Florida Direct Marketing Association Presentation on Facebook


This is the latest presentation I did for the Florida Direct Marketing Association.  Entitled Facebook: Breaking the Sales and Engagement Myth, it is a case study on how The Fresh Diet builds engagement, trust and sales on their Facebook page.  We had over 100 people in attendence, once again for the 2nd time in 3 years I have lead off in January with a home run for the FDMA (every once in a while you have to pat yourself on the back right?)

BERNHART ASSOCIATES’ EMPLOYMENT Q1 SURVEY RELEASED: 2011 STARTS OFF STRONG; DIRECT MARKETING HIRING TO REBOUND


Layoffs, Hiring Freezes Hit Multi-Year Lows
Owatonna, MN, January 18, 2011—Digital and direct marketers are planning a surge in hiring this winter with agencies leading the way, according to Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report for the first quarter of 2011.

“I expected a bounce, but nothing like this, which is very encouraging,” said Jerry Bernhart, leading direct marketing recruiter and Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, which conducts the quarterly employment survey.  “This is the most positive quarterly improvement we’ve ever seen in the 11-year history of our quarterly survey.”

The following are key findings from Bernhart Associates’ Quarter 1 (Q1) survey:

• Fifty-two percent (52%) of companies responding to the survey said they plan to add to staff in Q1, up from 41% last quarter (Q4).

• Sixteen percent (16%) of respondents currently have a hiring freeze, down sharply from 35% in Q4.

• The percentage of companies planning layoffs in Q1 dropped to 4%, compared with 8% in Q4.

• Sixty-three percent (63%) of agencies responding to the survey plan to add staff, with none planning cutbacks and only one agency reporting a hiring freeze.

Survey results show that marketing hiring budgets are still being pinched on the client side, which are lagging the agencies and service providers in planned hiring.  But Bernhart notes that nearly one out of every two marketers still will have positions to fill in the current quarter.

“Business-to-business hiring plans outpaced business-to-consumer, and also reported fewer expected layoffs and hiring freezes,” added Bernhart.

Bernhart said that while direct marketing staffing this year may not reach the boom levels seen prior to 2008, he expects hiring to continue building momentum in 2011, noting the following key trends:

• Digital and direct marketers are revising upward their projections for 2011 as margins improve and demand picks up, creating the need for more staffing.

• The number of online digital and direct marketing-related job listings has been up sharply in the past couple months.

• Bernhart said he has seen a “dramatic” decline in the number of resumes from recently laid-off digital and direct marketers.

• Bernhart further noted that he is fielding more calls from companies asking about executive searches, adding, “you don’t see that happen unless job recovery is taking hold.”

Among those companies planning to add staff, Bernhart said digital and direct marketing openings will be across the board and at all levels.  “Usually we see a couple of job categories stand out, but this time it’s very broad-based with marketing, analytics, and sales topping the list, along with a strong showing among IT-related positions.”

Bernhart Associates’ Q1 hiring survey was emailed on January 5 and 12 to more than 11,000 senior executives, hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing.  A total of 399 organizations responded to the widely followed employment-trends survey.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), in 2009, marketers—commercial and nonprofit—spent $149.3 billion on direct marketing, which accounted for 54.3% of all ad expenditures in the United States.  Measured against total U.S. sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $1.783 trillion in incremental sales.  DMA further reported that, in 2009, there were 1.4 million direct marketing employees in the U.S.  Their collective sales efforts directly supported 8.4 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.9 million American jobs.

Results of past surveys can be found in the DMA’s annual Statistical Fact Book and on Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC’s website.

Companies interested in participating in the Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report should send an email to survey@bernhart.com with “Opt-In” in the subject line, or they can sign up directly on the front page of the Bernhart Associates’ website.

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Download this Press Release as a PDF.

Please direct executive search inquires to jerry@bernhart.com or call 507-451-4270.

About Bernhart Associates

Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, is owned by Jerry Bernhart, a
leading and nationally recognized digital and direct marketing recruiter, writer, and
speasker.  Founded in 1991, Bernhart Associates recruits for positions at all levels in
Multichannel Direct Marketing, CRM, E-Commerce, Database Marketing, Business
Development, and Marketing Analytics.  Respected as a leading authority on issues
related to digital and direct marketing recruiting, Jerry is a frequent speaker at
national marketing conferences and is often quoted by the industry news media.  Jerry
has written dozens of articles for the leading online and offline multichannel marketing
publications.

The Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Survey,
now in its eleventh year, has become the most widely followed employment report in
digital and direct marketing and measures employers’ hiring plans for the coming
quarter.  It is the only forward-looking employment survey of its kind in digital and direct marketing and unparalleled in size and scope.

Bernard Silverman and Affiliates, Naperville, IL, contributes research and
analysis for the Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing
Employment Report.  Bernie can be reached at bernie@bsilverman.com.

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Customer Experience


As a marketer, you should be overly concerned about how your customers experience your brand, products and customer service. I evangelize how in the internet age it’s very easy for a company to wind up getting skewered via social media.

But all isn’t the same out there. I come across businesses daily who don’t have their proverbial act together. All could really learn some lessons on how customers must be king or else.

I love to go to the movies. The local theater I go to recently underwent a complete makeover, including new, wider reclining chairs; a bar with real food and alcoholic beverages; and more. This theater already had a really great loyalty program in place: it seemed for every couple of movies I went to, I wound up with a free ticket. Very cool!

Even more cool (guilty pleasure alert), it actually used real butter on its popcorn. Oh, and free refills. And it was never too crowded like the mega-giga-multiplex in town where you need a shuttle bus a la Disney to get from the parking lot to the theater.

Enter Frank Theatres a few short months ago and the mega-giga-multiplex doesn’t look so bad. It upped the price of a movie ticket by a few bucks, made it harder than winning the lottery to get a free ticket via its points-based loyalty program and in general tortured me as a customer by making the $6 popcorn nonrefillable. Now you have to buy the $7.50 size (maybe you city folks pay that for 30 cents of corn, oil and seasonings, but down south here that’s a big jump) in order to get refills. I’m pretty sure the $6 bag and the $7.50 bucket are about the same size, so why not just charge me $1.50 for a refill and stop with the subterfuge already.

I won’t even tell you about how customers are supposed to understand how to wait in one central line for the candy counter until the next person is called without any velvet ropes or a queue. Ridiculous! Is it one line or three lines? This is for sure going to turn into a fistfight one day soon because people try to form three lines only to be told they’re cutting the line.

The kicker: I took my family to the movies last weekend knowing I’d drop close to $100 for the latest 3-D flick (an additional $3 just to use the theater’s 3-D glasses), but I couldn’t even use a $100 bill. The girl at the ticket booth told me flatly, “We don’t take that, it’s our policy.”

So by now the moral of the story should be obvious — wait for the movie to come out on cable. Wait, that’s not it.

The moral is your customers have expectations. If you meet or beat those expectations, you’ll do well in business. If you don’t, there will likely be consequences — i.e., lost sales. Your customers are creatures of habit. They like their little creature comforts. If you take them away, they tend to get upset and take their business elsewhere.

So a note to Frank Theatres: This is the internet age. Get it together or deal with some very vocal customers who like what they like. If it’s going to take over another theater, keep the customs of that theater or risk losing business (or at least go with gradual change). It’s OK to add to a better user experience. Be careful that progress isn’t taking one step forward and two steps back.

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