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42 New local job ALERTs in the last 30 Days
Total Number of Companies Covered 4012
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How can we have such low fees… and still be awesome?

We have low fees by using a system that is efficient, up-front and high-value.

We can’t imagine working for weeks on a recruiting assignment on speculation;  rushing to send in the resumes of Candidates we may not have even met or fully screened, because the focus is on getting the placement, not recruiting a peak performer to help you grow a great business.

At zenPeak we recruit peak performers and the good news is… our fees are lower than any Executive Search Co. or Recruiter we have heard of!

Not only that – our system is front-loaded and high-compliance, so Clients don’t waste their time on reviewing all those unscreened resumes.

Here is one of our secrets… because we don’t work on assignments we don’t get paid for, and we are super efficient (while still high-compliance), our fees are low – that’s value (the businessperson’s perspective).

Call us if you are looking to hire really good people. If you are tired of being disappointed with the people you hire, or paying  ridiculous high fees to Recruiters, then…. consider a different approach where we do the work and you save time and money.

Frank Abrams 416 733-3001

$140 million gone in 60 minutes

On a February morning this year, MF Global detected an unauthorized open position in wheat futures, placed by one of its brokers, Evan Brent Dooley.  Within an hour the company crystallized a $140 million dollar loss. How they executed these liquidating trades was not elegant or savvy, which may have contributed to the loss. They were trying to cover as fast as possible, so as not to carry an open speculative position on the books – so any clumsiness is understandable.

One failure at MF Global was not having order entry systems to prevent the buildup of large unauthorized positions, by locking out the broker, or requiring approval by management.  What if the problem was fat fingers or a computer glitch, or even a stuck computer key on a keyboard?!

But just as importantly, in an industry where orders are given by voice, and even hand signal,  knowing WHO you empower in your company to transact those trades is paramount. In such a high risk and high-trust environment, like in a hospital surgical theater or in a nuclear missile silo, banks and brokerages need to have a complete toolkit to mitigate these catastrophic risks.

The solution is a combination of internal watchdog systems that use trading patterns, fuzzy logic and neural networks to instantly detect problems in real-time, along with a program of independent testing and assessment to evaluate whether or not the firm’s current or prospective employees, are potentially the next front-page news rogue trader.

I was an employee at MF Global at the time of this incident, and could chronicle the significant damage this event, and the operational reaction, did to the company’s brokers ability to carry on normal business. I won’t get into it because my interest is not in the blame game. My interest is in testing and assessing people to ensure peak work performance in high-risk and high-trust jobs.

Opportunity is Knocking!

I was listening to the all-night radio show “Coast to Coast” last night and they were talking about you know what… the terrible economy.

The guest talked about one result of GM/Ford/Chrysler failures, would be a shortage of the cars, bringing about higher prices and no buying incentives. Supply and Demand.

For a person starting a new business this could be a time of opportunity. As stores and offices close up, the supply of goods and services shrinks. If your goods and services are what people want, there will be demand, and you will be surrounded by dropping supply.  Entrenched businesses will be in survival mode, service will likely slip, and they will lose customers.

If your dream is to open a store, or if you need an office… your rent costs will shrunk because of too much supply.  Now, you can probably go month to month as a start, or sign a more advantageous lease from a desperate landlord.

If you need to hire staff or seek out a partner, the best people will be more receptive  and will likely work for less $. This gives you an opportunity you didn’t have a year ago.

Is it a great time for wage earners and job security?… no.  But is this a new trend?… no.

There is a saying in the brokerage business that the best time to start is in a bad market. Brokers stop calling their clients, and clients are ready to switch if you have a sound investment idea. In a rising market everyone is a genius and people don’t switch. A great investment idea now is a safe deposit with federal government FDIC guarantees. Tomorrow it might be a stock that is emerging from the recession with growing revenues and earnings.

I think the same applies to many businesses as these tumultuous times shake up traditional behaviors, and loosen up relationships, so customers will give the feisty upstart a chance!

Today, I am excited about the future of Canada and the United States.

facebook pages can replace a blog or website for marketers

Its true.

If you are in the game of registering people and collecting their emails, setup a facebook page and direct your traffic to it. No worries, people don’t have to be signed up at facebook to see your page OR TO ENTER THEIR DATA!

I discovered this by accident when I have been unable to get into FB this am. and popped one of my pages.

Then it dawned on me… some folks don’t need a microsite or blog unless they are restricting access pending a registration.

OK so maybe its not for everyone but a useful tool.

One Minute of Democracy at your meetup

In the meetups I host, and “host” is the word I like to use as opposed to run, or operate, there is what I would call “one minute of democracy”.

All the work and preparation to setup the meetup, invite people, pay for it, create content will fall on your shoulders. Don’t expect to share the work – the committee system doesn’t work and that’s not what meetup members want. If you are prepared to be subject-focused and not your product or company focused, the meetup will be a success!

At the end of every meetup, its time for one minute of democracy. Ask group members about how its going? And, when would they like to meet next etc. Get some feedback. That will help you run a better meetup with higher levels of satisfaction. Every member gets to rate the meetup – you let them leave with the feeling that they are getting great value but also participating in the direction of the meetup group. When they get home, an email from meetup is waiting for them in their inbox, asking them to rate the meetup – What’s the last thing they remember?

Wal-Mart’s dirty little secret that 379,000 people know about

The time has come for companies to start investing resources in online image insurance.  Companies can’t protect themselves from having an employee who is rude, or a washroom that is dirty.  Its impossible. But they can step in and act quickly to limit damage.  Or they can wait until negative stuff appears in a newspaper, or on TV or on YouTube.

What companies want to prevent is the short shrift – unfair attacks that are allowed to gain strength, or legitimate complaints that fall on deaf ears – a neglected unhappy customer who starts to influence a lot of others, because they aren’t feeling the love.

Instead of spending money on “buzz” marketing where people fake interest in a product or service, or instead of camouflaging a corporate voice in an online network, how about showing pride and stepping into the fray in a transparent fashion.

Here is a link to a flickr album that has been viewed by 379,000 + people.  It has pictures of a dirty Wal-Mart store. Are all Wal-Marts dirty? – no.  Hmmm Its hard to tell from the comments.

Next post, I’ll start a series on which Social Networks companies should use, why and how.

Target Marketing using Facebook Pages

Can you use Facebook pages for target marketing?

Facebook pages have been out for a month or two. I have two fan pages; one for Frank Sinatra and another for Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both pages have music that I love. Fans can listen but can’t copy the tunes (which I paid for).

Facebook provides information on who your page fans are. For example you get stats on daily traffic; unique visitors, page views and stats on usage of FB apps in the page. You also get stats on fan sex and age.

So here is what I have learned about my  two fan pages.


The Frank Sinatra page  has over 500 fans and they are split 45% female 55% male, with 55% of fans between ages 18 to 24! That surprised me! and another 21% between ages 25 and 34.

Only 7% of Sinatra page fans are above age 35! If you assume that Frank Sinatra has timeless popularity, I would guess this reflects the age distribution of Facebook.


The Stevie Ray Vaughan page has been up a week and has 87 fans.   This page skews heavily to male with 93% male and 7 % female fans. The age distribution is a little older with 17% above 35 years of age, and 66% between 18 and 35 (vs. 76%  for the Frank Sinatra fan page)

By looking at the networks of the fans you can also get a geographic metric – for example, my Frank Sinatra page has a lot of  fans from Turkey. (this you have to do  on your own – not a facebook stat)

Here is the point. If you want to drive traffic to your facebook page, and from there have a "call to action" on the web etc. – you will know about your present Facebook page fan base, and you can use Facebook advertising to target your advertising.

Targeting Web Content with Local Languages

Over 70% of web traffic is logged to countries with just 7 languages

English 35.1 %
Japanese 8.9 %
German 6.7 %
Chinese 6.1 %
French 5.3 %
Italian 3.8 %
Spanish 4.2 %

Consider the diminishing returns and poor ROI unless your company has significant operations in a local language.

Dude… you’re getting better service from DELL

Last night, I listened to the Dell folks at the local Tuesday event, describing how they jumped into emergency blog action for damage control when the SONY battery in their notebooks blew up in summer 2006, and bloggers posted nasty on them, for that, and broad service issues.

Its a constructive social networking case study of a big company, being responsive in dealing with squeaky wheels and bad press. The Dell website traffic numbers after the Aug. 2006 event, show that the web is the critical service information channel.

IMO when someone has a bully pulpit, in any media, and is unfair and unbalanced, lets first give the consumer some credit for their intelligence and fairness, present the facts, ask for forgiveness, and get to the heart of solving problems. Thats what Dell did with bundles of transparency and quick action.

Dude… you got some good service from DELL!

Other companies should follow suit and not wait for disasters or lousy service to erode their business.

BTW…Ask me about how in my mind, Apple ripped me off in the 1990s for $13,000. in royalty profits from my CD-ROM "Search for Ancient Wisdom"  that was in the Apple CD-ROM collection, by using a middleman publisher (Double Impact Multimedia) that went bankrupt just when the checks were supposed to be mailed. Apple did nothing for the designers, developers and creatives for ours and many other titles.  Today, I would blog that injustice so nasty 24/7 – we would see their response and how they fix the problem.

GEN Y – polite, hopeful and a good work ethic — BUT…

Reaching GEN Y on Both Sides of the Cash Register

Maybe we baby boomers did something right after all? Our kids (GEN Y born 1978 to 2000) are "polite, hopeful and have a good work ethic". And the shocker is… they are similar in many ways to our parents… the "silent generation" — but when it comes to marketing, GEN Y are unique, so careful work is needed on both sides of the cash register to keep the store traffic humming and the register ringing.

Valuable insight from the Mays School of Business’ Center for Retailing Studies. on GEN Y.


The Wise Marketer – previews Datamonitor Report

Retailers to target in-store adverts by gender and age?

Many retailers around the
world are hoping to win back lost market share by making their
customers’ shopping experiences a little more meaningful – and even
theatrical – with emphasis placed on the sensuous elements of an
in-store shopping trip, according to a report from Datamonitor.


As the growth in multichannel and discount retailing grows,
retailers are turning to technology to refine the in-store experience,
and retain market share. But these technologies bring with them a
variety of challenges for vendors and retailers alike, in terms of
integration and standardisation, and also in terms of achieving the
maximum ROI. fabrams This article is copyright 2007

The next stage in customer retention
The report, entitled ‘Shop X: Where’s the store heading?’
suggests that the next step in the battle to retain customers is to
streamline the buying experience, bringing it more in line with
internet shopping in terms of ease and speed of transaction.

Datamonitor believes that new technology will shortly enable digital
signage screens (suitably equipped with image capturing hardware and
image processing software) to guess the sex and approximate age range
of customers looking at the screen, as well as to differentiate between
individuals and groups. In this next stage of development, screens may
also be able to log when people point at a particular product on a
shelf and then display more appropriate adverts and offers on the
nearest screens.

Proximity sensing systems
As well as incorporating increasingly sophisticated display functions,
proximity sensors can already enable these systems to determine when
someone is nearby. When the system receives notification that a shopper
is within a certain distance range, the screen’s sound level can
increase accordingly, and then decrease again when they leave the area.
To help reduce noise pollution in the store environment, these sounds
can be even made relatively directional, targeting only the area where
shoppers are actually standing.

Tests carried out to-date on in-store digital signage systems have
showed them to be an effective method of advertising, leading to
increased spending and elevated brand awareness. And although the cost
of installing and maintaining a digital signage system is significant,
the authors of the report believe that the benefits of deployment are
likely to make it worth investing in, for larger retailers at least.

Technology reduces ‘ad fatigue’
Given the commonly quoted statistic that the average consumer is
targeted with approximately 3,000 messages per day, retailers are
keenly seeking to differentiate products through any medium more
engaging than static signposting and traditional television screens.
Digital signage, the report concludes, offers retailers a good means of
doing exactly that.

The report also found that near field communication (NFC), in itself
an off-shoot of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, can
also help remove the need for physical touch and contact. In retail,
NFC technology is already being used for contactless payments such as
Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass, among others. Consumers and
merchants both benefit from this technology because transaction times
are faster, and research has shown that in some circumstances consumers
also tend to spend more when paying contactlessly.

The rise of the NFC mobile phone
Of course the inevitable growth of NFC technology in consumer markets
means that the mobile phone is set to become an important tool for
retailers, due mainly to its capability as a fast and relatively secure
payment device – particularly when the handset is NFC-enabled at the

But retailers have another opportunity that arises as a result of
NFC’s growing popularity among consumers. NFC or Bluetooth enabled
mobile phones can also become a means of direct marketing to consumers
in-store. If consumers are encouraged to use their mobile devices for
NFC payments, the report suggests, retailers will then have an
opportunity to establish more of a personal relationship if they use a
consumer’s mobile handset to deliver well-focused and relevant adverts
and promotions. Better still, this can be achieved in real time just
before the point of purchase decision – while the customer is still
standing in the store.

Point-of-sale battleground
According to the report, the point of sale (POS) is also an important
battleground for retailers because it represents the last chance in a
shopping visit to increase sales, advertise to a captive audience, and
reinforce brand values.

Within the POS industry, self-check out is one of the technologies
currently garnering the most interest. The technology is popular due to
its ability to cut checkout times, with a single attendant being
capable of overseeing up to six terminals. It also appears to enjoy
favour with consumers so far, with a study in Woolworths’ Big W stores
in France last year reporting 25% of customers choosing the self
service option. Other grocery stores that have conducted similar tests
have reporting anything between 20% and 50% of their daily transactions
being processed via self service check-outs.

Marketing with Podcasts – ClickZ interview

Interview with Greg Cangialosi author of "Podcast Academy: The Business Podcasting Book: Launching, Marketing, and Measuring Your Podcast" 


…there are several key metrics in podcasting. First, there’s your
overall audience, download requests per episode, download completes per
episode, unique download requests per episode, and unique download
completes per episode. We also are looking at consumption metrics,
which can be broken out into partial plays and complete plays. 

there are what we call the engagement metrics, which occur beyond the
media consumption. Your RSS subscribers, your Web site/podcast site
visits as a percentage of downloads. Any blog, forum, or page activity
as a percentage of downloads (that shows the relative appeal of the
podcast). Then there are more standard Web metrics, like Web site page
views and time spent on the site and the overall impact of your
podcast. This includes ad awareness, call-to-action responses, sales,
lead generation, referrals, etcetera.

Attention Tri-State Pathmark Shoppers!


Pathmark, HSBC to Introduce Loyalty Rewards Payment Card Program

The first program of
its kind
for a major U.S. supermarket chain, the Pathmark Advantage
Payment Card links a customer’s Advantage Club card to his or her
existing bank checking account, giving customers an easy way to earn
rewards and pay for purchases
with PIN debit on one Pathmark-branded

As well as making
in-store payments and receiving rewards, Pathmark customers will be
able to use the new card at over 200,000 U.S. retail locations that
participate in the Tempo Payment Network.


… A new approach to in-store research that gives the retail industry a
common language to measure in-store consumer reach. Members of the
consortium include 3M, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Miller Brewing, Procter
& Gamble and The Walt Disney Company, with support from retailers,
including Albertsons, Kroger, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The new service
, which will be developed through a new unit of VNU
known as Nielsen In-Store, will measure consumer exposure to a
fast-growing and powerful array of in-store marketing vehicles,
including television and radio, shelf talkers, digital signage, and
other point-of-purchase displays. Collectively, these in-store
marketing approaches stand as the sixth largest advertising vehicle in
the U.S., at $18.6 billion in spending in 2005.

Nielsen In-Store is part of NielsenConnect, a recently established
division of VNU that will integrate the company’s vast store of
consumer and media intelligence from dozens of business units to
provide clients with the clear, actionable information and
forward-looking insights they need to run their businesses.


Will your facebook app be worth over $25 million?


The #1 facebook app is Top Friends and is valued by Adonomics at over $25 million. facebook is a really big business. Oh yeah! How about a hundred billion $? Interested in the business side of facebook? Take a look at the developers page and the developers services inside facebook, as well as the groups related to VCs, advertising and development, and the emerging industry behind facebook is revealed. Not all apps are worth $25 million, however. The #500 facebook app, moon phases is valued at $3,024. It would cost at least that to pay for its development based on going rates. I don’t mean to thrash the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills Fan Statistics app has 2 active users and is valued at $8. It is ranked as the #3,662 out of 5,832  facebook apps. If you don’t have a hot screenplay in you, consider developing a facebook app – don’t lose the dream but don’t forget the lesson of the Buffalo Bills. Your effort may go "wide right" . 

The High Road on Privacy — Dealing with the Elephant in the Room


Privacy is the "elephant in the room" of target marketing efforts.

The customer has been conditioned to think… How can you target an offer without my data? How is that data collected and used? Wait a second…How did you get that data? Who else has that data? 

No one likes to talk about Privacy too much. Most Marketers perceive it as a negative in customer’s minds; even the root cause of failing loyalty programs.

There are different ways of dealing with  the privacy issue.

  1. You can ignore the issue
  2. You can  decide that it isn’t worth the hassle and give everyone the same offer
  3. You can point to a privacy policy and convince yourself that boilerplate from a lawyer will make a customer content vs. what it is really designed to do… cut back litigation
  4. You can take the high road. 

The high road is to develop target marketing programs that openly target your customers for their propensity to do something, fully transparent and without apology. Remember, in most cases business rules and algorithms cannot handle fully targeted 1:1 offers, so why pretend that the offers are 1:1 Let the customer know that these are offers for "customers like them" – because thats what they are!

What about their data? You get rid of it. That’s right… you build a unique campaign database that strips out all the identifiable data that is not needed. and you tell the customer right on the offer "THIS OFFER WAS CREATED FOR CUSTOMERS LIKE YOU, FROM A SECURE DATABASE   WITHOUT ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL OR IDENTIFIABLE DATA"  You use a unique customer campaign number derived from, or referenced to, the customer’s data that is held in a database elsewhere.  For the campaign, the unique number used is in a group for offer purposes. Essentially, the offers are not personalized down to the customer level. They are not company:1  but company:segment .

More on the "high road" If you need an email address or a name and street address to deliver the offer, you add that to the note to the customer… "THIS OFFER WAS CREATED FOR CUSTOMERS LIKE YOU, FROM A SECURE DATABASE   WITHOUT ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL OR IDENTIFIABLE DATA – YOUR (EMAIL) ADDRESS HAS BEEN APPENDED TO THE OFFER FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES ONLY"   

When the campaign is over,  you preserve the high road policy, by using the intelligence from  the campaign selectively to analyze and optimize. The next campaign uses unique campaign ID numbers again.

There is enough opportunity for dynamic offer optimization to challenge the savviest marketers with the biggest technology resources, while staying on the high road.

Now the Customer is being conditioned differently.

How can you target an
offer without my data?
I’m part of a group getting the offer

How is that data collected and used?
– My personal and identifiable data isn’t being used

Wait a
second…How did you get that data? Who else has that data?
– I trust the company judging by the effort they have made in communicating how they use my information

Next time I’ll share my thoughts on… delivery offers.

Ten myths about Coupon Redemption from ICOM


coupon redemption rates are in decline in the United States and Canada.
As North American marketers search for answers to help them cut through
the clutter arising from a proliferation of offers, the time has come
to re-examine some of the conventional wisdom on couponing.

Much of that conventional wisdom is wrong, say ICOM Information & Communications
marketing and consumer insight experts Peter Meyers and Steve Litt.
Their assertion is based on redemption trends derived from a 20-year
database ICOM built in the course of designing 6,300 targeted
direct-mail programs and issuing 425 million coupons to 28 million U.S.
and Canadian households that voluntarily provide information about
their purchasing preferences. ICOM’s database uniquely differentiates
redemption behavior between current, competitive and new users of

According to Meyers and Litt, these are the top ten myths about coupon redemption:

Myth #1: Short-term expirations drive immediate sales.
Fact: Consumers need more time. A short expiry often cuts redemption far more than any increase in value can make up.

Myth #2: Higher value always equals higher redemption.
Fact: Value alone isn’t enough. Maximum redemption comes from an optimal value-expiration sweet spot.

Myth #3: Store brand users aren’t worth pursuing with target coupon offers.
Fact: As
store brands upgrade their quality, fewer store brand consumers will be
price-centric and more will be quality and feature conscious. They’ll
often redeem targeted offers at rates as high as other competitive

Myth #4: Targeting the most loyal users of a competitor’s product yields the best return on a coupon program.
Fact: Light to moderately loyal competitive users are more likely to try a new
product and will do so on a lower-value coupon offer.

Myth #5: The presence of a sample is a requisite for driving high redemption rates.
Fact: There
are other factors much more likely to drive redemption rates. Some of
those include expiration, value, current vs. competitive user, and
frequent vs. infrequent coupon user.

Myth #6: The current users of a product don’t need long expirations to get them to redeem a coupon offer.
Even for current users, to gain more than two-thirds of potential
redemptions, offers must be six months at minimum, and in the 10-12
month range for personal care categories like skin and beauty products.

Myth #7: Coupon clutter is pervasive in all delivery strategies.
Escalated volume is not a factor in targeted coupons mailed directly to
homes. Notably, targeted promotion redemption rates are up in this
sector for household products and pet products.

Myth #8: Coupon offers on frequently purchased items are redeemed quickly, so an expiration of less than six months will do.
Fact: Targeted offers with expirations shorter than six months in general have only half as many redemptions as longer term offers.

Myth # 9: Current and competitive product users need the same coupon value to be motivated.
Fact: In
any product sector, current users typically require much less offer
value to drive them to purchase. Sectors vary, but it often takes 40
percent less value to move a current user than a competitive user.

Myth #10: Americans and Canadians share the same coupon redemption behavior.
Fact: There
are shared traits but the difference in absolute redemption rate is
substantial. Americans receive 10 times more mail than Canadians and
are less likely to respond to offers. Canadians favor contemplation
over quick action and require longer expiration terms. The net result:
the decline in overall coupon redemption rates is steeper in the United

Ten benefits of in-store target marketing


To build this list, I surveyed Scansave, LLC (the company I founded) and 4 other companies that specialize in delivering targeted offers in-store. I am very happy for my own selfish reasons to see validation for these new business methods. The over-arching framework for in-store target marketing has to be the interface to the shopper/customer; where and how do you make contact, and what do you give as a value exchange? 

So here is my list of benefits for those considering target marketing in-store, which in my mind only qualifies if your efforts are measurable, targeted, and can be optimized.

  1. offers are relevant and personalized – it demonstrates you know your customer
  2. delivered at the best place; the point of decision
  3. flexibility; electronic or paper with multi-channel integration opportunities
  4. increased frequency; not the program but the result of frequency offers
  5. increased basket size without diluting profit margins; cross-sells and no pantry filling
  6. product trial; see it, touch it and an instant incentive to try it
  7. level playing field for store brands; its your store… promote your private brands efficiently
  8. data-rich; if the offers are targeted, the data  collected is valuable and powerful
  9. less waste; more efficient than broad-based direct marketing via mail
  10. $; increased spend, increased revenues and increased profit margins

Top 10 trends in Web Analytics according to Jim Sterne

Courtesy of Jim Sterne e-metrics founder and FB friend (via Larry Page’s Newsletter)

see it here

Top Trends in Web Metrics & Analytics:

1. Upper Management Demands Proof

2. The Desire to Measure Everything Gets Serious

3. The Need for Integrated Marketing Becomes Obvious

4. A Common Language Is Born

5. Defining Engagement Remains Elusive

6. Reputation Management Grows in Stature

7. Finding Experienced Web Analysts Continues to Mystify

8. The Web Analytics Consulting Market Mushrooms

9. New Web Analysts Flood the Market

10. The Industry Continues to Consolidate

Bonus Trend. The Rich Get Richer

see it here

Did you Save Your Lucky Green Stamps Today?





Loyalty… FrequencyAre these new concepts?
Its the 1950’s…. Imagine a kid licking the lucky green stamps that Mom brought home from the supermarket, and sticking them into a catalog book, all the while staring at that picture of a doll or train set that they were saving the stamps for. If junior had any influence, Mom and Dad would spend every spare dime they had at the supermarket to get more stamps. S&H Solutions
Now, fast forward to the recent acquisition by Pay By Touch of S&H – one of the originators of "rewarding consumers
for their purchases to keep them coming
back." Pay By Touch is merging payments and loyalty with the touch of a thumb. "Pay By Touch is the leading biometric authentication network for
loyalty and payments, and the only company that integrates biometric
authentication, payments, personalized marketing, and payment
processing. The company’s mission is to liberate consumer
s through
biometrics and beyond by providing the most secure, convenient, and
cost-effective electronic transaction solutions available."  Pay By Touch
My sister saved up lucky green stamps for one of these "hot numbers" (above) from Loblaws in the 1950s. Nice hairdo 🙂 and the outfit looks a lot like the uniform worn by the  ladies behind the  deli counter…  How many pounds of ground round was that ma’am? The answer is no… Loyalty and frequency are not new concepts, and I would venture to say that nostalgia for these programs is not misguided – THEY WORKED!

How much does a pound of loyalty cost?


According to Jim

Jim Barnes, a fellow Canadian and a guru at Customer Think discusses research results from Colloquy…

Research results such as these indicate that consumers perceive a ton
of value in loyalty programs and use them often to earn rewards. But,
they have precious little to do with loyalty.

Jim goes on to caution about developing a loyalty program to get customer loyalty. Do loyalty programs influence customer behavior? Of course they do.
But, if you are looking to build long-term customer loyalty, the kind
of loyalty that is grounded in an emotional connection, don’t go
running off to start a loyalty program.

Jim’s full comments are here.

“The Man” is conflicted about social networking.


link to Business Week article

By luring employees into a network, companies hope to leverage their
skills and contacts. But they also hope that all that collaboration
will cut out time that’s now spent mailing documents and e-mailing

excerpt: SharePoint, the
Microsoft software that lets companies set up MySpace-like profiles,
blogs, and collaborative Web sites known as wikis within the confines
of their firewalls, is one of the fastest-growing server products in
the company’s history. "At first people were slow to adopt this; they
were nervous. But now we’re seeing a bunch of adoption," says Rob
Curry, director of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server software.
Both Microsoft and IBM are using their own offices as labs for their

excerpt: The whole "open"
ethos of the social Net–sharing pictures and music and letting
"friends" know your every activity–goes against the instincts of
big-company chief information officers.


Warning!!! Poindexter Alert – Optimizing Marketing


OK some of this is heavy if you are not into marketing and analytics. But if you are interested in loyalty programs and CRM, this 2 part knowledge sharing from Fulcrum’s CEO David King is worth a read .

In part1, the discussion is about how "database marketing technology is finally catching up to the real-world need to manage customer relationships over time. Finite state machines are being adapted to marketing and provide an entire new set of capabilities."

In part 2, KIng talks about optimizing marketing around particular strategic goals and in the face of real-world constraints… "extend the concept of state machines with a
technique used for optimizing processes in many other industries – a
Markov Decision Process (MDP) — here the transitions are a set of probabilities."

Nifty little in-store marketing gadget


Here is a "wireless loyalty card" that  shoppers carry with them in the store on their key fob.  Do I think it  will fly?  Not sure – because of the infrastructure needed to read and write special offers to these fobs throughout the stores. But, I think the idea is in the right direction  Scansave (company I founded) is working on an alternate approach where your points/loyalty/credit card in your wallet has a special surface that  prints, erases and reprints offers right onto your card.  Imagine visiting Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s and when you take out your card, you show it like you do today, then you swipe it, and your card is imprinted with offers… JUST FOR YOU! 

Scansave offers PVC loyalty card solutions with re-printable surface


Weird Science – Putting a Value on the Biggest Brands


Weird Science! Google’s brand value 50% more than Coca Cola.Double the value of either Toyota or McDonalds. Give me  a  break today! According to agency Millward Brown, authors of the annual "Brandz 100" study … "Brand value is the financial value of a brand – defined as the sum of all earnings that a brand is expected to generate" But, they use their own brand contribution multiplier, based on intangibles,  to get the total. You know what they say about 50% of advertising being a waste, but no one knows which 50% it is.Too much of marketing is intangible.

If you don’t read this we’ll kill this dog


Remember this National Lampoon Cover? Maybe this is the best way to monetize blogging? Threats! No? well then I’d love some ideas and direction, because I’m back at this after a break of 3 years and would like to know how, where, and who can teach me about how to effectively use the blog to build business. That’s really what its about isn’t it?! Be honest!
If I just wanted a friend I would keep the dog, and shut down the blog 🙂
Which is the best host? I have a few days left in the trial period to decide to keep typepad. Is wordpress better?

facebook apps

Over 3,000 facebook apps! I have been looking for an app that would let me tie in this new blog, a facebook group, websites and my facebook profile. I chose "blog friends" and we’ll see how that goes. Most of the apps for RSS I looked at, were reviewed by users and most had bug complaints. I really didn’t see a clear leader in this "category"   

I know one thing I hate on facebook is being forced to get an app to see what someone is trying to send/give/share. I’m a hypocrite… I like shoebox and have sent non-users special gifts that they need shoebox to see – GUILTY as charged!

I see VCs raising funds just for facebook app companies,  websites that review facebook apps. It seems like the 3rd wave of the Internet is now underway and facebook is right in the centre! Watch out google!

Resistance is Futile

I have to admit this first post is not something I have looked forward to. I maintained a blog for a few years with Blogger, and although the links and content were IMO excellent, it was a sinkhole for time (and likely ahead of its time).

4 or 5 years later and I’m giving it another shot to integrate  my thinking on target marketing, to learn, to connect,  and provide a focused outlet for those interested in all the issues around target marketing and promotion optimization.  You are welcome to contribute, promote and sell as long as you are on "target". If you can help teach me how to promote the blog too, that would be a gift!

One area I am interested in, and want to learn about is… Privacy and Target Marketing.