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Pyramid Award Winner Succeeds ‘Micely’




Rules for Perfect Evaluations (Left to Right) Dr. Teresa Cody Chuck Littlepage Lori Littlepage




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brilliant results


Vol. 3, No. 4

30 8



Our interview with Lori J. Littlepage, MAS, the Owner of Ice Blue Advertising, Chuck Littlepage, CAS, Ice Blue Advertising’s Business Development Guy; and Dr. Teresa Cody, former board member of, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation, about the award winning success of the Adopt-A-Mouse program.


that are a part of most training programs by a leading management & leadership trainer, may make you stop & re-evaluate your company’s course evaluation format while it reminds you of some ‘training’ courses you’ve attended. Healthy companies place a high value on the relationBy: Jay McNaught ships with their customers. Follow this RELATIONSHIP Model and you can be successful in professional sellPLEASE MISTER, DON'T SUE ME! 38 ing and build a loyal customer base. Studies show that somewhere between 95 By: Ed Rigsbee, CSP and 97 percent of all lawsuits filed end in settlement. The reality is that we do not so much GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES operate in a legal system as we operate in THE ARA ACHIEVEMENT a settlement system. Learn why Mediation MEDALLION PROGRAM 22 could be a better answer for your Research has shown that recognition of a person’s organization than Litigation. accomplishments is more highly valued than By: Lee Jay Berman money. Read about this innovative Awards and Recognition Association program. MOTIVATION – NINE WAYS TO By: Sam Varn, CRM LONG-TERM SELLING—THE RELATIONSHIP YOU BUILD, IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PRESSURE CLOSE 16


SALARY SMARTS 24 42 Attracting and Retaining Marketing When how people feel about working in an Professionals in a Competitive Market organization can account for 20 percent to 30 Firms increasingly rely on the skills of talented percent of business performance, it is time to communications professionals, able to build memorable brands and create strong take a serious look at Motivation. Consider implementing these nine activities today for a more marketing/advertising campaigns utilizing a variety of passionately productive workplace tomorrow. print, online and broadcast media. Find out how to By Michael Kroth, Ph.D., and attract and retain these professionals. Patricia Boverie, Ph.D By: Tracey Turner THE TEN RULES FOR PERFECT EVALUATIONS 30

On choosing between training excellence and great evaluations. This tongue in cheek commentary on the evaluations

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Learn how a recognition program made a big difference at a large real estate agency. By: Crystal D


Get FREE information from this month’s advertisers CALENDAR 62 THE LAST WORD 64 Brilliant Results speaks with John Bigay, Captivate Network Vice President – Marketing and Programming, to discuss a very successful Captive Network direct marketing campaign and the company’s marketing/advertising approach.


Successful Case Studies and research for your next powerful promotion. HOT PRODUCTS THINGS WE LOVE 56

Brilliant Results previews a treasure trove of exciting products. IT’S ALL PERSONAL 58 “How to Avoid the Business Card Shuffle and Really Network” By: Dave Ribble INDUSTRY NEWS FLASHES 66 Find out what is happening in the promotional merchandise and incentive industries.



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brilliant results


Publisher’s Letter THIS IS ONE of my favorite times of year – the Red Carpet, the Media Hype, the Stars and of course the Fashion Police! That’s right, I’m talkin’ awards, baby. The movie industry has the OSCARS®, the music industry has the GRAMMYS®, the broader advertising industry has the ADDY® Awards, but here in the world of direct marketing and promotional products, none is more coveted than the GOLDEN PYRAMIDS! Golden Pyramids represent the pinnacle of success for the $20+ Billion promotional merchandise industry. While some people get awards, others truly “get” awards. I know people who think they are too cool, don’t think it’s worth their time to enter or may even shun the concept of entering and winning awards. However, ask Lori and Chuck Littlepage of Ice Blue Advertising in Richmond Texas, and they will tell you an industry showcase that lands you on the cover of a national magazine is awesome. Maybe it’s the former cheerleader in me, but it seems to me when you’re named the best of the best by your peers (and perhaps more importantly competitors too), it’s pretty darn impressive. Smart winners use those successes and the media attention that follows as their unique selling proposition as they build their businesses. In fact, I knew one guy in Seattle, Washington who won multiple Golden Pyramid awards, while simultaneously being named Marketer of the Year by another national organization and used it to completely change the way he made his sales calls. Imagine this… “Hi – our company has been named the best of the best in the entire nation, and if you’re interested we’d love to show you how we do what we do, and why our approach gets such great results for our clients.” Did it work? Well, only if you consider getting clients like Microsoft, Nissan Motors, Bank of America, Anheuser Busch and others using that strategy. How do I know so much about this particular situation? Um… I married the guy! Anyway, in this month’s issue we highlight our editors’ top pick of the year for the best direct marketing campaign incorporating promotional products. Our winner tugged at our heartstrings and wallets as the team at Ice Blue Advertising raised both money and awareness in a brilliant campaign for a great cause - The Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation. As always, in addition to our big award winner, and the other “learn-by-example” project profiles in our “what works” section, we’ve packed our pages full of other quality content from all corners of the world of business including sales, rewards & recognition, motivation, human resources and more. So enjoy our April offering, let us know your thoughts, and as always… Have a Brilliant Day!

Maureen Berman Publisher 541-788-5022


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Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown, PA 17036 Ph: 717.571-9233 Fax: 717.566.5431

PUBLISHER / ADVERTISING Maureen Williams-Berman..... 541-788-5022

EDITORIAL Editor in Chief MaryAnne Morrill 717-571-9233 Senior Editors Michelle Donofry, Pierce Roberts Style Editor Charity Plata Asst. Editor Mildred Landis

Contributing Writers Lee Jay Berman, Patricia Boverie, Ph.D., Crystal D, Michael Kroth, Ph.D., Jay McNaught, PPAI What Works Section, Dave Ribble, Ed Rigsbee, CSP, Tracey Turner, Sam Varn, CRM

Circulation For any questions regarding subscriptions, please email:

PRODUCTION / DESIGN Art Director Percy Zamora Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Mechanicsburg PA and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to Brilliant Results, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown PA 17036. Volume 3. Number 4. Brilliant Results subscription rates: one-year $120; Canadian $160 USD; one-year foreign $225 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2006 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to Brilliant Results become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (Collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in Brilliant Results are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and is not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or Brilliant Results.




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PPAI Pyramid

Award Winner Succeeds ‘Micely’

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EVERY YEAR AT ITS ANNUAL CONVENTION and exposition, the Promotional Products Association International presents the PPAI Pyramid Awards. These awards recognize the effective use of promotional products in business and institutional marketing. At this year’s 48th Annual Pyramid Awards Ceremony, as in years past, the best of the best gathered to be recognized by their industry peers. Brilliant Results had the privilege of reviewing those winners and selecting the one campaign that we felt deserved special recognition for excellence. It was not an easy task. Each of the campaigns illustrated the impact of creative promotional products that relate to the advertiser, its product and its theme in producing brilliant results.

This year the Brilliant Promotion of the Year goes to Ice Blue Advertising. Ice Blue Advertising is known for its targeted promotional advertising campaigns. Most of the staff holds MAS & CAS designations and through industry course work, site visits and examinations stay on the cutting edge of the promotional advertising and incentive industries. Include Ice Blue Advertising’s in-house creative artistic staff, lead by Andrew Raimondo, and you have a winning combination that is hard to beat. Brilliant Results selected the Ice Blue Advertising ‘Adopt-A-Mouse’ Campaign for its Brilliant Promotion of the Year recognition based on its creativity, community benefit and success in raising both awareness and funds.

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“This program at a cost of less than $10 per recipient was created for the Down Syndrome Research & Treatment Foundation.”

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This program at a cost of less than $10 per recipient was created for the Down Syndrome Research & Treatment Foundation. With a dual goal of generating a higher profile for the Foundation and raising funds for continued research, the promotion has raised more than $88,000 for the charity and generated enough media coverage to be picked up by ABC’s Good Morning America. The program continues to generate funds and awareness on its website To date the funds generated are enough for 40 pairs of genetically engineered mice, which have been donated for research at Stanford. But, that is only part of the story. Perhaps the best part of the story deals with the real people who became involved in this promotion and the creative collaboration that has made it a success. Down syndrome research relies on the study of genetically engineered mice, thus the 5” beanbag mouse wearing a tiny, imprinted t-shirt. In one respect, this is a tale of friends helping friends and a group of school children who wanted to make a difference. The students of Gateway Preparatory Academy, Richmond, Texas adopted Down syndrome as its school charity and they with their parents became involved in the Adopt-A-Mouse fundraising effort by making presentations at community events where the mice were sold for $21 each. A full-size t-shirt was also created and sold for $21 raising | April 2006

additional funds and further raising awareness of Down syndrome. To get the rest of the story, Brilliant Results spoke with Lori J. Littlepage, MAS, the Owner of Ice Blue Advertising, which she formed in 1996 after 5 years in the industry; her husband, Chuck Littlepage, CAS, Ice Blue Advertising’s Business Development Guy (yes, that’s his actual title), who joined the company five years ago, prior to that he held a C level position in a national distribution company; and, Dr. Teresa Cody, a former board member and fundraising associate for the client, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation. Dr. Cody and her husband Dr. Tim Cashion operate a dental practice in Sugar Land, Texas. Their son Neal has Down syndrome and he has been Teresa’s motivation to advance the research for a treatment for Down syndrome. BR: Why was Ice Blue Advertising selected for this campaign? CL: Familiarity and experience were two of the main reasons. Our son Alex goes to the school that was starting on this community service project and we know the Cashions, Teresa and her husband, socially. It started from there and it became a brainstorming process. Neal, Teresa and Tim’s son, has Down syndrome and he is the child on the tag of the mouse. It was not a formal business these are the right guys these are the wrong guys - selection process.



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“We realized that raising $2,200 per transaction or donor would not coincide with the children’s goal of a grassroots campaign.” LL: I don’t think Teresa was necessarily looking for something an advertising company could provide. She was really talking to friends and brainstorming about different ways to raise money and this came about. BR: What prompted the choice of a mouse theme for this campaign? TC: In the research, they have a mouse with Down syndrome. But of course, not a $3 mouse, they cost quite a bit to make. That’s when my daughter said, “Well, Mom, why don’t people just adopt mice because then they could do more research.” And that is where it started. CL: With these genetically engineered mice costing $2,200 per pair, the question was, how do we get $2,200 from individual donors to get that next pair of mice.

The DSRTF, Down Syndrome Research & Treatment Foundation, who is the client, is funding research in conjunction with Stanford University and the bottom line is that the more pairs of mice we get in their hands the faster the research generally goes. We realized that raising $2,200 per transaction or donor would not coincide with the children’s goal of a grassroots campaign. This promoted the individual plush mouse adoption at $21each. I’ll let Teresa explain why. TC: The reason people with Down syndrome have problems is because they have an extra 21st chromosome. It hit home because everyone that is involved with Down syndrome knows that. Not only was it a reasonable price, it made sense. So that is why we picked $21. It makes it hard to give change though!

In the student picture, the student names are as follows:, Neal Cashion (boy with glasses), Erin Cashion (girl in red shirt holding a stuffed mouse), Natasha Elder (top right - girl in grey sweatshirt), Stephen Hurdle (boy in hat), Alex Littlepage (boy in green and white shirt), Melissa Elder (girl on bottom left as you are looking at the photo)

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Lori & Chuck Littlepage celebrate 10th year in business.

CL: Its also been great because its given everyone who has dealt with this an opportunity to explain the 21st chromosome situation. It has been great to talk about it and it has helped in some of the publicity we have received too. BR: How did you choose and source the promotional products for this campaign? LL: We talked to industry colleagues about their favorite plush suppliers. We also talked to a couple of suppliers at recent trade shows because we knew we did not want to continue to work with our current supplier. CL: We had done several custom plush projects in the past and it was time for us to make a supplier change. We went with Gibco on this and it just so happened as we were developing the mouse and working with them, the sales manager said her cousin had Down syndrome. So they got really excited about it and got really involved, helping us with the tag and how we were going to decorate the product. It was definitely a joint effort in that area.

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BR: Would you say that an important criterion in the supplier selection process was a working team spirit? LL: Gibco’s reputation and the samples they provided were the most important reasons we selected them to use. The team spirit was actually an unexpected bonus. CL: When we originally did the t-shirt it was just going to be for the kids and the volunteers to wear at events to show that we were there as a group. However, it was decided that producing a t-shirt that people would want to wear would be a nice add-on item. We selected an Anvil® authentic pigment dyed t-shirt with complementary screen-printed graphics which we also sold for $21. It was an opportunity for people who had already bought a mouse to further contribute. And, those who were not so ‘micely’ oriented were more comfortable adopting a t-shirt. BR: And those t-shirts are still probably walking billboard advertisements. LL: Absolutely they are.



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“The other thing that it did for the Foundation was that although the Foundation was set up and had some big donors, it needed to spread the information across the US and it did really allow that to hit many people.” BR: Would you briefly discuss the success of this campaign from both a client and consultant perspective? TC: The product was very cute so it appealed to women. People want to help and this gave them an opportunity to help. It was easy to explain what this was. It was an easy sell to tell you the truth. The kids had a blast doing it and they would go out and give speeches at various organizations. Everybody wanted one and they wanted to help. This gave them an opportunity to help.

TC: They did a spot on NBC and it was on ABC’s Good Morning America. It was on about 66 affiliates. CL: That was big. They have a web site where people from all over the world have ordered mice. Whenever it aired the site got a lot of hits. TC: The piece was sent out nationally, for the affiliates pick up and use on their local news. LL: It also ran on MSNBC.

LL: It was the students who were really doing the selling and the talking. They were 12-16 years old and they were very serious and spoke intelligently on the subject. TC: They made $1,000 one morning at one exchange club. BR: It sounds like these students really became good ambassadors for the program. LL: It is just incredible and they are very personally tied to the program because of Neal, Teresa and Tim’s son. All the Gateway Prep students are very close to Neal and wanted to see the project succeed. BR: And from the consultant perspective, it was nice to be commended with an award for the success of the project. Have there been other rewarding aspects? LL: The industry recognition is wonderful and so is having a successful program. Also the success of our children and seeing that they could go out and speak so intelligently is a great part. On a personal level, we believe in the program itself and it is rewarding seeing it succeed. BR: I understand some of you even made it onto television. LL: Yes indeed we made it onto the national news.

TC: The other thing that it did for the Foundation was that although the Foundation was set up and had some big donors, it needed to spread the information across the US and it did really allow that to hit many people. It helped get the information out that there is research on Down syndrome. CL: Another outstanding result is that through this process Teresa has gained access to some additional research that convinced her to change some of Neal’s medication routine. And because of it, he can read now. LL: He can pick up the phone and carry on a conversation, he knows who you are and it is phenomenal the changes we’ve all seen in him. CL: This campaign did not do that, but it did lead to Teresa’s additional research. BR: Well, you just never can tell what a mouse is going to get into. From our conversation so far, I think that you all would agree that the most important factor in achieving success in the creation and execution of a campaign was the teamwork all around? CL: Absolutely. Brilliant Results | April 2006 13



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BR: In your opinion what is the most important service Ice Blue Advertising offers its clients? CL: With Lori’s background in the insurance and software industries and my background in distribution, we know that the most important thing is for our clients to be successful. For that to happen, we have to identify and understand their goals. We further have to suggest programs that are measurable, manageable and executable within their business structure. BR: You also must have some very creative people over there. LL: We do have a pretty creative group. We have a wonderful graphic artist, Andrew Raimondo. He is the one who originally drew up the picture of the mouse and the tag and all the collateral material that goes with it. BR: How does Ice Blue Advertising market itself to end-users? CL: We work within a couple of client trade associations. We have done a lot of work in the Multi-Family Industry. We do some national programs on that level. LL: We also deal a lot with referrals and our clients do seem to take us with them when they leave their job or career and go to a different career. And that helps us expand into a different area. CL: And then finally, we have a small group of target clients that we promote ourselves to. We usually

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have 10 or 15 on the board at a time that we are looking to expand our business with. We keep it small so we can manage through it one piece at a time and identify if they are a fit for us and we are a fit for them. BR: Of the marketing campaigns you and your team have developed, I would say that your mouse campaign was certainly a most successful campaign. LL: Well, it certainly was one of our favorites because it did draw on so many factors and bring in a whole team effort. CL: This campaign would not have been successful without the proper use of promotional products. LL: It was a lot of hard work on our client’s part also; it was definitely teamwork! BR: Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our readers about the use of promotional merchandise and direct marketing strategies in their overall marketing efforts? TC: Work with your friends! I couldn’t have done it alone. We knew what we wanted to do, but they turned an abstract idea into something concrete. CL: Promotional products or physical advertising as the industry is now touting should be considered a growing part of any strategic marketing plan. There is longevity with promotional products that you just don’t get with any other kind of advertising.



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BR: Do you remember the last promotional product you received and from what company you received it? LL: I got a Bic® Solis pen. I received it in the mail a few days ago from our rep at Bic®. CL: I believe it is a Sweda® pen. Lori and I were on a cruise last week and it was left in the stateroom. It was a 2-color imprint pen with the Carnival logo. TC: They just gave me one! It is a travel toothbrush with toothpaste in the brush with approximately 63 uses for your travel and vacation needs. Since I’m a dentist, I really like it! BR: What is your favorite promotional or incentive product? LL: I like custom calendars. CL: I like custom baseball caps. The beauty

of a completely custom job is that it is an opportunity for us to help the client put forward their best foot, not somebody else’s. It is more exciting for us and from a consultant perspective; it gives us a longer relationship with the client. TC: I would have to say my lunch box. Chuck and Lori had a lunch box made for us and we give it out in the office. It has our logo on it and its really good for makeup and lots of things. BR: Thank you all so much for your time and congratulations again on the Pyramid Award and on the success of the Adopt-A- Mouse Program. Lori and Chuck Littlepage can be reached via email at or visit their website at For additional information on the Adopt-A-Mouse program go to •

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Long-Term Selling— The Relationship You Build, Is More Important than the Pressure Close BY ED RIGSBEE, CSP have in North America. It’s right there DO YOU WANT TO SELL MORE? Sure you next to crooked politicians, fallen clergy do. But, the question is, “What prices are and dethroned CEOs. I have a better you willing to pay for your long-term sucidea—build a relationship! cess?” Are you willing to give up instant In my 17 years of outside sales and gratification? Many sales people are not. 15 years of inside selling, I learned after Why would you even consider delaying the first couple that selling is not warthe gratification a sale, especially if you fare. Rather, selling is about building sell on commission? For your sustained relationships. The larger your base of selling success, I believe it is infinitely Ed Rigsbee, CSP satisfied customers, the greater your more valuable to your selling career to put annual sales results. off the slippery sale today, for a lifetime customer. Notice I did not say monthly? If you only look at In our western culture, we all want it now. What is the price we pay for this hollow instant happi- monthly figures, as too many sales managers and ness? I’ll tell you, it’s the reputation salespeople vice presidents of sales are prone to do, you are

“The bonds that unite another person to ourself exist only in our mind.” —Marcel Proust

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“In making your deposits into the “Relationship Bank,” you are guaranteed to yield healthy returns.”


is for Excitement. Be excited about your product and the chance to serve your customers. Think about that monotone teacher you had in high school or college, the one that put you to sleep five minutes into the class. An unexcited salesperson is no different. Why in the world would I want to do business with somebody that does not believe in, and is not excited about his or her products or services? Let me add a caution here: if you act like a 110-volt light bulb hooked up to 220 volts two things will happen to you. First you’ll burn out in a glorious flash and secondly, you’ll be a counterfeit. Being your best includes excitement, but the excitement must be genuine.

L missing the point. I have worked with too many ignorant sales managers and general managers who were focused only on this week’s or this month’s sales dollars. It was because they worked for a company that was bleeding to death. If your company is healthy, the focus will be yearly and half-decade. If your company is sick, the focus will be daily. Before I go any further, let me ask you this question: “Is your company healthy?” If not, why are you sticking around? There are plenty of healthy and prosperous businesses, why be a martyr and go down with the ship? If you are working for a healthy company, your company will place a high value on the relationships with its customer. Follow my RELATIONSHIP Model and I guarantee you will be successful in professional selling and loyal customer base. So loyal, that is, that your company will be afraid to ever let you become a victim of reengineering.


is for Relax. Relax and be authentic. This is first and foremost; trying to be someone you are not is the kiss of death in relationship building. Even if you think you can fool prospects, you are wrong. The first time maybe, but from then on, they have your number. If you decide to be the best possible you, understand that it is enough. Nobody likes a slippery snake oil salesman!

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is for Look. Look your prospects and customers in the eye and thank them for the opportunity to serve. Be happy they came to see you or allowed you to visit them. Today, we live in a fast paced society, even in small town America. People do not have enough time to do all the things the want to. And you, as a salesperson, are asking them for some time, a small piece of their life. Let your prospects and customers know that you appreciate the opportunity to serve them in solving their challenges.


is for Ask. Ask plenty of questions that will cause discussion about your customer’s desires and expectations. I’m sure you have heard that a professional salesperson talks only 20% of the time and listens 80%, but the kind of questions that you ask what will really enable you to help them meet their product or service needs. Knowledge is power and you need lots of knowledge to help the highly sophisticated buyer of today. Do not shortchange your prospects by talking too much. If you talk too much, you will be of little value to your customers, and they will have no desire to build a relationship with you.


is for Talent. Use your talent to be a showman. Prove how your products will make their life better. Now this is an important key; how it will make THEIR life better, not your life. Get the focus on your prospect and use sizzle to sell the



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steak, not the hamburger. If you are focused only on YOUR presentation, and how great a showman you are, you will miss the point and most likely the sale. Your customers are not buying the show. Many today, are in pain and do need the show to better help them understand how your product will solve THEIR problems. is for Invite. Invite your customer to hold, touch, feel, ride, test, use or otherwise experience your products. Get them in the act. If they hear, they forget. If they see, they remember. If they experience, they internalize. You want your customers to internalize the value of owning what you sell, don’t you? How many people buy a car before the test drive? Not many! Put it in my hand and I am on the path to emotional ownership. If I emotionally own your product, it will be quite easy for you, the professional salesperson, to ALLOW me to buy it, don’t you think?



is for Objections. Objections are really questions. Simply answer their questions. The feel, felt, found method is usually quite effective here. Let’s review the method. When your prospect says “No,” agree with them and show your understanding. Say, “I understand how you feel. Mrs. Jones felt exactly the same way. Although, after she gave it a try, it performed better that I promised and …” Too often when your prospect is saying, “No,” they are really saying, “I need to know more.” If you understand this, you’ll do a better job of answering their questions. Now is the time when all that listening you did earlier pays off. With your knowledge of your customer’s need, you can smoke out the true roadblock to them having what they want. Then you can help them to buy. By doing so, you’ll also add another brick onto the solid long-term relationship you and your company enjoys with that customer.

as not to offend you. You must sell the benefits of your product or service and not rely on the many features. Salespeople that sell features and not benefits hear a lot of “Great presentation” or “You are a great salesperson” as their prospects walk away empty handed. Never ask prospects to buy before you give them several great reasons to do what you desire.


is for Solve. Solve unresolved problems, challenges or roadblocks that are keeping your customers from having what they want. This is crucial and usually occurs after one or two trial closes. You now realize there is still some area you did not cover completely, some area you over looked. Somewhere along my sales path, I learned what is called the “doorknob close.” This is helpful when you are at the end of your helping rope, ready to fall into oblivion, the place where lost salespeople end up. Pack it all up; thank your prospect for their time and attention. As you grab the doorknob to leave, turn the knob. Stop, and turn around, still holding the knob. Ask, “Just for my information, Mr. Smith,


is for Now. Now is time to learn the three great words that will change your life. “Ask for it!” Ask them to buy that which you know they want NOW. What are you afraid of? Perhaps you are afraid that they will like you less for asking? I assure you, they will think less of you, if you do NOT ask them to buy. They will tend to say, “Yes”

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and doing business with you. Remind them, just one more time, what a good choice they made by reviewing all the ways the product or service will make their life better. Inspire them to take full advantage of your product support and customer service programs. Make them feel so good about doing business with you that they will want to tell all their friends about you.

P why is it you didn’t buy today?” Listen closely—you are about to strike gold. Whatever it is that they say, respond with, “Oh my gosh, I forgot to cover that!” Now, let go of the knob and go back to your prospect and answer their last objection.


is for Help. Help them to buy it, ask again. Remember though your real goal is to build a powerful base of satisfied customers, not just make a sell today. Helping is also understanding that it’s possible your prospect may have a reason for not buying today. If you stay focused on the relationship rather than just the sell, you’ll be a long-term success rather than just another hotshot, hooked up to 220 volts, burning the brightest for a very short time.


is for Inspire. Inspire your customers to feel really good about their buying decision. When your customer begs you to allow them to buy, or simply says, “I’ll take it,” remember to guard against buyers’ remorse. Inspire them to feel really good about their decision to buy

is for Partner. Become your customer’s partner in total product/service satisfaction (TPS or TSS). Follow up regularly. Be certain of the value and enjoyment your customers have received from doing business with you and your company. Make certain they feel really good about buying from you 30, 60, 90 days later. Now that you truly have embarked on the path of building a long- term relationship, ask for referrals. Allow your satisfied customers to now help you in your career. Allow them to help their friends in enjoying the really good feelings they have enjoyed. Partners get real leads from their customers, not just the useless lists of names frequently given to pushy salespeople to get rid of them. In making your deposits into the “Relationship Bank,” you are guaranteed to yield healthy returns. Position yourself as a partner. Be persistent in your selling efforts. Try repeatedly to help your prospects to have all that you know they want. Have patience—I’ve learned that being number two in the minds of your prospects will pay off. Your competitor will blow it someday, as you and I have, and when they do, there you are, ready to take full advantage of the relationship you’ve built. Building relationships does payoff. Not always today, but generally sooner than you think. • Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Rigsbee has over 1,000 published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences across North America. He can be reached at 800-839-1520 or Visit his Partnering University Web Site at Brilliant Results | April 2006 21



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Giving Back To Our

Communities BY SAM VARN, CRM RESEARCH HAS SHOWN that recognition of a person’s accomplishments is more highly valued than money. Why, then, should a valuable tool such as recognition be limited to team sports, the workplace or a narrow spectrum of high achievers? Imagine the profound effect of recognition on an ordinary student—not just an honor roll student or star athlete—who is awarded for simply doing his or her best. The result could be a higher level of self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment and increased respect among that student’s peers. Such pride can impact his or her life, and ultimately improve our world as a whole. When I purchased Tallahassee Engraving & Awards (now known as Awards4U) in the spring of 1987, I asked myself how I could make my business stand out from the competition. I had discovered since becoming a new awards company owner that most of the schools were buying from my larger local competitor. I needed an “in” that would serve as both a marketing tool and something that had community support value to entice them to try it— something that would separate us from the others. I eventually proposed a program to the school system that has the power to enrich the lives of often overlooked high school students. The program has evolved over the years into a phenomenal success. Now, with the help of the ARA Membership Committee, I have brought the concept to our association and created the ARA Achievement Medallion Program.

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This exciting new member benefit enables awards and recognition retailers to work with their local schools and institute a unique program much like the one we created in 1987. Called the “ARA Achievement Medallion Program” it encourages awards and recognition retailers to work with their local schools—at no cost to the schools—to recognize students who improve their academic standing from a D average to a B average; second string athletes who try their best when called upon to play; or students who simply improve their attitudes toward academics. Local retailers donate the awards with the intention of promoting meaningful recognition, inspiring others, and reinforcing positive behavior.

THE PACKAGE The cornerstones of this program are two CDs, one featuring a comprehensive video program overview for the retailer and his or her school liaison. The other CD is crafted as a sales tool for the retailer showcasing video testimonials from program participants such as students, parents, and principals. The retailer version also contains the following materials and other helpful tools for initiating and completing the program: • Comprehensive fact sheet – Proposal to the school – Retailer checklist • School checklist – Calendar(s) – Parent notification letter – Student letter



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• Teacher program announcement memo – Teacher nomination form • Parchment scroll keepsake template – Day-of-program pamphlet listing winners • Post-ceremony press release

These forms and the parchment template are included in the ARA Achievement Medallion Program CD, ready for simple customization. The retailer also pays for refreshments and related paper goods for the post-ceremony reception (usually $100 or less).



The ARA Achievement Medallion Program enables local awards retailers to give nominated students what might be their first important moment of recognition—and a full realization of their accomplishments. The following retailer guidelines have worked well and can result in a meaningful recognition program:

To make the program successful, each school must assume the following duties and responsibilities (also outlined in the CDs):

• Allow for the recognition of up to 50 students at one time, and plan for two programs or assemblies during the school year so that up to 100 students may receive the award; • Promote what it means to be an “Achievement Medallion Award” recipient prior to the program and throughout the school to lend credibility and prestige to the award; • Invite recognized students’ parents to attend the ceremony; • Invite the nominating faculty or staff member to the ceremony to read the nomination of his or her student; • Award each student with a custom medallion, along with a personal note from the retailer and a copy of the nomination as tangible mementos of recognition.

EXCLUSIVE RETAILER SPONSOR DUTIES Retailers who decide to participate in the medallion program should have exclusive rights of sponsorship of the program in their chosen schools. While co-sponsorships can reduce costs, one of the major benefits to an ARA retailer is the solidification of the relationship with the school. Additional sponsors only serve to diminish the retailer’s role and visibility. When a school has been approached and decides to participate, the retailer’s duties are as follows: • Near the beginning of the school year, provide up to 100 medallions (custom is preferred, but stock designs can work) featuring the school colors and a matching ribbon drape to be awarded to the student winners; • Appoint an in-store event coordinator who will prepare and distribute forms for nominations, notify faculty, students and parents of the winners; coordinate time and location of the actual program; prepare a personalized note and program pamphlet from the retailer for each student, and print a parchment copy of each student’s nomination form.

• Establish selection criteria and procedures; • Promote the program and encourage the understanding of the The award; ARA Achievement Medallion Program • Communicate with the retailer’s coordinator to proBY SAMevent VARN, CRM Awards4U duce a meaningful awards ceremony; • Offer constructive criticism to refine and improve the program.

BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION Since 1987, my awards business has used the ARA Achievement Medallion Program to recognize more than 7,000 high school students—at no cost to the school system. We have received numerous community awards that have generated much free publicity and goodwill. The program forges bonds that extend beyond the normal awards buyers to teachers and administrators, creating a network of advocates that are part of the fabric of the community. This recognition program has paid dividends far beyond the profits we might have received had we simply sold the medals to the schools. It can work that way for you just as easily. An additional benefit is your recognition at the ceremony as the program’s sponsor and creator. By offering to help present awards and congratulate the students, you will be hugged, kissed and thanked profusely—and be amazed at the number of tears shed by parents, teachers, and even the students. You will also realize that your efforts represent the first and perhaps the only time some of these kids have enjoyed a special moment of acknowledgment. You will experience first-hand the power of recognition to change lives. I am proud to be a purveyor of recognition products, and enjoy experiencing the impact our products have on people. I am hopeful that ARA members across the country will take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to build the tradition of the “ARA Achievement Medallion Award” in their own markets—and give a little something back to their communities as well. • Sam Varn of Awards4U, Tallahassee, FL, is an ARA Past President and longtime seminar lecturer and volunteer. Sam received the Presidents Award at the ARA 2005 International Awards Market in recognition for his many years of service to the association. Brilliant Results | April 2006 23



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Attracting and Retaining Marketing Professionals in a Competitive Market

BY TRACEY TURNER IT’S A BUSINESS TRUTH that a firm’s overall success is directly related to the skills and devotion of its employees. But organizations today, eager to beef up marketing and creative teams to fuel new business initiatives, are finding it more difficult to recruit and retain top-notch professionals compared to years past. Marketers are demanding larger salaries and, in some cases, fielding multiple offers. This is due in large part to the continuing economic

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rebound and the added leverage it has given skilled professionals in the job market. When The Creative Group surveyed advertising and marketing executives about their hiring expectations for 2006, 68 percent of respondents said they plan to increase staff levels. That’s up 11 percent from a 2004 survey and 24 percent from a 2003 forecast. Much of this hiring is a result of pent-up demand for talent as firms



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y Smarts move forward with marketing and advertising projects previously placed on hold. While well-rounded marketing generalists are highly sought, professionals with interactive media expertise, such as e-strategists and multimedia designers, are particularly hot as companies boost their investment in online advertising. In fact, The Creative Group 2006 Salary Guide shows average starting salaries for website designers with one to three years of experience are expected to rise more than 8 percent from 2005 levels, to between $40,750 and $59,000. Likewise, senior multimedia designers can anticipate starting salaries of $58,000 to $86,000 in 2006, up 6.8 percent from 2005. (For a free copy of

the complete Salary Guide, which provides comprehensive data on average starting salaries for more than 75 communications and creative positions, please call 888.846.1668.) As the economy has steadily improved, many companies also have launched major branding and advertising initiatives across a broad spectrum of communication platforms. Consequently, brandbuilding experts with elevated knowledge of how to develop successful promotions and product placement initiatives are being aggressively courted, often by multiple firms. Marketers with experience advertising to Hispanic and Asian audiences also are in great demand as businesses ramp up spending to reach these growing demographics.

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“First and foremost, companies must make attractive job offers. That means offering compensation that meets — or, more often, exceeds — the going rate.”

Hot Job: HIRE LEARNING: RECRUITMENT CHALLENGES IN TODAY’S MARKET While employers were firmly planted in the jobnegotiation driver’s seat not long ago, the growing need for skilled marketing and creative professionals has caused the pendulum to swing back toward job seekers. As a result of today’s healthier job market, hiring managers must enhance their recruitment efforts. First and foremost, companies must make attractive job offers. That means offering compensation that meets — or, more often, exceeds — the going rate. In fact, hiring managers are quickly discovering the salary levels they have been presenting to prospective employees may no longer be adequate to lure the best candidates in the marketplace. Eighty-seven percent of advertising and marketing executives polled by The Creative Group said they are willing to negotiate salaries when extending a job offer to promising individuals — and you should be too. Providing competitive compensation and benefits packages also is key to retaining top performers. Today, companies are at greater risk of losing employees who feel underappreciated — or underpaid. Many hiring managers realize this and are already preparing to deal with potential turnover. Sixty-three percent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said they would extend a counteroffer if a high-performing employee were to quit to accept a more lucrative job offer.

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Search Engine Optimizer Everyone knows the CEO is pivotal to an organization’s success. But in today’s interactive world, the SEO is too. The Creative Group staffing professionals throughout North America report increased demand for search engine optimizers (SEOs), professionals who are charged with increasing a firm’s website traffic by improving its search-engine page rankings. Because of a shortage of experts in this relatively new area, top SEOs are currently able to write their own tickets — and it appears that they’ll be highly sought for the foreseeable future. As the Internet becomes even more ubiquitous, search engines are adopting increasingly intuitive technology that will provide more targeted results based on a user’s unique interests and social networks. A standout SEO could enhance your marketing campaigns by efficiently leveraging these emerging technologies and trends. What skill sets should you seek in a SEO? “The great ones will have a hard-to-find mix of technical and marketing skills,” says Keith Johns, interactive media manager at Cincinnati-based F+W Publications. “Great SEOs understand how sites deliver content, how search engines read and index content, and how to best speak to and motivate action in customers,” Johns continues. “They practically have a sixth sense when it comes to finding answers and information via engines. Most importantly, they’ll have a fire to continue learning, as the greatest optimization advantages can be achieved when the SEO reacts efficiently and accurately to rapid changes.”



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It is important to note, however, that by the time an employee comes to you about a new job opportunity, it may be too late. The employee might reject your counteroffer. Even if he or she accepts it, there’s no guarantee the professional will be more satisfied on the job than before. Simply put, if you don’t consistently show your marketing professionals that you value their efforts, other firms will be happy to do so. That is why it’s crucial to be proactive and examine your retention practices now.


2006 Projected Average Starting Salaries Position Low

% Increase Over 2005

Website Designer (1 to 5 years*)



Copywriter (1 to 3 years*)



Web Production Artist



Senior Multimedia Designer



Production Manger



Web Content Writer (1 to 5 years*)



Graphic Designer (1 to 3 years*)



Media Planner



Event/Tradeshow Manager



MarCom Coordinator (1 to 3 years*)



Brand/Product Manager



LET THEM GROW. Marketers tend to be a driven, goal-oriented bunch. Give your team members the resources they need to stay motivated, happy and on the leading edge. Provide employees with opportunities to expand their skills by encouraging them to join professional associations and attend industry conferences and training events. Subscribe to trade publications such as this one on their behalf.


*Years of experience Figures above are national averages for the United States. Consult The Creative Group 2006 Salary Guide or contact the nearest office of The Creative Group for information on calculating the comparable salary for your area.

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The Creative Group asked executives, “In your opinion, are advertising and marketing professionals more or less likely to change jobs now versus five years ago?” Fifty-three percent said “more likely.” This statistic underscores the need for managers to focus on retention programs, maintain an open-door policy and keep an eye out for employees who might be burning out or considering leaving for a competing firm. Common warning signs include lower morale or a negative attitude, reduced productivity or quality of work, and a higher rate of absenteeism. While appropriate compensation is important, there are other tried-and-trued retention methods to also consider. The following best practices can go a long way toward keeping employees fired up, fresh and focused.

| April 2006

Saying “thank you” for a job well done might not seem like a particularly cuttingedge retention method, but it is. Expressing



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gratitude and offering timely feedback and consistent positive reinforcement is a management technique that never goes out of style. In addition to face-toface interaction, also consider publicly praising an employee during a meeting or in the company newsletter. Your efforts will help instill commitment and loyalty.

of print, online and broadcast media. To best position your firm for continued growth and success, stay abreast of the latest industry compensation trends. By doing so, you will be in the best position to attract and retain today’s top marketing professionals. •

Tracey Turner is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project basis. Visit for more information.

TUNE IN TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. Keep work interesting for your employees by learning more about their career-related objectives, and then offering assignments that directly align with their goals. For instance, one employee might thrive if given the opportunity to pitch campaign ideas to clients, while another person might enjoy managing web design logistics behind the scenes. Tailoring projects shows employees that you care about their short-term wants and long-term aspirations. Also, by striving to learn more about each person, you’ll likely uncover internal talent for current or future job openings at your firm.

BRING IN REINFORCEMENTS. If business is booming, but you’re not in a position to immediately make a new hire, you can lighten the load for core staff by hiring temporary marketing or creative professionals. In addition to taking some of the pressure off internal employees during peak workload periods, you can use this arrangement to evaluate and groom promising contract professionals for full-time employment. As the economy strengthens and the marketing landscape continues to evolve, firms will increasingly rely on the skills of talented communications professionals. Companies will seek savvy, multitalented employees to build memorable brands and create strong marketing and advertising campaigns utilizing a variety

Brilliant Results | April 2006 29



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Rules for Perfect


On choosing between training excellence and great evaluations AMONG TRAINERS, JOE ROGERS was legendary. You would hear his name whispered whenever trainers gathered to discuss evaluations. A trainer among trainers, they said, “The instructor with perfect evaluations.” They claimed that he had never received less than a perfect evaluation from any of his students. As a new trainer, I had to know how anyone could be so good that he always scored perfect evaluations. During a business trip, I found myself in the town where he worked, so I decid-

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ed to give him a call and ask if he could meet with me to give me some pointers. He turned out to be more than a well-evaluated trainer. He was a generous one as well, and he invited me to sit in on one of the famous training sessions in which I could watch Mr. Rogers’s Rules for Perfect Evaluations in action. He even promised to give me an indepth explanation of what he had done after the session was over. The day of class, I arrived very early. I didn’t want to miss anything. Rogers was already



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there. From all appearances, he had been in the classroom for some time and was busy preparing. He obviously left nothing to chance. Thick manuals were placed at each seat. I introduced myself, and Rogers told me to have a seat and observe. He pointed out that the work of gaining perfect evaluations required preparation, preparation, preparation.



“I sat down and began thumbing through a manual. I was amazed at the detail and was becoming engrossed in the depth of the material, when my thoughts were interrupted.”

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Cardboard name tents were already placed neatly in front of the manuals. They were hand-lettered in tasteful calligraphy. “This is incredible,” I said. “Who does the lettering on these name tents?” “Oh, I send those out,” he said. “It costs a lot, but the effect is worth it.” He placed each manual a precise distance from the name tent, and each name tent was a precise distance in front of a color computer terminal. That was what drew my attention to the terminals. I had never seen a clean computer terminal. Yet each terminal in this training room was spotless. The screens were free of dust, and the keyboards were missing the typical sludge that develops over years of use by greasy fingers. I spotted a bottle of cleaner and a rag, and I began to understand. I sat down and began thumbing through a manual. I was amazed at the detail and was becoming engrossed in the depth of the material, when my thoughts were interrupted. “Please, don’t be moving that manual now,” said Mr. Rogers. He looked at me over the top of his horn-rimmed glasses and I felt as if I were back in grade school. I set the manual down and walked nervously to a corner of the room where I had spotted refreshments earlier. As I poured a cup of coffee, I noticed him moving the manual back to the precise location where it had been before I violated it.

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“Have you ever met anyone who has read a manual? Excuse me. I don’t want to give them too much time to browse it.”

2 3

Satisfied with the placement of the manual, he looked up at me. “Perfect evaluations require perfect attention to detail,” he said simply. “When the students are asked if the classroom was neat and orderly, the effort of arranging these manuals will be rewarded.” At this point I noticed the refreshments. Not only was there coffee, but there was juice and soda pop. Also included on the lavish refreshment tray were donuts, Danish, fresh-baked cookies, fresh fruit, and rolls. This was nothing less than a complete breakfast.

GOOD EVALUATIONS CAN BE BOUGHT. He noticed the way I was staring at the refreshments. “The shortest path to a good evaluation is through the student’s stomach,” he said. “Never let a student sit down to an evaluation form with an empty stomach.” Then he walked over to the clock on the wall, pulled it down, and began resetting it. When he replaced the clock on the wall, I noticed that he had set it a full five minutes earlier than the true time. When the students began arriving a moment later, they would look up at the clock and then hurry to their seats. You could hear them say things like, “Goodness, I didn’t realize it was so late.”

says that it is eight o’clock, so let’s go ahead and get started. My name is Joe Rogers, and this class is titled, ‘Using the Inventory System.”’ At that moment, several other students walked in. Rogers stopped his remarks and stared as they entered. “Welcome to class. The class started at eight, so we went ahead and started without you, but you haven’t missed much yet.” The new students all seemed to turn the same shade of red. Rogers continued his introduction. “I have been working with the new inventory system for about a year now. I was actually one of the founding members of the project team, which developed the system. I have a master’s degree in system development and a Ph.D. in inventory systems.”


A LITTLE GUILT NEVER HURTS. I took him aside and asked him why he had altered the time. His response was straightforward. “Make it obvious when you are right,” he said, “especially if the student is wrong. You’ll notice when you see the evaluation form that one of the questions asks if the instructor began the class on time.” “I don’t understand,” I said. “Why not just start the class on time?” “I used to always start classes on time. But students never noticed what time it was when I started, so invariably, one or two students would just assume that the class had started late and mark the evaluation accordingly. I have learned that your good work gains you very little if you don’t call attention to it.” When about half of the students had arrived, he began teaching the class. “The clock on the wall


I was impressed, and I could see that the students were, too. Rogers continued, “If you’ll take the manual on your desks, I will give you a moment to familiarize yourselves with the extensive documentation of the system which I have prepared. Pay special attention to the chapter headings and the table of contents.” The students began thumbing through the thick manuals. Rogers quit talking while they read. More students entered, and there was some hubbub as they took their seats. Rogers began strolling around the room. When he came past my chair, he whispered: “Impressions count. Look at this manual. The impression is that it is very detailed and rich in content. I have been using this manual now for a year, and it has helped me to get perfect evaluations. Look closely. The chapter headings are all accurate. And the first paragraph of every chapter is authentic. But the rest of it is simply the text of those first paragraphs, repeated over and over again in different formats.” He rolled his eyes upward. “Thank heaven for word processing.” “Doesn’t anybody complain about the content?” I said. “Oh, come now,” he said. “Have you ever met anyone who has read a manual? Excuse me. I don’t want to give them too much time to browse it.” Brilliant Results | April 2006 33




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TEACH TO THE EVALUATION. Rogers turned his attention to the classroom. “Now that you have had a chance to get acquainted with the manual, let’s take an opportunity to get to know each other. Would you mind introducing yourself one at a time, and telling what experience you have had with the inventory system?” The introductions took several minutes. There were 20 students in the classroom, and as each student introduced himself, Rogers would move close to the student, stand only a few feet in front him, and stare intently at him while he spoke. With the introductions complete, Rogers launched into a lengthy dissertation on the goals and objectives of the class. His explanation took over 15 minutes. I noticed that he repeated himself several times during this explanation. Evidently, the students noticed this as well. About the fifth time I heard him repeat, “So the primary goal for the class today is to make you very familiar with the manual and to inform you about the inventory system,” it became apparent that the students were no longer paying any attention to him at all. Rogers recognized this as well. “Does anyone have any questions concerning the goals and objectives for this course?” His question was greeted with total silence. “Please do me a favor and turn to page five in your manual.” He waited while the students obliged. “Now look about half way down the page and circle the section titled ‘Goals and objectives of the class.”’ The students all followed his instructions. “Now, are there any questions concerning anything we have done so far?” One student raised his hand, “Why does this class last only two hours? How are we going to learn all of this material in only two hours?” Rogers took 10 minutes to answer the question. He went into theories on adult attention span and talked about the interactive nature of the inventory system. He discussed his theories on adult learning and told how the on-line inventory help facility was so powerful that they could no doubt use the system with no training at all. By the time Rogers had finished his response, the student had clearly forgotten the original question. “Did I answer your question?” “Yes. “Are you sure that I thoroughly answered your question?” “Oh, yes, I’m sure.” Much later, during our private, in-depth discussion,

I was able to ask Rogers why he had begun the class in this fashion. His response was straightforward. “I’m not going to waste my time doing anything that won’t be directly reflected on my evaluation,” he said. “Question two on the evaluation asks ‘Were the goals and objectives clearly stated at the beginning of the class?’ Question three asks, ‘Were the students allowed to introduce themselves?’ Questions four asks, ‘Did the instructor have good eye contact?’ And question five asks, ‘Did the instructor adequately answer any student questions?’ The students in this class may learn absolutely nothing, but they will know that I had them introduce themselves, that I told them the goals of the class, that I had good eye contact, and that I thoroughly answered their questions.”


After his lengthy answer to the student’s question, Rogers must have sensed that it was time for a break. He went into great detail explaining where the restrooms were as well as phones and even nearby fax machines. “Now, we still have a lot to cover, so let’s hurry back from break. I want to get started again promptly in 25 minutes.” The students didn’t waste any time in leaving. Again, I was curious, and when Rogers and I were alone in the room, I asked him about it. “Isn’t a 25minute break a bit excessive for a two-hour class?” ‘The highlight of any class is the break,” he said. ‘From the moment the student first sits down, he is wondering when the break will be. I am convinced that the longer the break, the better the evaluations!” Eventually the students returned.


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“I want to begin the second half of the class by giving you a quick orientation to the classroom and showing you how to use some of the equipment,” said Rogers. “To begin with, you are sitting in special chairs designed to accommodate a variety of preferences and physical needs.” He showed them how to adjust the chairs for maximum comfort. “I want to point out that these terminals are also specially designed to afford maximum comfort and total student control.” He pointed out the ergonomically correct keyboards and the special non-glare monitors. He showed them how to



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But then a student, whose name tent identified him as Sam, asked the question that I was wondering about, “Why are you wasting time showing us this equipment?” Rogers launched into another of his flowery explanations, emphasizing the importance of using the right equipment in training, and how he was dedicated to quality instruction. After the session, he told me the real reason. “There is a lot more at stake here than any of these students understand,” he said. “I can’t afford the risk of a lot of instruction when other things could affect the evaluation.” ‘Risk?” I said. “Every year my boss gives me a performance review,” he said, “and it is based entirely on how well I do on student evaluations. My boss doesn’t care if the students learned anything or not. He only cares that I do well on the evaluations, because those evaluations are what he reports to his boss, and they are the basis for my boss’s own performance reviews. If he gets a good performance review, then I get a good performance review, and we both get big raises. I can’t jeopardize the welfare of so many people by spending a lot of time on something that counts for very little in the evaluation process.”

Class Evaluation Form Class: Using the Inventory System Instructor: Joe Rogers Student Name: • Were the classroom facilities adequate? Yes/No • Were the goals and objectives clearly stated at the beginning of class? (Refer to page five in your manual.) Yes/No • Were the students allowed to introduce themselves? Yes/No • Did the instructor have good eye contact? Yes/No • Did the instructor adequately answer any student questions? Yes/No • Was the class too in-depth? Yes/No • Did the instructor begin the class on time? Yes/No • Did the instructor state his name at the beginning of class? Yes/No • Were the refreshments adequate? Yes/No • Were the handouts adequate and thorough? Yes/No • Was the classroom neat and orderly? Yes/No • Was the instructor knowledgeable about the subject? Yes/No


adjust the contrast for maximum eye comfort. “Now these terminals may be nothing like the terminals you have at your work location, but I do want you to be comfortable in class.” The students were very impressed. “I also want you to note our state-of-art projection equipment.” He showed them how it worked, and how he could project a computer image on the wall that they could all see. No doubt this would help them in understanding the new inventory system, since they would be able to see the system demonstrated.


His explanation to Sam about quality instruction and good equipment was still hovering in the air when the telephone rang. Rogers apologized for the interruption and quickly picked up the receiver. He had a brisk and hushed discussion. “I see. I’ll tell him right away.” As he hung up the phone, Rogers turned to Sam, “That was your office. They said something about an emergency project. They want to know if you can leave class early and get back to the office right away.” Later, during our review discussion, I remarked on his good fortune. “It was lucky that Sam had to leave before you gave out evaluations. I had the feeling he didn’t like you and might have given you a bad evaluation out of spite.” Rogers grinned and shook his head. “A good instructor leaves nothing to chance.” Brilliant Results | April 2006 35



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“As I read over the evaluation form, I was sad to see that it mentioned nothing about what the student had learned.”



It took a moment for the implication of his remark to sink in. “You mean you planned to have the student taken out of your class?” “It’s an easy thing to program my personal computer to ring the classroom telephone every day right before I hand out evaluations.”

TIMING IS EVERYTHING. “Well, we only have 20 minutes left,” said Rogers after Sam left. “I am hoping that we can wrap this class up a little early, so I’m going to hand out the class evaluation forms now. This way we can make sure that you won’t have to rush to finish them.” He handed out the forms. As the students began marking the forms, Rogers continued talking. “After you return your class evaluation form to me, I will give you your plaque, stating that you have successfully completed this class.” As the students began filling out the evaluations forms, we were able to have another of our hushed conversations. “Why now?” I whispered. “Why not wait and let the students do a class evaluation after they get back on the job? It would seem to me that they could better evaluate the learning once they actually started using the inventory system.” Rogers looked like he was going to laugh out loud, but he caught himself and looked around at the students. “You’re so hung up on learning,” he said. “If I really wanted to know if the students had learned something, I would wait at least three months before doing an evaluation.” That seemed reasonable to me. “I don’t want my success tied in with the student’s ability to learn,” he continued. “What if I did wait to do the evaluation and then discovered that a student couldn’t do anything he had learned in the class? What if the student was a total moron and just plain could not learn anything anyway? It would reflect poorly on me. So I give the evaluation immediately after the class, while everything I did is still fresh in the student’s mind. This way, my performance in the classroom is all that is being evaluated. You might have heard this kind of evaluation form called a smile sheet. Well, to the extent it proves to my boss what a great trainer I am, it makes me smile!”

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I watched the students fill out the evaluation forms. I was somewhat dazed by all that I had witnessed. I picked up an extra copy of the evaluation form and was enlightened concerning his tenth and final rule: Just ask the right questions and ask the questions right. As I read over the evaluation form, I was sad to see that it mentioned nothing about what the student had learned. Of course, that was because the students had learned nothing. Then I remembered that Rogers said that I was too hung up on learning. I noted the way he had phrased the questions. There was no room here for ambiguity, no space provided for comments. In each case, the answer Rogers desired was the only one possible. Later, I asked one final question. “Is that all there is to it?” I said. “Don’t you do anything to measure performance?” “Most definitely.” he said emphatically. “After each class, I send a glowing letter to each student’s supervisor. I tell how well the student did, and how confident I am for expert performance on the inventory system.” “Isn’t that a lot of work?” I said. “Sure it is,” he said, “but it’s worth it. A report like that puts the onus on the student to meet performance expectations.” I realized then that he was both determined and tireless in his pursuit of perfect evaluations, and he wasn’t about to let student-learning stand in the way. • Jay McNaught, the Cinergy “Manager of Change Effectiveness”, sometimes writes ironically about computer training. Jay has worked for Cinergy for 19 years and has over 25 years of experience in the areas of training, communication, leadership development, and change management. He holds a master’s degree in education from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, where he also teaches leadership and management courses in the MBA and MSM programs. Jay has spoken on training topics at several national conferences and has published a variety of articles on training. Jay currently serves as newsletter editor for the Central Indiana chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (CIASTD).



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Please Mister, Don’t Sue Me!


MOST OF TODAY’S BUSINESS and professional society lives in fear of litigation. It is the single most powerful influence on any business decision. Litigation is expensive, time consuming and it commonly drags out for years in our overburdened court system. Studies show that somewhere between 95 and 97 percent of all lawsuits filed end in settlement. Attorneys argue relentlessly over the facts and the law, only to settle based on negotiated compromise without resolution of facts or law. Most settle while explicitly not admitting guilt. The reality is that we do not so much operate in a legal system as we operate in a settlement system. Bargaining in the shadow of an impending trial is what motivates settlement. In a word, duress. This is why a 1991 study in Oregon showed that only 50 percent of all settled cases were resolved by three days prior to trial. The other 50 percent settled within three days of trial, after numerous months of prior negotiation. What is needed is a better negotiation environment. One which challenges the court system’s very basic assumptions: that parties to a dispute are adversaries (i.e. if one wins the other must lose), that the ultimate decision will be resolved through application of law, that disputes must be decided by someone other than the parties involved (the Big Brother syndrome), and that the dispute has to do only with material things (money or material resources).

CONSIDER MEDIATION Mediation is a process where parties to a dispute meet with an impartial, informed third party who assists them, and their legal counsel if desired, in a

cooperative, collaborative, problem solving environment. Mediation is not a substitute for sound legal advice, but it is a substitute for litigation in a court of law. Unlike the misleading portrayal of mediation in Michael Crichton’s Disclosure, mediation is not the same thing as a mandatory settlement conference or an early neutral evaluation. All parties participate in the mediation session. The mediator, trained with the specific skills to bring people together, guides the process by assisting the parties to clearly define the issues in dispute, explore their options and facilitate an outcome which meets the participants’ specific interests. Mediation is a more efficient process because the parties themselves, those closest to the case, are empowered to control the outcome by articulating their goals and interests, and crafting a solution, which directly meets those interests. In order to encourage the free exchange of ideas necessary to allow the case to reach closure, the process has two levels of confidentiality. The first step in most mediations is the signing of a confidentiality agreement stating that any information divulged during mediation is to remain confidential, is not admissible in court, and the mediator cannot be subpoenaed. This encourages the participants to speak freely. Secondly, the mediator will not reveal any information from private sessions or “caucuses” to the other party without permission. This encourages the participants to speak freely to the mediator. The success rate in mediation is near 90 percent. Because resolutions to conflict are rarely black or white, the parties consider a wider breadth of potential outcomes than is available in a court of law. In mediation, any solution is possible. Additionally, Brilliant Results | April 2006 39



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Many industries have embraced mediation, but none so aggressively as insurance, real estate and development, construction, employment and labor. because the participants’ mutual consensus is what makes up the final agreement, compliance rates top 90 percent, making them significantly higher than other dispute resolution methods.

clients and employees. The California Dispute Resolution Council is currently tracking 75 bills in the state legislature mandating the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).



Mediation should be initiated as soon as negotiations reach an impasse. This allows for resolution before the parties develop an emotional or financial commitment to litigation. However, it is never too late to mediate. Cases have been successfully mediated after judgment and prior to filing the appeal. Mediation can be especially effective when the issues are complex, when there are more than two parties or when there is a high level of emotion surrounding a dispute. Many industries have embraced mediation, but none so aggressively as insurance, real estate and development, construction, employment and labor. The insurance industry and the trial lawyers have teamed to develop the National Pre-Suit Mediation Program identifying mediation as the preferred method for resolving disputes. In real estate, the California Association of Realtors has included mandatory mediation in their standard sales contracts. Recent laws mandate that subject to certain guidelines, homeowner disputes must be mediated and land use and environmental litigation will be referred to mediation by the courts. The construction industry has begun widespread use of “Construction Partnering”, a series of regular meetings between principals and subcontractors resolving conflicts, clearing up misunderstandings and keeping communication lines open. Successful businesses recognize the inevitability of disputes and plan for them by adopting a risk management plan that includes mediation. The best way to achieve this is to insert a mediation clause into every contract with language requiring that any dispute arising from the transaction will go to mediation before any lawsuit can be filed. This is almost like saying, “Let’s try the peaceful approach to problem solving first.” Mediation can be scheduled and conducted in a relatively short time so as to not effect any statute of limitations. In the rare case where an agreement cannot be reached, 10-15% of the time according to the L.A. County Bar Association, the other legal remedies remain available. While deterring frivolous litigation, such clauses will promote a cooperative relationship between a company and its

Mediated agreements typically contain language making them enforceable at law. Once the parties agree on an outcome and sign a final agreement, they are bound under law. Upon the agreement of the parties, the mediated agreement can be converted into a stipulated judgment giving the agreement the full force and effect of a court judgment. Binding arbitration is common practice. Here, binding refers to an agreement to submit to the outcome of a process regardless of result. While this offers parties a feeling of finality, it also removes recourse if the arbitration process is unsatisfactory.

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HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM ARBITRATION? Mediation and arbitration both use a neutral third party, but that is where the similarity ends. The arbitrator is hired to listen to arguments presented by each side’s respective counsel in an evidentiary hearing, generally police the civil code of procedure statutes governing discovery, and make a judgment. This evidence usually includes costly depositions and full discovery of the other side’s case. It is essentially a private trial presided over by the arbitrator. Although facts and evidence are presented in mediation, they are used to determine the origin of a dispute and influence the other party’s position. The mediator facilitates a negotiation, acting as a catalyst helping to generate potential solutions and bring to light possible resources and outcomes on which the participants may not be focused. The arbitrator passes judgment. In mediation, the participants retain all decisionmaking authority. In arbitration, the parties have no say in the final outcome, they relinquish all control to the arbitrator. Mediation tends to focus on moving forward, while arbitration deals only with the past. The final agreement, as drafted by the mediator, is essentially a list of consensus points between the parties. In arbitration, the decision is a final judgment mandated upon the parties. Parties in arbitration generally require extensive case preparation and representation by legal counsel as the process is a legally based fact finding. In mediation, parties sometimes prefer legal



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representation, although it is not required. It is important for any participant who is not represented to have some understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities prior to mediating in order to negotiate effectively and give their informed consent to the final agreement.

WHAT DOES IT COST? Mediators usually charge hourly for their time. It is customary for each party to pay equally for the mediator’s time to maintain neutrality. Since there is no major preparation required, they can generally be scheduled within a week or two. Most mediations can be resolved within a matter of hours or days. By using mediation, corporate clients are able to reduce defense costs and increase efficiency by focusing on their core business and profitability. Nothing trims the cost of disputes better or faster than avoiding court all together. Plaintiffs and trial lawyers are able to receive reasonable compensation and contingent fees in a matter of weeks, rather than years. John W. Martin, General Counsel at Ford Motor Company says, “Conventional arbitration proceedings just don’t appeal to most general counsel.” The cost of an arbitration, while significantly less expensive and time consuming than a court battle, includes many hours of legal discovery, research and preparation.

A recent Wall Street Journal article says “Single arbitrations have generated more than $1 million in fees for some [law] firms”. It goes on to say “In another sign that they have banished expensive adversarial attitudes, many partners at law firms say they recognize that mediation is usually preferable to arbitration because of its speed, low cost and high success rate.” Businesses spend considerable time and resources building commercial relationships. By utilizing mediation, disputes can be resolved while still preserving these important relationships by targeting the problem, not the other person. For this reason mediation is especially valuable in cases where the parties hope to have a continuing relationship such as employers and employees, or landlords and tenants. People are demanding a dispute resolution system that is more swift, affordable, equitable and cooperative one where they have an active voice in determining the outcome, while saving time, money and peace of mind. • Lee Jay Berman is the President of THE MEDIATION ALLIANCE, INC., a full-service mediation firm dedicated to utilizing the talents of field-specific, professionally certified mediators. Mr. Berman and his firm also teach mediation skills and consult to businesses teaching conflict resolution skills in the workplace. Contact Mr. Berman at (800) 395-6495.

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Motivat Nine Ways to Create a More Passionate Work Environment— Starting Today! BY MICHAEL KROTH, PH.D., AND PATRICIA BOVERIE, PH.D DO YOU HAVE ANY “living dead” on your staff—people who just get through the day? If so, what effect does this halfhearted attitude have on your donors and the fundraising goals your organization is trying to achieve? A passionate work environment is not only more enjoyable, but also more productive. In fact, how people feel about working in an organization can account for 20 percent to 30 percent of business performance. All things being equal, employees who are more enthusiastic and motivated will produce more, be more creative and be more committed to organizational success than those who are not. Passion can be defined in various ways, but for our purposes we will define it as a strong desire to do something. We asked people what causes them to be passionate about working in an organization. Their responses fell into three categories: • Meaningful work • Enjoyable work • Being in a nurturing workplace Following is a list of nine activities anyone can start tomorrow to create what we term “occupational intimacy,” a more passionate work environment comprising the three organizational categories. It is not an exhaustive list—you may have others that work just as

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well or better for yourself or others you work with— but it is a starting place.

MEANINGFUL WORK Become the best. It is hard to be passionate about something that is mediocre. A master craftsman who has worked for 38 years at the Waterford Crystal Factory in Ireland told us he is still passionate about his work because he knows he is one of the best in the world at his craft and because he works for the best crystal factory in the world. The process of becoming better makes many people passionate about their work, so that they either strive to develop into the best they can possibly be or they work to be the best in their class, occupation, industry or field. • What would it take for you or your organization to become the best you can be? Connect to your mission. Capital campaign consultant and author Stanley Weinstein, ACFRE,



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t ion

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• What challenge will spark the imagination of your organization?

ENJOYABLE WORK Put the right people in the right job. This activity is more difficult because it involves peoples’ livelihoods. Each person naturally has work that he or she likes to do. Some like working with people, while others would rather work with a computer. Some have an affinity for numbers, others for engines. It is remarkable how often people take jobs—volunteer or otherwise—simply because they were offered and find they are miserable years down the road. • Does your organization strive to get staff and volunteers involved in the kind of work they truly enjoy doing?

explains, “Commitment to mission is the sine qua non of nonprofit fundraising success. Donors may give modest amounts because a respected peer asked, but major commitments become possible only when the donor believes in the organization’s mission and the value of the philanthropic investment. Additionally, volunteers—even those who are inherently uncomfortable with fundraising— become motivated to make that personal ask when they remember that the request for funding flows from their commitment to the valuable work of the nonprofit organization.”

Create the best physical environment possible. There is actual evidence that aesthetically pleasing objects enable people to work better. Music can sooth, inspire or energize workers. Decoration can reinforce the atmosphere most conducive to the particular work needing to get done. On the other hand, dreary environments can drain energy and even depress the people who inhabit them. One call center we studied went from an errorprone place where employees sobbed on the elevators on their way to work to the best in their industry class. They did a number of things to make it happen, but one was to improve the physical environment. When they bought new chairs (the previous ones were held together by duct tape), their productivity numbers immediately went up and continued to rise. Now each individual colorfully decorates his or her office with plants, pictures, balloons and other personal touches.

• How can you connect volunteers, staff and yourself to the contribution you are making to the world?

• What can you do to make your organization a place that your staff and volunteers find cheerful, motivating and productive?

Create a challenge. Why do organizations try to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (see Why does a manufacturing company set zero defects as a goal? Why do organizations set high fundraising goals? Challenges can ignite passion for the work of the organization or for an individual.

Give people permission to have fun. We work with a 300-employee organization comprising mostly accountants and information technology (IT) professionals. We wondered if they would be fun to work with. As it turns out, they create activities to make work humorous, entertaining and enjoyable. They have had a “Gong Show”

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event with employee acts, including the CFO dressed in prison stripes lip-synching “Jail House Rock.” He brought down the house and made it comfortable for others to let their hair down. Fun does not have to be wild and crazy. It can be simple. For a leader, it means letting people know that it is okay, even encouraged, to do things that make people laugh and enjoy themselves at work. • How can you make your volunteers’ and staff’s work more fun?

BEING IN A NURTURING WORKPLACE • Learn constantly. When we interviewed passionate people, we always found that they take risks and learn. When work becomes monotonous or, as one of our good friends says, when you have “baked the same cake too many times,” passion fades. Organizations that proactively promote learning are more passionate. One Inc. 500 organization we studied (from Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s fastest growing privately held companies) requires each member of its senior management team to take an hour each week just to read a book or article or view a video. Later in the week, team members get together and share information learned with each other. Other organizations rotate people into new positions, assign stretch projects or send people to training to improve their skills or get new perspectives. • What can you do to introduce new learning opportunities into your organization? Build relationships. Most fundraising, we have observed, involves social activity and relationship building. One of the most powerful roles that professional organizations such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) play is to create a web of relationships that is constantly renewing, challenging and supporting. While an individual’s organization may not be doing its best to motivate staff and volunteers, often the professional relationships people have keep them energized about their field. For others, the relationships at work make the job enjoyable and meaningful. One of our clients reorganized its entire manufacturing organization. One group slated for dispersal was a group of women who worked closely together. Their informal role in the organization, however, was to serve as the social glue. The organization realized in time the huge

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mistake it would be to destroy this important group and made them the only exception to the newly decentralized organization. • Are you applying the principles you practice with donors and volunteers to your own staff? Provide recognition and rewards. We almost did not include this because it almost seems like a cliché. There are so many ways to do it, but it is easy to forget. One hightech company we looked at puts the names of not only of its employees, but also their extended families on its organizational chart to recognize the valuable contribution fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, cousins, aunts and uncles play in making the organization a success. Each new employee also puts his or her handprint on the entrance of the building. Those handprints, together, symbolize the importance each person has as a part of the team. • Undoubtedly you do a great job of recognizing and rewarding your volunteers and donors, but do you put the same effort into your fellow employees? We have presented nine ideas you can implement today to create a more passionate, more productive work environment in your organization. You also can apply each one of them to yourself. They are not the only ideas that might work for you, nor will all of them apply to you or your situation. Each one has, however, been effective for others. Cumulatively they can be a powerful force. Michael Kroth, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of adult education at the University of Idaho, and Patricia Boverie, Ph.D., is a professor of organizational learning and instructional technology at the University of New Mexico. Together they own Boverie Kroth & Associates in Albuquerque, N.M., and have written Transforming Work: The Five Keys to Achieving Trust, Commitment and Passion in the Workplace. For more information, visit or email Copyright© Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2005. Advancing Philanthropy is the bi-monthly publication of AFP, which promotes philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs ( All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.



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Promotional Products May Be Your Smartest Media Buy With the introduction of the TV remote control, and

the sublime—etched glass awards and leather

later TiVo, the traditional patterns of TV watching

embossed totes, for example. Research studies have

have been forever changed. Perhaps the only time

shown the outstanding effectiveness of promotional

TV viewers actually tune in for the commercials is on

products, especially in a tough economy. Why are

Super Bowl Sunday—and they are usually rewarded.

they so effective?

But during the rest of the year, TV commercials afford time to get a snack or take a bathroom break. Right?

• People keep promotional products. In a Promotional Products Association International

Radio advertising is good but fleeting, newspaper

study, 71 percent of the 805 business travelers

and magazine advertising is effective but one

intercepted at a major airport had in their posses-

dimensional, and bill boards are eye-catching, if

sion at least one promotional product.

you are driving slow enough to read them.

• People remember the message of promotional products. Of the study respondents, 76 percent

What kind of advertising sticks around long enough

could accurately recall the name or message of the

to remind you of the advertiser’s message day in and


day out? What advertising medium do people carry

• People do business with companies that use

with them? Of all advertising media, which one do

promotional products. Close to half of the survey

people actually request and are excited to receive?

participants who had never done business with the advertiser said they were more likely to do so after

Promotional products!

receiving a promotional product. Plus, more than half said they held a more favorable opinion of

These are useful or decorative items imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message for use in mar-

the advertiser after receiving their item. • Promotional products cost less per impression.

keting and communication programs. They run

With their long-lasting reach and recall, the

from the functional—t-shirts, calendars, clocks—to

cost-per-impression of promotional products is often lower than traditional advertising.

Presented By: Need ideas for promotional products to make your company or brand memorable? Ask your promotional consultant or go to to find a consultant to help you.

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Find a promotional consultant at

INDUSTRY: Entertainment—Six Flags Ohio

CHALLENGE: In the world of theme parks, the addition of four new roller coasters to one park in one year is astounding, but Six Flags Ohio was able to do it. Wanting to generate excitement about its new rides, the park knew it must first get the media interested before going straight to consumers. How could it encourage attendance at its Media Day prior to season park opening?

Ohio and surrounding states. D’Sidocky and Felber knew the coasters would be successful because they featured interesting facts about each roller coaster— information the media could use in stories and broadcasts. “The mailer was very well-received,” says D’Sidocky. “Many of the media mentioned they would hold on to their coasters in hopes they would become collectors’ items one day.”

RESULT: SOLUTION: Public relations manager for Six Flags Ohio, Shannon D’Sidocky, contacted promotional consultant Bruce J. Felber, MAS, of Twinsburg, Ohio-based Felber & Felber Marketing, for ideas. “We needed a unique, eye-catching promotion to entice media to come to our event,” D’Sidocky says. “We set a world record for the most coasters put into an existing theme park during one season, and we wanted to get the word out.” Using a little play on words, they developed a set of commemorative coasters shaped like records. Each coaster had the logo and description of one of the new roller coasters, while its record shape illustrated the fact that Six Flags Ohio had set a new world record.

The coaster campaign was the perfect blend of fun and functionality, doubling the previous year’s media attendance. “Media coverage was significant, especially in our hard to reach outer markets,” D’Sidocky says. “We were very impressed.”

FACT: According to the Direct Marketing Association, an investment of $1 in direct marketing advertising expenditures will return, on average, $11.49 in increased revenue across all industries.

Two weeks prior to Media Day, the coasters were mailed first-class to 600 media contacts in

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INDUSTRY: Human Resources—TMP Worldwide/Adcoms Division

CHALLENGE: TMP Worldwide/Adcoms Division was asked to create a formal recruiting program for the Air Force Reserve with objectives to increase the quality of referrals and achieve a 100-percent “end strength” (fully manned) Air Force Reserve. The challenge involved creating awareness of the program to generate referrals from the 72,000 targeted active reservists.

SOLUTION: Tom Morrow, a promotional consultant with USMotivation Promotional Services in Atlanta, Georgia, was asked to design a program where the targeted reservists would receive immediate recognition for their referrals and special prizes when their referrals actually joined the reserves. “We explained the promotion to the target audience with magnet postcards and used the ‘Get One’ logo along with the theme, ‘Help us find what’s missing,’” explains Morrow. “For the first referral, the reservist received a Get One jar opener; for the second, a Get One flying disc; and a Get One tape measure for the third referral.”

When the referral enlisted, the referring reservist received a Get One portfolio/calculator. With a second referred enlistment, the referring reservist received a watch; and with a third enlistment, the reservist received a set of Get One brass coasters.

RESULT: “The promotional products created such excitement that as reservists realized the prizes were increasing in value with the number of referrals and enlistments, even more participated in the program,” says Adam Einiger, project manager, Air Force Reserve Advertising Account for TMP Worldwide. “And the final numbers are quite impressive,” says Morrow, “with 1,111 participating reservists, 1,644 total referrals and 170 total enlistments (accessions). The ‘end strength’ (fully manned) AFR exceeded its goal by reaching 106 percent.”

FACT: In doubt about how your logo will look on several different products? Request a logoed sample from your promotional consultant. This will also let you see and touch the exact products you are considering.

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Find a promotional consultant at

INDUSTRY: Financial—Zurich US

CHALLENGE: The Risk Insurance Management Services (RIMS) conference in San Francisco always draws the very best risk managers, brokers and agents—just the type of clientele Zurich US, an insurance-based financial services provider, had its eye on. But the competition is fierce to win the attention of this select group of individuals. So how would Zurich US capture private time with them and get them to attend its dinner event?

SOLUTION: Knowing hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake, Fran Harding, communications director for Zurich US, called on a pro—Marty Gruber, MAS, promotional consultant for The Dubbs Company in Allentown, Pennsylvania (now with Forrester-Smith in Annapolis, Maryland.) Keeping the high-end clientele in mind, Harding and Gruber knew they needed something classy that would stand out from the other mailings attendees received. So they developed a five-part mailing that exuded elegance and inspired interest. The promotion began with a formal save-the-date card mailed to a select group of 430 brokers and agents from the United States, Mexico and Canada. To generate further curiosity, this was followed by an “Expect Our Invitation” card. It was finally time for the big invitation. Engraved napkin rings and fancy cloth napkins were mailed in custom-designed gift boxes bearing the message, “We hope you’ll accept the enclosed ring—and our proposal.” The inside card invited the recipients to attend Zurich’s event and promised “it’ll be the perfect setting.” As a follow-up, reminder cards were sent, with thank-you cards mailed afterwards.

FACT: When choosing a promotional consultant, select one who is more interested in conveying your message than in his or her products.

RESULT: Out of 430 invitations mailed, 173 recipients accepted, filling all available seats with the most sought-after agents and brokers at the RIMS conference. “Our event was heralded as the show’s most popular after-event,” says Harding. “A new level of prestige and visibility was achieved by Zurich US.”

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INDUSTRY: Media—The Intelligencer

In the third leg of the promotion, “Stop All Stops,” sales reps hand delivered both of these mugs as peace offerings to disgruntled customers. “The customer service rep responded to delivery-problem calls by assuring customers the problem would be resolved and followed up with these goodwill gifts,” says Gwynn. “During the four months of this phase, The Intelligencer saved 58 customers.” In the final phase, the “Stay DryStay Informed” promotion, sales reps again hand delivered a green and white, imprinted golf umbrella to keep new subscribers from being “all wet” when it came to current events.

CHALLENGE: Maintaining its market position had become a never-ending challenge for The Intelligencer, the oldest newspaper in West Virginia. This regional morning newspaper wanted to create more awareness of its brand and increase circulation by five percent during a one-year period with a secondary objective of keeping disgruntled subscribers from discontinuing delivery due to service problems.

SOLUTION: With the help of promotional consultant Gary Gwynn, II, CAS, and other team members from Gwynn Advertising in Wheeling, West Virginia, the newspaper launched a four-part promotion to meet the challenge—with announcements in newspaper ads and on posters. “In the first phase, sales reps hand delivered a basic white ‘INTELL’ mug with a green logo to new subscribers. In the next phase, during a two-month timeframe sales reps hand delivered to new subscribers a limited edition ‘Then And Now’ commemorative mug showing the famous Wheeling Suspension Bridge,” explains Gwynn.

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RESULT: “By the end of the promotion, The Intelligencer had boosted its circulation from 21,200 to 22,400—a 5.3-percent growth rate,” says Eric Anderson, marketing manager for The Intelligencer. A surprise bonus was that Newspaper Association of America (NAA) named The Intelligencer “America’s fast growing daily,” based on circulation figures (under 100,000) for small market newspapers.

FACT: For maximum benefits from promotional products, be sure to integrate them into your total marketing plan: make them a strategic component, budget for them, determine the call-to-action you want from recipient, and determine the delivery method.



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Find a promotional consultant at

INDUSTRY: Advertising—Performance Group

CHALLENGE: You decide you have something to promote. You want to get the word out about your business and what it offers. But with whom will you work to ensure this happens? The choices are plentiful. And promotional consultant firm, Performance Group, knows this. It also knows it has the creativity, skill and promotional products to deliver a top-notch campaign. But how could this firm convince possible clients it’s the best choice when selecting a promotional consultant?

SOLUTION: Targeting high profile clients, the Performance Group constructed a threepart direct-mail campaign, with each phase two days apart. “Our target audience consisted of prospects in the Southern and Northern California area,” says promotional consultant Natalie Rucinski. “Most of these people are business owners, marketing executives or meeting planners.” The first promotional product was a glass mug filled with a large bag of tea and imprinted with the word “Creativi-tea.” The mug was mailed in a custom-printed corrugated box with copy that creatively tied the essence of a promotional consultant firm with the tea theme. Two days later, recipients were happy to open the next product—a t-shirt vacuum packed into the shape of a mini tee bearing the word “Creativitee.” And following the clever word play of the previous mailings, the last promotional product was a velvet bag of golf tees imprinted with the word “Creativi-tee.” Included in each mailing was a business reply card for the recipient to request additional information.

FACT: If you like the idea of a compressed tee, take it a step further by combining it in a sack, pack or box with a CD-ROM or memory stick for a new product launch or coupons toward a future purchase for a consumer promotion.

RESULT: The promotion laid impressive groundwork—100 percent of follow-up phone calls were accepted and 92 percent resulted in appointments. As an added bonus, Rucinski says, “A Fortune 100 company that had not ordered in the past year placed an order for more than $13,000.”

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INDUSTRY: Education—The Summit Academy/The Academy System, Inc.

CHALLENGE: This residential high school for court-adjudicated juvenile offenders wanted to increase the student population to 340 students. To do this, the school needed an awareness program highlighting its extraordinary services and targeting 136 juvenile court judges and parole officers so they would commit students to the school.

SOLUTION: Using a mailing list of potential clients prepared in advance by Summit Academy, promotional consultant Stephanie Warlick of Colorworks Promotions in Kensington, Maryland, used creativity in selecting the perfect promotional products to highlight and correspond with Summit Academy’s services. “Using the school colors of red and blue for the products and romance cards, we developed multi-piece mailers to grab the recipients’ attention,” says Warlick. “Each mailing included a tie-in product plus information about Summit Academy’s successful rehabilitative experiences for youth plus an invitation to request more information.” The first piece, symbolizing education, was a blue calculator and included a romance card with an invitation to come by the booth at an upcoming tradeshow. Those visiting the booth and requesting further

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FACT: Research shows that 76 percent of tradeshow attendees have decided BEFORE they get to the convention which booths they’ll visit. information received a blue pen. A week later, to emphasize the school’s athletics component, the potential clients received a white mini football imprinted in blue along with the message, “You’ll score big in the community by rehabilitating youth in a positive manner.” To again highlight Summit Academy’s education, the next mailing was a blue-covered Thesaurus with the romance card reading, “There are no synonyms for The Summit Academy. We’re one of a kind in juvenile offender rehabilitation.” The final piece was a red mini tool kit, selected to emphasize the industrial trades aspect of Summit Academy’s counseling and rehabilitation.

RESULT: “Of the targeted 136 potential clients, 109 requested more information by mail or at the tradeshow—an impressive 80-percent response rate,” says The Summit Academy President/Headmaster Samuel A. Costanzo. “And, more significantly, we reached an all-time, record-high enrollment of 348 students.”



11:16 PM

Page 55

Find a promotional consultant at

INDUSTRY RESEARCH: The Power Of Promotional Products

P R O M OT I O N A L P R O O F The potential situations for using promotional prod-

give prospects something to chew on by sending a

ucts are virtually limitless. From t-shirts for the com-

tin filled with assorted candies, cookies or pretzels—

pany softball team to crystal awards for special

perfect when you are working with a department or

employee recognition, there is a product and price

committee where there are multiple decision makers.

point to suit your needs. So if you want to make an impression before even How do you use promotional products? Are you

entering a prospect’s door, talk to your promotional

incorporating promotional merchandise into all the

consultant. Together, you can choose decorated mer-

programs you could? In the PPAI 2005 End Buyer

chandise for use across multiple platforms—from

Study, respondents indicated a variety of uses,

tradeshows and new account generation to public

with business gifts, events, brand awareness and

relations and employee service awards—positively

tradeshows rounding out the top four. While these

influencing those within and outside your corporate

are the most popular uses, promotional products can


be integrated in so many more ways. Now that’s the power of promotional products. Take new customer account generation, for example.

Primary Uses Of Promotional Products

When trying to contact prospective customers, Internal Promotions

sometimes a flat direct mail piece just won’t break through the clutter. Instead, you could include a

New Product/Service Introduction Employee Service Awards New Customer Account Generation

packet of seeds and talk about ways you can help grow their business. In terms of product price and postage, this is an inexpensive way to get noticed.

Public Relations Employee Relations Tradeshows Brand Awareness Events Business Gifts

Here’s another idea. A sleek, high-tech clock could be delivered with the message that your product or service will help save time. Need another? You can PPAI—the promotional products industry’s only international not-for-profit trade association—offers education, mentoring, public relations, publications, technology, tradeshows and legislative support to its 7,000 global member companies.










*2005 End Buyer Study: A Barometer Of Current Conditions In The Promotional Products Industry © 2006 Promotional Products Association International

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL 3125 Skyway Circle North Irving, TX 75038 888-I-AM-PPAI (426-7724)

Brilliant Results | April 2006 55



12:29 PM

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Things WeLove 1

1. Always appreciated, easily shared.... …and remembered long after the last bit, Impromptu Gourmet™ selections offer the chance to say "thank you" and "well done" to employees, colleagues, or business associates with a truly extraordinary gift. Offering classic entrées, desserts and complete gourmet dining experiences. Impromptu Gourmet

2. When an Award Matters… …choose the clarity and brilliance of optical crystal. These elegant awards are a beautiful addition to any desk or trophy case. Whether it’s a star performance, winning teamwork or a business relationship, the recipients realize that their efforts and contributions have been appreciated. AITG, Inc.

3. Appreciate & Inform… …these hard deck card sets reveal the secrets of wine or famous cities around the world and could be just the right pat on the back. The Book Co.



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2006 4. Really Say It with Flowers… …this incredible technology allows any message, in any color, in any language to be clearly and beautifully inscribed upon fresh, living roses. What a wonderfully natural way for businesses to powerfully express their feelings and appreciation. Speaking Roses International Inc.


5. Looking for An Unusual Award… …then try a contemporary piece with artistic, translucent colored glass surrounding the silver/gold metallic iridized glass center of the rectangle on which the copy is etched and gold color-filled. Advance Corporation

6. Not the Same Old Tag… …these embroidered I.D./Luggage Tags are a new twist on identification tags, soft and rugged at the same time. Recognize the members of your team, tour group or golf tournament players. These handsome identifiers are ideal for laptop cases, equipment bags, athletic bags, and luggage. AAA Stuart Group


7. For The Young At Heart… …Motivate your employees with one of these unique contemporary watches. It is sure to be noticed. Troika



Brilliant Results | April 2006 57



10:52 PM

Page 58

It’s ALL Personal

I CALL IT THE ‘BUSINESS CARD SHUFFLE’; that exercise at a networking function where someone approaches you from 10 paces, right hand leading as the left one hands you a business card. You shake, exchange, say a few cordial remarks and move on. The objective? Fill your pocket with business cards so you can feel your networking was successful. But, are we kidding ourselves?

Dave Ribble

Mel Kaufmann is the author of The LINK System and has been teaching and training for over 25 years how to really network when meeting people. Merrill Lynch and other top companies hire Mel on a regular basis to come in and explain how true networking needs to be done. I wish I’d met Mel 20 years ago because he has taught me so much about how we waste time at networking events. Here is just a smidgeon of examples of Mel’s teachings. Imagine yourself at a network breakfast. 1.The Bridge Question is what starts out your conversation. It can be any kind of opening that helps get the ball rolling. (“Did you have trouble parking? What do you know about the Speaker this morning?”) 2.The Link Question # 1-“What does your firm do?” or “What kind of work do you do?” 3.The Link Question # 2-“What do you do for your firm?” or “What is the name of your firm?” 4.The Link Question # 3-“What is your target market?” or “What firms or individuals do you target?” 5.The Link Question # 4-“How long have you been with your firm?” or “Is your firm Regional or National?” 6. A three to five minute dialogue, tops.

“Do you and your people take more than five minutes at a networking event for each person you talk to? Perhaps.”

If, by the information you gather, this is a potential “Link” for you, set up to call and then arrange for a coffee or lunch meeting. If it doesn’t seem to be a fit, politely excuse yourself and move on to the next person you do not know. Do this 6 times in 30 minutes and you are now being ‘on-purpose’ like never before. It is simple, yet few of us practice this kind of approach. Please understand this, too: Mel Kaufmann has a lot of explanation and training to go with each and every question you just read. He deciphers it all. He really breaks it down and explains the reasons for the questions and sequential strategies he places on each and every situation. There is a lot going on, here. Think about your own methods. Do you and your people take more than five minutes at a networking event for each person you talk to? Perhaps. It is tough not to. Mel Kaufmann would like for us to get more focused in how we do the networking so that our marketing efforts are as effective as possible. Would you like more information about Mel Kaufmann? Let me know and I’ll hook you up, because It’s ALL Personal. Dave Ribble is President of The Company Image, Inc./Geiger. Reach him at and at

58 Brilliant Results

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Page 59

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12:24 PM

Page 61

INDUSTRY: Real Estate Agent Recognition

OBJECTIVE A large real estate agency wanted to recognize their top performing agents. The agency executives also wanted to form a corporate “think tank� to identify the techniques that the best agents used to capture the most business. They hoped to design an education curriculum for new agents based on what they learned from their best agents.

STRATEGY Top management identified the top ten performing agents in the organization. These ten agents formed the Presidents Club, which met on a monthly basis to create the education curriculum.

The top three agents received the Diamond Tiara. The seven other agents received the CEO Award.

RESULTS As a result of this program the real estate agency created a 12-session curriculum that educated new agents about industry best practices, sales techniques, and business ethics. The members of the Presidents Club were especially grateful for their symbols of recognition.

Brilliant Results | April 2006 61



11:26 PM

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2006 May


May 3 – 4

The Incentive Show Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Information at: or Call: 703.488.2809

May 4 – 6

The Awards & Custom Gift Show – Fort Worth Fort Worth Convention Center, Ft. Worth, TX Information at: or Call: 800.560.9941

May 7 – 9

ASD/AMD’s Atlantic City Variety Merchandise Show New Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ Information at: or Call: 800.421.4511

May 7 – 9

12th CFO Summit The Westin Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, FL Information at: or Call: 1.246.417.5329

May 8 – 10

The Annual Conference for Catalog, Internet & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) Lakeside Center @ McCormick Place, Chicago, IL Information at: or Call: 800.559.0620

May 10 – 11

Advanced Promotional Marketing Workshop USA WEEKEND, 535 Madison Avenue, New York, NY Information at: or Call: 212.420.1100

May 15 – 19

GTC West 2006 Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA Information at: or Call: 916.932.1357

May 16 – 18

Assn for Information & Image Mgmt – AIIM On Demand Expo Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA Information at: or Call: 888.824.3004

May 16 – 18

ISPCON Spring 2006 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD Information at: or Call: 303.482.3045

May 23 – 25

The ASI Show – Philadelphia – Advertising Specialty Institute Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA Information at: or Call: 800.546.3300

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brilliant results




June 1 – 3

The Awards & Custom Gift Show – Indianapolis Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, Indianapolis, IN Information at: or Call: 800.560.9941

June 2 – 6

ASCO Annual Meeting & Exposition Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA Information at: or Call: 888-282-2552

June 3 – 9

InfoComm International Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL Information at: or Call: 800.659.7469

June 5 – 8

SAAGNY Promotions East Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ Information at: or Call: 972.258.3075

June 20 – 22

Licensing 2006 International Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Information at: or Call: 888.644.2022

June 25 – 28

Society for Human Resources Management 58th Annual Conference & Exposition Washington DC Convention Center, Washington, DC Information at: or Call: 800.283.SHRM

June 27 – 30

WCBF’s Global Six Sigma Summit & Industry Awards Venetian Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV Information at: or Call: 800.959.6549

* To have your show listed in our Calendar please send your information to Brilliant Results magazine. *

Brilliant Results | April

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TheLast Word

Brilliant Results was delighted WHEN BRILLIANT RESULTS recently when Aimee Yoon of Dotted Line interviewed John L. Jacobs, Chief Communications, a boutique firm servicing Marketing Officer of the NASDAQ technology and consumer companies with (December 2005), we asked him about creative, strategic communications and the last promotional product he had public relations programs was able to received. He enthusiastically told us arrange an interview with John Bigay, about a product on his desk from Captivate Network Vice President – Captivate Network. Based on his enthuMarketing and Programming, to discuss all siasm, we decided to take a look at a things promotional and this camcompany that could make such an paign in particular. impression on a top business executive. John Bigay, Captivate Mr. Bigay brings over 16 While some great ideas are Network Vice President Marketing and Programming years of experience in the hatched in boardrooms, others are born between floors. What began as a flash of media and entertainment industries to inspiration during an elevator ride has grown into Captivate, with background in online mara leading alternative media company that delivers keting, e-commerce, project management more than 44 million impressions per month. and business development. In his role, Captivate delivers its national news, entertain- John oversees the marketing, public ment, and advertising to more than 2 million viewers relations and on-air programming for via more than 6,600 wireless, digital screens locat- Captivate Network. ed in the elevators of premier office towers in 21 of North America’s top markets. BR: How and when did you become Captivate reaches more managers than involved with Captivate Network? Forbes, Fortune, Business Week and the Wall JB: I started with Captivate in Street Journal combined. Their recall rates consis- September 2000. I heard about tently exceed those of other media channels; with the opportunity with Captivate a 30% higher recall rate than television and a 53% and was immediately impressed higher recall rate than print. But, at the time they with the quality of the product launched the marketing campaign, which included and the entrepreneurial environthe promotional product mentioned by Mr. Jacobs, ment of the company. But as I did they wanted to change the trade press concept of my due diligence on the company, the company as purveyors of an ‘experimental’ the most impressive thing to me advertising format. was how much the viewers of the Captivate Network worked closely with Mary network – the people who ride the Shea from the Boston Group, a full-service market- elevators in Captivate buildings ing agency responsible for developing the uniquely each day – value and appreciate memorable Captivate Network promotional piece. the medium.

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TheLast Word

BR: In your opinion, what is the single most important service/benefit that Captivate Network offers its clients? JB: Captivate has 3 clients that we serve – our viewers, the building owners + managers, and advertisers. For viewers, Captivate provides viewers with an engaging source of news and entertainment, turning a socially awkward situation into one they look forward to. For advertisers, Captivate provides an opportunity to engage a highly desirable audience in an uncluttered environment during the workday, a time they are difficult to reach through traditional media and when business and personal purchase decisions are made. And for Property owners/managers, Captivate is a turnkey, cost-effective building amenity that both enhances the appeal of their properties and increases tenant loyalty. BR: How do you use promotional merchandise and/or direct marketing strategies to increase interest in Captivate Network? JB: As a new medium, our primary task in our direct marketing is to continue to educate the marketplace about the power of our medium. This can be particularly challenging because we are marketing to marketers, so promotional merchandise is one tactic we have used to reach this audience and capture their attention. In terms of messaging, we stay focused on how we can help our clients’ business by reaching this exceptional audience during the workday. BR: What was the creative process used in developing the promotional product used in the campaign? JB: An integrated effort between The Boston Group’s creative, strategy

and production staff, in collaboration with a partner firm, Structural Graphics. The strategy was established; setting parameters for a unique, attention-getting piece that would also be highly relevant to Captivate messaging. Literally showing how a message can be communicated within a building was a perfect metaphor for Captivate Network. Captivate reaches an upscale, desirable, mobile business professionals during the day at work and the mailer nails this messaging perfectly.

Images Provided By Captive Network

BR: How was the promotional merchandise sourced, via a bid process or via a regular supplier/ .distributor or agency? Why? JB: We used our creative agency, the Boston Group as well as a partner firm, Structural Graphics. BR: What is your personal favorite (or most successful) promotional or marketing campaign and why? JB: Right now one of my favorite marketing campaigns is from Orbitz. I think they have done an exceptional job of leveraging different mediums in a creative way to reach their audience. For example, their online campaigns feature a game right now that is interactive and very popular with consumers. They also run advertising on our network and they have tailored the ads perfectly for the Captivate medium. In today’s fragmented media environment it is important to see this type of creativity to truly connect with the target audience. BR: Do you remember the last promotional merchandise or incentive that you received? Where, when and from what organization? JB: I have to say I really don’t. I haven’t seen anything that really caught my attention in the last several months. •

Images Provided By Captive Network

Brilliant Results | April

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INDUSTRY NEWS FLASHES ~ SEVENTH ANNUAL PREMIER GROUP MEETING SCHEDULED APRIL 2006 AT SANIBEL RESORT IN FLORIDA In April 2006, the Premier Group, including 46 distributor companies and 41 supplier companies, will meet at the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa in Fort Myers, Florida for its 7th Annual Meeting. Representatives from nearly all of the 87 Premier Group member companies plan to attend the threeday event. Chairman Dan Weisberg, President of Branded Solutions, a distributor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will preside over the event which will include keynote address by Joe Healey, a well-known speaker and consultant; a presentation by guest speaker Paul Bellantone of PPAI; distributor and supplier breakout sessions; and presentations by committee chairpersons. “Sales within the group have continued to grow over the past several years,” Weisberg said. “And, we expect to report more growth this year.”

SIERRA PACIFIC AND BROTHER INTL. PARTNER FOR CHARITY Houston, Texas-based supplier Sierra Pacific (UPIC: sierrapa) and Bridgewater, New Jerseybased sewing machine company Brother International recently teamed up to supply 252 embroidered Blake & Hollister golf shirts for the 2005 Tournament For Dreams at Bradenton Country Club in Bradenton, Florida. This fundraising golf tournament was sponsored by The Foundation for Dreams, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping special needs children at the Dream Oaks camp in East Manatee County, Florida. The foundation’s mission is to provide outdoor camping experiences for youth ages seven to 17 who have developmental disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.

FEY LINE DONATES $25,000 FOR ARC HURRICANE RELIEF Edgerton, Minnesota-based supplier Fey Line (UPIC: FEY) announces it donated more than $25,000 to the American Red Cross through a campaign

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based on the sale of tally books the company developed to raise money for relief following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005.

TRG GROUP AWARDED TODD MORTON THE 2005 PRESIDENT’S AWARD AND JACQUE WOOSLEY THE 2005 HORIZON AWARD. Andrew Spellman, Vice President of Corporate Markets Sales presented Todd and Jacque with their awards. Todd Morton, Midwest Region Manager, manages a 14-state territory. Todd has now received the President’s Award two years in a row. This award is presented annually to the employee displaying the most exemplary sales Picture (left to right): Todd Morton – Midwest results. Region Manager; Jacque Woosley – Sales TRG Group Operations Manager; Andrew Spellman – Vice designs, produces President of Corporate Markets Sales and markets innovative travel gear, business/computer cases, backpacks and accessories under the Victorinox/Swiss Army, Soren, and Callaway Golf brand names

TEEING UP FOR SCHOLARSHIP AND GRANT PROGRAMS Golfers in cities across the country are making plans to participate in the fourth annual Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) Golf Marathon on Monday, May 8, 2006, by raising $350 in sponsorship donations from friends, families and colleagues. Last year’s event raised more than $31,000 for PPEF scholarship and grant programs.

SACDV ANNOUNCES 2005 PERSON OF THE YEAR Specialty Advertising Counselors of Delaware Valley (UPIC: SACDV) announces Jacqui Krause, CAS, Just Looking Logos (UPIC: looking), Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, has been named SACDV 2005 Person of the Year. •



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