Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Most Effective Political TV Commercial In Jacksonville Market Isn't For Politics

There is a “political attack” ad on the air in Jacksonville but it doesn’t promote a candidate and nor does it advocate a political issue. And it is one of the most effective commercials you’ll ever see.

The commercial promotes banners, signs and brochures. The spot is for FedEx Office. The scene is set on a spoof of two opposing city council candidates waiting be served at a FedEx Office retail center. While they appear to be civil to each other, they are actually attacking one another.

FedEx does a great job in using a very creative, humorous and timely commercial to effectively convey the various services its retail centers offer to customers, including candidates. Unlike the real political attack ads we have endured for over a year, this one makes dirty tricks funny.

This political season, I vote FedEx Office as the best political, and best overall, television commercial of the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Small Business Marketing Update - Scary TV Spot Appearing In Jacksonville Market Is Appropriate For Halloween

One of the scariest things I have seen is the television commercial for Cars.Com. Not only does it look creepy, I am mystified by what it is supposed to say. While the graphic attracts your attention, you tend to miss the message, which is actually sung by the face in the woman’s hair. I rate it high for Halloween but low for effectiveness. 

Small Business Marketing Update - First Coast Manufacturers Association To Hold Strategy & Finance Summit

Jacksonville’s First Coast Manufacturing Association (FCMA) will be conducting a half day forum November 5th to discuss the financial and strategic issues facing manufacturing firms, locally, nationally and globally, in the current economic environment.

The forum will be a valuable opportunity for those small businesses that either market for or market to area manufacturers, logistics companies and various businesses that support the manufacturing industry.

Topics to be covered include…
  • Transformations: How To Capitalize On Accelerating Change And Innovation;
  • America’s Coming Energy Surplus And What It Means For Manufacturing;
  • Europe’s Debt Crisis: Threats And Opportunities For U.S. Manufacturing;
  • The U.S. Economy – Debt, Deficits, And Your Cost Of Capital;
  • Quick-hit references and resources that will address the US “fiscal cliff,” the changing pricing and risk management tools of the insurance markets, and capital sources from Miami to Atlanta.
Speakers include representatives from large and small manufacturers, the energy sector, financing specialists, and the Federal Reserve. Those participating include:
Ø    Matt Badiali, a geologist and natural resource specialist who has traveled the globe to evaluate energy sources;
Ø    Gregg Quick and Steven McInall, from JEA, to discuss what power options are available locally – or coming in the near future;
Ø    Chris Oakley, Regional Executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta;
Ø    Carleton Knotts, Trane Commercial Systems, to talk about how manufacturers can be sure they lowered their energy demand as much as possible, without compromising operations.
Ø    Greg Johnson, Director Manufacturing, Soler-Palau Inc., and Cindy Hildebrand, CEO, CF Machine, to share their experiences in capitalizing on accelerating change.

“There are so many questions circling the manufacturing industry, from the U.S. presidential outcome to the Middle-East unrest to taxes to the economic collapse of European nations, it is difficult for business owners, presidents and CEOs to navigate,” explained Lake Ray, president of FCMA. “So this is a forum that is certainly timely and could prove to be extremely helpful for developing future strategies for manufacturers.”

The Summit will be held Monday, November 5th at the University Center (building 43 – 12000 Alumni Drive) at the University of North Florida, from 7:30 AM to noon. The cost is $99 for FCMA members and $199 for the general public. Reservation details are available at

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Small Business Marketing Update - The Future Of Free Broadcast TV Could Be Behind The Fight Between Jacksonville's WTLV/WJXX Owner And Dish Network

For the past month, you may have seen programming alerts on your television screen warning that Dish Network viewers will lose their local NBC and ABC programming unless they contact Dish to complain.
The issue centered around a dispute between Dish Network and Gannett Co., that owns ABC, CBS and NBC-affiliated stations in 19 cities, including WTLV and WJXX in Jacksonville.
The companies just settled this particular dispute and Jacksonville Dish subscribers don’t have to worry about losing their programming. But there could be a bigger issue lurking in the future.
Several news sources have reported that this dispute centered on Gannett asking for increased fees to carry their stations. But as leverage, Gannett wanted to include penalties on Dish because of their new “AutoHop” feature on their Hopper digital video recorders that allows customers to automatically skip commercials from the previous day’s broadcasts.
No details of the settlement were reported but there are other pending lawsuits involving Dish and the other broadcast networks that specifically addresses the ad-skipping feature.
As reported by David Kravets of Wired.Com, Fox, CBS and NBC have filed federal suits against Dish claiming that the DVR’s service breaches copyright law and transmission agreements. He says the networks are labeling the practice a “bootleg” service that produces unauthorized copies of their shows by recording programming that can be seen at a later date.
But the real issue here, according to the networks, is that if the courts don’t block the service, it “will ultimately destroy the advertising-supported ecosystem that provides consumers with the choice to enjoy free over-the-air, varied, high-quality primetime broadcast programming.
Another development that is likely to muddy the waters is that Apple was just granted a patent that will allow its users to skip unwanted audio and video broadcast commercials when listening or viewing content like songs, podcasts or other media, including Apple’s new TV offerings.
As a television viewer, you might think it would be great to skip through some of those loud and obnoxious car dealer spots or embarrassing hospital commercials. But there is a great potential downside for viewers, and more so for small businesses who rely on local broadcasts to help advertise their products and services.
If a local TV station cannot deliver an audience, specifically a targeted demographic, to an advertiser, then that station will not be able to survive. And without the station, viewers will be without their favorite network shows and their valued local programming.
Joe Arico, author of the article “Consequences of Skipping Commercials” on Mobiledia.Com has an interesting take on what could happen if technology like AutoHop threatens the traditional broadcast model, which generates most of the profits and revenue for local broadcast stations.
Arico says if advertisers cannot reach viewers with traditional commercials during programs, the networks may look at other opportunities to reach potential customers. One example he describes is having a favorite television character blatantly using or promoting commercial products within the context of the show.
That already happens now, more in movies than TV, under the practice called product placement. The best extreme example is demonstrated in the movie, The Truman Show with Jim Carrey. Throughout the show, various movie characters would go into product pitches constantly confusing the movie’s central character, Truman.
The main point of using product placement in television shows, means that regardless of how someone watches a show, recorded or not, the product exposure is guaranteed.
Another way Arico believes networks could increase their ratings and bypass DVR viewing is with more live programming. Studies show programs that networks air live, such as the American Idol, The Voice and sporting events, have better ratings and little DVR viewing.
He also believes the networks will place an emphasis on even more live reality shows and decrease the amount of scripted shows they produce. Reality TV is often inexpensive to produce and it performs just as well as hour-long dramas and half-hour sitcoms.
With our new technology, everything is up in the air. For added revenues, local stations are pushing their digital sites as strong as their broadcast products. Live streaming; sites like Hulu; packages such as Netflix; and others are also changing the viewing landscape.
Even with all of the technological changes, some market analysts say that the ad-skipping feature might eat into just one percent of advertising revenues and that maybe the broadcasters are overstating their case.
But we have already seen the hemorrhaging of the newspaper industry. We may just be seeing the beginning of the end of traditional broadcast advertising, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Chief Meteorologist Points Out 121 Financial Credit Union For Protection

121 Financial Credit Union recently relocated its Mandarin branch in Jacksonville, Florida. For the ribbon cutting ceremony, officials at 121 Financial invited celebrity John Gaughan, WJXT-TV’s chief meteorologist, who decided to use a 121 Financial umbrella for protection. At the time, Hurricane Isaac was headed toward Florida. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Reporters Conspire To Trip Up Romney At Jacksonville, Florida News Conference

Whether you’re a small business owner, just an individual trying to find out the latest news, or even if you’re involved in politics, you would hope that the news you get from the media, especially the national media, would have some semblance of truth and honesty.

Well, that didn’t happen at a major news conference today in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.

Before Governor Romney delivered his message regarding the situation in the Middle East, national reporters were caught on an open microphone, conspiring with each other on how to trip up the presidential candidate.

According to website, which has the transcript of the conversation and the recording online, a CBS News reporter they identify as Nancy Cordes was talking with other reporters, coordinating questions to ask Romney, with one saying “no matter who he calls on, we’re covered on the one question.”

With such blatant abuse of journalism as this, is there any wonder that a small business owner shudders when someone from the news media knocks on their door? Who knows if that reporter has a hidden agenda or is just trying to make a name for him or herself?

The only explanation in this specific case is that the site of today’s new conference is located next door to a reptile pet store, named Blazin Reptiles. These reporters must have slithered from next door to the Romney presser to make a brazen decision to manipulate the news to meet their own agenda. Shame on the national media!

Below is the transcript of the open mic as seen on

Unidentified Reporter: … pointing out that Republicans… unintelligible… Obama…

CBS Reporter: That’s the question.

Unidentified Reporter: …unintelligible…

CBS Reporter: Yeah, that’s the question. I would just say do you regret your question.

Unidentified Reporter: Your question? Your statement?

CBS Reporter: I mean your statement. Not even the tone, because then he can go off on…

Unidentified Report: And then if he does, if we can just follow up and say ‘but this morning your answer is continuing to sound…’ becomes unintelligible

CBS Reporter: You can’t say that…


CBS Reporter: I’m just trying to make sure that we’re just talking about, no matter who he calls on we’re covered on the one question.

Unidentified Reporter: Do you stand by your statement or regret your statement?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Is Yellow Pages Advertising Worth The Investment For Jacksonville Businesses?

It might be obvious that the use of Yellow Pages advertising is diminishing but there are some companies in Northeast Florida who are still uncertain about the value of directories.

One Jacksonville company currently using a “page stealer” ad has determined after a year that they will downsize their ad to a business card size. On the other side, another company has decided to increase their ad size, thinking that their ad would be more dominant because of the current lack of competitors’ ads.

After reviewing data from several sources, here are some prospectives from a fact-check site, a marketing analytics consultant and a former Yellow Pages ad salesman.

First, some facts according to a Hubspot Webinar:

  • Since 2007, many states have quit printing residential listing or have pending requests to stop publication. These states include Florida and Georgia.
  • Traditional landlines are being disconnected at a rate of nearly 10% each year.
  • Consumers are increasingly considering online services before Yellow Pages to make their purchasing decisions.
  • Yellow Pages usage among people under 50 will drop to near zero over the next five years (according to Bill Gates).
Then there are actual third party or individual measurement programs that can more accurately determine the value of Yellow Pages advertising.

Ben Landers is president and CEO of Blue Corona, a marketing analytics and optimization company. As a former vice president of sales and marketing for a bottled water company named DrinkMore Water, he experienced first hand the measurement of that company’s Yellow Pages program.

Originally his company tracked their ads by running different phone numbers in each of the 10 directories they used throughout their market. Then he instituted a more sophisticated web-based software platform to not only track calls but to determine how many calls resulted in actual sales.

Landers’ system found that the number of people using Yellow Pages to find his company was decreasing faster than they realized. In addition, he found that most of the calls were not from prospective customers or current customers ready to buy, but were from automated campaign dialers (robots) and other sales reps.

In 2008, DrinkMore Water pulled out of the Yellow Pages because sales did not justify the cost. For the record, from January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008, DrinkMore Water received a total of 54 calls from the directory. Only 16 of these calls were made by prospective customers. And only five of those resulted in sales. 

Landers further found that Yellow Pages’ leads are least likely to have a credit card for residential billing; most likely to haggle on price; and pay little attention to quality or to the value of customer service. He concluded that prospects from the Yellow Pages were of very low quality compared to other marketing channels.

Denny Smith, formerly with the Yellow Pages for 25 years, reveals his conclusions in an article called “Confessions of a Former Yellow Page Salesman” that was posted originally on SEO Articles, then reported on EffectiveWebSolutions.Biz/Blog. 

In 1984, he didn’t think the Internet would be a threat. He argued at that time that you could include coupons in your print ad, and it took longer to look up a source online than it did to look through a printed directory. But things changed quickly.

With features like keyword searches; unlimited search in any market (while only regional information is available in printed editions); easy and quick updating of ads; inclusion of updated coupons; the addition of maps and directions; and access from mobile devices; he thinks the printed book will become “the next extinct species.”

Smith speculates that perhaps a 60% plus price reduction for Yellow Pages ads could keep them going for now. But at best the dwindling usage will require them to offer totally free ads within three more years.

In a post by Magdalena Georgieva on, certain industries already left the Yellow Pages world, while some are still getting results. She cites the travel and catering industries as being some of the first to go to the Internet, led by and TripAdvisor, which have replaced many local travel agencies.

Then she reports that service industries are the ones still hanging on to directories. She mentions specifically that plumbers and contractors are predominant in the Yellow Pages because searches for those types of local companies are limited. However, even that is rapidly changing with online reviews from sites such as Angie’s List.

Like so much of our lives, including marketing, things we grew up with are changing or going away. And that includes the printed Yellow Pages. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Jacksonville Company Offers Product That Will Change How Trade Show Booths Are Manned

Imagine being at a trade show where you can have someone man your trade booth 24/7 (taking no food or bathroom breaks); someone who will give the perfect presentation EVERY time; someone who looks clean, neat and professional all day long; and someone you never have to pay!

A Jacksonville company has a new product that can do all of that and more. Media Works, a 25-year-old company that specializes in trade show displays, vehicle wraps, promotional products and printing, has a new presentation package called “Virtual Spokesperson.” It is so new in the industry, it is also being called an “Avatar Presenter.”

Essentially the product is a computerized, hologram-like image of a person that can talk and gesture like a human. It’s not exactly a 3D program, but when you encounter the image from the front, it is amazingly life-like. The virtual presenter in Media Works’ showroom looks right at you and makes an impressive sales pitch. And when you move back and forth in front of it, the eyes appear to follow you.

According to Fred Dietsch, who owns the company with his wife Theresa, the package consists of a Plexiglas silhouette body structure that encases a special 3M film. The shape of the structure can be made into a man or woman. A rear projector is position about 4 to 5 feet behind the structure. A human actor is videotaped making a pitch, which then becomes the projected image. The program is put on a stick drive that is plugged directly into the projector. The presentation can be as short or as long as necessary and can be run as a continuous loop.

“We have just introduced the product in the North Florida market,” Dietsch reported. “But already we have had a major insurance carrier in the state purchase the package for their South Florida facilities.”

A virtual presenter has just been installed in the New Jersey Newark Liberty International Airport to help provide travel information to airport visitors. And according to, The Port Authority is spending $180,000 to place the high tech presenter in Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. In their description of the program, they say this provides someone “who can assist travelers 24 hours a day and it doesn’t need a security background check.”

Dietsch sees an almost unlimited application for the virtual spokesperson. While trade shows are a natural use, these could be used as information sources for tourist destinations, hospital lobbies and emergency rooms, retail locations… anywhere there is informational or educational needs for operations with public access.

The price of the virtual package will vary, mainly depending on the video production and talent costs, but the average range could be around $20,000.00.

The virtual presentation is very impressive. You can see a demonstration at Media Works exhibit showroom at 1451 Louisa Street, located behind Tidbits Restaurant on Hendricks Avenue in the San Marco area.  

The photo shows a close up of the virtual spokeswoman on the Media Works showroom floor.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Northeast Florida Manufacturers Relocate Office To Elevate Profile And To Expand Services

To help increase their profile in the business community and to provide expanded in-house services to members, the First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) has relocated their Jacksonville headquarters.

The new office, which is 1,200 square feet more than their former space, is located at 1615 Huffingham Road, near the intersection of Beach Road and University Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida.

With the new facilities, FCMA will be able to accommodate workshops, training sessions, networking functions and meeting facilities for manufacturer members and membership partners. The new offices will not only house the FCMA staff but also provide all of the meeting space and storage the association would need now and in the future.

Lake Ray, president of FCMA, reported that he believes manufacturing is taking on a more important role in Northeast Florida’s economy. “We felt that by having a more centrally located office and additional meeting space, our offices could help facilitate that role and give us a higher profile in the community,” Ray said.

Part of the uniqueness of the facilities is that members were asked to produce personalized wall displays that are placed throughout the offices to show what they manufacture. Plus, additional displays have been installed to show what consumer and industrial products are manufactured in Northeast Florida. “We wanted to have a place where anyone could come in and see the story of manufacturing in our community,” Ray added. “So not only are our facilities very functional, but it is also a showplace.”

The photo shows FCMA Tri-Chairman Carlos Zanoelo and FCMA President Lake Ray cutting the ribbon to the new FCMA offices.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Klout May Not Be Delivering Real Clout For Jacksonville Businesses

Several Jacksonville marketing firms that been touting to their clients the importance of increasing their scores on social measuring sites such as They also advocate targeting the top Klout scorers because they are online influencers who could have an impact on their client’s product, service or idea.

But when you dig down into what is being measured, are these social scoring services really compiling accurate data needed to determine if someone is a major influencer?

If you are not familiar with these social sites, there are several free measuring services such as Klout, Kred and Peerindex that offer a third party evaluation of a person’s activity and social capital online.

One of the problems I have with these services is that they do not take data from any other source than Twitter and Facebook. They do not collect data from Google, Linkedin or blogs. Twitter is the major data source for them because Twitter activity is one of few social networks that doesn’t firewall conversations.

And people can game Klout with Twitter. A good example is when you constantly see an individual tweet their location (I’m at the gas station or I’m at so and so restaurant.) The more tweets someone has, the higher their score is on Klout. So does that really make them an “influencer?” 

Paul Gillin, a columnist for B-to-B magazine (New Channels by Paul Gillin) has an excellent expose’ about the value of measuring online influence. His concern is somewhat two fold. First, he believes that influence involves decisions that are more complex. He reports “conversations at conferences – over dinner or on the golf course – help decision-makers work out important details. The bigger and more complex the decision, the less likely it is that those who influence it are sharing their recommendations on Facebook.”

His second concern is that social media has demonstrated that audience size has little to do with influence, particularly in the narrow markets that typify b-to-b transactions. He goes on to say that the measurement services frame their definition of influence by number of followers and retweets. Gillin hits home this point by saying that, based on this criteria, Lady Gaga is the most influential person on the planet.

Gillin offers additional excellent examples of the flaws of measurement sites:

Marc Andreesen is one of the fathers of the modern Internet; but because he rarely uses Twitter, he earns mediocre rankings on the two most popular measurement service sites.

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, because of his job, cannot use Twitter. According to these sites, he has no influence!

I would have to agree with Gillin in his assessment that for b-to-c marketers, these services have limited use. And for b-to-b marketers, they are almost useless. Therefore, I caution Jacksonville businesses not to place too much confidence and too much time online with social measurement sites.

If you get a chance to read Gillin’s column each month in B-to-B magazine, you won’t be disappointed with his updates of online industry trends. His website is

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Jacksonville TV Stations Sold To Cox Media Group

There is news out that Newport Television, LLC has sold 22 of its television stations, two of which are WTEV and WAWS in Jacksonville. The other side of this news is that they were sold to Cox Media Group, which owns WAPE, WFYV and WOKV in Jacksonville.

Consolidation of media outlets is nothing new today. However in the past, it used to be a real concern, particularly by the government, and specifically by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In the mid 80’s in North Florida, Morris Communications, which owns the Florida Times Union, underwent the process of purchasing Naegele Outdoor Advertising Inc. The FCC was questioning that Morris, through ownership of the city’s only daily newspaper and the largest billboard company in North Florida, would have too much control over the media.

As a partner of one of the major advertising agencies in Jacksonville at that time, I was interviewed by the U.S. Attorney General’s office. They wanted to know if sales representatives from the Times Union were putting pressure on me to buy billboards along with their print ads. (Just for the record, I never experienced that issue from Times Union sales reps and I had no problem with the purchase.) The newspaper was finally cleared to purchase the billboard company. Years later, Morris sold the billboard business.

Today the FCC has been lax in their policies. The agency has ignored many problems, including a major issue that is very obvious to the viewing public - the problem with stations ratcheting up the audio volume during commercials. The U.S. Congress had to step in to offer a remedy.

Good or bad the buying and selling of media properties is going to continue. And with broadcast companies, further movement will be seen with the emergence of Hulu and other Internet sources.

As far as Cox taking over WTEV and WAWS, no one knows for sure how that will turn out. Years ago, ClearChannel, which had a group of Jacksonville radio stations, took control of these two same stations. Management tried to have the TV sales force and the radio sales force cross sell their stations. That didn’t last long. It was too difficult to mix the two sales cultures.

All we can hope for as viewers and as media specialists is that Cox will invest the dollars in these stations to provide attractive programming to the North Florida market.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Jacksonville's Small Retailers Need To Be Aware Of Current M-Commerce Trends

If you think it has been hard for Jacksonville’s small, local retailers to compete with the big chains, thanks to mobile marketing, the picture has become bleaker. And in some cases, m-commerce is presenting a problem for the big retailers, too.

Internet Retailer magazine ran a series of articles that details how consumers are now going to brick and mortar stores to view products and compare prices, but are eventually making their purchases online with their smartphones.  

Actually 29% of consumers who use smartphones for product research while in a retail store buy online, according to data research from ClickIQ.

Not only does this create a big disadvantage for small retailers, but the large retailers are also taking a major hit. For example, the ClickIQ study showed the most frequently used retail store customers visited for product research was Best Buy at 36%. They were able to retain 35% of the researchers who ended up buying at the store with another 14% who bought at

But it starts to drop from there, with Wal-Mart experiencing 30% researchers with 26% purchasing at the store and 10% buying at Target was third with 29% researchers, 29% in-store purchasers and 8% buying at

Research data revealed that the reasons customers purchased online was mainly due to price at 67%, followed by availability of product at 14%, product features at 8%, and free shipping at 7%.  

ClickIQ also identified profiles of consumers using smartphones. The research found…
-       51% of mobile comparison shoppers who research in-store and buy online are between ages of 18 – 39 and 55% are male;
-       26% between ages of 30 – 39 and 25% between the ages of 18 – 29 have recently used a mobile device to research a product while in a store;
-       The numbers drop with age for those researching in a store with 12% between ages of 40 – 49; 6% between ages of 50 – 59; and 2% over the age of 60.

One major retailer trying to break this trend is Walgreens. According to Internet Retailer, Walgreens is using mobile/social shopping service technology such as foursquare and Facebook Places to greet customers on their smartphones as they walk into the store. The Walgreens apps offer customers onscreen product recommendations, promotions and special price points available at that specific location. 

But there are other clouds looming online that will be an additional threat to local retail businesses. That’s the online giants and eBay.

Of the 97 million U.S. adults who owned a smartphone running Apple iOS, an Android or a BlackBerry operating system, 45.4% visited’s m-commerce site or used the e-retailers’apps in March, according to the Mobile Metrix 2.0 report from the web and mobile measurement firm comScore Inc.

eBay Inc. followed with 28% of smartphone users visiting the m-commerce site or using eBay’s apps.

For the top 15 Internet destinations measured by comScore, 81.5% of visitors’ time was spent on apps while 18.5% was spent on sites.

According to comScore, the top 15 mobile destinations are (in order of number of unique visitors)...  
Google, Inc.
Yahoo sites
Wikimedia Foundation sites
Apple, Inc.
AOL Inc.
eBay Inc.
Rovio (Angry Birds)
The Weather Channel
Microsoft sites

For more information, go to the April and June issues of Internet Retailer magazine and look for the articles authored by

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - 121 Financial Credit Union Partners With WJXT-TV To Bring Financial Tips To Jacksonville Viewers

In an effort to position itself as “the local financial experts,” 121 Financial Credit Union has partnered with WJXT-TV (Channel 4) to bring financial news tips to viewers in a segment called “4 Your Money” that airs during the station’s “The Morning Show.”

The news segments feature interviews with various financial experts from 121 Financial Credit Union. Past segments have covered wide-interest topics such as mortgage sources for people underwater; financial education for children; identity theft; debt settlement; tips on using debit cards; and various ways to finance your education.

In each segment a121 Financial expert will offer a brief overview of a topic and then the audience is given contact information on the TV screen as to where they can obtain additional information about that topic. It has become an easy avenue for people to get financial information important to them, and gives young singles and families access to financial data that they otherwise may not have. To date, 121 Financial has reported a great response coming in after the interviews.  

In order for people to see the segments again or to catch segments they may have missed, WJXT has posted the interviews on their website at

According to the July issue of SmartMoney magazine, credit union membership hit a record high 92 million last year. And while the popularity of credit unions is growing in North Florida, there are still a large number of people in Jacksonville who don’t know about the advantages of using a credit union over other financial institutions.

A recent news segment featured an interview with David Marovich, 121 Financial’s Business Account Officer. He detailed the benefits available to small businesses that signed on with 121 Financial that included better opportunities for obtaining business loans, fewer or maybe even no fees and interest on business checking. In this tough economic environment, it’s tragic that many businesses don’t even know they can have a business account at a credit union, which in some cases could mean the life or death of a company.

121 Financial started the news segments with WJXT in March and has found this approach to be a great outreach to the community that they didn’t have previously. A key to success in social marketing has been based on providing valuable information online to encourage interaction with customers and prospects. With the Channel 4 news segments, 121 Financial is accomplishing that same goal, except with a traditional medium – television.

Catch the next “4 Your Money” segment by tuning into WJXT’s The Morning Show” at approximately 8:20 every other Saturday. 

The photo shows the WJXT set with Davis Johnston, Senior Vice President of Operations for 121 Financial Credit Union, being greeted by The Morning Show host Jason Law.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Jacksonville Businesses Are Turning To More Aggressive Marketing Techniques Such As Door-To-Door Sales

During this lagging recession, companies are getting more desperate in their sales by hiring aggressive door-to-door salesmen.  This one seems to be taking advantage of the recent storms in North Florida to sell flood insurance.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - North Florida Manufacturers Use Breakfast Discussion Panel With The Business Journal To Publicize Industry's Issues

The First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) partnered with the Jacksonville Business Journal to conduct a panel discussion breakfast in order to engage the city’s business community in talks about issues facing the manufacturing industry.

Approximately 150 business people attended the breakfast to hear a panel of industry leaders that included FCMA President and State Representative Lake Ray; Tim Giles, Director of the Division of Continuing Education at the University of North Florida (UNF); attorney Rich Maguire of Rogers Towers; Mike Del Rocco, Regional Vice President with TD Bank; and Brian Tuttle, Vice President with manufacturer Rulon International.

The forum provided the manufacturers with a vehicle in which major issues could be vetted in detail. The issues ranged from the impact of manufacturing on the local and state economy to the prime obstacles regarding growth and expansion of manufacturing companies.

UNF’s Giles expressed concern about being able to supply the skill levels needed for manufacturing as employees are facing retirement. He believes that not enough students in high school and college today are taking the math, science, engineering and technological curriculums needed to prepare them to replace the aging workforce.

Attorney Maguire outlined the problems currently facing the industry regarding the extensive permitting process, both on the local level and with state government. He advocated a “one list” permitting sheet to assist manufacturers through the process and to also hopefully shorten it.

Del Rocco with TD Bank expressed his bank’s effort to provide easier lending terms to manufacturing firms for capital improvement. He said financial institutions are more open to making loans involving collateral equipment that, in turn, helps generate revenue to pay for itself. 

Manufacturer Tuttle outlined how North Florida companies have a greater opportunity to do business around the world, especially with our port facilities. He said that not only does this help increase manufacturing jobs, but it also generates indirect support jobs, such as logistics, raw materials suppliers and utility services.

Lake Ray, who also served as the moderator of the panel, listed some of the pending state legislation designed to help area businesses like manufacturing. He also pointed out information that demonstrates the value of the industry in Jacksonville and throughout the state.

Partnering with the Business Journal on the breakfast event gave the manufacturers a unique opportunity to bring their major concerns to the Jacksonville business community in a way that allowed for an extensive discussion by experts and feedback from the business audience. It was a format that provided manufacturers a time and a place to tell their whole story to their targeted audience. It was a format that accomplished much more than what 60-second television commercial or even full-page newspaper ad could do.  

The photo shows Lake Ray and Tim Giles with the other panelists at the breakfast.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - 121 Financial Credit Union Reaches Out To Sports Fans By Launching Sharks VISA card

As a major sponsor of the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League, 121 Financial Credit Union has launched the official “Sharks” VISA credit card.

Since the credit union is a team sponsor, it was a logical marketing move for 121 Financial to offer a visible credit card tie-in, a popular financial tool, with support for a popular and successful sports franchise in Jacksonville.

The Sharks card, which is a standard VISA credit card, should be very attractive to the public since it has an introductory rate of 0% for six months for those who qualify.

Applications for the card, which features the Sharks logo and team colors, is being offered at each of the Shark’s home games, at all of the 121 branches and online. People receive a free Sharks/121 T-shirt just for applying for the card.

Cindy Breslin, vice president of marketing for 121 Financial said she wanted to show support for the home team. So as a credit union she thought a natural way to promote the franchise would be through an exclusive Sharks’ credit card. “Hopefully fans will get their card and use it throughout the community,” Breslin said. “That way when they pull out the card with the Sharks’ logo, other people will see it and think about supporting arena football in Jacksonville.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Small Business News Update - Jacksonville Businesses Use Promotional Products To Advance Their Marketing Strategies

Many companies will make an off-the-cuff decision to use promotional products or advertising specialty items to give to customers without really thinking about why they are buying and giving out these items. Someone in the company will come up with an idea for a note pad, a pen, or maybe now, a mouse pad. And with no real reasoning behind the use of the items, they end up in the back of a desk drawer or in the kids’ toy box.

When used correctly, promotional products can be a powerful marketing tool. Unfortunately, many businesses view ad specialty items only as a way to promotion name identification. But there are several Jacksonville companies that have taken a more strategic approach, using promotional items to help sell specific products or services.

Without violating the confidentiality of various companies’ marketing programs, here are some of the ideas used by unidentified Jacksonville companies:

Promotional Item: Key Chain (Featuring a Radio Frequency Chip)      
Company: Industrial Product Manufacturer
Situation: This company just introduced RFID Chips (Radio Frequency Identification) embedded in their industrial products so customers can easily monitor the history, features, maintenance schedule and repairs of the product.
Strategy: A key chain with an embedded RFID chip was produced and given to manufacturers’ reps and distributors so they would be aware of the new feature and they could even show their customers what the chip looks like.

Promotional Item: Protractor Wheel (Matching Surgery Microscopes With Sterile Covers)
Company: Surgical Supply Company
Situation: This company manufactures surgical drapes (coverings for microscopes used for microsurgery in hospital surgery rooms). They want operating room nurses to use their surgical drapes line.
Strategy: The protractors were mailed to operating room nurses all over the country. The feedback was tremendous because the tool made it easy for nurses to identify which drape matches with which microscope.

Promotional Item: Birdhouse (Painted With The Development’s Name In The Red/Black/White Design Like The Rock City Birdhouses)
Company: Residential Developer
Situation: This developer had some high-end lots in North Florida, located in an unusual Florida terrain of hills and valleys, similar to the Tennessee/North Carolina area.
Strategy: The birdhouses, containing sales materials explaining the unusual features of the lots, were distributed to local Realtors offices. In addition, some of the birdhouses were posted in the wooded lots like you would find with the Rock City houses. The lots were sold in a short time.

Promotional Item: Humorous Safety Posters (For Manufacturing Plant Facilities)
Company: Industrial Product Manufacturer
Situation: This manufacturer is constantly developing ways to promote product safety with the use of its product. So a series of humorous safety posters was created, printed and provided to distributors to give to their customers. The posters provided the distributors with a free give-away for their customers; they provided additional safety advice for use of the manufacturer’s product; and, with the manufacturer on the posters, factory workers were exposed to the manufacturer’s name. As a result, the manufacturer has difficulty keeping posters on hand for request.

Promotional Item: Acrylic Paperweights (Featuring Small Surgical Implants) 
Company: Medical Device Manufacturer
Situation: This company manufactures several small medical implants products for the ear, nose and throat field. In order to introduce their line to ENT Specialists, the company sent them a paperweight with their products inside. The physicians could use the paperweight to show their patients the actual implants and they could see how small the implants are. The company had a big demand by physicians for additional paperweights.  

These businesses experienced impressive results with their promotional product strategies. They knew exactly what they needed to promote and they found a unique way to do it. Specialty advertising can be effective once extensive thought and planning are put into the process.      

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Small Business Marketing Blog Update - Digital Billboard Company Is Now User Friendly For Jacksonville's Small Businesses

In an earlier blog, I reported that Clear Channel Outdoor was missing an opportunity by not working with local small businesses so they could afford to advertise on Clear Channel’s new digital billboards.

The original advertising package I was given by a Clear Channel executive limited the advertising offer to running on four boards a month at a cost of $10,500, and $13,250 a month for five boards. I felt this charge put the billboards out of the reach of most small businesses.

However, I was recently contacted by a very sharp Clear Channel account executive, Amey Garrison, who informed me that the company did change their advertising offer that would accommodate various budgets and help address the marketing objectives of neighborhood businesses. 

Since my first contact with Clear Channel, the company has erected 28 digital boards, strategically placed around Jacksonville, all featuring high traffic counts. While most are doubled sided, just a few only offer one showing at its location.

Ms. Garrison pointed out that the company doesn’t restrict advertisers to a specific budget or to specific boards. She said they are open to working with small business budgets to help them achieve their marketing goals at dollar levels that can work for the advertiser. Their policies will let a company advertise for short periods of time, as little as one day, and to run messages on one or multiple boards a month.

The digital boards allow for much more creativity than the traditional boards. And other than the creation of the artwork, there are no production charges like there are for vinyl or paper. Clear Channel has an in-house art department that can create board layouts for small businesses that don’t have that resource.

After talking to Ms. Garrison, I am convinced that Clear Channel is now the advertising source I was hoping it would be for area small businesses. I recommend contacting Ms. Garrison if you would like to take advantage of this impressive new medium. In addition, Ms. Garrison has a multi-media background and can help with targeting your audience and create messages that are as big as all outdoors. You can reach her at 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Even With Electronic Communications, Jacksonville Businesses Need Direct Mail

(Today’s Guest Blog is written on the subject of direct mail for small business, by Jim Davis, a former senior executive in the direct marketing industry.)

In a world of electronic communications, websites, banner ads and Facebook pages, there remains one medium that is a consistent response generator for small businesses - direct mail.

Following a few simple guidelines, direct mail still can still yield excellent and cost effective results for businesses of all sizes.  The proof is in our mailbox everyday.

There are three factors that experts agree consistently contribute to direct mail success:  Audience, Offer, and Creative.  But the relative importance of these three factors may surprise some new mailers.

Think of the factors this way:  60/30/10.

A full 60% of any direct mail success can be attributed to the Audience, or, in other words, the mailing list used. Whether mailing to a geographic area, a demographic segment or a business group, a mailing is only as good as it the list used.

We’ve all receive mail addressed to Resident/Occupant or the friendlier greeting “To our Friends At”.  This is a sure indication that every household in your neighborhood is receiving the same mailing piece. And household mailings are a basic and reliable traffic-building tool for consumer-oriented, local businesses.

Compiled, demographic mailing lists which incorporate an individual’s name also are available for more targeted offerings.  Similarly there literally are thousands of specialty mailing list comprised of everything from subscription lists to individuals who have responded to previous offers.

Businesses-to-business lists are another whole category of mailing lists. These lists offer selectivity by SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code and various company size indicators (annual sales, number of employees, etc.).  And, again, there are specialty lists comprised of subscribers to various trade journals or other select groups that are available as well.

It would be remiss not to mention what may be the best mailing list of all - the one that businesses can compile consisting of their own customers. As always, existing customers represent one of the best sources of new and repeat business and every business should have the ability to mail to this select audience.

The next factor is Offer, which can impact a mailing by 30%.  Think about it – without a compelling offer or incentive, direct mail is just a simple message.  There is no reason to respond. Too many mailings have weak, inadequate or ill-timed offers for a chance at success.

Customers and prospects want to know “What’s in it for me?” and that is the question that must be asked about every mailing piece designed.

Finally Creative must be considered, but the way the offer is communicated contributes to the success of the mailing only by 10%.  It is true that there is a crucial point (typically three to four seconds) when a recipient decides whether or not to further read/consider a mailing piece. That’s when creative can play its role.

Veteran mailers often say that creative must appear to one of four basic emotions:  Need, Greed, Fear, or Exclusivity. Try looking a mailing piece you receive at home and you can learn to identify the elected emotional appeal for the mailing.

And to be sure, direct mail creative is technique-driven. That is one reason that postcards or self-mailers  -- communicating an Offer quickly, without the need to open an envelope  -- are so popular with small businesses.

The numbers 60/30/10 can vary by the mailing professional citing them but the principle always in the same.  Audience, followed by Offer and then Creative determine the success of any mailing.

So, if the secret to success is so evident, why doesn’t every business mail? One reason dominates all others: expense.

Even using the most cost-efficient mailing techniques for smaller mailers, each piece of mail delivered is relatively expensive  -- ranging from 40 to 50-cents up to a dollar or more for elaborate mailings  -- so the cost per thousand contacts is higher than most other mediums.

Still, direct mail has it place in an overall marketing strategy. As long as Americans maintain the habit of checking their mail daily, direct mail messages have the opportunity to be seen, and to sell.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Florida Trend Magazine Reveals Surprising Demographic Stats About Northeast Florida And The Entire State

If you were to market a product or service to the youngest county in the state of Florida, which county would you select?

According to the May issue of Florida Trend magazine, Duval County, with a median age of 34, beats out every other county in the state.

If you were to test market a product, service or restaurant, which city would you pick?

Jacksonville ranked 15th in the nation by marketing research firm Acziom as a preferred test market city because it more closely reflects American demographics. Tallahassee was the only other Florida city on the list.

Florida Trend sheds light on a bassboat load of interesting statistical information regarding the state of Florida. And these updated stats can play a key part of marketing. Being able to target the accurate demographic profile of your audience is the one of the first steps in the marketing process.

Florida Trend has compiled extensive coverage on the changes of demographics over the years, explaining that the perception of Florida has been changing from a state of cheap homes, retirees and tourists to a state featuring its ports, the bioscience industry and research institutes.

Some additional demographic highlights from Florida Trend include…

Population Numbers
Florida’s population is 19.05 million – ranking it fourth behind New York with 19.47 million; Texas with 25.67 million; and California with 37.69 million. Florida is projected to surpass New York by 2016.

Population Distribution
In 1900, two-thirds of Floridians lived north of Ocala.
By 2012, nearly have lived south of Lake Okeechobee.

Florida ranked second in the nation for the lowest percentage of residents born in the state – 35.2%. Nevada is first with 24.3%.
The largest number of people moving to Florida came from New York, with more than 55,000 in 2010. This is followed by Georgia, Texas, New Jersey and California.

Florida’s Ethnic Communities
Hispanics – 22.5%
African-Americans – 16%
Haitians – Miami Metro area has 36% of the Haitian nation’s population, making it number one in the U.S.

If you are interested in knowing more about where Florida has been, where it is going and the various perceptions of the state, be sure to the get the current issue of Florida Trend.