Even as companies have begun to shell out more money to market products and services to reach consumers with tighter purse strings, their marketing departments are facing major hurdles to getting the job done, a new survey finds.

For one thing, the survey of nearly 400 Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) members suggests, more than 70% believe there is a shortage of qualified executive-level talent.

Despite significant growth in retail markets, salespeople in the electronics industry are expected to benefit little from this growth during the coming decade. The number of people employed in retail sales now tops 4.5 million and employment in this sector is expected to grow 12% in the coming decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2006 Labor Statistics. In fact, retail sales is projected to be one of the leading work categories providing the new jobs – approximately 557,000 – between 2006 and 2016 but salespeople in the electronics industry will reap few benefits from the increase.

What is Loyalty Marketing today? Over 75% of the consumers we know and love participate in one or more programs (Source: Jupiter). Our parents' loyalty programs were simple programs with simple rewards: you buy something, and there was a degree of personalization in the product buying experience. Today virtually everyone has a credit card they are building points on, an airline, hotel, rental car, book club, coffee shop, but most of the larger loyalty programs were driven from service-based businesses with perishable products or services. Today, it is confusing to define a loyalty program.

When Saatchi & Saatchi came up with the great concept of Lovemarks they described them as brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason.

I liked the concept and have used it many times in my marketing endeavors.

There are many positives to the concept and I have learned quite a lot from looking at how Lovemarks behave.

In testimony on behavioral advertising, the Federal Trade Commission told the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that "the issues surrounding this practice are complex ... the business models are diverse and constantly evolving, and ... behavioral advertising may provide benefits to consumers even as it raises concerns about consumer privacy."

But no mass influence yet for text marketing

Text messaging is especially popular with US adults ages 18 to 34, according to Universal McCann's 2008 "Media in Mind" study. Respondents from that age group sent an average of 13 text messages every week.

What a great metaphor to discuss email. Stephen Covey has long reigned as one of the core pioneers of self development and time management principles. As such, I'm a firm believer that the email space can benefit from the core principles of the "7 Habits" series.

A strong brand is one of the most powerful assets a company can have. The brand functions as an effective and efficient link between the consumer’s needs and the organization’s value proposition, because it represents the functional and emotional advantages of the concept, which capitalize on the ambitions and aspirations of the consumer. The more successful the brand is in doing so, the greater the chance that a meaningful relationship will develop.

Love it or hate it

By the end of 2009, more than two-thirds of the US population—or 200 million people—will be going online.

Word of mouth, or buzz, simply refers to consumers talking about brands. It is one of the most important factors influencing consumers’ decisions to purchase products or services. New technologies like the internet have increased the speed at which buzz spreads, and the distance it travels, often in a public and trackable manner.

In a first of its kind study comparing word of mouth (WOM) in online and offline venues, the Keller Fay Group and media agency OMD find that offline WOM is
more positive and more likely to be judged highly credible than online talk.

Study results include:

New research from MTV Networks (MTVN) and Harris Interactive, reveals a critical companion metric to measuring audience size, pioneering a new way for advertising brands to target the most engaged and valuable audiences. This research study finds that not all programming viewers are created equal and that the value of television advertising grows as viewers connect with marketing messages across screens.

I was at my sister’s lake house this past week with my siblings and their children. Their six and my two made for a loud weekend. So I went fishing. When I returned I had apparently missed several calls on my cell phone -- all but one from the same large advertiser.

According to new data released by Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI) at The Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement
conference, advertising on multiple platforms results in a significant increase in a campaign’s conversion rate – the percentage of consumers exposed to ads who actually purchase the product or service being advertised. This is in addition to an increase in the exposure and frequency of a campaign.

Energy savings appeal to much of the US online population.

Like many marketers, purveyors of environmentally focused products and services tend to concentrate on youth demographics. After all, these younger generations are growing up in a culture steeped in environmental awareness.

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