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Registration open for Spring Showcase March 12-13
The SPPA Spring Showcase is right around the corner and registration is now open for the membership meeting, seminars, casino party and show. "Distributors will be excited when they arrive in Birmingham for this year's show," says SPPA President Tim Hennesey. "We've sold more booths, added more seminars, and have even planned a casino party."

The membership meeting, professional development seminars and party will be held at the Birmingham Marriott. The show will be right across the street at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center.

For a complete schedule of events, list of exhibitors and description of seminars, go to or call the SPPA office at 205-588-8004.
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SPPA names new executive director
SPPA has named Mark Farrar as the new executive director for the association. Mark and his staff took over the management of SPPA on Jan. 1. In addition to SPPA, Mark manages the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS) and the American Advertising Federation Nashville (AAFN). He's been in association management for 14 years and was named as one of Nashville Business Journal's Top Forty Under 40 business leaders.

"I already have many friends in SPPA and I'm excited to work with them to grow this association and hopefully everyone's business in this region. My predecessor, Ashanti Pretlow, has been a valuable peer for several years and continues to be a tremendous resource as we make this transition."

With this change has come a change in contact information for SPPA:

Address: P.O. Box 1062, Shelbyville, TN 37162
Phone: 205-588-8005
Fax: 931-695-5441

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New seminar format for Spring Showcase
Professional development at the SPPA Spring Showcase this year will be fast-paced and exciting. Attendees will take advantage of training and ideas from five different speakers in six different sessions. "This is probably the most speakers SPPA has ever brought together at one event," says past president Dianne Watson. The new format will have two speakers in each session, each with a different topic. Following their presentations the speakers will team up to offer an interactive group discussion and Q&A session.

All of the seminars will be held on March 12th at the Birmingham Marriott, the day before the SPPA Spring Showcase.

This year's professional development includes:
SAGE Training: March 12, 10 - 11 a.m.
Learn about all of the new features and functionality of the SAGE WebExpress Pro sites and how they can help you market your distributorship better. We'll show several example websites that include all of our web products; from websites that are utilizing our web products within their own website framework, to showing you the different features and flexibility of our website content management system. In addition, find out how to perform the initial setup and configuration of your site to give you a professional, powerful web presence to support your business.

New Technology Forum: March 12, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Speakers: Paul Kiewiet and Stacy Garrett
Session 1: The New Rules of Marketing
How does one reach today's buyers? Social Media is the new Social Marketing. Today's buyers look different, shop different and find value in new ways. Marketing is a multi-lane highway now and the communications go in more directions than just two. Learn what the new tools are and where the market is going. This presentation is not about How to use Social Media. It is about WHY to use Social Media. It explains the trends and market conditions that are driving the changes.

Audiences will learn:
  • How marketing has changed.
  • How to use social media to reach today's buyers, and how not to.
  • Where is marketing headed in the new economy.
  • A new Definition of Marketing.

  • Session 2: Hot Stuff
    Learn what's hot in technology. You'll learn what's new and hot in mobile, behavioral targeting, millennials, content marketing and social media. Never heard of some of this? That's even more reason for you to attend!

    Better Sales Forum: March 12,3:30 – 5 p.m.
    Speakers: Paul Kiewiet and Stacy Garrett
    Session 1: How to Sell to a New Generation of Buyers
    This presentation explains the phenomenon of the four different and distinct generations that are now buying. It defines the four generations, explains the cultural influences that shaped them, describes their values and passions, explains how to approach each generation, develop a better understanding and create profitable and fun relationships.

    Participants will learn:
  • How to identify generational influences among their buyers.
  • Preferred Contact Methods and How to Engage each generation.
  • The keys to building relationships with each generation.

  • Session 2: 5 Steps to Setting Up a Successful Referral Program
    In a recent survey companies with successful referral programs reported that over half of their new clients came from referrals. Another study also found that referred customers are more profitable, more loyal, have a higher contribution margin, a higher retention rate, and are simply more valuable in the short and long run. With the popularity of social media and digital marketing, getting referrals is easier than ever – but you've got to have a plan.

    During this program you will learn how to:
  • Develop a plan to maximize word of mouth potential.
  • Encourage, inform, promote and reward your customers and contacts to talk about your company as much as possible.
  • Take word of mouth from the spontaneous situation to one where maximum referrals are generated.

  • For a complete schedule of events, and to register for the seminars and shows, visit

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    Promotional Products Work Week: Leverage national exposure to promote your business
    Promotional Products Association International, the not-for-profit association serving more than 432,000 industry professionals — including 10,600 corporate members — who help make up the $17.7 billion promotional products industry, introduced the Promotional Products Work! Week to take place February 25 through March 1.
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    We're marketers, not soldiers: How combative competition is killing creativity
    Fast Company
    Why do marketers revel in military jargon? Must we really rally troops to deploy conquest ads or fire quick hits of bleeding-edge apps? Is it not ironic that we call customers "targets" and seek to engineer their empathy in "war rooms?" Douglas Van Praet argues that marketers should focus less on conquest and more on unleashing the imagination of creators and customers.
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    3 steps to amplify your business' online marketing
    Search engine optimization has peaked. Google is getting smarter and smarter in only allowing truly authoritative and quality websites to rank high in search results. It's still a useful marketing tactic, but no longer a fad to exploit. Email marketing is and always will be a staple, as will social media. Meanwhile, content marketing is still a relatively fresh frontier.
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    Selling face-to-face is almost obsolete
    The shift away from face-to-face selling is driving many top companies to hire and cultivate people who can become subject-matter experts and communicate with customers with a combination of email, phone, texting, social media and Web conferencing.
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    In search of buzz: What it is and how to build it
    When it comes to marketing, people always seem to throw around the word "buzz." "Let's build some buzz!" "We have to get some buzz going!" But buzz is vague. And, oftentimes, the pursuit of it can be expensive. With this in mind, here are three concrete ways you can build buzz.
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    Online clip art: How to avoid getting sued
    Promo With Purpose Today
    Heidi Thorne from Promo With Purpose Today writes: "I get an inquiry from a new prospect for a promotional products project. Located a suitable product and then asked the prospect to send the artwork for imprinting. My heart sank to the floor ... another online clip art headache to deal with. What was the problem? Actually, it had two problems and one of them could have become a legal issue."
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    Don't drown in a sea of data
    Most companies have enough data to fill seven seas. That means the challenge isn't about collecting more data. Instead, you need to understand which parts are the most valuable, and separate them from the deluge of other information. Here are three ways to sail the seas of data.
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