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The Tuesday Report

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February 22, 2005

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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Bond Guru Bill Gross Considers Our Huge Challenge

The chief investment wizard of the Pimco bond-trading empire in Newport Beach says the social security system does not require an immediate and dramatic overhaul...it’s not our major problem.

Gross, a billionaire, is running a business that’s owed $400 billion-plus by a globe’s worth of governments and corporations. He became wealthy by using a much longer-term vision than most traders.

Basically, he contends that the entire American economy faces huge demographic challenges because of our aging population and impending worker shortage.

And the grand solution, Gross believes, is to drastically reduce federal budget deficits. He says we need a leaner U.S. government with less debt on its books, so as to better cope with the upcoming demographic imbalance.

Because of the aging population today’s idea of younger workers buying stocks and bonds for higher gains is wishful thinking. Gross sees considerable downward selling pressure on prices of many assets, since retired boomers will greatly outnumber the younger workers.

And, he foresees that the young owners of these inspired investment accounts will end up with paper that has to be devalued as retirees sell their own holdings.

No matter how you cut it, Gross cautions, the plan is a recipe for either dramatically lower investment returns for their social security savings accounts—or significantly higher inflation.

Bottomline: Gross says borrowing tons of money (in the form of today’s massive federal deficits), so people can bet on the future of the U.S. stock market, solves little.

What does Gross foresee in the future? Be prepared to retire later than you expected, as the upcoming shortage of workers will in one way or another force many Americans to stay employed. He also says the American workforce will need to significantly increase its immigration. And finally, Americans must become comfortable with our economic fate increasingly being tied to foreign interests, since foreign investors help keep our interest rates low with big purchases of American bonds.

Editor’s Note: On February 16, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan gave his qualified blessing to President George W. Bush’s call to create private investment accounts as part of an overall for Social Security, but Greenspan expressed concerns about the high costs. He advised Congress to proceed with care. “Doing nothing is risky; doing any solution is risky,” Greenspan said. “The problem that we have is there’s a huge transition cost...any solution cannot get around the fact that there is a huge hole in the system and we have no choice but to fill it.”


“What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

Years ago, one of the most visible people in the barter industry said the #1 reason why the industry wasn’t farther along in its development was due to a “failure to communicate” by those in the business.

This realization was the genesis of The Competitive Edge newsletter, now into its 18th year of publication. Trade exchange owners who use this powerful marketing and promotional tool are never guilty of “failing to communicate.”

As the owner of a trade exchange you must stay in front of your clients. Informing, educating, and inspiring them, because your clients’ bartering is a relatively small percentage of their overall business. So if you don’t keep their interest and enthusiasm for trade at a high level, you lose.

Your primary aim, like all other businesses, is to get your clients coming back for more. Every extraordinary business (and every trade exchange owner who wants to be extraordinary) knows that the customer you have, is a lot less expensive to sell than the customer you don’t yet have!

Want to take your exchange to a higher level? Use The Competitive Edge newsletter in your operation—it “sells” the many benefits of working through your trade exchange like nothing else!

To learn more about The Competitive Edge newsletter and how it can help build your trade exchange, click here.


Boat Swapping Site Introduced

Boat owners vacationing in foreign waters are now able to swap boats on www.boatswop.com. The new web site launched in January is the brainchild of British sailing enthusiasts.

Owners can register their vessels and then search for other boat owners in their own countries or other areas of the world. Swapping boats saves the cost of chartering a boat far from home. Plus owners can advise one another on the best local harbors and marinas, as well as share concerns about local conditions and hazards.

Non-members can search the site to see where boats in the service are moored, but only members can get details or make contact with other owners.

So far members are primarily from Britain, and no trades have been arranged yet. Membership is free for the first 200 people registering their boats. Afterward, it is $92 with an annual subscription fee of $92.


Just published...BarterNews issue #64, get your copy now! Orders will be shipped within two business days of publication. Click on Order Form.

(If you are not sure if your subscription has lapsed, e-mail your name, address, and zip code to bmeyer@barternews.com.)


Mark Burnett Keeps Striking Deals

Two weeks ago, in our February 8 newsletter, we reported on reality-TV czar Mark Burnett’s lucrative trade with Martha Stewart (of her company’s stock). Seems Burnett is now wearing his barter hat permanently, striking deals as he goes, and in the process making way more than his producer’s fees ever could.

His latest effort includes “investing” in Everlast which will feature prominently in his boxing show, The Contender, premiering in March. Everlast couldn’t pay the traditional product-placement charges, so Burnett (and his five partners on the show) cut a deal for 5% of Everlast’s stock per season.

Burnett is happy, suggesting that it’s likely the stock price will go up due to the show’s exposure.

For his upcoming CBS show Rock Star this summer, featuring INXS’ search for a new frontman, Burnett has already secured rights to 50% of any subsequent touring and CD sales.


Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

You can obtain useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue of BarterNews.


Corporate Incentive Trends Moving In Positive Direction

The profile of the typical incentive program goes something like this: A 12-month campaign, designed to increase sales across the board, has as its reward a group travel program to a domestic destination such as Florida, Hawaii, or California. The CEO selected the destination and an in-house team handled the logistics. Just over 200 employees qualified for the trip, and per-qualifier spending topped $2,650.

That’s a quick snapshot of the aggregate results of the 2004 Corporate Incentive Trends survey. The complete story is far more nuanced.

For example, a third of respondents are designing incentives to deal with targeted goals such as growing product awareness or increasing sales of a particular product. Only one in four respondents is using outsource partners such as incentive houses and independent planners to help with incentive travel logistics. A full 50% of respondents’ current or upcoming major incentives are planned for international destinations or a cruise ship. And, 75% of site-selection decisions for incentive travel are made by either C-level executives or sales-and-marketing management.

Overall, incentives—and especially incentive travel rewards—appear to be trending in a positive direction. Almost two-thirds of respondents reward their salespeople and distributors with either individual or group travel. And while per-person spending on these programs shows steady growth, when budgets do shrink respondents say that cutting the number of qualifiers is their least likely response.

Most respondents (81%) geared their incentive programs to salespeople, and about a third (35%) ran dealer-distributor programs, but other workers were not forgotten. Half the people who answered the survey had incentive programs in place for their non-sales employees.

Not everyone is rewarded equally, however. Salespeople and distributors are more likely to have travel incentives dangled as their reward than non-sales employees. Although group travel is the No. 1 reward for all three groups, non-sales workers are almost as likely to be offered merchandise and cash for good performance.


Every barter company in the world is listed on our web site, click through to our Global List of Barter Companies.


New Web Site Offers Skin For Sale

You may have heard about the young man who sold space on his forehead to an advertiser. Now a web site has emerged where advertisers, and those selling some skin, can meet and greet...www.bodybillboardz.com.

Interested advertisers can choose from nine categories. In addition to arm ads, there are belly, head, leg, T-shirt, back, chest, international bodies, and pets.


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Here & There...

  • The 270,000 Tejon Ranch, located 70 miles north of Los Angeles, is moving forward in a partnership agreement with the New York-based Rockefeller Group Development Corp. to get the property designated as a foreign trade zone. Tejon Ranch Company is contributing the land, valued at a little more than $65 million, and Rockefeller Group is putting up the same amount in cash for development.
  • Corporate barter company ICON has acquired senior advertising executive Evangeline Ames-Murray. Prior to joining ICON she held an executive position at BBDO NY, a global leader in advertising and marketing.
  • Have you signed up to receive a summary via e-mail of the Tuesday Report every week? If not, go to the top of this issue (right hand corner) and sign up!
  • JupiterResearch reports that spending on e-mail marketing in the U.S. jumped 38% to $2.1 billion in 2003 (latest year for figures). In comparison, spending on direct mail rose 5% to $48.4 billion in 2003, per Robert J. Coen, senior vice president of forecasting at media-services firm Universal McCann. Coen estimates that direct-mail spending climbed 8% to $52.2 billion in 2004, helped in part by the recent restrictions on telemarketing.
  • The 2000 U.S. Census found that nearly one in five U.S. residents—about 47 million people—speaks a language other than English at home. That’s double the number from 1980, and pay television companies are noticing the fact. EchoStar Communications leads the field in providing TV viewing options these days—from Chinese variety shows to Mexican soap operas to Polish news.
  • For the first time ever, the median price for a condo exceeded the median price of a single-family home in the United States. Out of a total 970,000 existing condos and co-ops sold in 2004, the median condo price rose 17% to $193,600...a record high (from $164,100 in 2003). In contrast, figures from the National Association of Realtors show the resale price for a single-family home was $184,100.
  • What’s the largest net income (or quarterly profit) ever for a U.S. public company? Exxon Mobil’s recently posted fourth-quarter profits of $8.4 billion is considered the biggest ever! Exxon’s market value is $357 billion.


We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
Copyright BarterNews 2005. Redistribution of BarterNews content expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of BarterNews.

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