Wegmans Supermarket Entices Shoppers with Impressive Magazine

Print is still powerful – if used correctly.

Want proof? Check out the latest issue of Wegmans Menu Magazine.

The well-regarded Rochester, NY grocer publishes an attention-getting, glossy magazine chock full of beautiful photography and enticing recipes. Even non-cooks may be motivated to shop and then head to their kitchens.

Menu Magazine came to my attention via a family member, who recently signed-up for a Shoppers Club loyalty card in advance of a new store opening next week. The magazine was mailed to the home.

After perusing the magazine, I can share three marketing observations:

▶  Make content for the customer. The value and utility of Menu Magazine – products and recipes that make you want to buy – is what hooks the shopper. Of course Wegmans is selling (they are entitled), yet they achieve a business objective by putting the customer first. The magazine’s content makes the reader want to shop, cook and eat.  Continue reading

Duke Libraries Tell Stories to Raise Funds. Plus 3 Tips for Your Marketing Team.

How do you motivate alumni to give money to libraries?

Or, more generally put, how do you persuade someone to do something that’s not top of mind?

You tell meaningful stories.

Storytelling has been a powerful marketing communications tool for a long time.  Today, it’s often talked about in association with content marketing.

And while it’s not a new tactic, when used effectively, it can produce important business results.

Duke Magazine - Special Issue 2013

Duke Magazine – Special Issue 2013

Take this ad for Duke University Libraries, for example.

The photo caught my attention and led me to read about how Duke assigns a librarian to every first-year dorm.

To me, that’s an interesting story I’d like to know more about.  The eye-catching visual, along with the text, quickly dimensionalizes an abstract concept and makes it easy to understand and relate to.  There’s a URL to get more info.

The result:  Duke has a greater chance to raise funds earmarked to its libraries. Continue reading

Now Playing: The Holographic Marketing Communicator

Get ready to bring a bit of Sci-Fi into your marketing toolbox.

Now, thanks to Lawrence, a Tensator Group Company, you don’t need R2D2 to beam a holographic video message.  You can do it yourself.

Duane Reade Holographic Virtual Assistant. Photo: Screen Media Daily.

US drug store operator Duane Reade and London’s Luton Airport have put holographic communications into action (watch video below). Continue reading

Inspired By Harshest Critics, Domino’s Rolls New Pizza

At first glance, the commercial seemed like an SNL parody:  we know consumers think our pizza sucks, but good news, we’ve totally changed the recipe and there’s even a money-back guarantee, so please buy one today!

However, it’s no joke.  Domino’s Pizza has just launched an incredible new marketing campaign for its reformulated pizza.

It’s really startling.  Why would the number one US pizza delivery company highlight that consumers think its product tastes like “cardboard?”

Domino’s is making money but not with topline growth.  Net income for the first three-quarters of 2009 was up 31% versus 2008 and CEO David Brandon commented that  “we are now in a position to invest in our business” and to “invest in our marketing.”  However, domestic same store sales were flat and total domestic retail sales dropped 1.6% in the 3rd Quarter.  This followed a similar 2nd Quarter during which domestic same store sales declined 0.7% and total domestic retail sales fell 2.0%.  Recognizing the topline weakness, the company noted that traffic growth was key to restore excitement in the brand, and that it would rely on product platforms instead of products-of-the-month (November investor presentation).

The competitive landscape likely factored into Domino’s decision to reboot its pizza.  For example, Papa Johns has had a long-running campaign for better taste (“Better Ingredients. Better Pizza”).  Pizza Hut, “the world’s largest pizza restaurant company,” continues to be an aggressive marketer.  And, importantly, the revamped pizza may have been a focal point to galvanize the entire Domino’s network  during the company’s 50th anniversary.  Whatever the motivation, the marketing execution is noteworthy.  The television commercial and Web site “Pizza Turnaround Documentary” both tell a story of negative consumer feedback from focus groups, Twitter, blogs, etc., interspersed with reactions from the President, Marketing Director, Product Manager and Chefs.  Watch here.

Give Domino’s a lot of credit.  Marketing Director Karen Kaiser actually holds up a sheet of paper referencing the cardboard taste comment.  She later says, “We want people to love our pizza.”  Then the chefs show us how they changed the crust, sauce and cheese.  One chef passionately describes how this has been his life for 25 years.  The whole approach is very clever.  Domino’s uses real employees to engage consumers and tell its story head-on, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and comes across as real and genuine as a giant corporation can in such a situation.  It’s almost as if the company is now in the role of underdog, especially when a Product Manager is asked if it’s hard to deal with all the negative feedback and you see her pained response.  There’s even a Hollywood-esque ending to the Web documentary.


Domino’s provides us with a case study example that being direct and intellectually honest with your customers can be a winning play, if done properly.  They listened, did their homework, came up with a solution, and even better, devised a super creative and fun way to broadcast the news to consumers.  The campaign is also a terrific example of how to effectively use employees in communication efforts.  Just one thing, though.  If the pizza still tastes like cardboard . . .

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.



Does Face-Time Mean Revenue Time?

I’m always intrigued by companies that are able to promote and market without direct price cuts, especially during a time of declining demand.

The recession has wiped out a large amount of business travel, particularly international travel, and those who are still allowed to get their passports stamped find themselves traveling coach, even on long overseas flights.  This poses a significant problem for airlines who make excellent margins on high-paying business travelers, especially those in business and even first class.  And online meeting tools such as WebEx and GoToMeeting are making it easier for remote productivity.  What to do?

One simple answer is to cut the price, but that doesn’t address the root cause of why cash-strapped companies have eliminated or curtailed business travel in the first place.  A more sophisticated approach is to figure out a way to use this challenging economic climate for trial generation and customer retention so that the airline is better positioned when the economy rebounds.  British Airways has come up with something clever, taking the idea of government stimulus and bailout spending and applying the concept for its own purposes with a new marketing program.

The airline commissioned research by the Harvard Business Review (2,200 business people) and found that 95 percent  believe that face-to-face meetings are key to success in building long-term relationships, and 87 percent agree face-to-face meetings are essential for “sealing the deal.”  More than half of those surveyed said recent restrictions on business travel have hurt their business.

In an effort to encourage more business travel, BA has developed “Face-to-Face,” a contest promotion targeting small to medium sized businesses (500 employees or less).  The cornerstone of the program is the “Business Opportunity Grant,” with 100 winners receiving the following suite of business services:

  • British Airways airfare for 10 round-trip Club World business class flights.
  • 5 free British Airways World Cargo freight shipments of up to 500 kilos to worldwide destinations
  • $1000 toward accommodation at Courtyard by Marriott
  • 5 Regus Businessworld Gold Cards providing access to business lounges worldwide
  • Canon PIXMA MX860 Wireless Office All-In-One Printer

You have to work for your money, though.  Companies enter online and need to write essays about their objectives for 2010 and how a grant would help grow their business.

British Airways Ad - WSJ 15 September 2009

Advertisement in The Wall Street Journal – September 15, 2009


BA is using the new marketing to remind business travelers just how important the up close and personal touch is.  Simon Talling-Smith, Executive Vice President Americas, explained:  “Face-to-face interaction fuels business.  In these challenging times, you can keep relationships alive through faceless conference calls or live video conferences, but chances are they won’t grow much without some quality face time.  These human connections matter, and it is from those connections that business flows.”


Price is and will always be a critical part of the marketing mix.  Although sometimes necessary, marketers should strive to develop approaches beyond just straight price-cutting.  Try to create a price benefit that can help build your business longer-term instead of just getting a one-time sales spike.  It’s more powerful for building your brand and positioning if you can wrap the pricing mechanism within an activity that actually reinforces the key selling point of the product or service.  In the case of British Airways, they’re reminding a key user segment why personal interaction, and hence business travel, is often a key business criterion for success.  Business travel will return, even if it’s less than before.  The airlines that can do a better job to retain existing users and potentially develop new users will be better positioned to capitalize post-recession.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.