a growing number of entrepreneurs under 30.

According to the cover page article in this month's issue of Inc. magazine, the 80 million gen Ys in the U.S. are poised to represent the largest, the most educated, and the most diverse generation in American history.

While traditionally CEOs worried about how to incorporate these up-and-coming stars into their workforce, perhaps it's time they worried about how to compete with them.

You can learn more about Justin Downey on JDM's website and don't forget to wish him a happy birthday.

 
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