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3 consumer-centric trends your business needs to know
By Emma Fitzpatrick
Now that the New Year's bell has stopped ringing, predicted trends for 2015 are stepping forward to steal the spotlight. While your business is penning this year's goals, be sure you're moving in the right direction. In order to increase sales, customer acquisition and traffic, your business needs to be communicating with shoppers in the way that works best for them. Read on to learn the three biggest marketing trends to help you better connect with your customers and make 2015 the most successful year yet.
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SPONSORED CONTENT


How to get customers hooked on your products
Small Business Trends
If you can get people to use your product, you've taken a step in the right direction. But wouldn't you rather get people to use your product over and over again? In fact, certain types of products like mobile apps and social networks rely on habitual users.
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How to write a killer marketing plan
Innovation Hub
Regardless of their industry, entrepreneurs have to put their companies on the map. A small business owner's ability to create buzz around his or her new product or business can spark the company's growth. But the first step toward building that hype is drafting a strong marketing plan. Before you put pen to paper, here's a look at why marketing plans matter and what they entail.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Little Debbie's Bakery Fresh Pastries

All Little Debbie products are now available as pre-ordered bakery fresh pastry with your vend distributor. This includes Mini Donuts, Zebra Cakes and Swiss Rolls. Distributors may also be stocking top-sellers like the Oatmeal Cream Pie and Nutty Bar. Call your distributor today to place your order (or pre-order) for Little Debbie snack cakes.
 


Top 5 interviewing tips for experienced employees
U.S. News & World Report
Interviewing can be nerve-wracking — even for veteran employees. What's more, if you've been in your job, company, industry or career for a long time and haven't needed to do a job search in a while, you may feel pretty rusty when it comes to preparing for and navigating the interview process.
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4 ways to improve your cybersecurity today
Business News Daily
Despite a rash of high-profile cybercrimes in recent months, small business leaders remain confused on how to protect themselves, new research finds. While nearly half of small businesses with between six and 49 employees understand the protection needed to ward off a physical theft, less than one-third understand how to combat today's cybercriminal, according to a study by security provider Norton by Symantec.
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5 business strategies you need to know about in 2015
Forbes
As a business owner, you've probably noticed many of the core business ideas and strategies stay the same year after year. However, throughout the last couple of years technology and a surplus of information has changed the landscape for businesses. We can now reach our audience in essentially every corner of the world, anytime we want. And, we not only have the resources to connect with our audience, we also have the means to create personalized content for them. Because of how quickly technology and information spreads it's more important than ever to make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest business strategies, like the following five business strategies.
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Customer experience rescue lesson: The art of an apology
CustomerThink
Physiologically we are inclined to activate the lizard brain when we have an angry customer on the phone and we can choose one of two reactions: fight, which results in a defensive response or flee, which results in loss of connection or disengagement that erodes any glimpse of recovery. This single piece of the puzzle has transformed the quality and outcome of many an interaction with a furious customer.
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BEVERAGE NEWS


$3,300 refrigerator will make you coffee with Keurig
USA Today
Next thing you know, the refrigerator will be making dinner. For $3,300, people can take home the GE Café series refrigerator with a Keurig K-Cup brewer inside the fridge door this fall. Insert the K-Cup in the fridge, slide the brewer back into the water dispenser and choose the size of the coffee you want. In the mood for iced coffee? That option exists.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  MTN Products Factory Special

MTN is offering the new Nexus LXp cooler including the new eco3 filter with mounting bracket at a special introductory price of $199. The eco3 filter is NSF Certified for 1500 gallons. This cooler & filter combination special is for a limited time only! (base shown is optional)

www.mtnproducts.com
 


9 international teas to try when traveling
Paste Magazine
For many in the U.S., tea is something that is either black or green and sipped casually when you're sick, cold or relaxing. But to cultures across the globe, drinking tea is an intricate and important ritual. From pink tea to butter tea to tea ceremonies, certain regions have unique and highly respected beverages and accompanying traditions. Here are nine teas you simply must experience when visiting their countries of origin, to both enjoy and better understand the cultures.
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Coffee may be able to lengthen your life and lower your risk of depression
The Washington Post
The headlines about coffee's impact on your health seem to change as quickly as the time it takes to drink a cup. Should you savor every drop or try to cut down? Here's what we know right now.
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Are energy drinks really that bad?
U.S. News & World Report
One of the major critiques of energy drinks is that not all are well-regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ​That means energy drink companies can market their products as dietary supplements and forgo a nutrition facts label, leaving consumers to wonder whether what they see is what they get, says Ruth Litchfield​, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
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Major health trend alert: Matcha green tea everything
Yahoo Health
In case you didn't read our recent 2015 food trend round-up, here's a news flash: Matcha is the hottest tea in town these days. Rather than being steeped like other teas, Matcha green tea leaves are dried and ground up into a fine powder that can be blended into drinks, sweets, and pretty much anything else you want to infuse with a creamy, subtly sweet earthy flavor and calming energy (coffee jitters are so last year).
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Innovative product cuts plastic pollution from single-use water bottles
EcoWatch
One of the big environmental issues of our time is plastics pollution. It piles up in landfills where it takes hundreds of years to break down. It washes into the ocean, creating huge gyres of plastic pieces of all sizes, ranging from larger pieces that can choke sea birds and marine animals to microplastics with as-yet unknown impacts on the oceans' ecosystems. Now a Japanese-based inventor/entrepreneur named Graeme Glen has come up with a unique portable device called the WaterBean that lets you use one of those plastic water bottles up to 120 times, slashing your own contribution to the waste stream.
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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY


5 things sustainable companies do
3BL Media
Corporate sustainability is imperative for business today — essential to long-term corporate success and for ensuring that markets deliver value across society. To be sustainable, companies must operate responsibly in alignment with universal principles and take actions that support the society around them. Then, to push sustainability deep into the corporate DNA, companies must commit at the highest level, report annually on their efforts, and engage locally where they have a presence.
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Making a business of premium coffee for premium social impact
Entrepreneur
Premium coffee is perhaps the original example of how positive social impact can drive a successful business. Many connoisseurs who care about eco-friendly farming, fair wages and low-income community development are willing to pay more for their cup of joe. But it's got to be good.
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Global brands urged to invest CSR budgets in education
Brandchannel
According to a new study on global corporate education CSR spending, Fortune 500 companies only spent $2.6 billion of their total $19.9 billion corporate social responsibility budgets on education-related activities. What's more, the report also revealed that that less than half of the Fortune 500 allocate any of their CSR budgets towards education in the community, including emerging markets — where the need is greatest.
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Keeping In Touch With NAMA
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Brie Ragland, Senior Content Editor, 469.420.2639   
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Roni Moore, NAMA VP of Marketing & Communications, 312.346.0370, ext. 239   

Kelly Doherty, NAMA Marketing & Communications, 312.346.0370, ext. 242   

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