Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Promo Items with a Tint of Green

A friend of mine in the promotional products business passed along this year's catalog of items. Several have an environmental flavor. Several others were very clever and useful, which I find most promotional items not to be. Here are the highlights:

  • NaturPen, an environmentally friendly ballpoint pen made from recycled card stock and sustainable wooden chips;
  • Green Thumb Gardening Bag, includes gloves, water spray bottle, shears, dendelion weeder, trowel, hand rake and a spade with a pocket for each;
  • Notepad with Post-It, Pen, Ruler and Magnifying Glass (perfect for me, the new owner of reading glasses for the first time);
  • Wireless USB Mouse with Calculator

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happening Vegas Branding Campaign Has Staying Power Story For Meeting Planners

You don't have to be promoting an iconic destination such as Las Vegas to drive traffic to your next convention or special event. So says Reno, NV advertising executive Randy Snow of R&R Partners. Snow, who serves as Creative Director for the firm, is best known as the man behind branding campaign, What Happens Here, Stays Here.

R&R Partners - The Work

I met Snow today after he spoke to the Cincinnati Advertising Club. He says about ten years ago R&R began offering business-to-business campaigns for meeting planners and C Suite executives, the audience corporate planners need to convince when making decisions on where such events are held. This was done under the financing and supervision of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

Quantitative (800-1,000 surveyed) and qualitative (three to four in a focus group) research is performed (Snow says the Authority spends $7 million annually in just research). They ask the same question every time to planners, he says: What Things Drive Planners? The top two answers never change: 1. How to make things go right; and 2. How do I get recognition when things don't go wrong.

Snow says the underlying truths in each of these statements is that you have to "ask the customers what matters to them and then deliver. There are emotional connections in every destination. It's devilishly simple. Give people what they want."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blog Does Not Mean Blab

In the seven months or so I've been blogging I have been become very aware that there is a great responsibility in speaking out regarding topics and news I hear in casual conversation in business settings. I may even hear something said in a public forum that the speaker may not want repeated in another distribution channel, such as a blog. The other responsibility one has when becoming a blogger is to post items often enough so they are perceived as "serious." If you don't post enough, people begin to ignore or forget you. It's those people who irresponsibly dispense information that they haven't checked for accuracy, then go to the added extent of expressing an ill-informed point of view. This can be dangerous because media has been increasingly using blogs as a foundation for news stories. A survey of journalists, released today by Brodeur ( says that reporters use blogs to help shape the tone of stories.

If a blog is sensationalistic in its treatment of subjects and individuals, a reporter might use the tone of the blog to help shape the way that person or topic is portrayed in follow-up news stories. All bloggers should take a vow that when they write, they are using povs based upon fact and not hearsay or innuendo. They should also be careful to balance their opinions with reaction from those holding different viewpoints. That's the credo that traditional journalists subscribe to. Bloggers should be no different.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another role for planners, "Mark It Down"

A new study by Meeting News finds that marketing and customer event management are two increasing roles for meeting planners.


With more than 300 planners surveyed, 16 of the 77 percent who said these tasks are part of their responsibilities stated that only recently these functions were added to their to-do lists. This comes as no surprise to me in my work. One of my significant roles as Communications Director of the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau, is to provide complimentary media relations services to planners. With increasing time pressures, planners are yearning for any kind of assistance they can receive to balance the needs of roles they already need to balance. This finding also confirms my believe that establishing this blog offering helpful marketing tips to planners is something that is an underserved if not an unmet need in the meetings industry.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Trade Shows Still Viable B2B Selling Tool

A professional colleague contacted me this week with a problem. She was attempting to convince her boss that exhibiting at trade shows is still an effective business development tool. I’m no expert on the subject but went to one to find out. I’m sharing the advice of Danica Tormohlen, Editor of Expo Magazine. Two points she stressed:

More than half of attendees will buy this year. The number of attendees planning to make a purchase in the next 12 months was comparable to last year. Forty-three percent of booth visitors plan to buy an exhibitor’s product or service within the 12 months following the show.
Shows, as well as individual exhibitors, continue to attract qualified attendees. In 2006, 79 percent of attendees who visited an exhibit had no contact with that company within the previous 12 months. Among visitors to individual booths, 82 percent are interested in the product or service displayed and 78 percent have buying influence for the exhibitor’s product or service.

Attribution and more details of the study can be found on the following link.

Danica also sited other resources:
1. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research ( compares sales costs for trade show exhibiting with other media;
2. American Business Media states cases for the most effective business-to-business marketing (
3. B-to-B Magazine (
4. Exhibitor Magazine ( Show Exhibitors Association (

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Non-Profit Board Leadership

If you are involved in recruitment of non-profit board members I hope this information is helpful. I posed this question to former Presidents of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Our chapter has been named national AMA Chapter of the Year on three occasions in the past two decades. As I've mentioned in the past, I am the current President of the organization. Anyhow, I digress. Here's the question:

What quality or qualities are most important for individuals serving on non-profit boards?

The overwhelming response was possessing a belief in and passion for the organization's mission. This was backed up by mentions of other leadership skills that flow naturally out of this first point.
  • Lead by offering your background or experience in your area of responsibility on the board;
  • Provide a succession plan;
  • Lead by example by giving time and talents and supporting events/programs;
  • Energize volunteers to do their best and do it NOW;
  • Recognizing who the "players" are among your membership so you are bringing in people who might be even more passionate, committed and perhaps more qualified than YOU;
  • Display wisdom based on marketplace realities (know when it's time for change).

One respondent in closing was reminded of a quote by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter that could best describe a non-profit leader:

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to be.