"And I'd Like to Thank..."
While some folks use industry awards as nothing more than doorstops, Michael Macken, 45, found that honors from the National Barbecue Association fired up promotional efforts for his new-to-market grill gadgets.
When Macken, president of Sure Broil Products in Port Richey, Florida, learned his products had received recognition, he added the news to his Web site and sales literature. The honors generated media coverage and got the attention of wholesalers, distributors and retailers. "Anytime you win [an award], it gets people's ears to perk up, and they want more information," Macken explains.
Third-party endorsements are important, says Rick Zullo. His ad agency, Zullo Associates in Princeton, New Jersey, helps clients apply for and win industry awards. To find out about awards, he recommends contacting business associations and publications.
"Awards have a lot of marketing mileage," Zullo says. "They can generate publicity. They can help in recruiting and retaining employees. They add credibility to your sales materials and can make getting through a new customer's door a bit easier."
Two federal laws and an onslaught of state legislation have created tougher restrictions on cold calling. Fourteen states have already implemented "Do Not Call" lists of residents asking not to be called by telemarketers. Call these folks by accident, and you could face fines of up to $25,000 at the state level in addition to $11,000 at the federal level. Further fines ensue if your business lacks a "Do Not Call" policy or if you call someone after they've asked you not to.
To avoid fines, check with the attorney general in each state you call to see whether they have a "Do Not Call" list. Cross-check your list and remove matches. Also, make sure to establish a written policy, or enlist the services of a company such as Gryphon Networks in Norwood, Massachusetts, which blocks telemarketers from "Do Not Call" numbers and lets telemarketers instantly add new "Do Not Call" requests to their own lists at the touch of #0.
Gwen Moran is president of BoostYourBiz.com and Moran Marketing Associates in Ocean, New Jersey.
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