Friday, October 23, 2009

Advertising Tax Breaks In Jeopardy

Three U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would eliminate the federal tax deduction on advertising for prescription drug medications. If passed, the bill would significantly increase the cost of advertising for pharmaceutical companies, possibly leading to smaller marketing budgets. "Health care spending is out of control," said Sen. Al Franken, one of the sponsors of the legislation along with Sens. Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse. "This bill represents a small but significant step towards reining in unnecessary health care costs."

The bill, called the "Protecting Americans from Drug Marketing Act," may be attached to the much-debated and sweeping health care reform legislation, although it may also be proposed as an amendment to be reviewed by the entire U.S. Senate. Franken estimates that eliminating the tax breaks would bring close to $3.5 billion a year in revenue to the federal government. However, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) estimates that disallowing the deduction would raise the marketing costs of drug companies by up to 35%. According to AAF, the advertising industry provides $6 trillion in annual sales in the U.S. and 21 million jobs.

The introduction of the legislation will likely complicate the already $829 billion health care reform bill, creating friction between legislative committees and pharmaceutical companies which continue to lobby for reduced government restrictions. If the bill passes, it would alter the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which has been the subject of lengthy recent discussions on Capitol Hill. In fact, earlier this week, leaders of several marketing and ad specialty companies spoke to legislators to ask for even further tax exemptions tied to the 1986 code. That lobbying effort is being driven by The Incentive Federation, which is hoping Congress will include wellness award tax exemptions within the health care reform bills.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Study Says Great Recession is Over

A survey of key economic forecasters shows the nearly two-year-old U.S. recession is likely over, based on recent growth trends. The survey data, released by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), predicted real GDP growth expanding at an annual pace of 2.9% over the second half of this year. "The great recession is over," NABE President-Elect Lynn Reaser said. "The vast majority of business economists believe that the recession has ended, but that the economic recovery is likely to be more moderate than those typically experienced following steep declines."

The NABE survey, conducted in September, predicts an economic rebound of 2.6% in 2010. Much of the anticipated turnaround is drawn from an expected rebuilding of business inventories, following a lengthy period of reduction of unsold goods. While certain data is positive, respondents still don't expect a rapid economic recovery, largely because of high unemployment figures.

Additionally, analysts expect the U.S. dollar to weaken further this year and into 2010, but did not see this trend as an obstacle to rising demand for imports. The survey also found economists do not think inflation will be a barrier to growth, with the Federal Reserve expected to keep interest rates low. "The good news is that this deep and long recession appears to be over, and with improving credit markets, the U.S. economy can return to solid growth next year without worry about rising inflation," said Reaser.

Despite current and anticipated future growth, the recession label will not likely be lifted soon. The National Bureau of Economic Research, which is viewed as the defining voice in officially dating periods of economic stress or expansion, typically takes several months to make determinations. Beginning in December 2007, the current recession is the longest of its kind since the Great Depression.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mentioned in Advantages Magazine

I was flipping through the new Advantages Magazine (a publication for the promotional products industry) and came across a familiar face! Check it out!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Trade Show Marketing Mistakes: Ten Tips on How to Avoid

1. Have A Proper Trade Show Marketing Plan: Having both a strategic exhibit marketing and tactical plan of action is a critical starting point.

2. Have A Well-Defined Promotional Plan: A significant part of your marketing includes promotion - pre-show, at-show and post-show. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas.

3. Use Direct Mail Effectively: Direct mail is still one of the most popular promotional vehicles exhibitors use. From postcards to multi-piece mailings, attendees are deluged with invitations to visit booths.

4. Give Visitors An Incentive To Visit Your Booth: Whatever promotional vehicles you use, make sure that you give visitors a reason to come and visit you. With a hall overflowing with fascinating products/services, combined with time constraints, people need an incentive to come and visit your booth.

5. Have Giveaways That Work: Tied into giving visitors an incentive to visit your booth is the opportunity to offer a premium item that will entice them. Your giveaway items should be designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition of your company.

6. Use Press Relations Effectively: Public relations is one of the most cost-effective and successful methods for generating large volumes of direct inquiries and sales.

7. Differentiate Your Products/Services: Too many exhibitors are happy to use the "me too" marketing approach. Examine their marketing plans and there's an underlying sameness about them.

8. Use The Booth As An Effective Marketing Tool: On the trade show floor your exhibit makes a strong statement about who your company is, what you do and how you do it.

9. Realize That Your People Are Your Marketing Team: Your people are your ambassadors. They represent everything your company stands for, so choose them well.

10. Follow-Up Promptly: The key to your trade show success is wrapped up: Trade show leads often take second place to other management activities. The longer leads are left unattended, the colder and more mediocre they become.

What a Great Event!

A great big Thank You to all of you who had the chance to attend the annual Hasseman Marketing Customer Appreciation Event. We think it was the best one yet! We hope that everyone who attended got some great ideas and are ready to kick off this 4th quarter with a bang!

Didn't get a chance to make it? Check out what all the hubub is all about! Here are some video highlights of the event at!

Report: More Businesses Looking To Staff Up

"Now hiring" notices haven't been all that common of late. However, this trend may soon be reversing itself, according to recent research from Careerbuilder and Robert Half International. The "2009 Employment Dynamics and Growth Report" polled 500 employees and 500 businesses. The survey found that 53% of employers said they planned on hiring new full-time staff within the next 12 months. Forty percent said they were eyeing temporary or contract workers. Less than a quarter (23%) said they had no hiring plans at this time. The results are some welcome news, considering the United States unemployment rate hit 9.7% in September.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Study Proves Value Of Recognition Programs

A new joint study shows employee recognition programs can dramatically improve worker engagement and job performance, as well as positively impact business results. The study, conducted by several organizations, reviewed current incentive programs of major companies like Scotiabank, Delta Airlines and MGM Grand. "Companies often focus on compensation and bonuses as the means to motivate employees," said Beth Schelske, vice president of the ITAGroup, Inc. "But, especially in our recessionary economy, recognition programs are a proven, low-cost method for creating improved productivity in organizations."

The report, titled "The Value and ROI in Employee Recognition," showed that some of the most successful recognition programs are inexpensive but clearly concentrate on specific job performance goals. Additionally, the study identifies the best ways for companies to develop and implement recognition programs. They include: providing a wide variety of recognition rewards; emphasizing recognition of increased quality in performance; and linking reward activities to specific business objectives and cultural values. "Without question, this new research points to the critical importance and measurable impact of employee recognition, especially when it comes to improving the bottom line," said Rodger D. Stotz, chief research officer at the Incentive Research Foundation.

The study was released this week in Chicago at the annual Motivation Show, which focuses on incentive programs. The study was produced by the Human Capital Institute, the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement and The Incentive Research Foundation.

Article from the Counselor Magazine