Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Haworth Marketing + Media’s New Space Reflects Media as Art
I was in Minneapolis last month for meetings with Target and our partners at Haworth Marketing + Media, and had the opportunity to visit and tour Haworth's new office space. Blown away by the design would be an understatement.
Haworth is more than a media agency; they are strategic marketing partners to both the clients they serve and the media companies they collaborate with, including and especially Radio and the RAB.
Their culture is one of contagious energy about all things media. They nurture a team of curious, forward-thinking, positive people who love their craft, and the chance to apply it to a great list of Haworth partners including Target stores, Ben & Jerry's, Caribou Coffee, Ameristar and Sealy, just to list a few.
What makes them different from most traditional media shops is that they truly change the conversation in media. Haworth is known for not just delivering impressions, but also creating impressions that translate into deep, emotional connections between brands and consumers.
When Haworth's president, Andrea Luhtanen, began conceiving the look and feel of their new offices, it was her goal to translate the "creative media design" aesthetic that Haworth is known for and ultimately reflect that differentiation throughout their space. Mission accomplished, as it's open, bright, colorful and filled with energy and media inspiration.
"I wanted to have the feeling that walking into Haworth screams creative media; why not have your space reflect your culture and sensibility," says Luhtanen. "It all started by a desire to incorporate media visuals into our conference rooms. Turning a pop-of-color into the backdrop of a radio tower or surrounding a white board with newspapers rolled and inserted into Plexiglas puts form into function."
When you climb the stairs to the broadcast department, you're connected floor to floor by a phenomenal lighted sculpture that brings Haworth's brand identity to life in a magnificent way. Once upstairs in the Broadcast Department, I was struck by a huge white wall panel that is partially filled with Radio station bumper stickers. I grabbed for my cellphone to snap a photo to share with you because my immediate reaction was -- how great is this? We need to fill that wall!!
Bumper Sticker art was inspired by a desire to repurpose the huge panel they had built but no longer needed in their design. The thought was to fill it with color and campiness that screamed creative media design. Luhtanen, her partner in crime, Cathy Marchio, VP of Agency Operations, and Lisa Nolte, their graphic designer, brainstormed a bit and thought: What's more colorful and campy than radio bumper stickers? This canvas truly is "art in motion" as each day new stickers are added and it continues to evolve.
Check out the photo tour of Haworth's inspired space through this link, and if you don't see your station's bumper sticker on the wall, please mail one to me at the address below and I will forward a package to fill the space on to the agency:
Tammy Greenberg, SVP, Business Development
Radio Advertising Bureau
125 West 55th Street, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10019
||Health Insurers Learning How to Woo New Customers
As the health care overhaul moves ahead, the nation's health insurers are scrambling to reinvent themselves, hoping to boost their image and entice millions of Americans to enroll, some for the first time.
The new customers will mostly shop for and buy their own insurance -- a different and harder-to-reach group than the industry's traditional employer clients. So insurers are seeking novel ways to reach them -- online, in shopping centers, even when they're preparing their taxes.
Blue Shield of California has opened a center inside Lucky Supermarket in San Francisco, offering wellness visits and consultations with a company "ambassador," who can answer questions and sign up people for coverage while they buy fruits and vegetables. Blues plans in Florida, Pennsylvania and three other states have also opened store-front sales centers.
Customers going to H&R Block this tax season will be asked if they want to learn about health insurance options, part of a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield expected to expand to as many as 40 states by next spring.
And some patients will find their urgent care centers and doctors' practices are now owned by insurers whose names may be emblazoned above the door.
All this is happening in anticipation that an estimated 9 million people will buy their own insurance in 2014 -- about 50% more than do so now. That's when the law goes into full effect and virtually all Americans will be required to have health insurance. Those not covered through their jobs will be able to buy policies online, through so-called exchanges that will be run by the states or the federal government.
These new consumers are expected to shop for health insurance the same way they do for a computer or a car -- seeking out a trusted brand.
Ana Gupte, a managed care analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., says cultivating brand identity is part of the new strategy. "You have a Humana plan and see a Humana doctor and go to a Humana store in a strip mall," she says.
The law shakes up the industry's old business model by removing one of the key ways it currently limits financial risk: rejecting individual applicants with health conditions. Instead, starting in 2014, insurers can't reject anyone, or charge more based on health history. They can, however, vary rates based on age, tobacco use and where applicants live.
At the same time, most Americans will be required to carry insurance -- or face a fine -- and federal subsidies will be available to help some do so. It is uncertain whether the subsidies and fines will be enough to entice younger and healthier people to buy insurance, seen as necessary to spread costs and help slow premium growth. "This is a revolution in health insurance regulation: Insurers in the non-group market will have to play by new rules," says health policy expert Jonathan Oberlander at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
While the majority of people -- about 170 million -- will continue to get insurance through their jobs, the individual market represents "real income for the health industry, and it will move fast in the next few months to target that group," says Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute.
Ramping up marketing
Compared with the traditional business of selling coverage to employers, the individual market is "high-risk and has been seen as more of a nuisance" than as a great business opportunity in the past, says Robert Laszewski, a former industry executive-turned-consultant.
Still, insurers "believe they have to participate," because millions of Americans are likely to move in and out of that market after 2014, he says.
Insurers are ramping up marketing efforts, readying themselves both for the influx of individual purchasers and the expected growth of state Medicaid programs. In addition to the subsidies to individuals, the federal health law expands eligibility for Medicaid to more low-income Americans, adding as many as 17 million people to the rolls if the law is fully implemented in all 50 states. Most states contract Medicaid coverage to private insurers.
Between the Medicaid expansion and the new focus on individuals, "You're going to see a lot more direct-to-consumer advertising," says Gupte.
While no one knows for sure exactly who or how many will enroll in these policies, a PwC report projects that the newly insured will be slightly younger, less educated and less well-off than those currently insured.
"These will be people who are very new to the whole experience of health insurance coverage," Connolly says.
As a result, one of the first challenges for insurers -- and the states setting up new marketplaces where they will shop -- will be educating potential customers that the online markets exist and that subsidies may be available to help defray the cost of coverage. Such efforts are likely to target people "where they are," including on buses, subways, social-media sites, malls and sporting events, says Laszsewski.
Insurers are already developing advertising that appeals to younger Americans, and trying to simplify paperwork, roll out smartphone apps and make it easier to contact medical staff by e-mail.
Such changes "will raise satisfaction and the regard of the health industry and insurers in consumers' eyes," says Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy officer for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Gupte says policies aimed at individuals and Medicaid beneficiaries will look a bit different than those commonly sold to employer groups. They will feature smaller networks of doctors and hospitals, more like the health maintenance organizations (HMOs) of the 1980s than the open-model plans favored by workers enrolled in job-based coverage.
Coverage sold through the exchanges must also fall into one of five standardized options: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum or Young Adult, so consumers can easily compare them. Premiums for the plans will vary. Besides ramping up their marketing efforts, insurers are also having to figure out how much to charge for new policies, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. But it's tricky: If they set premiums too high, insurers could drive business to competitors.
Low prices could spell a big financial loss. Insurers must submit their prices to state and federal regulators soon, well before anyone knows how successful enrollment efforts will prove and whether the new enrollees will be healthier or sicker than those currently insured.
"Our actuaries have said this is the single-most-challenging and problematic pricing decision they have ever had to make in their careers," says George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente.
The uncertainty also extends to whether the new marketplaces will be ready on opening day. Many states had waited for the outcome of the presidential election to decide whether to set them up -- and may now be out of time. A federal backup exchange is expected to be put in place in states that don't take action.
The penalties for not carrying coverage are also likely to affect enrollment. Policy experts question whether penalties are too low -- as little as $95 the first year -- to spur some to buy coverage.
With the "cloud of uncertainty" over the law's future lifted, discussion will turn to "how to make coverage more affordable," says Phil Blando, a consultant whose clients include insurers. "They've regulated insurers pretty tightly in this law. As cost pressures mount, where will lawmakers go to address that?"
(Source: USA Today, 12/04/12)
||Study Shows Many Consumers Would Consider Non-Banks as Mortgage Providers
Eighty percent of consumers are willing to use a non-bank for their next mortgage, according to a Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group consumer mortgage study.
The management and technology consulting firm, which serves the financial services industry, released findings from its U.S. consumer mortgage study, which surveyed 618 U.S. consumers online in September.
Among the findings of "U.S. Mortgage Lending: Strategies to Gain Share in the New Normal," one in three consumers would consider a mortgage from Walmart and 48% would consider a mortgage from PayPal.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based CG surveyed consumers to learn about their views toward home ownership, how recent changes in the mortgage industry impacted their application experience, which factors are most important in the mortgage application process, and whether consumers would be willing to consider an alternate mortgage provider.
Although consumer satisfaction with primary banks ranked high (81%) the study reveals continued frustrations with current mortgage processes that could drive consumers to alternative home loan providers.
High interest rates, high payments, and taxes and escrow are the top three most frustrating issues regarding consumers' current mortgages.
Some 56% of consumers blame slow execution as one of the most painful aspects of the mortgage process, and 32% said the mortgage lenders were difficult to communicate with.
Thirty-one percent were frustrated by being unable to track the status of their mortgage application, and 26% said they received untrustworthy advice.
"Consumer attitude is driven by three things -- price, service and trust," said Doug Hautop, senior manager and Lending Practice lead for CG, in a release. "Institutions looking to gain market share must target customer values instead of traditional asset segmentation."
(Source: Marketing Daily, 12/05/12)
Daily Sales Tip: Learning From That Sale You Lost
My mom always used to tell me how we learn more in life from our failures than we do from our successes, yet for too many of us in sales this concept doesn't seem to sink in.
I've lost plenty of sales in my life. If I wanted to get really down on myself, all I'd have to do is take a piece of paper and start writing down as many as I could remember. If I wanted to go into a complete state of despair, all I'd have to do is to write down next to each sale I lost the amount of commission I failed to receive because of the lost sale.
For this simple reason, too many of us in sales choose not to dwell on what didn't happen. Instead, we merely move on.
It's much easier to move on than dwell on the past, and I'm a firm believer that dwelling on the past doesn't do anyone any good. If you want to damage your sales motivation, go right ahead and dwell all you want.
As much as we can't dwell on the past, we do need to spend a few minutes doing an autopsy on the lost sale and learning from it. If we don't learn from each sale we fail to close, then we're committing ourselves to a pattern of losing more sales.
The key I've found to the process is to do the autopsy on the failed sales call right away. The sooner you can do it, the sooner you can apply what you've learned to the next sales call.
The only downside to doing it quickly is you have to make sure you're in a stable frame of mind. I'm not meaning to be rude with this comment, but you can't think clearly if you're so hot emotionally over losing the sale. If you are worked up over the lost sale -- wait till you calm down. Then do your autopsy.
Ask yourself the following questions:
-- Was I able to get the customer to state their key needs and desired benefits?
-- Why specifically did the customer choose not to buy from me? How do I know that?
-- What were two things I know the customer appreciated about me?
-- What did the customer ask and how did I answer? What can I learn from the questions?
-- What were all of the customer's objections and how did I respond to them?
-- Did the customer clearly understand my value proposition? How do I know that?
-- What closing technique did I try? How specifically did the customer respond to it?
-- What did the customer agree with me on? How can I leverage this for future sales?
-- What is my next step with this prospect/customer?
Take the time to answer these questions. Doing so will provide you with key information you need. Also, never hesitate to go back to the customer after they've turned you down and ask them why they didn't select you. Be sincere in how you speak to the customer and be appreciative for what they tell you.
This is not the time to be defensive or attempt to convince the customer they've made a dumb decision by selecting someone else. Your ability to be professional and appreciative in listening to what the customer shares with you will do more than anything else to help ensure you have a good relationship going forward with that person.
It's been my experience both personally and professionally that by doing this process right, you can position yourself to become the salesperson these individuals turn to in the future.
The beautiful thing about this entire process is you come away with two major outcomes.
First, you find out things you can do differently to help you with other customers. Second, you deepen your relationship with the customer you weren't able to close, setting yourself up to potentially close with them next time around.
Source: Sales consultant/speaker Mark Hunter