Are You Talking To Me?

On Knowing Your Audience

Sounds simple, right?  Whether you are business owner trying to land an account, an applicant trying to land a job, or a writer submitting your work, this is a simple rule that you must consider before each correspondence.  Know who will be reading it.

Do your homework.  Research.  If you weren’t good at it in college, now’s your chance to hone your skills.

1.  Take a look at what your target (audience) is buying or reading, AND notice what they’re not.  Check their website and give yourself some time — be thorough.  Study the language and any industry-specific terms.  You’ll need to learn this.  Yes, there will be a quiz.

2.  Check to see who they are following on Twitter.  You’ll want to know who has their attention already.  Find their other social media sites.  Look around.

3.  Talk to people who know him/her/the business.  Ask questions.  Learn names, styles, preferences.

4.  Don’t forget!  Check out their competition‘s website and social media.

Then, when it’s time, polish your presentation or body of work.  Speak in their language.  Keep it simple.  And no typos, grammatical errors, or slang – please!  If you are unsure of your own eye, have someone proof/edit for you.  Depending on what’s riding on your piece, an investment of a good editor can mean a big payoff.  Don’t discount yourself and be direct – and if it’s appropriate, ask for their business.

People can spot genuine interest in their business and who they are.  In the avalanche that is social media, it is easy to miss something.  Take the time to prepare yourself and learn what’s going on.

And let me know if I can help you prepare in any way.  Your success is my mission.


Dear Macy’s

Dear Macy’s,

How I remember you fondly.  How I loved, as a child, visiting New York at Christmastime, and would be so excited to learn that I could visit your store.  How thrilled I was as a young adult to find you moving to North Carolina so that I could be overwhelmed by heaven on earth — fragrance, shoes, and beautiful clothing.  I could shop, shop, shop ’til I dropped, dropped, dropped in your beautiful store that felt like Christmas all year ’round.

But oh, how times have changed.  I had an interesting conversation yesterday with my oldest about consumer activism recently, but it wasn’t in regard to Macy’s.  He was asking about why I do (or don’t) spend my money with certain establishments.

Consumer activism via the wallet (or purse, as the case may be).  He asked why I don’t spend money at a store, why it matters, how it’s felt.  It may not be felt, I explained.  I am just one.  One dollar.  One vote.  But a body of citizens can make a difference.  Women had a loud voice in the 2012 election, and now find themselves rising to the call of another challenge:  ousting the Donald Trump brand from Macy’s.

Oh, my beloved Macy’s.  Home of the Macy’s Christmas Parade.

From a public relations standpoint, this has to be a nightmare for you.  If you haven’t visited your Facebook page in a while, you should.  Every post that I saw had variations on the theme:  Dump Trump.  Even sweet Taylor Swift’s thread had a bad combover.

Your favor is slipping.  The Dump Trump Petition has more than a half million signers (660,000+) and is still growing.  Macy’s loyalty score with women is now behind many of its major competitors, including Target, J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, Kohls, Sears, Kmart and TJ Maxx. (Source)  (By the way last year this time, Macy’s was way up over J.C. Penney last year in holiday sales, according to Forbes.)

AdWeek is reporting that the Trump Signature Collection is discounted at an additional 20% off, and a quick check of your website confirms this.

Demographics and Macy’s

Not that it’s all women — there are men equally offended by Trump and making themselves heard.  But when you take a look at your demographic …  well, you could probably guess the Macy’s demo but get the official take here.  (Hint:  It’s me.)

The primary event that got the balling rolling (beyond Trump’s horrific behavior surrounding Hurricane Sandy and calls for revolution upon receiving election results) was your Christmas ad featuring Trump sneering and making veiled birther comments.  Did the election show you nothing?  According to Business Insider  women’s issues had been one of the core topics for both Republicans and Democrats, with each side having their own steadfast opinions on where they stand.  Well, women had their own opinions, with more than half siding with the President on his views on topics like choice and contraception.  And the binders full of women did not help.

MSN Money reports on retail numbers for Black Friday:  Macy’s (M +0.13%), Target (TGT +0.26%), Nordstrom (JWN +0.51%) and Kohl’s (KSS -0.27%) all reported drops in November same-store sales from a year ago on Thursday, while 16 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters recorded saw an overall 1.6% same-store sales increase.

According to CBS Marketwatch, Macy’s is down from last November but up overall for the year, which is probably why Macy’s feels confident in the Trump Factor..  Watch closely:

11/12 Sales:  2.45 Billion
11/11 Sales:  2.46 Billion
Comparison:  (0.6%)
YTD 2012:  20.8 Billion
YTD 2011:  2i0.1 Billion
Comparison:  Up 3.2%

Macy’s, I received an e-mail blast from Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) last night asking for more support and more persistence, more signatures.  (You may remember Angelo as  @StopBeck and the massive movement against Glenn Beck.)  This gentleman is interesting and determined.  And his argument is a sound one:  That Trump does not fit the Macy’s brand.   It’s gutcheck time.  What’s your brand?  Celebrities at all costs?  (I’ve been to your Youtube channel. I’ve seen the What’s in Store campaign. I get it. Mega-celebrities touting lines and brandwear.) I’ll be watching to see what your sales look like for November, December and 1Q2013.  This ought to be interesting.