Marketing Maestros

A Date with Direct Mail

By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist
Posted: Apr 6, 2012 12:00am ET

I have never been to the opera, but this week I got three pieces of mail from the Met: a program for the 2012-2013 season, an appeal for donations, and a postcard announcing that individual tickets were now on sale for the Ring Cycle.

After a date cancelled on me for Saturday night, I was looking to stem my disappointment with some exciting plans. A brilliant idea struck me: I should get all dressed up and take myself on a date to the opera. The Met Opera postcard that had been sitting on my desk all week pertinently announced a 9pm show on Saturday night. I impulsively bought a ticket.

Direct mail has also gotten me to join a gym, subscribe to magazines, and spend way too much money at Bloomingdales. This time, however, I am very grateful for all that junk in my mailbox, as it saved my Saturday night and got me to try something different.

It’s Hip to Be Square

By Barry Garbarino, ANA, senior director of marketing & creative director
Posted: Apr 5, 2012 12:00am ET

It’s hip to be square, well at least that’s what Huey Lewis and the News told us in the late 1980’s and now a 110 year old retailer is telling us the exact same thing! JC Penney recently launched a “new” way of dealing with the myriad of gimmicky sales deals to streamline the way we shop. 2012 will surely be a year for the company to prove it is in this for the long haul (especially Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving!)

It’s quite simple.

They have three kinds of pricing. Basically it goes like this…

1. Every day low prices (Good)

2. A month long discounted price (Better)

3. Two sale dates – First and Third Friday of the month (Best)

And a return policy that has other retailers baffled – any item, anytime, anywhere. So what is my point? The company is looking back at its heritage to a time where retailers treated their customers with respect and courtesy. In fact, James Cash Penney’s first store venture was appropriately named “The Golden Rule Store.” The mid-range retailer is standing by its founding of treating others they way that they would like to be treated themselves.

In addition to this dramatic change for the retailer, they have also introduced a new series of “story-book” hysterical/historical TV/video advertisements featuring Ellen DeGeneres that depict how silly some of the current retail policies that JCP’s competitors still hold onto (policies that do NOT treat the customer/consumer with respect or courtesy.) The series of vignettes shows Ellen encountering one consumer issue after another juxtaposed in varies times in history. The spots show how truly ridiculous some of the current industry standard practices are. 

Take a look at the JC Penny spots featuring Ellen: 

Hat Pence No Pennies

 50’s Wake-Up

 Western Coupons

Squarely Stand by Your  (Wo)Man

Recently when an organization entitled One Million Moms harshly attached JC Penney for their choice Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson (and they also accused the retailer of “jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon”) the company stood firmly by their decision.

“This organization doesn’t think I should be the spokesperson because I’m gay. For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time, it’s true. I’m gay,” Ellen joked on her show, Ellen, February 8th. “I hope that you were sitting down. I hate to break it to you this way but anyway.”

Following this, Ron Johnson, JCP’s chief executive officer, issued a statement on their stance on the protests and their continued support of Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. “We stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson, because she shares values that we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 year ago on the Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values we share,” said Johnson on CBS This Morning, February 9th.

Bravo JC Penney and Ellen DeGeneres. Squarely done…




Clients Asking Agencies to be Cost Efficient

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Apr 3, 2012 12:00am ET

ANA recently fielded the sixth edition of our “Recession Survey,” a survey initiated in the depths of the recession in 2008 to understand how the economic atmosphere is affecting client-side marketers.

84% of marketers say that they are challenged with identifying cost savings and reductions in their current marketing and advertising efforts. Marketers were then asked how they plan to reduce costs and expenditures.

Only 17% of marketers surveyed said they plan to reduce agency compensation, a significant decrease compared to past surveys.  However, 52% surveyed said they plan on challenging their agencies to reduce costs internally.  So, instead of reducing agency compensation, marketers are asking their agencies with finding ways to reduce costs on their own. 

Agency compensation has always been a topic of keen interest in ANA meetings during my twelve year tenure here.  But perhaps many clients have squeezed all that they can out of agency comp and are now asking agencies to share the responsibility of being cost efficient.


Global Marketing: Understanding a Country’s Unique Cultures

By Ken Beaulieu, senior director of marketing and communications, ANA
Posted: Mar 29, 2012 12:00am ET

This is part two of my recent interview with Chris Burggraeve, chief marketing officer at Anheuser-Busch InBev and president of the World Federation of Advertisers. In part one, Chris explained the importance of understanding the strengths of your competitors in each market, and how AB In-Bev’s “Way of Marketing” creates sustainable brand health. Here, he shares his thoughts on overcoming the “ugly American” stereotype.

Q: Many companies have been criticized for introducing new products to new markets without taking the time to learn about the unique cultures that exist within each country. What valuable lessons have you learned about marketing outside “traditional” boundaries?

Chris: There are many entertaining and very instructive books about misfiring in global business, such as Blunders in International Business, by David Ricks. One can get “lost in translation” very easily. I will never forget one of my first trips to China many years ago. I was invited to a hotel by the local Chinese manager with a note saying, “Welcome at happy hour for drinks and snake.” He meant snacks. Many people have stories like that. But the interesting thing is that most of these stories are about Western companies expanding into so called emerging markets. Evaluating local opportunities through a parochial view, through a specific American lens, for example, can be very risky. It can lead to that “Ugly American” stereotype portrayed in the brilliant 1958 political novel by the same name. Recently, I saw a new Broadway show in New York City called Chinglish. It’s a hilariously funny story about a Midwestern entrepreneur and his first ventures in China. The theatre was filled equally with Chinese and Americans, yet everyone had a blast. The show made it clear, in a very elegant way, that getting lost in translation is not a one-sided phenomenon. 

New ANA Recession Survey Results

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 12:00am ET

ANA recently fielded the sixth edition of our “Recession Survey,” a survey initiated in the depths of the recession in 2008 to understand how the economic atmosphere is affecting client-side marketers.

A key finding from the current survey is that client marketing budgets continue to be under pressure.  84% of marketers say that they are challenged with identifying cost savings and reductions in their current marketing and advertising efforts, which is a slight increase compared to last year’s survey (77%).  It is notable that this stat peaked in early 2009 (93%).


Marketers who said that they are currently challenged with identifying cost savings and reductions in their marketing and advertising efforts were asked how they plan to reduce costs and expenditures. The most popular way is departmental travel and expense restrictions (68%). Additionally, many marketers plan on challenging their agencies to reduce internal expenses/identify cost reductions (52%) as well as reducing advertising campaign media budgets (48%).

The new reality is that marketers will continue to be conscientious of their spending, even as the economy recovers.



A Bigger Small World

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Mar 23, 2012 12:00am ET

Last week ANA and WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) partnered together for the first time on a Global Marketing Conference.  In prepping for the event, I uncovered some simple, yet very interesting, population facts.

The world population just went over 7 billion this month.  Meanwhile, the U.S. population is 313 million. 4.5% of the world’s population is in the U.S. Said another way, 95% of the potential consumers for many products and services are outside the U.S.

Many U.S. marketers are very U.S.-centric.  We often think about the U.S. and then “ROW” – that odd term for rest of the world.  Many of us speak only one language fluently.  But that simple population fact—95% of the potential consumers for many products and services are outside the U.S.—is very enlightening.

Joe Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer at The Coca-Cola Company said it very well, “There is a new Atlanta somewhere in the world every thirty days.”  The city of Atlanta, by the way, has a population of about 450,000.



Get Pinterested

By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist
Posted: Mar 20, 2012 12:00am ET

All of my female friends are on Pinterest. Really, all of them. So, it was time I checked it out. Within minutes, I was addicted.

What is Pinterest? It's virtual scrapbooking or bookmarking. You "pin" images on virtual "boards" with themes such as art, fashion, and of course, wedding planning (this is apparently a very popular board theme, regardless of whether or not you are engaged).

You can upload photos from your computer, or more commonly, you paste the URL of a webpage (say you're lusting over a pair of shoes from Bloomingdales.com) and Pinterest finds the largest images on that webpage for you to pin on your board. It will also pin the address of the webpage under the photo.

Now, this is a marketer's dream. I'm promoting your products on my board and other people are "liking" my posts and repinning your products to their boards, so that even more people are exposed to it and lusting over it.

However, I was dismayed to discover that so many of my favorite brands' websites are incompatible with Pinterest. Pictures loaded on websites with Flash are unpinnable.

Marketers, you're missing out! I have purchased fashion items that I have pinned. If I can't pin your image, you've lost a potential purchase, and my opinion of your brand is diminished.  

Isn't it about time you got pinterested?

Everything is Brand

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Mar 12, 2012 12:00am ET

One of my daughters is in her high school band. An annual fund raising activity for the band is the sale of citrus-those grapefruits and oranges are just delicious.

When our delivery arrived recently I found it curious that a box of oranges was labeled "California Navels" and included an outline of the state of Florida with the initials LBG. California oranges from Florida?

This reminds me, yet again, that every touch point a product has with the customer is a branding opportunity. Marketers need to use those touch points wisely or suffer the consequences. Branding is no longer just about an ad campaign; rather, it consists of so much more - the call center, counter staff at retail, service at restaurants, web site, packaging, etc..

A quick web search provided lots of background on LBG. Langdon Barber Groves, is based in Florida, and "has been meeting the fundraising needs of all types of organizations since 1966. Our approach ... is to provide a healthy alternative to the cavities and calories of other fundraising products."

Reading that told me something very special about the company and made me feel good about them. LBG has a great opportunity to make their packaging harder working-yes, a branding opportunity-rather than confuse me re: California oranges from Florida.





Color Changes Everything

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Mar 9, 2012 12:00am ET

I love the new Target "Color Changes Everything" campaign. The advertising is fresh and memorable. It communicates a clear benefit-get this-without a single spoken word of English in the advertising. Watch it here.

I'd love to see the creative brief that led to this work. Clearly, the client wasn't asking for a laundry list of benefits and support points to be shoe horned into the advertising. There's been a lot of chatter in the industry lately about the poor state of creative briefs. In Target's case, a simple brief helped lead to simply outstanding work.

Here's how good the advertising is - yesterday I saw a 30-second execution and was actually disappointed that it wasn't the 60! It's hard to remember the last time I saw a commercial and wished it was longer.

Kudos to Target and its agency!




Global Marketing: Understanding Your Competition

By Ken Beaulieu, senior director of marketing and communications, ANA
Posted: Mar 5, 2012 12:00am ET

I recently interviewed Chris Burggraeve, chief marketing officer at Anheuser-Busch InBev and president of the World Federation of Advertisers, in advance of his address at the ANA/WFA Global Marketing Conference on March 14 in New York City. He offered a veritable treasure trove of insight on building a global brand, introducing new products to new markets, reaching consumers at a local level, capitalizing on digital media, and meeting the needs of society across the world. I can't thank him enough for his time and candor.

Over the next few weeks in this space, I will share Chris' responses to my list of questions. Let's get it started:

Q. When it comes to implementing a global marketing strategy, why is it important to understand the strengths of your competitors in each market, especially new competitors?

Chris: For a global top five FMCG like we are, with 200-plus brands, three of which are global (Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Beck's), having a strong global marketing capability is critical, but marketing can never win the fight alone. One can only win over the long haul by sharing a same culture, by being systematically better operators, by being systematically better at bottom-line management, and by being superior at topline management. Within the topline capability, the key is to be better at resourceful brand building than the competition - in every country where we operate, and across countries.

For us that means having a clearly articulated AB InBev "Way of Marketing," rigorously implemented globally by all our marketers and clearly supported and understood by our operators. The AB InBev Way of Marketing is about art, science, and discipline. It is the one language spoken by all. It consists of three key pillars. The first pillar relates to brand portfolio management, starting with proprietary demand segmentation models aimed at capturing existing, latent, and emerging demand. The second is about connecting in relevant and efficient ways with our drinkers. The third pillar is all about ongoing renovation and innovation. All our marketers go through a total of 24 modules in our AB InBev Marketing University - and the training never stops. Many people from other functions also go through a marketing training "boot camp," as marketing is too important to be left to the marketers only. The AB InBev Way of Marketing is part and parcel of our overall company performance and reward system, and it is clearly linked to our overall business model. It is designed to create sustainable brand health. And we all share a deeply held belief that "brand health today, is topline growth tomorrow."

In our strategic planning and outlook sessions each year, we assess our progress versus our own stated dream of "becoming the best beer company in a better world." We see if the deeper underlying values held by consumers have changed, whether new products have appeared that serve the same consumer need as our beers, how our industry is perceived differently by stakeholders, etc. Of course, we always take a step back to see what we can learn from existing and new competition. All the input is then used to make choices and various time horizon plans for every global function, including marketing, and for every country.


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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.