Hot Trend For Christmas 2009 – Board Games | Board Games

One of the hot trends for Christmas toy shopping this year may be the resurgence of the board game. That’s right, sales of many old prepong favorites such as Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, and Operation are increasing, while sales of video gaming systems such as PlayStation are dropping. Spurred by a combination of recessionary belt-tightening by shoppers, and a tendency to wax nostalgic during hard times, board game sales have increased 5% since May 2008 while toy sales in general have decreased 2%, with electronic games sales off by 12%.Toy manufactures are responding to this new trend by updating their familiar games to have a more current feel. For example, the depression era game Monopoly has replaced it’s familiar shoe playing piece with a laptop. You can also purchase property using the new credit card machine. In place of removing a wishbone in the game Operation, you can now remove a cell phone finger, and the board game Clue has new characters, including a dot-com billionaire.Marketing of board games is also being updated. Hasbro , the manufacturer of games such as Operation, Candy Land, and Scrabble has begun to promote “family game night” in response to the growing board game trend. Their Website features “games of the month” along with suggestions on how to host your own “game night”.Technology has recently made its debut into the board game world. with a game called Scene It?. This game uses a DVD to display movie and television clips along with the traditional playing board to engage players in this fun trivia-style game.So, what are going to be the hot board games for Christmas 2009?A top seller in many stores continues to be the strategy game Settlers of Catan. In this game, geared for ages 10 and above, the players battle to collect resources, building settlements and cities that ultimately determine the winner.Another top seller this year is Quiddler, a quick paced word lovers game in which players attempt to create words from dealt cards. Like Scrabble players try to use high point letters to get the highest score. Points are also given for most words, so even small words can help you win.What serious board-gamers are picking as their top game overall is Puerto Rico. If your looking for a super fun strategy game that can teach your kids lessons in economics and commerce, this is it. Recommended for ages 12 and above, players of this game take on the roles of various plantation owners around the 1800′s. The winner is determined by who positions themselves best to deliver their product across the sea to Europe.With a combination of gambling and trivia, Wits & Wagers may again be top seller for 2009. In this fast paced, easy to learn game, players not only try to answer fun, and sometimes crazy questions, but also bet on the accuracy of other players answers to crown a winner.If you’re looking for a game which can be as enjoyable for a five year old as well as an adult you have to try Blokus Classics Game by Mattel. In this strategy game which lasts about 30 minutes, you place colorful pieces on the board in an attempt to be first to play all your pieces before your opponents. Blokus is a fast game, easy to learn and fun for both adults and children.With the economy still in the dumps, and many board games selling for under $20.00, they are sure to be a popular present found under the Christmas tree this year. So pick up one while there’s still a good supply on store shelves. You’ll find out like many others already know. You forgot how much fun playing a board game with your family and friends can be.

Marketing Your Business Services | business services

Marketing your business services, in essence, is an art form rooted in knowing your market inside and out. This is the single most important component to your campaign and should be treated like a plant in a ceramic pot sitting on your office window sill. You must accommodate it’s every need to keep it alive and flourishing.Let’s start with defining your business. What are your business goals? In order to be a successful company, you must maintain a target focus. Master an approach to three or four major industries. As you specialize in these industry segments, you will have in your possession, the knowledge required to cater to their needs and increase your competitiveness. Illuminate all of your success stories within these industries to sell yourself into new business accounts.Your marketing material is your identity. It should represent your brand and services. The more creative you are with your design and copy, the better chance you have to platform yourself as not just a role model, but a leader of your field. This component introduces us to the next element: your industry profile. Reach out to external organizations and participate in their programs. This is a great way to showcase your work and contribute to the community. You may consider trade shows, open houses and most importantly volunteer work. These are great avenues for showcasing your capabilities.Return on investment (ROI) is most clearly demonstrated with direct marketing. The best way to increase the return on your investment is through target marketing. This is done by picking through large amounts of your customer data and specifying your campaign and content towards a particular demographic and sale. This element will help you to build your appeal not just to prospects but also to your existing customers.Remember, you have many audiences: your customers, your community, the media and your employees. Tailor your strategies and activities to your purpose with each of them.http://www.mp4print.com

Corporate Behemoths in Healthcare: Will the Patient Win? | healthcare

The past several weeks have been abuzz with the mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare arena. CVS has purchased Aetna for a cool 69 billion dollars and went through the regulatory process with flying colors. Amazon (on their quest for world domination) has teamed up with Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and financial powerhouse J.P. Morgan to use their resources, influence and power to, according to Buffett, “tackle healthcare costs in our nation.” Buffet also said that because the U.S., at 18% of our gross domestic product, the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage, at 3.3 trillion dollars annually. He believes the private sector can handle healthcare better than the government.Albertson’s, a grocery company, is ready to acquire retail pharmacy giant Rite Aid. And now, Cigna, the insurance behemoth, is buying Express Scripts in a deal for upwards of 50 billion. Software giant Apple is dipping their toe into employee health, while things are starting to rumble at Wal-Mart, the retail monster.After all of that information, you need a breather. But will a disruption by these companies be the thing that makes healthcare better in the U.S.?Yet, as a patient advocate and caregiver supporter, my main concern is this: Will all of this be a win for patients, caregivers and families? You know – the healthcare customers?While the shake-up in healthcare is oh-so-long overdue, is the combination of behemoths the right way?First, this healthcare shake-up won’t be the last of the behemoths to combine. I would be willing to bet on that. We have yet to hear from the likes of Microsoft, Walgreens, Google or any of the Generals (Electric, Motors, Mills). What about other insurers? Where is Humana or United Healthcare in this game?Many companies will follow suit. It’s just a matter of time. I liken it to the most popular girl in high school getting into a relationship with the most popular boy and becoming a force to be reckoned with. Everyone will see the trend, its benefits and potential, and jump into it. Sorry for the high school analogy.The point is everyone sees that it is time for change in healthcare.So what’s in it for patients/customers?Something we must question is this: Are these corporations in it for the billions of dollars that healthcare is worth or do they really want better conditions, cost and efficiency for patients? Will the combination of all these behemoths reach past their employees and meet the needs of all patients in our nation? What are their motives?My mission is to empower patients and caregivers to navigate healthcare confidently and correctly, to save them and all parties involved time, money and frustration. I show them that they have rights and responsibilities in their Healthcare journey and must take a strong and active role in their care. Patients are the lifeblood of the healthcare system.None of these behemoth combinations will be successful without patient/customer buy-in. They’d better put all of their goals into a nice and helpful package for patients so they feel supported and empowered. If these corporations can show how the patient will be helped and how their alliances can save money for all parties involved, they should have no trouble in the regulatory processes they face.But I implore all of you behemoths… DO SOMETHING.Do something for the 64% of Americans who avoid getting care because they are afraid of the costs.Do something for the working poor who make too much for Medicaid and not enough to afford skyrocketing healthcare premiums.Do something that shows how healthcare can actually be affordable and where service prices do not have to be excessive.Do something to empower patients and establish real healthcare cost transparency.Do something about actual care and system processes to show that it doesn’t have to be as difficult or time-consuming as it is currently.You behemoths have the power to change healthcare for the better for the foreseeable future and possibly, forever. Please don’t look down from your Ivory Towers upon us mere mortals and pity us or hope for the best. Do something.Make it a win for patients, and we all will win.