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Do free promotion offers work? Follow the line to Dennys

Here is a photo that I took of the Denny’s Free breakfast crowd from the road as I was leaving today.

By the looks of things at my local Denny’s the Free Breakfast  promotion announced during the Superbowl was a sell out.  I drove into the parking lot to go to another business and could not find a place to park in three parking lots!  The crowds were pouring out of their cars, like they were going to the state fair.  The line was out the door and around the building.

 So give them credit for gaining trial.  Customer Engagement at it’s finest.  Customers using texts, blogs and emails all about the promotion is a social media strategists dream.   What about retention, I am not so sure.  Quality service, is in the hands of the wait staff and cooks.  Will people stand in line for free food? Yes… they will.  Will they come back and pay?… Denny’s will need to report of that.  ROI… priceless…


Tapping into Mommy Bloggers to promote your product or services.

Mommy Bloggers are the new alpha females of the marketing opinion world.  An entire industry has grown with conventions and all for the Mommy Bloggers to meet, exchange ideas and even more important, to promote their blogs to companies and marketers to do product reviews, sell advertising, hold promotions and drive business for the companies that tap into this Blogging  marketing venue.

There are two upcoming Mommy Blogging conventions you may want to check out.   BlissDom 10,  Feb 4-6 in Nashville (which is already a sell out), and the blogger conference  BlogHer  which is in NYC Aug 5-7.  These conferences have big time package goods sponsors all trying to woo the Mommy bloggers.  Sponsors on the BlissDom website include: Con Agra Foods, Orville Redenbacher, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Arnold, Blue Bunny, Hallmark, Invisalign, iRobot, Lands’ End, Lifetime Moms, Red Plum.

Mommy Bloggers sell sponsorships of themselves to represent you at the conference. The ads say: “Why I am the blogger you company should sponsor for BlissDom  ’10.  It is done through blogs as ads that will tell you things like:  Blogger with 2000 + subscribers seeks sponsorship to…

 The Mommy bloggers use ad badges provided by the conference to promote if they are looking for a sponsor.  Like the one shown here is for the Blissdom10 Conference.  It is a way to get them to the conference and their costs paid and get your product known in the Mommy Blogging world.

The bloggers are from all walks of life and interests,who go to these conferences.  They go to network, go to seminars,promote their blogs and twitters, as well as write blogs and promote their sponsors who helped pay to get them there.

Their blogs have a female focus target on home making, babies, or products, all subjects aimed at women readers.  Some have advertising on their blogs at cheep rates.  Some show you what they have done for other companies, some have HTML badges for their blog  to be taken and promoted on others website or blogs.    The Mommy Bloggers do contests and sweepstakes, coupons codes and deals, product reviews, tips, recipes.  A really nice business model, from thier kitchen counter.

BlogHer conference has been held for 5 years on the West Coast and Midwest and is now going to NYC.  Bloggers like Domestic Debacle, badge shown on the left,  promote that they are looking to represent you.  As disclosure, they did a promotion of a product called Fridge-It that I am involved in and that is what got me interested in this subject of Mommy Blogging. The connection was initially made in the Twitter world and then moved into the blogging world. 

 The BlogHer advertising materials on the website says that they reach more than 16 million unique women each month and states that BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online

Here are some Mommy Blogger examples, that will show and explain the concept.  There are many, many more, and if you are a Mommy Blogger and want to add your Mommy blog to this lists, please comment and give some info on your Mommy blog.

Mommy Blogger examples: Thriftymaven.com , Domesticdebacle.com , Abusymommy.com   , Thepennypinchingmama.blogspot.com 

Can I hear a wOOt?!    BTW: What does wOOt  mean? W00t” was originally a truncated term for players of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” The term wOOT was used by the web culture in video game communities, now it has lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement. Sort of the new Ya Hoo….

Is your product being blogged? 12/1/09, New FTC Guidelines go into effect.

Is blogging one of your new strategies for marketing of  your products?  If so, then you need to review who is blogging, are they being compensated or given product to try?   The issue is disclosure.  If you are paying, or giving trial product, then you fall under the new FTC changes and you need to be sure you have issued new guidelines to your marketing team and the the bloggers you are working with.  These Federal Trade Commission changes affect how you represent your product, when posting product reviews or blogs.

FTC Guideline Update May Affect Your Marketing Program.  The FTC has updated their guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials. There is a really good video from the FTC that I would spend a few minutes viewing and bring it to your next team meeting.

You may want to get legal advice regarding these guidelines,  review how these guidelines may affect your business, and how you should proceed.  These changes include bloggers go  into effect on 12/1/09.

You can find out all the details and watch a series of videos on the subject at the FTC website.  You can also read about some members of the industry who are talking on this issue at the Performance Marketing Alliance’s site or at Revenews.com. 


5 Reasons to invest in better packaging for consumer products.

Guest blogger: Joe Ray from Estudio Ray.

On occasion, I invite guest bloggers to share a subject they have expertise in.  Joe Ray is a brilliant designer and packaging guy and I value  his insight and expertise.  We spoke about the shift away from good packaging design focus and here is his blog on the subject to help the CMO’s and Marketing Directors across the country who read this blog improve in this area.


Go to a grocery store, major supermarket or any other mass market retailer and stand in the aisle. Look around. For the most part, things have a tendency to visually run together. We tend to focus on the particular product category that we’re looking for. What grabs your eye? Can you tell one brand from another? Let’s face it, a lot of advertising is lost on consumers, so the packaging may be the only opportunity you have to speak and sell to them.

 Here are 5 points as to why to invest in better packaging:

1. With the number of products competing for consumers’ eyeballs and dollars, it’s difficult to grab and maintain their attention. Packaging might be your first and only opportunity to connect with consumers. New products continue to grow and with increasing competition, this creates additional challenges. How do you plan to stand out?

 2. Grab the consumer’s attention in 2 or 3 seconds. In the aisle and on the shelves, when consumers come across the package; it’s your opportunity to make a first impression or to get them to say, “Hey, I know you” or “Okay, let’s talk.” Stand out from your competitors’ products.

3. Create an emotional connection with the consumer. “Emotion activates the brain 3,000 times faster than regular thought. As a result, shoppers are willing to pay up to 200% more when their decision is based on emotion rather than reason.” A great quote by Lucas Conley from his book Branding Disorder. The package’s visual cues should prompt them to pick up the product and purchase it.

4. Don’t be like everyone else. You don’t have to play follow the leader. Just because everyone uses blue, doesn’t mean you have to. Do you want to be like them or do you want to sell? Look for niche markets and appeal to them. You want consumers to like you, to develop an affinity for your product and to spread the good word.

5. Packaging can and should become iconic and firmly rooted in consumers’ minds. A brand that demands a unique positioning in the consumer’s mind, should be uniquely packaged.

Whether it’s a new brand being launched or a heritage brand, shouldn’t it demand mindshare? Act accordingly. Develop trust. Also, the same principles apply to packaging beyond the shelves (B2B, online, etc.). Your marketing has a coherent consistency to it. Your packaging should apply this same discipline and be effective. If your product gets lost in the blur, you’ve got some very big challenges on your hands. Play it smart.

If you want more information or to contact Joe Ray he is President/Creative Director of Estudio Ray
http://www.estudioray.com. His phone number is 602/840/1580 or by email at: joe@estudioray.com
Estudio Ray is A Visual Branding Agency.

Visit his blog at:  http://blog.estudioray.com/

Use Compete.com for your own and others web traffic stats.

Need a quick gut check on your website traffic and Alexa data is not what you thought or you cannot find yourself on Alexa, then try Complete.com.

Here is what their website says “Compete.com provides advertisers, agencies and media companies with actionable digital intelligence. Hundreds of clients, including the world’s leading brands, rely on Compete to help them create more effective websites and more targeted advertising campaigns.”

A lot of what you will want is in the Pro edition and not the free version, but for fast gee how do we stack up against xyz competitor this will do nicely.

Compete’s products include online media planning and measurement tools as well as digital research in the automotive, consumer goods, financial services, media, retail, telecom and travel industries.

Taking your marketing sampling programs to the web with Listia and Craigs List.

If you do sampling programs as part of your marketing mix and are thinking of more distribution points  and are looking for ways to take it viral then think of Craigs list and Listia are two very good ways to get your feet into this market.

Craigs list is a free posting, that can be targeted by city, region or national or international for selling items or for giving things away for free. Check out the list of cities and countries here: http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites

Listia is a free give away website, where you get points. It is an action for free stuff. There website says:” Every user gets free credits. Earn more by selling stuff you don’t need. Use credits to bid on the things you want!” Listia is positioning itself to become a key place on the web for giving away free things, which works really well for sampling programs.  The Listia point concept will give you a way to build a marketplace and community around your free samples. Check them out at:  http://www.listia.com.  Also take a look at www.Freecycle.org, which is a share group for offering items for free or a wish list for getting items for free in local areas across the US.