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2011

 

November 23, 2011

From Sun Magazine: Cracking the Christmas code with the perfect gifts


The executive vice president at Horich Parks Lebow Advertising loves books — everything from science fiction to political biographies, travel, photography, politics and sports. He dislikes arrogant people and people who choose gifts for him. He said he enjoys the process of selecting an item to purchase.
1. Subscription to the National Review ($29.50 at magazines.com) — When one of your passions involves politics, that can be tricky to capture. Sure, you could purchase the latest political biography, but chances are your political buff has it. A subscription to a respected publication like the National Review would likely please the most discerning political junkie.

 

Nov. 15, 2011

Seductive Home" Author Moll Anderson Named Life & Style Expert For Magazines.com


Moll Anderson, a former Emmy Award-winning entertainment reporter, lifestyle expert and author of the new interior design guidebook, The Seductive Home, has been named Life & Style expert for Magazines.com, it was announced today. Her new blog series, Ask Moll, launches on November 15th and will cover a breadth of lifestyle issues, from fall and winter fashions to decorating and entertaining. Her posts will subsequently appear on Mondays on http://www.magazines.com/blog, the official blog of Magazines.com.
"I'm thrilled to work with Magazines.com, the definitive destination for information, advice and entertainment," offered Anderson. "In the months ahead I hope I can have a positive effect on people's lives. And if you have a subject you'd like me to address, go ahead and 'Ask Moll!'"
"We're pleased to bring the fashion, lifestyle and trend spotting expertise of Moll Anderson to our readers at Magazines.com," said Jay Clarke , Magazines.com CEO and President. "Magazine subscribers are a sophisticated and discerning audience, and we're proud to introduce them to Moll Anderson through her new blog series, Ask Moll."
Magazines.com reaches millions of consumers through its website, blog, multiple social media outlets and consumer e-mail communications, and is the oldest and largest magazine subscription service on the Internet. In 2009 and 2010, Inc. magazine named Magazines.com one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.
Moll Anderson has brought her lifestyle expertise to audiences across the U.S. Along with penning a monthly column for Nashville Lifestyles and appearing in such national publications as InStyle and Cosmopolitan, she's been seen on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," Style, HGTV and E! Following her first book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life, comes her next, The Seductive Home, which will be available this Holiday season at select retailers and online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. In the 224-page, full-color hardcover book, Anderson guides readers to discover their own personal style and creativity in order to bring elegance, sophistication and even an indulgent sense of decadence to a home. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Anderson is also co-founder of the Charlie and Moll Anderson Family Foundation, a nonprofit focused on such issues as hunger, education, housing, children and other areas.

 

Nov 14, 2011

Magazines.com Adds 2,000 Products to Website Catalog in Time for Holiday Shopping


Magazines.com, the largest and oldest magazine subscription service on the Internet, has added more than 1,000 books and more than 1,000 magazine titles to its online catalog.
Magazines.com CEO and President Jay Clarke said the company began planning to add new products earlier this year as part of a strategy to broaden its business.
“We are excited to offer our customers a much larger product selection just in time for the holiday shopping season,” Clarke said. “Adding 2,000 plus products to our catalog is a great opportunity to strengthen our customer promise to provide outstanding selection, simplicity and service.”
Magazines.com reaches millions of consumers through its website, consumer email and social media accounts. In 2009 and 2010 Inc. magazine named Magazines.com one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.
To receive exclusive holiday deals, sign-up for the Magazines.com email newsletter at http://www.magazines.com/help/email

 

September 28, 2011

FMA Day Brings Digital Into Focus


The 2011 Fulfillment Management Association [FMA] Day, hosted at the Princeton Club in New York City, zeroed in on the challenges publishers are currently undergoing, namely the hurdle of profiting in the digital space.
The day-long seminar opened up with an hour long session on how fulfillment vendors can assist publishers in increasing revenue.
Steve Strickman, founder and president of SES and Company, introduced panelist Karen McEnroe, senior director of customer management for Hearst Magazines and Jim Patterson, senior director of operations for Bonnier Corporation, among others. He asked what strategies their companies are employing to make more money.
“One of the first things that I would recommend is that you get a list of services that your vendor offers,” McEnroe told the audience. “You’d be surprised—I discovered that there were some services that CDS offers that I wasn’t aware of—know what your fulfillment house has to offer.” She said that once an individual does that a company could offer cross-sells, gift renewals and request payment if the customer owes money.
“We also perform a lot of online generating opportunities,” said McEnroe, who was inducted into the Fulfillment Hall of Fame during the FMA Day luncheon. “There’s lots of opportunities in your customer care system where in addition to satisfying the client’s need to perform some kind of activity—change of address or email address—you can offer online upsells and cross-sells, even on cancellations. Someone might be cancelling one magazine but maybe they’d like a different magazine.”
Strickman inquired as to whether a fulfillment vendor should provide Web related services and tools or is it more effective for these third party vendors.
“You have to partner with your primary vendor,” said Patterson. “You also have to recognize other vendors, many times on a cost basis. They are much cheaper for some things. I think it’s not realistic to expect our primary subscription vendors to be the expert at all of this. You’ve got to pick and chose and you have to make sure that everyone is willing to open up their system—that’s a real key thing. It’s an openness on the primary vendor’s part.” Publishing and E-Commerce
One session during the event that focused on digital strategies for publishers was “E-Commerce: What Clicks!”
Moderator Patrick Hainault, vice president of marketing for Inc. Magazine and Inc.com, asked panelists Lee Huang, product director for digital newsstand and emerging content at Barnes and Noble, and Adam Piotrowski, senior manager of SEO and social media for Magazines.com, what e-commerce opportunities or strategies are currently available. “For me, it’s not so much as offline versus online,” said Huang. “We really want to be fully integrated, whether it’s on the marketing side, the production side or the technology side. We need to really look at things holistically—we have titles to sell, brands to sell and there’s a print component, a digital component and a Web component. For Barnes and Noble, currently we work with our publishers as partners to drive their entire business forward so we’ve got a number of digital editions online and we recently launched with Time, Inc. a joint subscription where you get both print and digital. If you’re a print subscriber to People you’ll get the digital edition at discounted price on the NOOK.”
Looking at analytics to identify bundles that might not be immediately obvious is another strategy Huang recommends to boost sales digitally. Hainault asked how to get a customer to stay loyal with a company once they have already purchased or signed on for products. “I think the big thing for us is customer service,” said Piotrowski. “At the heart of it it’s making it very easy for them to get in touch with us, any way they need to. We find that we get a lot of people calling us that aren’t even our customers but they find our number easily online. With the not so personal nature of the Web, getting to be able to connect with an actual person when you need to is a big plus.”
Being active and making sure your customers can interact with your brand right away leads to a strategy where “9 times out of 10 whenever we have an issue it’s quickly resolved,” said Piotrowski. “It’s worthwhile.” Hainault wondered what the role of social media is in e-commerce. “It’s about cultivating relationships,” said Piotrowski. “All the work we’re doing there is helping us to serve other people.” Huang said when he has worked with b-to-b publishers he noticed that they were focusing on their traditional market, paying little attention to recent college graduates that might be interested in their publications. “The entire generation was lost for a lot of b-to-b magazines,” he said. “If you’re not in social you’ll be losing those people.”

 

July 11, 2011

Briefly: Nashville Technology Council freshens its board


As previously reported here, NTC's 2011-2012 chairman is Chris Sloan, a corporate and intellectual property lawyer at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz; David Klements, CEO of Qualifacts (owned by former Gov. Phil Bredesen) has become NTC's vice chairman.
Prior to Qualifacts, Klements was with Inflow/SunGard in downtown Nashville.
Sloan and Klements are likely to serve through 2013, at which point Klements would, in keeping with NTC custom, step up to lead as chair.
Glenn Acree, a math and computer-science professor at Belmont University, is NTC's treasurer. Newcomers to the NTC board include Tony Bradshaw, VP-Internet Business & Technology, The Lampo Group; Rich Brown, sales manager, XO Communications; Drew Fassett, VP/GM, Peak 10 here; Jeff Fields, CIO, Magazines.com; Mark Gilliam, CIO, Ardent Health Services; Timothy Haynes, director, Infrastructure Services & Global Sales Finance, Nissan; and, Connie McGee, ARD/Director-Advisory Services, KPMG.
NTC board members re-elected included Bill Grana, CEO, PureSafety; David Houghton, CIO, Advocat; Stephanie Woodard-Majors, COO, Zycron; and Gary Seay, CIO, Community Health Systems.
In case your usually keen eye has been dulled by Summer's heat, here are links to boards or recent board announcements from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce (CoC); the Nashville Health Care Council (NHCC); Nashville Capital Network (NCN); and, Leadership Health Care (LHC).

 

May 01, 2011

Three-step email program reaps high response rates


Founded in 1999, Magazines.com, a magazine subscription service, sells more than 2,000 publications. The company has used email to communicate with customers for nearly a decade, but most of those email communications were "general broadcast," says Nikki Getman, email marketing director at Magazines.com. Getman and Joyce Shirer, the company's VP of marketing, decided that it was time to begin targeting those messages for better relevance and results. Two years ago, Magazines.com initiated tests to examine how timeliness impacted customers' interest in subscribing to 
another magazine. 

The company found that customers were more responsive to subsequent email communications within 60 days of their initial purchase. Based on that research, "we wanted to turn them into multiproduct buyers, because we knew that they were so much more responsive," says Getman.


STRATEGY: To leverage that responsiveness, Magazines.com worked with email marketing firm e-Dialog to create a first-time buyer program. The program, launched in September 2010, delivered a sequence of up to three emails to new customers within seven days after that customer made their first purchase on Magazines.com. 
 The first email comprised a welcome message sent the day after the initial purchase that included a limited time discount for a second purchase. Another email followed three days after the initial purchase featuring a $5 gift card toward future purchases. According to e-Dialog, roughly 95% of the site's new customers did not complete online customer profiles, 
including the submission of birthday information. To close that gap, seven days after their initial purchase, new customers received a third email asking them to complete their profiles and therefore join Magazines.com birthday program, which delivers a $5 coupon to customers on their birthdays.


RESULTS: The first-time buyer program generated better results than Magazines.com's regular email program, which is delivered on average twice a week, says Nicole Eaton, account manager at e-Dialog. 

The first-time buyer program resulted in three times higher open rates, 11 times higher clicks and 15 times higher revenue per email among the 95% of customers who had not filled out their profile information. Among the 5% who had submitted that information, it resulted in nearly double the open rates of the regular program and five times the clicks and 17 times the revenue per email.

 

April 15, 2011

Can Magazine Subscriptions Go Viral? Newsstands Come to Facebook


Do people really want to share hot subscription offers? Can the social graph supercharge content sales the same way it has sparked gaming? Magazines.com wants to find out. The subscription reseller has partnered with social commerce company Moontoast to create subscription storefronts that run in Facebook. Special offers like the inaugural 10 issues for $5.00 sub to Fitness magazine will run within a Facebook wall and can be shared by fans.
Dubbed a Distributed Store by Moontoast, the unit bears Magazine.com branding and behaves much like an app. Users can choose subscription terms from a drop-down menu and go through the entire checkout procedure within their Facebook wall. By offering deep discounts and keeping the shopping experience in a single app screen, the model is designed to capture impulse buys that can be passed along. A Share tool pops up a large range of mechanisms for passing the deal along not only through Facebook but Twitter, email and blog posts. The widget-like module even can be embedded in a site. See below.
There is an art to using Facebook and social sharing as an e-commerce vehicle, says Marcus Whitney, CTO and co-founder of the Moontoast engine behind the plan. Until recently, Moontoast worked mainly with music artists on social networks. In one recent effort for singer Kina Grannis a special bundle offered special extra tracks, a signed CD, tote bag and a picture book. “In the first 24 hours there was over $20,000 in revenue for an offer that was promoted only through Facebook and Twitter. Over the course of a week, she increased her fan base by over 11,000, had over 300 shares of the store itself in other people’ status updates and the store got over 1,000 likes,” he says.
The company also works with Maxim magazine and college magazine sports publisher Avalon. Whitney says whether you are selling CDs or magazines, making the user in a social network feel that they are being treated as special is critical. “A really important thing about social commerce is that people do a lot of price shopping. But if they know that there is nowhere else to get an item then it seems special. It forces them to the channel and makes them realize that it is coming directly from the artist or the brand. That authenticity generates sharing.” The sharing dynamic can be powerful. Whitney says that the average person on Facebook has about 100 friends, and one out of ten of them will see a post you make to their wall from your newsfeed. "So your reach extends beyond you fan base times ten," he says.
Magazines.com has accrued over 12,000 Facebook “likes” and plans to leverage its growing social network to promote the offers. CEO Jay Clarke says, ““We believe that the best way to create lasting success is to focus on over-delivering. The ease of the shopping experience with the Distributed Store is a big plus for our customers.” Magazines.com claims 1 million active customers who choose among 2,000 offers in 60 content categories.

 

 

2010

 

December 13, 2010

'Tis the Season to Buy Gifts, Earn Frequent Flyer Miles

If you're not earning frequent flyer miles for your Christmas shopping—at least for those purchases made at online retailers—you're not getting full value for your money.
Most of the larger airline and hotel loyalty programs have established extensive networks of online retailers—unofficially dubbed mileage malls—that award miles or points for purchases. And many of the retailers participating in those mileage malls are offering bonuses for purchases made through the end of the year.
To make your shopping—and mileage-earning—easier, here's a summary of the miles-for-shopping promotions on offer from the major airline and hotel programs:
Air Canada At press time, Aeroplan members could earn triple miles for purchases at Lands' End, and double miles at MyJewelryBox.com, Ice.com, Indigo, and Forzieri. Most offers remain in place through the end of the year.
Alaska Through January 15, 2011, Mileage Plan members can earn double miles for shopping at 11 online retailers at Mileage Plan Shopping: Magazines.com, Shoes.com, Red Envelope, ProFlowers, Nordstrom, Harry and David, Sephora, Sharper Image, Barnes & Noble, Sears, REI, and Best Buy.
American Through December 31, AAdvantage members can earn double miles at 15 online retailers: Walmart, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Lands' End, Nordstrom, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, Eddie Bauer, Omaha Steaks, Athleta, Kmart, eBags, Barnes & Noble, and Gap. In addition, program members earn a 500-mile bonus when total spend reaches $500 during the promotion period.
Choice Hotels Through December 31, members of the Choice Privileges program can earn triple points on purchases at Sears, Dell Home, and Kmart, and double points at Finish Line, Home Depot, Lancome, Walmart, Macy's, Ghirardelli, Microsoft, Sharper Image, North Face, HP, Lands' End, Omaha Steaks, Cheryl's, Kiehl's, Barnes & Noble, Harry and David, and JCPenney.
Continental Continental doesn't have a holiday-specific bonus, but OnePass members can earn double miles any time of the year when shopping at ShopOnePass merchants and charging their purchases to a Continental Airlines Chase credit or debit card.
Delta There's no single bonus or discount on offer for purchases at SkyMiles Shopping. Rather, there's an assortment of offers from various merchants, ranging from free shipping to price discounts to mileage bonuses.
InterContinental Hotels Through December 31, Priority Club Rewards can earn triple points for purchases at Dell Home, Sears.com, and Kmart.com, and double points at 18 other Priority Club Rewards Shopping merchants: Barnes & Noble.com, Cheryl's, Finish Line, Ghirardelli, Harry and David, homedepot.com, HP, JCPenney, Kiehl's, Lancome, Lands' End, Macy's, Microsoft, Omaha Steaks, Restaurant.com, North Face, Sharper Image, Restaurant.com.
JetBlue TrueBlue members can earn double points through January 5, 2011, for purchases made through ShopTrue at Walmart, Toys R Us, Overstock, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Barnes & Noble.
Marriott Marriott Rewards members can earn triple points through December 31 at Dell, Kmart, and Sears, and double points at the same 18 online retailers participating in the InterContinental promotion described above.
United Through December 31, Mileage Plus members can earn double miles at 10 Mileage Plus Shopping retailers: Walmart, Sears, eBags, Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Barnes & Noble, Lands' End, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. In addition, program members earn a 500-mile bonus when total spend reaches $500 during the promotion period.
US Airways Dividend Miles members can earn up to four bonus miles for every dollar spent at the Dividend Miles shopping mall through December 30, up to a maximum of 100,000 bonus miles, as follows:
Earn one bonus mile per dollar spent on purchases totaling $100 - $249 Earn two bonus miles for purchases totaling $250 - $999 Earn three bonus miles for purchases totaling $1,000 - $7,999 Earn four bonus miles for purchases totaling $8,000 or more Bagging the Best Deals

If you're unwaveringly loyal to a specific program, look for the merchants offering the most miles for the same or similar items. That new laptop, for example, might be sold by a range of retailers, all of which feature different mileage payouts. If the price is the same, opt for the deal with the most miles.
If you're looking to earn the most miles or points regardless of the program, you'll want to do some comparison shopping. While the list prices of merchants will be the same at all mileage malls, the rewards may be different.
Many of the larger online merchants participate in multiple programs, but their award policies can differ significantly from program to program. Barnes & Noble, for instance, awards four miles per dollar in Delta's program, including the holiday bonus, but six miles in American's program, and 10 miles in Continental's. So in this case, if you're not wedded to a particular program, you could earn more than twice as many miles by earning Continental miles over Delta miles.
Whether you stick to a preferred program or target the most miles, it pays to take advantage of overlapping offers.
So, for example, to maximize the mileage impact of the American and United promotions (which are very similar), you'd make it a point to spend $500 at retailers that offer double miles—earning the 500-mile bonus on the total, plus double miles for the individual purchases—and earn one extra mile per dollar by charging the purchases to the credit cards affiliated with those programs.
And to be sure you're getting the best possible deal overall, look for vendors that are offering discounts and free shipping, as well as mileage bonuses.
There's still plenty of time to be a smart Santa and get mo', mo', mo' as you ho, ho, ho.

 

December 13, 2010

KioskoLatino.com Becomes the First Affiliate E-Commerce Site Dedicated Exclusively to the Hispanic Community


KioskoLatino, LLC has launched a membership website dedicated to serving US Hispanic consumers. Members will have access to hundreds of product and service offers, some of which are exclusively provided by national retailers eager to reach this rapidly-growing market. Hopkinton, MA (PRWEB) December 13, 2010
KioskoLatino, LLC announced today that it has launched http://www.kioskolatino.com , the first ever online Hispanic Affiliate Marketing Program, bringing together the largest US minority group with national Retail, Service, and Financial institutions interested in tapping this incredibly fast growing market. Members can shop online at many of the websites they would normally shop but by linking to them from kioskolatino.com they will have access to special promotions and offers often created exclusively for this market. "The purchasing power of Latinos is nearing $1 trillion," said Vincent Vargas, Co-Founder of KioskoLatino. "We know that marketing departments throughout the industry have the Hispanic consumer in their sights and we understand many of the challenges they will face in trying to reach them. At the same time, we know that Hispanic online purchases lag the general population but those numbers are improving. Our program provides a one-stop online mall where Latinos can find exclusive offers from retailers they already know and who are extremely eager to win them over as customers."
In celebration of the launch, KioskoLatino is offering a free trial membership through the end of 2010. Members of the Hispanic community interested in joining may use promo code KL4Free thru December 31, 2010 to take advantage of this offer. The content is delivered in either English or Spanish but not always both. Members will find navigation and access to retailer links to be easy and straightforward. Some retailers have chosen to offer a navigation path to their Spanish website but most will direct the user to the English version. The company expects that to change as more Hispanics shift to online shopping. KioskoLatino currently offers approximately 80 special deals from over 30 early-adopting retailers and both numbers are expected to double within the next 60 days. Some of the offers were created exclusively for KioskoLatino while others can be found on different membership sites. As membership grows, the majority of the offers will be exclusive or semi-exclusive. The following is a list of companies who have become KioskoLatino partners:

Allergy SuperStore Bagking Beauty.com Boca Java, Inc Chocolate Covered Co Drugstore.com eilenbergerbakery EurosportSoccer.com Fandango HP Download Store Kazoo Toys Kmart Leonisa Magazine Line Magazines.com MLB.com Modell's NBAstore.com Pingo Precious Moments ProFlowers Puma Red Envelope rushmypassports.com Sears en Espanol Sears Outlet Sears.com The Natural Store The Watch Co Vitamin Emporium World Soccer Shop

About KioskoLatino: KioskoLatino, LLC was founded in 2010 as an affiliate marketing company exclusively targeting Hispanic Consumers and retailers focused on attracting the Hispanic market. The company facilitates online purchases by its members by providing access to special offers often tailored to the buying needs of the Latino community.

 

December 15, 2010

Holiday gifts for co-workers


Buying gifts for co-workers can be pretty tough. You have to draw that line between "fun" and "appropriate" so you don't offend anyone or come across as unprofessional (especially to your boss).
You probably don't know all of their favorite candy flavors, colors and candle scents, and you'd probably feel weird asking. You have a ton of other gifts to buy, so you're probably sticking to a pretty tight budget, and to top it all off, you may not even like all of your co-workers.
All of this can add stress to an already busy holiday season, so to take the hassle out of office gift-giving, here are our ideas on what to get everyone in your office, handily broken down into two price points: Inexpensive and dirt cheap.

Your work friends
You can have a little more fun with the people in your office that you've worked with for a while or know well. You're probably in tune to their likes and dislikes, and you won't have to worry that they'll look at you funny if you give them a "unique" gift. (Or at least it won't bother you if they do look at you funny.)

Inexpensive Shuffle board game, $29.95, UncommonGoods.com. Okay, so this one might actually be a gift for you and your co-workers, but still. This table top shuffle board is the perfect break room accoutrement, and will surely be appreciated by any fun-loving colleague. Purse hanger, $19.95, RedEnvelope.com. What's the point of having a great bag if your ruin it by throwing it on the floor at work every day? Give the girlie-girls at work these pretty purse hangers that will hook right onto their desks.

Dirt cheap Origami sticky notes, $3.99, ThinkGeek.com. This ordinary-looking set of Post-its comes with directions on how to turn your sticky notes into extra-ordinary origami art. A productive way to pass down-time (when you're not hitting the shuffle board table). Bacon-flavored popcorn, $4.95, ThinkGeek.com. You carnivorous co-worker will love you for this, but it's actually a perfect gift for all perennial work-snackers ... it's even safe for vegetarians!

Your boss Even though you might be on friendly terms with your boss, it's best to steer clear of the funny or gag-gifts when it comes to your superiors, to maintain an appropriate level of respect. (Some of these gifts are obviously gender-leaning, but we trust you'll figure out what's what).

Inexpensive Shea butter hand cream trio, $26,Loccitaine.com. Three reasons to give your boss this trio of hand creams: They're luxurious, desk-size and under $30. Collar stays, $48, Unicahome.com. Add some excitement, and a touch of class, to your boss's uniform of dress shirts with mother of pearl collar stays.

Dirt cheap Fleece throw blanket, $7.50, OldNavy.com. It's almost impossible to get an entire office of people to agree on a comfortable temperature. Give your boss the gift of temperature control with this fleece blanket. iPhone stylus, $9.99, ThinkGeek.com. iPhones are great, except that sometimes it's hard to maneuver their touch screens with our imprecise fingers (especially for men). This stylus, specifically designed for the iPhone, will finally make it as efficient as it's meant to be. And for that, your boss will thank you. People you don't know very well "So this guy just started in my office last week, right ..." We will cut you off here and say, yes, you need to get him something, too. Same goes for anyone else in your department that you may not know or get along with very well -- Unless you're totally okay with being the mean one, Mr. Grinch, you shouldn't exclude people from your gift-giving.

Inexpensive Charitable donation gift card, any denomination, TisBest.org orCharityGiftCertificates.org. There are now a variety of websites that let you choose a charitable donation amount, but your recipient gets to choose the charity it goes towards. "I am Not a paper cup," $16, UncommonGoods.com. Teach the new guy about company cost-saving initiatives. Give him this "I am not a paper cup" mug, so he'll no longer have to waste all that Styrofoam in the kitchen. Dirt cheap One-month Netflix subscription, $10,Netflix.com. For less than $10, you can give a co-worker a whole month of DVD rentals and online movie watching. Magazine gift subscription, from $10, Magazines.com. Don't know the person's favorite magazine? No problem. This general gift certificate allows the recipient to choose their own subscription.

Additional options: Didn't see anything that would suit your colleague? Try one of these fit-for-anyone gifts:

Inexpensive Box Appétit lunch box, $22.00; UncommonGoods.com. Brown-baggers will appreciate this awesome lunch-box contraption, and take-out types may even be inspired to change their pizza-ordering ways. It even comes with a matching fork. Season of Sharing basket, $59.95, HarryandDavid.com. In lieu of purchasing separate gifts for each of your colleagues, get one gift basket as a holiday treat for your entire department.

Dirt cheap Travel slippers, $10, Brookstone.com. If your boss or a colleague is the type that's always in an airport and never in the office, try a jetsetter-friendly gift like travel slippers, which can be easily thrown into a carry on to make plan rides more comfortable. Starbucks gift card, any denomination, Starbucks.com. Five dollars will cover any grande-skinny-double-mocha-no whip drink on the menu.


General guidelines: As a rule, when it comes to company gift-giving, here are a few rules to follow: 1. If you have an office "best friend," exchange gifts outside the office. Not only will it be more personal to you, but it won't make your other co-workers feel left out. 2. Don't get too personal. There's no need to find out your boss's favorite perfume, for example, and purchase a bottle. That would just be strange. 3. Don't worry too much. No need to stress out about finding the perfect gifts for your colleagues. That's the job of their family and friends. A little token of appreciation is all that's needed.