Would you be surprised to know that over 50 percent of mobile phone users in the U.S. now own a smart phone? Combine that statistic with the fact that the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry is by its nature field based, and that consumers no longer differentiate between physical, digital and mobile retail spaces. On Tuesday, July 24 at 11:00 AM CDT, Associate Member Gigwalk will sponsor the next NARMS Webinar - Real Time is Right Now: Taking Advantage of Mobile Technology for Retail Services. The NARMS Webinar Series is brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk.
Mobile in retail and retail services is no longer the future, it is the now. A smart phone is a computer more powerful than those of the 90s. Computers have done a lot to make in-office work more efficient. Now mobile is doing the same for field work. In this webinar, Bob Bahramipour, Vice President of Business Development at Gigwalk, will explain how mobility will change the way field work is done. You will gain an understanding of the benefits of recruiting through mobile, and how you can make sure you are hiring the best people. The hour-long session will introduce you to the technology that can help with common problems in the retail services industry such as verification, communication and coverage. You will also have an opportunity to interact directly with Bahramipour through the ReadyTalk chat function.
Bahramipour has over 15 years of experience in the technology industry. At Gigwalk, a mobile work marketplace connecting businesses to thousands of smartphone-enabled workers across the country, he is responsible for evangelizing mobile technology in the areas of consumer research and field work. Prior to Gigwalk, Bahramipour was Vice President of Business Development at TRUSTe, and has served in senior positions at YuMe and Yahoo. He attended the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, has a BSFS in Foreign Services from Georgetown University, and serves on the board of advisors for StumbleUpon.
Each year, companies who belong to a trade association have to make the choice to renew their membership for another year. No doubt, that decision causes a review of the cost versus benefit before the final decision is made. At NARMS, we are happy that so many at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies decided to join us again in 2011. We also want to remind you that if you are seeking added value features, there are many available every day by getting reacquainted with www.narms.com.
When visiting the site, you see a front page filled with information. The banner section gets you filled in on upcoming events, conferences and services such as the IFBA Top to Top Conference coming up on May 17-19 or the recently completed 16th Annual NARMS Spring Conference. There is already preliminary information on the 2012 Spring Conference that will be held in Tampa, Florida. There is also a link to each individual service division of NARMS. The MSO, Event Marketing, PIC, IFBA and Associate Divisions all have their own unique landing page.
NARMS is also committed to fresh content and thought leadership brought to you through two weekly blogs, Top Shelf and What’s In-Store. These are also sent out directly to your email box every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a spot for NARMS corporate press releases. An advertising bar near the top of the home page includes a direct link to the NARMScertifyU program for your field reps and training staff. Upcoming segments of the hugely popular NARMS Webinar Series can be found by clicking the Webinar tab.
Under the Members Area pull down menu, make sure you check out Deals for Members, where you can find links to companies who have put together special programs for NARMS members at attractive rates. Services include transportation, health care options, business communication needs and vital human resource needs such as background screening services.
Each member of NARMS enjoys a searchable listing that can be used by CPG manufacturers and retailers to find the service company to fit their needs. Members have the option to upgrade to an Expanded Listing in order to provide even more information and links to their corporate site, blogs or videos.
One of the more popular uses for www.narms.com is for staffing purposes. Tens of thousands of field reps use the Recruiter to help find merchandising and other in-store work. Many of our members with Expanded Listings use the Recruiter as their main staffing database. Other members go a step further and choose to advertise their jobs using the NARMS JobBank. All of these listings also utilize social media to not only draw people to the site, but also push out the information to NARMS official Social Media Channels.
This column only scratches the surface to describe all the value added features of www.narms.com. To see for yourself, visit us today and keep coming back often.
Meetings at the 16th Annual NARMS Meeting, Conference and Exhibition, held last week, resulted in significant action by the NARMS Board of Directors to ensure the future prosperity of our Association. Leaders from the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry engaged in a candid conversation in several forums. The first was the annual Board of Directors meeting, the second was a joint session of the Board and members of each Divisional Committee, and the third was a town hall question and answer session as part of the NARMS Annual Business Meeting. Here are the action items brought forward:
A committee will be formed to provide recommendations on the location and format for future Spring Conferences. The recommendations for locations will be in effect after 2012, as the Board had earlier decided to stick with the prior commitment to Saddlebrook in Tampa, Florida. The board is actively seeking volunteers to serve on this committee along with Jim Fulk, Judy Einbinder, and Marc Shapiro. Contact Ken McKenzie at NARMS headquarters if you would be interested in serving in this capacity.
The Board is proud to announce the following Division Chairpersons: Ken Kress and John Gillis will co-chair the MSO Committee, Lucas Pierce will chair the Event Marketing Committee, Gregg Morrison will chair the PIC Committee, Jim Hall will chair the IFBA Committee until a replacement can be determined, Kelly Baker will chair the Manufacturer Committee, and Charlie Fanning will chair the Associate Committee.
During the town hall Q & A, some concern was voiced over the current relevancy of the NARMS Mission Statement. Subsequent discussion revealed the need to review and revise the statement to better reflect the current state of the Association. Judy Einbinder has stepped forward to be the point person for the project. The revision will be passed through the board for input and then forwarded to the Membership to be reviewed.
Much attention was given to filling the vacant Executive Director position. The Board spent significant time listening to the members as they voiced their opinions about what they desired in a new leader. The Board is currently compiling a list of requirements in order to craft a job description to use in the search process.
The final, major topic of discussion revolves around the future strategic direction of NARMS. The Board will provide members with updates on a 60-day cycle, and more frequently if needed, to make sure that all members understand and support the direction and strategy of the Association. In doing so, the Board is seeking a greater level of transparency in initiatives such as RORI, Accreditation, and development of a project in collaboration with University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Perhaps the biggest observation from the annual get together is that the NARMS Board of Directors and leadership have been listening to the members and that the members have been heard. If you attended the conference, we are seeking your input on the event. Please click here to participate in a brief survey. #NARMSCON451
In an era of government deficits, much of the political discourse in Washington and in state capitols across the nation revolves around the balancing act of taxing and spending. Putting budgets back on track will surely involve taking a hard look at spending to make sure each item is an appropriate investment for future prosperity. In the business world, we are all faced with those decisions every day. Today, we will take a look at great investment opportunity for the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry, the 2011 16th Annual NARMS Meeting, Spring Conference and Exhibition.
The first, and perhaps most important, opportunity is to register and attend the showcase event being held on April 9-12 at the magnificent Portola Plaza Hotel on Monterey Bay in Monterey, California. Although the location itself is stunning, you will want to check out the value-packed agenda which is designed to ensure the time spent in California will maximize your investment. You can visit the Conference Center here for full details, but a few of the highlights include: NARMS 16th Annual Spring Conference Keynote Panel - What a Retailer Really Wants from an In-Store Service Provider - moderated by Dan Raftery of Raftery Resource Network, Sampling & Demo Study moderated by Dr. Kenny Herbst of Wake Forest University, and of course the Manufacturer –Retailer Connection Forum. The forum this year will feature representatives from Spin Master, Ltd.; Starbucks; Best Buy; Just Born; Ghirardelli Chocolate Company; Walgreens and Vanns Inc. There is also a full slate of Division meetings, keynote speakers, store tours and hospitality events.
The trade show portion is another valuable investment for companies who bring innovative programs and services to our members. Many of these exhibitors are also Associate Members who not only support us with their exhibitor fees, but also play an active role in the discussion on how to best serve our retailer and CPG manufacturer clientele. Interested companies can visit the Conference Center for all of the information they need to join the show. The agenda has included some special events such as lunches on the trade show floor and a reception to allow for a more enriching networking experience beyond just walking the trade show hall.
The third investment opportunity lies in sponsorships. There are several primary sponsor opportunities remaining for our 2011 event. Put your company into the limelight and demonstrate your commitment to NARMS by becoming a Platinum, Gold or Silver Sponsor of the event. Sponsorships remain for the Tuesday morning and afternoon general sessions and many of the food/beverage related activities, plus the Sunday night NARMS Hospitality Suite. Looking for a new and fresh sponsorship prospect? Your company can now sponsor a student from the UW-Madison retailing excellence program or local California students. To investigate further, hit the Sponsorship tab at the Conference Center.
If this column seems long, it is only because you simply cannot run out of things to talk about when promoting the 2011 NARMS Spring Conference. We have truly only scratched the surface. If you are looking to make your promotional, outreach and education dollars true investment spending for the future, Monterey is a good place to start.
A Top Shelf column in August celebrated the two-year anniversary of the NARMS Webinar Series. Since that time, the NARMS staff has put together some facts to illustrate how these meaningful and helpful on-line sessions bring great value as a NARMS member benefit. A NARMS news release issued last week stated that the webinars, now at almost 50 installments, have garnered approximately 3,000 registrants to date. An even more impressive stat is that 47% attend the session live which by all accounts is well above industry averages. Registrants who do not attend the live meeting still have access to webinar materials and an audio recording of the session, but do not get to participate in the interactive Q & A session using the webinar chat function.
NARMS has a focus on learning with the Webinar Series being one of the cornerstones of the NARMS-U educational platform. The topics and speakers cover a broad range of issues designed to fulfill the development, knowledge and skills of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry.
Support and interest seem to indicate that the future looks bright. Content and programming are filled throughout the balance of the year and into next. The program would not be possible without the commitment of two active associate members. Natural Insight has been the exclusive sponsor for the past two years and has recently agreed to renew in 2011. From a technology standpoint, associate member ReadyTalk provides the Web Meeting 6 version of its event platform and fully integrated web conferencing service.
The format by design is quite simple. Registrants log onto a website where they can follow along with the visual presentation support materials. Simultaneously, they call an 800 number where they can hear the audio portion via their telephone. Although the attendees are muted to keep down any background office and travel noise, they can actively participate using a chat function feature on Web Meeting 6. For the first time in the series history, a recent webinar used a built in, on-line polling system that allowed the audience to respond directly to a question posed by the presenter. To the amazement of the audience, the system then instantly compiled the results and presented the summary findings in real time.
The NARMS Webinar Series has answered the call of modern business to do more with less. It is simple to use and convenient, usually taking place mid-week and only occupying a one-hour block of time. Business owners want the most bang for the buck and expect the same in regards to association fees. The Webinar Series, offered free to members, has provided that extra value and has been a great tool for staying connected as an industry family. The next NARMS Webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 10th at 1:00 PM CST and will feature Nancy Wong of the University of Wisconsin Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence speaking on The Psychology of Choice.
By now, the link to the December issue of NARMS Today is waiting for each and every one of you in your email in box. As you recall, NARMS Today is now a strictly digital publication. In case you missed it amid a flurry of incoming mail, here is another link. Make sure you follow the link and take a few moments to read and make note of all the great industry information and updates that make up this quarterly publication that is a valuable part of the NARMS communication program.
This issue starts off in high gear with a message from NARMS Chairperson, Don Koller. His article entitled, “The Finish Line is the Bottom Line,” is a great synopsis of how NARMS and its member benefits can help you reach ultimate success in your business.
In, “Quality is Now More Than a Hope and A Prayer, NARMS President/CEO Dan Borschke discusses how the new NARMScertifyU will help the industry achieve a high level of quality and consistency by offering learning modules to field reps.
Is today’s retail industry economy “bucking you around”? Check out Ken’s Keystrokes where NARMS Vice President Ken McKenzie takes a lighter look in, “Can You See Yourself at a Rodeo?”
In case you have not been keeping up with association events and happenings, you will want to review NARMS News and the Spring Conference Highlights pages which will get you caught up in a quick glance.
As always, our Divisional Committee heads have contributed to the issue with a review of division activity and recap of recent divisional meetings. Included are articles by Steve Workman and Carlos Rocca of the MSO division, Gregg Morrison of the PIC division, Kelly Baker of the Manufacturer’s division, Carolyn Weiland of the Associate Member division, Jim Hall of the IFBA and Julie Nichols of the Event Marketing division.
The issue ends with another value packed article by frequent contributor Jim Pancero in his, “You Can Always Sell More,” series.
NARMS Today is an important building block in the further development of our industry. You owe it to yourself to find a few minutes in a busy day to take a break and get caught up on NARMS happenings. We know you will enjoy this issue.