iStock_000019937684LargeYes it does. In 2013, 52% of online shoppers used their smartphone throughout the shopping process. In fact, one in three shoppers would rather use their smartphone than ask for help in a store.  Smartphones are our personal shopping assistants, and considering mobile as part of your marketing mix is imperative.

Here are some of the facts on how mobile is impacting shopper behavior:

  • 84% of smartphone shoppers use their device while shopping in a store
  • 53% of shoppers are using their smartphones to make price comparisons
  • 39% use their smartphone to find promotional offers
  • One in three will use the their smartphone over asking for asking for help in store

Information Shoppers Need Online

In terms of search, the more helpful the information that shoppers find on line, the more likely they are to visit your store.  According to a recent Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands survey, the typical information they are searching for include:

  • Price of item at a nearby store – 75%;
  • Item is in stock at nearby store – 74%;
  • Location of closest store with item in stock – 66%;
  • Details about local stores (hours, phone number) – 63%
  • Map showing which stores carry the item searched for – 59%
  • What else is available at the store that carries the items searched for – 57%.

The Next Step

You have your website optimized for mobile and you have your information updated.  What’s next?  Personalized recommendations and coupons are valued by shoppers – 85% of respondents say they would be more likely to shop in stores that offer personalized and exclusive offers provided in store, and 64% are more likely to shop in stores that offer recommendations for products.



IMG_0029It’s been 10 years since Starbucks introduced its famous pumpkin pie spice latte and since then, consumers have clamored for everything pumpkin.  This year Starbucks brought the seasonal favorite back to their stores in August, a full month early.  In the last five years, the US Dept. of Agriculture says pumpkin sales have jumped 34%.  Not to be outdone, we have our own fabulous take on pumpkin coffee creamer (without chemicals) and little delish pumpkin cakes.


Mini Glazed Pumpkin Cakes

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease mini Bundt cake or muffin tins
  2. Mix ingredients
  3. Fill tins and bake for 12 minutes
  4. Let cool completely then drizzle with glaze


1 cup powdered sugar

2 – 3 teaspoons water


  1. Mix powdered sugar and water until it forms a thick glaze
  2. Drizzle over cooled cakes


Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups milk

1/3 cup Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (can use any flavor you like)


  1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into container
  2. Refrigerate



CauseMktOctober is often dubbed Pinktober in the NFL because of breast cancer awareness. Can cause marketing help the NFL?  Is it still cool? Some 89% of Americans say they are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, but how can marketers make it part of their brand DNA?

The marketing place is saturated with cause-related messages.  Everything from casual shoes to detergent purchases can help someone else.  But here is the rub – Americans may be unclear on the impact that such efforts support.  According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, fewer than one-in-five consumers (16%) believes companies have made significant positive impact on social or environmental issues, and just 25 percent believes their own purchases substantially influence those issues.

Pink Sundays.  The NFL has struggled with reports that their pink Sundays where they ask players to wear pink gloves, shoes and towels has raised awareness, but it has resulted in limited donations.  The league reports that the NFL is actually donating about 5% to the American Cancer Society from what they make through the sale of pink products on the NFL online shop and an online auction.  The NFL also reports that local hospitals partner with them in individual markets to promote regular mammograms.  At the Titans game on October 5, the Titans handed out Breast Cancer fans and partnered with St. Thomas Health System.


But how does cause marketing help a brand?  Patagonia is a great study in matching the cause to the brand.  Two-thirds of consumers who have bought Patagonia chose it because of the causes it supports.  Patagonia’s “Common Threads” repairs clothes and takes back used clothes to recycle. They focus on reduced consumption, repair, resale and recycling.   It certainly fits the environmentally sensitive target audience and the nature-loving brand.  And that’s what a good cause marketing campaign needs to do.  It must be authentic, unique and important to the target audience.

That’s where breast cancer and the NFL seem to be lacking.  The connection is forced.  Maybe this year’s focus should turn to domestic violence awareness in light of recent NFL player incidents.  Now that’s a real match for the NFL.  Standing up to a problem they can really impact.  The Titans made a good start here in Nashville with their recent announcement of a donation to the YWCA and the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and a domestic violence awareness event during the October 12 game with Jacksonville.  Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says the team’s involvement could be the tipping point in working to stop domestic violence and could become a national model.

BlueRibonUpscale consignment and thrift stores are all the rage, but what about one with a purpose?  The YWCA recently held the grand opening for 2616, Nashville’s newest thrift boutique located at where else, 2616 Gallatin Pike in East Nashville.

The YWCA decided to create the new store as an extension of the volunteer activities of Dress for Success Nashville, but definitely had a larger purpose in mind.

“We are dedicated to moving women from safety to self-sufficiency,” said Pat Shea, President and CEO of the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee. “And through 2616, we are actually practicing what we preach—this store will help the YWCA become more self-sufficient.”

The YWCA has a three-prong purpose for 2616 – to generate revenue to help fund the YWCA community services, to help disadvantaged women find suitable interview and work outfits and to partner with other organizations in Nashville to make sure the clothing and accessories are fully recycled and used.

In addition, the YWCA is partnering with Goodwill Industries to donate unsold inventory in exchange for gift certificates that can be provided to women in the YWCA programs.

The thrift boutique was busy when we visited.  YWCA CEO Pat Shea modeled a great pair of Coach loafers and a fabulous Dooney & Bourke bag.  Together, they’d cost over $500 retail, but at 2616, which is chock full of great bargains at affordable prices, they cost $50.  We made a bee line to the designer section featuring brands Michael Kors, Antonio Melani, and Versace, priced at least 30 percent off retail.

The store is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.



8c97dac4-c0da-4d74-9526-c99c850d27eeLisa Limper is our friend, a personal trainer and OMG, the only female football coach in Tennessee.

Let’s put this in perspective.  The only woman serving as head coach of a high school football team in the United States, Natalie Randolph, just stepped down at the end of last year’s season.   At the college level, women coach fewer than three percent of any men’s sports teams.

Lisa serves as the assistant coach at Glencliff High School, training the quarterback and running back every year.  Her work as a personal trainer gives her the opportunity to prepare her team members during the offseason.

So what makes Lisa Limper want to coach? 

“I’ve known I wanted to be a football coach since I was 8,” Lisa told us.  She never had the opportunity to play, since girls were not allowed to at the time, but she grew up loving the all-American pastime.  “My youth pastor let me help out, running plays.”  Lisa says she grew up with a neighborhood full of boys including her younger brother.  Her friends influenced her and gave her the passion for football.

Lisa explained that as a female, she has experienced no disadvantages or challenges.  The boys love and respect her as a coach, and there is never a moment when she feels like she is not taken seriously as a female.  Lisa says, “There are a lot of challenges that every inner-city football coach faces.”  Some boys come from less financially stable homes and the economic disadvantage takes a toll.  In addition, many boys do not have a father figure, so they come to high school never having played the game.  It’s hard on any football coach, but Lisa expresses so much love for the boys.

Lisa’s Favorite Part of Coaching

When asked about her favorite part of coaching, Lisa responded, “I think it’s getting to watch the boys grow up.  You know, go to college and into the real world, growing up.  I’ve been coaching for 5 years and I’m just now seeing my first class go into college and the real world.  It’s good to influence their lives and see that.”

We asked Lisa if she thinks her job has encouraged other girls to pursue a job that is typically portrayed as male dominated?  Lisa said, “I think so.  .  I haven’t had anyone personally come up to me and say so, but I think being a woman as a football coach makes me stand out.  I know that Vanderbilt and the Titans did workshops for women to learn more about football, and I think that’s great.  There are so many households with single moms, and they need to know.”




spears-mug-10Stuart Spears is the quarterback of the Titan’s sales and advertising efforts.  He has seen a lot of changes in his 28 years with the Oilers and Titans.  In the midst of starting a season with many new changes, he spent some time giving us an update on free WiFi in the stadium, the Titans mobile app, challenges of marketing NFL football today and how the Titans reach out to women.

1.  What is changing in marketing NFL football today?  

The biggest changes are in how you reach your fan (and potential fan).  The avenues to touch your audience are much more varied than even 5 years ago. Social media has sucked so much power from traditional communication channels. The ability to communicate directly with the fan has created so many new ways to have a real dialogue. The challenge this creates is breaking through all the clutter that comes at the consumer/fan. While it is great to have so many different ways to reach someone, you also realize quickly that there are countless others bombarding that person, too.

2.   What type of activities are you using to keep ticket holders engaged?

We have tried to create opportunities for our season ticket members to feel exclusive. Opportunities to meet the head coach and players in private settings. Behind-the-scenes access at LP Field. We try to create opportunities for them to cash in on their status as a season ticket holder.

3.  What is new in marketing for this year?  What are you most excited about? 

We are excited about public Wi-Fi in the stadium and the opportunities to use our Titans’ app on fans smartphones. The Wi-Fi network in LP Field will give fans in attendance access to exclusive video and extra features on their smartphones.

IMG_0256--nfl_mezz_1280_10244.  How do you target women?  

We have a few women-based initiatives that we have had a great deal of success. Our Titans True program continues to develop and receive great feedback. We host an annual Football 101 clinic at our facility that continues to grow each year, as well. The NFL as a whole has done a great job each October in Breast Cancer Awareness activities and we’ve enjoyed activating on a local level to mirror their efforts. We have tried to use these activities and groups to communicate with our female fans on a level that respects their love and knowledge of football while engaging in activities important to them.

5.  Who is really more popular?  T-Rac, the new coach or the quarterback?

All three are immensely popular. But, there’s something about being an NFL quarterback.


Our Two Favorite Sports – Football and Eating!  See our recipes below.

IMG_9827An American pastime that dates back more than 100 years, tailgating brings together two favorite activities – sports and eating.  The original tailgate has been traced back to the civil war at the Battle of Bull Run.  Civilians from the Union arrived with baskets of food shouting “Go Big Blue” as a way to show support for the soldiers as they went into war. A far cry from today’s tailgates, this was the first documentation of people using food to celebrate a specific event.

Tailgating was introduced into sports in 1869 at the first football game ever played between Princeton and Rutgers.  Prior to the game, a cross between modern-day football and rugby, Rutgers’ fans brought food to feed the players and other fans.  They wore crimson scarves as turbans to distinguish themselves from the Princeton fans and show pride for their university.

Since that first competitive collegiate game, the traditional form of tailgating has been practiced at sporting events everywhere. However, today’s tailgating experience has become almost as important as the game itself.  Friends, family and sometimes even foes gather together dressed in their favorite teams’ colors to share food and beverages, play games, and socialize as they prepare for the start of the big game.

While a stadium parking lot is still the most popular location for a tailgate party, many people are now bringing the spirit of the game into their home with homegating, the term used by the NFL for tailgating at home.

So whether your heading out for a pre-game celebration in the stadium parking lot or settling down in front of the TV to watch your team with family and friends, here’s a few of our favorite tailgating recipes that are easy to make and a hit with all the fans!

Ultimate Tailgater Bloody Mary

What tailgate party is complete without a Bloody Mary?  This recipe features our friend Tom Laffey’s Tilted PalmUltimate Tailgater Bloody Mary Mix.  Made with 100% natural ingredients, this mix was developed locally and is produced in Tennessee – and it makes one delicious Bloody Mary!


2 ounces premium vodka

4 – 5 ounces Tilted Palm Ultimate Tailgater Bloody Mary Mix


  1. Mix in shaker
  2. Pour over ice
  3. Garnish with a leafy stalk of celery and a wedge of lime


IMG_9889Luv Ya Blue! Cheese Biscuits


2 cups self-rising flour

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

½ cup butter, melted

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled bleu cheese (or more if you like them tangy)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Stir together all the ingredients until just blended.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat dough to a 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Place dough rounds onto the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 biscuits.

Beef Tenderloin


1 (5 lb.) beef tenderloin, trimmed

3 tbsp. butter, softened

5 – 7 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp. cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place beef on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan.  Rub butter over beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake at 425° for 25 – 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 135° (medium rare).  Cover loosely with aluminum foil; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

*If you aren’t serving many people, you can prepare and cook a couple of filet mignons using reduced amounts butter, salt and pepper.


Horseradish Cream


1/3 cup plain yogurt

2 tbsp. Prepared horseradish

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove, minced


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and chill.


Women Graduate at Higher Pace than MenWomen are graduating at a much higher pace than men. Overall, 140 women graduated with a college degree at some level for every 100 men.

For the class of 2013, 61.6% of all associate’s degrees, 56.7% of all bachelor’s degrees, 59.9% of all master’s degrees, and 51.6% of all doctor’s degrees belong to women.

The year 1978 was the first time in history women earned more associate’s degrees than men.  Since that year, women have risen in the number of college graduates each year and increasingly surpassed men in numbers.  By 1982—only five years later—women began earning more bachelors degrees.  By 1987—another five years later—women began earning more master’s degrees.  By 1997 women were earning more doctor’s degrees, and within another decade every college degree was dominated by women

Any concern for gender imbalances might need to be reevaluated.  With women earning more degrees each year, it is important to consider who will be running the majority of businesses in the future.  To summarize the statistics, women have earned 4.35 million more bachelor’s degrees than men and 9.7 million more degrees for all levels since 1982.  This means that not only do women in the workforce have degrees, but many moms at home do too.  With so many women holding degrees, it is important that marketing realize the number of well-educated women in the United States.

Redmond_elaine_300x250Testimonials may be one of the oldest forms of marketing and for good reason.  Testimonials are a way of capturing word-of-mouth in digestible stories.  The power of authentic testimonials continues to be important in marketing.  And the facts support it.  Some 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and a whopping 70% even trust unknown users.

That’s why healthcare advertising depends on testimonials.  We do a good bit of research with hospital patients and we frequently ask where people get dependable information on healthcare.  And 85-90% of those we ask say Friends and Family.  Testimonials are just a way of growing our universe of friends and family.

But testimonials have to deliver the goods.  The target audience must perceive the testimonial is real, from someone like them.  The message must be authoritative, trustworthy, credible, very specific about results, and relevant to the audience.  Video and photography help deliver the authenticity of the testimonial.  Academic research shows that people are more likely to believe a statement if it is accompanied by a photograph, so the images of your case study need to be the centerpiece of your testimonial.

Recently we asked patients of Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome, GA to tell us their Redmond story.  And the response has been overwhelming.  We heard some incredible stories like Barry who had a major cardiac event while driving down the highway at 50 miles an hour.   And Scott who had a massive heart attack running up the high school bleachers.  And Elaine who thought the nurses who treated her were angels.  Even more people have stepped forward to be screened for possible heart and stroke symptoms.  So that more hearts and lives continue to be saved in Northwest Georgia.

Meet Deby Samuels, VP University Communication and Marketing

Samuels_Deby_colorThis is the first in our series “5 Questions” where we ask some of the top folks in their fields to answer questions about their world, their brand, their marketing challenges and their life.

1.    What makes you smile? 

Easy. A really great headline. Makes me envious too.

 2.    What is changing the most in education today?

The entire value proposition of higher education is changing. Once, all a university had to do was offer a set number of classes that started at a couple of predictable times a year and attract a number of 18-year-olds and that was pretty much it. Over simplification, of course, but as a rule, no one questioned the cost, the quality, the delivery methods, the choices, or even when and what time of year it was offered. Consumerism and competition have changed everything in higher ed now, especially our dear Four Ps:  product (classes are offered at all hours of most days, price (discounted rates strategies to compete), place (from off-campus to online to thousands at one time through Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs]), and promotion (gone are the days of just mailing out a catalog with a letter to recruit). The quest is no longer knowledge as value leader, but attractiveness to the workplace. Colleges and universities are held accountable for proving quality, cost, the success of the graduate in the workplace and more.

3.     What is the most exciting thing you have worked on during your time at Lipscomb?

For years, each entity within my university had pretty much done their own thing through a decentralized budgeting approach, including communication design, messaging that was all over the waterfront, absolutely no voice echo, etc. We were losing a huge synergy dividend, and, on very, very slim nonprofit budgets, that is nigh unto catastrophic!

So we undertook a process of listening to our various markets and discovered our brand essence, as it plays today, for the university. We then applied it to a brand look, a brand voice and brand message, through everything including a new website, and “encouraged” the campus to embrace it. Not saying they all did, but we came mega-miles down the road.

My proudest moment was when my boss (President Randy Lowery), who was looking at a file of completed communication pieces I had handed him, looked at me and said, “I see what you mean. I get it. These all look like the same Lipscomb talking.” This may be the only place in marketing that “sameness” is the best thing you can hope for! And I think it is not an accident that about that time I started hearing over and over and over again from the community, “Lipscomb, they sure are doing a lot!” Yes we are, but they were also hearing an message-consistent institution.

4.  Tell us about strong female role models in your career.

I cannot remember a single woman who worked at my first ad agency who was not a secretary.

But as my career moved on, there have been many in which I’ve found qualities I wanted to emulate. The strength of Janice Ericson at EE&A, an advertising powerhouse in the Southeast in the ‘80s.   The leadership capability of Audrey Seitz Kidd who is COO at United Methodist Publishing in Nashville and has had a successful career in health care as well as her present publishing path. The message management skills of Linda Peek Schacht, a college classmate who is presently on the faculty at Lipscomb after a distinguished career in the White House, Coke and Harvard.  The balanced, analytical mind of our Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Nancy Magnusson Durham. Diane Cothran’s ability to maintain a sense of humor and balance in the storm — Diane was HR head for one of my major national employers. And, of course, Jamie Dunham, whose insight into consumer behavior and understanding of the owner and application of brand is deep (don’t edit this out, Jamie…).

5. What’s your favorite part of the week?

Saturday mornings when I wake up with absolutely nothing to do! What a decadent feeling to just follow your nose around for a few hours.

Deby Samuels is Vice President of University Communication and Marketing at Lipscomb University, a private, faith-based, doctoral-granting university that has been a part of Nashville since 1891. Deby’s 40-year marketing career includes a range of experience in the various tools of marketing. She has worked as a copywriter, an account executive, a strategist, a public relations professional, a marketing head, in both for-profit and nonprofit, as well as in agency, corporate and, presently, in university-based higher education. She spends her free time kayaking, playing the hammered dulcimer, doting on Campbell the Wonder Dog and wondering where all her free time went…