CaliberPulse

Caliber Group has launched CaliberPulse.com to help businesses stay abreast of the latest consumer behaviors, opinions and marketing trends to survive and thrive. Our agency excels at building brands and relationships. We’re well versed in the use of both traditional and social media to educate, influence or persuade audiences. To deliver an effective message, we know you have to understand your clients/customers: what they want and what they need.

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  • National, regional and local consumer behavior trends and opinions.
  • Insider marketing, public relations and Web marketing trends and tips.

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Success can sometimes be bought with a coupon

Successful retailers have generated business through the practice of “loss leader” sales & promotion (taking the loss on one product to get customer traffic in for upsales). The decisions are not made randomly; these items are selected with purpose and by crunching the numbers to estimate the ROI. That’s exactly how you should look at using the online membership coupon services such as restaurants.com or social promotions sites like groupon.com and livingsocial.com. In an American Express Open Forum Jennifer Van Grove, Associate Editor for Mashable, points out how the pomp and circumstance around Groupon’s success makes it easy to ignore the Posies Cafes of the world. Posies Cafe owner Jessie Burke describes offering a featured Groupon deal as, "the single worst decision I have ever made as a business owner thus far." Burke's primary problem was that after deeply discounting her goods -- $6 for $13 -- and handing over 50 percent of sales to Groupon, she was unable to cover her store's operating costs, including employee payroll.

New media is redefining the way we build brands, reputations: Top 10 trends from the 2010 PRSA International Conference

Even though it is difficult for me to get out of the office for a few days, each year I attend professional conferences to stay on top of the latest consumer trends and new media technologies. This year I attended the Public Relations Society of America’s International Conference Oct.16-19 in Washington D.C. My education started the minute I landed at Reagan National Airport and continued throughout the conference, at the workshops and during the networking sessions, where I interacted with respected peers and educators throughout the world. Here’s a summary of the top ten trends I learned — or confirmed — this year at the PRSA Conference that I hope you will find valuable as you prepare your strategic plans for 2011:

Be Visible: Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You Online

Are you visible to your customers online? Here is a simple test to determine how well you stack up with a “universal search.” Type your company name into a search engine. Are you the master of your own domain? If not, it’s possible that it is difficult for your customers to find you, especially when they aren’t looking for your company directly, but maybe searching for a resource for a particular product or service. Let’s break down the various parts of a search results page to see where you can improve the visibility of your company and own your universal search.

Make it the Biggest, the Smallest, the Fastest, the Longest…

The “it” tactic for companies to stand out in the crowd and promote their brand is by setting a Guinness World Record. An article by the Wall Street Journal highlights a number of companies who have set their way into the Guinness World Records: - Starwood’s Sheraton hotel chain set the record for the most people gathered to participate in the largest-ever resistance-band strength-training class at a Sheraton in midtown Manhattan. (270 people) - Estée Lauder set a record for having the “most landmarks illuminated for a cause in 24 hours” when it had t38 landmarks lit up in pink to promote breast-cancer awareness. - Cricket Communications Inc. teamed up with Samsung Electronics Co. to produce the world’s largest cell phone. At 15 feet long, 11 feet high and three feet wide, it was fully functional. A Guinness World Record helps to create buzz for a company and gives it something to promote. Usually the record set is unusual enough in itself to garner attention, so the company can ride the publicity wave.

What you won’t learn on ‘Mad Men’: Time to slide into the digital age

Are you sliding along the scale between traditional and digital marketing? Perhaps you are among the businesses still using only traditional forms of advertising that have been around for decades, such as outdoor, print, television and radio. Watch any Mad Men episode and you will hear these familiar tactics discussed. Traditional media were used back then, and remain the basis for many organizations’ marketing efforts. But there are many new tools at your disposal to help you reach your audience and garner results. If you haven’t already, start learning about and integrating new digital tactics into your marketing mix. We are not advocating abandoning traditional forms of advertising. Wise marketers are learning how to use all the new tools and including them when assessing what mediums will be used to reach a particular audience or to brand a specific product or service. Balancing the marketing options As with any marketing program, one size does not fit all. Each marketing mix needs to be tailored to the goals and objectives of the client. Don’t feel overwhelmed: You can start in small ways to integrate these new technologies into your marketing. Here are a few examples.

Building Collaborations and Consensus More Challenging in Arizona

Last week I attended a presentation by Dr. Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona State University president emeritus, and learned some meaningful statistics about Arizona residents that communicators will find valuable when engaging with Arizona audiences. These facts were published recently in a state-level report on Arizona’s civic health prepared by the center, with help from the National Conference on Citizenship, a Congressionally chartered organization that publishes America’s Civic Health Index (1).

And I Approve This Message

You’ll be hearing that phrase frequently as political season winds down this month. TV political advertising spending throughout the country is headed to set a record this year. It’s estimated that $3 billion will be spent by the Nov. 2 general election, breaking previous highs of nearly $2.7 billion in 2008 (a presidential election year) and $2.4 billion in 2006. Nationally, non-political advertisers should expect limited or premium-priced inventory availability this month. However, air-time inventory is reasonably available in the local market.

Knock the Dust Off Your Marketing Plan

It’s time to start thinking about your marketing plan for the next year, assuming your fiscal year starts January 1. Around this time of year, assessment and planning starts. What advertising has worked? Should we put more money into interactive advertising? Do we need to revamp our website? While these are all things you should be thinking about, we recommend that you dig deeper.

The “100-Mile Expert” Rule

Earlier this year, I gave a presentation on social media marketing at the League of Historic American Theatre’s national conference, which was held in San Antonio. The 60 theatre-proprietors and attendees that flew in for the conference were very eager to learn about the latest tips and tricks on the ever-expanding social media landscape. Many attendees I talked to claimed that they had seen social media speakers in their own cities, but told me my workshop was the best one they had ever been to. Flattery aside, it is always nice to have people appreciate your expertise. But I realized that I became a victim of the “100-Mile Rule,” which is a term our office has coined for consultants and subject-experts who are viewed as being more credible strictly because they are new, different and work at least 100 miles away.

Good reputations are built on good behavior

Earlier in my career, I met with a business owner who asked me to promote his achievements. His goal was to build awareness and credibility as an expert in his field, among his prospective customers, peers and the media. After telling me about his many good deeds that deserved recognition, I asked him whether he had done any bad things that could harm his reputation and would make it impossible to reach his goal. Naturally, he responded that he had a stellar career and there were no skeletons in his closet. This challenge sounded intriguing, so I went to work and developed a smart public relations strategy to build his reputation. While I was preparing to execute this strategy, I opened the newspaper and discovered one skeleton that my client failed to share with me. To counter the bad news, my client asked me to immediately ramp up his public relations plan and start communicating all of his accomplishments. However, he failed to explain why he was not truthful earlier about his past mistake that made the news.

Laziness about Privacy Settings Can Put You in Peril

Lindsay Lohan, the controversial actress and singer, wrote a song in 2004 called “Rumors” that focused on her need for privacy. Even though she hasn’t done the best job of staying out of the news, her pop hit was slightly prophetic, as confidentiality and personal space has become one of the largest issues surrounding social media use. Whether it’s regarding a Facebook account or an internal networking system, people may be feeling a little like Lindsay did and say, “Well, I just need a little space to breathe. Can you respect my privacy?” Companies and their employees should know the intricacies of their privacy settings to ensure that needed breathing room is always available.

‘Off the record’ comments today could be published tomorrow

Imagine a reporter is interviewing you on a topic of your expertise, whether print, broadcast or online. You’re having a robust, yet friendly discussion that wanders from the original topic into area that is more sensitive. The reporter is engaging and disarming. You’re comfortable with the reporter and begin a sentence: “Off the record …” You feel deceived and a bit hurt when your “off the record” words are in ink and blasted all over the Internet the next day.