Four Great American Media Services Publications Recognized as Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Finalists

Four magazines published by Great American Media Services have been named finalists in this year’s Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards. The Folio: Awards honor excellence in editorial and design for the nation’s publishing industry, with awards spanning 31 categories from Cover Design to Editorial Team of the Year.

Great American Media Services represents three of the seven finalists in the B-to-B Full Issue Eddie Award Agriculture/Farming category:

Gift Shop, redesigned in 2015, is one of six finalists in the B-to-B Redesign Ozzie Award category and the sole honoree in the retail market. Published quarterly by Great American Media Services, Gift Shop delivers the latest product trends, retailer interviews and more for the nation’s specialty gift shops.

“We are extremely proud to be honored alongside such incredible magazine titles and fellow publishers,” said Matt McCallum, CEO of Great American Media Services and publisher of the Agriculture Division. “Having four of our publications within the lineup of finalists is a testament to the dedication and talent of the Great American Media Services team.”

“We are beyond proud that Gift Shop has been named a finalist in the B-to-B Redesign Category,” said Kim Baker, publisher of the Retail Division. “This was a long-term collective effort of our Retail Team, and I’m pleased that the attention to detail and forward-thinking design elements are being recognized industry-wide.”

The winners of the 2016 Eddie & Ozzie Awards will be recognized at a celebratory luncheon on Oct. 31 during The Folio: Show in New York City.

About Great American Media Services

With more than 50 years of experience in business-to-business communications and marketing, Great American Media Services is a leading source of industry information for the agriculture, horticulture, retail and sports industries through its 14 print magazines, related digital communications and supporting industry events. In addition, Great American Media Services offers a number of additional marketing solutions for clients to engage with prospective customers on a multitude of platforms. Visit for additional information.

Why your marketing plan should include video

Does your marketing plan include video? If not, you might want to make a few changes.

Here’s why:

  • 96% of B2B companies are planning to use video in their marketing over the next year.
  • 52% of marketing professionals say video provides their highest ROI.
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line increases your open rate by 18%.
  • Featuring a video in an email increases your click through rate by 65%.

Videos are of one of my favorite marketing tools.

Not only do they encourage customer engagement, they bring people coming back for more.

Some of our customers have had great success with “How-To Commercials” and video product launches. If your customers see one video about your company, they are likely to except more. Give them what they are asking for!

Because videos are the next big thing, social media networks are putting emphasis on video, too. YouTube is bigger than ever. Facebook now allows you to upload videos directly to your profile and go “live” from their mobile app. Instagram allows 15-second clips. And Periscope is hitting the ground running. What more could a marketer ask for?

If you don’t have the resources to create videos on your own, we’re here to help! We can work with you at an industry trade show or in your corporate office.  Reach out to your integrated marketing consultant for more information.

It’s time to #CelebrateEveryDay on social media

People love to celebrate the exciting things in life. Birthdays, holidays, life-changing events, you name it and people are acknowledging it on social media.

Are you?

If not, it’s time to get your Facebook and Twitter business pages in on the fun. It’s time to #CelebrateEveryDay!

Visit and see what I’m talking about.

We have something to celebrate (almost) every day of the year. Today, March 1, is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, tomorrow is National Old Stuff Day and March 6 is National Frozen Food Day.

I’m not suggesting that you acknowledge every day, but I am suggesting that you celebrate the days that relate to your business.

If you’re a blueberry grower, share a picture on March 10 of you baking for National Blueberry Popover Day. If you’re a potato grower, share something on March 14 for National Potato Chip Day.

Don’t be afraid to encourage your customers to share their photos, too. Commonalities can lead to committed customers.

Give it a try! Sit down with your team at the beginning of every month and put together a plan.

After you’ve selected the appropriate National Days to celebrate, start looking for products — or people — that coordinate with the event.

As always, track engagement and conversation to measure the post’s success. If your announcements get people excited about visiting your store or farm, start incorporating coupons.

Get creative, have fun and #CelebrateEveryDay on social media.

Is Instagram the next big thing for business?

New social networks are introduced monthly, so it’s hard to tell which is going to be the most popular in 2016.

But if trends continue, Instagram is a must-have for your business.

We currently use Instagram for two of our publications (@StationeryTrend and @GiftShop_Magazine). In the past, we used the social network to post photos of the publications, share popular products seen at trade shows and give inspiration to our followers.

That won’t change in 2016, but we will be adding something new. To beef up our subscription efforts, we will now post sales and specials on Instagram.

We tried it for the first time this month and it worked!

Here’s how we did it.

Step 1: Select an eye-catching photo that accurately represents the sale or special discount you’re offering. Our designer used a bright colored background with simple, black “Subscription Special” text. It was the perfect amount of simplicity.

Step 2: Write something catchy. Instagram gives you a lot of space to say what’s on your mind, but be careful not to say too much. It’s important to get to the point and get your followers excited about what you’re selling.

Step 3: Update your Instagram bio. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, links posted on Instagram are not clickable. Instead, we finish our sale photo captions with “Link in our bio.” and direct people to the top of our page. This step seems a little out of the ordinary, but it’s common practice on Instagram.

Step 4: Monitor the post. One of the most important things to remember when working with social media is to focus on engagement. Watch your sale post for a few hours and respond to any comments or questions. People expect a reply.

New things are always a tad intimidating, but Instagram is worth a try. If it doesn’t work, reallocate your resources. Trial and error is the name of the game!

Great American Media Services continues growth with expansion of Custom Marketing Services

Business-to-business media and event management company Great American Media Services has expanded its Custom Marketing Services in an effort to further support client needs. The newly established Custom Marketing Team, along with publishers from each group, will evaluate, propose and implement strategic customized solutions tailored to each individual client, capitalizing on the extensive multimedia resources of the company’s 14 individual brands and industry expertise of its staff.

“Each industry we serve — whether specialty retail, team sports, horticulture or agriculture — comes with its own unique set of needs and challenges,” said Matt McCallum, CEO of Great American Media Services. “Our goal is to serve as a strategic partner for each and every client, allowing them to grow their businesses through our many channels, extensive databases and strong position within each industry.”

Custom Marketing Services offered through Great American Media Services include custom e-blasts such as case studies, e-newsletters, digital catalogs and product announcements; social media management and sponsored posts; video production and promotion; YouTube Channel development and maintenance; brand surveys and research; event planning and promotion; blog content and posting; integrated editorial in print and online; website consultation, development and launch promotion; website content; custom print and digital publications; and custom marketing campaigns.

“In a less formalized way, we have already successfully demonstrated the impact of custom marketing solutions developed for clients,” said Courtney Coon, Custom Media & Content Manager. “We’re excited to formalize the process, add to our services and assist clients in ways that will help grow their businesses and increase sales.”

To date, Great American Media Services has successfully implement customized marketing solutions for such clients as Agro-K; BASF; Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO; ePlantSource; EuroAmerican; and Nufarm.

For more information regarding the company’s custom marketing services, contact Coon at 616-520-2141, or email  Current and prospective clients interested in custom marketing services should contact their individual Integrated Marketing Consultant to initiate the process.

Great American Media Services CEO recognized at 2015 Great Lakes EXPO

Matt McCallum, owner and CEO of Great American Media Services was honored at the 2015 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO for his dedication to the agriculture industry.

McCallum was recognized by Michigan State Horticultural Society with its Distinguished Service Award and by the Michigan Vegetable Council with its Master Farmer Associate Award.

“It was a great honor to receive these awards from the industries I grew up in,” McCallum said. “Our mission with our publications is to engage, educate and inspire growers every day. You make it easy to love our jobs!”

He grew up on a family farm in St. Clare County, Michigan. McCallum’s Orchard grew fruits, vegetables and operated a farm market. At age 12, McCallum began working at the market and learning the value of hard work.

McCallum purchased Great American Media Services in 1993. The company currently employees 42 professionals in seven state and produces 14 national trade magazines. Great American first specialized in print, but has since expanded to include digital media and social networking.

“My staff does all the heavy lifting to put our publications out on time,” he said. “I need to thank the MSU Research and Extension folks who really help support us through writing columns, being expert sources for our stories and providing excellent field days and education programs where we get many of our story ideas.”

“The growers have always been gracious enough to have us on their farms and let us do interviews and take photographs,” McCallum said. “ Without the growers there is no industry — without their dedication to the boards they serve on and the ideas they bring to make the industry better — this industry would never survive.”

Matt and his wife Julie have been married for 25 years and are parents to four children, three girls and a boy. They currently live in Sparta, Michigan on 64 acres. The family grows pumpkins, gourds and fresh-cut flowers.

In his free time, McCallum coaches the Sparta High School varsity girls’ basketball team. He’s seen success on the court and in business.

Visit to watch a video interview with McCallum.

Suggesting your Facebook Business Page to your email contacts

Facebook doesn’t offer very many things for free — other than creating a business page at no charge, it’s pay-to-play and the people behind Facebook are making millions.But with a little digging, I discovered a free feature that business small and large can capitalize on.All you’ll need is your email list.

Unlike most blogs in the modern world, ours does not allow photos, so bear with me as I explain how this all works.

First, delete all information from your email list except for the emails themselves. Second, save the document as a CSV. (Facebook will not accept Microsoft Excel spreadsheets unless they are saved as CSV files.)

When your email list is organized and save properly, the only thing left to do is upload.

To do that, visit your Facebook Business Page and click on the “More” tab on the bottom right of your cover photo. On some pages this tab will have no words, but three black dots. Select “Suggest Page” from the dropdown menu.

The site will prompt you to “Upload your email contacts to suggest your Page to them on Facebook.”

Click the “Upload Contacts” button that lines up with “Contact List File.” Select the CVS file from your computer and wait for it to upload.

Select all contacts to show your suggestions to. Always double-check to make sure your list uploaded correctly before pressing “Preview Suggestion.”

How cool is this? Press “Finish” and all of your email contacts that are already on Facebook will see the message in their News Feeds.

According to Facebook, “you can upload contacts up to five times for a maximum of 7,000 contacts per day per page. You can upload a maximum of 5,000 contacts at a time.”

I’ve found it’s easiest to upload list much smaller than 5,000 (around 1,500) because of upload and processing time.

Facebook does not provide analytics with this tool, but we’ve seen a bump in new “Likes” since using it.

Introducing our NEW Marketing/Events/Custom Media Team

As our family of publications continues to expand, we are boosting our Marketing Team to meet your growing needs.

Melissa Gray, group marketing director, came to us from Emerald Expositions in December of last year with 15 years of marketing experience.

Melissa is responsible for conceptualizing and implementing marketing strategies across all titles and organizing our first major trade show ­– Team Sports Conference & Expo, scheduled for June 2016. If you have questions about our offerings, events or marketing materials, call Melissa at 616-520-2153 or email her at

Stephanie Leon-Santiago, marketing and events manager, joined the Great American Media Services team in September. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, audience development and publishing.

Stephanie will organize and execute events across all GAMS publications, as well as assist with marketing efforts. Following her first order of business – finalizing the December Great Lakes EXPO Farm Market Bus Tour – she will play a large role in our first trade show launch. Stephanie can be reached at 616-520-2166 or

Courtney Culey, custom media and content manager, has been with Great American Media Services since May of 2013, but is a new member of the marketing team. She held previous titles of Digital Engagement Editor and Digital Content Editor.

Courtney is responsible for growing the custom media branch of the business. She will work with advertising clients to create and implement unique media packages customized to their needs and targeting their ideal audience. Courtney can be reached at 616-520-2141 or

If you have marketing questions, don’t hesitate to contact the team. We are here to help!

Great American Media Services acquires Horticulture Group of Scranton Gillette Communications

Business-to-business publisher and event management company Great American Media Services has announced its acquisition of Scranton Gillette Communications’ Horticulture Group, including two magazines, Web properties and two events for the garden retail and greenhouse production industries. Greenhouse Product News, Lawn & Garden Retailer, Big Grower Executive Summit and the Plant Health Management Conference will join Great American Media Services’ portfolio of publications, Web properties and events effectively immediately.

“We’re very excited to introduce these industry-leading publications, events and top-notch team to our growing business,” said Matt McCallum, CEO of Great American Media Services. “With a strong foundation already established in both the retail and agriculture industries, these new assets are the ideal complement to our existing publications and services. We look forward to creating exciting new opportunities among them for the benefit of the customers and the industries they serve.”

The existing leadership, sales and editorial staff for both publications will continue in their roles and work closely with the management, circulation, design, marketing, events and support staff of Great American Media Services to ensure a seamless transition and uninterrupted customer service to advertisers, readers and event attendees.

“Serving the horticulture industry has been an extremely rewarding experience for our team of dedicated professionals,” said Ed Gillette, president and CEO of Scranton Gillette Communications. “While we shift our focus to continued growth and the various other industries we serve, we’re pleased to transition this business to a company we’re confident will uphold the high-quality editorial standards and excellent customer service that our readers and advertisers have come to rely on.”

Greenhouse Product News reaches more than 19,000 floriculture professionals, providing extensive coverage of new plant varieties and offering greenhouse growers technical and practical information essential for successful plant growth and business profitability. Its award-winning editorial has led to eight Tabbie Awards and made it the widest read magazine in the floriculture industry.

Consistently ranked as the most-preferred publication in the industry, Lawn & Garden Retailer serves more than 19,000 single and multistore independent garden centers throughout the United States. Each issue aims to inspire, inform and spotlight innovative products in an effort to help garden center owners and operators run their businesses efficiently and creatively.

Aligned with Greenhouse Product News, the twice-annual Plant Health Management Conference educates growers and greenhouse personnel about the latest disease identification, integrated pest management and plant growth strategies for growing healthier, more profitable plants. In addition, the annual Big Grower Executive Summit offers exclusive insight into the changing dynamics facing North America’s leading greenhouse production facilities and provides owners and others on a decision-making level with a roadmap for future growth.

Encourage people to see you first on Facebook

Did you see?

Facebook, the ever-evolving social media marketing tool, has changed … again. (I know. It’s hard to keep up, but we’re here to help!)

Before I explain the change, I want to get you up to speed on what’s happening with Facebook. Marketers are calling it “Facebook Zero,” meaning organic reach for business pages will eventually hit zero.

It’s only a matter of time.

As of right now, about 2 percent of your Facebook fans see your posts automatically in their News Feed. When “Facebook Zero” hits, that will shrink to 0 percent and your reach will be based on fans that are seeking out your information and coming directly to your page.

I know what you’re thinking: “Facebook is going to kill my social media presence!” But that’s not totally true. If you build a dedicated fan base, and follow a simple marketing tip, you’ll be just fine.

It’s time to encourage your fans to see you first. And if they listen, it will help to offset “Facebook Zero.”

When a fan likes your page, they are given two options: “See First. See posts at top of News Feed” and “Default. See posts as usual.” Unless otherwise specified, “Default” is automatically selected.

Here’s where you come in! Offer your fans a little instruction and show them what to do.

We took a screenshot of our Facebook page with “See First” selected and plan to use it in our marketing materials with a “Make sure you’re seeing us first on Facebook!” message.

Easy, right?

But remember, if you’re going to encourage people to make your page a priority, you must make your fans a priority. Commit to posting once or twice a day and post content that is sure to engage.

If someone opts to see you first, you can’t afford for them to change their mind.