Advantages

In Summary

Snippets of interesting information from this issue.

Compensation Survey

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To say that Mallory Dempster had a breakout year in fiscal 2013 is like saying Lebron James is decent at basketball: a major understatement. A millennial generation rep for Jack Nadel International (asi/279600), Dempster surged her annual sales forward 245% last year and finished among JNI’s top 10 highest-producing reps. The revenue ramp-up was driven, in part, by the creative invitation campaigns she crafted for a hip niche: nightclubs and music festivals. “Last year was incredible,” says Dempster. “I’m doing everything I can to make this year the same.”

While the scale of Dempster’s sales success may have been unique, the fact that her 2013 earnings topped her 2012 take-home was representative of an encouraging industry trend. Last year, advertising specialty reps and sales managers earned 3.3% more, with average monetary compensation rising to $79,600. Not only is that impressive tally the highest industry compensation in the last five years, the rate of the rise eclipsed the national average, which put the pay bump for private industry wages and salaries at about 2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The exclusive insight into rep/manager compensation is a central finding of Advantages 2014 Compensation Survey. Specific to the industry, the survey turns a keen eye on everything from optimism about 2014’s sales potential to evolving trends in how reps are paid, what types of benefits sales pros and managers receive, and more. Read how the marketplace is evolving.

Pet Project

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Prefer your pet to people? You’re not alone. Twenty percent of Americans would rather spend time with their furry friends than with their human counterparts, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling last year. And doggy day care beat out human childcare as the top priority of Zappos employees when asked what amenities should be included in the design of the e-commerce retailer’s new corporate headquarters.

No doubt about it, the U.S. pet industry has legs. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates Americans spent over $55 billion on their pets last year, aided by a population that treats its pets like - or in some cases, better than - family. Pet industry sales have been in an uptrend for the last two decades, and APPA expects these gains to continue.

Super Bowl Ads

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In a TiVo world, one of the few television shows which millions of Americans watch live (no fast-forwarding) is the Super Bowl. Even non-sports addicts tune in specifically to watch the commercials. So what can small businesses learn from these well-watched, million-dollar advertisements?

Selling your product sounds like Advertising 101, but many million-dollar advertisers fail to do just that. Some of the funniest ads, even ones which go viral, lack evidence that they increase sales. One ad veteran says people often regale him with detailed descriptions of ads they loved – only to forget what product it was for.

“The ads that we remember the best and associate with products the best are the ones that are all about the product,” says Gary Getto, president of Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX), a company which measures how well ads perform.

The 2012 Super Bowl ‘Sling Baby’ ad featuring a baby snatching a bag of Doritos back from his nasty big brother made the product central to the ad, and therefore, it was unforgettable.

Mobile Ad Spending

Worldwide spending on mobile advertising skyrocketed last year and is poised to soar again in 2014, according to a study by eMarketer. Study data showed that in 2013 nearly $18 billion was spent on mobile advertising – a 105% annual increase. This year, that global outlay will jump dramatically, the firm predicts.

Trend Alert

Wearables Editor C.J. Mittica discusses the latest trend in decoration apparel: Distressed Screen Printing, which gives T-shirts that coveted vintage look. You can get more of his tips by visiting youtube.com/asicentral.

Sochi “Head” Stones

One of the most sought-after accessories at the Sochi Olympics were the foam hats worn by the fanatical and fervent fans of the Canadian men’s curling team. Shaped to look like the heavy granite curling stones that players slide across the ice, the hats are curling’s answer to the Wisconsin foam Cheeseheads, worn by fans of the Green Bay Packers.

Canadian curling fans wearing the hats, called “rockheads” by some, generated plenty of TV airtime, press coverage and photo Tweets as Canada beat Great Britain for the gold medal. The Wall Street Journal and a number of other publications carried items about the hats on their well-read pages.