Recognizing that American consumers are “under renewed economic pressures”, Walmart CEO is confident that his scenario “could work in Walmart’s favor.”
In short, what’s bad for consumers could be good for Walmart. What a lovely and empathetic sentiment.
Mr. Duke, I wish you could be poor enough for one month to know what it feels like to run out of cash at the end of the month, as you so accurately portray the condition of the average Walmart customer. Do you really think that people who don’t have enough money for gas actually have enough money to shop at Walmart?
Maybe you didn’t mean what you said. Or maybe you didn’t mean it the way it came out. Or maybe you weren’t thinking clearly considering your audience (attendees of the Barclays Capital Retail & Restaurants Conference on Tuesday). I understand that you are a businessman and that your priority goals involve sales and profitability, but dude, show a little compassion.
If you really want to attract more customers to Walmart for all their shopping, and you want to ease their financial pressures, install a few Walmart gas pumps that offer a free gallon of gas for every $20 spent on Walmart products.
In America we call that “give and take.”
The past half decade has been brutal for many – if not most – consumers. The economy has either cost them their job or denied them pay increases essential to keep up with rising expenses. Meanwhile, taxes continue to increase, the cost of staple goods continues to increase and the value of what little consumers own has plummeted. In the meantime, mother nature has dealt the global population a non-stop smackdown that includes hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards and droughts that have devastated lives. Then there are the wars and the oil spills and the Bernie Madoffs of the world.
Nearly 15% of Americans are living below the poverty line. The number of people in poverty reached its highest level in 51 years. Median annual household income is below $50,000.
Consumers are under daily distress… and they need a break. Product manufacturers and service providers who can figure out how to ease their pain and minimize their anxiety in thoughtful, sincere and meaningful ways, have a unique opportunity to establish relationships that could last a lifetime.
On the other hand, greedy, thoughtless business leaders – let’s use the NFL owners, players and agents as an example – will reap what they sew. During the 2010 season, the minimum salary for rookies on active NFL rosters was $285,000. For rookies on practice squads, the minimum salary was $88,000… and these are the lowest salaries. Billions and billions of dollars being fought over in public by greedy, selfish men who could not care less about the consumers who create all that money for them.
Perhaps they are confident that history will repeat itself and fans will come flocking back to support their opulent lifestyles… willing to forgive and forget without consequences. Maybe.
But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Less than 24 hours until the Royal Wedding. But many product manufacturers have been hard at work hoping to get some attention and to cash in on the world’s obsession with Prince William and Kate. You can pretty much find it all from hand sanitizer to refrigerators, tea bags and nail polish.
Here are the most obscure products.
1. GE Refrigerator: This by far has to be the strangest product. Certainly GE was doing this more as a publicity stunt than to generate cash flow. Who would want Prince William and Kate’s engagement picture as a permanent fixture in their kitchen.
2. Prince William and Kate Tea Bags: The Brits are known for their tea, but this is a little over the top with Kate holding money. But if you are waking up at 4 a.m. tomorrow to host a Royal Wedding party, this would be a necessity.
To celebrate the engagement of Prince William of Wales to Ms. Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction has commissioned a unique heritage edition Royal Wedding Souvenir boîte de capotes.
Combining the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be, Crown Jewels condoms promise a royal union of pleasure. Truly a King amongst Condoms.
4. Nail Polish: Butter London nail lacquer in “No More Waity Katie”.
5. Cardboard Cutout: In the event the GE refrigerator wasn’t enough, get a life size cardboard cut out of the couple. These actually sold out on Amazon with a note that states “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” What a shame!
7. Royal Wedding Sick Bags: For those of you who are sick of hearing about the Royal Wedding, this one is for you!
Earth Day has certainly become more commercial since it was first celebrated on April 1970. Now companies, retailers and associations are all taking part. When done well, an Earth Day promotion can certainly help increase brand awareness and loyalty.
Check out a few Earth Day promotions that are engaging consumers AND putting a few greens back their pockets.
National Parks: Get into the 394 National Parks for free on Earth Day.
Starbucks and Caribou: Get a free basic coffee/tea at both retailers when you bring your own reusable mug.
Origins: Bring an empty cosmetic container to your local store and get a free full-size Origins cleanser.
Office Depot: Bring a used writing utensil for vouchers off new merchandise. The used pencils, pens and markers will be sent to TerraCycle, which will turn them into new office supplies.
Radioshack: Get a chance to win an eco-friendly car. When you trade in and recycle used electronic devices, you’ll be entered into the drawing for an electric Nissan LEAF and receive money off a new product.
Disney Stores: Bring five plastic bags to a local Disney store and get a free usable tote.
Lowe’s: Is giving away a million trees.
What is your company doing to support Earth Day? Spread the word and share your campaign/promotion in the comments section.
Media are always on the hunt for new products they know readers will love; and some will even refuse to cover anything other than brand new products from a strict “product review” perspective. But just because your company is not launching a new product this year is no excuse to not reach out to media and get your fair share of media coverage.
Following are six strategies to get coverage for your product, no matter how old or new it is.
1. Dial into a new or resurfacing trend. Do a bit of research and identify a hot trend consumer and media are already talking about. Find a way to tie your existing product into the story.
2. Take a seasonal approach. Do you notice a spike in sales or website traffic during a specific time of year? Pitch your product as a solution for a specific need during a holiday, special event or seasonal change. Not sure exactly where your product fits? Check out this detailed listing of daily, weekly and monthly holidays from national car care to grilled cheese month: http://www.brownielocks.com/
3. Use customer feedback to identify new uses for your product. Document customer testimonials and consider issuing a brief survey polling customers on their favorite way to use your product. Then, package the most unusual and ingenious uses into a pitch to educate media and readers about more ways they can put your product to work.
4. Share advice. Provide a list of tips and inside advice on a topic related to your brand or product, and ensure at least one tip offers your product as a solution. Have an all purpose cleaner? Provide tips for preventing and cleaning up the toughest household messes. The stranger and stickier, the better.
5. Align with a cause. If you have the budget to make a sizeable donation or produce specialty product packaging in support of a charitable cause, this is something you can promote to media. Otherwise, use your product as a means to bring attention to a cause you are passionate about. For example, a company that produces a yoga product can educate media on the health benefits of yoga and how easy it is for anyone to try.
6. Pose a challenge. Does your product always outperform a leading competitor, or does it just do something you have to see to believe? Get media excited by posing a challenge and offering them the chance to participate using your product – make sure you provide a product sample if they accept.
Need help securing media coverage for your company or products? Contact me at kayleigh at sweeneypr dot com or 440.333.0001 ext. 105.
I had the opportunity to attend the “Joining Forces” campaign spearheaded by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at Camp Lejeune. Joining Forces is a new national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society (from neighbors to schools and businesses) to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
I was a little leery going into it that this was basically a dog and pony show to get military family support for the Obama camp, but didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to see the First Lady. As we
crowded into a gym full of Marines and other family members and patiently waited more than 2.5 hours for the event to start, I contemplated if I was actually going to get more out of this than a few pictures of Michelle Obama.
Having a son in the service, Dr. Jill Biden was immediately able to make a connection with the crowd, understanding first hand how difficult it is when a loved one is deployed.
But Michelle Obama really surprised me. Having never experienced the emotional rollercoaster of deployment, she was able to relate to the crowd and sincerely articulate why this campaign is so important. Her passion for the campaign and for us present was truly evident.
In fact, there are already programs in motion that provided credibility for the campaign:
• The Chamber of Commerce will hold hiring fairs for veterans and military spouses in 100 communities over the next year.
• Indeed.com is launching Indeed Military, an online service to help military families find work.
• Best Buy’s Geek Squad will host seminars at 17 military installations on staying connected with deployed family members through technology.
• Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club will guarantee a job at a new location for existing employees who must move because a military spouse is transferred.
• The YMCA and other partners will provide free summer camp for thousands of military children and families in 35 states this summer.
• Educational groups will bring to high schools with a high percentage of military families more Advanced Placement classes and courses in science, technology, engineering and math.
Having been through 6 deployments myself, it became clear that this wasn’t just some smoke and mirrors campaign, but something tangible that hopefully military family members from around the country will experience some positive difference.
And what I loved best about it (as with any good marketing campaign), was there was a clear call to action. Support our military members and support their families. From a simple thank you to a military member or their family to organizing local appreciation events to getting businesses involved, everyone can do something.
You can learn more about the campaign at JoiningForces.gov.
What does Walmart suddenly know that no one else seems to know? At a time when traditional retail sales are struggling to even stay in the shadows of online sales, Walmart has decided to increase its base of SKUs with more than 8,500 products it had previously removed from its already cluttered and overstocked shelves.
One might rightly ask: What’s up with that? Does Walmart suddenly care about its customers? I doubt it; this is the same retailer who maintains 30 checkout aisles in every store but only opens four at a time just to remind customers who is in charge. No, let’s be clear, Walmart hasn’t cared about customers since Sam Walton crossed over in 1992. And even he saw customers pretty much the same way P.T. Barnum saw them.
And that is just fine. People and their companies have the right to generate revenue and make profits, just as consumers have the right to avoid them or willingly hand over their hard-earned incomes. We are a free market economy… sell what you want, buy what you want.
But I have a bad feeling about this new Walmart move. I think they finally realized (or accepted) who their primary demographic is and they are now pulling out all the stops to get them back in their stores before it is all over. I think they now know that older Americans who don’t shop online and need somewhere to go during the day are a prime target. I think they know that middle and lower income families who have yet to embrace online shopping are a prime target. I think they know that a huge assortment of consumers looking for deals on things they simply can not or will not purchase online – everything from cotton balls and laundry baskets to cereal and spaghetti sauce – are a prime target. That’s a pretty diversified audience requiring a pretty diversified product line. And it sounds a little more like Sam’s Club or Costco than Walmart.
Then again, everybody loves a circus. So, maybe Walmart really does know something that no one else knows.
Exhibiting at key industry trade shows can be a very effective marketing strategy. However, trade shows require more than just a booth and booth space. Following are 12 considerations when planning and budgeting for trade shows.
1. Trade show strategy: It is key to develop a strategic plan that identifies pre-, at- and post-show marketing, measurable goals, positioning, messaging and budgets. Do you have staff internally who can mange this or do you need external support?
2. Management: Someone (either internally or externally) will need to manage and coordinate every aspect of the trade show strategy from making the exhibit space deposit to determining post-show booth storage.
3. Exhibit space: Exhibit space costs differ by show and of course by the amount of booth space you want. Also, check to see what else the booth space includes. For example, does it include carpeting and drayage?
4. Booth: Will you rent, purchase or build your own booth? Who will design the actual booth messaging and graphics? Also, plan for the details including booth and equipment shipping, drayage, graphics, signage, furniture (tables, chairs, counters, screens), literature racks, free-standing kiosks, lighting, audio-visual, computers and other technology on site, designated lead retrieval, floral arrangements, etc.
5. Manage set up: Determine the labor required to set up your booth. Will you need utilities, electric/compressed air/gas, carpet, cleaning services, water/plumbing, rigging, special effects or security?
6. Booth staffing: Which personnel will run your booth? Decide now and plan airfare, hotel, local transportation and budgets for food and other expenses early to secure the best rates.
7. Pre-show promotion: What per-show promotions will you do to increase foot traffic to your booth? If you conduct direct marketing, you’ll need to account for invitations, customer/prospect database and postage. Do you plan to conduct pre-show publicity, or advertising?
8. Show/booth promotion: How will you generate excitement and activity at your booth? Booth giveaways, demonstrations, a hospitality suite/booth, literature, show sponsorships, interactive video?
9. Special events and speaking engagements: Most trade shows put out a call for speakers or presentation months in advance. Review the opportunities available; if you have an interesting expert or a great case study to share, consider applying to speak. Also, trade shows typically offer sponsorships that might range from being a show sponsor to sponsoring recycling bins or water coolers. Or, do you plan to conduct booth demonstrations, press conferences or presentations at your booth?
10. Deconstruction and storage: Account for booth deconstruction, drayage, shipping and booth storage.
11. Post-show promotion. How do you plan to conduct follow up with existing customers, prospects and media who expressed interest during the show? Will you use telemarketing, email marketing or direct mail to encourage sales?
12. ROI analysis. Document your results and compare against your strategic plan. Did you meet your goals? What results did the show yield? Was the cost worth the investment?
Need help planning for your next trade show? Contact kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com or 440.333.001 ext. 105 to get started.
While I do have a pair of Glagla shoes, I didn’t purchase them because they were ventilated. Instead, my husband and I were recently on a cruise and one of the stops was St. Thomas. Known for its shopping, we took to the streets and stopped in a small art shop. Right in the middle of the store was a Glagla shoe rack.
The only reason it caught my attention was because the nice sales associate started telling me about these shoes. Rather than focusing on the ventilated benefit, she was promoting how the shoes were so light, comfortable and versatile. You could even wear them in the water; perfect for walks on the beach. This immediately got my attention along with the fun shoe colors, and I was sold.
It wasn’t until we got home and I did some additional research that I saw Glagla was marketing them as the “original ventilated shoe”. Who sets out to purchase walking shoes and says they want a ventilated shoe? Maybe Glagla knows something I don’t or Europeans like ventilated shoes (Glagla is in Paris, France).
Either way there are many more benefits to Glagla shoes that would create more interest among consumers. The fact that they are lightweight is a key selling feature. And considering you need to keep your airline luggage under 50lbs to eliminate extra fees, Glagla shoes are perfect for travel! Also, the ventilation keeps your feet cooler than regular shoes, making them perfect for hiking and walking in hot weather.
I just hate to see Glagla falling short because I think the shoes are pretty cool! Check them out here: http://www.glaglaparis.com/