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10 apr

Keeping Winners Happy – Even During Tax Season!

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Since we are almost down to the wire for the end of tax season, I thought it fitting to bring up a few thoughts about sweepstakes prizing and paying taxes.  Yes, the reality is if you host an online sweepstakes or contest and offer consumers the chance to win exciting and sometimes expensive prizing, Uncle Sam will be waiting to receive his fair share from the winners come April.  Despite this, running a sweepstakes or contest is a great way to engage and excite consumers, and if you keep the few items below in mind, there won’t be any surprises at tax time and your winners will walk away with positive feelings due to their winning experience.

  • Clearly outline in the official rules that the winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with the prize.
  • Provide the potential winner with an affidavit of eligibility and release form that again reminds them that if they agree to accept the prize, they are responsible for all taxes and fees associated.
  • Suggest that the potential winner speak to their tax consultant regarding their personal financial situation and what accepting the prize will mean to them.
  • Refer them to http://www.irs.gov for more information on paying taxes on sweepstakes prizes.

These are just a few suggestions, but my number one recommendation, if your budget allows, is to offer a cash prize to offset the winner’s taxes. Your gesture of providing cash to ease their tax burden will go a long way!  Ultimately, the main reason you run sweepstakes is to engage and reward  new and current consumers, so make sure that in addition to their great prize, you reward them with the best possible experience.

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01 apr

PaleyFest 2014 Featuring AMC’s Mad Men

By: Julie Link | In: Advertising, Television

Several members of the Sync Marketing team had the opportunity to attend the PaleyFest this year, and it did not disappoint. From the location at the world famous Dolby Theatre, a panel discussion featuring the cast of Mad Men, to the very dedicated fans who swarmed the stage before the moderator was even finished with his closing monologue; it was definitely a night to remember.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the PaleyFest, here’s a brief description directly from the Paley Center website:

The William S. Paley Television Festival, founded in 1984, is an extraordinary interactive pop culture event produced by The Paley Center for Media that connects fans with the casts and creators of their favorite series. Named for the founder of both the Paley Center and CBS, PaleyFest is two weeks of events where the audience sees episodes or highlights of the featured work followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the cast and creative team.

If you have a favorite television series, and that series just so happens to be featured in the PaleyFest, this is the event for you. Not only were we sitting in one of the most beautiful theaters which is filled with so much culture, history, and now home to the most retweeted selfie of all time, but we were sitting there watching the season six finale of arguably one of the best shows in television history on the big screen. Once you’ve viewed your favorite show like that, it’s hard to go back to watching it on your couch, believe me!

After the episode ended, the moderator came back out and introduced the cast. From there began an hour-long question and answer session. It’s very similar to the Actor’s Studio, but instead of an audience filled with college students, you have an audience filled with martini sipping Mad Men fans. Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?

Sunday, April 13th marks the 7th and final season premiere for Don Draper, Peggy Olsen and the characters of Mad Men, and you can be sure that the Sync Marketing team will be tuned in and ready to see how this exciting advertising show will end.


20 mar

Marketing the Insanity Better Known as March Madness

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Today not only marks the first day of spring, but kicks off the start of March Madness;  a great time of year for marketers, especially in the sweepstakes and contest arena. Many companies create tournament bracket challenges that offer huge cash payoffs for the lucky entrants as they know the appeal is undeniable to the young, sports-minded, social-preoccupied market. And since this dedicated (or obsessed) demographic will be entering into pools regardless; whether it’s with work, friends or family, it’s a winning opportunity for marketers.

Quicken Loans partnered with Yahoo! Sports this year to present their Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, aka the Tourney Pick’em 2014. Even though the chances are slim, it’s a fun way to get in on the spirit of March Madness. Once you place your bets, you can’t help but think that your bracket has a chance – at least until you realize 50% of your picks are out in the first round.

Another popular bracket bonanza is the ESPN Tournament Challenge, giving participants a chance to win a $10,000 Best Buy gift card. And for those who didn’t start off on the right foot for March Madness (Ohio State anyone?), there is always the Fox Sports Second Chance Bracket.

It’s seems that regardless of whether you’re a marketer, college basketball fan, or just playing for the chance to win, everyone goes a little mad for this month that is March.

 


06 mar

To check or not to check, that is the question.

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

We are continually asked our opinion on whether or not a pre-checked opt-in is recommended when running a sweepstakes or contest.  I always reply with the question, “What are you trying to accomplish?”

If it’s a true numbers game where quantity rules out over quality, then pre-check away!  Critics of this suggestion may say that you aren’t necessarily reaching your target audience by “tricking” entrants into opting in.  My feeling is that if you have even one shot at capturing their attention you’re ahead of the game.  Let’s be honest, on more than one occasion I’ve received an email from a “deal” website that I opted into and ended up purchasing a weekend getaway I wasn’t planning on or looking to take.  Sometimes, it just works!  It’s all about the content and the timing.  However, I would like to offer a few caveats –

Let them know what’s in it for them.  We always recommend that the opt-in copy clearly outline exactly what the entrant is agreeing to receive.  Emails, mailings, whatever it is; be transparent.

Speaking of trickery, this one always gets me…Don’t hide the opt-in check box and copy!  Both should be located within the entry form and not hidden in small print at the bottom of the page.

If you love someone, set them free..!  You must offer consumers the option to easily remove their information and prevent themselves from receiving future communication if they so choose. We advise this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s the law!  See CAN-SPAM Act here

So again I ask, “What are you trying to accomplish by pre-checking the opt-in box?” If you want to gather a high number of possible new customers so that you may provide them exclusive and one-of-a kind content, then I highly recommend the pre-check.  Pre-checking the opt-in may produce more loyal customers than you anticipated.


28 feb

What goes into creating the perfect logo?

By: Julie Link | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Well, based on my recent experience, a lot should (or needs to) go into creating the perfect logo. So when Sync decided to change its logo, it wasn’t an easy task. You know when you look at something for too long it begins to look strange? Or when you say a word over and over again it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore? Try it. Say, “orange…orange. orange. orange.” Try saying that out loud twenty more times. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? That’s what choosing a new logo felt like at times.

I knew we wanted some sort of icon along with the text of our company name, but wasn’t sure how it would all come together. Because it had to be unique, but not weird, it had to make sense. Am I even making sense? After reviewing about 200 logos, came this circular icon. When I saw it, I actually felt something. I felt movement and synergy, which is something that I think defines our agency. We are in constant movement researching and staying up-to-date on all the latest changes in the marketing field. We pride ourselves on bringing our ideas to life while making the client feel like we’re a part of their team. So with that, our icon was born.

Next, came the colors. Not only do I like the colors, but I enjoy seeing two colors blend into one. It feels very left brain right brain to me. Sync also has two owners, with which the blending of the colors offers a great visual representation of that fact. In addition came the meaning behind the colors. Magenta, blue and purple are assigned a lot of different meanings, but the words that really stood out to me were; trustworthy, loyal and reliable for magenta, caring and balanced for blue, and imaginative for purple. All adjectives that Sync Marketing represents. For example, we are always there for our clients day or night, we take real pride in our work, and love the ideation phase of a project.

Last came the font. We strive to provide unparalleled services like no other company, so why not have a font that is also like no other company? Once we selected the two fonts we wanted to use, we tweaked them ever so slightly so that no one else would have that combination of letters appear the same.

So what goes into creating the perfect logo? A lot of thinking, passion, Google searching, blinking, “step away”-ing, and love. A whole lotta love. We hope you enjoy our logo as much as we do.

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