Marketing

E-mail Newsletters That Customers Actually Read

I recently received an e-mail that had me riveted from start to finish. It contained a true story about two men aboard US Airways flight 1549—the one that crash-landed into the Hudson River. Both passengers had regularly backed up their critical computer data. One did this by transferring info from his hard drive to a second computer, but he had taken both laptops on the plane. The other passenger had used an online backup service called Mozy (owned by EMC). I read their stories in the monthly Mozy newsletter, which I chose to receive when I signed up for Mozy myself. It’s full of fun, interesting, and valuable stories and tips.

During a recent interview, Dave Robinson, Mozy’s vice-president of marketing, explained how any business owner can make an e-mail newsletter more compelling. I also spoke with Janine Popick, chief executive of VerticalResponse, an e-mail and direct marketing provider for small businesses. Here’s their advice on how to get customers to read your e-mail newsletters. Read more of this article at E-mail Newsletters That Customers Actually Read – BusinessWeek, published 4 May 2009.

Flickr photo credit: kin-ichi

By | May 20, 2009|Blog, Marketing|0 Comments

Sweet Returns

An upscale pastry store thrives by finding new markets

As the economy began to deteriorate in early 2008, a few things became clear to Gary Gottenbusch, owner of Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli Inc. in Cincinnati: Customers were purchasing smaller items in an effort to be frugal, and soaring prices for flour and other commodities were threatening to eat into his profits.

A trained baker whose family has been in the bakery business for decades, Mr. Gottenbusch knew the danger the situation posed to his small business, which sells upscale European cakes like Vienna tortes, along with more common fare such as cinnamon bread, at 10 retail locations in and around Cincinnati.

“My overhead was totally fixed, and I knew if I lost my sales, I would lose the profitability,” says the 44-year-old Mr. Gottenbusch. “It was time to be aggressive in getting more volume.”

Chef David Burke is known for his creative cuisine. Now he’s using that same creative approach to weather a downturn in dining out. He talks with WSJ’s Beckey Bright about his strategy.

So, instead of hunkering down and hoping the economic downturn would be short-lived, Mr. Gottenbusch reinvented his business. With the help of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program partially funded by the Department of Commerce and designed to give small firms access to manufacturing specialists and other advisers, Mr. Gottenbusch looked for new customers in unusual places, created unique products to drive store traffic, joined a purchasing association to keep costs in check and took advantage of the real-estate slump to scoop up a new store location on the cheap.

The result: Servatii not only survived last year, it thrived, with sales rising 15% to $8.5 million. …read more at Sweet Returns – Wall Street Journal, published 23 April 2009.

Photo credit: servatiipastryshop.com

By | April 27, 2009|Blog, Marketing|0 Comments

Boost Your Brand

How to find the perfect pitch person to get your message out

Inventor Michael Boehm’s instincts told him the concept he had been shopping to various manufacturers—-a portable contact grill that cooks food items faster and more healthfully-—had great promise. So why couldn’t he find a corporate partner to help take the product to market?

It was 1993, and Boehm had spent a year fruitlessly searching for someone to buy into his idea. Rather than back-burner the grill, he decided what the concept needed–not only to land corporate backing but to resonate with consumers–was some star power.

The rest, as they say, is history. Boehm targeted boxer George Foreman to be the spokesperson for the concept. “I knew he ate two burgers before every fight and that he and his sons were all burger freaks,” he says. “To me, he was a perfect fit to represent the product.”

After checking out a prototype of the grill, the Foreman camp agreed it was a good match, and the heavyweight signed on to represent the product. Soon thereafter, with Foreman’s muscle behind the grill, Boehm found a company, Salton, to take it to market. Now, 14 years after Salton rolled out the George Foreman Grill, it has sold a whopping 100 million units.

The Foreman grill has become a textbook example of how enduringly valuable a high-profile spokesperson can be when that person is carefully selected and wisely deployed in the scheme of a marketing strategy. …more at Boost Your Brand – Entrepreneur.com, published 2 April 2009.

Flickr photo credit: pdicko

By | April 6, 2009|Blog, Marketing|0 Comments