Friday, December 23, 2011

3 Christmas Signs For The Lebanese Economy

Retail sales around Christmas are said to equal about 30 to 40 % of the year's sales; you should not be surprised that you are getting bombarded by heavy-duty advertisement in December. That said, here are three signs the Lebanese economy is getting worse year after year:

1- Advertising messages are focusing on "sales". This indicates a desperate attempt at getting more clients. We have heard that Zara Home called its clientele one by one to announce their sales on the 26th, and Timberland is already on a 15% off sale. 

Take a look around your SMS or e-mail inbox, what are the most prominent advertising messages?

It could either be that:
  • the retailer's Christmas sales predictions were not matched by the current sales, and he is left with extra stock he needs to get rid of; 
  • or, the sales were too low, and the retailer failed to reach his target, so he is resorting to desperate measures to get a piece of the pie.
When more ads focus on a "sales" message, wouldn't that mean that the pie is actually getting smaller? 
lebanon economy

2- Christmas in Lebanon means an incoming boost to the economy, as more expatriates come over to visit and spend valuable amounts of money. This phenomenon generally tends to cause crazy traffic congestion around this time of year. 

Did anyone else feel that traffic was way less than the previous years?

3- More and more families are limiting their Christmas purchasing to the kids. Of course, the children were always a priority on this particular holiday, yet, never to the extent of being the sole beneficiaries. 

Take a look around the stores... Where's the real crowd?

I would have also added a point on gift budget changes, but I have no way to prove that...
That said, Lebanese people have always been whining about their economy, will a change to the worse ever be news?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Judging by... Her Shoes

So, here's the thing: two clients walk in at the same time, you try to juggle them both at once, then get caught up and find yourself in an awkward moment where you have to choose whom to give preferential treatment to, what do you do? 

My advice to you is simple: look at the shoes.

shoe marketing

I have long noted that women with classy colorful shoes tend to spend more; and what I mean by 'colorful' is mainly 'anything but black' (of course, this stereotype excludes men, teenagers and any kind of trainers; it's mainly for lady leather shoes).
woman marketing

Before you start calling me names, it's not a question of discrimination.

...and I kind of found the rationale behind it today!

If ladies were to buy only one pair of shoes, it would be black. That done, they would consider other fanciful colors. The likelihood that someone would have many colored shoes is higher if that person is actually wearing colored shoes.
high heels marketing

Ok, skip.

If the shoes don't give you enough clues, the next step should be the handbag color. The same applies here.
fashion marketing
Pippa Middleton, matching shoes and handbag

Finally, you know you've got a client worth a jackpot when the handbag color matches the shoes.

...and that's it for today's sales lesson!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knowledge-based Marketing: How to Establish Market Leadership

Theoretical and Practical
There are times when we thirst for knowledge, and others when we rather retract ourselves and ponder upon our experiences to come up with our own conclusions.
While both means compel us to develop some sort of wisdom, the second can be much more rewarding. How so?
books marketing

Knowledge we acquire on our own can:
  • boost our understanding of the matter at hand
  • develop our self-esteem
  • compensate for our failure
After-all, life is full of "stages" we go through in order to shape up our personalities, learn new tricks or simply wake up from our procrastinations, right?

Acquired, but Innate
...and you might think I am being too reflective about something as intuitive as knowledge. Yes, I said it, and I will say  it again, "intuitive", just in case you have missed it.
alphabet marketing

While knowledge, itself, can only be acquired, our capacity and tendency to learn are, them, innate.

By now I guess you are wondering where I am going with this since, this was a marketing blog. Well, rest assured, it still is.

Market Leadership
How do you establish leadership on the market? When you become a leader.
How do you become a leader? By gaining followers.
Why would people follow you?

ideas marketing

A very famous, viable, yet old fashioned manner to create followers is knowledge sharing. It simply shows people that you have the know-how and that you are a reliable source.

Knowledge Marketing
Knowledge marketing is especially popular in technical fields, such as engineering firms, consulting firms, electrical/ technical equipment companies... and most recently - don't laugh - online marketing.

If you're in the marketing field then you probably have been invited to, at least, one conference about digital marketing or social media, right?

Now since everyone in your field is doing it, if you haven't shared anything different from your counterparts you're not quite positioning yourself as a leader, now, are you? More like a copy cat, actually.
knowledge marketing

My advice is just take a step back from hammering your shareholders with theories we all know, and try to come up with another type of knowledge, one unique to you, compiled from your own experiences. 
Put your heart into it and see how people will be more eager to  hear what you have to say.

Maybe then you will reap the benefits of knowledge-based marketing and finally achieve the leadership positioning you were longing for.

(You weren't just doing it because everyone else was doing it, right?)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

book club lebanon
I have recently reviewed the marketing-related book "Crossing the Chasm" on

The review is actually entitled: How to go about marketing a tech start-up, mainly because, well, that's what the book is about. If this sounds like a topic that might interest you, you can read more here

For those of you who are not familiar with this initiative yet, here's a quick brief:
The Cube is the first online book club in Lebanon. We are a group of Tweeps (Twitter users, for those who are not familiar with this term) who are quite aware of the importance of reading and seek to communicate our enthusiasm.

If you are a book lover, I would encourage you to post your own reviews and subscribe to The Cube Blog.

... and don't forget to join in the conversation!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Le Mall Marketing Campaign - "Shopping Trip to Paris"

Apparently someone has paid more than $11, 000 for a chance to win a trip... worth about... LESS.
online marketing lebanon
There's 555 coupons for a certain Juliane, each worth $20 according to the listings on,,,, (which by the way, all, just link to the Facebook application). 

Only about 3800 likes on Le Mall's Facebook page, a rather average interaction rate, and yet the top 50 "unstoppables" boast numbers that seem way up in the clouds... 
That part obviously reads "fishy" to me. Even more so that the full name of those "unstoppables" is not written. Oh, and their Facebook manager (with great writing skills - honestly -) needs to do something about those long status updates!
lemall marketing lebanon

"Hasn't anyone told them yet that their advertising campaigns suck?" stated a very reputable friend in the advertising industry upon hearing LeMall's latest radio ad. 

I don't quite agree actually.

I was intending to praise this campaign... I should get back on track. I find it ingenious!

For once a campaign that aims to raise sales, engage with clients and above all reward them... and my favorite part? It's an integrated marketing campaign. 

I would calculate the success of this by measuring the amount of new sales generated, versus that of the previous month, minus the campaign costs. Uh, ok, I am making it impossible for it to be a "winner".
lemall lebanon ad

...But seriously, I do like it. At least they would have created themselves a Facebook fan base for future campaigns and got new people to interact with them! (Which could have been done with Facebook ads alone, with, at least, 20 times less the cost.)

ok, I give up! 

It's a good campaign, yet, likely to cost more than to generate. Although, the campaign seems so awesome and creative (ok, not creative, ...yet it's spot on the Lebanese female mall consumer). 

Let's call it ambitious.

...But hey! At least they did it all legally:

Did you know that it takes a permit from the ministry of Finance for any draw to take place? Even if they were just to win coupons! Moreover, such draws have to be governed by the Lebanese National Lottery... And Le Mall did it right. Yey for that! 

online marketing lebanon

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Change the World... Please?

The Butterfly Effect

 07-07-2007 was the date they announced the New 7 Wonders of the World.
100 Million were those who voted.

Yet, one, was the person who decided that this was news-worthy and assumed its showcasing on Lebanese news.
new7wonders lebanon

One person's action lead another, jealous over his country not being listed, to go visit the new7wonders website, frustrated and skeptical over the process that lead to those results... And there it was.

"Be the Change You Want to See in the World"

world marketing

Lebanon was not voted, true. Yet, it was never nominated to be voted in the first place! Wasn't our dear Lebanon part of the world? Yes. So why didn't it have the chance to compete for the title???

Simple, the process was set as to get "open" nominations from website visitors... That were to ,then, be evaluated and selected for actual listing as a nominee. This opportunity had ended.

Yet a new competition was launched!

new7wonders marketing

"The new 7 wonders of nature" was not as glamorous of a title as the previous... Yet it was revenge time: that person set up to nominate 2 locations in Lebanon, two! Two instead of one. He typed down "the cedars of Lebanon" in a blank field, and " Jeita Grotto". He was channeling his feeling of grudge, his country was to be listed! For once. In reality, it was "her" country.
new 7 wonders marketing

How many of us have been moved by these nominations? How many have invested their time and money into voting, or making these votes a success? Would that have been possible had the nomination not been cast?

What if that person had been at the time a 23year old "she"? Would that girl ever have  had the chance to make a difference outside of her own room? Probably not. Yet, today, her action has sprung to motivate celebrities and politicians alike!

Lessons for All

It is funny how much we can do, thanks to the Internet these days. I wish for this to be a lesson to the older generations who think that the Internet is a waste of time.

 If you look at the Internet and think of Facebook, then yes. Yet, the Internet is so much more.  Let that be a lesson to the kids.

And digital marketing? It's not about updating a Facebook group and forcing your friends to unwillingly join. The power of online marketing is in going viral and reaching the world. The power of digital marketing is not in the money spent, but in the message. THAT is the future. That's what will make countries rise and fall. That's what will shift opinions (let's face it, who gets his information out of anything other than the Internet these days!) and if you can control information flow, you can change the world.

Make a Difference - Vote

jeita marketing

For now, don't forget to vote for Jeita - Send an SMS to 1070 with the message "Jeita", it will only cost you 10 cents, and you won't even pay for the SMS cost.

11-11-2011 will be the date they announce the New 7 Wonders of Nature.   
Make sure your vote is counted.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why There's More to Marketing than Advertising

Marketing is not all about promotion. If you are an advertising specialist, it does not make you an expert in marketing.
What’s more to marketing than that?
One of my first blog posts was stating that thefirst step in marketing is HR. Your employees are your best spokesmen.
In some odd way everything can come under the big title of marketing. Anything that entails some creative thinking or choice in an organization is subject to the way you decide to present it to your stakeholders, i.e. to market it.
marketing generator
This leaves only a few tasks that do not fall under marketing, and I say “tasks”, as even the most rigid of positions can be subject to “presentation” bias.  Let’s consider accounting for instance: true, there are some very basic entries that you cannot “edit” creatively, but as your role gets more managerial, you handle more responsibility, and you are given more power to influence the company’s overall image.
For instance, in accounting, you may be put in charge to present your company’s profit to the world. You will have to do it right; yet you will also have to do it in the most subtle and attractive way. Whether you look at the income statement and statewe got ourselves in a debt of 2 million dollars this year” or “we have invested in 3 new venues, and expect to generate 10 million dollars in the coming 3 years” makes all the difference in the world! It is all about marketing.  
lebanon businessman

Needless to say, you may conduct flawless advertising campaigns, yet… if its cost is not set based on the ROI in terms of profits, if your product’s price is not right, if your salespeople are not polite, if your venue is not welcoming, if your operations are not timely in delivery, if your secretary never picks up the phone, if you fall behind your competition in quality control (and the list goes on)… then you have utterly failed in marketing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marketing in Reverse

Ever wondered what was the business condition, the current state of turnover that lead to the advertisements you get bombarded by?

Here's a fun take on marketing... in reverse.


sale lebanon

option 1: I got a big stock I need to get rid off
option 2: It is the end of season, I need to get rid of the old to bring the new
option 3: I haven't reached my sales target

5 to 25% - I still intend to make profit by selling more for less
30 to 50% -  I just need to get rid of these items, I will sell at cost
50% and up - I don't care if I lose, stocking them would cost me more

Loyalty Cards

option 1: I need to get my customers to come back again
option 2: I need to get more customers
option 3: I need to get my customers to buy more

Incentive Ads

loyalty lebanon

do this for a chance to win - for example: update your information for a chance to win an iPad (just saw that at Bank Audi): 
we need to get more people to do this i.e. not enough people are doing this


bulky / long text: the boss is old fashioned and refused to listen to the pro
many pictures: the boss is old fashioned and refused to listen to the pro

text is too small: the graphic designer has no experience
logo is too small: the graphic designer has no experience

Print Ads

Social media icons with no links: we have no clue what those are for, but we are trying to be cool
Advertising with no address or contact details: the marketing department is not being held accountable for sales

TV Ads

Jingles: we hope it get stuck in your head, even if you hate us for this, there's no such thing as bad advertising
Testimonials: we think you're dumb enough to think those are true (sadly, this has proven to work efficiently)

Online Ads

"Click here": I think you are dumb

free lebanon
"FREE":This is a trick

win lebanon
"WIN": we want to get something out of this

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