Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Radio Connects with Voters According to Arbitron Study
Political advertising is a boon to radio broadcasters -- and it's a wise investment for political campaigns, too, judging by the results of a new Arbitron study of political ads and radio audiences conducted from fall 2010-fall 2011 using data from Scarborough Research's "SA+" database.
According to the study, which covered 208,274 individuals, radio excels at reaching voters with specific political affiliations.
The study examined party identification, voter registration status, and how frequently the respondents voted. It found that 38% of adults 18 and older identified themselves as Democrats (28% identified themselves as Democrats and 10% identified themselves as Independents who lean Democrat). Thirty-five percent identified themselves as Republicans (25% identified themselves as Republicans and 10% identified themselves as Independents who lean Republican). Ten percent of adults identified themselves as Independent without leaning either Republican or Democrat and 18% did not identify themselves as Democrat, Republican or Independent.
"The media landscape has grown increasingly complex since the 2008 election year and political candidates are looking for the most effective ways to reach voters," said Ron Rodrigues, Marketing Manager for Arbitron. "Radio's near universal reach of potential voters and its ability to target voting segments that mirror the national landscape through its various music and talk formats make it a highly effective platform for political campaigns.
"In addition to talk-formatted stations, music-formatted stations offer candidates the ability to reach a wider spectrum of voters and enhance 'Register to Vote' and 'Get Out the Vote' initiatives."
Some of the key findings of the study include:
The Federal Election Commission estimates that total political advertising spending will reach $8 billion dollars in 2012, with 50% of that amount spent on radio and television.
- The format with the most listeners nationwide per week according to Scarborough, Adult Contemporary, attracts slightly more Democrats than Republicans -- 39% Democrat and 34% Republican, respectively.
- Surprisingly, with the exception of Alternative Rock, all Rock-oriented radio formats attract more Republicans than Democrats. Classic Rock, Active Rock and Album Oriented Rock all attract more Republican listeners.
- All Urban and Spanish-language radio formats attract a decidedly higher number of Democrats versus Republicans. Gospel and Urban AC have the highest Democratic listener base, with 64% and 61%, respectively.
- Religious and News/Talk/Information formats have the highest percentage of Republican listeners among popular radio formats. The Contemporary Christian format has the highest percentage of Republican listeners at 46%; News/Talk/Information has a listener base of 44% Republicans. However, Public Radio tends to skew more Democratic.
- Country music, the format carried on the most stations nationally, skews more Republican than Democrat, with 41% of its listeners identifying themselves as Republicans. Only 32% of country music radio listeners identify themselves as Democrats.
- The music formats with listeners who characterized themselves as frequent voters include Album Adult Alternative, Classic Rock and Urban AC, all with more than 60% of listeners classified as frequent voters.
(Source: Arbitron and Media Daily News, 03/06/12)
||February Called 'A Breakout Month' for Auto Sales
Sustainable? You Bet, Say Execs and Analysts
The really good news in last week's way-better-than-expected February automotive sales report: It was no fluke. The rest of 2012 looks nearly as strong, and carmakers and their suppliers are nicely positioned to take advantage of the surge in demand.
U.S. new-vehicle sales jumped 16 percent to 1.15 million in February. The 15.1 million selling rate was the highest since February 2008 and was up from 14.2 million in January.
It was a month in which everything seemed to go right. Even soaring gasoline prices were a plus, seeming to boost sales instead of curb them.
Consumer credit is flowing, inventories are rising, and new models are streaming into showrooms. Throw in mild weather and an extra sales day because of leap year and you had a SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) to die for.
But is a 15.1 million SAAR sustainable?
"The February results provide an encouraging outlook for 2012, not only for Toyota and Lexus but for the entire industry," said Bob Carter, head of Toyota Division. "And despite concern about rising gas prices, we're well positioned to respond to shifts in customer demand."
Don Johnson, General Motors' U.S. sales boss, credited a stronger economy, pent-up demand and loosening credit for February sales that he said "surprised many of us."
He added: "The underlying economy is stronger than we had anticipated."
Most analysts expected February's seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales to fall between 13.8 million and 14.3 million.
"It's a breakout month, the first month that far exceeded expectations," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of TrueCar.com.
Dealers were ready for the spike in February demand, starting the month with a 66-day supply of vehicles, the most stock in a year. And they look like they'll be OK for the rest of 2012.
Carmakers and suppliers slashed North American capacity dramatically to survive in 2009 and 2010. As sales gained momentum late last year, several added shifts or are doing so.
Anthony Pratt, Polk's director of forecasting, said automakers could meet higher demand this year as long as it doesn't exceed 15.5 million.
"There could be some short-term constraints, but that would be a good problem to have," he said. "Automakers can manage a small increase, but some of their suppliers might feel a pinch."
Toyota Motor Sales and American Honda are steadily restocking. Each managed a 12 percent sales gain in February, the second straight month each has increased year-over-year sales after struggling with supply disruption caused by the Japan earthquake and Thai floods.
"Inventories are excellent and getting better all the time," Carter said.
Toyota added a second shift at its Blue Springs, Miss., plant in February and will boost Highlander SUV production capacity next year there and transmission output later this year in West Virginia, he said.
February's big volume lifted almost everybody. The only exception was Mitsubishi, which was down 31 percent.
Chrysler Group sales soared 40 percent, Volkswagen Group of America was up 34 percent, and Hyundai-Kia Automotive was up 26 percent. Nissan North America matched the industry average with a 16 percent increase.
General Motors gained just 1 percent from February 2011, when the company ran big incentives. This year GM slashed February incentives by $720, or 19 percent, from the level of February 2011, TrueCar.com said.
Ford Motor Co. slightly underperformed the market with a 14 percent increase in sales. But Ken Czubay, Ford's head of sales and marketing, said "sales momentum built as February unfolded, with higher fuel prices driving consumer demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles in the second half of the month."
Executives sounded relaxed about the trend toward higher pump prices.
"We do not believe short-term fluctuations in pump prices will curtail industry growth this year," GM's Johnson said. "That's because American consumers and the overall economy are in much better shape than they were a year ago."
Lithia Motors CEO Sid DeBoer even sees rising gasoline prices as a sales driver because automakers have introduced more high-mpg models.
"Four- to five-dollar gas won't have the same impact," he said. "If anything, it allows people to trade up to a car that gets 24 mpg rather than one that gets 16 or 18 mpg."
Erich Merkle, Ford's chief sales analyst, said customers looking for "more fuel-efficient offerings" more than doubled February sales of the Focus from a year ago, when Ford was phasing out the old version and introducing the redesigned model.
But he said Ford's sales increase was even greater on the truck side than the car side, led by the F-series pickup gaining 26 percent with two V-6 engines capturing 57 percent of the model's sales mix.
Toyota's Carter said rising fuel prices "are pulling ahead some volume we wouldn't see until later in the year."
Gasoline prices normally begin to rise in late April, he said, which spurs consumers to move to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Because prices went up in February, that shift is happening sooner. Carter said February sales of the Toyota Tacoma small pickup rose 35 percent from the same month last year.
Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group's U.S. sales boss, also discounted fuel prices as a negative because automakers are offering better fuel economy across the board.
"A few years ago higher fuel prices were a threat to our total vehicle sales," he said in a statement. "Today higher prices have become far less of an issue."
GM's Johnson remains upbeat about the rest of 2012. He said consumers will adjust to high fuel prices and added that the continued high value of used cars will help to finance down payments on new vehicles.
"When you look at the equity that people have in their current vehicles, and the improved credit availability and the low cost of financing," he said, "absolutely that's (what) makes it a great time to buy a car."
(Source: Automotive News, 03/05/12)
||Prestige Beauty Category Posts Highest Revenue Total in 15 Years
According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group, total U.S. prestige beauty products generated sales of $9.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 11 percent. In addition, the outstanding dollar results were achieved with all beauty categories surpassing pre-recession levels.
"In the 15 years that NPD has been tracking the prestige beauty industry, we have never seen growth like this -- especially across all categories," said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst for The NPD Group.
Prestige beauty is defined as fragrance, makeup and skincare products sold mainly in U.S. department stores.
- Prestige fragrances experienced the strongest dollar and unit performance in 15 years; dollars grew 11% and units grew 7 percent.
- Juices (excludes fragrance ancillary or gift set items) grew 14 percent for both women and men, driving overall fragrance performance of +11 percent for women and +12 percent for men.
- Fragrance juices priced at a premium of $100 and above helped to propel growth for the category with unit gains of 45 percent versus a year ago.
- Fragrance launches were up 21 percent overall, driven by women's launches, which grew by 33 percent.
- Celebrity brands, specifically women's, were the winners in 2011 with gains of 57 percent.
- Prestige skincare continued to lead prestige beauty with growth of 14 percent in dollars and 9 percent in units.
- In 2011, all six segments posted dollar and unit gains versus 2010: Face ($ +13%, U +9%), Sets & Kits ($ +27%, U +16%), Body ($ +2%, U +2%), Hair ($ +16%, U +12%), and Sun ($ +11%, U +8%).
- Since 2000, anti-aging facial skincare has grown 16 dollar share points to account for 63 percent of prestige facial skincare, or $1.5 billion, a 17 percent increase over 2010.
- Products that have both anti-aging and brightening benefits almost doubled in share in the past four years.
- Premium face products priced at $75 and above experienced a 21 percent dollar increase and a 23 percent gain in units for the year.
"What is most intriguing about the acceleration in prestige beauty performance is the degree to which it stands in stark contrast to the overridingly lackluster consumer outlook. Historically, prestige beauty performance followed the trend of consumer sentiments; however, that is not the case today," said Grant.
- Prestige makeup saw its second year of increases in both dollars (+9%) and units (+6%). It was the first time in 15 years of prestige data reporting that all makeup segments grew in both dollars and units.
- Eye shadow grew 14 percent, the first increase since 2006, Lip color posted a 13 percent growth and Nail had the largest performance in both dollars (+67%) and units (+88%).
- Eye launches gained seven share points to be the largest launch segment in makeup with 39 percent dollar share.
- Premium price points outpaced overall prestige makeup performance. Premium saw the biggest increases in Face (+14%), Eye (+56%), and Sets (25%).
"Though consumer confidence has inched back to the 2008 pre-recession levels, it remains quite shaky. Yet, prestige beauty thrives. And although prestige beauty growth continues at both ends of the spectrum, it is the high-end, premium price points that experienced the strongest gains," she added.
(Source: The NPD Group, 03/01/12)
Daily Sales Tip: Treat Prospecting Like An Appointment
It's usually a good idea to put your prospecting time in your calendar and treat it like you would any other appointment.
If you leave prospecting to "whenever I can get some time," chances are you'll blow it off day after day, week after week.
It will be a lot more effective if you determine how much time you need to invest each day, week, or month in prospecting and block the time off on your calendar.
Source: Adapted from Consultative Closing, by sales trainer Greg Bennett