SPPA eNews
Nov. 22, 2013

University of Alabama aggressively defends trademarks — How far is too far?
Alabama.com
Mary Cesar thought nothing of selling University of Alabama-decorated pastries for years, including to the university's athletics department, law school and president's office. She never considered that $1.75 cookies with the "A" script would cause a problem. But in August 2012, Mary's Cakes & Pastries in Northport received a cease-and-desist letter from Collegiate Licensing Company, which licenses Alabama's lucrative merchandise. CLC ordered the bakery to stop selling the pastries due to the use of Alabama trademarks and wanted documentation of how many had been sold so damages could be collected. As the Crimson Tide tries to again defend its national championship in football, no university may defend its trademarks and logos more vigorously than Alabama.More

Don't miss the 2014 Regional Member Coupon Book!
SPPA
SPPA is teaming up with our sister regional associations to offer a free opportunity to supplier members – the chance to participate in an online coupon book. This will be a great benefit to our distributor members as well, allowing them to save money while they deal with our wonderful supplier supporters. Suppliers need to sign up to participate by Dec. 6th. You can download a form or sign up online.More

How do your holiday retail marketing plans stack up against competition?
Small Business Trends
Some 85 percent of small business owners in the survey say this holiday season will be just as important, if not more so, than last year’s in their overall sales. However, recent economic issues have small business owners worried. The government shutdown shook small business owners’ confidence. Half of the entrepreneurs in the study predict holiday sales will suffer as a result. Just 13 percent say they are more optimistic about sales this year than they were in 2012.More

11 tips for creating a buzz-worthy LinkedIn Company page
CIO
With more than 259 million members worldwide, LinkedIn can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses, especially those in the B2B industry. But just having a corporate presence on the popular business networking site — i.e., a LinkedIn Company page — is not enough. If you want to attract attention and traffic to your products and services, you need to optimize your LinkedIn Company page. So how do you create a buzz-worthy LinkedIn Company page?More

Here's how a small business exemption could undermine online sales tax legislation
The Washington Post
As Congress continues to wrangle over legislation requiring online sellers to collect sales tax, one of the key sticking points has been whether to include an exemption for small merchants, shielding them from what some say would be overly burdensome administrative requirements. New research from the very agency charged with supporting small businesses, however, suggests that a small business safeguard could actually undermine some of the original intent of the legislation.More

4 ways to fight showrooming with data
Retail Customer Experience
Among shoppers who intend to spend more than half of their holiday gift budgets online, three quarters are confirmed “showroomers.” But, showrooming intent and trends are even more alarming — and more valuable — when examined along the lines of age, gender, price consciousness, and tech savvy. Which shoppers are most likely to showroom? What motivates consumers to do it, and how can retailers de-motivate them from searching online for lower prices on competing websites? While there’s really nothing a retailer can do to altogether stop consumers from showrooming, a thorough understanding of the practice can contribute to proactive strategies that help thwart the loss of customers and sales to online competition.More

University of Alabama aggressively defends trademarks — How far is too far?
Alabama.com
Mary Cesar thought nothing of selling University of Alabama-decorated pastries for years, including to the university's athletics department, law school and president's office. She never considered that $1.75 cookies with the "A" script would cause a problem. But in August 2012, Mary's Cakes & Pastries in Northport received a cease-and-desist letter from Collegiate Licensing Company.More

22 free Google products for small business owners
Practical Ecommerce
For ecommerce entrepreneurs and small business owners, Google has attractive, free tools for nearly every aspect of online productivity. Here is a list of free online products from Google. There are simple efficiency tools, as well as game-changing Web applications. For the tools you’re using already, make sure you’re taking advantage of all the integrated bells and whistles.More

PPAI responds to media coverage of US Marshals Service's use of promotional products
PPAI
Recently, a number of media outlets have reported on the U.S. Department of Justice’s report on purchases of promotional products by the Marshals Service. The report mentioned spending on promotional gifts, service awards, goodwill incentives and education materials. It also stated that this did not violate specific policies of the service.More

10 questions to ask when measuring your social media ROI
Entrepreneur
What good are likes and retweets over social media if they don't add to your company's bottom line? If you think tracking your company's social media return on investment is a waste of time, think again. When tracked and tweaked properly, social media can give your business the marketing muscle it needs to keep up with — and maybe even eclipse — large competitors, says Nichole Kelly, chief executive of Social Media Explorer and author of "How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI." More

Plain white T-shirt for $7 or $70? How wealth gap is changing retail
NBC News
The growing wealth gap between the richest and poorest Americans is increasingly creating a shopping chasm between those who are trading up and those who are trading down, experts say. What's missing is the middle. “There is a two Americas kind of thing going on,” said Chris Christopher, director of U.S. and global consumer markets for IHS Global Insight.More

NSA squabbles with T-shirt maker over free speech
Voice of America
The U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have threatened legal action to block the sale of T-shirts that ridicule these two powerful government agencies. But the T-shirt designer says NSA and DHS are the ones breaking the law by assaulting free speech, a pillar of democratic society. A judge may decide who is right.More