Boardwalk Entertainers Told to Quiet Down

first_imgBoardwalk merchants and city officials agree that Boardwalk entertainers should keep it down for the enjoyment of others. By Maddy VitaleCity Council is putting a hush on Boardwalk entertainers with an ordinance to eliminate amplifiers.The ordinance was approved on first reading Thursday and will be up for public comment and a final vote at a Council meeting March 14.“This change is simply to prohibit amplification because of the feedback we got from the public and the merchants,” City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson told Council during Thursday’s meeting.She said while business owners say overall that the entertainers are fine, at times they become too loud.“Sometimes the music overpowers and even goes into the stores,” McCrosson said.Council President Peter Madden called the amended ordinance a win-win because it still allows entertainers to perform, but it puts limits on the volume.“We pass ordinances and we tweak them as needed,” Madden explained. “Business owners came to us for a concern over the sound from the Boardwalk entertainment.”President of the Boardwalk Merchants Association Wes Kazmarck said the ordinance is a good middle ground.“Boardwalk merchants welcome the street performers. Eliminating amplifiers only ensures that Boardwalk storeowners and their businesses are able to maintain the atmosphere they desire within their stores,” Kazmarck said. “Amplifiers directed into their stores were interfering with that atmosphere.”Kazmarck pointed out that when the ordinance was written, it was always with the idea that adjustments may need to be made.“This is nothing more than that,” he noted.President of the Boardwalk Merchants Association Wes Kazmarck co-owner of Surf Mall, pictured with his children, Liam and Piper. (Courtesy Wes Kazmarck)The ordinance states with the amended portion on amplification states: “Sound produced by an entertainer (or group of entertainers) shall not be audible 30 feet from the Boardwalk railing adjacent to which the entertainer (s) is/are performing. No electronic amplified devices are permitted for performances.”Jody Levchuk and his brother, Randy Levchuk, own six of the Jilly’s businesses on the Boardwalk. Their parents own an additional two stores.Levchuk called the ordinance a “step in the right direction,” because his family knows how disruptive loud and unwanted performances can be.“Some of it can be very entertaining. Some of it can also be a nuisance,” he said. “Who wants to hear an overriding trumpet in your store for hours on end? I am not against entertainers on the Boardwalk, but I think the city needs to take a closer look. Trumpets and drums don’t have amplification and they are still loud.”In order to perform on the Ocean City Boardwalk, an entertainer must first obtain a city permit.“There is a process in place, and it is a good one,” Levchuk said. “I just think we need to tighten it up.”Levchuk added that the Atlantic City Boardwalk used to allow entertainers.“It became such a ruckus they stopped allowing the unsolicited entertainment,” he noted.He also said that some customers complain, especially if the unwanted music wafts into the businesses.“It is occasionally good, but it becomes watered down when you hear it over and over,” Levchuk said. “I don’t think people are saying no. But a lot of people get to just walk by. Business owners can’t do that.”The Levchuk family owns eight Jilly’s Boardwalk businesses.last_img read more

Delays hit debate on folic acid and bread weights

first_imgThe Federation of Bakers expects delays in resolving two legislative issues facing the sector – folic acid fortification and bread weights regulation. Director Gordon Polson told British Baker he anticipates a two-month delay before a public consultation into the possible fortification of flour with folic acid starts in the UK. This had been due to start in May, but has been postponed to give the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Advisory Committee on Nutrition time to review scientific evidence on potential risks and benefits of increased folic acid intake.Its review will be used by the FSA to inform its recommendations to health ministers on measures to prevent folate and neural tube defect prevention, including the possible fortification of flour.Meanwhile, the EU Nominal Quantities Directive, which covers deregulation of bread weights legislation, is yet to be finalised. Currently, bread above 300g in weight has to be sold in set weights – 400g, 800g and 1,200g. The European Parliament voted in February this year to exclude “pre-packed bread, spreadable fats or tea” from the scope of the directive. For these products, national rules on nominal quantities would continue to apply, it said. However, in April the European Council disagreed and said it was still in favour of deregulation. Gordon Polson said: “It is still a watching brief. We have no clear idea of timescales. This will not be resolved under the six-month Austrian presidency of the EU, which is coming to an end. Finland is next to take the presidency in July, but there is no suggestion that it will make a priority of the issue.”Separately, the European Parliament last week backed an agreement that will lay down conditions for the use of nutrition claims such as ‘low fat’, ‘high fibre’ or ‘reduced sugar’. This sets thresholds for the claims to apply. For example, ‘high fibre’ products must have 6g or more of fibre per 100g. Non-packaged products, including unwrapped breads, are exempted.last_img read more

Born & Bread: Gardners Bakery

first_imgGardners Bakery has evolved over its 110-year lifespan, from a single bread shop to producing celebration cakes and cookies for consumers across the UK.The Northampton-based bakery was born in 1910 as J Gardner, when James Gardner, a baker by trade, and his wife Agnes decided to start their own business. Originally focused on bread, when James passed the bakery onto his son, Joe Gardner, a cake decorator and baker, he expanded the business into making and icing wedding cakes.In 1937, Joe purchased a second shop in Whitehills, and also started to produce smaller treats, such as jam tarts and tea-time cakes.Joe’s son Roger Gardner and his wife Marylyn became the third generation to join the firm in 1963. They also expanded the product range, introducing birthday cakes and, later, pasties and sausage rolls as demand for takeaway food began to grow.Joe passed the bakery on to the couple in the late 1980s, and their daughter, Helen Gardner, became the fourth generation to work in the business, followed by her sister Jayne in 1990.In 1997, the team visited a US bakers’ convention in Minneapolis, which led to the bakery becoming one of the first in the country to offer edible photos on cakes.“Each member of the family that took the reins of the business has brought something different to it,” says Helen, the current owner. “The key is to move with the times. You have to work out what is needed now, then bring that to the table and move it on.”The new century saw the name of the business change to Gardners Bakery, while Helen’s daughters – Amber Lucas in 2010 and Leila in 2014 – began working at the business on a part-time basis before becoming managers.In 2012, the Gardners Cakery shop in Market Harborough was opened, before the firm branched out into cookies and vegan products with its Gardners Cookies online service in 2018.Gardners’ most popular product is its Angel Cake, consisting of Genoese sponge filled with strawberry flavoured jelly and cream. The pink and white cake is also a key component of its wedding cakes.Although the bakery has been closed due to Covid-19, it has reopened its online store and is taking pre-orders before the business reopens this month.In the year it celebrates its 110th anniversary, all the staff running the business are women, points out Helen, adding that women have played an important role throughout the bakery’s life. “We’re hoping the business will be back up and running soon, so we can see where it can go next,” she says. Timeline1910: J Gardner is established by James Gardner and his wife Agnes1937: A second shop in Whitehills is purchased by James’ son Joe Gardner1963: Third-generation couple, Roger and Marylyn start making birthday cakes1997: The team acquires Kopykake edible photo cake software after a visit to the US2003: The business’ name is changed to Gardners Bakery2012: Gardners Cakery in Market Harborough is opened2018: The bakery branches out with Gardners Cookies and online saleslast_img read more

Paul Simon Is ‘Homeward Bound’ During His Final U.S. Show In New York [Review/Videos]

first_imgEdit this setlist | More Paul Simon setlists Paul Simon returned to Forest Hills Stadium last night for a rain-soaked, nostalgic performance that swung the audience through his storied career. The second and final night at the venue, and potentially the singer-songwriter’s last U.S. performance ever after his recent retirement talk, the show was delayed by a massive rain storm that swarmed the area just at show time. While the scary tornado warning for the New York area never came to fruition, and just after huge double rainbow emerged over the stadium, the skies opened up in a huge way, and the rain didn’t stop for 90 minutes. Fans ran for covered areas, and the audience was told to hold tight while they were peppered with huge rain drops. Finally, just before 9:00pm, Simon took the stage, bringing his incredible band along for an unforgettable walk through his varied catalog.Opening with “Proof” and “The Boy in the Bubble,” the wet audience didn’t wake up until the third song, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Simon’s band brought the song to life with a thumping beat, while Simon scatted his way through the song, playing with the lyrics just enough while staying within the form of the song. After the horrible rain to open the show, the crowd’s excitement was palpable, as you could hear them singing the song’s refrain of “you don’t need to discuss much” into the sky like an energetic howl, echoing across Forest Hills.After playing songs like “Dazzling Blue,” “That Was Your Mother,” “Rewrite,” and a cover of Bill Doggett‘s “Honky Tonk”, the show picked back up in it’s middle section, featuring a trio of classics in “Slip Slidin’ Away,” which was an obvious reference to the soaked crowd, “Mother and Child Reunion,” and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.” Simon took time after “Me and Julio” to shout out his home of Corona, Queens, asking if anyone in the audience was actually from there, and then telling them to “get out of there!”Next up was “Spirit Voices,” which Simon proceeded with a story of the song’s origin.. Simon is a famous world explorer, and his travels took him to The Amazon, where he came across a local “healer” who was said to heal you physically or mentally. In actuality, the healer was brewing the famous psychedelic Ayahuasca concoction. The healer told Simon to drink the drink, and to ignore the giant snake he would inevitably see as a result. Simon drank the drink, and “a couple of days later” wrote this song about his experience on the potent drug.The set continued with two more fan favorites in “The Obvious Child” and “Homeward Bound.” As Art Garfunkel wasn’t there to harmonize on the latter track, the crowd picked up the pieces with an impressive effort, singing along with gusto as Paul Simon performed the track in his home city and borough. Simon and his band followed that up with another Simon & Garfunkel track, “El Condor Pasa (If I Could).”Following a duo of songs from his new album Stranger to Stranger, Simon’s long-time rhythm guitar player, Vincent Nguini of Cameroon, came to the microphone to tell a story about the origins of the next song, “Cool, Cool River,” and its history as a traditional African tribal initiation song. The song was in 9/8, and sounded like Umphrey’s McGee with it’s wild tempo and aggressive playing from the band.Simon closed out the set with his two biggest solo songs, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “You Can Call Me Al,” both of which got the crowd up on their feet and dancing, as they had finally forgotten the rain that had dampened their evening just one hour earlier. Both songs were performed with high energy, and the world-music-influence of Simon’s band was on full display for the excited crowd. The rain picked back up during these two songs, and the crowd seemed to love it.With the rain delay, it was unclear whether the band would continue playing, or give in to the 10:00pm curfew at the venue. While the rain started to pick back up, tons of fans got up and left during the encore break, thinking the show was over or just simply escaping another drenching. Well, the lucky ones who stayed were treated an extended curfew that allowed for eight more songs over two encores. “Wristband,” “Graceland,” “Late in the Evening,” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” comprised the first encore. However, it was the second encore that really blew fans away. After a cover of “That’s All Right” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Simon closed his show with a trio of beloved Simon & Garfunkel songs, in “The Boxer”, “Sounds of Silence”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.The lucky audience certainly left the show soaked, but everyone was all smiles as Simon closed out his show and his tour with an incredible array of hit songs, fun stories, and incredible playing from his diverse band. If this is truly Paul Simon’s final U.S. show, it was a great one (even with the rain), as he was able to showcase his entire varied career throughout the night. Hopefully Simon has it in him to keep playing, so fans can continue to see him and his band, along with the unique positive energy that they create.See below for a few videos from the performance, as well as a full setlist.“Mother And Child Reunion” + “Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard”, courtesy of YouTube user Alan Friedman“Bridge Over Troubled Water”, courtesy of YouTube user angela450nyclast_img read more

Playing catch-up on marijuana

first_img Professor has Ed Portal audience vote on legalization of marijuana Pros and cons of controversial Question 4 examined With marijuana legalization advancing in several states, including Massachusetts, scientists are working to answer questions about the drug’s effectiveness as a medicine and its impact on health and the brain.In doing so, they face a disconnect between state and federal policy, including marijuana’s continued categorization as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. Staci Gruber, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the MIND program (Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery) at McLean Hospital, has explored the effects of both recreational and medical marijuana. She thinks state marijuana legalization policy has run ahead of science.The Gazette talked to Gruber about the limits of marijuana research and the roadblocks scientists face in their quest to learn more. GAZETTE: Is the science on the health effects of marijuana settled enough for lawmakers to make informed public health decisions about recreational and medical marijuana?GRUBER: The question “Is the science settled enough?” is a good one and the answer in my mind at this point is “No, not yet.”There is an awful lot that we don’t know. What we do know primarily comes from studies of chronic, recreational marijuana users. There is still a lot left to learn about the effects of less frequent, casual use. Also, there are a number of differences between recreational and medical marijuana use. Recreational and medical users very often differ quite strikingly with regard to what they use, how they use, etc. Some of the products may overlap but the indications for use and what they expect to get out of using marijuana are usually very, very different. Frequency and magnitude are often very different, as is mode of use. A lot of recreational users might, for example, enjoy using concentrates. It’s less common in medical users, who are not looking for super high THC-containing products all the time.When we think about legalization we always like to have science inform policy. In this particular case, it seems to me that policy has outpaced science. These products are widely available but to date, we have no studies on the direct impact of concentrates versus flower products on our recreational or medical users — which is important, especially given concerns for our youngest users.There’s been an awful lot of excitement — and much of it is well founded — about the potential for medical cannabis use. [But] there’s a striking paucity of research on the use of medical cannabis, and it’s been around since at least 2700 or so B.C. It’s not that there’s nothing out there, it’s that there’s no large, clear, clinical, or empirically sound research trials that tell us what I would consider everything we need to know. That is why we started the MIND program here at McLean Hospital.GAZETTE: You published a study in October on medical marijuana and one thing I found surprising is the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. You found what looked like striking differences in their effects on executive functions. Could you talk a little bit about your findings and also about the chemical differences between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?GRUBER: For the better part of two decades, we’ve been looking at the effects of recreational marijuana on measures of cognitive performance, specifically executive functions, those that are mediated by the frontal part of the brain.“I’ve heard a lot of people express concern [that] we’re going to substitute an opioid addiction for a marijuana use problem,” said Associate Professor Staci Gruber. “We’d need studies to prove that and so far that’s not what we’re seeing at all in the medical marijuana patients.” Photo by Patrick EcclesineIn general, what we’ve been able to glean from those research studies, along with the work of many colleagues across the country and across the world, is that overall, individuals who use marijuana look different from those who don’t in very specific cognitive domains. The most striking differences, however, are between those with early onset of use — people who use regularly prior to age 16 — versus those who use later. When you group marijuana users together — regardless of their age of onset — you may or may not see differences between them compared to control subjects. [But] once you separate the marijuana users into those with early versus late onset and then compare to controls, almost all the differences with regard to executive function are driven by the early onset group.GAZETTE: Why is that?GRUBER: Probably because the brain of an adolescent is still neurodevelopmentally immature; it is still under construction. And when you expose something that is neurodevelopmentally immature to exogenous or outside cannabinoids that interact with our own endocannabinoid system in the developing brain, you can alter the developmental trajectory of the brain. This is also true for other drugs and alcohol.We also see the same types of differences in measures of brain function and structure, so it’s a consistent picture. It’s not that recreational marijuana consumers do terribly across the board in every cognitive domain. Specifically, with regard to executive function, the early onset users look worse than controls and definitely different from those with later onset in many cases.The first study from the MIND program looked at a group of medical marijuana patients who were certified for medical marijuana use for a number of indications and conditions. We have patients who are using marijuana for anxiety, for chronic pain, for PTSD, for sleep dysfunction. What we found was that at the three-month visit, individuals did not look worse on measures of cognitive function, despite the fact that they had started using medical marijuana. In fact they looked better. They showed some improvements in measures of executive functions. They also had some improvements in sleep quality and some measures of mood and quality of life.Cognitive performance may be better because their symptoms have been addressed. We saw improvements in a subset of people who were using for chronic pain. If you feel better, it may be that the part of the brain that is processing painful stimuli all of the time is now able to do other things. So maybe you complete these cognitive tasks more efficiently.We also saw a decrease in use of conventional medications — for example, a 42 percent reduction in opiate use. It’s a tiny sample size but that’s important because it means subjects didn’t need the same level of conventional treatment if they were also using a cannabinoid-based product.To your point about the actual product used, it is a well-known fact that recreational users are interested in products that contain THC. That’s the main psychoactive constituent of the plant, which binds to receptors in the brain and is responsible for altering your state of being. It’s what gets you high, in other words. We have samples of patients’ products analyzed and a number of our patients are taking products that are high in CBD [cannabidiol] and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.It is very possible that one reason we don’t see decrements in executive performance — thus far — is because, one, the average age [of the study’s medical marijuana users] is about 49. At this age, patients are generally beyond the critical neurodevelopmental stages, which occur from childhood throughout your 20s. Number two, they’re using products that are not exclusively high in THC. In fact, as I mentioned, they’re often high in other cannabinoids that are not psychoactive, which are also less likely to exert a deleterious effect on brain function and may in some cases even be neuroprotective. Related GAZETTE: Given the pain-alleviation qualities of medical marijuana and the fact that your study showed a decline in the use of opioids, is it possible that medical marijuana could be an alternative?GRUBER: There’s every reason to be hopeful that at least adjunctive therapy, if not substitution therapy, with cannabinoids or cannabinoid-based products could be extraordinarily helpful for individuals who are currently on opioids. We’ve seen individuals who’ve stopped using opioids altogether. Now, is that going to be true for everyone? Probably not. Will it depend on the condition? The magnitude of the pain? The severity? Probably. But that doesn’t mean it’s something that shouldn’t be exploited and explored.I’ve heard a lot of people express concern, “Well, we’re basically going to exchange one problem for another. We’re going to substitute an opioid addiction for a marijuana use problem.” I’m not sure that’s true. We’d need studies to prove that and so far that’s not what we’re seeing at all in the medical marijuana patients.GAZETTE: How big a hurdle to research is the fact that the federal government is keeping marijuana a Schedule I substance?GRUBER: Its current classification as a Schedule I substance makes clinical trials difficult. Currently, if you want to do a clinical trial of a cannabinoid or a cannabinoid-based product, you have to have your material sourced by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. Here’s one potential problem: If you really want to understand the effects of cannabis or cannabinoids on the brain, on cognition, on brain structure, function, mood, sleep, sex — I don’t care what the variable is — it’s helpful to study what it is that people are actually using. As it stands, people can use all sorts of products I simply can’t study in a clinical trial model, which is a bit of a problem. I think a lot of people would be interested to know if their products actually work.GAZETTE: With legalization looming here in Massachusetts, what do you think the most important thing is for the public to know?GRUBER: I think the most important thing for the public to remember is that we are extraordinarily vulnerable creatures, not just to marijuana, but to alcohol, to injury, to illness — to lots of things — up to a certain age. Adolescents and young adults are neurodevelopmentally immature and it’s very important to keep that in mind. It’s important to keep an open dialogue with our most vulnerable consumers — our kids, our adolescents, our emerging adults. In our community outreach, we say, “Don’t tell your kids never,” because messages of abstinence don’t work. Instead of that, we say, “Just not yet. It’s worth the wait. Give your brain a chance to get to a point where it’s less likely to [be impacted] negatively.”If it’s widely available, we have to be mindful of how people are educated and what they know. My goal as a scientist is to provide the right information — the truth — and let them make informed decisions. I would like all people, regardless of recreational or medical status, to be able to understand what’s in their weed or medicine. What exactly are you getting and what can you expect from it? That’s really the most important part: education and open dialogue. No judgment, that’s the thing.Harvard Medical School’s Labcast interviewed Staci Gruber about her research into medical marijuana on Oct. 21, 2016.last_img read more

Angry farmers storm India’s Red Fort in challenge to Modi

first_imgNEW DELHI (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesting farmers have marched, rode horses and drove long lines of tractors into India’s capital, breaking through police barricades to storm the historic Red Fort. It was a deeply symbolic act that revealed the scale of their challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. They waved farm union and religious flags from the ramparts of the fort, where prime ministers annually hoist the national flag on the country’s August independence day holiday. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons and set up barricades in attempt to hold back the protesters Tuesday. The farmers have been demanding the withdrawal of new laws that they say will favor large corporate farms and devastate the earnings of smaller scale farmers.last_img read more

Gordon County Ag Service Center

first_imgWith the opening of the Gordon County Agricultural Service Center this month, farmers in northwest Georgia now have a one-stop shop for information and help. The new 14,000 square foot facility, located on five acres off of SR 53 Spur in Calhoun, houses the Gordon County office of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, UGA research and education staff, representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission and the Gordon County Young Farmers. The new building is adjacent to the Northwest Georgia Livestock Pavillion, which hosts the annual UGA Calhoun Bull Test Sale and many other agriculture related events. Gordon County officials built the $2.5 million ag service center on five acres provided by the Gordon County Development Authority. “We are very lucky to have a county that has shown its commitment to agriculture in the county; one that understands how important agriculture is to the county and to the community,” said Greg Bowman, Gordon County UGA Extension coordinator. Community members, as well as state leader Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Rep. Jack Meadows of Calhoun filled the building’s auditorium on Oct. 23 for the dedication. In addition to representatives from local, state and federal governments, several farmers attended to see the new space. “I think the one-stop concept where a producer can come to one place and get all the information that they need is very helpful,” Bowman said. “For young farmers, it eliminates questions like, ‘Where do I need to go to apply for this or sign up for this? “For the older producers, it helps them because they may have had to make two or three trips, they can just come to one place and handle all of their business.” The new facility should also allow Gordon County to host regional producers meetings on a more regular basis. The new center’s auditorium should seat about 200 people. Bowman hopes that sharing a building with the regional agricultural offices will lead to collaboration between the agencies and better services for farmers in northwest Georgia.last_img read more

A Welcome Outlier in the Age of Ultralite: High Sierra Lightning 35 Pack

first_imgIt’s happening again. It’s only a day-hike with the family, you say, pulling that ultralight daypack out of the closet. Yet here you are, struggling with a bag full of diapers, granola bars, cartoon-shaped fruit snacks, rain gear (just in case the 0% precipitation forecast is wrong – because your partner insisted), your 10 essentials (good for you, seriously), and maybe some dog food since Ruffwear doesn’t come in SilNy under 1 lb.And this lightweight daypack is not cutting it. You might as well be using a bindle because your hip, ultralite bag has about as much structure and all those diapers, clean and dirty, are sitting right on your shoulders.Lightning strikes. In the age of ultralight, the High Sierra Lightning 35 is a stalwart workhorse that makes no compromise to cut weight, and for the $60 price tag currently available on High Sierra’s site, I shouldn’t have to say more. This “full-service” pack served me well on a dozen daytrips to the crag as well as a few overnights. I cannot find any significant fault, and if I’m being honest, I hit the trail looking for trouble because I have my own loyalties within the pack industry.The Lightning boasts pockets in all the right places including my favorite snack stash on the hipstrap, a built in rain fly so you can think about more important things, and a hydration system pocket. There are even a few extras you don’t really need like the classic shoulder-strap camera/phone pocket for all the dad’s out there who realize you can’t wear a pack and a fannypack at the same time. These are pretty standard features. But most importantly – the lightning has the structural support to carry heavy loads despite being a lower volume pack. It is overpowered in a good way. At 4 pounds and change, it doesn’t pretend to compete with that GoLite Jam that you brag about to friends (leaving out the part about how sore it makes you every time). That extra weight more than makes up for itself on the trail in terms of support. I’ve owned a number of daypacks in this volume range but none of them could hold a candle to the grace with which the lightning held heavier loads.Some of that weight, too, comes from sturdier materials. I dragged this bag all over Appalachia, probably threw it around a few times, and might even have given it a few kicks for kicks. All I’ve been able to do to it is separate the sheath from a drawstring – a simple fix, remove the sheath, the strength of the cord is in the core anyway – and put a small tear in the bag cramming a rack of cams deep in the bag. At $60, I’m not complaining and neither is my back.High Sierra Lightning 35 Backpack, MSRP $60last_img read more

Message orchestration across the customer lifecycle

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brad Banyas Brad Banyas is CEO of OMI, a leading cloud-based customer communication management service and platform provider. OMI delivers cost-effective solutions for marketers and brand managers to connect with customers through … Web: www.omi.co Details Three tactics to maximize marketing successThe notion of “Customer Lifetime Value” is a concept and calculation that helps executives determine the dollar value associated with the long-term relationship of any customer, determining just how much that customer relationship is worth. Used by marketing managers and CMOs, customer lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit associated with the entire relationship with a customer. The notion is an important one because it encourages financial firms to shift their focus from customer acquisition to the long-term health of their customer and member relationships.Why Should CMO’s Care?More and more financial institutions are retooling their efforts to more ardently optimize customer lifetime value, but it can be an uphill battle. According to Ernst & Young, the world’s third largest professional advisory firm, just 25% of US consumers consider brand loyalty as something that impacts their buying behavior. Research from Nielsen, the global marketing research firm, found that 78% of consumers are not loyal to any particular brand. As a result, it is becoming more and more important for businesses to communicate with their customers in a more orchestrated and personalized way in order to build brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.Campaign ReinventionWith so many communication channels and marketing tools available it can be difficult to know which strategies and tactics to adopt, and easy to slip back into more comfortable and traditional approaches to marketing and customer communications. But a new report from Forrester Research argues that marketing campaigns must be re-invented. Instead of relying on big-gun campaigns, leading brands are adopting a marketing orchestration approach across multiple channels with campaigns and communications that get results in new and more profitable ways.A Post-Campaign EraForrester calls marketing orchestration “the appropriate approach for the Post-Campaign Era” and many iconic brands are leading the way. Organizations are moving beyond single channel marketing with the goal to provide every consumer with a highly personalized experience that maps to each individual’s journey with the company from discovery to purchase to re-purchase. Engaging customers with relevant messaging and meaningful content is not only what customers expect, it’s what they demand; and a requirement to compete in today’s marketplace.Customer-Centric Mindset Financial institutions can no longer afford to retain a campaign-centric instead of a customer-centric mindset. The benefit of marketing orchestration is that it focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns, but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up an individualized customer experience. Leading firms are adopting this approach and orchestrating marketing across all touch points – social, mobile, online, in print, in advertising – since customers are no longer interacting in a sequential or linear way — its multi-channel, multi-device and much more interactive than ever before.Multi-Channel and MobileMost consumers today use at least three devices, one of which is mobile. It’s hard to deny that we live in an age of mobile computing: 58% of American adults use a smartphone, over 40% own a tablet, and mobile computing grew by over 80% just last year alone. Indeed, there are more smartphones out there in the world than there are personal computers. As a result, Forrester predicts that already half of all online adults on the planet are “always-addressable,” meaning they own and use at least three web-connected devices, go online multiple times per day, and go online from multiple physical locations. These numbers will only increase over the next few years and for marketers the message is clear: Orchestrating your message across these technical and social channels is essential in order to compete.Three Tactics for Marketing Orchestration SuccessHow can financial institutions better orchestrate their message across the customer lifecycle? Here are three tactics and best practices for maximum results.#1. Establish a Single Identity – Marketing orchestration can deliver a superior and more individualized customer experience while returning higher revenue, increased loyalty and greater internal efficiency to the marketer. But a key component is establishing a single identity for customers that spans across interactions. This means using cookies, sign-ons, email addresses, mobile IDs and other techniques, and then merging these multiple instances into one identity. A single, cloud-based customer communication tool helps make message orchestration easier by providing a single platform to manage all of your customer communications no matter what form they take. Online, mobile, social, print – each are a critical component of the entire marketing ecosystem.#2. Leverage Customer-Facing Communications – Marketers must work quickly to evolve from single-channel marketing campaigns with customers treated as groups, to single-channel campaign automation based on customer events and actions. One way to do that is through the many customer-facing communications that you already send. Renewals, acknowledgements, statements, and a host of other every day documents are on the front line of how companies retain customers and build relationships. Customer-facing communications are opened and read by 90% of recipients. What other form of marketing communication can claim that kind of customer-open rate?#3. Integrate and Orchestrate – Today’s financial services marketing landscape is multi-channel and digitally-driven, so it is important to manage all interactions from all channels, including both internal and third-party sources. Campaign management across multiple channels is one of the most difficult areas to execute for marketers and brand managers. Multiple constituents from creative, agency, copyright to internal marketing staff all impact time to market. What is needed is real-time and adaptive marketing platforms and solutions that work as a powerful market differentiator.Moving ForwardIt is easy to conceptualize these principles, but the danger is falling back on traditional campaign approaches that simply amp up the volume and not customer lifetime value. Rather than increase the level of noise by increasing investments in mass and untargeted media, marketing orchestration keeps focused on a total messaging strategy designed for each customer or member. As a result, banks, credit unions and financial services firms of all sizes and types find value by reevaluating and reworking their existing communication processes with a different view of customer-facing communications and message orchestration across the customer lifecycle.last_img read more

The unspoken holiday problem (and how to help your account holders address it)

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Somewhere along the way (perhaps, not-so-coincidentally, as we each made the transition from child to adult) the holiday season became one big ball of pressure—with financial worry at its core. Statistics seem to support that spending (and, often, overspending) plays a significant role in our lives at this time of year:Holiday shoppers plan to spend $1,047 this year—4% more than last year (National Retail Federation)9% of Americans are still paying off their holiday expenses from 2018 (YouGov)51% of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they’re comfortable with on holiday gifts (Bankrate)49% of Americans have no holiday spending budget (YouGov)And yet, it’s not something that our society talks about much; the spending just continues while many panic in silence. While it’s certainly up to each individual how they want to approach the financial aspects of the holidays—gift giving, charitable donations, social events, travel—it’s comforting to know that their bank or credit union is on their side. continue reading »last_img read more