>2009 is now underway

Here we are January 14, 2009 and the year is already up an running. So where am I? I am at the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) annual Expo in Las Vegas. This event is where promotional professionals gather to foster new and creative ideas to bring to our clients. There is something for everyone from educational seminars, social networking events, accreditation training and a three day trade show.

The trade show has over 8 miles of exhibit space all dedicated to showcasing promotional products, premiums and incentives all designed to grow brand recognition and assist with communcation and public relations campaigns.

I have been formally installed as a new Director of PPAI for a four year term. Life has been non-stop since I arrived on 1-11 and I have not set foot outside the convention center yet. I can tell you the mood is upbeat and encouraging from most of the 12,000 attendees. Today I facilitated a Peer2Peer luncheon where new and creative ideas were explored.

Upon my return I will share more details.


>Happy New Year!

>I want to wish all of our readers a very Happy & Prosperous 2009. It is with great anticipation that we say goodbye to 2008, especially the last few months, and hello to 2009. We have so many changes on the horizon so let us all stand together to rebuild our country and individual lives.

Best of luck in the new year.

Bruce Felber

>Gotta Love Lists

>Who doesn’t love a list of top ten weight loss tips, best new year’s resolutions and banished words… wait, what? Yes, there is a list of banished words. As public relations professionals, we can appreciate strange lists like this one: Lake Superior State University’s List 2009 List of Banished Words.

In 1975, the LSSU public relations director and his colleagues started a list of words that were overused, mis-used and just not useful. Some of this year’s banished words are green, maverick, bailout, Wall Street/Main Street and the first emoticon that resembles a heart: <3. So do you agree with this list or are they missing words that should be on there? As Merriam-Webster adds words each year, LSSU banishes them! Have a little fun and brush up on your vocabulary. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to learn a new word each day!

~ Michelle, Felber & Felber Marketing

>Don’t accept the doom and gloom you hear about the recession

Last week I conducted a seminar for the Industrial Round Table of the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. Our theme was ‘We refuse to participate in the recession – how about you?’ I partnered with Jim McClintock a sales training coach with The Training Center in Chagrin Falls. We both spoke about the sales and marketing process and how important that the sales and marketing departments always talk with each other. Jim presented on why the sales process is more important in tough economic times and how to get more closure while increasing value. I spoke on the need to keep your marketing efforts strong and ways marketing can assist and create new and better sales leads. The industrial manufacturing sector of the economy is still strong especially in the B to B arena. The reaction from participants echoed this thought as well.

Here is a comment I received after the presentation:


Thanks for the presentation you and Jim made at the Industrial Roundtable last week. The information presented gave me a different perspective on the recession. It’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of the recession but the idea that we shouldn’t accept that attitude and instead continue to make sales calls made sense. I also thought the idea that we had to be prepared for a longer sales process made sense. I think we sometimes get discouraged if the sales don’t close in the amount of time to which we are accustomed. But I know I deliberate more when I spend any money now. The direct marketing campaigns were also very interesting. With the sales environment becoming more competitive we do have to find a way to stand out from the crowd. The examples you showed did exactly that for your customers. The typical marketing materials that have been used in the past won’t accomplish that. All-in-all the presentation gave me a new perspective on how to approach the recession and survive.

I also enjoyed the discussion afterwards about other topics that would be helpful to the industrial companies. I think the group came up with some good ideas. It also made me realize that we’re all facing the same issues. I’m looking forward to future roundtables.


Joe Snee
HR Generalist
Deluxe Corporation

My advice for 2009 is to not look back at 2008, but keep forging ahead for the future is waiting for those who will grab those opportunities.

Happy and more prosperous New Year.

Bruce Felber

>McDonalds vs Burger King

So we all have our favorites. Kind of like Pepsi or Coke, right? I just saw a fun, clever commercial for “The World’s Purest Taste Test” by Burger King. Basically BK’s Thailand commercial is about how BK traveled to a place where the word “burger” doesn’t exist, documented which burger people liked better – Whopper vs. Big Mac and then the commercial drives you to www.whoppervirgins.com!

Tonight, the world will find out which burger won the taste test. Now we know who will win because otherwise why would BK air the spot if the Big Mac was the best?

This TV spot is sparking a lot of controversy from people who think this was insensitive by exploiting people. By clicking that link you can also view the other Burger King commercials.

What do you think?? Leave your comments here.

~Michelle Hirsh, Felber & Felber Marketing

>Advertising in Tough Economic Times

>Hello AIM readers.

Continuing from my last entry regarding advertising in slow economic times I came across an interesting article and a study. (Reference Advertising in Tough Economic Times By Pete Michuda (EZine Articles.com)

How to market in tough times? Take advantage of the opportunity! Economic downturns are Darwinian events in the marketplace. The weak perish and the strong and agile survive, even thrive. During downturns, some companies disappear or are swallowed up by rivals. Others emerge stronger than ever. There are basic principles which apply during all downturns. How those principles are dealt with determine which companies will eat and which ones will be eaten.

What’s a marketer to do? Cut prices? Ask Detroit how rebates worked for them. When sales stalled, the three American car companies flooded the market with so many off-price deals that nobody would buy Detroit again without a big rebate or a 0% financing offer. Cut product quality or service? Remember Schlitz? Just thirty years ago The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous was America’s second-best-selling brew. Someone decided to trim costs by switching to high-temperature fermentation. Customers wouldn’t notice, right? Wrong. Six years later the company was out of business. Cut advertising? When Netflix began making serious inroads into Blockbuster’s customer base in 2005, Blockbuster cut its $154.2 million advertising budget to $44.7 million. No surprise that Netflix grew from 4.2 million subscribers then to 7.1 million now. How’d the ad cut work for Blockbuster? In 2007, they closed 500 stores and saw a $33.4 million profit turn into a $125 million loss through the third quarter.

The Opportunity? Absolutely! Advertisers should go all out in the media that produce quantifiable results, especially since their messages will be more prominent as competitors reduce spending. No matter how deep the recession is or how long it lasts, it’s the perfect opportunity to become aggressive and grab market share as competitors scale back their marketing efforts.

An aggressive approach will pay some dividends early but down-the-road rewards are even greater. Companies that gain share during downturns historically keep that increased share when the economy bounces back. Each share point gained during the recession is worth incrementally more as the market eventually recovers.

A McGraw-Hill study showed that four years after a downturn, companies that maintained or increased marketing communications during the economic slowdown typically experienced 14 times more growth than companies that cut back. As far as today’s overall gloomy consumer confidence, there is one thing that is emerging. Even though consumers are cutting back, they’re not doing so entirely. Consumers are finding ways to maintain their quality of life.

Even in a time of belt-tightening, Americans are demonstrating a strong reluctance to give up on everyday pleasures. According to CNNMoney.com on 7/15/2008, many are leaving the car in the garage and staying home. A whopping 50% of Americans plan to buy an HDTV in the next year.

Also, despite the expense, consumers are refusing to give up entirely on vacationing. Even in these tough times, 59% of Americans plan to take a trip of 100+ miles in the next six months. To grapple with fuel costs, they just plan on closer-to-home trips: Epcot instead of Europe.

Pete Michuda is a Certified Radio Marketing Consultant and Certified Professional Commercial Copywriter working in the Chicago market radio industry. He’s successfully worked with many small to mid-sized businesses by helping them learn how to properly market their companies and how to realize a positive net return on their marketing investment. He can be contacted via e-mail at pmichuda@nextmediachicago.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pete_Michuda


>Why Market in Tough Economic Times

Ok we have all either heard or experienced the following – “When the economy is down cut or decrease the marketing budget.” This is a very common thought, but one that can cause more problems now and especially in the future. The concept in marketing is to increase ‘market share’ or at best maintain it.

During an economic slow-down it is very crucial to keep your brand and position strong and maintain top-of-mind awareness. The reason can be simple. When the economy strengthens and shows an upward trend and people start regaining confidence they will increase their purchases. If you have maintained your brand and position it is more likely your clients and prospects will contact you first over the competition that did nothing.

So what can you do to keep these levels high? First I would be very cognizant of your budget and think about your expected outcomes. I would establish what a reasonable return on investment (ROI) you should expect and within what time period. Second consider this is the right time to maintain or even increase your direct marketing efforts. Now more than ever a direct marketing campaign to your targeted audience is likely to do more than broadcast media. Also look at the mix between direct marketing, broadcast and public relations. Multiple touch campaigns yield better ROI than stand alone campaigns. I would also NOT do any efforts that are one-time only. The third element should be the correct copy and “call to action” and special attention to the graphic design. Not a time or place to do this casually. You are a professional and need to maintain that image in all your advertising and marketing pieces. At Felber & Felber we are experts on how to blend the right copy and graphics with carefully considered marketing vehicles for maximum impact. The fourth element you should consider is how you will measure these efforts. By establishing ground rules and measuring devices into a campaign you help tweak or alter the pieces for maximum exposure.

Bottom line – don’t put off efforts now as keeping top-of-mind will pay you back quicker and with better results.


>Advertise Yourself!


Getting ready to hit the job market for your first position in advertising, marketing or public relations? Looking for your next gig? Either way you will need to show your stuff. You’ve spent many late night hours toiling over college projects and, in the real world, client deadlines. Besides the heartburn from two pots of coffee and a 30 minute pizza, before now your first impression to an employer was a #10 envelop and a flat piece of parchment. You had no real way to show off your great work prior to an interview (assuming you even got that far).

Enter, Zolio, LLC and their newly launched website http://www.zolio.com/. Zolio is a free, multimedia-rich online resume building website. This is not your father’s resume. Forget about the old black and white resumes and move up to Zolio. Let employers see more than a name; show them presentations, graphic design work, videos. Let the sun finally shine on who you really are, show them your Zolio.


Our own Bruce J Felber, MAS, has been elected to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Board of Directors for a four-year term beginning in January 2009. A membership of 7,500 global members elected Felber to the 19-member board in addition to another promotional consultant and two industry suppliers.

Did you know?
A 25-year veteran of the promotional products industry, Bruce has severed on many PPAI committees over the years. Most recently he was chairman of the Public Relations Committee. Bruce is a PPAI mentor and instructor for the Promotional Consultant Academy, a hands-on, highly experiential learning lab designed to raise the professional level of the promotional consultant. Locally, he was a two-time president of The Ohio Promotional Products Association and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in March 2008. Read more about Bruce.

Join me in congratulating Bruce on this huge honor!

>Boo! Did I scare you?

Ok ghouls and goblins it is your time. In case anyone did not realize today, October 31, 2008, is Halloween. This means you have an excuse for dressing up and playing pranks. It is also the time to enjoy sweets (your dentist will love this) and look into innocent faces as they say “trick or treat”.

Do today’s kids even know what that means? Will anyone really give or get a trick? I would be curious if anyone could find some non-traditional approaches to this holiday.

If you are so inclined and would love to share photos or ghostly stories, please do so. Remember that there are many children roaming the streets tonight, so slow down and drive safely. This is a fun holiday, but let us all respect each other and their properties.