Women Leadership Matters in Business

ThinkstockPhotos-614875172There are plenty of lists in business and the news. However, they frequently only represent one half of the human race with men. The fact is, women can be just as tremendous as business leaders, and they are showing their capability daily. Here are five women we all can take a lesson from in how they function and perform as leaders and would provide great case studies if the higher education system would recognize them:

1. Mary Barra

General Motors has been in the heat of regulatory and litigious battle over faulty car ignitions that were known by its management to exist but were allegedly tolerated for cost savings. However, it has been Mary Barra who has been at the helm of the company leading it back on the correct path. And Barra is no stranger to the car world. She worked her way up from the bottom through engineering and then through administrative management as an insider. She is the most powerful American car company CEO yet most American drivers know nothing about her.

2. Ginni Rometti

If your name is on a government file somewhere, there’s a good chance Rometti’s company product has touched it. As the CEO of IBM, Rometti’s products and services have the widest reach and are used worldwide. Ginni Rometti was also an insider, starting with IBM as a system engineer in 1981 and then working upward into management. Today, her decisions impact every big company and government that relies on large database systems and related hardware, but many in the tech field would be hard-pressed to remember her name on a test.

3. Meg Whitman

Probably one of the most recognizable of women business leaders due to her run for Governor of California in 2010, Whitman today is the in-charge CEO of HPE (formerly Hewlett-Packard). Whitman first gained fame as hard-charging CEO of eBay, launching its massive growth in the 2000s, but she was already on the executive track well before. Although she resigned in February 2018, Whitman continues to redefine her role as one of the longest-lasting CEO role models for women in business. And many wonder what Whitman’s next step will be in 2018 as the leader has reincarnated herself multiple times.

4. Marillyn Hewson

Another insider who worked her way up the ranks, Hewson started with Lockheed-Martin in 1983. In her earlier executive capacity, Hewson has held key roles in operational leadership in a company that competes with the biggest brass for top aviation contracts from the government, military, and industry. Since 2015, she has been aggressive on the military market, reading the tea leaves for a resurgence in military spending. Her strategy was correct, especially after the latest Presidential election results. Most would not expect to see Hewson next to generals in photo ops, but she is the face of Lockheed-Martin on Capitol Hill.

5. Debra Crew

When people think of a cigarette company CEO, they visualize an older man with thinning hair and a cigar. They don’t think of Debra Crew. Yet this CEO has cut her teeth in PepsiCo, Dreyers, and as a veteran intelligence officer prior to her executive days. Crew’s challenge is huge, making a company work in a world where smoking seems to be a dying market. And since her start as CEO the company has grown in capitalized market value by 16 percent.

These five women are not models, actresses, or famous wives. They are battle-hardened CEOs worth their title and with billions in market investment at their fingertips.


Oversized Table Talkers Start Conversations



Oversized table talkers, a larger version of table tents, are an affordable and creative way to get your message in front of your audience.

Oversized table talkers typically feature a large triangular tri-fold vertical design or quad-fold vertical design. When designed with eye-catching graphics and bold messaging, they become a great table centerpiece that demands attention.

Oversized table talkers are a great way to dress up any flat surface at conferences and other trade show events, waiting areas, point-of-purchase displays, checkout counters, waiting rooms, restaurants, and coffee shops. They can be used to spread the word about upcoming events or sales, new products or services, as well as industry tips and tricks.

If you’d like help creating the perfect table talker for your organization or business, or you’d like to see examples of what we can do for you, give us a call today at 856.429.0715! Our creative team is eager to help.


7 Reasons Why Data is Important for Your Business

ThinkstockPhotos-636409332In 1854, the idea of clean sanitation in London was generally non-existent in the urban setting. There was no such thing as running water; average people had to get their water supply daily from a local street hand pump. As a result, pests and disease spread quickly, which was the case with a cholera outbreak in London’s Soho district at the time.

Focus In on the Problem

At first, no one could quite figure how cholera was infecting people, and the common thought blamed vapors or people’s breathing. John Snow, a doctor already well established in London circles and practice, focused on a hypothesis that cholera was spread by shared water. However, many of the other doctors and officials thought a water-borne disease idea was a silly concept.

Because the authorities at the time needed convincing with greater evidence and the local cholera epidemic was spreading and killing more and more, Snow devised the idea of taking already known data and combining it with a local map. He already knew from public health records who had become sick with cholera and died as well as their home addresses. Snow mapped their locations in relation to local water supplies.

Interpret the Results

By creating the spatial relationship, Snow was objectively able to display that the cluster of cholera infections in 1854 was within close proximity to one water source – the Broad Street Water Pump. Using this information, Snow then convinced the local city authorities to remove the pump handle, making it inoperative. With the source gone, the cholera infections soon died down, and Snow’s hypothesis was supported.

Business Lessons You Can Glean

So how does John Snow’s smart use of existing data teach us valuable lessons about managing a business? There are 7 gems to glean from his example:

  1. Business data is all around us and can be used for far more than just one purpose if we open our eyes to see how it can be used.
  2. Data behaves in trends and patterns which, frequently, can help make solid business predictions about what is to come.
  3. A company needs both access to its data regularly as well as the right tools to make the information valuable and useful. Too often businesses have one or the other but miss their opportunities because no one has connected the dots so to speak.
  4. Staff need to be trained to think outside the box. The reason Snow was successful was due to the fact that he didn’t follow traditional convention. He asked “why.”
  5. Management has to be willing to listen to alternative options based on good data. London city authorities were locked up in old-fashioned ideas about cholera until Snow showed them obvious connections of disease spread.
  6. Data comes in lots of different shapes and forms. Standardization is key to allowing useful data to be pulled across different operations. Snow had to combine public death records, maps, stories, and authority information in one combined grid to make it useful.
  7. Keep it simple, stupid. Snow didn’t transform his data into an archaic medical thesis. He produced useful information on a simply everyday map that everyone could understand quickly and easily.

Existing business data can be a gold mine for marketing and business strategy if companies are willing to actively take advantage of what they have. That requires an open mind, good skillsets in data interpretation, and a management team that can act quickly on opportunities as they become apparent.


Marketing Your Fundraising Event



Here are a few affordable marketing efforts to consider for your next fundraising event.

  • Apply for a Google AdWords Grant, which is a program that offers free Google advertising to eligible non-profits. To see eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit: https://www.google.com/grants/eligibility
  • Secure sponsors who can provide funding and help attract a broader range of attendees. In return, use their logo on all promotional materials.
  • Focus on your cause and think of ways to attract others with similar passions. For example, consider making a brochure, slideshow, or video that talks about ways that your fundraiser can help the lives of others.
  • Submit a press release with a newsworthy angle to area newspapers and magazines, local bloggers, community calendars, and radio and television stations to increase your promotional efforts.
  • Create a Facebook event page with event information, registration links, and event updates. To keep information current and top of mind, consider posting auction item announcements, success stories, thank-you messages to volunteers, and a Q&A for your audience.
  • Create a unique Twitter hashtag for your event so followers can easily track event-related tweets. Consider tweeting photos of last year’s event, your promotional flyer, and even featured auction items.
  • Distribute flyers at other locations or events that are related to your fundraiser. For example, if you are organizing a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, consider handing out flyers at a dog park or local veterinarian.
  • Ask volunteers, community members, and donors to help spread the word. For example, you can ask others to invite their family and friends, share your Facebook event, and distribute posters and flyers.
  • Increase donor retention by following up after the event. Consider sending a newsletter with an update on how much your event raised, or sending thank you letters, emails, or even phone calls to show your appreciation.

If you’d like help creating affordable print materials for an upcoming fundraising event, please let us know. Our printing team can offer several creative, yet cost-effective ideas to ensure your fundraising event is a success.


How to Lead by Example

ThinkstockPhotos-512124388.jpgAs a leader, the people you supervise watch your every move. To gain their confidence and trust you must provide an example they will want to follow. You could lead via a system of punishments and coercion, of course, if accelerating turnover is your hobby. But motivating them positively is a much better way to go.

To that end, here are 6 examples you can use to become the type of leader that people want to follow.

1. Do not think of them as workers only.

It’s important to keep in mind that the people working under you have bills to pay, troubles to cope with, and possibly a personal tragedy or two in their lives. Approach them with respect and be kind, knowing that they may be going through hard times.

2. Take the time to make them feel special.

It may seem corny, but try keeping notes on the people working under you, just one fact about each of them. It could be something you overhear in the hallway- perhaps a hobby, a favorite musician, a peculiar interest. You can use this information at opportune times to let them you take a real interest in them.

3. Listen to emotions.

This can be hard for some, but with effort, even the most stoic of us can discern emotions. Listen to what employees say and take a moment to mentally tag their statements with an emotion. Just say to yourself, ‘Mark feels frustrated,’ or ‘Sally is disappointed.’ Even if the emotion is irrelevant to the situation, just take a moment to recognize it without judgment. Make a habit of this and in a short amount of time you will begin to behave in a more empathetic way, and they are certain to pick up on that.

4. Don’t fight every battle.

For diligent, hardworking, and logical people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to right every wrong. But there’s a fine line between being a problem solver, and being belligerent. Remember, your internal resources are limited, as are those of the people around you. Trying to squash every small discrepancy will drain your resolve, and it will squash morale.

5. Always let them save face.

‘Praise in public and censure in private’ is the golden rule of leadership. When someone has made a mistake and you must have a word with them, help them avoid the scrutiny of their coworkers. Don’t force them to take the walk of shame into your office after announcing over the P.A. that they are being summoned. They will appreciate it immensely.

6. Display solidarity

Your job is important, and no one would expect you to get into the trenches every day- however, there’s no better way to establish respect and to understand the day-to-day realities of the work your employees do than to occasionally step into their role. It’s not enough to have done it before. You must demonstrate the willingness to do it again. Remember, this isn’t your chance to show them up by outdoing them. It’s a way to develop solidarity and to understand the challenges they face each and every day.

Some of these tips may sound overly soft-handed. But if you apply a little imagination and find a way to maintain your proper station and dignity while following these guidelines, you can transform yourself from a competent manager into an inspiring leader.


Spilled Coffee

kirkThe Way I See It – Spilled Coffee

Take a moment to imagine that you are holding a cup of coffee. Suddenly, someone comes along and bumps into you, causing you to spill your coffee everywhere.

Now, why is it that you spilled the coffee? If you responded, “well, because someone bumped into me, of course,” that’s the wrong answer. The truth is, you spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Here’s the way I see it: Whatever is inside your cup is what will spill out when bumped. The same is true in life. When life comes along and bumps or shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out.

Take a moment to consider: Will you spill joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility? Or will you spill anger, bitterness, harsh words, and overreactions?


A Single Red Feather


It was a brilliant start to a lasting legacy. Conference organizers work hard to stage successful events, helping worldwide professionals network in meaningful ways, with long-lasting benefits. One international conference intentionally introduced certain attendees online before their event. But there was a problem. How would this cohort take their connection offline in a sea of 8,000+ people?

Perhaps a simple, visible strategy would work: these participants placed a single red feather in their name badge. Red feather attendees committed to seek each other out in friendly, approachable, non-threatening ways. By the close of the conference, curiosity and goodwill drove hundreds of new people to request a red feather and to join this informal circle of friends. Why? Because everyone needs a great network to lean on!

Collect Relationships, Not Just Business Cards

Networking is important! A recent LinkedIn study revealed that 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a previous connection. But while 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success, 38 percent said they find it hard to stay connected to (or in touch with) their network.

How can you grow or maintain your personal networking tree beyond online networks like LinkedIn or Meetup? It doesn’t have to be difficult! Even simple steps like participating in webinars, attending conferences, volunteering your time locally, or actively following and commenting on your alumni newsletters can forge and strengthen connections. As one Cornell MBA reflects, “the concept is to stay connected even when you don’t need to, so when the time comes for that extra spark, your network will be able to ignite you on your path.”

Beyond the enjoyment networks bring, a web of professional relationships can be leveraged for great gain. As you strengthen bonds with a specific pool of people, you can enhance the quality of your services, increase customer retention, and gain important contacts and sales opportunities that you might never have accessed otherwise.

While many of us dread the idea of traditional networking, we often forget that building alliances is about collecting friends, not business cards. Remember, your goal is to come to know and enjoy people. If you’ve chosen relationships wisely, it should be fun to learn from others, gain management ideas and advice, and to spur on another’s profit and performance. As you and your colleagues update and encourage one another, the hope is that, ultimately, you’ll become each other’s salespeople!

Local Business Networks Bring Life

Another natural way to overcome networking barriers is to intentionally sow into local business relationships. Local business networks are a refreshing antidote to the isolation we often experience in today’s culture. A thriving local business community helps each of us because it empowers us to grow in our goals, to access important relationships, to collaborate on custom solutions, and to bring inspiration or motivation on the days we need it most.


Coupon Postcards Get Results!



Are you looking for a fun and creative way to ensure your direct mail postcards get noticed? Consider designing your postcard as an oversized coupon!

Coupon postcards are a win-win for you and your audience. Not only are they an affordable way to spread your message, but they also provide valuable savings for your customers.

Here are a few ways to add pizzazz to your coupon postcards:

  • Design the full postcard as a coupon, so when it is redeemed, you can easily track redemption by using the customer information on the back.
  • Consider a unique die-cut shape that is relative to your promotion.
  • Super-size it. Consider an oversized postcard that demands more attention, or even a fold-over postcard coupon, using half as an advertisement, and half as a tear-away coupon.
  • Design your postcard as a heartfelt thank you, and include an exclusive coupon that shows customers how much you appreciate their business.
  • Create a monthly product spotlight postcard campaign that highlights various products or services you offer, and includes a coupon discount.

Print Boosts E-Commerce



If you’re looking for a way to increase your online traffic, print marketing may be the answer.

Many successful online businesses rely on print media to supplement their marketing efforts. Whether it be a product catalog, a flyer promoting a new product, or a simple postcard advertising an upcoming sale, the power of print lives on.

The popularity of print is increasing as people take a break from their phones and computers and are engaging more with printed materials at their leisure. Print materials provide a convenient, relaxing browsing experience without the distractions of other digital media or the eye strain of a computer. Shoppers can browse the items they want, then go online and order when they’re ready.

If you’d like to test the waters and try a few smaller campaigns to see how print can help boost your online sales, our creative team would love to help. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close. Contact us today at 856.4290715 or visit http://www.sjprinter.com



The Best Employee Benefit

The Best Employee Benefit

“Quality is much better than quantity.
One home run is much better than two doubles.”
– Steve Jobs


Work is life, and life is work. While most people wouldn’t say work defines them, employment certainly influences the pleasure or pain we experience. The average individual will spend more than 90,000 hours working in their lifetime. But we’re not necessarily enjoying it. Up to 80% of people are dissatisfied and 40% of people say their job is “very or extremely stressful.” Since work is a fundamental part of our existence, shouldn’t we seek to enjoy it more?

Millennials seem to think so; in fact, 60% of 2015 grads would rather work for a company with a positive social atmosphere even if it meant a lower paycheck. People are recognizing that today’s best jobs include not only great salaries and benefits but also a positive experience of fun and fulfillment. When employees are energized and engaged, they produce higher quality work. Keep in mind that over 80% of employees in Fortune 100’s “Best Companies to Work For” said they work in a fun environment!

Bringing More Joy to the Job

A recent experiment by the University of Warwick tested the effect of fun on workplace productivity. Organizers randomly selected 700 individuals and showed them a series of 10-minute comedy clips or provided them with refreshments. After verifying that these opportunities brought a feeling of “happiness,” employee productivity was tracked through various tasks. For those with happiness triggers, productivity increased by an average of 12 percent. In some cases, it rose as high as 20 percent! For a business to thrive, an enjoyable workplace is essential, so how can we bring more joy to the job?

“Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first.”
–Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”

The physical environment is a critical component. An Arcadis study of 2016 Trends in the Workplace found that “staying well at work” was a primary focus of companies seeking to keep their employees happy and healthy. This included prioritizing work areas that were physically safe, aesthetically pleasing, psychologically nourishing, with several fascinating tips on how to craft well-designed workspaces which have a positive effect on mood, well-being, and productivity.

From birthday bashes to walking meetings and break-time trivia competitions, employers are also injecting more fun into each day. Manisha Priyadarshan, from Sparks experiential marketing, said employees should look forward to coming each day, so one of their core company values is, “work should be fun.” Here’s what that looks like at Sparks:

  • “We run a program called “Mix & Mingle”: employees selected from different departments have lunch and get to know each other. We also run a program called “Food4Thought”, where employees can learn more about Sparks over lunch by hearing presentations from people in each department.”
  • “HR runs a program called “TedEd”: an hour-long live session including a screening of a Sparks-relevant Ted Talk followed by a round-table discussion.”
  • “We have bimonthly “Flash Contests” to inspire people to think about our company’s codes, i.e. send a story of a time when “the client’s problem was your opportunity.”
  • “We’ve hosted a number of fun events: Chili Cook-off, Halloween Party, Holiday Party, Valentine’s Cupcake decorating, Mini March Madness, Earth Day, and Summer BBQs.”
  • “We have recently implemented a Bring Your Dog to Work committee, where a select panel of dog owners and dog lovers will help decide which employees’ pets would make great workday partners by spending a day at the office.”

Looking for more ideas on employee recognition or workplace rewards? Give us a call at 856.429.0715 or visit http://www.sjprinter.com!


Sticky & Sour: The Next Step After a Bad First Impression

ThinkstockPhotos-843963182.jpgWhat are some of your most awkward professional blunders? In a recent social psychology article, Heidi Grant Halvorson shared the story of her friend Gordon and his job interview at a prestigious university:

During his campus visit, Gordon was dining with a senior faculty member named Bob. As they ate, Bob commented on the quality of his lunch. “You know, this is great,” Bob said. “You should try this!” Wary of offending, Gordon cautiously complied, reaching over for a bite. While the interview seemed successful, the job was given to another person. Years later, Gordon found the real reason for the rebuff was this: When Bob said, “You should try this,” he meant, “You should try this sometime,” not, “you should eat off my plate.” Bad manners left a sour taste of lasting consequence.

Knee Jerk Reaction or “Real Jerk” Response?

Humans naturally make snap judgments, and impressions are much harder to undo than to create. “First impressions are very sticky,” says Grant Halvorson, author of “No One Understands You and What To Do About It.”

First impressions are rooted in us and continue growing stronger, influencing future interpretations and causing “confirmation bias” to sway us in the initial direction. Grant gives this example:

“Once we have an understanding of something, we interpret everything that comes after from the vantage point of the knowledge we already have. Let’s say I think you’re a jerk, and the next day you realize ‘Hey, I acted like a jerk,’ so you bring me coffee. That seems unambiguously nice, but that action can be interpreted in a number of ways, and if I think you’re a jerk, I’m most likely to see it as an attempt to manipulate me.”

How to Restart and Rebuild

So what happens if you get off on the wrong foot? Is there any way to overcome awkward introductions? The answering is a conditional yes. We all have graceless moments, but not everyone knows how to repair the damage. Here are a few tips to help you rebuild after a clumsy misstep:

  1. Talk to people individually. Show genuine interest and seek to find common interests. Look for informal opportunities to build facetime, ask questions, and encourage others.
  2. Restart and rebuild. Apologize and move forward by offering evidence of your sincerity. If you’ve been rude, show extra kindness in the next ten conversations. If you’ve been sloppy, make your next twenty projects immaculate. Follow up immediately and consistently, in the opposite spirit of your initial mistake.
  3. Poke fun at your own blunder. Call attention to the big elephant so you can say sorry and laugh! Transparency gives people a chance to empathize and relate rather than judge or criticize.
  4. Offer to help. Figure out what is important to people and use your skills to collaborate or lighten their load. Halvorson says sometimes this takes strategic positioning:

    “The best way is to try to create a circumstance in which they need to deal with you, ideally where they need you in order to get what they want . . . It’s not the most awesome sounding advice because what it means is that, if you have a colleague who doesn’t think that highly of you, what you need to do is get your boss to assign you to work together on something, which is not what people want to hear, (but) when you can help them achieve their goals, then suddenly you are worth paying attention to.”

Ready to leap ahead with a fabulous first impression? Consider business cards, unique promotional products, fun hanging tags, and more. Give us a call to talk options at 856.429.0715!


Win Customers With Colorful Packaging


When you consider the packaging that you will use for your clients’ products, remember that color is one of your channels that communicates instantly. There are thousands of shades of each color, and picking the ones that evoke the emotions you want can help you forge a connection with the consumer. Here are a few tips to help you get what you want.

Ask yourself which one color gets your message across.


Red is vital and exciting. Green can communicate healthfulness or sustainability. Pink can be girly or comforting. In some cases, such as a label for strawberry ice cream, the color associations are obvious. For other products, choose colors based on the mood you think fits the brand. For example, an outdoor recreation store wouldn’t print their hangtags or envelopes in purple since purple doesn’t really evoke the feeling of the outdoors. Instead, they would choose colors that would get the message across while also fitting in with the company colors. And, remember not to overuse color. Too many trying to shout at once just turns into noise. Pick a dominant one, then accent with others.

Always plan a family of products and marketing assets in advance.


Think in terms of how these items will look together. If you have multiple flavors of ice cream labels, for example, plan how all of the different flavors will look lined up next to each other. Creating a unified look will allow customers to identify which products come from your brand. While allowing each product or flavor to be easily distinguished from the others, the use of a strong overall palette will help build your brand.

Always do a color-accurate printed proof.

Inks respond differently to different surfaces. To ensure that your assets will look exactly as you want them to, have a color-accurate proof made before doing your entire run. Even if you have printed that color in the past, testing it first can lead to better outcomes.


Always consider how things will look and how they will make your customers feel. By keeping these vital color rules in mind, you can create packaging, brochures and other assets that make your brand attractive to consumers and easily recognized.


You Shouldn’t Fear Your Competitors. You Should Learn From Them.

ThinkstockPhotos-504013680.jpgAs is true in most industries, there are days where it probably seems like every time you turn around you’ve got some new competitor to deal with. Your market space was already a tight one – now you’ve got to worry just as much about the companies that are vying for the same market as you do about the market itself.

For as frustrating as this can be, however, it also represents a fantastic opportunity that is just waiting to be taken advantage of if you really know what you’re doing.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t actually fear your competitors at all. You should see them as a source of education and inspiration.

The Canary in the Coal Mine

One of the biggest reasons why you should try to learn from your competitors instead of fear them has to do with the fact that you’re trying to accomplish the same goal. You just have two completely different approaches about how to best do that. You’re still operating in the same industry, and you’re still trying to reach the same basic audience. From a marketing perspective alone, this is much more exciting than you probably realize.

Remember that success in marketing comes down to knowing as much about your audience as possible to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time. When your closest competitor launches a particularly successful marketing campaign, sit back and ask yourself “why?” Dive deep into exactly what they did and how they did it. What language choices did they make? What print avenues did they explore? What part of their timing played a roll in their success? Did they do anything particularly noteworthy in terms of font or other design selection?

The same is true when your competitor’s campaigns fail, too. Why did your competitor’s campaign fail to strike a chord with your audience? What mistake did they make? What incorrect information were they working from? How can you avoid this problem yourself?

From a certain point of view, it’s almost like you get to naturally A/B test every campaign that you run without spending additional money because you’ve always got someone trying to hit targets that are very similar to yours. Pay attention to what they’re doing and see what works and what doesn’t. Then, figure out how to adapt this information to your own efforts. Rest assured, they’re probably looking at you in the same way.

You’re All in this Together

An even more important reason why you shouldn’t fear your competitors is also a simple one: you’re truly all in this together. Think about it like this: the audience that you’re trying to serve and the audience that your closest competitors are trying to serve are one in the same. You’ve both pledged to make the lives of these people better through your products and services. Make no mistake, this is a terrific situation to be in for everyone involved.

For starters, competition is healthy. Every time your closest competitor hits a home run with a new product launch or marketing campaign, it shouldn’t make you depressed – it should make you want to wake up tomorrow morning and try that much harder.

Your audience will absolutely benefit from this healthy sense of competition and that is an incredibly important position to be in for all of you.


The Key to Letting Go

kirkOne day, a little boy was walking around his home with an old, colorful, family heirloom vase. When his mother saw him, she said, “Please put the vase down before you drop it and break it.” The boy replied, “But, I can’t get my hand out.”

Becoming frustrated, the mother said, “Surely if you got your hand IN the vase, you can get it out.” Hearing the commotion, the boy’s father came to help. He gently pulled on the boy’s arm and even tried using vegetable oil and soap to free his hand. In desperation, the father said, “I’d give twenty dollars to figure out how to get your hand out right about now.”

“Really?!” the boy exclaimed. Suddenly, they heard a clinking sound and the boy’s hand slid out of the vase. In disbelief, his parents turned the vase upside down and a quarter came out. The little boy explained that he had put a quarter inside and wanted to get it out, so he was clutching it in his hand, but when he heard he could get twenty dollars instead, he let go.

Here’s the way I see it: Sometimes, in order to move on to bigger and better things, we must let go of the little things holding us back. Next time you have a print project coming up, keep us in mind so you can let go of your worries.


Why You Should STOP Checking Your Email First Thing in the Morning

ThinkstockPhotos-845509748Thanks to smartphones and other types of mobile devices, we’re more connected to the world around us than ever before. This certainly has both its advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, it’s never been easier to get more done while on-the-go. You can be just as productive in your office as you can be halfway across the globe on vacation.

On the other hand, this can lead to a definite feeling that “switching off” is impossible – especially when you consider that according to one recent study, 61% of people check their phones within five minutes of waking up in the morning.

From a certain perspective, this makes a bit of sense – after all, if you want to get as much done in a day as possible it stands to reason that you should check those emails that piled up overnight as soon as you can, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some compelling reasons why you should STOP checking your email first thing in the morning, especially if you’re concerned about productivity.

You’re Doing More Harm Than Good

The main reason why you should stop checking your emails right when you wake up in the morning is that you’re doing a lot more harm than you are good. According to one study, 66% of people say that the first thing they do in the morning is either A) check their email, or B) listen to their voicemail. So don’t worry – you are hardly the only person out there making this mistake.

To understand why this is such a problem, consider the fact that according to Forbes the average person checks their email roughly 15 times per day. When people limited their checking to just three times per day, however, their productivity increased, and their stress levels decreased. Part of the problem is that when you check your email, you’re at the total will of whatever messages you find. Everything else gets moved to the back burner. It’s also particularly stressful if you’re waiting for a reply to an important email that hasn’t arrived yet.

So why, exactly, would you want to cause yourself that level of stress in the morning?

By both limiting the number of times that you check your email throughout the day AND by making sure that it isn’t the first thing you do in the morning, you’re in a much better position to get your day off on the right foot. You’re beginning your day in the most stress-free way possible, giving yourself a little breathing room to contextualize your priorities and lay out the day ahead without distraction.

In the End

These are just a few of the many reasons why you should STOP checking your email first thing in the morning. Yes, the instinct to try to get as much done in a day is a strong one – especially for a career-driven professional such as yourself. But you need to understand that you are quickly reaching a breaking point – “diminishing returns” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Minimize the number of times that you check email throughout the day and pick your spots very carefully. Your productivity levels, not to mention your stress levels, will thank you for it.


How One Clothing Brand Is Making Headlines with an Unusual Niche

ThinkstockPhotos-533964527.jpgIt can be hard for a decades-old company to continue to innovate in exciting ways.

Tommy Hilfiger, founded in 1985, has made their reputation through dedication to an “American cool” classic style. The clothing line faltered in the early 2000s as their once-trendy red/white/blue palette and reliance on stripes and bold geometrics fell out of favor.

The Power of Innovation

However, recent innovations at the brand have led to a resurgence, with global sales topping $6.7 billion per year. Their latest move has been an unusual one: creating an adaptive clothing line for adults with disabilities.

The clothes will incorporate features that make it easier for men and women with disabilities to put them on each day and fit them to unique body shapes. These features include one-handed zippers, adjustable hemlines, velcro or magnetic closures, and other items that allow independence and style.

Most clothing in the line adheres to the classic Tommy Hilfiger styles with bold solids, stripes, and blocks of color. The newly launched clothing collection features 37 items for men and 34 for women.

Creativity Equals Gains

About fifteen percent of the world’s population has a physical or a mental disability. When the buying power of disabled individuals is combined with that of their family members, they represent around $6.9 trillion in spending power. Designers who bring their creativity to the challenges of making excellent clothing for this audience have a lot to gain.

What You Can Learn

A few lessons from Hilfiger’s success that can apply to your brand:

Look at who is underserved.

Moving into a crowded playing field can be difficult, at best. Instead of trying to distinguish yourself from the pack where competition is fierce, look at who is not served well by current products. By addressing the needs of these groups, you can carve out a niche for yourself and make an audience for your brand.

Start with a pilot program.

Tommy Hilfiger first created a collection of adaptive clothing for kids last year. When that was a success, they expanded to add the new collection for adults.

Get help from experts.

If you are heading into an area that is new to you, look for guidance along the way.

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit whose goal is broadening fashion choices for kids with disabilities. They also worked on the kids’ line in partnership with adaptive clothing brand MagnaReady.

When working on the adult version of the clothing line, they spoke to a number of individuals to learn about their biggest fashion frustrations. They learned that the big three challenges were adjustability, modified closures, and other factors that made it easy to get in and out of garments. With that knowledge in hand, they built these into every item in their adaptive line.

Doing good does well for you.

It’s hard for fashion brands to make mainstream news. Some brands try to make the cut by doing something shocking, which can yield negative attention that can hurt goodwill for your brand. By reaching out to an underserved audience, Tommy Hilfiger got the attention of the media and got the sort of positive coverage that helps.

Looking where you can fill a need can allow your brand to make a bigger difference in the world. It can also spell increased success for your brand. By identifying these needs, you can provide customers with something they needed but weren’t getting from someone else and build strong and valuable relationships.


Best Practices For Integrating Your Remote Workforce

ThinkstockPhotos-498832710As technology continues to evolve, so do the lives we lead – both personally and professionally. According to one study conducted by Gallup, nearly 43% of employees in the United States spent at least some time working remotely in 2016 – a significant 4% jump from just a few years earlier in 2012. Remote work is such an attractive proposition that it has even begun to play a major role in an employee’s decision of whether to work for a particular company – something that poses a number of interesting implications for their employers.

Chief among them is the idea of what a “team” is supposed to be. Your employees are all important individually, but their contributions are supposed to add up to a larger, more critical whole. How is that possible when a large part of your workforce barely sets foot in the office, if they do so at all? In truth, integrating your remote workforce into your in-office one is a lot more straightforward than you might think; you just have to keep a few key things in mind.

Integration Begins With Leadership

The absolute best practice for integrating your remote workforce in with your “live and in-person” employees begins and ends with you: their leader. Never overlook an opportunity, no matter how small, to bring remote employees into the fold and make them feel like they’re a part of the greater good. If you start an email chain, for example, don’t just include the “in-person” employees.  Make sure that everyone who needs to know is involved, regardless of location.

Don’t hold those weekly meetings on-site and then send remote workers a summary after the fact. Embrace the benefits of teleconferencing and allow them to dial-in live and in person. If you’re hosting a company get-together or are taking employees out for a well-deserved meal, make sure that you extend the invitation to those outside the office. This is especially important if they work from home (or elsewhere) 100% of the time. These are small moves, but they’re also meaningful ones that help remind people that wherever they are, they are equally valued in your eyes.

Encouragement and Communication

Another critical step to take to integrate your remote workforce better involves slightly adjusting the way your in-person teams communicate. Make it a priority to embrace instant messaging or collaboration platforms like Slack to keep team members connected together. Not only will this make in-person employees feel a bit like they’re a part of the “remote” world, but the reverse will also be true. Your remote workers will feel more connected to your office as well.

Always remember the one factor that matters the most: encouragement. If someone does a terrific job or blows your expectations away, acknowledge them on the most prominent stage even if they work remotely. Just because someone isn’t regularly in the office or the other employees don’t see them every day doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve their fair share of recognition. Any move that you would make to reward an in-person employee should be extended to your remote workforce. Not only will this help make them feel like they’re equal contributors, but it will also go a long way towards bringing your teams together to form the cohesive whole that you need them to be.


Co-Branding Marketing Partnerships


Building smart relationships have always made good business sense, and now it’s more important than ever, and the opportunities are everywhere (if you look for and manage them correctly).

Using the power of co-branded marketing partnerships to gain exposure and utilize new distribution channels is not only smart, but it’s also an essential marketing tool for businesses who want to remain competitive and stand apart from their competition.

A unique example of a co-branding partnership is Uber and Spotify. Music-streaming app Spotify partnered with ride-hailing app Uber to create “soundtrack for your ride.” Uber and Spotify offer very different products. However, they share a very similar goal: to gain more users.

Here are a few tips to consider for selecting an ideal partnership:

  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and choose a partner that will excite your audience and give you a competitive edge over your competition.
  • Create a partnership that is mutually beneficial for both parties, ensuring you both fill gaps and needs for the other’s business.
  • Establish common goals and detailed terms of who is doing what to benefit both organizations mutually. Define the tasks you will perform and have your partner do the same. From this, you can each be accountable to yourselves, to each other, and to the business.
  • Identify and utilize the strengths of each partner. Bringing out and using the strengths of the individuals within the partnership will add to the motivation, the energy, and the odds of long-term success.

If you’d like ideas on how to promote a co-branded marketing partnership, give us a call today at 856.429.0715. Our team of experts would love to help.


Send Me All the Shoes You’ve Got!

ThinkstockPhotos-513384421.jpgA growing shoe company sought to stretch their global influence, sending their first salesman to Asia to set up shop. After several days, he sent this dire message: “Bring me back immediately, you’ve made a terrible mistake. People in this village never wear shoes.” Months later, an enthusiastic associate asked for the opportunity to lead an international sales effort, offering to move anywhere. He packed his things and moved to the Asian outpost. After no immediate feedback, the boss began to wonder if they’d made another costly mistake. Soon, an overseas message rang through with joy: “Send me all the shoes you’ve got. I’ve never seen so many prospects!”

They say delayed hope can make the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Wouldn’t you like to experience more of the latter? New dreams can enliven enthusiasm and bring fresh joy for the days to come. But often the drudgery of life keeps our backs bent and our steps heavy. We are slaves to the checklist, struggling to lift our eyes above the tyranny of the urgent to see strategic breaks that might be right before us. Do you notice opportunities that others don’t? Do you have a vision for something that is bigger than the status quo? Would you like to?

Opportunity Isn’t Knocking; It’s Passing

Often opportunity isn’t knocking; it is passing. Many days opportunity doesn’t come looking for us; instead, we need to aggressively seek new ideas and perspectives, banging on the door until we finally crash through. Creativity may come in bursts, but often it is something that happens through our ironclad commitment to grow and evolve. How can you grow in resourcefulness or notice opportunities you are currently overlooking?

Team perspective can motivate enormous momentum. Surround yourself with good people, especially those with gifts and experience different than yours. What may seem daunting to you may be an exhilarating challenge for others! If you work alone, consider contracting a consultant to grow your skill set. Or network with a private coach for problem-solving, brainstorming, and peer advising. Often when you are pigeon-holed in one industry, it is harder to see broad-level solutions.

Extreme Differentiation Turns Obstacles into Opportunity

In stretching perspective, don’t just think outside the box, think contrary to the box itself. This strategy, called extreme differentiation, helps you uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight as you note the current gaps in your industry and brainstorm options that are dramatically different than your competitors.  Extreme differentiation pushes you to address problems that your competitors aren’t even considering.

Commit yourself to being someone who tries to see potential in every person and every situation. When it seems you have reached a dead end, take a hope-filled breath and view it as an opportunity to build something better. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, gave this example:

Thomas Edison knew a thing or two about turning an obstacle into an opportunity. When he was in his late sixties, his huge West Orange New Jersey laboratory burnt to the ground. Rather than cursing his luck and panicking, he gathered family and friends to marvel at the fire and immediately began planning for the future. Edison started plans for a much-improved lab, seeing the potential for improvement the disaster had presented. He said: “You can always make capital out of disaster. We’ve just cleared out a bunch of old rubbish! We’ll build bigger and better on these ruins.”

Find the good in whatever situation you’re presented with and you’ll be on your way to finding those hidden opportunities.


The Answer is in Your Hands

kirkI heard an interesting story about an old man. According to legend, he could answer any question asked of him correctly. Two young boys heard of his wisdom and thought they could fool him, so they caught a small bird and went to his home. One of the boys held his hands out covering the tiny bird and asked the old man if the bird was dead or alive.

Without hesitation, the old man replied, “Son, if I were to say that the bird is alive, you would close your hands and crush the bird to death. If I were to say the bird is dead, you would open your hands, and it would fly away. You see, you hold the answer in your own hands.”

Here’s the way I see it: Your hands are capable of whatever goal you are looking to achieve. However, the trick is learning to use them to your advantage. If you have an important print project coming up, we’d love to help so that you can focus on more important things.


Why Developing Good Leaders is Critical to Your Business’ Success

dv1258040Regardless of the type of business you’re running or even the industry that you find yourself operating in, everyone knows that quality leadership is essential. It’s equally essential for you to realize that leadership doesn’t begin and end with whoever’s name is on the door. Experience goes a long way, but the type of raw, natural talent necessary to become a good leader isn’t something that can necessarily be taught. It’s something you’re born with.

That’s why when you do recognize that you’ve got the makings of an excellent leader working with you, it is imperative that you do whatever it takes to help cultivate and develop that talent whenever possible.

Identifying Good Leaders

First thing’s first: not everyone working for your company has the makings of a good leader, regardless of how you currently feel about them. According to one recent study, only about one out of every ten people have the talent necessary to rise to this status. That means that spotting a candidate isn’t something that is just going to happen every day.

When you do see someone with the qualities of an excellent leader, you’ll know it. They’re usually the first people to arrive and the last to leave. They’re the people who keep a consistently cool head under pressure and who naturally seem to help elevate the rest of their teams to the level where everyone involved is doing their best work. They work incredibly hard for seemingly no reward at all because they just don’t know any other way to go about their day.

When you see someone who fits that description, make a note of it. They’re probably going to be running your business one day.

The Development Process

Once you have identified one of these fabled “good leaders,” the first thing you have to do is support them in any and all ways that you can. Never be shy about feedback, even when it’s critical in nature. The chances are high that they’re the type of person who welcomes constructive criticism anyway. Don’t just tell them what they’re doing correctly; make sure they know what they can do to improve and, more importantly, how they can do it.

Next, challenge them whenever possible. Don’t throw your growing leaders into the proverbial deep end of the pool to fend for themselves, but don’t allow them to simply spin their wheels either. Challenge and adversity are two important qualities that make all of us stronger. Little by little, this person will start to grow and evolve in front of your eyes and your business will become all the better for it.

Looking Towards the Horizon

Finally, remember that good leaders are an investment in the future of your company. Good leaders don’t just help in terms of collaboration and more substantial productivity.  They’re also innovation creation engines at the same time. By taking the time to develop the good leaders in your midsts today, you’re going a long way towards guaranteeing future success for your business.


The Volume Advantage

07 Vlum.jpgThe more you print, the better the price can be per piece. That can have its advantages in many situations. Planning your marketing for the entire year, or even just a season, will save you in dollars and time.

Plenty on Hand
Those pieces that don’t change throughout the year and go out the door in high volume are perfect to print in larger quantities. You will always have these pieces in stock and can fill your orders or fulfill your mailings with ease.

Lower Costs
For flyers, brochures, postcards, and other things that use full-color print, the more you print, the lower the cost per piece. This kind of “discount” pricing is beneficial for planning longer term or for larger-volume projects.

Quick Turnaround
Short-run options may be more advantageous when looking at either smaller volumes or quicker turnarounds. Sometimes convenience is more important than cost.
No matter what you plan for or what your budget is, there is a print-volume solution that will fit the size of your wallet. Call us today to discuss your next printing project 856.429.0715.


The No Tears Guide to Letting Someone Go

ThinkstockPhotos-825175586.jpgHaving to terminate an employee is never fun. Even if you’ve had to execute this task hundreds of times over the course of your career, it never gets easier. Everyone understands how devastating and humiliating it can be to lose a job and, as a leader, you must find a way to handle the dismissal in the best way possible.

Come Prepared

Nothing is worse than a manager who is wishy-washy. Go over the employee’s track record ahead of time to confirm the employee’s performance merits dismissal. Ideally, you would have met with the employee previously and given them the proper warnings and a chance to rise to your expectations (think: three-strike policy). Regardless, the employee is going to want a clear answer to why he or she is being let go, and you need to provide a compelling reason.

Before the meeting, get all your ducks in a row regarding termination policies. Be prepared to settle the questions whirling in your employee’s mind: When will he get his last paycheck? Is she entitled to a severance package? What’s the timeframe for clearing out his desk? Before you draw up a termination contract, double check policies to ensure accuracy.

Set the Scene

It should go without saying, but terminating someone in a public setting is the ultimate faux pas. You’re not making an example of someone; you’re making the rest of your team dislike you. Find a private room in the office and shut the door. Silence the phones and computers. The time of day you call the meeting doesn’t matter. Honestly, there’s no “best” time to dismiss an employee. Ideally, get it done as soon as possible since delaying the inevitable makes an already hard situation worse. Once you start the meeting, cut to the chase. Small talk isn’t going to soften the blow. Aim for a considerate tone, but avoid sounding emotional during the conversation.

The Right Way Versus the Wrong Way

There are two ways most termination conversations can go. If a manager does it the wrong way, you’re likely to have the employee react in one of two ways: tears or yelling. Take the following two scenarios:

Wrong Way

Sylvia is called into a meeting where she has to sit and wait for fifteen minutes while you finish a personal phone call. You try the direct approach and tell her she’s dismissed effective immediately. You don’t give her much feedback on her performance and direct her to HR about her final paycheck and insurance benefits. You usher her out of your office in less than ten minutes.

What went wrong here? Sylvia is likely to feel humiliated over the abrupt dismissal. She is confused over what went wrong and will have no idea how to plan out her next move.

Right Way

You have had consistent contact with Sylvia prior to the meeting about her performance. You’ve offered guidance on how to help her succeed in her role. After multiple attempts at trying to resolve the situation, you and Sylvia both realize the position and company isn’t the right fit for her. When you call her into a meeting to let her go, she’s not surprised. You give her all of the details about her termination and ask for her to sign a termination contract after she takes the time to look it over.

In this scenario, you have let Sylvia go compassionately and professionally. She can use this experience to excel in her future endeavors. Your reputation as a fair and considerate manager stays well intact.

Inform the Masses

Avoid causing a workplace-wide panic by being transparent with the rest of your staff. You don’t have to give your team all the details about the dismissal but offer reassurance that the termination wasn’t the first in a string of firings.

Firing an employee is hands down the hardest part of being in a leadership position. At the end of the day, reassure yourself that the termination is necessary to avoid ultimately hurting the company.


Differences Between Brochures, Booklets & Catalogs



Marketing materials such as brochures, booklets, and catalogs play an essential role in todayБ─≥s business world. How do these marketing products differ from one another? A good way to identify the differences is by comparing their sizes and uses. Here are a few common differentiators:

Brochures are typically folded paper (such as a bi-fold, tri-fold, or one large flat sheet folded into panels). Brochures commonly provide a brief company overview, or a spotlight on one product or service.

Booklets include multiple pages but typically have a narrow product focus. Booklets often provide in-depth information and details about a specific product or service. They usually feature many product photos and in-depth marketing information.

Catalogs usually have more pages and promote a larger variety of products, often including a complete list of products or services available, with minimal descriptions and product imagery.

If you need ideas for your next marketing piece, give us a call today at 856.429.0715. Our creative team would love to help!


A Blockhead Digital Character Shows 4 Ways to Do Marketing Right


Stampy Longnose.

It’s not the kind of name that immediately translates visions of millionaire status or successful CEO personas leading fast-moving, highly successful companies. However, this moniker represents one of the most prolific and successful YouTube operations based on the concept of entertaining kids with Minecraft stories and humor all while generating real-time dollars in advertising income monthly. The marketing approach is one of the most effective used online today.

Simple Equals Incredible

Stampy Longnose, otherwise known as Joseph Garrett of Portsmouth, U.K., in real life is a young fellow in England at the ripe age of 23 years. He currently brings in a respectable gross income of 200,000 British pounds a month creating cartoons of his video game adventures in the world of Minecraft. The game itself is extremely simple to play, like an electronic world of toy building blocks, and the tools used to make the videos don’t require rocket science either. However, Mr. Garrett has managed to generate an incredible following online which in turn has created a viable advertising channel that he then monetizes for access to Mr. Garrett’s audience.

The marketing approach is grassroots and simplistic as well and can be broken down into four steps.

1) Have a recognizable and distinct voice that people remember.

Mr. Garrett’s online voice as he moves across the screen with his character is so different from his normal conversation that he easily translates into a memory-sticking character that then makes it easy to attach a brand to. Mental stickiness is a key factor in customer reception of brand development.

2) Have lots of content and be a good storyteller.

If you can’t tell good stories, find someone who can. Particularly for online marketing, a library of content is a must. Viewers don’t stop with one video; they want to consume and consume a lot. In fact, many of Mr. Garrett’s young viewers are so enamored with his Minecraft stories, they would rather watch his videos than play the game (shocking!).

3) Don’t go it alone.

As soon as the Stampy Longnose idea became a hit, Garrett built a solid team of helpers who provided additional characters to work with as well as give hands-on support with production. It’s not easy to write a 20-minute humor dialog that will appeal to a 9-year-old, but that’s the goal and to do it 100 times or more each month.

4) Don’t stop with a good thing; diversify!

The various characters of Stampy Longnose have also included Stampy the Cat, Stampy, Stampylonghead and so on. Each one of them is now fertile ground for additional merchandising for Mr. Garrett. The production potential is so big, he has now branched across the pond and set up shop in Los Angeles to partner with additional revenue ideas based on the original online Minecraft characters Garrett created. Subscribing to the maxim that good ideas don’t stay good or unique for long, Mr. Garrett is actively seeking new venues for his entertainment product and audiences not yet familiar with his funny way that makes kids laugh.

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

So, when you ask your young child tonight what they want to be when they grow up, don’t be surprised if he or she says a YouTuber instead of an astronaut or scientist. Given Mr. Garrett’s example above, more up and coming business owners should be looking at what worked for the online star and why they aren’t doing the same things to achieve marketing success with their customers.


Print to the Rescue



If you’re looking for a few ways to boost your online activity, whether it be on your website or social media, here are a few tips for integrating print into your mobile campaigns:

  • Promote a custom microsite or landing page that is specific to each direct mail piece, trade show flyer, or brochure you create.
  • Create and distribute print coupons that can be redeemed online.
  • Send newsletters that redirect readers to a web URL for “the rest of the story.”
  • When announcing new products or services with posters, direct mail, or advertisements, encourage your audience to join in the conversation on social media.
  • Promote your website or social media group on everything you print, including business cards, statement stuffers, stickers, newsletters, custom envelopes, bag inserts, coupons, and much more.

If you’d like examples of ways other companies use print to expand their online presence, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!


Customer Service in Action – A Personal Touch

ThinkstockPhotos-638882890.jpgCustomer service is never more important than when something goes wrong. Your actions can either win your customer back, or it can cost you that customer for life.

Nobody knows this better than Amazon, who has built a massive reputation for fast and reliable order fulfillment. Through their consistent excellence, they’ve completely changed the retail industry. But what happens when mistakes are made?

Overcoming Mistakes

As a general rule, Amazon offers their Prime customers a free month of their Prime service if a package doesn’t arrive by its guaranteed delivery date. That’s about what you’d expect them to do, right? Amazon has been known to up the ante, though, when bigger customer service problems exist. For instance, an expected December 24 delivery that was late prompted Amazon to provide a personal phone call with a sincere apology, not to mention a $20 credit that could be used on a future order – and this was before the customer even reported the issue! A missed Christmas deadline didn’t lead to anger and fury; instead, it only yielded even deeper customer loyalty. And it’s all because of the personal touch that’s all too rare in today’s automated world.

Back Up Your Promises

The Amazon example rings true in several ways. On an immediate level, the message is simple – even when customer demands put a strain on your resources, you still owe it to them to exceed their expectations. If you’re in a position to make guarantees to your customers, you’d better have a way to meet those deadlines. And, just as importantly, you’d better have a backup plan in case those deadlines can’t be met for any reason, even if those reasons aren’t necessarily your fault. That backup plan, it goes without saying, shouldn’t include only reacting when you have something to lose.

Add a Personal Touch

But there’s a bigger takeaway from Amazon’s customer service. Yes, businesses typically go all out when a customer’s patronage is at stake. A smart move, to be sure. However, it’s also a good idea to take elements of that full-court press and incorporate it into your everyday approach.

Consider the example of DDP Yoga, a fitness program with a loyal following and that has an appearance on Shark Tank to its name. To this day, owner Diamond Dallas Page calls a handful of new customers each day to personally welcome them to the program and answer any questions they may have. As a result, those customers have a more personal connection to the product, and they’ll be that much more likely to stick with the program and refer it to others.

You might not have a fitness program to sell, and you might not have the resources of Amazon. But there’s no reason why you can’t do a little something to delight your current customers. A personal phone call or a handwritten note is all it takes. By taking these measures of your own accord instead of in response to something you’ve screwed up, you’ll encourage a great deal of loyalty from your customer base.

All They Really Want

At the end of the day, customers don’t ask for much. All they want is to know that your business cares about them as people, and not just as dollar signs. Using a personal touch can help you to achieve this to great effect. If big businesses like Amazon can execute this strategy perfectly, what’s your excuse for not taking action?


Branded Promotional Products Make a HUGE Marketing Impact


People love free stuff; they always have, they always will. This is why branded promotional products are so effective. It doesn’t even necessarily matter what “it” is. So long as it’s free, people are going to come running.

Choosing the right type of promotional products can have a huge marketing impact because of their longevity and because they’re functional in a way that people truly appreciate. If you’re thinking about experimenting with branded promotional products but aren’t sure if it’s something that will be worth your time and effort, here are a few key reasons why now would be an excellent time to start.

Branded Promotional Products Earn You the Right Kind of Attention

According to a recent study, 53% of people used some type of promotional product at least once per week. More than that, six out of every 10 of them said that they tend to keep promotional products for up to two years.

This means that when you invest money in creating that attractive and helpful branded tote bag, you’re essentially putting a piece of marketing collateral out into the world that someone will carry with them for around two years. That is 24 months worth of opportunities for them to use that bag in public, acting essentially as a walking billboard. That’s a long period of time to effortlessly keep your brand at the forefront of someone’s mind.

Integrating Branded Promotional Products Into Your Larger Campaigns

Branded promotional products compliment your other marketing efforts and earn a place among all the other techniques you’re using. You also need to know when and where to roll them out. If you’re the type of company that will be appearing at a trade show, for example, branded promotional products like USB chargers or even fidget spinners are terrific because they can attract attention to your booth and help guarantee that every personal interaction gets off on the right foot.

Think about it like this – the first known use of branded products as a form of marketing dates all the way back to 1789 when a guy you may have heard of named George Washington was trying to get elected president. The commemorative buttons he used at the time undeniably made an impact on the message he was trying to spread. If it worked for George Washington, you could bet that it will work pretty well for you, too.

When you also consider the fact that adding a promotional product into your larger marketing strategy can increase the effectiveness of your other types of collateral by up to 44%, you begin to get a better understanding of why the “all of the above” strategy is one that is more than worth exploring.


The Power of Simplicity in Marketing



You have an upcoming marketing or sales campaign and want promotional materials that have the right combination of imaging, color, design, and narrative to make the biggest impact on your customers. How can you design the right balance for your materials to make that impact?

Balancing Perfection and Excellence

The 19th-century American essayist, Henry David Thoreau, had great advice for us living with the overload of the information age: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…”

On the other hand, we can temper Thoreau’s advice with a caveat by Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” So how do you strike a balance between perfection and excellence? What are the enemies of simplicity?

The Enemies of Simplicity

Marty Neumeier addresses the enemies of simplicity in his book The Brand Flip. The enemies of simplicity, according to the author, can sabotage your marketing in 7 ways:


So, remember that in our enthusiasm to succeed, we can create clutter. Start simple and build that foundation. To paraphrase our friend Thoreau, your castles in the air are where they should be. “Now put the foundations under them.”

The Story of Two Trees

kirk I came across an interesting story about a boy who visited his grandpa’s farm every summer. One year, the grandpa was getting ready to plant a few new trees, and he asked his grandson to help. He asked the boy, “If I plant one inside the house and one outside in the backyard, which do you think will grow to become the greatest tree?”

The boy quickly replied, “I think the tree inside the house will grow the biggest because it won’t have to struggle with the wind, hot sun, or freezing winters. “OK,” the grandpa replied, “We will grow one tree indoors and plant the other outside and see what happens.”

During a visit a few years later, the boy asked about the trees and their experiment. The grandpa showed him both trees. The inside tree grew very little and began to wither, while the outside tree grew strong and fast. He taught his grandson a lesson he would never forget: we don’t grow when things are easy, rather we grow when we face challenges.

Here’s the way I see it: Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes it meaningful. Our creative team would love to help with your next printing challenge. Give us a call today!


Never Underestimate the Value of Good Relationships

ThinkstockPhotos-639797508Tattly was started almost on accident. Design blogger Tina Roth-Eisenberg was looking at the temporary tattoos her daughter received at a birthday party, and was disappointed by the uninspiring fake tattoo designs available. She had many talented artist friends due to an artistic coworking space she’d recently founded. Bringing these folks together to create a new product seemed a natural fit.

Soon after, she had a range of high-quality temporary tattoo designs that she was offering for $5 a piece. In addition to artists from the coworking space, she solicited work from artists who she knew online through her popular design blog.

Two months after beginning work, Tattly launched with 16 designs. The company has grown quickly, with their designs showing up everywhere from high-end retailers like Macy’s to the Tate Museum and the gift bags at the annual White House egg hunt. Over 8,000 retailers now carry Tattly temporary tattoos. Roth-Eisenberg’s success is due as much to successfully leveraging her relationships as it is to her innovative ideas. A few of the ways she made her relationships count:

Look for new ways to leverage relationships.

Like most bootstrapped companies, Tattly was running on a very small margin. Roth-Eisenberg provided the first $15,000 in funding from her own pocket. However, she ran into issues when she realized that she was out of cash to actually print the tattoos.

To solve her cash flow problem, Roth-Eisenberg reached out to a contact and asked if they’d like to sponsor the first “bonus” Tattly, a free temporary tattoo that would ship with every sale. Her partner was enthusiastic about the opportunity. With the advance, Roth-Eisenberg was able to pay for the first printing of her tattoos.

When you are considering a new direction, always remember what your current contacts do besides the business they do with you. You may have opportunities that you never thought of.

Show support to the ones who support you.

Too many platforms and businesses undervalue the creative talent that helps them find their success. Tattly has formed strong and loyal relationships with artists from all over by providing a healthy commission on every one of the tattoo designs shown. At the time of this writing, the company has paid out over $1 million in royalties to artists. Because of this, Tattly has attracted over 120 talented designers.

Let your fans be your ambassadors.

When Tattly started, the company did not have a budget for promotion. However, Eisenberg’s existing following from her design blog provided a huge boost. Her social media following worked like a built-in PR and marketing engine. Tattly’s influence only grew as proud followers shared the eye-catching designs. This was enough to quickly draw the attention of wholesalers who were happy to carry the bright and fun pieces of art.

Have confidence in your relationships and provide as much value as you seek. Through this and some creative thinking, you can make opportunities not just for your business, but for all of your potential collaborators.


Mini Brochures Get Noticed!



Are you looking for creative ways to think outside the box on your next promotional piece? You may want to try mini brochures!

Mini brochures not only stand apart from the competition and create a lasting impression, but they offer a convenient size that is small enough to fit into pockets and wallets.

While they are small, mini brochures can pack a big punch for their size. While everyone else is passing out business cards, you can offer mini brochures packed with industry resources, upcoming promotions, helpful tips, a calendar of events, and much more. You can even include your business card design directly into your mini brochure to ensure your contact information is easy to find. You may also consider leaving a blank area to handwrite your own custom message.


Easily Preview Fonts


If you’d like a tool to see how words appear in a variety of different fonts, then look no further! WorkMark.it allows you to enter any word or phrase and see how it appears in a variety of fonts, including the fonts on your computer and Google fonts.

Simply go to: wordmark.it and enter a word or phrase. Then, scroll through the word previews in different fonts. You can also choose to reverse the background, so the words appear as a white font on a dark background.

While the standard version is free, you can upgrade to a pro account for only two dollars per month. The pro account includes support and removes advertisements, and can also tag and categorize your fonts.

If you’d like other helpful tips or help designing your next print project, stop by or give us a call today!


Birthday Marketing You Can Take to the Bank



If your business is looking for a creative way to stay in touch with your customers and increase customer loyalty and retention, you may want to consider sending birthday cards.

Everyone has a birthday. What better reason to reach out at least once a year and offer an exclusive promotion? While online birthday messaging is overdone (such as Facebook and email), nothing makes an impression and grabs attention like an old-fashioned birthday card in the mail. It is a great time to put the focus on your customer and make them feel special. You’ll make an even bigger impression if you hand-write a personalized message.

Whether you choose a typical 5×7 card or a sleek postcard design, you can also increase retention by including a special gift, such as a voucher for a free item or $10 off their next purchase. Chances are, many customers will purchase while they’re picking up or enjoying their birthday gift.

If you’d like help creating the perfect birthday card or promotion, we’d love to help! Call us today at 856.429.0715 or visit http://www.sjprinter.com. 


Keeping Employees Engaged During the Dreaded Month of January

ThinkstockPhotos-531268641Returning to work after the fun and exciting Christmas season can feel like an uphill battle. If you really want to keep your employees happy, healthy, and engaged during the dreaded month of January, there are a number of essential things to keep in mind.


Encourage Your Employees to Spend Time Outside

Part of the reason why January is so terrible for so many people comes down to SAD, or “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” It’s a very specific type of depression that relates to changes in the seasons and is often brought about by how cold and dreary January has a tendency to be.

The key to combating this is, thankfully, a simple one – encourage your employees to get outdoors as much as possible. Take them out for lunch at that great new restaurant down the block and insist that you all walk there. Get as much natural light into your workplace as possible. Even getting just fifteen minutes of quality sunlight exposure every day can have a big impact on their mood and their productivity.

Along these same lines, consider starting an exercise program at your office in the new year. Not only will this play an important long-term role in keeping your workforce as healthy as possible, but this type of physical activity will also go a long way towards combating SAD head-on.

Encourage Frequent Breaks

It’s important to take an active role in the work/life balance of your employees during the Christmas season, particularly when their attention is being pulled in so many different directions at once. Guess what? This idea doesn’t stop being any more important just because the calendar now says “January 1.”

Look for any opportunity that you can find to give people a bit of a break from the important tasks at hand. People always need to recharge, but this will become especially important during January and the rest of the cold winter months of the year. Make sure that people are getting out of the office and home at a decent hour, too. Once again, you may think that pulling long hours will help productivity in the long run, but all you’re doing is compromising the quality of the work that people can provide you.

While it’s true that nobody (yourself likely included) likes to return to work after the fun of the Christmas and New Year season, it isn’t as bad as you probably think it is. Indeed, so much of keeping employees engaged during January comes down to a matter of perspective – one that you can fully control just by remembering tips and tricks like those outlined above.


Perfect Your Proofing



It may seem like there is never time to proof something thoroughly the first time, but when it is not done, you may end up making time to do the entire job a second time. Just what are some of the things that should be checked during the proofing process? Here is a list to perfect your proofing strategy:


Proof the text.

The first place to start is the text. Review all text for spelling and grammatical correctness, check punctuation, and most importantly, accuracy of content. Making changes to text later in the production process will only slow things down, so make sure that everything is perfect before moving on to the next step.

Proof the images.

Viewing the images on your computer is a great place to start, as long as your screen is calibrated properly, but keep in mind that the colors on-screen will not be a perfect match to the colors that are printed. Be sure to check the size and resolution of the image. For high-level image quality jobs, it may be wise to have a physical proof rather than just an on-screen proof of the images done on professional proofing equipment so you can get a better idea of the true color of the piece.

Proof the pages.

Checking an entire page of an original can be done on screen, but it is also a good idea to print out the pages. Look over the typography, placement of images, illustrations and text, as well as hyphenation and line arrangement, page format, and bleeds.

The difference between a thorough proof and no proof at all is the time you may spend having to redo a job. Taking the time at the beginning will save you time and money in the long run.


The Belly vs. the Body

kirkHere is a story about teamwork and the importance of valuing every member of the team, regardless of their talents or abilities.

One day, the parts of a body realized they were doing all the work, while the belly got all the food. The body parts believed the belly was lazy and unproductive, so they decided to go on strike until the belly agreed to take its proper share of the work.

The unhappy body parts did nothing for several days in an attempt to stop feeding the belly. The hands stopped moving, the teeth stopped chewing, and the legs stopped moving. As a result of the inactivity and the starving of the belly, the legs became more and more tired, the hands could hardly move anymore, and the mouth became very dry and sore. Eventually, the entire body collapsed and passed away as the belly starved.

Here’s the way I see it: Team dynamics can be very complex. While the contributions of some team members may seem less significant than others, all roles are essential to the overall success of a team. While the talents of our printing team vary, we proudly work together to ensure a successful outcome of every project we complete!


Add Some Motion to Your Designs!


Artists have long sought ways to convey motion and the passage of time within a static, two-dimensional space. Implied motion can transform an otherwise uninteresting design into a far more dynamic expression that catches the consumer’s eye. Here are just a few examples of how you can incorporate implied motion into a two-dimensional design:

Eruption of Form: A grouping of shapes, expanding from or retreating to a focal point, gives the suggestion of movement and can convey an outward rush of ideas or emotion. The repeating elements in the design below give the impression of objects moving outward toward the observer.


Directional Cues: Objects with a pointed or triangular shape help to lead the eye through a design. A simple arrow, like the one below, will lead the viewer through your message and impart the feeling of momentum.


Dimensional Lines: Strong perspectives will draw the eye of the viewer across the page, while outlining a curved path or adding a dashed line will create a visual path that provides movement within a design. For example, the dimensionality of this curving line of text gives it movement and depth.


Breaking a Static Plane: A centered object, with lines parallel to the edges, appears to be static and unmoving. Skewing the object to create a strong diagonal presence will lead the eye through the design and add the illusion of motion. Cropping the object will give it the appearance of entering or exiting the plane of motion.


Sequential Time: Drawings, or photographs, placed in a row, work to tell a story over time. These images, placed side by side together, tell a dynamic story and instill a strong sense of motion within a static, two-dimensional medium.


By arranging composition elements with time and motion in mind, as we’ve shown you in the examples above, you can more effectively control the movement of the viewer’s eye and convey your message in a more memorable and visually interesting way.




Box Toppers



If your business or fundraising organization provides to-go food containers or pizza boxes, don’t miss out on a valuable marketing opportunity to include a “box topper.”

Box toppers are essentially a flyer that is attached to the top of a box or food container that includes valuable marketing information, coupons, a calendar of events, or other important information for your audience.

Box toppers can also be a great addition to any event with catered or boxed lunches, which can be a great way to promote your business or provide exclusive messaging on the top of boxed lunches.

Box toppers can be created in any shape, size, or color, with finishing touches to suit any promotion. For example, box toppers can feature die-cut shapes, perforated coupons, tear-away business cards, or can even be designed as a tri-fold menu brochure.

If you’d like help creating the perfect box toppers for your business, drop us an email today or visit: http://www.sjprinter.com!


A Royal Road to the Heart

“The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the thing he treasures most.” 

Relationships are the backbone of everything we do, especially in business. Whether you intentionally network or avoid small talk like the plague, relationships are something you can’t afford to ignore. A Harvard University study showed that only 15% of the reason a person gets, keeps, or advances in a job is related to technical expertise, but a crushing 85% has to do with our interpersonal skills! 

Networking is a Lifestyle 

Here’s the good news: the best networking is what naturally occurs in authentic, real-life relationships. Networking isn’t just something you do at professional mixers or conventions, rather, connections that leverage results are the ones we build every day. Networking is not an event, it’s a lifestyle! However, daily networking means you may need to stretch yourself socially, which can be a challenge for Americans. The APA defines Social Phobia as an (irrational) fear of looking stupid, and social phobia is especially common in the United States. Social phobia can be healthy, acting as a “social glue” in relationships and protecting our reputation. But is there a down side? Does social phobia keep us from advancing? Maybe more than we think! 

Conversations: The Critical Link to Success 

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

Conversations are a critical link in the chain of relationships that lead to success, so if you want to grow professionally you need to get over your nerves and genuinely enjoy people. Sweaty palms? That’s ok! The best way to conquer fear is to go out and get busy! Here is a wonderful visual memory “stack” to move conversations forward and empower you for more proactive, inspiring conversations. 

The Conversational Stack 

Visual #1: A huge brass nameplate.
Introductions start with names, and people love talking about themselves! Use names early and often.

Visual #2: Atop the nameplate sits a large white house.
Ask where someone lives or where they grew up. When people talk about their hometown they loosen up and you find many common connections.

Visual #3: Inside the house is a family playing board games by the fire.
Ask about family and important relationships!

Visual #4: On the fireplace is a large work glove and a clock.
Work and daily tasks are a huge part of identity. Chat about work, school, or how they spend their TIME.

Visual #5: The work glove holds the tail of an airplane.
Many people adore traveling and talk for hours about their adventures.

 Visual #6: The propeller of the airplane is a tennis racket.
Ask people about leisure, hobbies, and what brings them joy.

Visual #7: The airplane propeller is attached by a lightbulb.
People love to discuss books they’ve read or concepts of interest. People think cool thoughts; encourage them to SHARE!

Visual #8: On the lightbulb stands a Private First-Class soldier.
If you want to genuinely connect, never forget to ask about Problems, Frustrations, and Concerns.

Visual #9: The soldier holds a football goal post and a trophy.
If you want to inspire, be sure to ask about goals, dreams, and accomplishments. Affirm and encourage people too!

 A Guaranteed Return on Investment 

Why make conversation? Because success stems from relationships, and great conversations always bring a 100% return. So, go enjoy people, and stop in to see us soon. We look forward to more wonderful conversations with you this year!


Customer Retention Marketing


If you don’t stay in touch with your customers, chances are, someone else will. Here are a few customer retention marketing ideas to consider:

  • Encourage open communication with your customers by requesting feedback and suggestions. Offer options such as email, surveys, a toll-free number, chat forums, etc.
  • Send a handwritten thank you note or email shortly after each purchase. Consider including a coupon for a product or service that is related to a recent purchase.
  • Feature customer testimonials to highlight customers who are successful using your products or services.
  • Send a birthday postcard with an exclusive promotion to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Send a newsletter that provides “news they can use” with helpful industry resources, tips and tricks, and promotional announcements.
  • Invite customers to join a loyalty program with exclusive incentives and rewards for return customers.
  • Promote a small contest or giveaway on your website each month, and provide recognition to the previous winners.
  • Socialize with your customers. Attend trade shows, offer open houses, encourage customers to respond to blog posts, communicate on social media sites, etc.

Give us a call if we can help you create marketing materials your customers will love!


The Way I See It

kirkHere is an oldie, but a goodie, that is a great reminder of the importance of your attitude.

A jolly, well-liked man ran a third generation family business with several loyal staff. Customers often assumed he was so cheerful because he ran a successful business, but it was the other way around. He followed a family tradition of wearing a badge on his shirt that said, “Business is Great!” They went through tough times like any other business, but he continued to proudly wear his badge. Many people asked what was so great about his business, which led to conversations about the pleasures of meeting new people, the joy of a positive working environment, and the reward of learning something new every day. No matter what attitude a person had before they visited his business, they always felt better after listening to the man’s infectious enthusiasm and positive outlook on life.

Here’s the way I see it: Winston Churchill once said it best, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” If you’d like ideas for some creative labels to inspire conversations with your customers, give us a call today!


You Don’t Demand Employee Trust. You Earn It.

ThinkstockPhotos-515603630.jpgCorporate culture is pretty much the key to everything in the world of business. According to a series of studies reported on by Forbes, nearly 90% of people who responded said that company culture was incredibly important for their firms. In fact, 92% said that they firmly believed that improving corporate culture would enhance the value of their business, while more than half of respondents said that corporate culture influences everything from productivity to creativity to profitability, value, growth and beyond.

At the same time, only 15% said that their company’s culture was where it needed to be.

It Begins at the Top

At first glance, these numbers may appear to be somewhat at odds with one another – but they really aren’t. Corporate culture begins at the top and, if anything, that 15% statistic can be attributed to one essential little word: trust. Leaders set the tone that affects the entire organization, and if employees don’t trust their leaders, they ultimately don’t trust the direction of the business that they’re devoting so much of their lives to.

Make no mistake: trust is not something that you can demand from your employees. It’s something that you have to earn – all day, every day. It’s also something that requires you to keep a few key things in mind.

Trust is a Privilege, Not a Right

Yes, you worked incredibly hard to become the leader that you are today. You put in long hours. You worked weekends. You devoted the majority of your life to your career and a constant push to achieve bigger and better things for yourself. Now you’re in charge of the proverbial ship, and everyone should just trust that you know what you’re doing by default, right?

There’s an old rule of storytelling that says that whenever possible, “show, don’t tell.” That essentially means that instead of having a character talk about some important development in the plot, SHOW the development instead by having them do something active. It’s why in “Star Wars,” instead of just having people stand around and talk about how bad the Death Star is, we see it blow up a planet to convey the same information in a much more active way.

This is the same mentality you need to adopt if you want to start earning the trust of your employees. If you make a mistake, don’t shift the blame – accept responsibility. Don’t ask any employee to do anything that you would be unwilling to do yourself. If you want people to come in on the weekend, you should also come in on the weekend. If you need your team to work long hours, guess what – you need to work them, too.

Show You Care

Every day, look for new opportunities to show your employees that you not only value what they do but that you’re all in this together. Remember that their productivity, hard work, and excellent performance needs to benefit more than just you and your career – it needs to positively impact them, too. They’re not going to follow you into battle because you tell them to. They have to want to do so.

The only way you can get to that point is if they trust you, and the only way you can get to THAT point is if you’re someone worth trusting. This simple distinction is often what separates a good leader from a great one.


YouTube Keyboard Shortcuts



Here are a few helpful and time-saving YouTube keyboard shortcuts to consider when watching videos online. Please note: shortcuts may vary depending on your web browser and/or your operating system, as well as your keyboard. For example, not all keyboards have media keys, and the media keys on most Apple keyboards will not work since they are directly tied to iTunes.

  • Play/pause the video: k or Spacebar
  • Go back 5 seconds: Left arrow
  • Go back 10 seconds: j
  • Go forward 5 seconds: Right arrow
  • Go forward 10 seconds: l
  • Skip to a section of the video: Numbers 1-9
  • Restart video: 0
  • Go to Full-Screen mode: f
  • Exit Full-Screen mode: Escape
  • Go to beginning of video: Home
  • Go to end of video: End
  • Increase volume: Up arrow
  • Decrease volume: Down arrow
  • Increase speed: Shift+> or Shift
  • Decrease speed: Shift+< or Shift+,
  • Move forward when paused: .
  • Move backward when paused: ,
  • Mute/unmute video: m
  • Turn captions on/off: c

Why You Should Try to Incorporate the Holidays Into Your Marketing Efforts

ThinkstockPhotos-496635338.jpgIf it seems like more and more marketers are incorporating holiday-themed elements into their campaigns, you’re absolutely right. Though some may think this is a symptom of the commercialization of events like Thanksgiving or Christmas, it really isn’t – at least, not if you approach it from the right angle. In truth, incorporating the holidays into your larger marketing efforts is and will always be a good idea for a number of compelling reasons.

It’s All About Timeliness

Most marketing campaigns live and die by their timeliness. After all, what is a piece of marketing collateral if not a sure-fire way to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time? But this idea can take on a far greater meaning, particularly as far as the holidays are concerned.

Consider the fact that according to one recent study, about one-third of all shoppers reported that one or more holiday weekend purchases (think: Black Friday) were driven specifically by promotions. Likewise, another study revealed that in 2017 alone the average per person holiday spending will reach a new high of $805.65.

The ability to say “I’m having a one day sale for the holidays and here are all the details you need to know” is a great way to light a fire and motivate someone to make a purchase. But the reason why you should always try to incorporate the holidays into your marketing efforts runs far deeper than that.

In many ways, it plays directly into another one of the strengths of thoughtfully designed marketing collateral: emotion. You’re not just trying to establish a connection with someone – you’re trying to do so in the most emotional way possible. Connections based on emotions are the ones that instill a great sense of customer and brand loyalty.

What, then, could possibly be more emotional than the holiday season?

Capitalizing on Emotion

Think about it from the perspective of your average consumer. The holidays are something that they spend a huge portion of the year thinking about. They’re devoting a large amount of their day at this point to getting ready for Christmas. They’re looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family members that they may have lost touch with throughout the course of their busy year.

Emotions are already running incredibly high. So why on Earth would you NOT want to take advantage of that?

Making an effort to incorporate the holidays into your marketing efforts – even in some small way – taps directly into what people are already feeling all across this season. Even if you’re not running a holiday promotion, making an effort to use holiday-themed visuals – or even just wishing your audience a heartfelt “Happy Holidays” – goes a long way towards connecting YOUR brand with what THEY are experiencing in the moment.

It’s also something that you can never begin too early – particularly considering that 49% of marketers now say that they begin their holiday campaigns BEFORE Halloween. Make no mistake about it: if you’re able to successfully connect with your audience via a holiday-themed campaign at the end of the year, you’ll be building the type of emotional bridge directly to your audience that will serve you both well.


Differentiate Your Marketing Materials



Many businesses resell products from other manufacturers and use the marketing materials that they provide. While this is often an easy and inexpensive way to promote product lines, the problem is your competition is likely using the same marketing materials.

Customized marketing materials can differentiate your products and services and help you stand apart from your competition. Marketing materials that also reflect and promote your business will help customers think of your business first, rather than just the product brand they are interested in purchasing.

If you’d like help creating booklets, flyers, and other professional print materials, stop by today. Our creative team would love to help you bring your ideas to life.


What Your Customers are Worth (and Why it Matters)

What is the value of a customer? What profit can they bring this week? This year? Over a lifetime? It may seem like a simple concept, but many small businesses have no idea what a regular customer is worth to their business. This creates two problems:

  • Uncertainty about effective marketing. What is the number of new customers you’d like to attract and what is an appropriate budget to do that? Defining a customer value will guide your marketing strategies!
  • Ambivalence regarding customer retention. With a metric for measuring customer values, you can navigate appropriate parameters for retaining them or expanding their business. Research shows that increasing customer retention rates by merely 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%!

Customer Lifetime Value

While there are many complex formulas for calculating a Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), a basic approach is to break calculations into five digestible portions, like this:

  1. Average Order Value (AOV). On the most basic level, AOV is calculated by how much money is spent per customer in a year, divided by how many orders are placed by that customer in that timeframe.
  2. Purchase Frequency (f). Take the number of orders/visits/transactions from the past year and divide it by the number of unique customers you had. The total equals frequency, or how often an average customer purchased from you.
  3. Customer Value (cv). The base value of a customer can be calculated by multiplying the AOV by the purchase frequency (cv = AOV * f). In this instance, the customer value is being calculated for one year.
  4. Average Lifespan/Time (t). A customer’s lifespan is how long they actively connect with your business before they move on or go dormant. This can be a complex calculation, but to keep things simple you can either give a broad estimate (an educated guess) or you can calculate an average based on a select number of known customers (adding the length of each of their commitments and dividing by the number of customers). For example: Total Length of Commitment/Number of Individual Customers = Average Customer Lifespan (t).
  5. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Now that you’ve got a general idea of a customer’s value for a year and the average customer lifespan, you can use these variables for a lifetime value: Customer value (cv) * Average Lifespan (t) = Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

While this is a very simplified equation, even a ballpark CLV can give you a more accurate idea of how valuable each client is to your business. What should you look to spend in order to gain a customer? How much should you spend to extend their loyalty? A benchmark CLV will give you a helpful base for marketing, loyalty programs, and sales goals for the upcoming year. Take a look at a more complex approach Starbucks has taken to determine their CLV as a whopping $14,099!1

Your Customers Are Your Future

A customer represents the future of your success and your livelihood, and it will be difficult to thrive if you aren’t willing to risk or invest to attract new business. What are your obstacles to expanding your reach or enlarging your advertising? Has the uncertainty of direct mail marketing kept your business from growing? Why not rely on our expertise? We offer sophisticated, simple ways to reach a mass audience for an amount that works within your budget. Need a creative concept or help to carry it to completion? We offer prompt, knowledgeable service for every custom design mailing. Give us a call today at 856.429.07105!


The Lessons Taught by The Movie “Office Space”

ThinkstockPhotos-644276362.jpgClose your eyes and picture this: On your early morning commute, you get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Your senses are bombarded with horns honking, the sound of breaks squeaking, and the pungent smell of exhaust. Your reward for making it through this mess isn’t much better. Your individual cubicle awaits, lit only by artificial lights which have a way of making you look sick and feel hopeless. Once you arrive in your allotted space, you are faced with mountains of redundant, seemingly meaningless tasks you must complete, while answering to eight different bosses who don’t communicate amongst themselves.

If the movie “Office Space” came to mind during this exercise, you are getting the right idea. While the movie’s comedic portrayal of an office environment is exaggerated, as business owners, it’s wise to learn the lessons you can glean from it.


Bill Lumbergh is the boss in the movie “Office Space.” He is often seen hanging around Peter’s (main character’s) cubicle, overreaching his boundaries and seemingly controlling every aspect of Peter’s day. Peter also has eight bosses other than Bill, or maybe including him. This means everything has to be repeated over and over to the point of insanity. This drives Peter crazy, and it is not productive either.

Lesson #1: Give your employees what they need to do the job: training, materials, etc. Then, let them work. Get out of their way. Studies have even proven that micromanaging can cause employees to perform at a lower level, not higher. Just imagine trying to do even a simple task with someone standing right over your shoulder, and it’s easy to understand why micromanaging is so detrimental.

Provide Well Functioning Equipment/Updated Software

In the movie, the copy machine almost takes on the role of character thanks to the fact that it is so detested by Michael and the other main characters. It seems this copier/printer will never work properly, which causes endless difficulties. Peter, Samir, and Michael (main characters) end up destroying the machine in a rural field outside town after their frustrations reach a boiling over point.

Lesson #2: You should provide your employees with what they need to get their job done as mentioned above. Sure, things break. That’s understandable. However, expecting your employees to continue to use subpar equipment, computer, software, etc. yet still pushing them to meet deadlines and maintain the same level of production simply isn’t fair.

Create a High-Quality Working Environment

It is no wonder the characters of “Office Space” so detest their jobs. They work in 6′ x 6′ cubicles with no windows. In addition, Peter is situated right across from another employee who patches calls through, so in essence, she spends all day saying “just a moment” in an irritatingly spunky voice.

Lesson #3: Cubicles are sometimes unavoidable in today’s office buildings. However, give your employees the freedom to move around to break up their day. Make sure you have seating available for your employees outside where they can walk around and enjoy being outdoors. If outdoor space isn’t an option, at least make sure you provide a lounge with couches or comfortable chairs where employees can go to take a break from their own cubicle walls.

Most employees understand that doing business in today’s technology-saturated society often means they are required to sit at a desk and work on a computer most of the day. This doesn’t have to look like the movie “Office Space,” though. Thankfully, with a little thought and purposeful planning, you can ensure your employees never feel like Peter or the other characters from the movie. Simply adhere to these lessons from “Office Space,” and you will be heading in the right direction.


In Your Pocket.

04 SmFd.jpgThere’s a lot that can fit into a pocket! Custom-printed folders can vary from presentation size down to mini-folders just big enough for your business card and a ticket to the event of the year. With a fold and tuck, your full-color print pieces never had a better surrounding. Safe and secure inside a folder that holds your brand and message, you’ll feel the difference a sturdy folder will make. Let us line your pockets with vibrant color by custom printing folders of any size and shape to hold your assets securely. Call today 856.4290715 or visit: http://www.sjprinter.com


Leading Like a Pro


Creating a print project that pops takes more than having the best printer on the block. It also requires stellar design and text that is well thought-out and easy to read.

Have you ever wondered how those professionally designed print pieces look so incredibly clean-cut and crisp? To get that clean, easy-to-read look, professional designers make use of the big three in typography: leading, kerning, and tracking. Although all of them are important, leading can make or break a design.


What is Leading?

Simply put, the term ‘leading’ (pronounced LED-ing) refers to the amount of spacing between lines of text. (Fun fact: The term originated from hand-typesetting where thin strips of lead were placed into the forms to increase the distance between lines of text.) When you want to save space on a page or use up more space on a page, adjusting the leading is the way to go. Leading can also be used to change the aesthetics of your design, whether your text is the hero of your design or informational only. Mastering this design element will allow you to create balanced, well-formatted text that helps sell your product or service.

First Things First

When you type text into a word processing or graphic design program, you will generally get a pleasing result. Sometimes, though, the spacing may feel a bit “off.” This can be especially true if you’re using a variety of sizes, fonts, or other character adjustments. When you type the same word in a few different fonts, you will quickly see the difference between how the spacing works for individual words, both horizontally and vertically. No fonts are exactly the same, which can cause awkwardness in your design. The cure for that awkwardness is formatting.


General Formatting

Formatting can be applied at either the character level or the paragraph level. Paragraph-level formatting includes text alignment (left, right, center or justified) as well as spacing before or after paragraphs. Examples of character-level formatting include the style and choice of font, size of the characters, and the leading.


Application of Leading
While leading is considered a character-level attribute, it should generally be applied at the paragraph level to your text. This is because applying it only to a few lines of the text within a paragraph will only change the lines highlighted — which leaves you with an uneven final product.
Changing the fixed leading in InDesign can be accomplished in a few simple steps:
  • Go to ‘Edit,’ then ‘Preferences’ in previous versions of InDesign, or ‘Preferences’ in InDesign CC
  • Choose ‘Type’ from the left-side of the list
  • Under ‘Type Options,’ choose ‘Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs’
  • Select ‘OK’
All finished! Now, every paragraph that you begin will inherit these same options, giving you very consistent and clear paragraphs that are easily read by your audience. InDesign is a very smart program, so even if you don’t set a leading value, you’ll find that it defaults to auto leading — which is 120 percent of the current font size. Realistically, that translates into a space between lines of 12 pts if you’re using a 10 pt font.
Want to learn more about how leading and character formatting can make the text in your next printing project really pop? Give us a call to get started!