Page 1


July 2008


Education by the




Networking and

Show Experience

July Cover.indd 1

6/27/08 9:45:55 PM

Your competitor’s name is buried in your customer’s card index. You’re on his desktop. Guess who gets the call?

ASI 95280


W Contact your local Promotional Products Distributor.

Calendar advertising works because your company name is front and center when the buying decision is made. Warwick calenders remind your customer


that you’re a trusted vendor, and they make the contact easy for about a penny per day.

ad template.indd 1

4/28/08 1:39:45 PM

Fabric Options Organic Cotton Repreve Green Fabric

Digitally Imprinted Table Covers

65/35 polycotton twill 100% Polyester Non-Woven Disposable material Plastic Disposable material Step and Repeat Plastic Table Covers

(Please call about color options avaialble for material)

Imprinting Options Digitally imprinted Screen Printed Step and Repeat Printing

Table Runners

(Please contact us for additional information.)

(800) 467-1996 Screen Printed Table Covers

ASI# 36558

ad template.indd 1



SAGE: 50091

with supplied Fed-Ex, UPS , or DHL shipping number

5/31/08 4:43:59 PM


Vol. 5, No. 7

in this issue July 2008 Cover Story 8 Education by the Numbers With over 76 million students and expenditures in excess of $489 billion dollars, education is big business in the United States.


18 Features 10 Social Networking – Is It Right For Your Organization?

By: MaryAnne Morrill


14 The Gifts in Education


By: Mary English

20 Great Time to Spend




18 Educational Tourism Comes in

Marketing Dollars! By: Bob Grant, CBS

22 Promotional Contests are Mostly for Losers

By: Michael Merrick Crooks

30 Valued Customer or Just a Piggy Bank?

By: Ed Rigsbee, CSP

32 Show Experience By: Barry Siskind

34 What Web Metrics Should You Measure?

By: Robert W. Bly


ToC_04.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008

Publisher’s Letter

36 Products on Our Radar 46 Advertising Index Get FREE information from this month’s advertisers

Many Forms

By: Dr. Peter Tarlow


 ow Incentive Programs H Improve Education!

By: Arnold Light, CTC

26 It’s All Personal

44 Off the Cuff 48 Meet the Manufacturer

By: Dave Ribble, MAS

28 What Generation Y Really Wants By: Megan Slabinski, The Creatiive Group

A one on one interview with Brian “Scott” Thackston, Executive Vice President for Aprons Etc.

42 Passionate Leadership

By: Dave Ribble, MAS

By: Barton Goldsmith, PhD.

6/28/08 12:02:37 PM


encourage excellence

Motivate Your Champions

Nike Gift Card No Expiration. No Fees. Corporate Discounting Available.

call: 877.220.6453

ad template.indd 1


5/22/08 4:43:35 PM

Publisher’s Letter publisher’s letter

Maureen Williams Publisher Maureen Williams 717.608.5869 Publisher 541-788-5022


$0`WZZWO\b@SacZbaj2SQS[PS` %


Pub letter 6.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008



ORGANIZATION‌I love it! I must admit I have a bit of an obsession with cleanliness and organization. I buy any and every self help organizing book or magazine I see‌after all I am certain someone out there has “the secretâ€? and it is going to work for me once and for all. That in and of itself is the problem, well that and Education is the key to success. the time it takes to get and stay organized. Let’s face Is there any truer statement? No. it there are those of us who are constantly challenged Whatever you choose to do in life by chaos and clutter. I don’t necessary like it but I live you do with the knowledge you have with it until it takes over then I buy a new book and acquired. Without this knowledge learn a new “systemâ€? of organization. Last month I am embarrassed to born of education, any success you admit I bought newoften computer. Well primarily because my old commay enjoy awill come Why? via the puter was too slow‌maybe because I neverwhich deleteisanything andmore have 30 education received from your mistakes, often much or more things opening when I turn on the computer‌oops! But, costly than a traditional education. As for me, when I started thisI am certain that the andrelated my publishers’ letter field will be more brilliant magazine it magazine was directly to my college of study and in 2008 due to my investment. I also bought “Unclutter Your Mindâ€? and the ‘education’ I received from working in that field... “Organize Yourselfâ€? ‌they should give me some new ideas and systems to use to get that uncluttered clean organized desk! Why a magazine...the written word is LASTING and people Here magazine we are always passatitBrilliant on...theyResults don’t hit the delete button and searching move on. for In athat righttime-starved product or idea thatitwill super charge your marketing and brandsociety is imperative that magazine content be ing interesting efforts andand help your organization cleanuppeople whentaking it comes engaging enough to warrant timeto to the bottom issue noatdifferent...we decided look at trend read.line! ThatThis is why we is here Brilliant Results strivetomonth after monthand to deliver timely,impact interesting and valuable articles, features watching its potential on the way business is done. We also and columns. included a few up and coming trends that might inspire as well as several articles packed with suggestions on how to make 2008 a more pro I thank for the you portion your valuable you spend reading ductive yearyou whether are of evaluating yourtime promotional merchandise Brilliant Results. I also appreciate you who timehelp or reviewing your incentive programs. those Who of couldn’t usehave a little shoot me an us how (PS: to better for an fromtotime to time to email bettertelling themselves? I also the had magazine them include youon and your company. Your emails, letters, etc. do not go unseen article organization.) unheard; they comprise an invaluable form our education. Asorwe strive to bring you a better magazine weofmust not forget to And our editors, like everyone else, love to hear about it when you our say Thank you to all the suppliers that support our efforts and you found an article so useful you passed it on and on... readers who make it all worth while. I love a challenge and 2008 will be even better the 2007! I am certain of it! Let me know what you think, Education is key to success and Brilliant Results strives to what you like what you don’t like and hey if you have an idea or 2 that increase your knowledge so that you experience brilliant results. could make us a better resource for you let me know that too. We can So sit back, relax and enjoy this month’s ‘education’ and remember onlytoimprove with your help. always‌ For me I’m off to organize my desk and get ready for 2008 with a clean slate! Have A Brilliant Day, Hard to believe that another year has come and gone‌where does the time go? Until next time‌always remember to‌ Have a Brilliant Day!


Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane Brilliant Publishing LLC Hummelstown, PA 17036 9034 Joyce Lane Ph: 717.571.9233 Hummelstown PA 17036 Fax: Ph:717.566.5431 717.608.5869

Fax: 717.566.5431



Maureen Williams Maureen Williams 541-788-5022




Editor in Chief EditorMorrill in Chief MaryAnne

MaryAnne Morrill

Senior Editor Senior Editor Michelle Donofry

Michelle Donofry Style Editor StylePlata Editor Charity

Charity Plata

Asst. Editor Asst. Editor Mildred Landis

Mildred Landis

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Contributing Writers Michael Merrick Crooks, Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, GiftCertiďŹ, Barton Goldsmith, Robert W. Bly, Michael MerrickPhD., Crooks, Maria Gracia, Light, CTC, Bill Nissim, Mary Arnold English, Bob Grant, CBS, Ribble, EdPh.D., Rigsbee,Arnold CSP, Light, CTC, BartonDave Goldsmith, Dr. Peter Trendwatching, Willmer DaveTarlow, Ribble, MAS, Ed Dave Rigsbee, CSP,

Barry Siskind, Megan Slabinski,

PRODUCTION / DESIGN Dr.Director Peter Tarlow Art Percy Zamora


Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# Art Director (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Mechanicsburg PA and additional Jami ofďŹ ces. POSTMASTER please sendHubbard address changes to Brilliant Results, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown PA 17036. Volume 4. Brilliant published monthly by Brilliant Publishing Number 12.Results BrilliantisResults subscription rates: one-year $120; LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane one-year Hummelstown 17036 608-5869; Fax# Canadian $160 USD; foreignPA $225 USD.(717) All subscriptions 566-5431. Copyright Postage paid Mechanicsburg PA and LLC. additional are (717) non-refundable. Š at 2007 Brilliant Publishing POSTMASTER please send address changes to Brilliant All offices. rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or Results, 9034 JoyceorLane, Hummelstown PA 17036.and/or Volume 5. reject any advertising editorial material. Advertisers, Brilliant Results subscription rates: against one-yearthe$120; theirNumber agents, 07. assume the responsibility for any claims Canadian $160 USD; one-year foreign $225 USD. All subscriptions publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume are non-refundable. Copyright Š 2008 Brilliant Publishing LLC. responsibility for their published worksreserves and assume All rights reserved. The publisher the responsibility right to accept or for reject any claims against the or publisher on published work.and/or any advertising editorialbased material. Advertisers, No their part of this publication be reproduced form against or by the agents, assume thecan responsibility for in anyany claims electronic or mechanical including Editorial information storage and publisher based on themeans, advertisement. contributors assume retrieval systems,for without written permission from the publisher. responsibility their published works and assume responsibility All for items submitted to Brilliant become the sole property ofwork. any claims against theResults publisher based on published Brilliant Publishing Editorialcan content does not reect the views No part of this LLC. publication be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, information of the publisher. The imprints, logos,including trademarks or trade storage names and retrieval systems, without written on permission from the publisher. (Collectively the “Marksâ€?) displayed the products featured All itemsResults submitted Results become theand soleare property in Brilliant are to forBrilliant illustrative purposes only not of Brilliant LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views available forPublishing sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual of the publisher. The imprints, logos,oftrademarks endorsement by the owners of the Marks the productorontrade whichnames “Marksâ€?) displayed on the products featured they(Collectively appear. All the of the Marks are the property of the respective in Brilliant Results are for illustrative onlyusing and the are not owners and is not the property of either thepurposes advertisers available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual Marks or Brilliant Results. 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.


6/27/08 10:49:57 PM

WE CAN HELP YOUR COMPANY BUILD A CULTURE OF SUCCESS IN ALMOST ANY CULTURE. GLOBAL EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION SOLUTIONS THAT GET RESULTS. Need to engage a diverse workforce? Hallmark Insights makes it easy. We offer hundreds of employee recognition and reward options worldwide with our powerful IRIS technology. Incentives that inspire superior quality and service, and get measurable results. Here, there and everywhere. Call your Hallmark Insights Account Executive at 800.765.4438 or visit today.


Š 2008 Hallmark Insights. All rights reserved.

ad template.indd 1

4/28/08 1:54:15 PM


Education.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008

6/26/08 7:43:07 PM

Education By the Numbers Education is a word that is constantly in the news, whether it is re-educating workers…the value of a college education…a country’s place on the international education scale…Congressional legislation aimed at improving teaching results…or the current cost of education…it is news. Why do we care so much about education? In the Information Age education is often the difference between success and failure whether on an individual or a national scale. Nearly 50 million students will be heading off to approximately 97,000 public elementary and secondary schools for the fall term, and before the school year is out, an estimated $489 billion will be spent related to their education. Anyone who doubts the importance of education need only look at any of these numbers from the U.S. Department of Education: • 76.6 million Number of U.S. residents enrolled in school — from nursery school to college — on Census Day, April 1, 2000. Students comprised a ratio of more than 1-in-4 residents. • 49 million The number of students enrolled in elementary and high school in October 2000, which matched the previous record set in 1970 when “baby boom” children expanded school enrollments. • 10 million Number of traditional college-age students (those under 25) in October 2000. • 6 million Number of students 25 and over enrolled in college in October 2000. These older students accounted for 37 percent of all college students. • 6.3 million The number of teachers in the United States — from pre-kindergarten to college — as of 2000. Looking at these numbers and considering the importance of education it is obvious that this is an area that demands the attention of corporate America and some corporate leaders get it! Whether it is a corporate leader mentoring students or pressing for improvements in education, a corporate foundation devoted to improving education, endowments to educational institutions, scholarships for deserving employees and their family members or national programs like Box Tops for Education, which has helped America’s schools earn over $200 million since 1996 or local programs like Partners in Education which relies on the generous support of the extended community to help schools maintain excellence by meeting classroom needs unfunded by other means, there is a definite interest in education. For both promotional products and incentive professionals there is an almost limitless opportunity to assist the American education system. By thinking creatively, these professionals can help their local schools and students to achieve great things. A number of articles in this issue of Brilliant Results provide suggestions on ways to utilize both promotional products and incentives to achieve a brighter America. Whether it is by providing incentives for teachers to strive to give their students a love of learning, promotional products to help fundraisers, or a combination of the two to encourage students to pursue excellence there are a myriad of ways to make education a priority. So take off the Dunce Cap and put on your Thinking Cap America…your future depends on the quality education of tomorrow’s movers and shakers!

Education.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:43:31 PM

Social Networking –

Is It Right for Your Organization? By: MaryAnne Morrill

Social Networking Sites – SNSs – have been studied for decades and according to Wikipedia, “Research in a number of academic fields has shown that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.” SNSs, currently perhaps best known by names like Facebook and MySpace, are places that help people connect with others who share their interests, build online profiles and share media such as photographs, music and videos. However, in the not too distant future this medium may morph into something more akin to small communities comprised not only of youthful enthusiasts, but also of specifically focused groups of adults in various professional vocations. Current sites such as LinkedIn, MyChurch and BlackPlanet, as well as, numerous niche sites are developing audiences, which offer marketers the ability to reach specific groups of potential consumers. Companies that provide the software and expertise to set-up an SNS are already out there presenting associations and other organizations with the possibility of developing their own specific SNS. As this development continues and expands the advertising and branding prospects will also increase.

Successful Marketing on SNSs While SNSs offer marketers a unique opportunity in today’s technology era, traditional marketing campaigns are often proving to be unsuccessful in this new medium according to a recent study by Forrester Research1. Because these sites are relationship oriented and not passive web pages, marketers must think outside the standard box of run-of-site advertising and static microsites to present their message. The report suggests that marketers consider mimicking the methods utilized by music groups who promote themselves on these sites through a personalized audience engagement whether via backstage gossip or responding to questions. As evidenced Forrester Report: Marketing on Social Networking Sites


10 Brilliant Results | July 2008

social networking.indd 2

6/28/08 2:11:55 PM

by the past 10 years of Internet development, this interactivity between an organization and a potential customer will continue to increase. Those organizations that seek to establish themselves as successful marketers in this space will have to be willing to interact. In this environment, people do not want the standard ‘interruptive’ commercial, they are instead looking for interaction that delivers value. While this new medium can be intimidating, it offers the savvy marketer opportunities far beyond those of other Internet standards like the now pervasive and increasingly ineffective ‘email blast’. As the effectiveness of SPAM filters continues to improve and potential customers become more selective in the use of their time, random email messages will increasingly be viewed as a ‘nuisance’ they neither want nor need. Several ingredients appear to be necessary for marketing success in the SNS medium where according to an eMarketer, May 2007 forecast some 1,380 million dollars will be spent on advertising in 2008. First and foremost companies must be willing to place a greater focus on building relationships with their customers. To be successful on an SNS, advertising must be: •

Content-centric and directly focused for the specific site – For example, an automobile company can in addition to providing information about a vehicle provide an experiential journey or directions for a specific scenic route the driver could take to enjoy the unique features of the vehicle. A food company could provide a healthful menu with simple recipes in which to utilize their product. However, it cannot be stressed enough that the most important aspect for an organization in developing the content of their message is to know the interests of the potential customer populace of the site that they intend to place their advertisement on to make sure that the piece is relevant to that populace’s interests.

Entertainment value – Whenever an entertaining element can be added to an advertisement, the prospect of attracting the attention of a greater audience is increased. It is in this area that the marketer should consider the use of promotional products. What better way to keep your message in front of a potential client then to send a logoed prize to game or other entertainment winners on your site? It provides an opportunity to show your creativity and to gain valuable customer data, while at the same time keeping your name in front of potential customers.

social networking.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results 11

6/28/08 1:43:34 PM

social networking

Interactive value – Here that age old human desire to be the ‘first’ can be used to rewarding effect. Preview new products – I can be the first to know what is in the pipeline, if I open your ads – provide interesting information as well as an opportunity to interact with people in your organization so your customers have a feeling of being an integral part of the company. This can also be accomplished to some extent by providing customers the opportunity to offer feedback and ideas for new or improved products – hold a design contest and develop the winning design – this provides an opportunity for your company to experience the success of viral advertising.

Monetary value – Most companies have at one time or another offered a coupon; however in this medium you can go a step further. Use the myriad incentives that are currently available to encourage potential customers to make your advertising space a regular part of their online experience. Whether it is a gift card for providing customer information or points that can be acquired for performing a specific task… purchasing a product…listening to a demonstration…providing feedback. Here again the only limit is your imagination and creative ability…you might even go so far as to adopt some of the parameters of a site like SecondLife and let distributors/ dealers/customers buy space, etc. on the site through the exchange of real dollars for site currency. At the very least let regular visitors earn that old reliable coupon for a discount on your product or service.

What better

way to keep

your message in front of a potential client then to send a logoed prize to game or other entertainment winners on

your site?

It is however, important to remember that when selecting those sites that your organization will advertise on you must be careful in your selection and mindful in monitoring the members of your chosen site. After all we are a time starved society and potential clients only have time to join and monitor a limited number of SNSs… make sure your presence is where the people you want to network with are!


Brilliant Results | July 2008

social networking.indd 4

6/28/08 1:43:47 PM

ad template.indd 1

4/29/08 4:51:06 PM

The Gifts in Education By: Mary English

In today’s economy, the phrase “do more with less” is becoming an all-too-common mantra among businesses. With tightening budgets impacting all areas of a business, sales forces, human resources staff and managers at all levels are being put in a position where they are expected to accomplish goals with fewer tools at their disposal. This is especially prevalent in the education industry. Educational institutions – both at the university level and the K-12 level – have seen restricted, or even reduced, budgets impact their ability to address salaries and bonuses for staff. When confronted with budget cuts, educational facilities can often be faced with some very tough – and likely unpopular – choices. It may be getting rid of select programs or classes, a closing of a facility, or even the reduction or elimination of raises and bonuses for staff. So what’s a possible solution…a creative and effective incentive program that provides reward and recognition beyond mere cash value? Because educational institutions work with tenured staff, adjusting salaries often is not an option when faced with the prospect of a reduced budget. That’s where a successful incentive program can help. Reneé Dalenta, in Human Resources for the University of California-Irvine, explained how their school implemented an incentive program. “Our program is designed as an incentive for staff,” she states. “In our program, staff can receive gift cards as high as $75 up to three times per year. The access to purchase a gift card is controlled by Human Resources and departmental access is given upon request.” Dalenta believes that the educational environment provides unique opportunities for incentive programs. “Because of our pay structure, our staff doesn’t receive raises like the ‘outside’ world,” she says. “The incentive program gives us a vehicle for rewarding those individuals who can’t otherwise receive a raise or can’t receive a monetary award.” As with any program or campaign, the success – or return on investment – is valuable information to gather. At the University of California-Irvine, the ROI can be judged from those using the incentive program. “We had a great response from the university overall,” Dalenta reports. “The managers like the ease of purchasing. Also,” she continues, “this is an easy way for managers to reward staff for a job well done – especially when budgets are tight.” The University of California-Irvine has shown that an incentive program can be a successful way to reward and motivate staff in a budget conscious environment. But what about an incentive program for those people on the other side of the classroom environment from the teaching staff – the students? Can an educational institution implement an incentive program for them? Just ask Sylvan Learning. Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of in-center and live, online tutoring at home to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. Public Relations Manager Jennifer Gaegler explains that Sylvan has approximately 30 years experience and nearly 1,200 centers located throughout North America dedicated to transforming unique kids into uniquely inspired learners. And an incentive and motivation program is just one aspect of their proven process and personalized methods.

14 Brilliant Results | July 2008

hallmark.indd 2

6/26/08 7:44:29 PM

hallmark.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results 15

6/26/08 7:44:52 PM

Says Gaegler, “We provide personal motivation and rewards for our students’ efforts and achievement – while building children’s self-esteem.” The incentive and motivation program for students is part of the overall process. Gaegler explains that Sylvan Learning develops personalized learning plans that pinpoint the skills a child needs. “Once the learning problem has been identified,” she says, “we encourage learning using a motivation program.” Students are provided with individualized attention and constant encouragement and praise. The incentive program is closely connected to this encouragement and praise. “We provide our students with the opportunity to earn tokens as part of an effort to reinforce behaviors and attitudes during instruction,” notes Gaegler. As for return on investment for the Sylvan Learning incentive program, it can be judged both individually and as a whole. “Many of our students look forward to earning their tokens,” says Gaegler. “They then can redeem them for prizes in our Sylvan Learning centers.” The incentive program as a whole has the opportunity to impact numerous students, as Gaegler points out, Sylvan Learning has inspired more than 2 million students to discover the joy of learning – giving them the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else.

Mary English is the Vice President of Marketing for Hallmark Insights, the leader in providing business incentive solutions and personalized reward programs for employee recognition, customer acquisition and retention, sales and dealer incentives, and health and wellness programs. To learn more, go to

The University of California-Irvine and Sylvan Learning have proven that an incentive and motivation program can be successful in an education environment – both with staff and with students. There are key points to consider however, should an educational institution look to implement an incentive program of their own. Unions and various regulations are one consideration. “Schools need to consider agreements that have been made with unions regarding gifts and salaries,” explains Reneé Dalenta. Tax implications are another factor to consider. When it came to the University of California-Irvine’s program Dalenta explains, “We limited the gifts to $75 because of tax ramifications of anything over that.” A final consideration, and one that can be applied to any business, is consistency within the program. “There should be consistency with strong guidelines as to the reasons the gifts are being given,” Dalenta believes. “In other words, a reward should be given for going over and above the normal job duties.” Or, in other words, achieving more with less.


hallmark.indd 4

Brilliant Results | July 2008

6/26/08 7:45:38 PM

Great strides deserve great rewards. 800.833.6302 866.50.CANON 800.44.MEXICO 888.862.9283

Rewarding someone for going above and beyond is more than good manners. It’s good business. In fact, a well-designed sales incentive program can increase sales by at least 10%.* The Motivation Show features more than 50 seminars on effective incentive, recognition and meeting program planning, along with the world’s largest display of incentive and recognition award ideas. Learn how America’s most powerful companies are motivating their salespeople, channel partners and employees to go the extra mile. Then explore over 2,000 exhibitors of brand-name merchandise awards, gift cards and enticing travel destinations. 800.722.2449 800.228.2480

Register today at And be sure to take advantage of MotivationConnect, a personalized program that matches you with the most relevant people, knowledge and products at the show.

Sept. 23 -2 McCorm 5, 2008 ick P Chicago lace , IL

www.m Registe r online


by Sept.


15th an d your b adge 850.205.3856

om is just $ 20 866.889.4797

* From “An Exploratory Study of Sales Incentive Programs”, Programs” published by the Forum for People Performance Management & Measurement

ad template.indd 1

5/30/08 6:40:07 PM

Educational Tourism

Comes in Many Forms By: Dr. Peter Tarlow

One of the fastest growing areas of the travel and tourism experience and often overlooked is “educational tourism.” Although educational tourism comes in a variety of formats, all forms of educational tourism have a number of items in common. Among these are, the idea that travel is as much about self-improvement as it is about relaxation, that learning can be fun, and that learning is for people of all ages. Here are just some of the ways that travel and education vacations merge into “travelations.” 18 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Tarlow.indd 2

6/26/08 7:34:59 PM

• School trips. These short to midrange travel experiences are geared for high school and college age youth. These people seek out places where they can learn a new skill or something about life that complements their textbook knowledge and adds to it. School travel can range for visits to museums and historic sites to ecology and national parks. • Alternative ‘spring break” travel experiences. There is no part of the world that does not have something to teach and something to learn from the world of the travel. Currently the ‘alternative spring break” experience provides an example of how travel can serve the world and make it a better place. These alternative spring breaks involve thousands of young people who rather than choosing a beach vacation, use their time to help those around the world who are less fortunate than themselves. • Study abroad experiences. Most major universities promote some form of foreign travel for their students. Study abroad experiences provide students with anything from 6-week intensive study sessions to a full year of cultural and linguistic emersion. Students often travel not only within their destination country of choice but throughout that county and even to neighboring lands. The goal here is to widen the educational experience so that university students do not only know their own culture but also that of at least one other nation. • Seminar vacations. These types of travel experience especially appeal to those who have recently retired. Programs such as elder hostel provide senior citizens with everything from a chance to learn about the arts to physics lectures or astronomy. They are conducted at camps and on campuses around the world. Closely related to seminar vacations are “hands-on enhanced experience” vacations. For example, each year thousands of people travel to Israel to learn something about an archeological dig and then pay to participate on such a dig.

Dr. Peter Tarlow is a founder and president of Tourism & More Inc. Dr. Tarlow has appeared on National televised programs such as Dateline: NBC and on CNBC. Dr. Tarlow organizes conferences around the world dealing with visitor safety and security issues and with the economic importance of tourism and tourism marketing. He also works with numerous cities, states, and foreign governments to improve their tourism products and to train their tourism security professionals. For additional information visit www.tourismandmore.

• Skill enhancement vacations. These are trips that range from learning how to build houses to how to protect the ecology. Nations such as Costa Rica have been extremely successful with eco-tourism in which they combine lessons on how to protect the world’s ecology with the travel experience. • Educational cruises. These cruises combine all of the fun of a cruise with lectures on specific subjects. Educational cruises have the advantage that people who take them tend to have a common interest and therefore have a greater possibility of making new friends while acquiring new knowledge. Educational tourism then comes in a great variety of formats, places seeking to enhance their educational tourism product however have to first consider who their market is and what they have to teach others that is special or unique. Educational tourism is a way to use better our facilities, especially during off seasons, and increase interpersonal understanding through unique and creative travel experiences.

Tarlow.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:35:12 PM

Great Time to Spend

Marketing Dollars!

Let’s face it, everyone is getting a little nervous about the economy, and as a result many companies will begin cutting back on advertising and marketing — big mistake!

By: Bob Grant, CBS

Okay, call me crazy! But, yes it is a great time to increase your marketing efforts. Let’s face it, everyone

is getting a little nervous about the economy, and as a result many companies will begin cutting back on advertising and marketing — big mistake! I have been in this business for more than 30 years and there are two things that I can guarantee will happen in a down economy. One, most companies, looking to cut operating costs, will cut their marketing budget. Two, smart companies will see this as an opportunity to get recognized in the market place and get an edge over their competition. Here are some practical tips on how to spend your marketing dollars prudently: 1. Take out an ad in that favorite trade magazine. Publishers will see a decrease in overall ad spending and will be receptive to working on more favorable rates for those companies that do place ad space. 2. Direct Mail still works! You don’t need to spend a lot of money here. Simple designed postcards with an attention getting message can be sent to your targeted customers and prospects on a regular basis. Don’t forget to connect your call to action to a landing page on your website. 3. Press Releases – Online! Get those press releases written about events in your company, new products, new customers, awards, etc. Put them up online through PRWeb, or one of many online PR distribution outlets. Write them to reflect the “keywords” of your company and products so that they get picked up on search engines and blogs. 4. Online Advertising – Minimally, set up a Google AdWords campaign for an affordable budget and drive traffic to your website. Also look for free links from industry and business associations. 5. Refresh your brand! Does your company stand out from the crowd? Do your customers and prospects know why you are different from anyone else in the marketplace, or are you a commodity?

Bob Grant is the president and founder of Grant Marketing and the only Certified Brand Strategist in the greater Boston area and one of only a handful in the country. The certification adds to Bob’s extensive experience in B2B marketing, branding, and advertising. Web: Email:


Brilliant Results | July 2008

Time to spend.indd 2

6/28/08 12:05:30 PM


ad template.indd 1

6/26/08 10:20:43 PM

Promotional Contests Are Mostly For

Losers By: Michael Merrick Crooks

“We’re Sorry. You Are Not A Winner.” That makes me a loser. I don’t like being a loser. And I don’t like companies who make me feel like a loser. Granted, I have free will and I can choose to feel like a loser or not. But there’s something to be said for the fact that I did everything your company asked me to do. I spent my money at your stupid store or bought your crummy product. I read the dumb contest hype. I wasted my time logging on to your website. I played your retarded game. Just to read, “We’re Sorry. You Are Not A Winner.” The whole thing is anti-climactic and leaves me feeling a bit empty. If not less, I certainly do not have MORE love for your company. “Not A Winner” is just another way to say, “Loser!” Everyday, around the world, companies waste big dollars handing out free promotional items to every Sam, Sally and Sue that walks past their trade show booth. They are handing the stuff out without regard to whether the person they’re handing the stuff to has any intention of ever buying anything from them. They measure the success of the trade show by the number of items they “got rid of.” On the other end of the spectrum, thousands of people who have spent money with a company, jump through a bunch of hoops to play the company’s promotional game ... are told they are a loser. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me. Yet it’s the status quo of promotional contests. When considering a promotional contest, serious thought should be given to making everyone a winner on some level. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be as simple as a coupon that I print off. When I collect x number of dollars worth of receipts from the store, I can send them in with my rebate coupon and get a couple of bucks back. It could be a coupon redeemable for that pen you’re handing out for free at the trade show. It could be a button, a pin, a pencil, a coupon, a two for one, a Buy one Get One — ANYTHING that says, “You did everything we asked you to do. We appreciate your effort. While the main prize(s) is still up for grabs, you win “X”. “You’re A Winner!” Key Point: Hand me your pen at a trade show and I’m unlikely to “spread the word”. Make me a loser in your stupid promotion and no way will I “spread the word.” BUT! Let me win that same pen and I’m gonna tell someone! In fact, I’ll gladly print off my coupon that says I’m a winner. I’ll get in my car and I’ll drive to your retail location and I’ll walk in holding my winner coupon and say to the clerk, “I’m a winner.” And the clerk, if properly trained, will say, “Yes, you are,” and hand me the pen I’m going to show to the next five people I see as I say, “Dude, I just won this pen.” What will work for your company and your customers and prospects depends on a lot of things. The point is, doing it right requires some thought. And the more thought you give to making your clients, customers and prospects feel like winners, the more winners there will be — “spreading the word” and giving thought to spending their money with you. Michael Merrick Crooks owns Crooks Advertising Alliance, a creative strike-force specializing in creative problem-solving. Contact him, read more of his articles and sign up for CrooksView Creative Digest at


Crooks.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008

6/26/08 7:41:51 PM

Crooks.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results 23

6/26/08 7:42:15 PM

How Incentive Programs

Improve Education! By: Arnold Light, CTC

If achieving higher reading goals, improving basic math skills and becoming more proficient in

a language are desired outcomes in elementary, intermediate and high schools,; then incentives can play a major role in helping to evaluate the impact on student achievement, teacher behavior, and teacher quality. It is easy to see the mushrooming importance for the use of incentives in motivating both teachers and students to improve teaching and learning skills. Herein lies a tremendous opportunity and challenge for those providers of incentive and award services.

One example of the growing importance of incentives in education is the State of Texas’ concern over this issue. So much so that the State created the Governor’s Educator Excellence Grants (GEEG). This program provides awards to 100 traditional public and public charter schools to develop and implement performance-based incentive programs for teachers, principals, and other school employees who demonstrate the ability to achieve higher levels of student academic performance. In taking the initiative The University of Texas (UT) created a reading program where students are required to achieve higher reading scores and earn prizes at the end of each grading period and be recognized in student assemblies. In evaluating the program UT indicated that in all cases the number of students participating made significant gains in their grade level. Incentive awards included tickets to Longhorn football games, and an opportunity to participate in a baseball clinic to learn baseball skills and spend a day with UT athletes and coaches. In another case New York City has established The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) This organization has partnered with 10 New York City public charter schools to develop and implement the Partnership for Innovation in Compensation for Charter Schools (PICCS) project. The PICCS project will establish a performance-based compensation system for principals and teachers of all subjects, where incentives are tied to teacher evaluation processes that incorporate multiple measures – including value added assessment of individual, classroom, and school-wide performance measures. In addition, the project will provide an integrated set of services and supports to teachers, principals, and other school stakeholders to help them improve student achievement and attain achievement targets that make them eligible for awards. Using the above two cases as examples and there are many more as almost every state has or is investigating ways to incorporate incentive awards into their educational systems one can see the many possibilities for future growth of incentives in education. So if you are a supplier of incentive services and want to tap this market, a good place to start is with The National Center on Performance Incentives ( established in 2006. The purpose of this national research and development center is to address one of the most debated issues in public education: Does financial and other incentives for teachers, administrators, and schools affect the quality of teaching and learning? On the site is a state-by-state listing of resources that have or are attempting to implement incentive programs to achieve NCPI’s objectives. There’s also information about current research, NCPI publications and studies. Have a Rewarding Day.

Arnold Light, CTC, Founder of Fire and Light has 35 years of marketing experience specializing in incentive and loyalty marketing helping multinational corporations develop and implement B2B and B2C results oriented performance improvement programs. For additional information visit or call 914-397-0800.


Light.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008

6/26/08 7:48:00 PM

Light.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results 25

6/26/08 7:48:27 PM

it’s all personal | By:

Dave Ribble, MAS

Back-to-School! That wonderful time of year when parents wink at each

other in the stores, full in the knowledge that the chaos of summer is about to be replaced by the more organized chaos of the new school year starting. How quiet the house will be again.

Back-to-School also means that savvy marketers are listening to what people want and then figuring out how to give it to them. The influence on the economy by the Baby Boomer generation has been described as like a ‘basketball moving through a garden hose’ because of the impact we 77 million strong have had on everything. Convenience and speed became the new demand. After the war, moms and dads went back to work and Gerber Baby Foods made things more convenient by creating individual servings. Morton’s created TV Dinners. Kids went back to the breakfast table because of Tony the Tiger and Eggo Waffles. My mom made me buy Levi’s because not only could you drive a truck over them, but my growth spurts suggested all she had to do was buy them 4 inches too long and wait. Dad came home and took us to McDonalds and all was right in America. Marketers were listening. Today, the kids are texting with two thumbs faster than I can write this column with all 10 digits. Someone replied back to me the other day in code that I had to ask help with because this younger generation doesn’t have time to spell out an entire word or sentence. Tracking what is ‘bad’ is actually tracking what is ‘good’ in their vernacular and last week’s trendiness is this week’s ‘weak’. Our clients want to know what is going on, too, so we track this, continually asking the question: “What is the marketing ‘hook’ these days that will help my clients market to this group, and to the parents who write the checks?” These are the questions I want you to ask yourself, too, because I believe the two major fronts where you can have a great influence are Education and the Environment. Education is a wounded industry. What you and I might have taken for granted in great programs in the schools is no longer there. Drama departments, Art and Music programs, even if they are still in existence, are either suffering from very little funds or have been left to raise money on their own. Teachers are back to taking on 30 students and more in a classroom because of cutbacks. Kids are not only dropping out of school, but are not learning basic information. The spiral is headed downward and it must be reversed. Research by Johns Hopkins University reports that the Class of 2001 gave us over 1000 schools in America where less than 50% of the juniors could even be promoted. This is a problem. But, it can also be an opportunity for more of Corporate America to come to the aid of the schools. What if your company got more involved in focusing your attention on our educational needs in this country? Promotional Products and strategies can help you do that very cost-effectively. Equally important is what the kids are feeling and learning and hearing about the Environment. While wars continue, our news reports show upturns in tornadoes, floods, excessive record heat and a debate over whether we are in the midst of global warming. How do you think the 6th graders feel about what we older folks are leaving them? They are looking to us for help, and again, Promotional Products can play a big role and be utilized to help drive home the points about the environment while providing your company with a way to also get the recognition you deserve. There can be no doubt that this is what is going to have to happen. Mom and Dad are already working more hours than ever, then coming home to help kids with fund-raising so that they can have programs in the schools that you and I took for granted. Sports programs may be solidly in place in most places because they are revenue generating for the schools, but even that has changed. Music Departments, Drama Departments and anything else that doesn’t have a built in way to raise funds has been left to fund raising. Can there be opportunities for your company to come to their aid?

26 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Ribble.indd 2

6/26/08 7:29:38 PM

Corporate America is simply going to have to step up because the government cannot fix all this. Just like Gerber and Levi’s did before, we need to figure out what the kids, the parents and the teachers could use and then help them get it. In fact, let’s create a game plan to get it to them. All along the way, your philanthropy and your good will are getting a booster shot. Set the standard and let the kids see that your company is stepping up to help. And, remember that their parents and grandparents are watching and want to support companies who support them and our planet. You may be asking, “What if our products are not kid friendly?” Good question. Even if you have a product used in construction, what you sell can benefit the schools and the environment, simply by ensuring that a portion of the proceeds goes to schools and the environment. It’s that simple. And, if you have a product that shows up in retail stores, you can also make available a gift-withpurchase that supports the schools. Or, how about something they send in for? It doesn’t really matter whether your product is directly targeted toward a child or not, which is the beauty of using our industry. All you have to do is offer something the kids and/or teachers can use as an add-on and you are done. Get them to sign up or fill something out or return your card and build your database this way so that you can continue to ask the questions and find out what else is needed. Become the company that really is working with the kids and the schools and putting education first. Help out the environmental needs, too, by providing a useful promotional item that is made from recycled materials. We have tons of them and more being developed every day. Want even more ideas? Anything is possible. Get the kids something they can use that is useful that consumers or parents and uncles and aunts will buy from them, then put an incentive out there for the student to hit a target level of funds raised to earn their own premium item like an iPod. Put a carrot out there with a carefully and thoughtfully chosen incentive and see what happens. Back-to-school is where a huge consumer base called the NextNet is trying to tell you what they need, want and care about. Get inside their heads by getting inside those needs, because marketshare awaits if you do it right. See your Promotional Products Specialist for more help, today. Is this the personal approach to helping kids go back to school while helping America in the process? Absolutely, because It’s ALL Personal.

Dave Ribble, MAS, is President of The Company Image/Geiger. 818.906.9894 and Look for his “Meet the Manufacturer” article elsewhere in this issue. Ribble is available for consulting as well as keynote talks.

Ribble.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results 27

6/26/08 7:29:56 PM

What Generation Y

Really Wants By: Megan Slabinski, The Creative Group

What have you heard about Generation Y workers? That they want immediate gratification? That they jump from one job to the next? That they aren’t terribly concerned about the future?

As the saying goes, you can’t believe everything you hear — and the case of Gen Y is no exception. A recent study by our company and Yahoo! HotJobs, What Millennial Workers Want: How to Attract and Retain Gen Y Employees, revealed a picture of this group of young professionals that contradicts many of the stereotypes about them. As a manager, it’s worthwhile to take a fresh look at this generation of workers, sometimes also referred to as Millennials. At 80 million strong, these professionals are going to be part of your workforce for years to come. The more you learn about them now, the better you’ll be at recruiting, motivating and retaining them. Compensation and Benefits What do Gen Y workers obsess about? According to our survey, compensation and benefits issues were the top career concern for 33 percent of respondents. They struggle with the problem of how to make a living, live a satisfying life and save for the future all at the same time. It’s important to take this pragmatism into account when you’re recruiting Millennial candidates. A Gen Yer won’t be thrilled by a below-average salary offer even if there’s the possibility of a bonus or raise in a few months. It’s better to make them an upfront offer they can’t refuse. Use resources such as The Creative Group’s annual Salary Guide to keep your compensation at or above average for a given position. Also promote your company’s healthcare and retirement benefits on your firm’s website and during interviews. To ensure that your company’s benefits package is competitive, aggressively shop rates and providers when it’s time to renew contracts. Don’t automatically opt for what you’ve “always” provided — Gen Y workers will be quick to look for employers with more to offer.

28 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Creative Group.indd 2

6/26/08 7:38:33 PM

Job Stability It’s a myth that Millennial workers don’t care about staying at one job for a prolonged period of time. In our survey, 26 percent of respondents cited job stability as their chief career concern. It makes sense given that this generation watched their parents get downsized, rightsized, laid off and sidelined. They understand that they must work hard to achieve financial security and stability — and even then, there are no guarantees. To help Gen Yers feel that they have a future with your firm, try to provide clearly delineated career paths. And make sure those paths ascend at a brisk rate. Don’t think that because Gen Yers have limited professional experience, they’ll be willing to spend a long time in the same position. More than half (51 percent) of Millennials we surveyed believe they should spend just one to two years “paying their dues” in entry-level positions. Career Satisfaction Work is an important aspect of Gen Yers’ lives. Among our survey respondents, nearly onequarter (23 percent) cited career satisfaction as their leading concern. To create a fulfilling workplace, offer in-house training programs and mentoring programs that match Gen Yers with more senior workers. Give Millennial employees assignments that challenge them and allow them to develop new skills. Try to make their jobs interesting and varied. Because Gen Yers are sociable and seek positive relationships with their coworkers, foster an environment of camaraderie. Create opportunities for your employees to socialize — for example, monthly staff lunches or birthday parties, morning muffins and coffee, or even an open floor plan that encourages face-to-face communication. Millennials make up a quickly growing pool of new marketing talent. Companies making an effort now to understand the values, work styles, ideals and professional expectations of Generation Y likely will be those that are successful in recruiting the best and brightest of these workers and retaining them for the long term.

Megan Slabinski 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. For more information, visit To request a complimentary copy of What Millennial Workers Want: How to Attract and Retain Gen Y Employees, call 1.888.846.1668

Creative Group.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:39:05 PM

Valued Customer or Just a

Piggy Bank? By: Ed Rigsbee, CSP

30 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Rigsbee.indd 2

6/26/08 7:31:26 PM

Successful interdepartmental partnering will keep your customers coming back. However, lousy interdepartmental partnering will send them running. In order to transcend beyond just customer service to develop truly satisfied and loyal customers, everyone must work together. In your organization, a particular department or a single person in a department can devastate your hard earned customer loyalty efforts. On a recent Saturday morning, I took my Chrysler to the local dealer for an oil change and tire rotation. While sitting in the waiting room with a good book, the service advisor came in and sat next to me--nice touch. He started his add-on sales presentation talking to me about a particular factory installed tire that might have problems. I mentioned that that was the kind of tires on my car. He moved into explaining to me why I should pay an extra $150 to have my tires re-balanced and an alignment. “The car only has 16,000 miles--I don’t think so,” I stated. He wasn’t happy. Then he moved off that to a new air filter for $30. I told him to go ahead with the air filter as we had the bad fires in Malibu, CA six months back. A Four-Dollar Bolt? When I went to the cashier to pay my bill it was about 40% higher than I expected. So I inquired. She wasn’t sure but mentioned an oil pan bolt for four bucks and change. “What,” I said, “the car only has 16,000 miles on it. Why would I need a new bolt?” Then she also noticed that the coupon (that the dealership sent me) had not been applied to my bill. She deducted the coupon amount but had to call the service advisor about the four-buck bolt. The service advisor arrived and stated that the bolt must have been stripped. I replied with, “The car only has 16,000 miles and this dealership is the only one that has touched the car. Why in the world would the bolt be stripped?” He angrily stated that he wasn’t going to argue about a four-dollar bolt and told the cashier to take it off my bill. Let’s Scrutinize the Situation Who likes to feel that someone has taken advantage of them? Nobody! I had told the service advisor when I brought the car in that I didn’t want to be charged again for two cans of brake dust remover at twelve bucks plus change. He agreed that it was an inappropriate charge, but here we are again with another ridiculous charge ($4 bolt) added to my bill putting both the service advisor, and myself in an uncomfortable situation. Who caused it? Perhaps the mechanic either damaged the bolt or just needed to add on a couple buck to my bill. Perhaps the service advisor did not take heed to my request not to add “extra” charges to my bill? Either way, I left the dealership feeling uncomfortable having to be a “whiner” in demanding that they not treat me so poorly. That interaction has damaged my relationship with the dealership--all for a $4 bolt--not the money but the principal of the situation. What About You? Are your departments working together to keep this type of situation from damaging customer loyalty relationships that you’ve worked so hard to develop? The above situation is quite common at today’s automotive dealerships, the little add-ons that they hope customers will ignore. But what about in your organization, are various departments either protecting themselves or trying to boost their ledger at the needless expense of customers? These little things are the kinds of activities that send your customers to the competition--and you’ll rarely ever know why.

Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Ed travels internationally to deliver keynote presentations and workshops on profitable alliance relationships. In addition to serving as the president of Rigsbee Research Consulting Group, Ed also serves as the executive director of a (501 c 3) public non-profit charity. Ed has over 1,500 published articles helping organizations to take full advantage of their potential. For more information visit

Rigsbee.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/27/08 6:57:58 PM

Show Experience By: Barry Siskind

Here are some facts I am sure you have all heard: • Trade shows are experiential marketing. • Customers remember the experience long after they have forgotten the details • Technology is constantly tearing us away from this experience that we all apparently crave. So, why do we consistently see exhibitors fill their booths with product information and encourage booth representatives to pitch product information to visitors who are unreceptive? The answer is that we simply don’t know how to interpolate the product messages into an experience. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines Experience as “a general concept comprising knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement… The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge.” This is a natural jumping off point for our discussion. Procedural knowledge is the knowledge one uses to solve problems. This is different from propositional knowledge which focuses on knowledge that is expressed in declarative sentences or indicative propositions such as a product pitch. Procedural knowledge differs from propositional knowledge in that the former creates a belief in an internal thought or memory, which exists in one’s mind. The latter is simply information which may or may not be useful. Most people accept that a belief must be true. This distinction is crucial as it goes beyond the focus on features and benefits of a product or service. It delves into the heart of a customer’s motivation to buy or at least give it a try. The experience begins as visitors approach your booth. They see your display and your booth staff and immediately undergo some internal reaction.

32 Brilliant Results | July 2008

siskind.indd 2

6/26/08 7:33:57 PM

This is where your display and your booth staff can help create the experience you are hoping for. Your display Step back and ask your self, “What is the experience I want my customers to feel?” Perhaps it will include such descriptors as: comfort, security, fun, confidence, taken care of, helpful, green and so on. Some of your descriptors will come directly from your brand statement. The next step is to put your descriptors in order of priority. That is if you have a list of three or four, which is the strongest feeling you are attempting to invoke in your customers. Let’s say you have chosen helpful as your prime descriptor. Now you need to do what is necessary to bring helpful to life in your display. You may include such things as: room within your display for people to talk without feeling crowded, areas where specific questions can be addressed or easy to read (not too many words) signs and graphics that tell your product’s story from your customer’s point of view. Your booth staff Using the same descriptor of helpful you now need to train your staff so that each one of them presents the same overall message of helpfulness. Don’t assume that they automatically understand being helpful. Working at an exhibit is different than working in their territory. At a show or event your staff does not have the luxury of time and often feel rushed or overwhelmed. So, being specific about what helpful means and providing them with the tools to bring helpfulness to life is crucial to your success. Some of the areas of training include: identifying a specific definition for the type of helpfulness that is appropriate for your organization; developing the basic standards that each booth person will perform at; giving them probing skills to understand what the customer is looking for and what their unique perspective is and rewarding those who can take helpfulness beyond the definition which is often looking for little things that seem inconsequential but really impress your customer. Creating a memorable experience is not rocket science nor overly expensive. What it often means is stepping back from the detail and asking the right questions.

Barry Siskind is author of Powerful Exhibit Marketing which is available at or He is president of the Toronto based International Training and Management Company and can be contacted for more information at

siskind.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:34:16 PM

What Web Metrics Should You


By: Robert W. Bly

I may be wrong. I frequently am. But there are three Web metrics people seem overly concerned with that I just don’t worry about.

The first is open rates. Since both my e-zine and e-mail marketing messages are text, I can’t measure open rates. I could convert my text e-mails to text in an HTML shell, which would enable me to track open rates. But why? As long as an e-mail is profitable, generating a lot of sales, what do I care how many people opened it? After all, in direct mail, we only know how many people responded by returning the order form with payment. We have no idea how many people opened the envelope or whether they read the contents. The second metric I don’t care about is page views: what pages of my Web site are visited most, how many minutes the average visitor spent on each page, which pages people returned to, and so on. Again, my concern is whether the Web page can convince visitors to order the product … or if they don’t order, at least get them to give me their e-mail address and opt into my list. The third thing I don’t care about is complaints. A reader recently asked me, “How many complaints do you get from AOL users?” Why would I track AOL users separately from the rest of my list? Look. I don’t like complaints. If someone doesn’t like an e-mail I sent them, I take it seriously and respond thoughtfully and politely. But it doesn’t keep me up at night. Just as they can change the channel if they don’t like what they hear on the radio, they can opt out of my list if they don’t like my content – and they should. Okay. So what Web metrics do I, as a small-time operator and Internet entrepreneur, really care about? There are five I watch like a hawk. More than that, I live and die by them. If the numbers are good, I have a smile on my face all week. If they plummet, it’s like a black cloud over my head. Here are the metrics I monitor: 1. Click-through rates (CTR). When I send an e-mail to my subscriber list, how many of the people on the list click on the URL link to the landing page? We measure total clicks, unique visits to the landing page, and the CTR, which is a percentage: if 800 people on my list of 40,000 click-through, that’s a 2% CTR.

34 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Bly.indd 2

6/26/08 7:39:51 PM

With e-mail marketing messages sent to your house e-list, CTR can range from 1% or 2% on the low end, to 10% or even 15% on the high end. These CTRs are for e-mails selling a product, not e-mails inviting the reader to get a free white paper or other free offer. 2. Conversion rates. Conversion means converting people who visit your landing page into buyers. If you generate 1,000 clicks to your landing page, and 100 of those people place an order, your conversion rate is 10%. Conversion rates can range from 1% or 2% on the low end, to 10% or more on the high end. Inexpensive products generally have higher conversion rates, while an e-mail promoting a big-ticket item can be profitable even with a conversion rate below 1%. Combined, the click-through and conversion rates determine how many units you sell. For instance, if you get a 3% CTR on a list of 40,000, you get 1,200 clicks to your landing page. If your conversion rate is 5%, the e-mail generates 60 orders. 3. Gross sales. This is the number of orders generated by the e-mail multiplied by the selling price of the product. On the above example, 60 orders for a $29 e-book generate gross revenues of only $1,740. But for a $249 product, 60 orders produce total sales of $14,940. In my little Internet business, the former would send me into a deep funk, while the latter would have me popping the champagne cork. 4. Opt-out rates. Every time you e-mail to your list, a certain small number of subscribers decide to opt-out or “unsubscribe” from your e-list. That’s a bad thing, because unless you do something to generate new subscribers, your list will gradually dwindle to nothing. What is an acceptable opt-out rate? My average e-mail to my list of 40,000 causes about 20 people to unsubscribe, which translates into an opt-out rate of 0.05% -- half of one-tenth of a percent. I think you can live with an opt-out rate of 0.1% per e-mail, but more than that, and your list will shrink too rapidly. 5. Dollars per name. Dollars per name is the dollar value of each name on your list – the amount of revenue per name. If you make $200,000 a year in online sales from your subscriber list, and you have 40,000 subscribers, your dollar value is $5 per name per year. Why is this important? Because the various methods of building your e-list – pay-per-click advertising, co-registration, banner advertising – all cost money. So your dollars per name tells you how much money you can afford to spend to acquire new names for your e-list. For example, if your dollars per name is $5, you certainly can afford to pay $1 to add new names to your e-list: on average, you’ll earn five times your investment within one year. Say you use pay-per-click advertising to drive people to a landing page where you offer a free report as an enticement to opt into your e-list, and half of the people who visit the page accept the free offer and subscribe. You can therefore afford to bid up to 50 cents a click, since it takes two clicks – costing a dollar – to get one sign-up. Now, general advertisers, brand marketers, and b-2-b marketers generating leads rather than direct sales may care about many other metrics, including open rates and page views. But for the direct marketer selling a product online, the five metrics listed above – click-through rate, conversion rate, sales, opt-out rate, and dollars per name – are the most important metrics you can track.

Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of 70 books including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt & Co.). For more information please visit

Bly.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:40:31 PM

Products On Our Radar Promotional Products CAN Make A Difference The Problem: The High Cost of Premature Births to Employers •

According to The March Of Dimes, direct health care costs to employers for a premature baby average $41,610 - 15 times higher than the $2,830 for a healthy, full-tem delivery. Eleven percent of newborns covered by employer health plans are born prematurely.

Additional costs to employers in lost productivity average $2,766.

Most premature births are preventable.1

The Solution: Educate & Create An Emotional Connection to Motivate New Parents-to-be Just Hatched prenatal gift program helps to create an emotional connection between new baby and new parents-to-be. By sending your expectant employee a prenatal gift package from Just Hatched that contains both quality products and important prenatal health and wellness information, a valuable ‘emotional tie’ is created. This ‘emotional tie’ between expectant parents and a new baby is essential for motivating employees to make smart choices and take the best prenatal care of themselves as possible.


36 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Just Hatched.indd 2

6/27/08 7:05:59 PM


99 1


Feng Shui Bamboo has been used by people worldwide to achieve the proper balance, good luck & harmony for their home or office. Bamboo can grow for 20+ years. Plant only in water.

All Items Recyclable


ag yB

Individually Packaged In




Pol lear




Special Non-Breakable Plastic Vase NEW


29 Pounds/150

4 Inch Bamboo - Standard Bamboo Is The “Cool” Gift That Everyone Will Want, Grow And Keep For Many Years.


Good Value

38 Pounds/150

5 Inch Bamboo - Add 19¢T@ BAMBOO-60

For A Few Pennies More You Can Get A Much Larger Size Bamboo.

Better Value

46 Pounds/150

6 Inch Bamboo - Add 29¢T@ BAMBOO-80

59 Pounds/150 Bamboo Has Been


Best Cherished In The World Value For 5,000+ Years. 8 Inch Bamboo - Add 49¢T@




Choose The Bamboo Size That You Want.

Standard Size

Special Vase Keeps Bamboo Straight

It’s the perfect low cost M Cyber E- Plant for any home 1”x1¾” or office. 150 Minimum.

Specify Order #

Tel. 473-2200










Please Specify Size of Bamboo Plant You Desire • Set Up $69V • 4 Color Label








Just put the Good Luck Bamboo in water and enjoy. All Sizes Approximate


TEL: 512-863-8541 FAX: 800-805-0111


For only $1.99T extra (plus $69V set-up), you can get a specially made non-breakable white vase with your 4 color label imprint. This is the perfect gift for any home or office. Shipping weight: 13 pounds/150. Free 4 color label with your copy. Order Vase-10.

Perfect For Any Green Or Ecology Program

For about the price of one ball point pen, you can now give a valuable gift that everyone will really appreciate. Ideal for trade shows, gala events, gift with a purchase, direct mail, special sales, wellness, safety and loyalty programs. Free 4 Color Label Imprint. Bamboo can grow for 20+ years.


FREE 4 Color Imprint





”- 8”

E4 . SIZ





© ASI:58295 • UPIC:GROLINE • SAGE:66887 • Customer Secure & ASI Approved Website:

ad template.indd 1

6/26/08 10:21:18 PM

Products On Our Radar For Information about any of these exciting products, please contact Brilliant Results: Via email at, Via fax at 717-566-5431, Via telephone at 717-608-5869

Maple Ridge Farms™

1939 Armored Car Bank – A food gift for all bank collectors. • Wooden armored car serves as a handy coin bank! It’s handmade and hand painted. • The lid is removable so you won’t have to “break the bank” to get your coins out! • Includes 1/2 pound of Chocolate Gourmet Mints and 7 ounces of Chocolate Almonds.

Rymax, Inc. Monster® Cable iPod® Shuffle Docking Headphones • Enjoy the convenience of these innovative headphones! • Plug the Shuffle directly into the headphones for a secure dock, a cord-free design that completely eliminates tangles & uncomfortable armbands, a lightweight wrap-around fit, and the ability to fold for compact storage. • Shuffle not included.

Tumi Alpha Group • Alpha is a landmark introduction incorporating 25 years of breakthroughs and dynamic new developments in design and innovation • The Alpha Collection is a modern classic lighter and more durable because of superior materials, construction and overall design that clearly and definitively demonstrates both Tumi’s iconic style and ingenuity • Alpha styles are inspired by aeronautics, automotives and sports exemplifying Tumi’s ongoing ability to streamline the travel and business experience


products.indd 2

Brilliant Results | July 2008

6/26/08 10:16:25 PM

Magnet LLC Custom Magnets • Special Photograph Holder Magnets • Sports Team Schedule Magnets • School Calendar Magnets PLUS too many more to list!

Premco Associates Flip Video Ultra – Holds up to 60 minutes of high quality video. • Simple, one-touch recording & compact size make it the ideal choice for shooting video on the go. • Capture memories, as they happen - no fiddling around with memory cards, chargers or tapes. • With 4 buttons, it’s incredibly simple & perfect for emailing, video blogging, or social networking.

Just Hatched Who Knows Suitcase • Just Hatched Logo Suitcase & the Original Goodnight Moon Bunny • The classic “Goodnight Moon” book by Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd • Knit Duck roll neck pullover with matching knit duck hat of 100% cotton.

Klinky, Inc. Klinky Keys™ • Besting 40 other promotional items, Chili’s in partnership with St. Jude Hospital just ordered 500,000 Klinky Keys™ that unlike painted keys, do not scratch or wear off over time

IMC – International Merchandise Concepts Palm Palm Shine • 2-in-1 ballpoint pen and stylus • Polished chrome finish • Refill: black ink

• This branded house key has a highperceived value, everyone that gets one can use it, and recipients will have the key with them everywhere they go • Offered in over 130 Different Designs, ranging from Animal Keys, Funny Keys, Motivational Keys, and More, you can also customize a Klinky with your logo or picture.

products.indd 3

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 10:17:08 PM

Products On Our Radar


The Goal Line Football Club at a Division I college holds an annual golf tournament to raise money for non-school funded items. This year, with the funds raised, they were able to upgrade the equipment room and fund a new video-editing machine. Local companies sponsored the events and co-branded with the university on golf balls, golf bags and other golf related products. Product Ideas Golf Balls, Golf Bags, Tournament Kits, Tee Packs, Golf Apparel, Shoe Bags, Golf Shoes, Valuables Pouches and more.


This year two high school football teams will play each other for the 100th time in school history. To commemorate the occasion they will be printing both school logos along with the sponsorʼs name on a miniature autograph football, which will be sold at the game. The ball will be a collectorʼs item and the money made from the sales will go to support the football programs from both schools.

Mini Autograph Football

Mini Autograph Soccer Ball

Mini plastic basketball and hoop

Product Ideas Mini Autograph Football, Mini Vinyl Football, Mini Plastic Football, Full Size Autograph Football and Soccer Ball.


Tee Time Kit


A Division III College holds an annual golf tournament and fund raiser to raise money for their general scholarship fund. In addition to co-branding with the University on golf products, local companies also donated premium gifts for tee prizes and a silent auction. Product Ideas Golf Balls, Golf Bags, Golf Tournament Kits, Golf Clubs, Golf Gifts, Umbrellas, Golf Gloves and more.

To raise money for ice time, a youth hockey team sold miniature hockey sticks provided by their sponsors. The hockey sticks advertised the youth hockey association as well as the sponsor. Product Ideas 19” Plastic Hockey Stick, 19” Plastic Goalie Stick, 24” Wood Hockey Stick, 24” Wood Goalie Stick, Official Hockey Puck. Official Hockey Puck

19” Wood Goalie Stick

Nike Extreme Sport II Golf bag

40 Brilliant Results | July 2008

products.indd 4

6/27/08 9:36:47 PM

build relationships find resources & get your company

brilliant results

@ Check out our re-designed website, where you can read some of our most popular articles from the past, renew your subscription, and via links review the products of some of our fine advertisers!

house ad.indd 1

6/28/08 12:23:17 PM

passionate leadership | By:

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Problems At Work Sometimes, it seems that our business life can be best described as learning how to get from one problem to the next as gracefully as possible. For most of us still standing on planet Earth, every day produces a variety of challenges. It’s not how you look at it or what your attitude is; it’s actually more about accepting that work, like life, is never going to be perfect. The drive for perfection is not a bad thing. But when something throws you off and causes you to shut down and blow a deal or walk off the field in a huff when your team doesn’t win, it’s a sign that your priorities may be out of order. Some people are great at helping us solve our problems. Our trusted team members, as well as numerous consultants, can give amazing advice, but those same people may hit a wall when it comes to dealing with their own issues. No matter what someone else tells us, the resolution of any dilemma still rests on our shoulders. Sometimes our problems can best be solved by the passage of time. This does not mean you should ignore your clients or your bills. It means that a night, or even a few days, can actually make a big difference in what you choose to do. If you can’t resolve the problem by sleeping on it, try writing down your feelings about the issue. You can also list the pros, cons, and alternatives. These tried-and-true techniques actually help you release uncomfortable feelings by getting them out of your head and onto the paper. This gives your mind some extra space to look at things differently. Viewing a problem from another perspective is also a very productive technique. Asking yourself “How would someone I respect (Bill Gates, for example) deal with this?” can help you to see things differently. Imagine the person in your head and listen to what he or she would say. When your work-life seems to be dominated by difficulty, it’s also important to refrain from negatively judging yourself. It’s easy to blame or be shamed, and the truth is that sometimes, no matter how well you plan, things go wrong. Taking difficulty in stride is much easier when you see it as a part of normal business life. Dealing with the emotional aspects of an issue can be hard. If your feelings are causing you to obsess or be anxious, try diverting your attention. Almost any activity will do. If you’re keyed up take a walk, if you’re tired, take a nap. Your brain will work better when you let go of the stress. Whatever your issue, these tools can make it easier, but perhaps the best advice is to remember that a company or a position without problems doesn’t exist or isn’t evolving.

For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and author. His columns appear in over 500 publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, the Detroit News, and the Los Angeles Business Journal. Considered an expert on small business, he has spoken worldwide to groups of 10 to 5,000, and is in high demand for Keynotes, Training and Consulting. He may be contacted through his web site


Brilliant Results | July 2008

Passionate Leadership.indd 2

6/26/08 7:37:26 PM

Start Indoors Anytime And Replant Outdoors In The Warmer Weather


Very Colorful And Low Cost Complete

Flower Garden Seed Kits

White Only


ORDER POT-20 4-½” Diameter Plastic GroPot Flower Kit & Lid/Saucer

Perfect For Any Green Or Ecology Program


$ Assorted Colors Only



ORDER POT-40 4” Tall Recycle Plastic Flower Kit & Pail Lid

FREE 4 Color Imprint

Choice Of White, Hunter Green Or Terra Cotta

All Items Recyclable

Assorted Colors Only


C ORDER POT-30 All Metal 3” Tall Flower Bucket Kit



2-½ Inch Diameter Plastic Flowering GroKit & Lid/Saucer


TEL: 512-863-8541 FAX: 800-805-0111

Grow With U s!

Please Choose The Seeds You Desire Every complete garden kit contains a rugged planting pot, soil, nutrients and seeds. Just add water and sunlight.

Standard Seeds

Everything Is Included POT-10 POT-1 T 0 T-1 POT-20 POT-2 T 0 T-2 POT-30 POT-40

500 2.69 3.19 3.69 3.69

1,500 2.49 2.99 3.49 3.49

5,000 1.99 2.49 2.99 2.99

To get quantity price - all seeds must be of the same variety. Please Specify Seed Variety Desired • Set Up $69V • 4 Color Label

½” Diameter



Weight 17 Pounds/150 ” Tall

1¾”x2¾” Weight 25 Pounds/150


” Diameter

1¾”x2¾” Weight 29 Pounds/150 ” Tall

1¾”x2¾” Weight 35 Pounds/150

Or FREE New Seeds

Each complete garden kit contains everything you’ll need to plant and to grow colorful and very beautiful flowers. All the recipient has to do is just plant our seeds in the provided soil, add water & sunlight. In just a few short weeks, the flowers will start to grow and then blossom. These very low cost gifts will be welcomed by everyone that gets this unique gift item.





Money Plant

Forget Me Not



Wildflower Mix

Old Fashioned Mix

Please Add 29¢T @


Johnny Jump Up

Please Add 39¢T @

Palm Tree

Red, White, & Blue Mix

Coreopsis Golf Course Grass Good Luck Plant Bluebonnet Over 2,600 Seed Varieties Available • Please Inquire




100% GUARANTEED Individually Packaged In America


Please Add 19¢T @

Rear (Ready To Address & Mail)


150 2.99 3.49 3.99 3.99

Order #




© ASI:58295 • UPIC:GROLINE • SAGE:66887 • Customer Secure & ASI Approved Website:

ad template.indd 1

6/26/08 10:22:01 PM

off the cuff Quotes: Your ability to learn faster than your competition is your only sustainable competitive advantage.

— Arie De Gues, Author and ‘global statesman’ of business change.

Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, small minds discuss personalities. — Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady & UN Delegate

Education Trivia:

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

— Epictetus, (ca. 55–ca. 135) Greek Stoic philosopher

1. Attorneys and doctors each have an average of 15,000 words in their vocabulary. Skilled workers without a college education use about 5,000 to 7,000 words. a. True b. False 2. Gene Simmons, best known as the “tongue-wagging demon” of the shock-rock group Kiss, holds a B.A. in education and speaks four languages. a. True b. False 3. In ancient Greece, it was believed the aromatic herb rosemary fortified the brain and enhanced memory, so students would wear rosemary sprigs in their hair to enhance performance on their exams. a. True b. False 4. The schools of Western civilization today are modeled after the education in which ancient civilization? a. Egypt b. Rome c. Greece 5. Medieval universities could try their members for heresy. a. True b. False 6. Which American Colony passed a law in 1642, requiring parents to teach their children how to read? a. The Virginia Colony b. The Massachusetts Bay Colony c. The New York Colony 7. Which Medieval ruler promoted education, and even imported scholars from other countries to teach at the palace school? a. Kublai Khan b. Canute 1 c. Charlemagne 8. What two ancient civilizations established the first schools? a. Sumeria and Egypt b. Greece and Sumeria c. Greece and Rome 9. The word “university” comes from the Latin word “universatis”, which means a. Educational Institution b. Corporation or Guild c. Scholar 10. What ancient civilization began to allow girls to attend school? a. Roman b. Greek c. Sumerian Bonus: What country developed the first national system of secondary schools and universities?

44 Brilliant Results | July 2008

off the cuff.indd 2

Editor’s Note: Off The Cuff Trivia inspired by information at and Melissa’s Myriad Education Trivia.

— Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Nobel Prize winning Physicist

Answers: 1. a; 2. a; 3. a; 4. c; 5. a; 6. b; 7. c; 8. a; 9. b; 10. a; Bonus: France in 1802

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

6/26/08 7:49:21 PM

essentials ASI 88060

Lanyards for all occasions!

Health and Beauty Products!

SnugZ - Ad.indd 1

4/24/08 3:43:38 PM


WE CAN HELP YOUR COMPANY BUILD A CULTURE OF SUCCESS IN ALMOST ANY CULTURE. Global recognition solutions. Engage employees everywhere with incentives that inspire strong results. Call 800.765.4438 or visit

M E A N I N G F U L. M E M O R A B L E. M E A S U R A B L E. © 2008 Hallmark Insights. All rights reserved.

July Essentials.indd 2

Recruiting, Instore Trade Recruiting, InstoreDisplays, Displays, Show Booths, & Onsite Events Trade Show Booths, & Onsite Events

• Display Logo Tablecovers • Display Logo Tablecovers • Digital & Screen Print • Digital & Screen Print Logo Graphics Logo Graphics • Back Drops, Banners & Stands • Back Drops, • Directors Chairs (Stock Program) Banners & Stands • Directors Chairs

800 • 467 • 1996

(Stock Program)

800 • 467 • 1996 July 2008

| Brilliant Results 45

6/28/08 12:15:29 PM

advertisers’ index ™

Free Product Information | July 2008 Issue For free product information from these suppliers, please complete and mail this page to: Brilliant Results Magazine, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036 or fax to (717) 566-5431 Please circle items of interest.


Page No.

3M ®. ...................................................................................... Back Cover                                       Aprons, Etc................................................................................... 3,45 Ball Pro...........................................................................................13 Beautiful America Publishing...........................................................45 Brilliant Publishing...........................................................................41 Display Solutions by Aprons, Etc......................................................45 GROLINE................................................................................. 21,37,43,47 Hallmark Insights.......................................................................... 7,45                                                     Nike Gift Card..................................................................................5 R.S. Owens & Company..................................................................45 Uncommon Threads Line by Aprons, Etc.........................................45 Warwick Publishing............................................................ Inside Front Cover, .......................................................................................... Inside Back Cover







46 Brilliant Results | July 2008

ad index 46.indd 2






6/28/08 12:10:47 PM

sun & water.


Pl T ing an E T t½ L h ”d : e S ee 7 p 3 eed in 2 so - s O il. Ad 41 f S e d su 63 cu rit n & y wa te r.

Pla TE xas nt L: T ½” de 34 ra ep d in s 7-1 iti o oil. 0 Ad 00 n ds un &w ate r.


Plant ½” de ep in soil. A dd

& water. soil. Add sun in Plant ½” deep




Perfect For Any Green Or Ecology Program





ep de ½” t an Pl


Do n ’t b e confused with thin breakable stakes and cheap seeds with a low germination rate our seeds are 100% guaranteed to grow and blossom.

” nt ½ Pla

d Ad il. so

n su


p in dee

r. te wa

Unlike A Packet Of Seeds, Your Imprint Remains Long After You Plant The Seeds!

FREE 4 Color Imprint er. wat


Complete SuperGro Seeded Flower And Plant Stakes AS LOW AS

n& d su . Ad soil

Start Indoors Anytime And Replant Outdoors In The Warmer Weather






3¾”x1” SIZ E

All Items Recyclable




TEL: 512-863-8541 FAX: 800-805-0111

Shipping Weight: 7 Pounds/150 Supergro Stakes

Ecological Wood Stakes With ith Seeds



Seeds 150









To get quantity price - all seeds must be of the same variety. Please Specify Seed Variety Desired • Set Up $69V • 4 Color Label

Standard Seeds


Please Add 19¢T@

Rear (Ready To Address & Mail)

Plant Directly In The Ground


Plant In A Flower Pot

These new Complete Supergro Seeded Flower and Plant Stakes, with your long-lasting imprint and logo, are easy-to-plant, both outdoors (and indoors in every season). Plant the Supergro Stake in the soil and add water. Our patented biodegradable glue will dissolve & the seeds will be planted and ready to grow and blossom. Just add sunlight.



Money Plant

Forget Me Not



Wildflower Mix

Old Fashioned Mix

Please Add 29¢T @

Johnny Jump Up


Please Add 39¢T @

Red Poppy

Red, White, & Blue Mix

For Stake In A Poly See-Thru Bag Please Add 11¢T Specify BAG-20

Or FREE New Seeds

St. Louis,


n William Rya K Dr. 253 MLIL 60631 Chicago,


Coreopsis Golf Course Grass Good Luck Plant Bluebonnet Over 2,600 Seed Varieties Available • Please Inquire




on Susan Johns awn Trail 116 WoodlMO 63129


Made In America

Perfect for any direct mail program - this complete seed stake fits in any envelope or mailer along with your advertising brochures.


© ASI:58295 • UPIC:GROLINE • SAGE:66887 • Customer Secure & ASI Approved Website:

ad template.indd 1

6/26/08 10:22:53 PM

meet the manufacturer

Fabric Options

Brian “Scott” Thackston

Executive VIce President | Aprons, Etc.

Digitally Imprinted Table Covers

Organic Cotton Repreve Green Fabric

Editor’s Note: In the promotional products 65/35 polycotton twill industry knowledgeable Distributors present Suppliers’ products to End-Users.  Dave Ribble, 100% Polyester a well-respected Distributor and President of The Company Image conducts the supplier interviews Non-Woven Disposable material featured in this section.

Plastic Disposable material

This month Brilliant Results had the opportunity to interview Brian “Scott” Thackston, Executive Vice (Please call about color options avaialble for material) Step andofRepeat Plastic Table Covers President Aprons, Etc. Scott started as the Marketing Director in 1997 working with owners Jeff & Lucy Hoffman to develop Aprons, Etc. into a 5 star promotional products supplier – diversifying their product offerings and business model to become an industry leader in the field of ad specialty textiles and related accessories. Scott is a sports and outdoor activity enthusiast who enjoys leisure travel with his wife Kristin, daughter Kendall and son Evan.

Imprinting Options

Digitally BR: Aprons, Etc. sounds like Aprons is all you do, but I know that’simprinted not even close. Tell us about the Etc. and how Aprons, Etc does what it does. Screen Printed

ST: Almost 24 years ago Aprons, Etc. started out as a logo “Apron” company with a few ad specialist Step and Repeat Printing accessories Table thrown Runners in, but most industry distributors recognize us today as a lot more “Etcetera” than Aprons. The Etc. says it all for us…Every Textile Category is what our moniker stands for and we deliver with 3 full promotional product(Please lines ofcontact top industry offerings: information.) us for additional

• Uncommon Threads – Aprons, Chef / Cook Uniform Apparel & Accessories

• Nightingale Feather Soft – Medical Scrubs, Lab Coats & Promotions

(800) 467-1996 • Display Solutions – Table Covers, Banners plus Booth / Exhibit Displays

Our products cater to some of the Top Growth Industries: Medical / Healthcare, Restaurant Services & Exhibiting & Display unique promotional Screen Printed Table CoversMarkets supplying professional uniform FREEapparel, SAMPLES! products plus high impact displays to enhance corporate brand & professional appearances with identity supplied Fed-Ex, UPS , or DHL in any advertising setting! shipping number ASI# 36558 UPIC: APRONS SAGE: 50091 BR: There are manufacturers and there are decorators in our industry. Describe your company from manufacturing and imprinting perspectives.

ad template.indd 1

5/31/08 4:43:59 PM

ST:     Aprons, Etc. through our 3 unique product lines covers it all with a 50/50% balance of USA made turn key production – from cut raw good fabric to the imprinting stage, then sewn finished products or a full category of stock imported items that we embellish. The balanced mix allows flexibility in promotional product customizations in our US production plus fast turn imprinting on stock imported goods with logo options – digital imprinting (direct to print or dye sub), large format Screen Printing in addition to embroidery decoration. This flexibility provides the end-user with the best of all worlds and these unique industry capabilities permit us to hold our entire 2008 product pricing on both blank goods & imprinted through the end of the year.

48 Brilliant Results | July 2008

Meet the Mfg.indd 2

6/26/08 7:28:18 PM


Our industry’s distributors represent suppliers to the end-users. Many of the readers of Brilliant Results are those end-users. What would you like to say about your products and services to endusers?


Most, if not all end-users, should take advantage of our product mix to enhance their company’s look. From in-house personnel uniforms to public recognition displays, Aprons, Etc. uses the push/pull approach for the end-user/distributor relationship by offering a diverse but core promotional product mix. Our three strong brands cater to top growth industries covered by uniforms, plus we offer a full line of tradeshow, recruiting and onsite event logo display accessories.


This issue is focused on Education. What can you share regarding your company’s products along this theme and how can Aprons, Etc. help our readers capture more market attention?


Two product categories come to mind for successful school & university promotions – the 1st being our line of logo table and chair headrest covers plus banners offering the institute the ability to recruit or brand their school to the public or inform students of important events. The other option is our line of textile accessories and apparel such as youth uniform quality aprons for crafts and shop classes, plus 2 styles of clear (mandatory for most schools) tote bags. These two categories can be expanded by other promotional products and fundraising options in our Etc. line at


China is in the forefront of a lot of promotional product manufacturing and there are concerns about China’s ability to maintain a high level of quality compliance in the products produced. Relate Aprons, Etc. to global manufacturing and your niche.


Though Aprons, Etc. does have a product pipeline through China on certain non-textile related promotional products; we have diversified our import options to gain non-duty (CAFTA) Central American manufacturing with Aprons & Restaurant Chef Uniforms in Guatemala. Our main stock uniform program and large customization projects through Guatemala cut production down to 6 weeks plus added quality enhances the continuity of importing from Aprons, Etc. via multiple country locations.


Give us one or two case histories that utilized your company’s products and tell us what the measurable results were.


By far our Logo Table Covers through our top selling Display Solutions line is the corporate leader – through our distributor partnerships we produce most if not all large cell phone companies’

Meet the Mfg.indd 3

Chair Headrest Covers

Adjustable Bib 3-Pocket Apron

Display Table Covers

July 2008

| Brilliant Results


6/26/08 7:28:34 PM

meet the manufacturer

display covers with either digitally or screen printed multicolor logos on both reusable fabric and disposable substrates. The measured results are high profile company logo brandings for the end-users to their customer base. The second case would be our hot selling Walker & Wheel Chair totes; though released several years ago Aprons, Etc. has enhanced the offered styles with an 18-color selection of water-proof denier nylon fabric; plus the timing of the healthcare boom has allowed these unique products to come to the forefront for Aprons, Etc. in 2008. Distributors have found success in selling to: Senior living centers, rehab facilities, hospitals plus pharmaceutical companies that brand their new release or targeted drug offering.

Wheel Chair Tote and Walker Tote


The environment is on everyone’s mind. What trends do you see for your company in the next 5 years, in terms of new products, eco-friendly products, where the marketplace is headed, etc.?


Our company has developed a mix of both recycled and organically grown fabrics that allows the environmentally conscious to choose from Aprons & Uniforms to Table Covers & Banners using these substrates to brand with promotional products in an environmentally savvy manner. In my opinion eco-products are here to stay, but at what volume depends on the economy and what both businesses are willing to spend and the general public can afford.


On the personal side, what are your favorite websites and what books are you reading?


I’m a sports freak especially with our national pastime baseball, but I like to take it one step further starting with tracking the future major league stars in the minors at this is the guru site for all that is professional minor league and collegiate baseball. What you’ll find at this site and their monthly publication gives you a head start on who the average fan will see play at their favorite park in a couple of years. As for books, since I’m a marketing man at heart one is Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae: Is your Marketing Out of Sync? I sure hope Aprons, Etc. is a bit more appetizing!

Bar Height Director Chair


Brilliant Results | July 2008

Meet the Mfg.indd 4


Thanks for joining us for this issue of Brilliant Results magazine. Are there any final thoughts you would like to share about our industry?


I’m excited to see that Corporate America is finally recognizing the Promotional Product Industry as possessing the one advertising medium that has the best return of investment and can stimulate all five senses…spread the word!

6/26/08 7:55:47 PM

ad template.indd 1

2/27/08 5:46:20 PM

3M, Post-it and the color Canary Yellow are trademarks of 3M. ©3M 2008. All Rights Reserved

Put Your Brand on an American Icon

Instant recognition. Instant familiarity. Instant confidence. Put your message on a Post-it® Note, and it instantly takes on more significance. In two decades, Post-it® Notes have become an indelible part of American culture. And the enthusiasm around them keeps growing. That’s because Post-it® Custom Printed Products are ideal for everything from creating awareness to helping increase sales to new product launches. There’s no better way to add punch to your message than to put it on a Post-it® Custom Printed Product. For more information, please contact your 3M Promotional Products Distributor. 1-877-863-6961 or visit

ad template.indd 1

1/26/08 6:00:18 PM

BR July 2008 Issuu  

Networking plus by the and July 2008 $10.00 ™ CALENDARS WORK. Contact your local Promotional Products Distributo...