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Marketing Maestros

A Year-End Deal for You on that Car!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 21, 2011 12:00am ET

On November 17 holiday decorations went up in the lobby of ANA's office building - a Christmas tree, a bunch of wreaths, and the Hanukkah menorah. 

And just a few days prior to that, I noticed the beginning of what's sure to be a barrage of television advertising from the automotive industry for year-end deals.  From the "Winter Event" to the "Holiday Event" and even the "December to Remember Sales Event."   It's only November and it feels like we're rushing the season.

In 2010 I counted eighteen (18) different automotive brands with year-end deals.  That's pretty much everybody! 

All this activity makes me wonder if such year-end sales can truly be effective.  Many of the ads seem to "bleed-into" one another with little or no differentiation from competitors.  Test - who runs the Winter Event and who has the Holiday Event? 

As we get deeper into the season, virtually every commercial pod is likely to have at least one automotive commercial and in many cases there will be multiple auto ads in the same pod.  In one instance during my viewing last year, there were four consecutive auto commercials.  Also, in a number of cases, the exact same commercial ran twice during a pod.  A lot of money will be spent in the process.

Of course, there will be some winners.   But this makes me think of the line, "zig while the others zag."  It seems like just about every automotive manufacturer is zagging.  Who will truly stand out by zigging?

 

‘Tis the Season

By Susan Burke
Posted: Nov 17, 2011 12:00am ET

According to eMarketer, overall holiday spending in 2011 is set to drop compared to last year as a result of the down U.S. economy and the increasing costs of gas and food. However, online spending will increase during the holidays when compared to 2010 with eMarketer forecasting over $46 billion in projected sales. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas has historically been a peak shopping season for retailers and consumers, but has some of the yearly holiday shopping madness started to grate on consumers' nerves, inspiring them to shop online?

Additionally, although some major retailers have announced plans to open their stores at midnight on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to give consumers a chance to get an early start on their holiday shopping, Nordstrom is taking a different approach and striking a chord with consumers.

What do you think? Does Nordstrom's stance make it a more attractive place to shop for a certain type of consumer? Will other retailers soon follow?

Agency Trading Desks: Basics Marketers Need to Know & Questions to Ask

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 2, 2011 12:00am ET

ANA has just released a white paper titled, "Agency Trading Desks: Basics Marketers Need to Know & Questions to Ask." Its purpose is to help educate ANA members on agency trading desks-what they are, what they do, potential benefits, questions to ask, and more.  The full white paper is available to ANA members here - www.ana.net/agencytradingdesks - and covers issues including the benefits and criticisms of agency trading desks.

Most importantly, the paper advises marketers to be educated on how their company's money is being spent.  Every holding company (and independent) does things a little bit differently, so if working with a trading desk, ANA members need to understand their agency's model and make sure they are comfortable with it. The following questions and action steps are important.

ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 31, 2011 12:00am ET

ANA and 4A's recently released a new guidance paper titled, "ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search." The guidance outlines steps that can help marketers and agencies go through an effective search and selection process that can help both parties create a better working relationship. This has become an increasingly important topic as the business and marketing landscape becomes more diverse and fragmented, there has been a proliferation of new agencies with the growth of emerging digital and mobile media, and there has been an expanded desire for specialty expertise/new perspectives to comple­ment (or replace) existing agencies of record.

Before deciding to conduct a search, marketers should seriously evaluate whether or not a search is required. Agency searches can be expensive, time consuming, highly disruptive, and can drain company resources. Sometimes issues can be addressed with the existing client/agency relationship via a remediation process, a "last chance" warning given to the agency (as the agency may not even be aware of all the issues) or by simply switching the team at the agency.

When a client thinks a new agency is required for performance-related issues, the client should conduct a self-examination, asking questions such as:

Clients must be honest with themselves as well as with their agencies (current agencies and potential new agencies, if it gets to that). Clients should be careful not to rationalize previous agency failures or put the entire fault on the other side. Ask honestly, "Is there something we could have done better/differently?"

Overall, the agency search process shouldn't necessarily be about ultimately "fixing" the problems, as they may not realistically be fixable. It should simply be about putting them on the table-internally and with agencies-to focus on finding an agency that may be able to work within those parameters.

The detailed guidelines are available on both the ANA (www.ana.net./agencyselection ) and 4A's (http://www.aaaa.org/) websites.

Baby Carrots, Eat’Em Like Junk Food

By Kerry Camisa, International Speedway Corporation
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

In case you missed it, Bryan Reese, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer for Bolthouse Farms, knocked it out of the park with his presentation of their recent campaign "Baby Carrots, Eat 'Em Like Junk Food".

Bolthouse Farms realized that they were no longer solely in the vegetable category, but more so competing with snack foods.  The snack food category was churning results with clever, creative, humorous and risky campaigns and because of this, baby carrots were losing market share. 

Bolthouse hired the media agency Crispin, Porter and Bogusky to lead the creative, media buying and placement of a fully integrated campaign including TV, out-of-home, in-store, digital and more in two test markets; Cincinnati and Syracuse.  They even recreated the packaging to look more like chip bags vs. veggie bags. 

The results were phenomenal with over 2M impressions and increased market share within the markets.  The clever and integrated campaign gave new meaning to snacking and not to shabby for a bunch of farmers!    

 

Please fix the escalator...

By David Poeschl, Kimberly-Clark
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist  recently traveled to China and observed in awe a beautiful convention center constructed in just eight months.  He then returned to Maryland to find a simple subway escalator under construction, closed for six months.

This example elevates a concern prevalent in culture today that the U.S. is behind.  Has America lost its ability to act collectively?

Globalization and the IT revolution have merged, bringing the world today from connected to hyper-connected.  Grinnell College, a small liberal arts school in Iowa, saw 9% of applicants last year from China, 45% of them with perfect SAT math scores.  Children in the U.S. today are no longer competing only with their classmates.

Globalization is much bigger than the threat of Japan in the '80's.  Japan's threat was to two industries - auto and electronics.  Globalization, led currently by China, represents a fundamental shift in everything we do.  

The global evolution toward hyper-connectivity is far from over.  The U.S. has incredible resources and can maintain a position of strength by focusing on the 3C's:  creativity, collaboration and communication.  Companies hiring today are seeking people capable of seeing the world differently, with innovation being more important than ever before.  The concept of "average" is officially over and will not return.

Friedman left the audience with three key take-aways:

  1. Think like an immigrant  (there is no spot waiting at university)
  2. Think like an artisan  (everything tailored)
  3. Think like the waitress at Perkins  (a personal experience where a waitress went above and beyond the expected service using what she could control within her environment)

"We are all immigrants in this new world."

  

Video Didn’t Kill the Radio Star After All….

By Jacqueline Touma, Microsoft Corporation, jacquiet@microsoft.com, Twitter @jacqueline008
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Spotify, the darling of the UK has finally entered the North American online music scene. They are welcomed by; iHeart Music, Pandora, independent radio and cast of others are all vying for this same space. So what do they add or bring?

Original audio content. Spotify, doesn't simply view as an online radio station. Spotify is about the socialization and sharing of music and audio content across platforms as a new way to listen to musichums Jon Mitchell. Millions of tracks, any time you like. Just search for it in Spotify, and then play it. Just help yourself to whatever you want, whenever you want it. For Jon, it's the way music should be - and he says many, many people agree.

His mantra is around getting loads of more people, listening more, discovering channels and socializing with friends - the experience is both solitary and community driven.Whether it's iTunes, Windows Zune, CDs - whatever your mode of music be, Spotify can help you listen how you want on your phone, Windows or Mac device. No need for large hard drives as Spotify streams it live. Then text it, tweet and share it.

What about musicians themselves? Are they better off having music distributed this way? Jon and Micheal discussed that many independent and label signed musicians benefit from alternative music distribution and publishing, adding to raising audience awareness and their profits.

Check it out for yourself, sign up, tune in and share it. Let us know what you think.

Krispy Kreme Continues to Leverage the Social Web to Empower Consumers to Own and Keep the Brand Alive

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Although Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has just under 800 stores, in 21 countries, CMO Dwayne Chambers, states that the company is NOT in the business of increasing same store sales, or growing traffic, or average check numbers.  No, those are simply the results of executing flawlessly against their true objective: 

"to build positive meaningful relationships, first with our team, second with our guest and third with our community"

Even Mr. Chambers admitted at the start of his very engaging presentation that this objective and even its mission ("To touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme") sound a bit mushy, but based on his presentation, both the mission and the objective are the results of Mr. Chambers and his team being keenly aware that a brand in the hands of fanatical, loyal consumer-advocates is much more powerful and long lasting than anything that could be created. 

At its core, and, in my opinion, like most specialty ready-to-serve retail brands, Krispy Kreme started out as a word-of-mouth brand, and continues to leverage the social web to empower consumers to own and keep the brand alive. In the two years since the company launched its Facebook page, they've added 3.7 Million fans, and continue to add 3,000 to 4,000 fans each day. 

Even with the CMO humbly giving credit to the consumer for its growth story, there IS a quite a bit of marketing that the company and brand are facilitating, Things like the "HOT NOW" sign, the longstanding process of allowing everyone to see the cooking process (also known as Doughnut Theatre), and even the paper hats that are distributed to symbolizes fun.  Perhaps the biggest contribution that marketing has made is the decision to not mess with the original formula or process to make the product.  In a world demanding near constant innovation and change, having the stamina and courage to resist "improving" is perhaps one of the biggest decision that this team can make. It seems to be working! 

 

 

Weight Watchers: the skinny on transforming a brand during a recession

By Martha Young, FM Global
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

As a self-proclaimed "repeat offender" and brand advocate of the Weight Watchers program, I had a vested interest in Senior Vice President of Marketing's Cheryl Callan Friday afternoon presentation at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in Phoenix.

As a "Lifetime" member of Weight Watchers, I've counted enough Points and Points Plus to make an accountant blush. It is through the lens of my 10-year relationship with the brand that I listened intently to Callan's business challenge: transforming the Weight Watcher's brand during a recession.

Callan, with the assistance of agency partner McCann WorldGroup's Nick Brien, outlined the brand evolution: telling the story of Weight Watchers through inspiration versus persuasion. Together, they carried us through the story of marketing weight loss--often seen as self-indulgent--during tough economic times. We saw the comparisons of Weight Watchers' previous campaign of telling consumers how to lose weight versus the current campaign allowing Weight Watchers members tell us their weight loss success stories.

Callan shared some frightening statistics:
1. The average woman tries 15 diets during her lifetime
2. 90% of dieters regain weight during their lifetime
3. On average, women spend 25 years of their lives on a diet

Callan and Brien, in their presentation, told the story of differentiating Weight Watchers from its competitors.  In launching its first innovation in 13 years, the Points Plus Program captures Weight Watchers not as a being a weight loss program, but rather a platform for talking about success. The end result: the incredible weight loss journey of singer Jennifer Hudson.

Ultimately, the success of Weight Watchers is in the facts--a 19 percent increase in enrollment during challenging economic times and in becoming a brand on a mission to inspire Americans to lose weight.

What are your thoughts on the Weight Watchers Points Plus campaign? Chime in with your comments below.

“Learning to Leap. Give it a try – you are going to love it.”

By Jacqueline Touma, Microsoft Corporation, jacquiet@microsoft.com, Twitter @jacqueline008
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Enlightening, impactful and with just enough craziness that you know she is on to something. Dana Anderson presentation today at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix made you want to be "hopped up on Dana...". Dana's fresh approach to disruptive and transformational marketing helped me understand we are living in a VUCA world (Denise Caron). What the hell did she talk about you may ask? V- Volatile, U- Uncertain, C-Complex and A - Ambiguous.

To leap requires breaking our usual norms and boundaries. It requires flexibility, learning through immersion and trials, acceptance of intuition, uncoupling winning from the need for a solution and engagement with complexity. Taking the leap, really doing these things in your business can turn VUCA from negativity to visionary, understanding, clarity and agility.

Dana emphasized about being open to your destination, that it may change and how mediocrity was exhausting. This echo's Thomas L. Friedman's from NY Times talk just earlier that average is over, it's dead. The takeaway for me was about confidence, tenacity and the ability to take the risk - to leap.

Leaping at Kraft, as Dana commented is about people, pilots and process - and it's not without significant risk. There has to be a belief and a supporting culture to do so.

This came to life in one of her stories she told about one of her executive colleagues using a 'blank check approach'. To allow marketers to have the freedom to do the right things, the right programs and give people the right, the freedom beyond the numbers. The constraint shouldn't be the budgets but people's imaginations. Out of the 16 requests, 13 were approved and the employees treated the money better than if it were there own she went on to note.

"Feels like a girdle but flies like a bird". Leaping is not about blindly jumping. Kraft follows a four box process of that covers every aspect of the consumer experience. It's excruciating upfront and at first, but then there is an exhilaration of lifting up, of taking flight. Numa Numa helped lift our spirits and drive home the message.

She ended her presentation with these parting words of wisdom from an apropos source: "Things much happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you. "  Dr. Suess.

Inspirational. Thought-provoking. Mad genius. There was so much more in her presentation that I could hope to address in this brief blog. Go download the slides from ANA, engage with Kraft Foods, connect with her and, above all, try leaping.


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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.