Do Celebrity Testimonials Really Boost Sales?



Celebrity testimonials have been common throughout marketing history. Some testimonials, work, but some don’t.

In local or regional markets, your company doesn’t have to have a large marketing budget to attract celebrities to be your spokespersons.

Many athletes love to be seen as spokespersons on TV. Often, it’s possible to have a famous jock to do your testimonials for a nominal rate.

As a Seattle Mariner, Ken Griffey, Jr. did testimonials in the 1990s for Chevrolet dealers in Washington state. His only remuneration was the use of two sport utility vehicles.

Despite his immense popularity, his testimonials didn’t boost sales.

So while it’s an ego-boost for a celebrity to offer testimonial services, it’s not always a good idea. That’s right. Celebrity testimonials don’t always work.

Here’s why: Success depends on the product, the celebrity, and choosing the right media for your target audience in creating the right impressions to motivate people to buy.

Buying perceptions 

In tight marketing budgets, it’s important to understand why people will buy from you – remember it’s always an emotional decision.

Admittedly, about 18 percent of customers – blue-collar and professionals, alike – will only buy if you’re selling at the cheapest price in the marketplace.

Assuming you’re selling products of value, avoid those people. They are the most troublesome.

Even if they buy, they’re more likely to show up the next day demanding to return their purchase. Even if they keep the purchase, they complain the loudest and longest.

For the best results, focus on people who are motivated by value. That means using the right celebrity.

My firm’s research shows the five value perceptions of what your customers sub-consciously think in motivating them to buy from you:

Spokespersons and employees – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.  

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

For more information on this data, see What are the Secrets for Success in Advertising? Creating 5 Perceptions.

Meantime, a Canadian company, Signarama (signarama-toronto.ca), has created an interesting infographic on the successes and failures of celebrity endorsements:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

9 Tips to Evaluate Online Advertising Options — Are you at a point at which you want to advertise your company on the Internet? But you’re unsure which sites are the best for you? The options are endless and can be confusing. The last thing you want to do is to market a product or service that doesn’t reach the right people.

How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer Service — To increase your sales revenue with word-of-mouth advertising, here are 10 tips.

Best Practices for Online Ads to Dominate Your Competition — You don’t have to be reminded about the dynamic new technologies that seemingly evolve all the time, and the clutter of competition in marketing and sales. But forecasting can be tricky, especially with the global demographic changes as young people come in the workplace. The first dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative.

For Top Sales, 5 Rules for Targeting the Right Prospects — If you target the right prospects, you’ll save time and money and increase your revenue. There are five rules to follow. They’re developed for B2B but work for B2C, too.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

-Mark Twain

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

8 Ways to Get Transparency from Your Retargeting Campaign



If you’re a major advertiser, you probably use behavioral remarketing or retargeting strategies. That’s to reach prospective customers based on their Internet searches, if they leave your Web site and don’t buy from you.

Other firms use retargeting to purchase advertising. Basically, retargeting is accomplished by using a cookie or pixel, to show banner ads to Internet users.

But transparency is a significant problem for advertisers, according to a 2014 report by Marin Software.

“Retargeting is emerging as a central part in the marketing mix, and advertisers are hungry for the same type of control over the channel that they are used to with search and social marketing,” said Brad Flora, senior director of product management at Marin Software.

Key findings:

— 25 percent are worried about transparency

— 43 percent find attribution for the performance of retargeting a headache

— More than 33 percent aren’t even sure their ads are viewed, they fear click fraud, and are concerned about “black box” optimization

Eighty-eight percent of respondents use retargeting methods.

The most-used channels: 81 percent of them are in display, 77 percent are in search and 48 are percent are in social media.

Eighty-nine percent use Google as a retargeting channel.

But there are solutions, according to a blog on retargeter.com.

From “8 Best Practices for Running a Retargeting Campaign” here are brief excerpts of the highlights:

1. Frequency Caps

Overexposure quickly results in decreased campaign performance, which is why it’s almost always advisable to use a frequency cap. Prospects may ignore your ads completely, a phenomenon known as banner blindness, or they may begin to have a negative association with your brand as you follow them all over the web.

2. Burn Code

Have you ever made a purchase online only to find you’re still being inundated with advertisements for that company or product? By continuing to serve ads to converted customers, companies are only serving to annoy people.

Luckily, there’s a very simple solution: use a burn pixel. This snippet of code, placed in your post-transaction page, will untag any users who have made a purchase, ensuring you stop serving them ads.

Converted customers can still be a part of your retargeting campaign, just don’t ask them to take the same action twice. Now, you have an opportunity to retarget current customers with new ads.

3. Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation allows for you to tailor ad messages to users in different stages of the purchase funnel. The process is simple: you place different retargeting pixels on different pages of your site, and then tailor creatives based on the depth of engagement of each user.

4. Demographic, Geographic, & Contextual Targeting

Targeting gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your ad placements, ensuring greater relevancy and increasing ad performance. Advertisements can be targeted based on demographic information, like age or gender, contextual factors like subject matter of the website, or geographic data.

5. Setting View-Through Conversion Windows

A frequent complaint of the direct response crowd is that online display advertising doesn’t drive clicks at the same rate as paid search advertising, but clicks aren’t telling the whole story. Retargeted ads, even if they aren’t clicked, can provide brand lift.

The view-through conversion takes into account that some ads don’t trigger immediate buying decisions, but can nonetheless influence people to make purchases later, also known as the billboard effect. In the same way a catchy billboard grabs your attention and boosts brand awareness, an online display ad can encourage a later action. View-through conversions provide advertisers with richer data around ad performance by considering conversions that occur within a certain window after a user sees an ad.

6. Single-Provider Retargeting

Running retargeting campaigns with multiple providers has a number of serious drawbacks. If you run with multiple providers, each provider will be bidding for the same spots on the same websites, driving up media costs and decreasing the chances each has to serve ads to your users.  You may also run into difficulties effectively implementing frequency caps, as each retargeting provider will be operating independently.

7. Rotating Creatives + A/B Testing

Even if you launch your campaign with incredibly strong creatives, running with the same set of ads for months on end will result in a lower performing campaign.  According to a ReTargeter study, clickthrough rates decrease by almost 50 percent after five months of running the same set of ads. After seeing the same ads again and again, a user’s interest is no longer piqued and the ads are more likely to blend into the background. By rotating your ad creative every few months, you can easily avoid experiencing these dips in performance.

8. Optimized Creatives

The banner ads you use may do more to determine success than any other factor of your retargeting campaign, so it’s crucial to devote sufficient resources to making beautiful ads. Marketers often try to cram as much information as possible into the space allotted. This method of designing banners will only distract your audience and won’t serve the purpose of the ad: to win their attention and keep it.

These eight practices from retargeter.com make sense and are worth using. But I’d recommend you visit retargeter.com for the complete information and more great strategies.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

10 Strategies to Shine and Make Ad Designing a Breeze — Designing simple banner ads without strategic planning no longer suffices. The click rates have declined significantly, especially in B2B. To shine in the clutter of Internet advertising, there are at least 10 tips to keep in mind. That’s true in your mobile or Web site strategies.

9 Tips to Evaluate Online Advertising Options — Are you at a point at which you want to advertise your company on the Internet? But you’re unsure which sites are the best for you?

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

-Mark Twain


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.



Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula



There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo.

Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors.

Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

ID-10061404 AscensionDigitalPlanning

Broadcast advertising is all about frequency, reach and cost per thousand. Internet advertising is concerned about cpm, pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and cost-per-action.

Yes, despite what you’ve heard about social media, TV, especially TV news, remains the most powerful of mediums. Radio is still strong.

But marketing is not simply creating a radio, TV or Internet advertisement or harnessing social networking tools. Advertising is merely one component of marketing.

Marketing pertains to the big picture. Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

It’s a systematic development, coordination and implementation of a myriad of initiatives – proactive events to establish a dialogue – not just a bunch of advertisements.

Orchestrate your message

Make certain to orchestrate and synergize your advertising with public relations, videos, word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks to the Digital Age, consumers are in charge. Set up a dialogue, not a monologue.

For example, if you’re targeting young adults or teenagers, it’s sad to say, but they are getting their “news” from their social media.

Your communication plan should contain timelines. Press kits are helpful, but in this green age, they are not necessary. Regarding relationships with journalists, here’s a hint: Reporters like to deal with experts. So portray yourself as one.

Choose wisely. Insert and distribute effective videos and provide the right motives for people to share. The right content has to be presented in right place.

Follow the trends to see how to get the most attention. For example, Digg.com can be helpful but remember it’s mostly a young audience – big on tech and off-the-wall stories.

Just like reporters, every generation likes experts and stories. Storytelling holds great power for you. So tell a good story, write a good headline, deliver on your promises, and cite outside participants for proof in your claims.

Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Value perceptions

People base their buying-decisions on emotion. Following are strategies with business in-mind, but are applicable to political advertising, too.

Some 18 percent of people, whether blue-collar or white-collar in B2C or B2B situations, buy products and services solely at the cheapest cost they can find (according to my consulting firm’s research since 1992).

Avoid this target and using daily deal advertising, such as Groupon. Such consumers complain the most and they’re not loyal – they return only for cheap deals. Further, an HR concern: Many companies, such as restaurants, find it more difficult to retain their most-talented workers in such an environment. They tire from such customers. Plus, their tips from such customers are much less.

Companies that focus on selling at the lowest price either struggle unnecessarily or worse – they fade away. Companies are advised to target the other 82 percent.

The 82 percent is comprised of the most highly prized prospects – customers who are value conscious – value vis-à-vis cheap. Such customers have “five value-motivating perceptions” – emotionally, how they feel and what they think – that motivate them to buy.

The five value-motivating perceptions stem from emotions:

1. Employees, Spokespersons (52 percent)– What consumers think about a company’s spokesperson and company employees. Key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. But listening skills and empathy are of paramount importance to customers.

About 70 percent of customers will buy elsewhere if they feel they’re being taken for granted – it only takes from one to five bad experiences before customers are gone forever. And customers normally will not volunteer why they switch to a competitor.

2. Image of the organization (15 percent) – Prospective customers prefer to do business with companies that have a good image. Running a green business, cleanliness and signs of good organization are important to them. In addition, cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image.

3. Quality of Product or Service Utility (13 percent) – The customer is subconsciously and sometimes verbally asking a question similar to this: “What will this do for me?”

4. Convenience (12 percent) – Customers like convenience and accessibility. That includes all experiences such as their ease in navigating the company’s Web site and making a shopping-cart purchase, a happy buying environment at a store, making a telephone inquiry, and convenient bricks-and-mortar locations, and the level of service after they buy.

5. Price (8 percent) – To value-minded customers, price is important, but note it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

Seven marketing elements

Once you understand what motivates the customer to buy, there are seven steps you must take for creating a happy buying environment. Fear is a great motivator. But Americans are tired of negativity and comparison ads. Yes, the marketing process goes a lot easier if you can make buying fun.

For marketing in a downturn or not, every PR or advertising message should – as much as possible – contain these seven elements:

1. FEE. This is an acronym for establishing a common ground for a foundation using the principles of event and empathy. Every purchase is an event in the life of a customer – no matter how big or small.  In a down economy, it also helps to empathize about the average consumer’s budget.

2. Research/focus groups on attitudes. Use tools to get the consumer to think about buying.

3. Agreement on Need. Get the consumer to agree on the need to buy a product or service.

4. Generic Value Proposition or Benefit Statement. Here’s where you explain your value proposition. Remember the difference between features vs. benefits to answer the basic marketing questions, such as the acronym, WIIFM , “What’s in it for me?” or the “So What?” question.

5. Fill Prospect’s Need. Depending on your marketing channel and audience, use more specific benefit statements.

6. Getting a commitment to shop. Ask for the consumer to give you a shot using a non-threatening, closed-ended question.

7. Seal the Deal. This final step has three components –

— When feasible, use the magic words:  “Thank you.”

— Prevent buyer’s remorse – remind your audience of the benefits they’re receiving.

— Look for an opportunity to provide unexpected, perceived added value without hurting your bottom line.

From the Coach’s Corner, more marketing tips:

10 Strategies to Shine and Make Ad Designing a Breeze — Designing simple banner ads without strategic planning no longer suffices. The click rates have declined significantly, especially in B2B. To shine in the clutter of Internet advertising, there are at least 10 tips to keep in mind.

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication — Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study. Consumers have become more and more discerning. 

Marketing – Insights for Attracting Millennial Customers — Marketers from fast food to cars are struggling to understand an important demographic – 59 million young adults, aged 23 to 36, according to a published report. Other observers believe there are 80 million Millennials, but in a slightly narrower age group. Either way, companies are obsessed with targeting Millennials for good reasons.

Insights for Exhibiting Success at Trade Shows — Attendees at trade shows would rather chat with marketing and sales staff as opposed to managers. A study released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says 56 percent of trade-show visitors prefers meeting with salespeople.

Winning in Branding, Sales – The 6 Key Characteristics of a Logo — One key element for a company’s branding and sales that often gets short shrift is a great logo. Whether you’re an entrepreneur entering a brave new world or an established company needing profits, a great logo helps ensure top-of-mind awareness. A great logo can make the difference between winning and losing in a competitive marketplace.

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

-Seth Godin

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Photo courtesy of AscensionDigital at www.freedigitalphotos.net

‘Why Facebook Is Failing Marketers’ — Forrester Study



As a digital advertising option, hundreds of savvy marketers rank Facebook last in “business value” according to a critical Forrester Research study.

The study ranks Facebook last among 13 digital options by 395 marketers in the U.S. and Canada, reports Kristin Burnham, the senior editor of InformationWeek.com, in her Oct. 30, 2013 article (Facebook Ads Fail Marketers: Report).

Ms. Burnham explains Forrester’s study:

“Respondents were asked to rank how satisfied they were with the business value their company achieved. Social sites including LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus and Twitter all ranked above Facebook.”

As a result, she reports Forrester’s recommendation:

“A scathing report from research company Forrester advises marketers to ditch Facebook advertising in favor of other marketing opportunities. Although the social network has potential to redefine marketing, it said, Facebook has failed to do so. As a result, it creates less business value than any other digital marketing resource, it concluded.” 

She indicates Forrester also took an unusual step:

“Nate Elliott, report author and principal analyst at Forrester, wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explaining why the social network fails to impress marketers and advising him on what Facebook needs to do to win back advertisers.”

Marketers say Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity

My sense is that Forrester and the 395 marketers are right. Here are nine tips to evaluate online advertising options.

From the Coach’s Corner, not convinced about Forrester’s warning about Facebook?

Here are more Biz Coach warnings:

Facebook Draws Fire for 6 ‘Stubbornly Childish’ Behaviors — Facebook continues to incur the wrath of critics. This includes a six-point indictment by a leading professional publication, AdAge.com. It’s a daily must-read for advertising professionals. AdAge columnist, Simon Dumenco, posed this question: “Facebook Under Siege: Will It Ever Grow Up?” 

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t — Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. What does work is visual content.  

Facebook – Fewer Users, Drop in Consumer Satisfaction and Share Price — Get out the black balloons for Facebook. True, as a new public company, its stock made a bit of a comeback in 2012 after announcing plans for more mobility to keep users happy. 

Is Facebook Approaching the End of Its Product Life Cycle? Yes — If you’re a prospective Facebook stakeholder looking to profit from the social-networking site – as an investor or major advertiser – beware of all the Facebook hype. Facebook appears to be approaching the end of its product life cycle. 

“For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”

-Simon Mainwaring


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Feeling Less Creative? You’re Not Alone – What to Do


Is it an epidemic? Creative professionals increasingly admit to a decline in their effectiveness and children’s creativity has also waned, according to two studies.

Nearly 50 percent of creative-pro respondents in the 2013 “Free the Creative” study by iStock say their creativity has stagnated. The image company says that’s the stunning conclusion from a survey of more than 400 professionals from art directors to graphic designers in the U.S. and U.K.

Children’s creativity has also plummeted according to education Professor Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William and Mary. After she analyzed kids’ scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in 2012, Dr. Kim says it’s a crisis.

Watch Professor Kim’s video:

iStock study

iStock’s study shows the culprits are lack of funding, inspiration and time.

Three key takeaways:

– 60 percent claim to have had “great ideas” but not enough support or time.

– 70 percent want more “creative time”

– 63 percent lack time for “creative reflection and inspiration”

“Our research raises questions around the state of creativity today in industries vital to the global economy,” said Ellen Desmarais, general manager at iStock. “When you consider that global revenues last year in the advertising industry alone were nearly half a trillion dollars, declining creativity is cause for alarm and should prompt an industry-wide discussion.”

Locations for creativity:

  • 34 percent name their workplace as one of their top three locations for creativity
  • 34 percent – during their commute
  • 25 percent – the shower or bath
  • 22 percent – exercise

Seventy-one percent say new technologies have helped them in their work.

Most often mentioned hobbies: Fifty percent listed photography while 30 percent mentioned writing, drawing or painting.

Children’s creativity

The level of children’s creativity started to decline in the 1980s, according to Professor Kim.

Symptoms include declines in the following:

  • Energy
  • Communication
  • Humor
  • Imagination
  • Passion
  • Perceptivity
  • Inability to connect the dots
  • Synthesizing

Addictive behaviors kill creativity

The professor lists the children’s addictions that prevent creativity:

  • Drugs
  • E-mails
  • Facebook and other Web sites
  • Video games

If the decline in creativity began in the 1980s, the studies’ findings shouldn’t be a surprise for creative professionals or anyone else under 50 years old.

It won’t get any easier. You must learn to adapt. Lose the addictive behaviors.

If you’re suffering from a decline in creativity, get away from the computer. Get exercise. Take walks. Go for a drive. Learn to meditate. Pay more attention to family and friends. Find hobbies unrelated to your work. Look around for someone less fortunate to help. Start a gratitude list for what is working well in your life and career.

Finally, to strengthen your creativity muscles, work on keeping an open mind. Practice the “principle of contrary action.”

In all that you do, do things differently each time, for example grocery shopping: Take different routes to the store. Park in a different area of the store’s parking lot. Use alternate entrances to the store. Go down a different aisle each time.

Yes, you’ll start adjusting your attitude and keeping an open mind, which will help you especially in innovation and marketing.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more  relevant information:

 7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet – Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? 

Best Practices for New Women Entrepreneurs to Stay Focused – The keys for business women are to plan well, create the right balance, persevere and have the right support system. It isn’t commonly known, but women entrepreneurs inherently have stronger skills than men in key areas. 

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing – It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another.  

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others – Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.  

Proof Positive: How Supportive Spouses Help in Work-Related Stress – First, it was the book, “The Millionaire Mind.” The book by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires. One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to a supportive spouse. 

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
-Hans Selye


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






The Link between a Simple Logo and Branding Success



Some of the world’s most-successful companies have simple logos. That’s the conclusion from a study by a UK logo-design company, Small Business Logos.

It conducted the 2012 study that lists the top-10 logos in different sectors from technology to shoes.

“Creating a strong, memorable logo can really enhance the success of your business,” said Lucy Smith, marketing and eCommerce director for Small Business Logos. She was quoted in Computer Business Review (CBR) in “Your business logo will make or break you.”

free stock photo Dress, Object, People, FolderIn surveying business owners, the study covered sectors from technology to retailing.

It was designed to help UK businesspeople to realize the value in selecting a logo for branding success.

Certainly, the study is applicable in the U.S.

A simple logo as a favicon is important for use in a search engine presentation (for a brief explanation about favicons, see the eight best practices in small business marketing).

After all, for profits, size doesn’t matter but image and professionalism count.

“We’ve taken a close look at what made our top ten to help businesses make informed choices when it comes to their own branding,” CBR quoted Ms. Smith. “Simplicity and the ability to reproduce in a range of different sizes, media and on products, is key.”

Along with an explanation of each, here are the study’s top-10 logos:

  1. Apple: Clean, modern and extremely easy to reproduce
  2. BBC: Simple, memorable and works well on TV, online and in-print
  3. Nike: Suggestive of movement, ideal for a sports brand, and works well on the side of a trainer
  4. Amazon: Embodying the company’s philosophy: everything from A to Z, delivered with a smile
  5. Google: Strong primary colours, enhanced by ‘Google doodles’
  6. London Underground: The capital’s most instantly recognised logo, the shape recalling the tube’s tunnels
  7. UPS: Brown is symbolic of parcel paper, with the shield suggesting security
  8. American Express: Squares and block lettering indicate strength and trust
  9. Sky: A versatile logo that supports brand extension: SkyNews, SkyHD, SkyMovies, etc.
  10. HSBC: The only logo in the top 10 to use a very traditional serif font, more commonly associated with business and finance, suggesting authority

From the Coach’s Corner, related topics:

Checklist to Build Your Brand on a Budget — Branding is very important. It really helps to build your brand on a budget. Nebulous branding is a leading cause of business failure. Besides ill-defined branding, when a business fails there are several likely reasons. They include poor planning, insufficient passion, ineffective management, weak finances, undesirable location, and ineffective use of technology. A solid brand will help you land customers and insure customer loyalty.

Marketing Checklist to Measure Your Brand’s Personality — You’ll be smiling after you successfully use this checklist.   Here are two key questions about your marketing: 1. How much have you invested in your brand and personality? 2. How’s it working?  These are important questions. However, many companies – large, medium and small – can’t accurately answer the questions. That’s especially true regarding their return on investment. Yet, ROI is critical to measure.

Action Steps To Get Top Results From Your Marketing Plan — Why do seemingly great marketing plans fail to yield the desired results? Well, one reason: Such plans don’t turn the ideas into reality because they’re not action-oriented. What counts is the scheduled specific footwork, and then tracking the results. There’s a second reason, quality of execution. There are five action steps for success.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo. Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors. Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message. Of course, they hear and see thousands of messages everyday: Road signs; store signage; radio and TV commercials; conversations at work, home and with friends in-person or the telephone; social media; e-mails; as well as ads and articles in newspapers and on the Internet. Here’s how your messages can be seen and heard for results.

“What”s a brand? A singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect.”

– Al Ries


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Is Facebook Approaching the End of Its Product Life Cycle?



If you’re a prospective Facebook stakeholder looking to profit from the social-networking site – as an investor or major advertiser – beware of all the Facebook hype. Facebook appears to be approaching the end of its product life cycle.

True, Facebook has 1 billion+ users worldwide and appears to be in the proverbial catbird seat. However, urgent caution is advised.

“You can’t be serious,” you’re probably thinking, “Facebook is huge.”

ID-10067882 nokhoog_buchachonFirstly, consider: Facebook needs advertising revenue to sustain itself.

However, Facebook keeps self-destructing with highly questionable practices by incurring the wrath of the advertising industry and other stakeholders. (See: Facebook Draws Fire for 6 ‘Stubbornly Childish’ Behaviors.)

In addition, a 2012 report revealed that social media, especially Facebook, only delivers 1 percent of an e-commerce site’s revenue (See: Social Media vs. Traditional Online Marketing – Where’s the Money?)

Furthermore, the seemingly constant Facebook buzz appears to be masking some serious red flags, especially, if you’re a major investor or marketer counting on it as an advertising medium Why?

Published data indicates Facebook is showing signs that it might have advanced too far along its product life cycle (PLC) for you to reap a significant return on your investment.

A PLC, of course, ranges from the time when a product is introduced to market to when it’s no longer viable because of what the marketplace considers superior competitors.

The PLC stages:

  1. Introduction
  2. Growth
  3. Maturity
  4. Decline

In marketing, the PLC is important. In the introduction stage, sales are insignificant until the branding takes effect. Think in terms of a bell curve.

The steeper the slope of the growth stage, the higher sales revenue you enjoy.  Maturity is the stage when a product achieves saturation. Decline is just as the term implies.

Recent data demonstrates that a savvy investor or marketer would want to think twice about Facebook. That’s because Facebook appears it’s in the downward slope of its PLC curve in key markets. Yes, as amazing as it seems, Facebook appears to be already in its PLC stage 3 of reaching maturity – en route to stage 4 of a decline in popularity in many of the world’s most-important markets.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

-Albert Einstein

The first red flag about Facebook’s PLC appeared in this headline: Facebook Sees Big Traffic Drops in US and Canada … –Inside Facebook

“Most prominently, the United States lost nearly 6 million users, falling from 155.2 million at the start of May to 149.4 million at the end of it,” wrote  Eric Eldon. “This is the first time the country has lost users in the past year. Canada also fell significantly, by 1.52 million down to 16.6 million, although it has been fluctuating around that number for the past year. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, Norway and Russia all posted losses of more than 100,000.”

Strangely, Inside Facebook reports the social networking site grew. But how?

“Most of the new users continue to come from countries that are relatively late in adopting Facebook, as has been the trend for the past year,” explained Mr. Eldon.

Facebook later denied it’s losing members in North America and Europe.

Facebook’s demise is illustrated by other indicators.

WebProNews originally published some eye-opening data from YouGov BrandIndex covering Jan. 3 to June, 13, 2011, which shows Facebook has had some serious erosion in word-of-mouth. (Note: In my experience, WebProNews articles should be taken seriously.)

To determine its Buzz score, which can range from 100 to -100,  YouGov BrandIndex asked respondents: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

In compiling the answers, the firm’s Buzz rating is then determined by subtracting the negative response from positive. Equal negative and positive responses lead to a zero score.

The eye-opening YouGov BrandIndex scores:

  • Adults, 35-49, the Jan. score of 28.5 plummeted to 10.4 in June
  • Adults, 18-34, the Jan. score of 36.2 dropped to 22.7 in June

Meanwhile, consider Twitter’s success as reported in this NewsFactor Network headline, Pew Study Finds Meteoric Growth in Twitter Usage.

“A meteoric rise in Twitter usage has been reported by the Pew Research Center, even though only 13 percent of online adults use Twitter,” stated NewsFactor Network in the article’s summary. “Pew also found that about half of Twitter users access the service on mobile phones, and African-Americans and Latinos have high Twitter adoption rates. Twitter expects more growth with photo sharing.”

In my experience, Facebook does not work in B2B advertising. Understand, however, if you’re marketing anything, you still need to maintain a presence on Facebook to keep your Internet ranking strong. Facebook’s marketing strength is B2C.

But if you’re counting on Facebook to generate a strong return on your advertising investment, my sense is recent indicators are not positive.

Still not convinced?

Now, a 2014 Princeton study concludes Facebook will look 80 percent of its users by 2017. Researchers, using a model that tracks infectious diseases and what happens when they die out,  predict the demise of Facebook.

Their conclusions were based on the number of times Facebook is Googled. Facebook reached its peak in December 2012, according to Google Trends.

From the Coach’s Corner, if you’re determined to advertise on Facebook, here are 11 tips to make money on Facebook.

Things are not always as they seem.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Winners and Losers in Facebook’s Invasion of Google’s Turf


It was a big deal when comScore data indicated back in 2010 that cyber citizens spent more time on Facebook than the Google sites.

Cyber citizens spent an aggregate 41.1 million minutes on Facebook — 9.9 percent of their search-time. That beat the 39.8 million minutes, or 9.6 percent, on all of Google’s sites.

It was a major catalyst for Google to create Google+. It’s noteworthy because Google, of course, is the leading search engine and has Google News, Gmail and most-importantly, YouTube.

In my experience, Google+ is now a proven asset in marketing.

However, regarding Facebook, it would appear there are questions to consider:

  1. What should businesses do in marketing on Facebook?
  2. What precautions should businesses take to make certain their Web sites are not obliterated by Facebook?

To maximize the marketing investment, businesses should consider establishing a Facebook page.

But don’t count too heavily on Facebook or other social media for sales. Facebook and other social media only drive 1 percent of e-commerce sales. A study shows a strong presence on Google’s search engine will better increase your odds for income.

But for a Facebook presence, Website Magazine’s Linc Wonham published some basic tips:

    • Set goals for your Facebook page and monitor your progress
    • Make your page interesting and informative, and update it as often as you can
    • Promote your Facebook page on your business website and elsewhere; add a Find us on Facebook button wherever you can
    • Reward your Facebook Fans with discounts and special promotions
    • Create a Facebook user group that will be of interest/useful to your audience
    • Join other Facebook user groups that pertain to your industry or niche
    • Take advantage of Facebook’s tools; track your success with Facebook analytics

“Businesses can add a Facebook Place to their Facebook Page, or the two can be combined,” according to the writer. “The result of either option is getting your company’s address, map, phone number and other data in front of Facebook’s massive user network and giving them a way to share the information with friends.”

Mr. Wonham specifies the benefit:

“The result of either option is getting your company’s address, map, phone number and other data in front of Facebook’s massive user network and giving them a way to share the information with friends.”

His tips for Facebook ads:

    • Be as specific as possible with your keywords and demographic selections
    • Use compelling images, titles and copy in your ads
    • Make your ads as interactive and engaging as you can
    • Frequently update and refresh the images and copy for better results
    • Be vigilant about testing your ads and monitoring the results
    • Bid high to get your ads approved faster by Facebook
    • Start with CPC ads if you have a very small budget, otherwise CPM is the better bet
    • Use Facebook Ads Manager, which can be downloaded and installed on Firefox

Warning: You might as well know that advertising professionals are increasingly criticizing Facebook for being obnoxious (see: Facebook Draws Fire for 6 ‘Stubbornly Childish’ Behaviors).

That’s not all. There are two additional dangers to Facebook marketing:

  1. Facebook tends to supersede the importance of your Web site in the minds of cyber citizens.
  2. The most successful companies achieving success on Facebook have done it by slashing prices and offering coupons.

For more on this angle, see this article: Aside from Privacy, Security Issues — Facebook is a Threat 2 Ways.

But always remember the best mediums to drive cyber citizens to your Facebook page and Web site — broadcast advertising and strong PR — the ultimate keys to your marketing mix.

To target credit-worthy or high net-worth customers, broadcast news and authoritative business Web sites are especially your best bets.

So, harness the power of Facebook, but don’t let it make your Web site irrelevant. You want to dialogue with consumers on your own turf. Use these measures and you’ll be a winner in Facebook’s invasion of Google’s turf.

From the Coach’s Corner, consider reading: 11 Tips to Make Money on Facebook 

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”

-Eric Schmidt

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Aside from Privacy, Security Issues — Facebook is a Threat 2 Ways



Facebook is well-known for its privacy and security issues. I’ve written multiple articles about social media and how it can harm businesses, especially when employees are not trained about using it on your company’s computers.

For example:

3 Studies – New Concerns about Internet Security

5 Safety Measures to Thwart Mounting Social-Network Attacks

Facebook raises the specter of two other ramifications for business: Facebook is becoming more of a threat in marketing. That was my sense after reading two articles in AdvertisingAge Magazine, a must-read for the advertising profession, in Aug. 2010.

Consider the two headlines: What Happens When Facebook Trumps Your Brand Site?” and “The Top Five Brands on Facebook.”

First threat

What happens when Facebook becomes more relevant than your Web site?

“…the social network has quietly become something else: the biggest relationship-marketing provider for many brands,” wrote Jack Neff.

He pointed out 37 Facebook pages had a million or more fans even though most Web sites have difficulty attracting 100,000 visitors. That means, of course, Facebook has been outperforming their sites.

For example, Mr. Neff cited Coca-Cola with 10.7 million Facebook fans, but its Web site’s unique visitors dwindled to 242,000 unique visitors in July, 2010.

The danger is that all these people are identified with social media, which is owned by Facebook. Brands have to pay to advertise on their own Facebook pages, and Facebook collects all the revenue.

Starbucks may be one of the rare companies to have a strong Facebook and Web site presence.

Second threat

At AdvertisingAge, Matt Carmichael wrote about the top five brands on Facebook. But it appears their top ranking was for dubious reasons.

“According to new research from ExactTarget and CoTweet, it’s pretty simple: coupons and free stuff,” he explains. He reported the top five: Oreo, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, iTunes and Dove.

This means Facebook users are less likely to experience the branding of your Web site.

So, it’s imperative protect your brand by not cannibalizing it to the extent that it has less power than Facebook.

Use the necessary due diligence in strategies to use Facebook to drive traffic to your Web site. Or, you’ll pay the price.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles on promoting your Web site:

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You Succeed — If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site. I gather the term was coined by the inventor of a testing tool that enables Web-site owners to obtain reactions to their sites.

Startup Toolkit – How to Make a Hit on the Internet — Just like your bricks and mortar location, your Internet presence will be strong if you always remember why people will buy from you.

5 Factors to Get Peak Google Results for Your Web Site – Study — What do top Web sites have in common? Successful sites produce a high number of Facebook and Twitter messages, but the sites minimize the volume of ads on its pages according to an authoritative study. Those are the salient lessons from a 2012 study by Searchmetrics, a search and social analytics firm.

5 Tips If Your Web Site’s Traffic Slows in Summer Months — Traffic on the Internet slows in the summertime, according to Website Magazine. Here are five strategies to maintain your growth.

Worried Your Web Site Losing Visitors? Best Practices to Fix it — If your site’s visitor numbers are falling, there are five possible reasons. The key is to know what’s wrong before you start applying solutions. It used to be that Web-site owners only had to worry about losing traffic in the summer.

“A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.”

-Lexicon


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Facebook’s Popularity Drops in U.S., Canada and Europe, but Inches Toward Highly Valued IPO

Updated – June 14, 2011

Many analysts believe Facebook is now set to go with its widely anticipated initial public offering in Q1 2012. What’s astounding is Facebook has lost ground in North America and Europe, but analysts are predicting a valuation as high as $100 billion.

A Web site, www.insidefacebook.com, reported the irony regarding Facebook’s popularity in this article: “Facebook Sees Big Traffic Drops in US and Canada as It Nears 700 Million Users Worldwide.”

It explained where and why Facebook lost members in the month of May:

  • U.S. lost almost 6 million down to 149.4 million
  • Canada dropped by 1.52 million to 16.6 million
  • UK, Norway and Russia each lost more than 100,000

Ostensibly, Facebook’s privacy issues are having an impact.

So, why is Facebook growing? Inside Facebook indicates the site gained 11.8 million users among Third World populations that have recently started warming up to the thought of using the social networking site.

Meantime, many marketers started allocating more of their budgets for Facebook ads, according to a report in Website Magazine, www.websitemagazine.com, as early as Aug. 2010.

“Two years ago the big brands were experimenting with us,” Website Magazine’s senior editor Mike Phillips quotes Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. “They started buying with us a year ago. Now, they’re going big.”

Mr. Phillips writes that she claims the social medium’s top advertisers are now investing 10 to 20 times more dollars.

“Facebook appears to be positioning itself for an IPO in 2012,” confirms Francis Gaskins, a widely quoted and respected IPO expert. “Here’s an interesting article.”

If Facebook is inching toward its initial public offering in 2012, shouldn’t it show it’s making profits from ads.

So, what about Facebook as a marketing tool?

“For most companies, it’s not yet completely clear whether Facebook ads are truly effective at generating quality leads or increased conversions/revenue,” Mr. Phillips astutely points out. “What is clear, however, is that Facebook continues to grow its user base.”

He says research firm comScore reports Facebook has overtaken Yahoo as the nation’s No.1 display advertiser.

“Now might be the time to get involved in Facebook advertising,” suggests Mr. Phillips. “Prices have remained steady, the website is still the hottest property online and you can expect those prices to increase sooner than later. You can run a few simple campaigns on the cheap, look for results and optimize in no time at all. There is plenty to gain here.”

As a business-performance consultant, I concur. To quote my good friend, Cork Platts, now a retired Los Angeles marketing guru, a basic marketing tenet is “test, test, test.”

For me, that’s especially true when it’s an inexpensive marketing investment. But be careful to get a return on your investment, and don’t cannibalize your brand. I wouldn’t want a Facebook presence to trump my Web site. Facebook should merely part of overall marketing. Consider:  Winners and Losers in Facebook’s Invasion of Google’s Turf.

Meantime, my biz coach sense is that an IPO with a $100 billion valuation doesn’t make sense for a social networking site that’s lost ground in the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe, especially when we’re not sure about its revenue.

Such a high valuation on dubious earnings is reminiscent of all the hype and countless failures in the dot.com bust. Was it that long ago?

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related social-media resource links:

Mr. Gaskins’ resource links:

(Note: Mr. Platts is also founder of Consultants West, www.consultantswest.com, an association of veteran consultants that meets regularly in Los Angeles. Mr. Gaskins is also a member, and I’m proud to be associated with them.)

Privacy is dead, and social media hold the smoking gun.”

-Pete Cashmore

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.