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SAF Wednesday E-Brief
March 12, 2014
E-Brief Links >   Past Issues      Contact UsFollow SAF on:   Share on Linkedin Twitter  Share on Facebook
 
 



In this issue ...
  • Industry Members Ask Congress for Common Sense, not Politics
  • AFE Offers Wire Service Members A Chance to Win
  • US Retailers Say Business Picked Up Later in February
  • Business Builders
  • Best Practices
  • Newsmakers
  • Trends
  • Tip Of The Week
  • Mark Your Calendar
  • Spotlight




  • TOP NEWS


    Industry Members Ask Congress for Common Sense, not Politics
    By Mary Westbrook

    Seasonal Smiles. Snowstorms and blustery weather gave way to spring-like weather in Washington, D.C., for SAF’s Congressional Action Days, March 10-11. More than 70 industry members attended the event, including Dr. Marvin Miller, AAF, (front, center) of Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Ill., and chairman of this year's event. Miller, pictured here with attendees from various states, told members of the Illinois delegation to pack comfortable shoes and a snack; the group maximized every possible minute of Capitol Hill time on Tuesday.


    Prep Talk. “(These issues) affect the bottom line of our business,” said SAF President Shirley Lyons, AAF, PFCI, of Dandelions Flowers and Gifts in Eugene, Ore., to SAF members who traveled to Washington, D.C., this week for SAF’s 34th Annual Congressional Action Days.


    Politics and Prose. Paul Fowle of Transflora/DV Flora in Doral, Fla., was one of 76 industry members in Washington, D.C., to advocate for immigration reform and targeted fixes to the Affordable Care Act.


    Media Mixer. “Do not underestimate importance of (congressional) staff members; sometimes they’re the ones making decisions,” advised Lisa Desjardins, the Capitol Hill correspondent for CNNRadio, during a panel discussion that featured four influential Washington reporters. Despite in-fighting in the Capitol, Desjardins said Congress wants and needs to hear from constituents. “What you guys are doing does matter,” she said to CAD attendees


    Nothing Ventured. Washington today is characterized by “a lot of nothing happening, a lot of pressure building up and then rapid change,” said Tory Newmyer, of Fortune magazine, during a panel discussion at CAD that provided an insider’s perspective to beltway politics. Taking up a similar thread, Christina Bellantoni, Roll Call's editor-in-chief, said, “The big debate right now (in Congress) is which part of society to help. That's why we have gridlock. This Congress has sort of decided to do nothing. Vigorous debates are happening behind the scenes but not in public.”

    When a dedicated employee approached the owners of Tagawa Greenhouses in Brighton, Colo., recently, she came with an unusual request: She was ready to transition toward retirement and wanted to cut back from 55 to 40 hours a week — or, as she termed it, “part-time” work.

    This week, Tagawa Senior Business Manager Bill Kluth shared that story and others with legislators in Washington, D.C., during SAF’s 34th Annual Congressional Action Days (CAD). The tongue-in-cheek anecdote (40 hours a week is full-time at Tagawa, but days can stretch much longer during busy seasons) helped Kluth and his fellow Coloradans break the ice during the group’s meetings Tuesday with lawmakers and congressional staff, but it also emphasized that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) definition of full-time work (30 hours) is out of touch and impractical. “The story made them laugh,” Kluth said, “but this health care law is a really big issue for us.”

    During the two-day conference more than 70 growers, wholesalers, retailers and suppliers from 20 states met with representatives from congressional offices to advocate for immigration reform for agriculture and targeted fixes to the Affordable Care Act, including an adjustment to raise the definition of full-time employment from 30 to 40 hours. Using personal stories, the SAF delegation tried to do what many members of both Congress and the media have failed to do on these highly charged topics — they put aside politics and instead focused on the human toll of bad policy and the fundamental economics of each issue, messages SAF President Shirley Lyons, AAF, PFCI, said must be reinforced again… and again. “CAD is about the power of persistence and moving the needle bit by bit,” said Lyons, owner of Dandelions Flowers and Gifts in Eugene, Ore.“(These issues) affect the bottom line of our business. Coming to Washington really does make an impact.”

    Highlights from CAD include:

    Immigration Reform: Solutions for a Broken Program Immigration reform for agriculture has become a perennial issue for many SAF members; despite passage of a Senate “comprehensive reform” bill last year, against the backdrop of political in-fighting and looming mid-term elections, passage in the House is a much harder battle. “I'm not putting money down either way, which actually makes me an optimist (on this issue),” said Lisa Desjardins, the Capitol Hill correspondent for CNNRadio, one of four Washington, D.C. reporters featured on a panel at Monday’s Kick-Off Breakfast. “The politics are really unclear. I don't see anything sweeping or comprehensive.”

    “Can (immigration reform) get done this year? I’m not sure,” said Chris Adamo, Chief of Staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee, when he briefed attendees Tuesday morning. But Adamo, whose parents, Connie Adamo and former SAF board member John Adamo own Conner Park Florist in St. Clair Shores and Detroit, Mich., urged SAF members to remember that the timeline and current standstill are far less important than the end result — an immigration system that works for employees and employers. For reform to happen, lawmakers need to hear stories from floral industry members, he said. “You, leaving stories behind today…that’s what matters,” said Adamo, who attended CAD as a kid alongside his parents in the mid-‘80s. “You have no idea how important that is. Congress is much more open than you realize.”

    The need for immigration reform drove first-time attendee Mike Mooney of Dramm and Echter in Encinitas, Calif., to attend CAD this year. “We’ve been growing (sales) for four years, but the potential to be stagnant next year motivated me,” he said, noting that myriad issues, including labor shortages and the convoluted immigration system are posing steep challenges. Like many southern California growers, the team at Dramm and Echter depend on immigrant labor and need a stable workforce. About 11 of Mooney’s employees come legally from Mexico to work and then return home in the evenings. Crossing the border can take up to five hours in the morning, and then another two or three hours at night. “That’s on top of a 10-hour workday,” Mooney explained. The wasted time takes a toll on employees and reduces the efficiency of California growers, Mooney argued. If the system were improved, “we could start planting more plants tomorrow,” he said.

    Ben Dobbe of Holland America Flowers in Arroyo Grande, Calif., conveyed similar frustration to lawmakers and staff when he described the current immigration system in action — a system so broken that it forces employers to adopt a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality with workers. Even when the law is followed to the letter, Dobbe said, employers are left exposed and the burden on immigrants and their families is extreme. “Two years ago, we had an employee who had been with us for six years, a great tractor driver, who came to us one day (out of the blue) and said he was illegal,” Dobbe said. Holland America followed immigration law, let the employee go, and lost the benefit of his training and experience. SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Lin Schmale said it isn’t unusual for growers to lose valued workers in that way, only to see them turn up at a competitor’s farm later.

    “These are economic issues,” said Schmale. “We’ve taken immigration reform to the Hill for many years. Don’t be discouraged by that. Every time we talk about immigration reform, it helps.”

    Want to know more? Read SAF’s position paper on immigration reform. 

    ACA Fixes: Jobs Over Politics CAD attendees also rallied to educate lawmakers and congressional staff on the real-world implications of how the new health care law defines full-time staff members (“with respect to any month, an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week”) and seasonal workers (the ACA’s seasonal exception applies only to determining business size and can only be utilized by employers whose workforce exceeds 50 full-time equivalents for 120 days or less; only after those conditions are met can the limited seasonal exception be applied.)

    The definition of full-time work in the law is unprecedented and potentially damaging to businesses of all size, said SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Corey Connors. “Until passage of the ACA, employers were free to determine what constituted full-time employment within their businesses,” Connors said, noting that terms defined in a law can have a “viral effect” moving from one piece of legislation to another. “Virtually all SAF members consider something greater than 30 (hours a week) to be a full-time standard.”

    Like Connors, Martin Meskers of Oregon Flowers in Aurora, Ore., said he’s worried that the ACA’s 30-hour standard could “seep into” other laws and regulations if left unchallenged. (His company defines full-time work as 40 hours a week.) Doug Fick of Broadway Floral Home and Garden in Portland, Ore., who lobbied lawmakers and staff alongside Meskers, expressed similar fears: His eight full-time employees work four days a week, 10-hour days, for a 40-hour standard. In metro Philadelphia, Chris Drummond, AAF, of Plaza Flowers said his full-time standard has long been 35 hours. When Toomie Farris, AAF, AIFD, of McNamara Florist in Fishers, Ind., met with some opposition from the office of Congressman Andre Carson (D-Ind.), the second-time attendee brought stories about his own struggles grappling with the law, and the detrimental effect the 30-hour standard already is having on his community. “Thirty-hour folks are being reduced to 22, 25 (hours a week) because (many employers are) afraid of touching that 30,” he said. “It’s costing (our country) in lost wages.”

    Leo Roozen, AAF, of Washington Bulb Company Inc., in Mount Vernon, Wash., spoke for many business owners in the industry when he expressed deep, pull-your-hair-out frustration over the ACA’s definition of seasonal work — and the many questions that definition raises for industry members across segments who rely on short-term workers for specific, condensed periods of time throughout the year. Prior to coming to Washington, Roozen had already invested time and money parsing through the law with his lawyers to try and ensure compliance; even those experts had trouble pinpointing his liability (seasonally, the company has up to 600 employees, a group that includes full-time employees, seasonal workers who contribute from six to 12 months a year, and non-resident seasonal H-2A employees).

    In anticipation of his meetings in D.C. this week Roozen, a past SAF president and former head of SAF’s Government Relations Committee, brought personalized background sheets on his business and the floral industry to share with lawmakers and staff, and he said he’s following up with invitations to visit his operations. “The best thing you can do is to get people to sit down with you in your home area,” he said. “Then they come back and have credibility (with other lawmakers). They can say ‘I’ve seen it. I’ve been in the field. I’ve walked in the coolers.’ There is nothing better than credibility.”

    Want to know more? Read SAF’s position paper on targeted ACA fixes.

    Look for more coverage of CAD — including the latest updates on how industry members’ efforts have already turned into real results and insight on the conference from the perspective of first-time attendees — in next week’s E-Brief and in the April issue of SAF’s Floral Management magazine. Did you attend CAD? Don’t forget to send a thank-you email today to lawmakers and staff members. Invite them to visit your business — and keep SAF updated on your progress.

    SAF would like to extend a special thank you to the generous Congressional Action Days underwriters: AmericanHort, BloomNet, FTD and Teleflora.

    Photo Highlights from SAF's Congressional Action Days


    Story Teller. ““Make your case to Congress and the media,” urged Mike Melia, a senior broadcast producer with PBS NewsHour. Otherwise, the true “human cost” of policies can be lost among sound bites and extreme positions. Melia’s wife is a part-time florist in the D.C. metro area; he charmed CAD attendees when he teased knowingly about the advent of Pinterest-obsessed brides.


    Lobby like a Pro. “Be natural and be yourself” during visits to lawmakers’ offices, said SAF Member Services Manager Brian Gamberini. “This is a chance to sell your business and sell to your lawmakers.”


    It’s the Economy, Sweetheart. “These are economic issues,” said SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Lin Schmale, who prepped attendees to talk about the status of immigration reform in Senate and House offices. “Every story will resonate.”


    Lunch and Learn. Prior to going to the Hill, attendees had the chance to hear from experts in SAF’s Government Relations department with issues briefings on targeted topics.


    Family Business. CAD was a family affair for a number of attendees this year, including Nate and his father, Doug Fick, who traveled from Broadway Floral Home and Garden in Portland, Ore., to advocate for industry issues. Doug said the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time employment as 30 hours a week was particularly troubling to him.


    Health Benefits. While the new health care law has been a highly polarized effort, “there has been a thawing on both sides regarding targeted fixes” to the legislation, said SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Corey Connors.


    Pre-Game Plan. Leading up to congressional office visits, attendees, including Bob Aykens, AAF, of Memorial Florists and Greenhouses in Appleton, Wis., Walter Rojahn Jr., AAF, of Rojahn and Malaney Company in Milwaukee, Wis., Penny and Stephen Kennicott of Kennicott Kuts in Waterford, Wis., carved out a plan. Halfway through the meetings on Tuesday, Rojahn said his experience had been “very positive, so far,” with most offices more than willing to listen to industry members’ concerns.


    Heads Together. Del Demaree, AAF, of Syndicate Sales in Kokomo, Ind., discusses his plans for CAD with Pat and David Armellini of Armellini Express Lines in Palm City, Fla. Demaree and David were veterans at the event; this year was a first for Pat, who gleaned tips from other members and experts alongside about a dozen other first-timers.


    One Voice for Many. Veteran attendee and SAF Board Member Troy Lucht of Plant Source International (in green) was the sole member to represent Minnesota at CAD, but he had help prepping for his meetings from others, including (to his right) Michael Romansik of FloraCraft Corporation in Ludington, Mich., Lorence and Nancy Wenke of Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Tim Galea and Nancy Hooper of Norton’s Flowers and Gifts in Ypsilanti, Mich.


    Homework Help. Veteran attendee Dave Mitchell (center), AAF, of Mitchell’s Flowers and Events in Orland Park, Ill., talks with other industry members about the best way to leverage upcoming congressional meetings. Advocacy guru Stephanie Vance urged attendees to work together to research lawmakers before setting foot in an office: “Do your homework,” she said. Industry members should find out what a lawmaker is passionate about and connect that interest back to the industry, and the issues that matter to their businesses.


    Sunshine Speaks. The Florida delegation, including David and Pat Armellini, of Armellini Express Lines in Palm City, Dave Self, AAF, of Wild West Annuals in Loxahatchee, Ben Powell of Mayesh Wholesale Florist in Doral, and Carlos Manuel Uribe of Flores El Capiro S.A., in Medellin, Colombia., divvy up responsibilities before their meetings. On Tuesday the group had a meeting with the office of a lawmaker with a high profile nationally: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).


    Background Check. Info sheets on industry issues and CAD topics helped attendees such as Ben Powell of Mayesh Wholesale Florist in Doral, Fla., and Walter Rojahn Jr., AAF, of Rojahn and Malaney Company in Milwaukee, Wis., present broader context for their own personal stories.


    Faux Policies. The current immigration system has created “tremendous human suffering,” said Lorence Wenke of Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich. Wenke used his own experience to paint a vivid picture of the challenges the industry faces in finding and keeping a stable, legal workforce.


    Expert Opinion. Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report, provided keen insights to supporters of SAFPAC, the industry’s political action committee, including perspective on the 2016 presidential election. “Democrats have a really strong frontrunner, but no bench,” she said. “Republicans have a strong bench, but no front runner.”


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    AFE Offers Wire Service Members A Chance to Win
    By Suzanna McCloskey
    BloomNet, FTD and Teleflora have partnered with the American Floral Endowment (AFE) for the 2014 Friend of the Endowment Pledge Campaign, which runs through June 30.

    Retail florists belonging to BloomNet, FTD or Teleflora have a chance to win a free registration to the 2014 Society of American Florists’ Annual Convention (Aug. 13-16 in Marco Island, Fla.) or a free iPad (their choice), just by becoming a Friend of the Endowment (a three-year, $50 per year pledge commitment).

    Signing up is easy. Visit www.endowment.org/pledge and complete the pledge form or watch for information in the monthly wire service billing statements.

    “BloomNet, FTD and Teleflora have all been generous longtime supporters of the Endowment," AFE Executive Director Debi Aker said. “Having their support in reaching out to retail florists is a win-win for everyone and helps support AFE’s continued efforts to create a stronger, more sustainable industry.”

    AFE-funded projects have directly helped:
    • Increase longevity of flowers
    • Produce better quality and varieties of product
    • Improve floral packaging
    • Educate and foster the next generation of industry leaders
    • Solve challenges posed by disease, pests and other environmental issues
    Support the industry you love with a small annual tax-deductible donation. Because AFE uses only generated dividends from pledges and donations to fund projects, the principal gift is never spent. Every contribution to AFE continues to give.

    Become a Friend of the Endowment today! A winner will be selected at random and notified on July 7.

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    In Loving Memory Wind Chimes

    In Loving Memory wind chimes are each engraved with an inspirational verse. Available in Silver or Bronze, these memorial chimes are available with single chime display stands that may also support floral arrangements.
    more


    US Retailers Say Business Picked Up Later in February
    Reuters
    Sales for many U.S. retailers rose in February, as shoppers ventured out later in the month after a dismal start when ice, cold and snow kept many of them at home. The unusually cold and snowy weather that slammed retailers in January continued into February, including an ice storm that idled much of the Southeast for days.   Read more.

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    Syndicate Shades of Orchid

    Radiant Orchid has been dubbed Color of the Year by Pantone, the global authority on color; inspiring artists, designers and stylists who color the world. Syndicate Shades of Orchid are right on-trend and are sure to ignite passion and beauty in your floral designs, regardless of season or occasion. Syndicate’s got dozens of styles, sizes, and shades of this dynamic hue. Check them out here!


    BUSINESS BUILDERS


    How to Build an Audience and Drive Sales with Video Marketing
    By Katie Hendrick

    Stephen Cronk, of Mirabeau Wine, shows that sommeliers are personable, not pretentious, in his company’s most popular YouTube video, “How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew.”

    YouTube marketing is an inexpensive way to hone your brand and maybe, as did one hair product company, build a seven-figure e-commerce business.

    Creating a branded channel and consistently filling it with new video content does more than improve your Google rankings; it also gives fans a sense they know you as a friend. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt genuine affection for a character in a television show you’ve watched on a regular basis.)

    Shopify’s Dan Wang recently highlighted a few small businesses that have mastered the art of YouTube marketing.

    Among them: Mirabeau Wine, a vineyard founded by Stephen Cronk, who left a 15-year corporate career in London to take his family into the heart of Provence. Mirabeau’s YouTube channel includes more than 225 videos and has 2,397 subscribers.

    Cronk amassed that following by showing Mirabeau Wine not as a company, but as a lifestyle — one without a hint of stuffiness. His videos demystify wine with topics ranging from “why we age wine in oak” to “how to open a bottle without a corkscrew” (a topic that’s attracted more than 5 million views!). He also lets viewers experience a day in the life of southern France with videos on topics such as olive harvesting, cheese making and truffle hunting. He touched on this approach in his introductory video, saying “in addition to making great wine, we’re on a mission to share Provence with you. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, steeped in culture and history, with a rich tradition of food and wine.”

    Try this:

    Follow Cronk’s lead and, every so often, step outside the design room. Take fans to a flower market, a design show or even the mall (where you can talk about dress trends, for instance, and personal flowers that complement them). Show them your dining room table with a delicious meal, ambient lighting and, of course, flowers.

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    Moss In An Instant -

    At this time of year, everyone enjoys a sneak peak into spring. Blossoming potted plants fit the sale perfectly! And dressed in the earthiness a mossy clay pot the flowering gift delivers a welcoming contrast to interior settings. But no need to wait for Mother Nature. Easily enrobe terra cotta in Design Master® MOSSY ColorTEX Spray, the instant moss texture in a can.


    Hardcore Ways to Motivate Your Team
    By Katie Hendrick


    CrossFit, a fitness craze that involves constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements, can give you more than a strong, toned body.

    For Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant Val Wright, CrossFit sparked new ideas about leadership.

    In a recent Inc. article, she shared the parallels she drew between challenging workouts and spurring employees to improve their job skills:
    • Give underperformers a “No rep.” That’s the exclamation CrossFit trainers shout if participants don’t fully or properly complete a move, signaling they need to do it again. You, too, should be direct with employees who aren’t passing muster. “Leaders are often delusional that underperformers will recognize it in themselves,” Wright said. “Meanwhile, the rest of the team wonders why the person isn’t being dealt with.” Identify clear performance standards, communicate to employees when they fall short, framing the criticism in a way that focuses on getting the next “rep” (phone order, consultation, design, etc.) correct.
    • Inspire personal improvement, not rivalry. CrossFit tends to draw ultra-ambitious, competitive people, obsessed with their personal bests. That said, the program really emphasizes community: whenever participants finish a workout, they join the cheering squad to root the others on to the finish. “The last person to finish gets the loudest cheer,” Wright said. To keep your team productive and positive, give employees clear metrics to best themselves — not each other.
    • Vary your experience. CrossFitters have a “Workout of the Day,” meaning that each session will involve entirely different challenges. Throwing random exercises at participants makes them improve their weaknesses. The same principle should apply to your staff. They’re more apt to deal with a disaster if they’ve been cross-trained in areas such as customer service, technology, care and handling and logistics.

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    The Best Bait You Can Take (and Give)
    By Tim Huckabee


    When a customer alludes to an event on the horizon, reel it in!

    On a recent CSI: Flower Shop call I made for my monthly column in Floral Management, I happened to mention to the salesperson at the flower shop, during the course of the placing an order for birthday flowers “for my wife,” that that our anniversary was the next month. The clerk missed the cue, however (and the additional sale). Once the birthday order was taken, she could have reeled in a second order, by saying:
      I’d be happy tot take that anniversary order for you right now, to save you the time and effort of calling back.
    You can also dangle the bait for customers. Whenever a customer places anon-holiday order near a holiday, get out your (fishing) line:
      "We're going to take great care of this birthday order for your Mom. And with Mother’s Day only a few weeks away, you can save time by placing your order for her now. If you have a minute, I’ll tell you about our feaured arrangement this year . . .”
    Finally, on a daily basis, cast a line for extra business. After every (non-funeral) order, say:
      I can also help you with any upcoming birthday or anniversary orders.
    Customers are ready to spend more every day and order in advance, so let them!

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    7 Tips to Make Killer Sales Calls
    Inc.
    Minda Zetlin writes:, "'Do you have sales-call reluctance?' Connie Kadansky asks me point-blank. 'Um...' I trail off. She's a sales coach at Sales Call Reluctance with 20 years experience. I'm supposed to be interviewing her. But somehow I've let slip that I'd rather have my teeth drilled than pitch total strangers over the phone."   Read more.

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    BEST PRACTICES


    For Better Sales, Watch Your Language
    By Katie Hendrick

    Read more of Schaffer and Kratt’s profit boosters in this month’s Floral Management.

    Professor Higgins was right: It pays to be well spoken.

    That’s the advice trend-hunting gurus Bill Schaffer, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI, of Schaffer Designs in Philadelphia shared with attendees at SAF’s One-Day Profit Blast, Jan. 26, in Baltimore.

    Generic adjectives (nice, pretty), they say, undersells your work and leads to mediocre sales.

    “Vocabulary is key,” Kratt said. “If a bride intended ‘stunning’ but you only offer ‘pretty,’ she may settle for (a lower-priced option) because that is all she thinks she can have … Or, she may go elsewhere to find her ‘stunning’ bouquet.”

    Encourage employees to swap out those hackneyed terms with vivid phrases by keeping a reference sheet handy. Then watch your sales skyrocket. “’Beautiful, lush seasonal stems arranged in a vase’ has much more verbal power than ‘a nice mixed arrangement,’” Kratt said. “Enhanced vocabulary shows you offer something special and are willing to create something unique.”

    Read more of Schaffer and Kratt’s profit boosters in this month’s Floral Management.

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    TRENDS


    60 Percent of Millennials Willing to Share Personal Info with Brands
    Retail Customer Experience
    With consumer privacy at the forefront of the nation's collective consciousness, given the recent Target data breach and ongoing NSA spying scandal, new Mintel research finds that while consumers are becoming increasingly protective of their personal information, millennials are much more prone to oversharing relative to their Baby Boomer parents. According to Mintel, 60 percent of millennials would be willing to provide details about their personal preferences and habits to marketers, whereas baby boomers are much more protective of their personal information.   Read more.

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    Consumers Spend 3.3 Hours Per Day on Their Smartphones
    Internet Retailer
    Smartphones are right up there with wallets and keys as items consumers cannot leave home without. But unlike their all-important counterparts, smartphones hardly remain relegated to a pocket, purse or drawer throughout the day. On average, consumers spend 3.3 hours each day using their smartphones, according to new data from digital marketing firm ExactTarget. Shoppers know it, too – 85 percent of smartphone owners say mobile is a central part of their day-to-day life, with 90 percent of those ages 18 to 24 in agreement.   Read more.

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    TIP OF THE WEEK


    90 Million People Can't Be Wrong. So Get Your Video Ads Right
    By Shelley Estersohn

    Viddyad.com is an online tool that lets you allow create a basic video ad. It’s easy to use and inexpensive — a 10-second ad costs just $99 — but it’s fairly limited, so keep it simple.

    Ready to start putting videos into your online marketing mix? Good move. Some 90 million people in the U.S. already watch online videos every day — and the number is projected to double by 2016. A few best practices to keep in mind:
    • Make sure your ad loads in two seconds or less. If not, the viewer will click on something else.
    • Include social media buttons — it’ll increase viewer engagement by more than a third. (A whopping 92 percent of people who watch videos on a mobile device share them with friends.)
    • Your ad needs to get the message across without sound, because people generally mute the volume on their computers. It also helps to include an on/off sound button that defaults to “off” to give the viewer control.
    • Video footage is ideal, but if you don’t have it, you can use still photos and create the motion by adding transitions, zooming in or out, etc.
    • It’s always better to use a professional production company to produce your video ad, but in a pinch you can do something simple using iMovie or an online tool like viddyad.com. Another option – contact the art department at a local community college or high school and ask them to recommend a student or two who might be interested in creating something for you for a small stipend and the opportunity to add professional work to his/her portfolio.

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    MARK YOUR CALENDAR


    RETAIL GROWTH SOLUTIONS: A Mini-Conference for Florists
    June 11-12, Chicago
    Conference hotel: Hilton Rosemont-Chicago O’Hare

    130th ANNUAL CONVENTION
    August 13-16, Marco Island, Fla.
    Convention hotel: Marriott Marco Island Resort


    SPOTLIGHT


    Hunting for More Profits? These SAF Tools Will Help
    By Shelley Estersohn

    Derrick Myers, CPA, shows how to find hidden profits.

    Have unpredictable sales left you with staff standing around or buckets full of leftover product? Grab one (or both) of these SAF videos and get help from the experts.

    Treasure Hunt: Finding Your Hidden Profits — floral industry financial expert Derrick Myers, CPA, dives deep into the six main cost centers of your business to show you how to track, measure and adjust costs — and increase profits in ways you never thought possible. Here are just a few of the takeaways:
    • customizable target COGS worksheet
    • tips to focus your staff on profitability
    • wire service profit and loss worksheet to help you see the bottom line for your business
    • target percentages for cost of labor, marketing, occupancy, delivery — and how to reach them
    Watch a preview here. To order the full video, email SAF’s Brian Gamberini at bgamberini@safnow.org or call the SAF office: 800-336-4743 



    Florists can learn better forecasting from Paul Goodman, CPA.

    Better Forecasting, Better Florists, financial advisor Paul Goodman, CPA, offers practical, easy-to-digest tips to help you more accurately:
    • forecast everyday and holiday sales — even in a challenging economy
    • plan staffing by month, week and day
    • plan separately for everyday staffing needs vs. event work
    • use your forecasts to increase profits, reduce overhead and boost productivity
    Visit the SAF store or to purchase a copy of Better Forecasting, Better Florists.

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