Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Consumer Sentiment Rises In December

From Counselor Magazine...Analysts are now forecasting the best holiday shopping season in four years as confidence, spending and expectations among consumers are all continuing to trend higher, according to a pair of new surveys. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment in December has risen to 74.2, reaching its highest point since June. Meanwhile, separate findings from a CNBC survey show 60% of Americans plan to spend more for holiday gifts this year, a 10% improvement compared to 2009.

With consumers' optimism increasing, the National Retail Federation is now predicting that November-to-December sales will rise by 2.3% this year, compared to 2009. The International Council of Shopping Centers recently said it expects December sales to improve as much as 3.5%.

"I would generally say that the core customer is absolutely back shopping," said Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz.

Believing the economy is strengthening, consumers are more likely to buy big-ticket items this year, data also shows. For example, one in six Americans expects to give or receive an Apple product, like an iPad or an iPhone. Only matched by Wal-Mart, electronics retailer Best Buy is now a top choice for purchases, with 48% of Americans saying they will spend money at a big box store this holiday season. Internet sales have reached watershed marks this year as well, with roughly 25% of consumers in the U.S. saying that shopping on the Internet is one of their top two choices for spending, the largest percentage ever.

Looking beyond December, data from the surveys shows 37% of Americans expect the economy will improve in 2011, while just 20% believe it will get worse. Optimism about wages is increasing, too, with workers expecting earnings gains of 2.1% in 2011, up from 1.3% a year ago. For the first time since 2007, the majority of Americans feel the value of their homes will rise in the next year as well.

Friday, December 10, 2010

HMC Incentives for 2011

Hasseman Marketing & Communications is excited to announce its sales incentive plan for 2011. HMC Account Executives have the opportunity to win an all expense paid trip to Jamaica for their sales efforts next year! It's going to be a great trip. Want more information? Keep reading!

Hasseman Marketing & Communications is looking to add dynamic, goal driven people to our sales team. Responsibilities include business prospecting, meeting with businesses to help create targeted marketing campaigns with promotional products, and servicing the client after the sale.

The position is straight commission and has UNLIMITED income potential! No promotional products sales experience is required. We will train the right person (or persons) in the industry. Veterans of the promotional products industry are welcome as well!

And now we have a fantastic incentive trip to add to your motivation! Any Account Executive that reaches $150,000 in sales with HMC in 2011 will win! If you are interested...now is a great time to join us!
We are only looking for the best. If you are interested in creating a business of your own and a career for your life, contact us today. (We currently have sales coverage in Coshocton, Muskingum, Licking, Tuscarawas, Holmes counties and are looking for Account Exectutives OUTSIDE of those areas).

If you are interested please email Kirby at kirby@hassemanmarketing.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Consumer Confidence Hits Five-Month High

Consumer confidence in November reached its highest point since June, easily beating analysts' forecasts and further lifting the hopes of retailers at the start of the holiday shopping season. The monthly index provided by the Conference Board showed consumer confidence climbed to a 54.1 rating last month, up from 49.9 in October.

"Expectations, the main driver of this month’s increase in confidence, are now at the highest level since May," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's research center. "Hopefully, the improvement in consumers’ moods will continue in the months ahead."

Along with an improvement in overall confidence, the Conference Board reports consumers are also slightly more upbeat about future job prospects. Those expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead declined to 19% from 22% in November, while 16% now believe there will soon be more employment opportunities. This optimism could be a precursor to actual growth, as a separate report last week showed 93,000 private sector jobs were added in November, the majority of them (54%) tied to small businesses. In the last nine months, small businesses have hired back 200,000 workers.

On the holiday shopping front, several major retailers, including JC Penney, Macy's and Abercrombie reported significant year-over-year November sales increases. On Black Friday weekend alone, shoppers spent $45 billion, focusing less on discounters and more on department stores and apparel shops.

Overall, the economy expanded at a 2.5% pace in the third quarter, more than first thought, according to a new U.S. Commerce Department report. Consumer spending rose at its highest rate in almost four years, while salary gains have been revised upward for the past two quarters.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Study Illustrates the Power of Promotional Products

TREVOSE, PA - November 8, 2010 - The Advertising Specialty Institute today released a landmark study that proves advertising specialties beat out prime-time TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available.
The most significant findings of the 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study show advertising specialties are less expensive per impression than most other media* and are very affordable and effective when compared to other forms of media.

To complete its research, ASI conducted a total of 3,332 online and in-person surveys, including interviews with businesspeople in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, Sydney, Toronto and Montreal metro areas.
The 2.0 study, a follow-up to the definitive 2008 survey, includes new demographic information on politics, ethnicity, gender and age, since knowing the likely recipient of products is paramount for an advertiser. This year, the comprehensive report also adds global markets and includes more products, such as automotive accessories and food.
The study was released at the fourth annual ASI Power Summit in Aventura, Florida. Among key findings, results show:
• Cost per Impression. In the U.S., the cost per impression of a promotional product stayed virtually the same from 2008 to 2010, at .005 cents.
• Product Usage. Bags have the highest number of impressions in a month, over 1,000, and over one-third (36%) of those with incomes under $50,000 own bags.
• Gender Preferences. Males are more likely than females to own shirts and caps, while females are more likely to have bags, writing instruments, calendars and health and safety products.
• Ethnic Preferences. African Americans have more promotional products on average (11.3) than any other group.
• Positive Reinforcement. Seventy-five percent of independent voters prefer consumer-branded products; nearly 1.5 times more than Democrats or Republicans.
• Identifying the Advertiser. Eighty-three percent in the U.S. say they can identify the advertiser on a promotional item they own.
• Influencing User Opinions. Forty-one percent of U.S. respondents say their opinion of the advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.
• Global Reach. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents from Great Britain have received and kept a pen in the last 12 months. In the U.S., writing instruments are used the most often, an average of 18.2 times per month.
• Popular Products. The most commonly owned promotional products among U.S. respondents are writing instruments (46%), followed by shirts (38%) and calendars (24%).
• Promo Product Capital. Los Angeles has the highest average number of items owned, at 12.7.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Small Businesses Forcast Growth

New data released by payroll firm ADP shows 52% of small businesses expect to grow over the coming 12 months, with 35% believing their volumes will at least stay the same. The results demonstrate an increase in optimism among business owners who now closely link operational efficiency with improved sales. "In today's economy, small business owners are watching cash flow more closely than ever," said Regina Lee, president of ADP's small business services. "That reality, combined with ever-growing time pressures, means small business owners are looking to spend more time growing their businesses and less time on the administrative burdens of running them."

The ADP survey also shows the lifestyle of many small business owners is changing, with 90% of respondents saying they spend some time working outside of the office during the week. Further, about 30% of respondents said they're spending a larger amount of time working away from the office, on average about nine hours every week.
Complementing their busy lifestyles, small business owners are using more Smartphones to increase the efficiency of their operations, according to ADP data. Six out of 10 executives surveyed own a Smartphone, with 80% of respondents using them for business. Mobile devices are primarily used by business owners to help with customer relations (77%) and time management (53%), according to ADP. "Companies serving the small business sector need to adapt with them, leveraging new technologies like Smartphones and faster networks to bring trusted resources to clients wherever they choose to work," said Lee.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Join the Hasseman Marketing Sales Team

If you are looking for a rewarding, lucrative, challenging and fun career with unlimited income potential and freedom, then consider this opportunity!

Hasseman Marketing & Communications is looking to add dynamic, goal driven people to our sales team. Responsibilities include business prospecting, meeting with businesses to help create targeted marketing campaigns with promotional products, and servicing the client after the sale.

The position is straight commission and has UNLIMITED income potential! No promotional products sales experience is required. We will train the right person (or persons) in the industry.

We are only looking for the best. If you are interested in creating a business of your own and a career for your life, contact us today. (We currently have sales coverage in Coshocton, Muskingum, Licking, Tuscarawas, Holmes counties and are looking for Account Exectutives OUTSIDE of those areas).

If you are interested please email Kirby at kirby@hassemanmarketing.com

Monday, October 11, 2010

10 Tips for Positive Thinking

I ran across this and thought it might be great to share!

If you're down in the dumps for disproportionately long periods of time and you find yourself blaming the rest of the world for your misery, then perhaps a change of attitude is in order. These 10 tips for positive thinking may be able to give your outlook in life its much needed overhaul. So increase your chances for a more constructive perspective with these 10 tips for positive thinking:

1. Recognize negative thoughts as they take shape and bury them before they take root. If you feel your mood darkening again, put a stop to these dangerous musings before you succumb to them. Rule your emotions, don't let your emotions rule you.

2. Hang out with people who think positive as well. This condition can be quite infectious.

3. Just as contagious is a negative mindset. So avoid people who tend to think negatively on a constant basis. After all, who wants to hang around naysayers all the time?

4. Work out and eat right. If you look good on the outside, it'll be easier to feel good on the inside, too.

5. De-clutter. Surround yourself only with the things you love and that make you feel good--framed family photos, favorite books, potted plants, works of art, or whatever else that's meaningful to you.

6. If people tell you you can't do something, take that as a challenge and prove them wrong. Chances are, they themselves can't do it or are too afraid to try and are simply bitter about it. If you show them it can be done after all, maybe they'll even be inspired by your success. You can be a living tip for positive thinking to them.

7. Just when you're about to blow your top for all the seeming misfortunes that befall you, remind yourself of all your blessings instead. This practice can be very sobering, indeed.

8. Be a volunteer or get involved in charity work. Not only will you realize the sheer number of people who have bigger problems than you do, but there is also such an emotional and even spiritual high to be experienced in helping others.

9. De-stress. You're more likely to be cranky if you're perpetually stressed out. So get away from it all and recharge.

10. Keep it up. Getting started is easy. It's the maintenance that's tricky. Make a habit out of thinking positively till it becomes an indelible part of who you are.

Follow these 10 tips for positive thinking and be successful in your search for a happier and healthier frame of mind.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cool Branding Event! Social Media Contest Boosts Rita's Italian Ice

Offering promotional products and free cold treats is a great way to make new friends. That's a lesson Rita's Franchise Company, the Trevose, PA¬-based operator of the popular Italian ice and custard shops, learned during a recent Facebook campaign – doubling its fans in two weeks and driving traffic to its 500-plus locations.

This year, as it has done for the past 17 years, the company offered a free Italian ice to every customer who visited one of its stores on the first day of spring. But this year, Rita's introduced a new flavor – the Peeps Italian Ice, co-branded with Peeps Marshmallow Candies – and rolled out an aggressive social media program to boost interest.

"Every year we do something different," says Kelly Banaszak, chief corporate communications director for Rita's. She gives the example of last year, when Rita's held a contest inviting guests to try a "secret flavor" of Italian ice and then suggest a name for it online.

For this year's promotion, the company gave away a year's supply of Rita's ice to a randomly selected Facebook fan every day for two weeks in late March and early April. Additionally, for every 1,000 new fans that joined the company's page, a lucky winner received a swag bag full of branded Rita's and Peeps promotional products. These included stuffed-animal Peeps and the Rita's Ice Guy, as well as T-shirts and coupons. "It was a fun mix of products from both of our brands," says Banaszak.

Partnering with Lórel Marketing Group, Rita's helped the promotion go viral by developing Peeps Fandemonium, a Facebook application where users could assess their "Peeps-onality" (playful, sassy, etc.) and post the iconic marshmallow bunnies and chicks to their Facebook page. Lórel further helped Rita's spread the word through in-store advertising, radio promotions and online, through Rita's website and e-mails to its Birthday Club database.

Rita's saw a spike of 28,000 fans in one day, and by the end of the Fandemonium campaign, the company had added more than 105,000 new fans, more than doubling the number of fans to 210,000. There was also a traffic increase at the store level, as the number of guests visiting to get their free Italian ice on the first day of spring spiked to 1.3 million, up from 1.2 million last year.

Following this success, Rita's began a co-branded promotion with Tastykake, offering a Butterscotch Krimpets-flavor cream ice starting at the end of July. "We're giving out more prize packs and doing another Facebook promotion," says Banaszak. "It was a huge success and we're really happy with how it's gone."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Great Post from Seth Godin

Any of us that work toward making change in an organization or a community can relate to this. I love it...and will start to incorporate it in my life!

Turning the tables on critical trolls
How to deal with the colleague/board member/voter who is quick to criticize whatever you're proposing?

It can't work/it's been done before/it's never been done before/you can't do it/we don't have the time/money/skills...

So easy to be right when everyone else is wrong, so easy to be confident when someone else is putting themselves on the line.

I start with this: do we agree that there's a problem? An opportunity?

Do we agree that we need to take action, that something needs to be done, that there's an opportunity here?

If we don't agree on that, then don't waste time listening to my solution. Before we do that, let's spend more time deciding if there's a problem or opportunity here.

Once we agree on that, then the response seems simple: "What do you think we should do?"

"Be specific."


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seth Godin

I always love to read Seth Godin's blog, but today's was short and sweet and caught my attention.

Responsibility and Authority
Many people struggle at work because they want more authority.

It turns out you can get a lot done if you just take more responsbility instead. It's often offered, rarely taken.

(And you can get even more done if you give away credit, relentlessly).

More Seth Godin at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Great Sales Tips...Worth Repeating

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!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Four Tips for a Holiday Strategy

Great article here from Multi Channel Merchant! Check it out!

If you’re like most retailers, you depend heavily on holiday to generate the bulk of your sales for the year. So it needs to be a good season.

To make the most of your holiday, it helps to map out the season’s marketing and merchandising plan well before it occurs. Here are four tips to get you started on this.

1) Don’t forget a good holiday idea
Hopefully you had a hindsight/brainstorming session with a cross-functional team as soon as holiday finished last year. That’s when the season is still fresh in everyone’s mind and ideas are flowing. “We shouldn’t have done…” “We should have done…”

You need to have this hindsight meeting in a timely manner and document the results, findings and recommendations for next year. You don’t want to repeat the same costly mistakes or miss out on those great opportunities that were thought of during the season. Those memories and ideas become more vague with time.

Keep a holiday folder where you put the prior year’s hindsight and ideas, as well as any new ideas that pop up throughout the year. That folder will be invaluable when kicking off the brainstorming and planning for this holiday season.

2) Maintain a promotional calendar
This sounds so obvious, but too many companies do not maintain a promotional calendar of all planned and actual promotions. Without the calendar, you can miss promotional marketing opportunities because of different lead times and different teams working on various marketing efforts.

For instance, you may find that the Website team isn’t talking to the catalog team or visual merchandising team for the retail stores or vice versa. The Internet lead time is so short that those folks don’t always think about the site’s promotional strategy far enough ahead to leverage the marketing efforts of the catalog.

You should coordinate and leverage promotions across many different media to experience the full revenue potential of the offer. There are always last-minute promotions added that, if not memorialized, will not be considered for next year.

Suddenly your sales are down 20% and you can’t figure out why--until someone reminds you that there was a last-minute promotion of 30% off those three categories this week last year. Document each event with not only what the event was, but marketing collateral, overall results and recommendations for next time.

Include public relations on your promotional calendar. You should track what products were promoted and where. That can affect your sales and provide opportunity to work with those editors on this coming season's products. Magazines work on their issues well ahead. Have you been promoting your new and exciting 2010 gifts to gain additional exposure?

3) Properly allocate circulation between catalog drops
Have you made sure your allocation of circulation between the various holiday mailings is optimal? Most catalogers use a strict matchback process that analyzes the names mailed and allocates orders to whichever mailing came last.

This strategy will artificially inflate the results of the last drop, typically a late November, early December mailing. By looking at promotion codes and source codes captured, you can gain a better understanding of which mailings actually drive the holiday sales.

4) Create a holiday gift guide
A holiday gift guide to that showcases great or unusual gift products is a good way to boost seasonal sales.

This is an obvious choice for a category on your Website, but consider creating a gift guide within your catalog. You could do this within the current pages of your book or even increase the size of your book slightly for the holiday season and increase product offering.

You could also insert a slightly smaller gift guide into the catalog. Restoration Hardware does this with its Baby & Child insert.

The gift book could then be pulled out and kept by the consumer. You could also use it as a direct mail piece or package stuffer, or even a store handout.

Next time we’ll look at leveraging your Website marketing and key operations areas to look at for the holiday.

Michelle Farabaugh is a partner with Lenser, a multichannel direct marketing firm.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Business Hiring Forecasted To Increase

Here is a study from Counselor Magazine.

Nearly one-third of U.S. businesses added employees during the second quarter, according to a new survey released by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). Data also shows that 39% of respondents expect to hire more workers over the next six months, the largest display of optimism since January of 2008. “NABE’s July 2010 survey confirms that the U.S. recovery continued through the second quarter, although at a slower pace than earlier in the year,” said William Strauss of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

According to NABE data, manufacturers reported the strongest increase in demand and profitability between April and June, while the finance, insurance and real estate sectors had the slowest growth. More than half of respondents reported sales increases in the second quarter, with 25% reporting higher profit margins. “Industry demand increased for a fourth consecutive quarter,” said Strauss. “Price and cost pressures were contained, allowing profits to edge higher.”

Additionally, about 20% of economists surveyed by NABE believe gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by more than 3% this year and 67% believe the economy will expand by at least 2%. During the first quarter, GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.7%, according to government estimates. Following a recent policy meeting, the Federal Reserve now expects GDP to grow between 3% and 3.5% this year, down from its earlier expectation of growth as high as 3.7%.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Focus on Packaging to Make it Premium

Just saw this great article that echoes what I tell clients about packaging their promotion.

A consumer’s perception of a promotional product can have everything to do with the packaging. A T-shirt rolled and wrapped with a ribbon as a thank you will be more well received than one passed out at an office gathering.

Jay Deutsch, CEO and co-founder of BDA offers some tips on packaging to make sure what’s inside will be fully appreciated.

1. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Packaging a premium is literally the perfect opportunity to “think outside of the box.” For a FedEx promotion, BDA worked with Build-A-Bear to create a small replica of Danny Hamlin’s fire suit (this was more of an accessory than a package). It was fun, whimsical, and for this particular audience, it was right on message.

2. Don’t dress down. Putting a high-end premium in a cheap, no-frills package can defeat the whole purpose of a given campaign. Think about the context of the promotional item and make the effort to coordinate the package with the item. Apple recognizes just how important this is to creating a compelling consumer experience — every product they sell is meticulously packaged in a way that matches the perceived value of their brand.

3. Be careful to stay on-brand. Creating a brand experience starts with a consumer’s perception. And that perception starts from the moment a consumer first makes contact with a brand. Thus, it’s critical that a company apply the same brand standards to the packaging that contains an item as it does to the product itself. Nike is a great example of a consumer brand that truly gets this and always seems to go the extra mile to ensure all of its packaging reflects its brand standards.

"A plain white box doesn’t create anticipation or immediate engagement,” Deutsch said. “But a custom box that is fully integrated with the premium inside, that’s a different story. We strongly encourage our customers to think creatively about their packaging choices and not let it be an afterthought."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why Good Service is Good Marketing

I was turned onto this article from Jim Brown (thanks Jim!). It is in Multi Channel Merchant Magazine. Very interesting information about tying Customer Service to Marketing!

Orlando, FL—Marketers who see no need to concern themselves with operational or customer service issues, take heed: Good marketing cannot compensate for a bad customer experience. Or as Debra Ellis of Wilson & Ellis Consulting put it during her Wednesday session at the National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment, “Customers remember the experience more than the marketing that leads to the experience.”

Which is why the marketing and operations teams need to, at the very least, communicate on a regular basis. Case in point: When Ellis was the COO of furniture cataloger Ballard Designs, the company order several hundred Star-Struck Santa decorations for the Christmas season.

Several months prior to December, Better Homes & Gardens magazine decided to feature the product in its December issue. The marketing team didn’t bother passing this information to the ops team, so when the magazine hit the stands, and instead of receiving several hundred orders Ballard Designs received some 2,000, it was unable to meet demand.

The marketing staff also needs to realize that in this era of social media, the order-takers, service reps, packers, and other back-end staff, all of whom are critical to ensuring a positive customer experience, are also critical to ensuring positive word-of-mouth.

Originally, Ellis said, the goal of the marketing department was to get the order. Now the goal is to get the order and get others in the marketplace to talk about the order positively.

“They’re looking at the product. They’re looking at the service. That’s what gets people talking,” Ellis said. “The marketing department is just like the operations department: You’re both packaging things. Marketing is packaging ideas. Operations is packaging products.”

To prove just how effective good service was as a marketing tool, Ellis shared some statistics from one of her clients. For its top customer segments, the company enjoyed a 10.7% response rate, a $73.47 average order value (AOV), and a $663.43 average lifetime value (LTV). Of those customers who’d had multiple problems with their orders that were not resolved satisfactorily, response, AOV, and LTV were, not surprisingly, significantly lower.

Among these top customers who had had no service issues, the response rate was 9.4%, the AOV was $72.38, and the LTV was $534.16. But of those who’d had issues that were resolved, the response rate was 12.9%, the AOV $82.54, and the LTV $1,125.02—all appreciably higher than the averages for even customers who had not had a problem with the company in the first place.

The point: By taking care of problems quickly and to the customers’ satisfaction, the company had proven itself trustworthy to those customers while making them happy. “And it’s really hard to get people to change [companies] when they’re happy,” Ellis said.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Arena For HMC

We are extremely excited to announce a new business venture at Hasseman Marketing that will now allow us to do video events live! What does this mean exactly? It means that Hasseman Marketing will now be able to provide video services for live corporate events, band competitions, dance competitions, recitals, etc. and we can do so LIVE!

We are very excited about this new opportunity to serve our current clients, and attract new business opportunities as well. There will be more details to come on this exciting project. Please contact us if you have any quesitons about this new venture!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Small Business Optimism Increases

As 2010 nears its midpoint, a new survey shows small business owners are becoming more optimistic about their future prospects. According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey, respondents reported improving sales and economic conditions at the start of the second quarter. “As consumer and business spending appeared to pick up pace, this bolstered small business owners' optimism around their current situation,” said Scott Anderson, Wells Fargo senior economist.

In April, the survey’s Small Business Index optimism score rose by five points compared to January, yielding a 10-point improvement compared to July of 2009. A separate measure, called the Present Situation Index, also improved in April, jumping seven points. The Present Situation Index is based on six variables, including capital allocation spending and credit availability. “In our latest survey, we see more small business owners describing their cash flows and current financial situation as good and higher percentages seeing an increase in revenues over the last 12 months,” Anderson said.

While most index factors improved consistently throughout the first quarter, the survey shows job hiring still lagged behind. According to survey data, 53% of business owners have recently maintained current staffing levels, only hiring as many employees as needed. Additionally, 67% of business owners say they have not increased weekly employee hours, with nearly 20% saying they continue to decrease hours. Business owners cited several reasons for not hiring more workers. Most notably, 65% of respondents said they had concerns about the potential cost of health care.

“Small businesses are critical to the health and strength of our economy, as they employ about half of the private sector workforce and create more than 60% of net new jobs annually in the U.S.,” said Doug Case, small business segment manager at Wells Fargo. “This has been a challenging period for small businesses. They are looking for assurance of an economic rebound before staffing for growth.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great Special on Writing Instruments!

If you are looking for a great writing instrument to promote your business, then look no further than this great flyer!

Please call us if you need more information at (740) 622-7429!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planting the Seeds of Growth...with Email

It was a great weekend for the first time in my spring season, and my wife and I actually had the time to work in the yard. (My wife did most of the work, but who's counting?). But it reminded me that now is a great time to plant the seeds of growth for your business. Here are some tips on the way to grow your business through email marketing!

1. Only send emails to persons who have requested it. Don’t SPAM. It’s unwanted, ineffective and will tarnish your company’s reputation.
2. Only include content relevant to the person who requested it.
3. Be consistent with your sending frequency. Pick a schedule and stick to it.
4. In most cases, send B2B emails Tuesday through Thursday. Send them around 9:30 or 1:30. It’s best to avoid B2B emails after 4pm or on weekends.
5. Business to consumer emails should go 5pm to 8pm Tuesday – Thursday or Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
6. To improve deliverability add a message at the top of your emails that says something like: To ensure receipt of our emails, please add kirby@hassemanmarketing.com to your Address Book.
7. Make the from name of the email either the company name or the name of the person sending it. Once you choose that name, keep it. During the split second decision subscribers make whether to open your email, the most important facor in their decision is whether they recognize the FROM name.
8. When possible in clued both a plain text and HTML message. 5% of those receiving the message will only see a message with nothing if you don’t do this. Most email management companies help you do this.
9. Don’t use all caps or multiple exclamation points within your subject line or body. Doing this will trigger spam filters.
10. Build your list at every opportunity. If you have retail locations, add a point of sale sign up form. At conferences or events ask everyone you speak with if you may add them to your list after you exchange cards. Finally, add your newsletter sign up form to every page on your website.

Want more great tips like this? Check out the Think Big Marketing Business Kit!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hiring Trends Point Upward

Spurred by more private-sector and Census-related hiring, April employment in the U.S. grew at the fastest pace in four years with companies adding nearly 300,000 jobs. Government data also shows 121,000 more jobs were created in February and March than initial reports estimated. Additionally, with the rise in employment, private payrolls have now grown for four consecutive months, led by gains in the manufacturing and service sectors.

Separately, the latest Employment Trends Index provided by The Conference Board, a private research firm, rose to 94.7 in April, up from 93.9 in March. The index, which uses eight components to measure employment growth and predict the future job market, improved for the eighth straight month. Also, reflecting a new wave of spending, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose more than five points in April, reaching 57.9. "Consumers' concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's research center. "Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum."

Internationally, many nations are joining the U.S. in seeing slow, but steady economic growth in 2010. In the first quarter, the economies of Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, China and India all improved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Great Summer Promotion!

Welcome to the Hasseman Marketing Summer Promotion…and things are heating up!

From now until the end of July, Hasseman Marketing will help you get ready for your summer time at the pool (or beach) with our Beach Towel Contest!

Beginning now, any customer that purchases $750 or more in promotional items or video work, will receive this beautiful Hasseman Marketing beach towel for FREE! This 35” x 60” premium towel depicts the “board meeting” that most of us would like to have! We can help you promote your company AND get you a great summer gift.

And…don’t forget…our Hasseman Marketing Customer Appreciation Show.
September 30th Noon – 6pm
This year’s theme is “Meet Me In Margaritaville!”

As many of you know, this is a great event that not only allows us to say “thank you” for your business, but also gives you an opportunity to see some of the latest and greatest promotions in our industry. We have over 10 suppliers coming so far! We hope to see you there!

Thank you for your continued support…and please contact us today to place your order and receive your Hasseman Marketing Beach Towel!

Want more information? Just contact us at HMC at (740) 622-7429.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Government Reports Show Employment Surge

Need some good news for the day?

Spurred by more private-sector and Census-related hiring, April employment in the U.S. grew at the fastest pace in four years with companies adding nearly 300,000 jobs. Government data also shows 121,000 more jobs were created in February and March than initial reports estimated. Additionally, with the rise in employment, private payrolls have now grown for four consecutive months, led by gains in the manufacturing and service sectors. "There are a lot of people out there who are still experiencing real hardship," said President Obama, at a briefing at the White House. "We've got a ways to go. But we've also come a very long way."

Separately, the latest Employment Trends Index provided by The Conference Board, a private research firm, rose to 94.7 in April, up from 93.9 in March. The index, which uses eight components to measure employment growth and predict the future job market, improved for the eighth straight month. Also, reflecting a new wave of spending, The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose more than five points in April, reaching 57.9. "Consumers' concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s research center. "Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum."

Internationally, many nations are joining the U.S. in seeing slow, but steady economic growth in 2010. In the first quarter, the economies of Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, China and India all improved. Yet, despite a flurry of positive global and domestic economic indicators, the Federal Reserve remains likely to keep interest rates near zero for at least several more months as analysts foresee little chance of inflation in the immediate future.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some quick video tips!

Now is a great time to start a new video project. Here are some quick tips to help ensure an effective video that is on time and on budget!

1) Have a vision with what you want in advance. So many people have no idea what message they want to portray or what they want it to look like. Though you need to leave it to the professional to make it work, you having an idea of what you want will help them create what you want...on the first try!

2) Use Faces to Sell the Vision. People's eyes are naturally attracted to faces. Use closer shots to really show the emotion of the video.

3) Use Testimonials to tell the story (when appropriate). If you can get your clients to tell your story for you, it's very powerful. They have no agenda in the video, so their story can have more credibility and be more powerful.

4) Keep it simple...keep it short! Make sure the video is not just interesting to you...but to the viewer. Get your message across and then give them an opportunity to contact you. Our attention spans are very short these days. Remember that when you are creating the video!

Need more great tips like this? Check out the book Think Big Marketing For Small Business today! If you are interested in a video production project, please contact us at (740) 622-7429!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Book Offer

For those of you that have been interested in getting a Think Big Marketing Kit and have not...now is the time to pull the trigger! In addition to the 60 Day Money Back Guarantee and the New Price (only $199), we are now going to give a FREE Think Big Marketing Book to the first 20 people to order!

There is just no reason not to order! Check out the kit here!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Survey Forecasts Business Growth

If you are looking for good economic news (and I am!) there are lots of indicators pointing up. Here's another...

The index of leading indicators posted a gain of 1.4% in March, the largest increase in 10 months and another sign of a recovering economy. The figures, released this week by the Conference Board, indicate expected growth in the economy over the next three to six months. "The indicators point to a slow recovery that should continue over the next few months," said Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference board. "Strength of demand remains the big question going forward. Improvement in employment and income will be the key factors in whether consumers push the recovery on a stronger path."

The 1.4% increase is greater than initial estimates, which had pinned growth closer to 1%. The board also revised its February total to .4%, after it initially reported a .1% increase. In total, seven of the 10 leading indicators grew last month, including the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates (a sign of belief in future economic growth).

Economists believe the data indicates a perking up of the housing market and manufacturing after a tough winter in the Northeast, as well as broader trends of improved consumer spending and corporate investment in technology.

However, forecasts for next month are not as optimistic. "We look for a much smaller increase in the index in April," wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics. "The index, in our view, is very likely overstating growth substantially.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great Direct Mail Piece

I always say you can tell what we "really" like by what we put our own name on! We did this direct mail piece last month. It's personalized, attention-getting, and useful. Check out this quick video!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Help Me Help Small Businesses!

Many of you know I recently published the book Think Big Marketing For Small Business. The response I have received from the book has been overwhelming. Business owners like the easy to read format and the targeted approach that helps them save their marketing dollars!

Now I have created the Think Big Marketing Video Business Kit and hope to help even more businesses begin to Think Big. But I need your help! Please help me spread the word about the new kit! You can learn more by going to this site.

I am experimenting to see how many copies of the 6 disc set just by utilizing social media, press releases, email and other low cost marketing efforts. So if you are a small business owner--or you know one--please check out the Think Big Marketing Video Business Kit. It's only $249 and there's a money back guarantee! There is literally nothing to lose!

Please spread the word. I thank you, in advance, for your help!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Survey: Small Businesses Forecast Growth

After surviving the worst, small business owners are now planning for the best. A new study, "U.S. Small Business Outlook 2010: Lessons Learned—A Case for Greater Optimism," conducted by CIT Group and Forbes Insights, found that 60% of small business owners believe their businesses will grow this year. "We think we're going to hold our own and grow very slowly," says Mark Astle, owner of M.L. Schuman Co. (asi/321200). "Last year we were down about five percent and cut expenses and took care of that. This year we're slightly ahead of last year. We're optimistic about it."

Part of the positive attitude comes from the challenges since the financial crisis hit. Of the 220 owners surveyed in the CIT study, 81% say they feel smarter about running a small business now, with 70% saying that the challenges of the recession made them stronger leaders. "2009 was really rough in particular for small companies," said Stuart Feil, editorial director of Forbes Insights, a research group at Forbes Publishing, which co-authored the study. "It's really ‘what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' and sometimes small business owners have to be forced into an appraisal of their company and their abilities."

Feil says that while a small business owner may have known prior to the recession that it needed to improve its planning or expand its client base, the financial crisis really brought these lessons home in a visceral way. The sorts of challenges faced by companies during this time have led to a reassessment of their own business fundamentals, according to Feil. An additional 45% of respondents said that the recession exposed issues in their business strategies that were not previously apparent to them. Fifty-nine percent plan to have a greater focus on operating efficiencies to achieve growth this year, while 62% said they will invest more in marketing and advertising and half (50%) plan to invest in expansion.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Consumer Confidence Rises In March

Following a sharp fall in February, consumer confidence improved in March, according to the latest survey released by The Conference Board, a private research firm. The Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 52.5 last month, up from 46.4 in February, demonstrating a cautious increase in optimism regarding the economy. “Consumer confidence managed to recoup most of the loss in March,” says Lynn Franco, director of consumer research at The Conference Board.

According to data, consumers have an improving short-term view of the business climate and labor market. Among respondents in March, 18.3% expect economic conditions to become better over the next six months, up from 16.1% in February. In March, those claiming business conditions are good rose to 8.6%, increasing from 6.8% a month earlier. Additionally, 14.6% of respondents anticipate more jobs will soon become available, a modest jump from 13.2% in February.

Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department released mixed economic news this week, announcing consumer spending rose slightly in February while personal income remained flat. Disposable income was also unchanged in February, and with no income growth, national savings slipped to its lowest level since October 2008, according to government reports. In a reversal from earlier in the year, payrolls of goods-producing industries dropped $3.5 billion in February, with manufacturing slipping $1.4 billion following a $5 billion gain in January.

Further obscuring an already unsettled long-term outlook for many consumers, the private sector cut an estimated 23,000 jobs in March. However, analysts believe overall U.S. employment numbers could actually rebound in March, buoyed by temporary hiring related to the 2010 Census. A full Bureau of Labor Statistics report will be released tomorrow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Giveaways for Earth Day: April 22

TREVOSE, PA – March 24, 2010 – The Advertising Specialty Institute today released its first-ever list of top 10 eco-friendly giveaways for Earth Day 2010.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 around the world, and more companies than ever before are using eco-friendly giveaways to promote their commitment to caring for the environment.

Editors of Counselor magazine searched for creative giveaways in the Advertising Specialty Institute’s exclusive promotional products database and found that marketers are snatching up everything from notebooks made of elephant poo to shower timers to paper embedded with wildflower seeds.

Products made from renewable resources continue to gain momentum, including dinnerware made from bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, growing up to four feet in one day, and it is 100% biodegradable.

The top 10 eco-friendly giveaways for Earth Day 2010 are:

1. Elephant-Poo Notebook – The ultimate recycled item, great for colleges and trade shows.
2. Bamboo Dinnerware – Perfect for office picnics, outdoor concert venues and fairs.
3. Seed Paper Postcard – Ideal for environment-themed mailings and print promotions.
4. Shower Timer – Municipalities and utilities can promote water conservation.
5. Recycled Tires Jar Opener – Auto dealerships and mechanics can give these to customers.
6. Pine Tree Seedling – Employees can participate in a tree-planting day at the office campus.
7. Organic T-shirt – Give one to each Earth Day event organizer and volunteer.
8. Compostable Pens – Hotels, banks and shops can use these biodegradable pens.
9. Nonwoven Bag – Local grocery stores can eliminate plastic and paper.
10. Hemp-Blend Polo – Companies can use this earth-friendly shirt for summer uniforms.

To see photos of the products and purchasing information for each, and to watch a video with the editor of Counselor magazine featuring the items, visit asicentral.com/earth.

“Companies are hungering for eco-friendly products to help tout their earth-friendliness to customers and employees,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute. “In fact, these items are so popular that we now have an exclusive pavilion at our five superregional trade shows dedicated to showcasing new eco-friendly products.”

Promotional products, or advertising specialties, are items imprinted with logos or slogans to market a company, organization, product, service, achievement or event. They are frequently purchased as gifts to employees and clients for occasions year-round, and marketers often include them in their campaigns to dramatically increase response rates.

According to an exclusive study from the Advertising Specialty Institute, end-buyers identify promotional products as the most effective medium among all advertising, next to the Internet. In addition, the study reveals that nearly one-half, or 48%, of respondents feel that promotional products are expected to deliver a positive return on investment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great Promotional Item

Check out this video. It showcases a product that not only has a fun and cool factor, but also gives you long term promotional exposure. It's a great combination! Check it out and contact us if you want more information!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fun Promotional Item

Check out this short video about a fun promotional item for your next trade show!

Survey: Ad Spending Expected To Rebound in 2010

Stifled by the economy, ad spending in the U.S. dropped 12.3% last year, according to a report from research firm Kantar Media. The fall was triple the rate of decline compared to 2008, but analysts believe the fourth quarter of 2009 showed signs of recovery. “The advertising recession began to ease in the final two months of 2009 and preliminary figures from the first quarter of 2010, when compared against the abyss of a year ago, indicate many sectors are experiencing growth,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar. “As we get deeper into 2010, the pace of consumer activity will be a key determinant of the strength and durability of the advertising recovery.”

While analysts expect ad spending to increase by the second quarter of this year, 2009 will be remembered as a dark time for many marketers and mainstream media. Local magazines, for example, suffered through a 28% ad revenue decline in 2009 and ad sales at newspapers fell 20%. Revenue from spot sales of national radio commercials dropped nearly 25% and spot TV commercials generated 24% less revenue, according to Kantar research. However, continuing recent trends, Internet-based ad revenue actually increased 7.3% in 2009.

Among leading advertisers, Proctor & Gamble slashed ad spending by 7.3% in 2009, while General Motors increased spending by 1.3%. Additionally, Verizon cut ad spending by 7%, while Sprint Nextel expanded spending by 30%. Leading a spending charge by pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer increased ad spending by 33% last year

Monday, March 15, 2010

Small Business Hiring Increases

If you are like most small business owners, you are looking for any signs of optimism! Here is another step in the right direction.

For the second consecutive month, small business hiring and salary levels rose nationally, according to data from the Small Business Scorecard survey, released by research firm SurePayroll. Additionally, small business optimism improved dramatically in February, with 61% of respondents having a positive outlook on the economy.

"Truth is, while the numbers are telling us we've bounced off the bottom and are now heading in the right direction, only the actions of the small business owners will demonstrate when we're completely out of the water," said Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll.

Nationwide, small business hiring increased 2%, while by region, the West saw the most improvement at 2.2%. Hiring spiked significantly in California and Illinois, while falling in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Salaries rose very slightly, up 0.2%, but broke a consistent downward trend, possibly triggering salary stabilization amid renewed confidence from business owners.

"When they're feeling positive, we'll see their safe-bet decisions, such as hiring contract workers rather than adding full-time employees, turn into more aggressive actions, such as adding headcount and making capital expenditures," Alter says. "We'll see paychecks holding steady, without erratic dips or slight increases. We'll also see our optimism levels return to 2007's highs of nearly 80%."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Social Networking Usage Doubles

A new University of Maryland survey shows social media usage among small businesses increased to 24% in 2009, up from 12% in 2008. Further, three out of four respondents reported use of a company social networking Web page, tied to a site like Facebook or LinkedIn. An additional 40% of respondents say they have created a blog, where they post entries related to their areas of expertise. About 26% of those surveyed send Tweets about their business field, while 16% use Twitter as a customer service tool. "Social media levels the playing field for small businesses by helping them deliver customer service," said Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service. "Time spent on Twitter, Facebook and blogs is an investment in making it easier for small businesses to compete."

Besides demonstrating usage, the survey also compared expectations to results, showing social networking wasn't quite as effective in attracting new customers as had been hoped. Roughly 73% of respondents expected social networking to help customer acquisition, while only 61% of surveyed businesses could identify an uptick. However, 46% of respondents believe social media helped their businesses stay engaged with customers, falling in line with expectations.

Maybe most notably of all, 22% of those surveyed feel social networking is already helping them turn a profit, with 46% believing the marketing tool will help them make money within the next year. This new optimism among business executives is an attitude reversal from prior studies, including one conducted by Citibank last August. In that study, 75% of respondents did not find social networking to be helpful for generating leads or expanding their businesses.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Great Success Email

There is nothing better than getting feedback from a client on something you recommended, that has had a big impact on their organization. This week I got just such an email from Amy! We helped Amy create a custom calendar to "tell the story" of her organization all year long. As you can see, it hit the mark!

"I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how pleased we are with our annual calendar results. As a non-profit, we try very hard to spend our marketing budget wisely and our calendars are proving to be a very wise investment. Over the course of the last several weeks, we have been in contact with a large number of our donors and I would say one out of three have brought up the calendars to me when talking with them and how much they enjoy them throughout the year. The RIO on them is very high when I can make sure our non-profit is in front of them each and every month for a one time investment. Thanks for your awesome suggestion!"

Contact us (740) 622-7429 if you want to discuss ideas that will bring you great results!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Positive Monday Thought

In the latest Dan Brown book "The Lost Symbol" the topic of Noetic Science is at the forefront. Many who study Noetic Science (or the science of the mind) tell us that our thoughts have more power than most of us believe or understand. Our thoughts, they tell us, create the reality of our world. It's a powerful, well, thought!

What experts tell us is our own negative thinking plays a powerful role in lives. If we constantly tell ourselves we can't do something, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. But the exciting thing is the opposite is also true! If we create a more positive voice inside our head, more positive things will appear in our life! It's true! If we continually tell ourselves that we are (in the present state) "successful," our brain will work 24/7 to make it so.

So this Monday morning (I love Mondays!), let's work to create a more positive environment in our own minds. It will have a lasting positive impact in our lives!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Business Video Offer

If you are a small business owner (or knows one) that is struggling to keep up with their marketing efforts, I am very excited about this offer for you. I have recently launched the Think Big Marketing For Small Business Video Business Kit. This kit contains a ton of great marketing information that can help any small business increase their marketing effort...and increase their bottom line.

Click HERE For the WEBSITE

The kit contains 3 full DVD's of video material, 2 audio CD's and a bonus CD that contains all of the tracks for iPod or mp3 player. There is a lot of great information that is TARGETED and COST EFFECTIVE!

And for a limited time (while supplies last) anyone purchasing a Business Kit will recieve a signed copy of my book Think Big Marketing For Small Business for FREE!

Please check out my new offer and see how the "little things" can make a big difference in your marketing efforts! Click HERE NOW!

Retail Sales Up a Bit

Not sure we should schedule the parade just yet, but this is some good news to ponder.

A new report released by the U.S. Commerce Department shows retail sales rose 0.5% in January, a moderate jump resulting from increasing demand for luxury goods, like electronics. Excluding purchases of cars, gas and building materials, the increases were significantly greater, with sales at general merchandise stores up 1.5%, the biggest gain since February of 2009. Economists believe the improvement was strengthened considerably by positive job trends, most notably a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate to 9.7%. The average workweek and weekly earnings of Americans also rose, according to government data.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of small-business owners showed a mix of hope and hesitation in January. An optimism index calculated by the National Federation of Independent Businesses rose 1.3 points last month to 89.3, a decided improvement compared to a year ago. However, survey respondents also admitted they are still having trouble securing credit and are hiring at a much slower pace then larger companies. While data shows 9% of small business owners increased staff in January, nearly 20% cut employees.

Adding to the complicated economic climate, the latest consumer-confidence numbers fell dramatically short of expectations, dipping unexpectedly. The initial February reporting of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index dropped to 73.7, slipping from a previous two-year high. An index of around 90 usually signals consistent economic growth.

Snowy Weather Impacts Businesses

If your business has seemed slow in February, don't despair! You are not alone. Check out this article from Counselor.

A record-breaking winter of snow and ice continues to sporadically disrupt industry companies across the country, creating a range of hassles for businesses as far south as the Florida Panhandle. "We already broke the seasonal record with 55 inches of snow here," says Leah Cochran, project manager at Red Star Merchandise (asi/305668) in Charlottesville, VA. Cochran's company works closely with the Dave Matthews Band and provides merchandise for musictoday.com, a Web store. "It's been a little rough with shipping and getting stuff delivered from carriers," Cochran says. "And now we're getting ready for more snow."

According to the National Weather Service, almost 70% of the nation was snow-covered as of Friday, with 49 states blanketed with at least a coating of flakes. Several Mid-Atlantic cities have already endured three major snowstorms this winter. "We've really been hammered and we're just not used to this much snow," says Brenda Crowley, owner of You Name It (asi/365120) in Middletown, DE. "We had a great January for sales, but February has been different. And it's harder to network because so many events have been postponed. So I'm going to ASI San Diego."

While the East Coast has been frequently targeted by crippling storms this winter, nearly unprecedented snowfall has also walloped parts of the Bible Belt. In Dallas last week, 12.5 inches of snow fell, breaking a one-day record that was set in 1962. The average yearly snowfall in Dallas is two inches. "We had warning so we were able to move forward on production and gear up," says Carol Gauger, vice president of sales and marketing at Senator USA (asi/86390). "In Dallas, there are no plows and no salt. They just spread sand. But I didn't hear of any mishaps and all our people were safe."

While the weather is improving this week in the South, forecasters are predicting a foot of snow for areas of New England today and tomorrow. The same storm just dumped up to 10 inches of snow in parts of the Ohio Valley.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Survey Shows Where to Look For Growth

IBISWorld, a market research analysis firm, recently released a report that lists the industries expected to perform the worst and best in the next 10 years. The survey offers plenty of insight for small business leaders looking to explore new markets. “Technology and innovation continue to influence the list fairly significantly,” says George Van Horn, senior analyst for IBISWorld. He points out that voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) providers (like Skype or cable companies offering the technology) topped the list, along with eCommerce in the fourth spot and search engines in the eighth. At the same time, the worst performer is predicted to be soon-to-be antiquated wired telecommunications carriers, while brick-and-mortar DVD and video rental providers take the fourth spot, as online providers broaden their market share.

Distributors in the ad specialty market agree that the tech and online-focused industries are where they’re seeing potential. John Festa, senior sales consultant for Geiger (asi/202900), says that online shopping and high tech areas in general are showing signs of strong growth. “Selling on the Internet is growing – and Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and those kinds of things are expanding. Buyers today are younger.” Juan Carlos Lopez, president of Nema Associates (asi/282191), says that, “the companies who are virtually savvy and know how to present their ideas and concepts that way are where things are going,” and as he looks for new clients, this continues to be a key area. “The consumer is becoming very fluid – they aren’t captive like they used to be,” he says.

Van Horne points out that when an industry starts to have serious problems, it’s generally because it’s being eclipsed by a different industry fulfilling consumer needs in a whole new way, or else foreign competition is taking its toll. It’s the latter that explains why manufacturing industries dominate the worst performing list, with tank armored vehicle manufacturers at number two; vacuum, fan and small household appliance manufacturers at number three; and other manufacturing industries taking four other spots in the top 10 worst-performing markets over the next decade. “All manufacturers are aching in these times,” says Lopez, who has seen his manufacturing clients cutting down on spending.

An additional category poised for growth from Van Horne’s perspective is all things green, particularly environmental consultancy, which holds the fifth spot on the best for the decade list. “A lot of the social trends and demographic issues that were influencing business before the recession have done relatively well during the recession.”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Top 3 Mistakes Marketers Make

When marketing their business, many business owners make similar mistakes. It's important if you want to have a great 2010 that you don't make these mistakes. Take a look and see that you don't make them!

1. They are not targeted with their marketing!
Many business owners have a shotgun approach to their marketing. They throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks. The best marketers streamline their efforts by targeting their perfect clients and only going after them.
2. They don't utilize their current client base to increase sales!
Whether it be by asking for referrals or working to upsell your current clients more product or services, your current client base is a great source for new sales!
3. They don't take advantage of FREE marketing opportunities! So many business owners forget about press releases, networking, and speaking opportunities. Not only are these very effective marketing tools...but the cheapest!

Make sure you are not making these mistakes to create a prosperous 2010! Want more great tips like this? Check out this website.