Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Elvis Duran to Host NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show
The National Association of Broadcasters announced on Wednesday that the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show will be hosted by nationally syndicated radio host Elvis Duran. The event will take place September 15 at the 2011 Radio Show at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois.
"Elvis is the 'host of the party' on his national radio show," said NAB Executive Vice President of Radio John David. "We couldn't be more thrilled to have him host the Marconis -- one of Radio's biggest parties of the year."
Elvis Duran's national radio show, syndicated on Premiere Networks, is the most-listened-to Top 40 morning show in the U.S. and consistently ranks number one across multiple demographics and top markets. Broadcasting live from New York's Z100, Duran and his on-air crew entertain listeners with up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit songs, and regular features such as the gossipy "The Sleaze," the fashion-forward "Rage Page," and the ever-popular prank "Phone Taps."
Duran's radio career has spanned 30 years and has included both host and program director duties at Philadelphia's WIOQ and Austin's KBTS, as well as stints at Z-93 in Atlanta and KRBE Houston. He began hosting his daily radio show on New York's Z100 in April 1996. Since then, the show has enjoyed much success, resulting in a national deal in March 2009 with the country's leading radio syndication company, Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel. In only a year, Elvis Duran and the Morning Show added more than 30 stations.
Duran and his program have been honored with several awards and nominations such as "Best Morning Show" by New York's Achievement in Radio Awards, "Personality of the Year" by the Radio Music Awards, "Best Personality" by Radio & Records, "Best Top 40 Disc Jockey" nomination by Billboard Magazine Radio, and "Best Major Market Top 40 Air Personality" by Billboard/Airplay Monitor.
Established in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show. To reserve a table, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Radio Show
The 2011 Radio Show, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters, will be held September 14-16 in Chicago. This year's show brings radio broadcasters and industry colleagues together to share knowledge, discover the latest innovations, network with industry leaders and explore creative business strategies to help radio flourish in the digital age. To learn more about the 2011 Radio Show, visit www.radioshowweb.com.
||Back to School? Summer Season for Shopping Is Early This Year
This year, for the back-to-school shopping season, it is, as a sage once said, getting late early out there.
Many retailers and advertisers are moving up the start of their sales and marketing campaigns devoted to children's clothing, stationery, computers and other back-to-school merchandise. In at least one instance, ads that promote buying such items on layaway appeared in mid-June -- when schools in several parts of the country were still in session.
The front-running of the back-to-school shopping season is not unlike how Madison Avenue has for years been advancing the start of the Christmas shopping season. Indeed, even as some retailers begin their back-to-school sales early, they are also sponsoring "Christmas in July" sales.
In both instances, the reason for getting an early start is the same: with an uncertain economy, the goal is to gather ye consumer dollars while ye may, even if it may peeve some tradition-minded shoppers.
"We're not trying to shorten summer," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer at Kmart, part of the Sears Holdings Corporation, which moved up its annual ads about buying on layaway to mid-June from around the Fourth of July.
Instead, Mr. Snyder said, it is in response to changes in consumer behavior as "the high price of gas has compressed the frequency of trips" to shop.
"Rather than having to make additional trips," he added, consumers are "doing it early."
The first weekend in July brought newspaper circulars with back-to-school pitches from retailers like Staples, Target and Toys "R" Us. The next weekend, they reprised those themes and were joined by other chains like Best Buy ("Your back-to-school destination").
At the same time, August issues of magazines like All You, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living and Parents have been arriving on newsstands and in subscribers' mailboxes with back-to-school ads from Lands' End Kids, Target and Wal-Mart, along with brands like Frito-Lay, Kellogg's, Germ-X hand sanitizer ("A back-to-school necessity") and Microsoft (make a new PC "school-ready with Office 2010").
Also last week, the declaration that "Back to school is kicking off at @Macys!" was received by those on Twitter who follow the Macy's division of Macy's Inc.
Marketers and retailers "have some reason to be nervous" and thus are "more proactive in reaching out to shoppers these days," said Frank Badillo, senior economist for the Kantar Retail unit of WPP in Columbus, Ohio.
Consumers, particularly in lower-income households, are "stepping up their efforts to look for deals," Mr. Badillo said, so "to be successful your message needs to be, 'This is what I can do to help you make ends meet in this economy.'"
Entertainment Promotions, which offers discounts through properties like Entertainment Book Membership and entertainment.com, started its back-to-school campaign on June 20, about a month earlier than last year.
"Consumers are worried, and they're stretched," said Dean DeBiase, chairman and chief executive at Entertainment Promotions in Troy, Mich. "They say, 'If I have to spend that money anyway, I might as well snag some deals in the dog days of summer.'"
The company also sells coupon books to schools as fund-raisers to sell to consumers, he added, and activity there "is also much earlier this year."
"It's almost like nothing stopped for summer," Mr. DeBiase said.
At Staples, said Carrie McElwee, a spokeswoman in Framingham, Mass., savings "always is a focus, but today it is more so." Although the back-to-school ads have "about the same timing for us as in previous years," she said, Staples is bringing out new offers for 2011 like a Back to School Savings Pass.
The pass entitles customers to 15 percent off purchases of items like backpacks, calculators and notebooks. It costs $10 and can be used once a day in Staples stores from July 3 through Sept. 17.
Also, students who show school IDs can receive a $100 Visa prepaid card through the Staples Easy Rebate program with the purchase of one of four laptop computers "that were chosen specifically for student needs," Ms. McElwee said.
A spokeswoman for Target in Minneapolis, Jennifer Mooney, said the retailer was "focused on delivering more value than ever" at Target stores and on target.com.
Although the back-to-school merchandise "is available at the same time this year as it was last year," she added, there is a renewed emphasis on savings through coupon offers.
For instance, "new this year," Ms. Mooney said, is a promotion in certain stores called Text to Get Coupon, by which shoppers can receive "an instant mobile coupon on specific items" like General Electric light bulbs.
One retailer is zagging while the others are zigging. J. C. Penney plans to introduce its back-to-school campaign next week, which will be a week later than last year.
"There is still a peak in the middle of August" to back-to-school shopping patterns, said Bill Gentner at Penney in Plano, Tex., who is serving as interim chief marketing officer after the retirement this month of Michael J. Boylson.
The later start is to help "make sure the campaign resonated with our customers," Mr. Gentner said. The ads will present Penney as "a headquarters for style and, at a time when it's so important, value," he added.
There will also be a cause marketing campaign, carrying the theme "Pennies From Heaven," that is to run through Aug. 27. Shoppers will be invited to round up purchases to the nearest dollar, with the additional sums, up to $1 million, being donated by Penney to local after-school programs like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Y.M.C.A. of the U.S.A.
(Source: The New York Times, 07/19/11)
||Guests Happier with Hotel Prices Despite Rising Rates
Hotel guests this year are more satisfied with the price of a hotel stay despite rising room rates, an annual survey of travelers finds.
The counterintuitive finding, from J.D. Power and Associates' 15th annual study of North American hotel guest satisfaction published this week, also comes as many hotels continue to charge extra for Internet access and travelers say they're generally less satisfied with their overall hotel experience than they were last year.
The finding surprises Stuart Greif, J.D. Power's global travel practice chief.
"You'd expect that when prices go up, satisfaction should go down with cost and fees," Greif says.
By "cost and fees," the study refers to hotel rates and fees for Internet service, parking and other amenities.
The study measures consumers' enthusiasm with hotels generally and in specific areas, as well as with large chains from across the price spectrum.
Hotels may have airlines to thank for the uptick in satisfaction with hotel expenses, Greif says.
Airlines have been more aggressive than hotels in raising prices because they control the number of seats available for sale, he says.
Hotels cannot control the number of rooms they have available, and so they haven't had the power to raise rates as much as airlines, he added.
Travelers, meanwhile, are less happy than last year as many hotels had postponed property improvements during the recession.
Last year, they had an easier time getting upgrades into nicer rooms and benefited from shorter check-in lines because hotels were emptier, Greif says.
This year, some of those pleasant surprises have disappeared as more business travelers get back on the road.
"So now we see a strain on check-in times, and folks who want to use the treadmill may have to wait a little longer," he says. "Expectations bounce back faster than hoteliers are able to catch up to."
According to industry tracker Smith Travel Research, U.S. hotel occupancy through May was 65%. That's 5% higher than last year.
The average rate hit $102, or 4% more than a year ago.
The J.D. Power study measures overall hotel guest satisfaction by examining seven key measures: reservations, check-in/check-out, guest room, food and beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and costs and fees.
The study is based on responses gathered in May and June from more than 61,300 guests from North America who stayed in a North American hotel between May 2010 and May 2011.
Other highlights from the survey:
• Free Internet. This year's survey shows that a traveler's satisfaction with a hotel is 32 points higher if Internet fees are included in the rate.
"Even among the highest-ranking luxury players such as Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, when they charge separate Internet fees, it cuts against what could be higher levels of satisfaction," J.D. Power says.
• Most-improved chain. Holiday Inn's rating underscores the massive transformation the chain's hotels have completed in the last several years, Greif notes.
Holiday Inn this year is the highest-ranked chain in its category, following gains made last year.
"That's something that didn't happen overnight," he says. "It shows that when hoteliers are focused, they can take even brands that have fallen on hard times and reinvigorate them."
• Making a difference. Satisfaction scores for the upscale hotel category show a small point spread between most of the 10 chains listed, such as No. 1 Embassy Suites, followed by Omni, Marriott, Westin and Renaissance. That raises the question, Greif says: "How does a hotel distinguish itself?"
Hotels, he says, need to work even harder to stand out from the pack as more hotels embrace technology that reduces travelers' interactions with humans, such as automatic check-in kiosks.
"The bright spot for hotel guests is that costs and fees remain relatively low, so the value received for the price paid is still quite high," Greif says. "The bright spot for hoteliers is that there appears to be more upward opportunity on rates."
(Source: USA Today, 07/20/11)
Daily Sales Tip: Overcoming Call Reluctance
Hesitation to make contact with prospective new clients causes more failures for salespeople than any other single factor. Why? Because if you don't approach enough people, it makes little difference how thorough your expertise is. Without a steady flow of prospects, your magnetic personality, credentials, product knowledge, and perfect presentations won't make much impact. Inactivity on the prospecting front nullifies your ability to engage these other strengths.
Successful selling usually involves five steps:
1. Identifying prospective clients (includes identifying referral sources).
2. Initiating contact with prospective clients and referral sources.
3. Introducing yourself, your products and your services.
4. Informing prospective clients of how you can help (giving your sales presentation).
5. Influencing the prospect's decision to buy from you.
Many salespeople are uncomfortable with steps 2 and 3, initiating and introducing -- but without them, informing and influencing can't happen! Ultra-professional presentation skills, dazzling rapport-building, detailed product knowledge and clever closes cannot and will not return a penny of profit if you don't have enough prospects.
The math is simple: Successful salespeople consistently initiate contact with more prospects than their less-than-successful counterparts.
Source: Sales coach/trainer Connie Kadansky