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  • 27 Feb 2013

    Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy. But does it need to feel the squeeze in economic uncertainty? (Food & Fuel Report, part 4)


    What can happy hour teach you about making all your customers happy?

    Who doesn’t like happy hour?

    As a famous American poet once noted, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

    But from a restaurant marketer’s perspective, how do happy hours work? Do they drive visits? Do they build loyalty? Do they enhance experience? How about converting to dinner sales?

    Add in the factor that fuel prices are on the rise — up to $4 a gallon in some areas — and many customers are having to choose between saving up by staying in or paying up just to get themselves from one place to another. It has become a daily internal debate.

    As a restaurant owner or marketer, you’ve got to be sure that your messaging and in-house efforts are keyed to resonate with consumers who are seeking stability and value in a time of economic uncertainty.

    All week on Summit Social, we’ve been unpacking the results of our Food & Fuel research report. Food & Fuel’s goal was to find out how consumers are adjusting their dining-out choices in light of rising fuel costs and economic anxiety.

    In previous posts, we’ve looked at overall impact of high fuel prices on dining out, how men and women differ in choosing to dine out, and whether kids-eat-free deals motivate parents.

    Today, we’re focusing on happy hour.

    And we have happy news! Mix up a Manhattan and read on.

    F&F Finding No. 4: Happy Hour Specials Are a Strong Hook for 20-Somethings

    First of all, the young folks have it. Food & Fuel found that 71% of 21-29-year-old respondents had taken advantage of happy hour specials in the previous three months and plan to continue in the future.

    Happy hour is particularly popular with women, who took advantage of the deals at a 10% higher rate. Further investigation pointed to the popularity of “Girls Night Out” deals.

    What about when it came to choosing where to have that after-work cocktail?

    Deals and discounts, plus a “follow my friends” mentality trumped brand loyalty when it came to choosing where to go. By the same token, respondents were more likely to indicate a favorite grouping of restaurants/bars than one single, go-to place.

    Although 21-29-year-olds were the most likely age group (36%) to say they would decrease dining expenses in the face of high gas prices, they were also the highest percentage of respondents to indicate that rising fuel costs would not impact their dining out budget. If that sounds contradictory, that’s because it is.

    This disparity is likely a reflection of how happy hour really is about the “happy.” More than just a meal out, happy hour satisfies a latent need for entertainment and social engagement.

    Remember: Consumers are all looking for safe harbor in the face of rising economic stress.

    • • Insight: Take a lesson from the young. For 20-somethings, happy hour combines value and entertainment to create a unique experience. Your messaging will work best for all ages when it portrays your restaurant as a place where customers will feel better for having visited.
    • • Takeaway: Does your messaging present your full mix of price, entertainment, and increased feelings of satisfaction?

    Closing thought: As you plan your happy hour strategy, it’s worth considering how you might combine the draw of after-work drinking into staying to dine. Tap into your guests’ enthusiasm for happy hour and motivate them to stay for dinner . . . or make it a seamless transition that’s barely noticed.

    If you’d like more insight, download the free Food & Fuel Report.

    Let us know how we can help make your customers happy. Call Summit Marketing at 1-(800)-843-7347.

    Previous Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out?
    Part 3: Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives

    Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 27 Feb 2013

    Most Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals (Food & Fuel Report, part 3)

    Kids-Eat-Free promos are the least important factor in parents' choice to eat out.

    When was the last time your kids ate free in a restaurant? (That is, a restaurant that you don’t have ownership stake in?)
    The Kids-Eat-Free deal is a longstanding tactic to get families into booths, and, if all goes well, hook future generations of patrons. But is it relevant to today’s consumer? Does it actually impact a parent’s choice to gas up the family car, load up the kids, and head out for dinner?
    Throw in $4-a-gallon pricing, and the answer becomes clear.
    Restaurant discounting aimed at parents of children is one of the issues we at Summit Marketing explored in our Food & Fuel survey, conducted late last year. All week long on this blog, we’re diving into the lessons learned from our extensive research into how escalating gas prices are affecting consumers’ decisions to eat out. You can also download the full Food & Fuel whitepaper.
    Monday, we learned that $4+-a-gallon fuel prices impact 72% of customers in their decisions regarding dining out. That’s why, in times of economic anxiety, restaurateurs need to communicate stability and value.
    Next, we learned that men and women differ in their dining-out decisions. We gave research-backed reasons why it’s essential to turn customers into outspoken advocates for your brand.
    Today, we’ll focus on the kids.

    F&F Finding No. 3: Kids-Eat-Free Doesn’t Significantly Sway Parents in a High Fuel Price Economy

    Only 15% of respondents in our Food & Fuel survey had taken advantage of a Kids-Eat-Free special within the past three months.
    Most telling of all, none of the participants identified Kids-Eat-Free as “the single most important factor” impacting their restaurant selection.
    In fact, 42% marked it “least important.” {Note: 49% of survey participants reported having kids at home.}
    While respondents with children were almost twice as likely (28%) to have taken advantage of a Kids-Eat-Free promotion in the preceding three months, they still ranked it “single least important factor” in choosing to dine out. It tied with “Happy Hour Specials” among moms and dads.

    • Insight: Don’t expect a Kids-Eat-Free proposition to powerfully resonate. However, if you are already running one, make it part of your larger message of consistent and committed value. Remember that consumers are looking for certainty.
    • Takeaway: How are you communicating stability, value and high experience satisfaction across all of your messaging?

    Social media and in-store are the easiest vehicles for delivering combined messages. At Summit, we can help with both – and we understand that your kids need to eat, too. Call us at 1-(800)-843-7347.
    Previous Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out?
    Part 4: Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives
    Download the complete Food & Fuel Report.
    Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 26 Feb 2013

    How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out? (Food & Fuel Report, part 2)

    He may be sweet, but she still makes the dinner choices.

    Picture a couple, Hank and Sarah: late 20s, no kids. “Dinks” if you will.
    They’ve been together a while but have just gotten married and bought a house. The honeymoon’s over, and with this new phase in their lives comes the glorious adventure of … shared expenses!
    They’ve got stable jobs, but the economy’s anything but. Compounding that uncertainty is the high cost of filling up the tank.
    $4 a gallon prices have already hit some U.S. cities, and with the warming weather driving fuel consumption, higher fuel costs are expected in the coming months.
    Hank and Sarah may be young, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to eat out every meal (much as they would like to). How do restaurateurs get couples like this one out of their cozy cocoon, onto the road, and into the dining room?
    That’s one question we at Summit wanted to answer with our Food & Fuel survey. Late last year, we conducted an extensive research project to find out what makes customers choose to dine out despite high fuel prices. We’re exploring the results all week on this blog. We’ve also released them bundled as a whitepaper. We hope our hard work will pay off by informing restaurant owners and marketers looking at escalating gas prices and wondering how to send messages that will resonate.
    Yesterday we showed that high fuel prices do indeed make customers stop and think before gassing up and going out. 72% of survey respondents said that sustained periods of $4+/gallon gas prices will make them less likely to choose a restaurant over the family dinner table.
    But, apart from the price of gas, what’s the biggest factor in a customer’s decision to eat out?
    When we removed the context of high gas prices, we found that the choice of where to eat out is primarily driven by “previous positive experience.” This is not entirely surprising.
    However, when pressed to answer the question given a $4+/gallon scenario, a gender difference emerged. And that brings us to…

    F&F Finding No. 2: In a $4-per-gallon economy, men and women differ in dining out decision making.

    Given the high-fuel factor, 46% of men still chose “previous positive experience,” making it the most popular driver for guys.
    But among women, the highest-ranking answer, at 40%, was “availability of a coupon or discount.”
    Guess who, in a family or couple situation, usually makes the decision on dining out? (Hint: it’s not the man.)
    As fellows like Hank know, 75% of dining-out decisions are made by women. Further complicating the matter, when it comes to choosing where to go, it’s not just deals and discounts determining the choice. 54% of moms in the survey reported that they turn to third-party blogs or customer review websites when choosing restaurants.

    • Insight: While for the men in our study dining out is a factor of loyalty, for the women, who assume a greater share of discretionary spending, value is key in the context of $4+ gasoline.
    • Insight: Also, the authority of friend and expert endorsements are important. And that brings us back full circle: a coupon may drive trial by a few, but it’s recommendations based on positive experience that drive both trial and loyalty. (Technology can be on your side in this equation.)
    • Takeaway: Ask yourself, How are you encouraging your customers – in fun and engaging ways – to share their positive experiences with the widest possible audience?

    Hint: Merely having your servers ask your customers “How was everything tonight?” is not enough. Social media and online customer review sites can work to your advantage in driving endorsements, but only if you are delivering that great experience first.
    Stay tuned for more research-driven insights from our Food & Fuel survey. We’ll be here all week. In the meantime, you can download the whitepaper to read over lunch.
    Want help reaching the Hanks & Sarahs in your neighborhood? Call us now at 1-(800)-843-7347.
    Other Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 3: Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals
    Part 4: Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives
    Authored by Jason Harper, Manager of Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 25 Feb 2013

    How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out? (Food & Fuel Report, part 1)


    $4-a-gallon prices mean fewer restaurant goers, survey says.

    Gas prices are up to $4 a gallon in some areas. They are expected to rise in the months ahead. Meanwhile, consumer confidence still remains lower than the trailing 40-year average.
    For restaurant owners, this uncertainty can be unsettling. With rumblings of high gas prices for the foreseeable future, how will the economic climate affect consumer decisions when their stomachs begin to rumble? Will consumers still flock to your dining room when they’re paying out the nose at the pump?
    Summit Marketing recently conducted an extensive survey to get some insight into the matter. Over the next week, we’ll be sharing the results of our Food & Fuel research in a series of blog posts. The report is also bundled as a whitepaper that can be downloaded free.
    We hope that our research will benefit anyone who wants to understand what motivates and influences restaurant customers and prospects in the current economy. If you are a restaurant owner or marketer, this really is for you.
    With this knowledge in hand, you will better craft messages that resonate in a time of economic anxiety. At Summit Marketing, we specialize in using customer data to shape insight-driven marketing solutions that create trial, repeat visits and loyalty for your business in the face of significant consumer uncertainty.
    So, let’s get started.

    F&F Finding No. 1: $4+/gallon gas triggers a decrease in dining out.

    Four bucks, it seems, is the tipping point. 72% of survey respondents indicated that $4 gas would affect their decision to eat out. Based on our interviews, it seems that this threshold is already set in their minds.
    However, it’s worth noting the element of decision is more closely related to sustained $4 pricing. Consumers are already attuned to fluctuations in gas prices. While they may not react immediately to a sudden spike, they will adjust their behavior when $4+ becomes the norm.
    Digging deeper, we found that given prices of $4 or less, 12% of respondents indicated they would decrease dining-out spending. That percentage dropped to 2%, however, when gas is less than $3.75 per gallon. What does that tell you? That 25 cents is worth more than you thought…

    • Insight: Consumers are used to fuel price swings. They watch them closely and complain, but they tolerate them as part of life. Meanwhile, they look for stability in other areas of their lives and make purchasing decisions based on their confidence in the value they’re getting.
    • Takeaway: In a $4+ fuel environment, you must ask yourself: How is your brand communicating strong and stable value?

    Like you, your customers already have enough uncertainty on their plate. Help them feel good about their decision to dine with you by communicating in advance that they will get their money’s worth. Of course, it’s on you to deliver on that promise, and we’ll cover that in our next post.
    Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the drivers behind dining out decisions, how they differ between men and women, and how you can instill confidence among consumers battered by high gas prices.
    Or, if you can’t wait, download the complete Food & Fuel Report from Summit Marketing.
    Let Summit help you understand and connect with your customers. Call us now at 1-(800)-843-7347.
    Other Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out
    Part 3: Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals
    Part 4: Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives
    Post Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 18 Feb 2013

    4 Ways Trying to Lose Weight Is Like Marketing

    Eat your veggies.It seems like the whole world made the New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Luckily for me, the gym isn’t nearly as packed full of people as it was a few weeks ago.
    Back then, every news outlet in the country was doing one, or 10, articles on how to lose weight and eat healthier, and television commercials screamed about discount diet programs, pills or fitness machines. I’m glad that’s all quieted down.
    My weight loss quest began several months ago and it’s been a long, slow process that’s taught me a lot. I’ve also realized marketing and weight loss are very similar – you don’t always get instant results in marketing, just like you can’t get in shape over night.
    For me, I didn’t notice I was packing on the pounds until I began to realize my clothes weren’t fitting properly. By the time I decided I was going to make a change, I had increased my weight by 28 percent. That’s not the only number I found disheartening.

    1. Numbers Don’t Lie

    I’ve recently found myself in the midst of a weight debate with some of my friends and family. My body fat percentage was incredibly high and I had gained, what is for me, a significant amount of weight. I also felt worse that normal. My body didn’t move in the same way it used to and I felt generally more uncomfortable.  The numbers weren’t lying and I knew I could feel better.
    The same idea can be applied to marketing. Maybe your ROI just isn’t panning out or your brand reputation is lackluster. The numbers aren’t lying. As hard as it is to see this, the best thing to do is accept the situation and do the best you can to change it.

    2. You Must Have a Plan

    When I first decided to start losing weight, I began running. That had always been something I enjoyed in high school, but the thing I forgot was that I’m not in high school anymore. My muscles were virtually non-existent and it turns out you need a bit of muscle to power your legs. Also, I had zero endurance as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. I quickly became disheartened with my progress.
    I had to step back from my exercise and make a plan. How exactly was I going to achieve what I wanted? The answer for me was a weekly regimen of fitness classes. They’re working and I’m seeing results, plus the accountability of showing up in class is what I needed.
    In order to get the results you want from your marketing efforts, you should have a plan of how you intend to achieve your goals. Maybe you will have to reevaluate a few months down the road, but sticking to a plan will steadily get you your desired results.

    3. Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight

    Every magazine on checkout shelves seems to promise ways to “instantly” lose 10 pounds with a new pair of jeans or a “miracle” fat blasting plan to drop five pounds a week. I’m not really big on fad diets, so maybe I could temporarily drop some weight that way, but I know that for lasting success, I have to make some changes. I’m looking for a healthier, stronger body, not something to make me look great by this weekend.
    Marketing is the same way. Yeah, maybe you can buy some new Facebook fans or pay to promote a tweet, but that’s really a flash in the pan for permanent change. If you’re working to change your brand’s image or gain loyal customers (because who really wants temporary customers that switch to your competitors in a few months anyway?) those goals won’t be achieved overnight. The process isn’t going to be easy, but the long-term results will be better.

    4. The Pain Will Be Worth It

    Sometimes after exercising, my muscles are sore for days.  I recently did an upper body workout that left me with limbs as useful as T. rex arms.  But in the end, it’s all worth it because my body is changing its shape and I’m finding muscles that I never knew existed.
    I would be a liar if I said that marketing is never painful. It’s painful when you have an idea that you’re in love with and a client shoots it down. Or when an idea you think will be just the key to success is an absolute failure after it’s launched.  I’m sure the clever person that created Pepsi Clear knows exactly what I’m talking about.  I’m also sure that whomever was the brain behind clear soda didn’t give up and kept going, probably creating something that was a wild success.
    Just because not everything works doesn’t mean it’s an absolute failure.  Maybe there are parts of a marketing campaign that can be salvaged or repurposed, but eventually, one of your ideas will be a hit and pay off.  You just have to keep going, just as you would if you were trying to lose weight or achieve any worthwhile goal.

    Post authored by Rachel Caldwell, Summit Marketing Copywriter. Connect with us on Twitter: @SummitSocial.

  • 28 Jan 2013

    Restaurant Owners Beware: Yelp to Add Inspection Notices

    Yelp LogoYelp, the ever-growing user generated review website, has expanded its review services to include restaurant health inspection notices.
    As the AP recently reported, Yelp will begin allowing city-supplied health information to appear on restaurant pages. The program will begin in San Francisco before expanding to other markets.
    Restaurants will be given a grade, and users will be able to click through to read recent health inspection information.
    As if restaurants didn’t have enough to worry about – managing their online reputations, mitigating false claims posted on social sites … Now health inspection notices will have a longer shelf-life and will be housed on the most popular online restaurant review site in the world.
    As the digital world continues to evolve, does your digital strategy continue to evolve, too? Don’t know where to start managing your online brand reputation?
    Then check out our Brand Reputation white paper or give us a call!
    Authored by Heather Schowalter, Senior Account Executive. Get more marketing insight: @SummitSocial.

  • 14 Jan 2013

    Marketing the Unmarketable: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

    Have you ever been tasked with selling something so unique and far-fetched it seems almost unsalable? Something so over-the-top that it appears not so much visionary as irrelevant to the industry and even unpalatable to consumers?

    Granted, some of the most valuable inventions in history were at first decried as ridiculous, even impossible. Think the telephone, the personal computer, or even the airplane, which even Thomas Edison at first believed would never fly.

    A recent movie highlights the daunting task of marketing the, as it were, unmarketable.

    Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor acheive the unmarketable in
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

    For the characters the delightful 2012 Golden Globe Best Comedy nominee Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the outsize goal is taking the sport of freshwater fly fishing to the arid Arabian nation of Yemen.

    Though the film went home empty handed at last night’s awards ceremony, it stands up as a rare treat for marketing geeks: funny and touching while also chock full of inspiring business insight.

    The Story

    When international finance consultant Harriet Chetwoode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) is commissioned by a hyper-wealthy Yemeni sheik to turn a patch of desert into a viable salmon fishing destination, she recruits highly pragmatic fisheries expert Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) to make the ridiculous project a reality.

    A “facts and figures man” with a deep passion for fishing, Jones deems the project absurd and a waste of time and money. His reasoning: There’s no market for fly fishing in the desert – or even water to put fish in. Salmon live in cold, rainy climates, and (as they find out later on in the film), the fisherman of Britain aren’t going to like the idea of exporting precious salmon to the Middle East.

    However, the project gets a dose of political urgency when the British government’s hatchet-tongued PR chief (Kristin Scott Thomas) finds herself desperate for good news to come out of England’s dealings in the Middle East. And so Jones is given a choice: manage the $50 million project or lose his job.

    What follows in the film is two parts sweet romantic comedy and one part project management jujitsu worthy of NASA.

    If you haven’t seen the film yet, don’t worry. We won’t spoil anything. Except to say that in delving deep into the process of devising and launching a project few believe in, the film gives a compelling look at the art of marketing the unlikely, the precocious, and the darn-near impossible.

    Here’s how they pull it off…

    Lesson 1: Have faith. Many parallels are drawn between faith and fishing, particularly in the observations of the mystical billionaire Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked), a devout Muslim angler who views the sport as a metaphor for the spiritual life.

    Fishers spend countless hours on the water, casting again and again, often in vain. But they’re not in it for quick rewards. And sometimes that’s how marketing a difficult product feels. What keeps us casting that hook, however, isn’t the promise of the big fish but the faith that our good, hard work will be rewarded – likely in ways we cannot foresee.

    Lesson 2: Look for far-fetched solutions. Faced with the far-fetched concept of bringing water to the desert, Jones looks to the Far East. Namely, to the builders of the world’s most innovative water project in recent history: the Three Gorges Dam in China. Because, why not? The project is crazy to begin with, so why limit the range of solutions to the commonplace?

    Now, Jones doesn’t expect these engineers to give him the time of day. But, perhaps owing to the bizarre and visionary nature of the project, the Chinese engineers sign on, bringing crucial outside-the-box skills to the table.

    Lesson 3: Make it about the bigger picture. As his quest progresses, Sheikh Muhammed continually fights the perception that he is a vainglorious tycoon with more money than sense. And though he does love his fishing, he also has a more benevolent goal: to use the new waterways to spawn an agricultural renaissance that will benefit his people and transform the land.

    Unfortunately, he waits until it’s almost too late to tell this side of the story, which leads to…

    Lesson 4: Involve the community. Too often marketers think more about selling than about giving consumers a sense of ownership in the process of developing the product and shipping it to market. Sheikh Muhammed makes the mistake of forcing his plans on the surrounding people rather than educating them about the project’s value and enlisting their help in building it out.

    He might’ve instead taken a lesson from another big developer: Walmart. By making inroads to the community through stocking locally sourced produce, the corporate retail giant is changing its reputation from a monolithic, big box retailer you don’t want in your backyard to a friend of local farmers.

    In closing, it’s worth noting that the characters in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stumble into all of these lessons unintentionally, through trial and error. So perhaps that’s the final takeaway.

    Bonus Lesson 5: Capture lessons-learned and apply them as they come. ‘Nuff said.

    What movies have inspired you in your work?

    Authored by Jason Harper, Manager Interactive Strategy. Connect on Twitter @SummitSocial.

  • 07 Jan 2013

    7 Marketing Lessons from Rebellious Rocker Jack White

    As we’ve been working with our client Union Station Kansas City to promote their awesome Science of Rock ‘n Roll exhibit this winter, our minds have been on music.

    And there are few figures in modern music as compelling, inventive, and unusual as Jack White.

    Jack White

    Jack White is finding new ways to cash in.

    Best known as leader of massive-selling blues-rock duo the White Stripes, White has recently struck out on his own as a solo artist, producer, label owner and collaborator.

    His signature sound is rooted in American blues and folk traditions, spun through with a contemporary sensibility that makes hits like “Seven Nation Army” and “Sixteen Saltines” appropriate for venues ranging from sports stadiums to your niece’s iPod.

    But apart from his gift for songwriting, White is an expert marketer. Highly conscious of branding, White goes to great lengths to preserve and protect his creative identity and values. As a result, he has ascended in a music industry that has all but imploded over the past decade as file-sharing and downloading have caused physical album sales to flatline.

    Here are seven lessons marketers can learn from the inimitable Mr. White.

    1. Develop a vision early and stick to it.

    White is famous for his obsession with color – primarily white, red, black, and yellow. As the New York Times’ Josh Eells reported, before White was a working musician, he owned an upholstery shop in his native Detroit called Third Man Upholstery. Everything in that shop was yellow and black, from the power tools and sewing table, to the uniform and business cards, which bore the slogan “Your Furniture’s Not Dead.”

    Now, White owns a record label called Third Man Records. Its slogan: “Your Turntable’s Not Dead.” And its colors? You guessed it: black and yellow.

    2. Don’t compromise your vision for perceived gains.

    White has always vehemently defended his brand against outside interests who would change it. Early in the White Stripes’ career, they were close to signing to a small Chicago indie label. But there was a problem: the label wanted to put a green logo on the CD spine. White wasn’t having it. He would rather find another label than compromise his signature color scheme.

    This wasn’t just artistic eccentricity but savvy marketing acumen. And the result is that, for music fans of a certain age, it’s impossible to see solid blocks of red and white without thinking of Jack White and the White Stripes.

    3. Find what hasn’t been done and do it.

    White has forced his love of blues and dusty Americana into a mainstream market weaned on urban dance beats and fresh-faced, American Idol- ready anthems. He’s done this by marketing himself as a kind of Elvis for the Anime generation – a loud,  brash cartoon character your parents will never understand. And even though he is a virtuosic guitarist, White rips out screaming riffs on a plastic Airline guitar manufactured in the ‘60s and sold at Montgomery Ward.

    4. Reinvent and adapt.

    Recognizing perhaps that the White Stripes was not a solid enough vehicle for his career, White has launched a number of successful side projects, including the Grammy-nominated Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, and, most recently, his debut solo album, Blunderbuss. For that, he even added a new color to his palette: blue.

    5. Don’t lose sight of business realities.

    Unlike artists who rely on labels to handle the business side while they focus on their creative output, White manages his own business decisions, one of which is to keep his master recordings locked behind a thumbprint-activated vault door at Third Man Records. He retains artistic control of his sonic brand and keeps revenue out of the hands of labels and other middlemen.

    6. Pick the platform and tools that are authentic to you and your audience.

    In addition to his quirky plastic guitar, White wholeheartedly embraces vinyl albums and analog recording techniques. Now, you might think magnetic tape and black vinyl obsolete in the age of the MP3, but sales indicate otherwise. White has helped give rise to a new generation of hip young consumers for whom vinyl records are a fashion accessory.

    His methods, though anachronistic, make products that connect emotionally with customers, move units, and influence the industry around him. If he changed his methods, his products would suffer, and fans would reject him.

    7. Surround yourself with collaborators who challenge you.

    If White had left it at the White Stripes, he’d still have been vastly more successful than most artists. But he has always sought out unexpected and unusual opportunities to work with artists who challenge his mindset and keep him from getting stuck, and the results have paid off.

    White’s first big collaboration was with country great Loretta Lynn. The resulting album, Van Lear Rose, topped the country charts in 2004. The ambitious furniture upholsterer from Detroit has also teamed up with the likes of Beck, Wanda Jackson and even shock rappers The Insane Clown Posse.

    In conclusion, we can’t all be as cool and swaggering as Jack White, but we can learn a few things from an artist who has remained doggedly focused, never compromised, and made his chosen industry conform to him – not the other way around.

    What famous creative innovators, musical or otherwise, have you learned good marketing sense from?

    Authored by Jason Harper, Manager Interactive Strategy. Connect on Twitter @SummitSocial.

  • 27 Dec 2012

    Now Hiring – IT Intern

    Summit Marketing is always looking for the best and brightest talent to service our growing client needs.  We are currently looking for an entry-level IT intern to work in our Lenexa, KS Technology department.  In this role you will work on digital projects ranging from websites, email marketing and database/website integration.


    To learn more about this position’s responsibilities, view the qualifications and apply, please visit:



  • 09 Nov 2012

    New Partnership With Mile High United Way of Denver, CO

    Summit Marketing is pleased to announce a new integrated marketing partnership with the Mile High United Way of Denver, Colorado.


    “We look forward to utilizing our expertise to inspire philanthropy across a broad fund development spectrum on behalf of the people served by the Mile High United Way.  Summit Marketing is excited about the unique opportunity it will have to help the organization enhance the value of its existing donors, re-engage previous donors and acquire new donors,” says Michael Tritt, president of Summit Marketing.


    As the Mile High United Way celebrates its 125th anniversary, Summit Marketing will provide fiscal year end integrated marketing support through both e-mail and direct mail communications.  The fiscal year end marketing effort will focus on raising funds for Mile High United Way’s three major initiatives: School Readiness, Youth Success (which includes the highly-acclaimed Bridging the Gap program), and Adult Self Sufficiency.

    Mile High United Way is the original and oldest United Way in the United States.  The organization works with hundreds of local nonprofit partners, government agencies, policy-makers and businesses to better the lives of Coloradans. “This collaboration will go a long way in raising awareness about pressing needs in the five-county metro Denver area.  Together, Summit Marketing and the Mile High United Way hope to further our mission of advancing the common good for all,” says Jennifer Stokes, Vice President of Donor Relations for the Mile High United Way.


    About Summit Marketing

    The recipient of 45 national and regional awards for outstanding results in Direct Marketing, Summit Marketing has offices in Lenexa, KS, St. Louis, MO and Washington D.C.  The company is a fully integrated marketing communications agency that serves three distinct markets – commercial, government and nonprofit.  Summit Marketing is a total solutions partner that creates indelible connections that move people to action. Their client list includes major brands such as Applebee’s, The Salvation Army, Mile High United Way and Tide Dry Cleaning.  To learn more about Summit Marketing, visit us at