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Rachel (Merkin) Welt

Rachel Merkin is the lead content writer for GiftCard Partners and is passionate about all things marketing. Getting effective messaging from a company to its audience gets her out of bed in the morning. When she’s not finding innovative ways to discuss the gift card industry and how it might affect your business, she could be running, or spending time at the beach.

Recent Posts

Motivation Show Information

Come visit the GiftCard Partners team at the Motivation Show 2010 in Chicago starting tomorrow. GiftCard Partners will be located in booth 4631. More info to follow, including on our Facebook page and on twitter @gcpsolutions.

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It is not even Halloween yet, and already the retail market is preparing for the holiday season. With online shopping, online coupons, and online marketing becoming ever-growing pieces of the holiday retail puzzle here are five predictions about email marketing for this year's holiday season 1. There will be more activity on Thanksgiving 2. Social and rich media campaigns are not going to have legs after mid-November 3. More retailers will include discount codes into their preheader text 4. More emails will feature share-with-your-network (SWYN) links as a strong secondary call to action 5. Mobile-friendly emails will become more common For more information on holiday 2010 email marketing predictions visit: http://directmag.com/email/0913-email-marketing-holiday-season/

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Carrot or Stick..That is the Question

The biggest conundrum that has existed in employee health care has always been whether to punish employees for bad health behavior, or reward employees for good behavior. This dilemma seems to be resolving itself, and the incentive based "carrot" approach is winning out. Employers are using more incentive based methods rewarding employees with discounts, gift cards, loyalty based incentives for good health behavior, as well as less tangible rewards such as educational materials to help employees keep up the good work. It seems that the days of uncertainty and health care fees are ending. As an employer if you are wondering whether to wield a fear-inducing stick over your unhealthy employees, or offer the healthy ones a rewarding carrot in hopes they set an example, reach for the veggies. For more information visit http://www.colloquy.com/article_view.asp?xd=7400

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Spot Rewards Winners

It is our pleasure to present the winners of a "Spot Reward" contest in which administrators of employee health and wellness programs submitted stories of their most successful employees. Each winner received a $25 CVS/Pharmacy gift card. The first winning submission came from Richard Miller-Murphy Chief of Strategy & Marketing at the New York Blood Center in New York, NY, featuring employee Dawn Jones. "Dawn Jones is a coordinator as part of NY Blood Center’s Wellness Committee and just did an outstanding job (again) coordinating the almost 100 NY Blood Center employees who ran in the recent JP Morgan/CHASE Corporate Challenge. She was the person who helped arrange transportation from our many sites to Central Park, helped coordinate the cool tee-shirts that promoted BLOOD DONATION, and was there as information central on the day of the actual run working with our other support members Olga, Ronald, Maribel, Robert, Adria, and Deon. Way to go Dawn!" The second winning submission came from Darla Mullner Director of Human Resources at the Rush Copley Medical Center un Aurora, Illinois, featuring two employees: Carol Byrd and Tammy Chapman. "Rush-Copley Medical Center has had an Employee Wellness program for over 15 years. Currently, our program focuses on Virgin's Healthmiles where employees enroll, wear a pedometer, download the steps into a website, and earn rewards. We have about 40% of our 1,600 employees enrolled. This program is well received by our staff, and is coordinated by our Employee Health Nurses, Carol Byrd and Tammy Chapman. Points are also earned through completing wellness testing where free cholesterol, glucose levels are performed." Congratulations to all of our winners!

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Preventing Health Problems, and High Health Care Costs

As health care costs soar for businesses (especially small businesses) it is important to remember that 90%of all health care costs come from preventable illness. With that in mind, as an employer the easiest way to keep health care costs down is to promote health among employees. Some of the easiest ways to do this is to promote healthy lifestyle choices in the workplace, and identify participants in the health care program that are at risk for illness. By targeting at risk individuals and offering preventative care options, it allows your company to make a small investment in prevention to avoid much larger health care costs for both the company and the employer further down the road. Only 5% of total health care costs go to preventative care; but if more dollars went toward prevention the total health care costs for businesses would decrease dramatically. One way to promote preventative health in the work place is by using the CVS Select Card which works for all your Health and Wellness, HAS, and HRA programs. This is a selectively filtered card based on the IIAS database, and current FSA recipients of the CVS Select Gift card are able to purchase from the following o Baby Care, Allergy remedies, First Aid, Pain relievers, Home Diagnostics, o Oral Hygiene, Stomach Remedies, Nicotine Replacements, Cough and Cold o Remedies, and Eye and Ear Care o Filters out purchases such as cigarettes and alcohol. o Cards are available in flexible denominations and are reloadable.

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