Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Retail Spending Posts Increase

This article is from the Counselor...

It was a happy holiday for retailers, which experienced a 3.6% increase in sales during the holiday shopping season according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse. While the figure remains well below the gains posted in 2007, it does represent a noticeable uptick compared to the 2.3% decline in holiday sales one year ago. The National Retail Federation had originally predicted that retail sales this holiday season would drop 1%. "Last year the economy and consumer spending were in free fall. This year we're talking about an environment that has stabilized, that has seen a leveling off," said Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research at Spending Pulse.

Online spending was the star of the season, showing a 15.5% increase in sales (in part due to a major snowstorm on the east coast the weekend before Christmas). Consumer electronics, footwear and jewelry all posted impressive gains between 5% and 6%. Luxury items (.8% increase) and apparel (.4% decrease) both struggled, though men's apparel did post gains of almost 4%. The most discouraging sign for retailers is poor gift card redemption rates. A sampling of malls by Taubman Centers revealed a rate of 10%, compared to a normal rate of 30%-40% in good years. Retailers count on gift card sales to generate revenue the week after Christmas and throughout the month of January.

The final data for the holiday shopping season won't be revealed until January 7. Heading into 2010, retail shopping experts are predicting that discount stores especially will continue to thrive. "We're still looking at a challenging year, but any retailer offering more for less is going to be in a better position," Phil Rist, a consumer analyst for BIGresearch, said.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great News for Hasseman Marketing

We are extremely excited to announce that Amy Hasseman will be re-joining our Hasseman Marketing Team full-time! As many of you know, Amy has been the Executive Director for the Coshocton County United Way for the past 3 years. Her efforts there have been great for our community, but I have been wanting her to come back to us for some time now. I finally convinced her!

For those of you who don't know Amy, she is a veteran of the promotional products industry. She began with JII Promotions right out of college and sold in the industry for 10 years. She also had a stint on the supplier side (Elliot Calendar Company) as well, so she knows the industry inside and out!

Amy has been working with us "behind the scenes" for the past 3 years, handling all of the bookkeeping. But we are excited to have Amy jump back into the sales side of the business as we look to grow HMC for the future.

She officially begins at the office after the first of the year, but you can shoot her an email at Please join me in welcoming Amy to the team.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2010 is Coming....

I got this via email from Dale Limes. I thought it was great whether you are in sales or not. Check it out!

Become A Selling Machine
10 Great Tips to begin the New year
Selling superstars aren't born, they are made. The truth
be told, they are self-made. They are selling machines.

You can become the quintessential salesperson if you stay
focused and work hard.

Here are 10 steps to follow if you want to become a selling

1. "Yes I can!" Begin everyday thinking and saying aloud
"Yes I can!" The choice is pretty obvious here. You're either
thinking "Yes I can" or "Yes I can't."

You have to believe, truly believe that you can do anything
you set your mind to doing. It's an attitude and attitude
determines your destiny.

2. "I will" versus "I'll try." Trying accomplishes nothing,
nada, zippo. Doing - gets things done. Begin every day
with the intention of doing instead of trying. Once again
this is an example of an appropriate mindset if you want
to become a selling machine.

3. Becoming rich is a state of mind and so is becoming poor.
Which do you prefer? Put a crisp $100 bill in your wallet. Not
many people have crisp $100 bills in their wallets.

The $100 bill won't make you rich but it will make you feel
good just knowing it's there. It's also a great way to rid your
mind of any negative thinking about money.

4. Establish daily written and prioritized goals. Begin each day
with purpose and passion in the pursuit of your daily goals.
Push aside all interruptions and distractions until your written
goals are achieved. Purpose and passion elude most people.

If you doubt me, make note of all the people you see in a
single day that strike you as having purpose and passion.
It might be days before you spot one. With purpose and
passion you'll standout from the competitive crowd - and
that's a good thing.

5. Don't complain and don't explain. Just go about your
business energetically and enthusiastically. Your enthusiasm
will fuel your purpose and passion - so don't leave home
without it.

Complaining and explaining creates negative energy. Just
stay focused on your daily goals and you'll stay on track and
accomplish more than ever.

6. Go buy a composition notebook. Call it your success or
idea journal. This is the place to keep all of your good ideas.
Make your life your laboratory and keep tabs on what works
and what doesn't work.

Write down your thoughts and action steps. Include words
of wisdom. Include everything that inspires you. Include
everything that's noteworthy. This is the place to also keep
your favorite quotations.

7. Take chances and don't fear failure. I didn't always think
this way, but now that I do I realize it's a much better way
to live your life. Our country is what it is today because of
the cumulative risks taken by all the generations who came
before us.

Every once in a while some radical thinking is needed to
shake things up in your life - personally and professionally.
Of course this is easy to say and hard to do.

Just think "Yes I can."

8. Become a student of selling. Read good books. I just
finished reading "The Dip" by Seth Godin. It's an excellent
book. It's short and sweet - only 80 pages. Read articles.

Turn your car into a classroom and listen to CDs everyday.
The quickest way to become a master of selling is to become
a student of selling first.

Establish a written goal to invest $1000 every year for your
personal development. Most people don't recognize and
appreciate that the size of their library influences the degree
of their success.

9. You can become a master of change or a prisoner of change.
Time in your territory doesn't make you an agent of change.
Only the acquisition and implementation of new ideas can. I
know salespeople who have been in sales 20 years. Yup - one
year repeated 20 times. This is no way to live your life.

Once a month ask yourself what can you start doing, stop
doing, or change what you are doing? And ask this question
at the end of every selling day. "How can I do it better?"

10. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for everything
you have. Say thank you to everyone who buys from you.
Say thank you to everyone who helps you make the sale. And
it wouldn't hurt to say thank you to your Creator.

We live lives of abundance in the United States. It's always the
right time to show your appreciation for what you have.

You'll sidestep all the Willi Lomans "Death Of Salesman" when
you stay focused on becoming a selling machine!

Don't settle for the ordinary when you had the opportunity
to become extraordinary!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Economic Indicators Improving

Both retail sales and consumer sentiment in the U.S. have increased in recent weeks, exceeding projections and prompting new hopes of a stabilizing economy. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales rose 1.3% in November, while new survey data shows December's consumer sentiment index has risen six points to 73.4. "Confidence improved in early December mainly due to widespread price discounting by merchants attempting to spark holiday sales as well as somewhat more positive expectations for economic growth and employment," said Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan surveys of consumers.

According to government reports, sales in November were lifted by strong receipts from gas stations, as well as increased purchases of cars, food, electronics and sporting goods. Additionally, sales of building materials jumped 1.5% last month, while mail and Internet orders rose 1.2%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in November fell to 10% from a 26-year high of 10.2%, as companies cut 11,000 workers, the fewest monthly number since the recession began in December 2007. Adding to these positive trends, it is expected that this week's meeting of the Federal Reserve will not result in significant monetary policy changes, with interest rates already at historic lows near zero.

Despite the improving indicators, though, a separate report found small business owners continue to struggle. A new survey from American Solutions, a conservative-action group, shows two out of three small businesses plan to lay off a worker in the next six months. The survey also indicated widespread dislike for President Obama's latest small business recovery plan, which proposes a temporary suspension of the capital gains tax. By a three-to-one margin, respondents instead would prefer a cut in payroll taxes.

Get Your Marketing Plan in Order for 2010

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you are ready for a blessed holiday season. This time of year is a great time to plan for a successful next year. So here are some tips to make sure you are planning BIG for next year.

1) Be targeted this year. Don't just throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks! Great companies target their customers properly and measure their results.
2) Know your Marketing Tools (in your area). Some companies market nationally but to a specific audience. Some companies market locally or regionally. It's important to know those customers because then you can know the best marketing tools to reach them.
3) Figure out the numbers you want to spend.
4) Create a Marketing Theme. This can be for the year, for the quarter or for the month, but create a theme to build your marketing around.
5) Match the Tools with the theme and budget and make 2010 a BIG year!

Want more great marketing tips? Get the book Think Big Marketing For Small Business! You can find more information at or by contacting me!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Study: Increased Marketing Yields Revenue Bumps

Got this from The Counselor Promo Gram

Need evidence about the viability of your marketing investment? A new survey clearly equates increased marketing spending with increased revenue generation. Of the 259 businesses polled, the 65% that increased their marketing expenditures experienced an increase in revenue over the same period. The survey, which exclusively examined businesses with one to 20 employees, was just released by Hurwitz & Associates. Thirty percent of those that kept their marketing spend flat saw a boost in revenue. This left only 5% of businesses that invested more in marketing encountering a revenue decline.

"Now is the time for people to market. I don't think there is any question," says Gary Garton, owner of Garton Specialties (asi/202132). "If they market now and keep their name out there they can improve their position when [the market rebounds]."

The Hurwitz survey also proved the damage that can be done to a business when it decreases its marketing budget: 41% of respondent that decreased their marketing expenses experienced a decline in revenue. "It's always a good time to market. You can't not be out there," says Sharie Stewart, owner of Abacus Enterprises (asi/101830). This is particularly valid for distributors, Stewart says. "Too many things happen in this business. Contacts move around, especially in this economy. People lose their jobs and others step in. If you don't stay on top of it, you can lose the customer. Even in the good times a really good salesperson is always prospecting."

Of those polled in the Hurwitz study, 46% used digital marketing methods – social media, e-mail newsletters and search were the most used avenues.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Promotional Products Prove Advertising Medium of Choice

IRVING, Texas—In a 2009 study of the advertising purchasing habits of end buyers, respondents ranked promotional products as their top advertising choice over mainstream media, including television, newspaper and internet. The study, a survey of more than 1,000 buyers, was conducted by researchers at Louisiana State University and Glenrich Business Studies for Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

Participants were asked to evaluate promotional products, television, direct mail, newspapers, consumer magazines, trade publications, internet and social media with regard to eight attributes associated with marketers’ needs. Of those, promotional products outranked the other media in five categories: Ability to achieve long-term memorability at the cost of paying only for a single exposure; flexibility to fit the cost of the medium to available budget; ability to bond audience to advertiser so as to promote repeat business; audience friendly (i.e., not so likely to offend or be regarded as a nuisance); and ability to generate traffic (e.g., stores, tradeshows, events). For more information regarding this study, visit