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!

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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!

STAND APART FROM THE COMPETITION AND CREATE A LASTING IMPRESSION

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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

SEE HOW WORDS APPEAR IN A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT FONTSTech-333_001

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

INCREASE CUSTOMER LOYALTY AND RETENTION

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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

MAKE IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME THROUGH

 

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:

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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!

MOVE YOUR IDEAS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

A GREAT WAY TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS

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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

Market-332.jpgCUSTOMER RETENTION MARKETING IDEAS

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

HELPFUL AND TIME-SAVING YOUTUBE KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

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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

HELP CUSTOMERS THINK OF YOUR BUSINESS FIRST

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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.

Delegate

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

ALL-STAR LEADING

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

The Cake Fight

kirkTwo big tom cats were strolling around a neighborhood after a big celebration and came across a big delicious piece of cake. They immediately started arguing over the cake.

A monkey was passing by when he overheard the two cats fighting. The monkey tried to help the cats and said, “Don’t fight, my friends. I can easily divide the cake into two pieces. Let me equally share the cake among you both.” The cats agreed and handed the cake over to the monkey. The monkey split the cake into two parts. Then he shook his head and said, “Oh no! One piece is slightly bigger than the other one. Let me take a bite of the bigger one to even them out.” After taking a bite of the bigger piece, he sighed and said “Oh no! This has become smaller now.” And he took a bite from the other piece and kept doing so until there was no cake left, leaving both cats disappointed.

Here’s the way I see it: Henry Boye once said it best: “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” After all, when you choose to quarrel and fight, someone else always gains.

Cash Flow and Marketing: What You Need to Know

ThinkstockPhotos-484376185.jpgCash flow is important in the lifespan of any business, but one of the key things to understand is that it’s about more than just “money in versus money out.” It’s a valuable look into the bigger picture of what you’re doing, and by having a handle on this aspect of your finances, you can take advantage of business opportunities when they arise.

First, you need to understand how every element of your business relates to this cash flow concept, including marketing. To that point, marketing has a very specific relationship with cash flow that you’re going to need to be aware of moving forward.

Hone Your Budget

Yes, it’s true that marketing costs can often seem unpredictable. However, working hard to hone your marketing budget can make these unexpected situations easier to deal with.

To get started, sit down and think about your upcoming marketing efforts in relation to your other expected cash inflows and outflows. You can’t afford to throw just anything at the wall to see what sticks;  you have to be more precise than that. Create a realistic marketing budget (that includes room for experimentation if needed) that is proportional to the rest of your expected business expenses and revenue streams.

It’s All About That Return

What matters most? Return on investment. For this, focus on the metrics that provide you the context necessary to understand your marketing efforts.

Essentially, stop thinking about marketing ROI as just “how many sales did that last campaign bring in?” and don’t be afraid to break things down on a more granular level. Start looking at metrics like your customer acquisition cost. If one of your campaigns was aimed at increasing more traffic to your website, start breaking things down based on metrics like “time spent on site” and “conversion rate.”

It’s important to know how your marketing collateral is performing in terms of overall sales and revenues, but in terms of your cash flow you need to dive deeper than that. As long as you’re able to A) show that your marketing is giving you something in return, and B) you can identify exactly what that something is and when it occurs, you know where the value of every marketing dollar rests.

This, in turn, will give you the context necessary to understand marketing’s affect on cash flow and vice versa. When you know that “X action will pay off in Y way after Z amount of time,” you suddenly know the impact that every marketing decision you make actually has and when that impact is going to occur. This makes long-term cash flow projections not only easier to make but more accurate as well.

Slim Business Cards

A MEMORABLE WAY TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR BRAND

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Slim business cards are a sleek, bold way to make your business stand apart from your competition. While most of your competitors are printing traditional business cards, slim cards grab attention and are a memorable way to differentiate your brand.

In addition to exchanging cards during introductions, slim business cards are also an excellent tool for hangtags, leave-behinds, mailing inserts, and promotional tear-aways. Slim business cards can also be designed as a dual purpose way to combine your contact information with a coupon, event reminder, save the date, or website promotion.

While slim business cards are typically a narrow rectangular shape, they are available in a variety of dimensions, and can also include creative accents, such as die cuts, embossing, foil stamping, and much more.

If you’d like help creating the perfect slim business card that fits your style, we’d love to visit with you today!

Only As Strong As Your Weakest Touch Point

THE MAGIC TOUCH

Any time a customer interacts with your brand directly is called a touch point. Touch points act as an entry into your sales funnel or as the point where your visitors decide to turn away. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product or service, if you have a touch point that fails, you are losing potential customers before they even get a chance to discover all of the greatness you have to offer.

Take A Step Back

Touch points include everything from advertisements, flyers, business cards, blogs, networking and tradeshow presence, to your voicemail manners and anything else your customers come in touch with before, during, and after a sale. Simply just having a touch point in place is no longer an option. Rather, each of your touch points must perfectly represent your brand because this is where potential customers will form their opinion of your company.

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Take a step back and evaluate your brand from an unbiased perspective. Learn to see how the world sees your brand instead of viewing it as the owner of your company or the head of its marketing department. This can help you perfect each touch point so that it meets the needs of each visitor.

Every Touch Point Matters

If every touch point matters, then how do you balance each touch point with your brand? The answer is a simple, three-letter acronym: L.E.T. Б─■ List, Evaluate, Take Action. Managing your touch points through this formula will help you make sure each touch point optimizes, satisfies, and invites.

1) List

Begin by listing all of your current touch points. The key word here is “all.” Be sure to list all of the touch points that your brand uses, including websites, emails, customer service, direct mail, and many others.

By listing each touch point, you can then evaluate each one based on your brand.

2) Evaluate

The next step is to evaluate every single touch point you noted on your list. It is easier if someone else does this for you so that the results are not biased. Your goal with this exercise is to find the weaknesses and not cover them up with explanations. This is a process of discovery, to enable you to find the opportunities and to make corrections.

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3) Take Action

Once you’ve discovered which touch points are your weak links, you can correct any deficits. Remember, deficits are opportunities. Start with your biggest opportunity as that will be your weakest touch point.

Then, begin to implement tools that will help with the ongoing task of monitoring touch points, and keep in mind that as technology changes, so will the effectiveness of each touch point. Some helpful, powerful tools include customer evaluations and site surveys. Remember that this is not about a single touch point, but about all of them. Take the time to evaluate them individually and as a group.

When it comes to marketing, every touch point is an opportunity. How well are your opportunities representing your brand?

Visuals Need a True Narrative For Maximum Effectiveness

ThinkstockPhotos-545564856.jpgHuman beings are visual learners, which is part of why visual communication is so effective (and important). Whether you’re talking about a B2C or B2B situation, marketing presentations allow your message to transcend the world of more straightforward marketing tactics and take on a whole new potential audience at the same time.

Case in point: according to one study, people only tend to remember about 10% of what they hear just three days later. If they receive the same message when paired with relevant visuals, that number jumps to an incredible 65%. It makes sense, then, that 37% of marketers said that visual resources like presentations were one of the most important forms of content for their business in general.

However, presentations are NOT necessarily a silver bullet, and you shouldn’t treat them as such. Without a strong narrative at the core of your marketing, in general, it’s far too easy to get lost in fluff that ultimately doesn’t matter – affecting the impact on your audience as a result.

What’s in a Narrative? Quite a Bit, It Turns Out

Call it whatever you’d like – a narrative, a central idea, the main thesis, etc. Every campaign needs a straightforward idea (preferably one that can be summed up in a sentence or two) at the start of it all, acting as a solid foundation from which everything else is built.

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at the power a simple narrative brings to the table regarding another visual communication medium: filmmaking. The movie “Star Wars” from 1977 is one of the most successful films of all time. It spawned billions in merchandising sales, one of the most successful franchises ever, and even led to the $4 billion acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney a few years ago.

But “Star Wars” isn’t really about crazy aliens, amazing spaceships, thrilling outer space battles and all of that other stuff. At heart, “Star Wars” is a simple and relatable narrative: a young boy who grew up on a farm dreams of a better and more exciting life, so he jumps at the chance to join the Rebellion and travel the stars.

It’s not any more complicated than that. Every single scene in the movie reinforces that narrative in some way. It all relates back to that simple idea.

Simple and Effective

Your marketing needs to be the same way. Whatever idea that you’re trying to convey or message that you’re getting across, it needs to be A) stated up front, B) as short and as simple as possible and C) relatable in some way. As long as you have those three elements, every other decision you make with regards to content needs to refer back to it, and your marketing will soar.

Having a strong, true narrative (and identifying it before you begin work) keeps you focused. Without a true narrative at the heart of it all, you’re left with marketing that doesn’t really justify its own existence.

The Need for Speed

GET YOUR WEB PAGES ON A DIET

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The speed of your website can affect several metrics, including conversion rates, page views, bounce rates, and often most importantly, reader satisfaction. Page speed is also a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. The faster your site loads, the higher your rankings are.

Here are a few factors that could be slowing down your site:

  • Large images or carousel sliders that aren’t optimized can significantly slow your page’s download speed.
  • Overloading your page with slow-loading ads, widgets, or plug-ins can slow your load time considerably.
  • Affiliate codes may seem small but can add up to slow your site’s speed.
  • The back-end code of sign-up forms, such as Google Feedburner or Aweber, can affect your speed.

Here are a few ways to test your site’s speed:

Think With Google (https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-us) tests your mobile website speed and performance and offers recommendations for improving performance across all devices.

Pingdom Website Speed Test (https://tools.pingdom.com/) enables you to test individual pages on real browsers like Chrome.

Uptrends (https://www.uptrends.com/tools/website-speed-test) analyzes your website speed on an elemental level, identifying bottlenecks caused by bloat and third-party scripts.

If you’d like help creating marketing materials that will drive visitors to your website, we’d love to help!

 

Repeat Success is No Small Achievement

ThinkstockPhotos-503000012.jpgArnel Pineda never imagined that he would be fronting the world-famous rock band, Journey, when he began singing American rock songs with his friends’ band as a teenager.

For years his exceptional singing talent had been good enough to belt out songs with club bands doing parties, special events, contests, weddings, and regular appearances around the Philippines, Pineda’s home country. However, one evening Pineda was filmed doing his performance with a particular Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The performance, as well as Pineda’s accuracy in singing the song so similar to how the original version was sung by the first Journey frontman, Steve Perry, shocked people. It also shocked the guitarist and an original member of Journey, Neil Schon, when he watched the YouTube video as well. One would think that the fairytale story ended at this point as Pineda rocketed to fame as Journey’s replacement singer. However, that’s not quite how things went.

Upping Your Game

Yes, Pineda could sing, no argument. And he did a darn good version of Journey as a bar band singer. However, the band made it clear to Pineda that if he were to be considered a serious contender for the real band, he would have to up his game. That meant singing all the original Journey songs to perfection.

It’s easy for the typical person to think this challenge might be doable. That’s because no one sees what Pineda had to go through to match every tone and every inflection that Steve Perry had done to make Journey’s songs famous in the first place. Unlike Perry, who could craft a new song with any version of voice he liked, Pineda had to duplicate the original to every single detail. It was a grueling process with Schon and company catching every mistake and pushing Pineda to reach the zenith of his ability. There were plenty of times Pineda wanted to quit as well, questioning his own talent. Fortunately, the Filipino singer realized his full potential and succeeded.

Success Can Be Hard to Repeat

This story is a classic case showing how hard it is to achieve success a second time once a standard or great performance has been achieved in the first place. In business, a one-time success is just that, a fortunate blip. When a business team can repeat the performance and do even better consistently, that’s a huge achievement. It proves that the success was not just good luck or a brief opportunity when things just fell into place.

Repeat success is the primary goal every business team strives to achieve. And it is extremely hard. Conditions change, markets fluctuate, customers move to new interests, team members leave and get replaced. All of these factors and more change the mix in how successful a team can be. To overcome these changes and repeat the success is really the higher level of performance that pays big with rewards when it can be achieved.

Not Just for Entertainment

Think Pineda’s story is just something that happens in the entertainment world? Look at Apple after Steve Jobs passed away. The Apple team lost a core resource in Jobs and still had to find a way to keep Apple growing and succeeding even more than what Jobs had achieved with the company. CEO Tim Cook and company did exactly that, but it was a huge challenge to fill Jobs’ shoes year after year since his passing. In many ways, Cook had to perform just as hard a Pineda to repeat a success and make it better. So the next time you see a repeat success story, don’t dismiss it so quickly. It’s frequently much harder to succeed a second time versus the first.

From Small Things Come Big Changes

ThinkstockPhotos-470778170.jpgPierre Omidyar didn’t plan to start a mega-corporation in the late fall of 1995. In fact, all he wanted to do was get rid of some computer equipment he had laying around by selling it through a digital garage sale. However, once he realized how popular his simple web page started to become, and the fact that he could charge a fee for folks to use it, eBay was born.

In three short years, the eBay online auction concept went from a private website to a viable business that quickly began to explode. Omidyar had hit on what many in business invention call a “primal need,” something that everybody needs and doesn’t yet exist.

With the help of Jeff Skoll, Omidyar brought in Meg Whitman, the same Whitman who later ran for California’s governor, and corporate eBay took off. By 1998, eBay had gone beyond just selling used and collection items and was quickly becoming a viable brand name for online selling in general. The model continues today and competes directly against regular retail selling.

Seeing What it Could Become

The key aspect of Omidyar’s success, however, was not Whitman and her corporate choices of personnel, nor was it the smart linkup with PayPal to make eBay’s payment processing extraordinarily fluid and easy for customers. Omidyar could see that he had something valuable and, if given the resources, what it could become. This key talent is what makes the difference between inventors and idea people who never quite achieve success, and people like Omidyar who realize what seems to be impossible starting out.

Omidyar had a number of essential factors present and working in his favor:

  • Again, the primal need for an online auction platform or similar garage sale digital tool was needed.
  • Second, it could be easily accessed by anyone who wanted to participate and pay the fee.
  • Third, the tool was easy to use and produced immediate results and rewards for those using it.
  • Fourth, and most important, no one else was making the same idea happen successfully at the time.

Without these elements in place, Omidyar’s personal website might have made some small cash and even generated a small following, but it would not have turned into the worldwide corporation we know as eBay today.

Finding Ways to Make it Grow

Some explain the opportunity as a momentary blast of good luck or fate, and others argue it’s the genius of the person involved producing some incredible new service or product. In reality, eBay is neither; it is a product of Omidyar being able to see the promise of an idea and finding ways to make it grow and become more useful, accessible, and popular.

Ebay expanded and became a household name because the company took every opportunity to follow the four principles above in its business strategy. That constant commitment to creating value in a brand is why people keep coming back to eBay as a service some 20 years later, regardless of what the internet and technology have provided since.

If you need help creating value in your brand, we’re here to help. Give us a call today!

Never Make Assumptions

kirkI heard an interesting legend about a business tycoon who gave his job candidates a special test during their job interviews. He would invite the candidates out for lunch and watch their actions closely. If they added salt or pepper to their food before tasting it, he would automatically rule them out. Why? Because he wanted people who didn’t make assumptions, since assumptions tend to be innovation killers.

Here’s the way I see it: Mark W. Perrett said it best: “If you don’t go through life with an open mind, you will find a lot of closed doors.” If you’re looking for exciting new ways to promote your business in print, our team would love to help. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close!

Screenshots Galore

SCREENSHOTS ON A VARIETY OF DEVICES

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Screenshots can be a helpful way to save information, but with the plethora of tech devices available, it can be hard remembering the screenshot shortcuts. Here are tips how to take screenshots on a variety of devices:

Windows: Press the Print Screen key (also marked “Print,” “PrtScn” or PrtSc”), which copies the screen and can be pasted into any program, such as Outlook email, Word, or Paint. Or, if you want more specific content, Press Alt+PrtScn to copy only the contents of your current window.

Microsoft Surface (or other Windows tablets): On older devices, you can try pressing Fn+Win+spacebar, or the Win+Down Volume button at the same time. On newer models, press the Power Button+Down Volume button simultaneously.

MacOS: To copy the image of your Mac’s entire screen, press Command+Control+Shift+3. Or, for specific screenshots, press Command+Shift+4, then click and drag the selector across the area of the desktop you want to capture.

Chromebooks: Hold down Ctrl+Switch Window button (or Ctrl+F5 on a standard keyboard). To take a partial screenshot, click Ctrl+Shift+Switch Window (Ctrl+Shift+F5 on a standard keyboard), then click and drag the selection tool across a portion of the screen.

iPhone or iPad: Press the Power Button+Home Button at the same time.

Most Android phones or tablets (including new Samsung S8, S8+ and Galaxy Note 8): Press the Power+Volume Down.

Samsung phones or tablets (excluding version 8): Press the Power Button+Home Button at the same time

Trade Show Do’s and Don’ts

ETIQUETTE TIPS FOR TRADE SHOWS

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The most important part of any trade show or business event is how your staff presents themselves to potential buyers. Here are a few etiquette tips for trade shows and other business events:

  • Use approachable body language by standing in front of your booth, smiling, and keeping your hands at your sides, not in your pockets or folded at your chest.
  • Provide adequate staffing, so the booth is covered during lunch and other breaks, without overwhelming the booth space with employees.
  • Stay attentive. Don’t chat with coworkers or look on your phone or laptop.
  • Don’t solicit guests in the aisles. Let them show interest by arriving at your booth.
  • Be prepared to answer basic questions or know where to obtain more information if necessary.
  • Don’t eat or drink at the booth. Hide snacks, trash, and supplies behind a backdrop or under a skirted table.
  • Dress appropriately, and avoid wearing too much or too little. There is nothing worse than freezing or sweating at a networking event. Dress in comfortable layers that you can easily add or remove as needed, such as a suit jacket over a dress shirt.
  • Be cognizant of your personal hygiene. Use mints or gum to keep your breath fresh. Skip the cologne. Fragrances should be alluring, not overpowering. If you can smell perfume or cologne, within talking distance, it is too strong.
  • Avoid gaudy jewelry. You want to be remembered for your personality or impressive product knowledge, not your giant dangling earrings or over-jeweled hands.

If you’d like help creating supplemental marketing materials for an upcoming event, our creative team has many great ideas to ensure your company is noticed and remembered! Give us a call or visit us online today.

Making Philanthropy the Family Business

ThinkstockPhotos-668204996.jpgIf you ask the owners of many large, family-owned businesses what keeps everyone together, you may notice a trend: philanthropy. Helping others truly does run in the family, and multi-generational businesses are in a unique position to pass along not just the business perspective needed to be successful, but also how to have a positive impact on the community. Even if kids are too young to be involved in the family business, it’s never too early to begin coaching children about why it is important to help those who are less fortunate. It’s not just large organizations that benefit from giving back — family businesses of all sizes find that philanthropy offers a way for all ages to come together around a common goal.

Teaching Financial Stewardship

While most parents strive to raise children that are strong and confident of their place in the world, the reality is that there will always be others who do not have the same opportunities for nutrition, good schools, and a loving family environment. It can be challenging for kids growing up in a family business environment to understand that not everyone has access to the same technology, toys and clothing — and that being a good steward of finances means finding ways to contribute to the health and well-being of others. This often starts early with a percentage of allowance going to support those in need and can continue to grow throughout their life.

Legacy of Values

Passing a company down through multiple generations is a powerful legacy,  and one that provides no small measure of pride when passed along. The values of hard work, thrift, and benevolence make for great leaders in the community and in the business — and are a good way of maintaining strong ties with customers and employees. Even family members who are not a part of the daily running of the business are often able to get involved in a philanthropic effort in some way.

Deliberate Goals

Being deliberate about creating goals for your family business around giving is yet another way of enforcing the importance of strategy within the organization. When multigenerational leaders work together to solve challenging problems for the greater good, that hard work often spills over into daily life. A key to selecting a good philanthropic effort is that it’s large enough to engage family members of all ages in some way. This allows you to tailor opportunities for service and giving to the specific preferences and strengths of an individual. For instance, some people are born to be fundraisers and are able to weave a compelling tale about the how monetary gifts will be utilized in a way that compels people to provide cash infusions. If others are more comfortable working behind the scenes, there is plenty to be done there as well.

Building family values, providing support to the community — where’s the downside? When you need printed materials for your next community project, contact us at 856.4290715!

When Color Matters: Tips for Specifying Colors

LET YOUR TRUE COLORS SHINE THROUGH

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You’re designing a new brochure, flyer, or newsletter and want to make sure it looks great. You’re considering printing it full-color, but aren’t sure if that’s the best option to choose, considering your budgetary needs. Here are some tips to help you decide how many colors to use and how to make the most of the colors you choose.

When to use spot colors

  • You only need one or two colors for the printed piece.
  • Your project doesn’t include any full-color photos.
  • Your corporate colors need to be reproduced to exact specifications and cannot be reproduced faithfully enough by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK)… the four “process” colors.
  • Your project calls for fluorescent, metallic, or other special inks.

When to use process color…

  • You need more than two colors.
  • Your piece includes full-color photos.

When to use both…

  • You want to enhance the colors by including a “bump” plate (an extra printing plate set up in one of the four process colors and meant to enhance that tone).
  • Your project includes full-color photos, but your logo or corporate colors don’t reproduce well with process color inks.
  • Your project includes full-color photos and also requires metallic, fluorescent, or other special inks.

No matter what color combination you choose, there are some things you can do to ensure your project goes more smoothly. For example, as you’re preparing your artwork, make sure you aren’t “duplicating” any colors. Look through the color palette in your page layout software. Remove any duplicate colors you find, and reassign the corresponding objects and layers accordingly.

Also make sure you give your colors the same names in each application you use for the project. For example, make sure you give the color the same name in InDesign as you give it in Photoshop and Illustrator. This will help reduce confusion and ensure the colors separate properly when preparing the piece for print.

And finally, if you decide to go with process printing, use your design software to convert any spot colors you have to their CMYK equivalents. When doing so, double-check the values the software assigns, to ensure good printability. For example, if Photoshop gives a color a 1% magenta value, you might want to do some tweaking to eliminate the need for that value. We’ll be happy to help you optimize your files for print and answer any questions you have while producing your files.

Boosting Customer Engagement with Fall-Themed Promotions

ThinkstockPhotos-594486944.jpgFall is a beautiful time of year with cooler weather in some regions, and connotations of family in all parts of the country. Fall brings with it traditional themes of back to school, falling leaves, carving pumpkins, football, and fall holidays. One of the most popular traditions during the fall season is the range of pumpkin-flavored treats available. Using these themes, you can create campaigns to drive new customers and return business.

1. Giveaways and Contests

It is always fun to promote a coupon or giveaway with a fall flavor. These can include coupons to neighboring businesses for cross-promotion or sweepstakes for fall gifts. For B2B companies, it is best to keep these rewards under $10 because some industries have strict limits on what they can receive as gifts. Easy gifts are seasonal doughnuts, bags of coffee, pumpkin pie or other food specialties of the season. If you prefer to offer non-food rewards, small sports-related gifts make good selections. It is best to have rewards that appeal to most clients whether men or women and any age.

2. Seasonal Discounts

Offering seasonal discounts as companies ramp up for the year can drive business. These discounts should be offered in early August to allow for planning time. Giving customers bulk discounts for large orders is a good incentive for any product or service.

3. Educational Videos

Combine some video with your print promotions to encourage loyalty from your customers. Videos can truly be on any subject to help customers better understand what you do and how best to approach you for specific jobs. Humorous videos are an excellent way to help customers remember what they have learned. You can promote custom products and services that make your business unique and invite them for a free sample after viewing the video.

4. Fall Infographics

The football theme is a great one for fall infographics. You can lay out a play-by-play scenario for a custom service on a colorful direct mail infographic that will catch your customer’s eye. Use it as a poster in your building, email it to your customer list, and hand it out with orders. Infographics are great for simplifying complex ideas with simple illustrations and graphic arrows.

These are just a few ideas to get promoting this fall. Remember, if you need help with your printing and marketing, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

Healthy Employees Are Productive Employees: Why to Incentivize Health at Work

ThinkstockPhotos-836595382.jpgProductivity really is the secret to everything in terms of your business’ success. Happier employees tend to be more productive, which is why it is essential that you focus on things like corporate culture and team-building exercises whenever the opportunity arises.

Many people don’t realize, however, that this is only one small part of a much larger story. It isn’t enough for your employees to be happy – healthy employees are also significantly more productive than those who are not, which is why if you’re not already making health and wellness top priorities within your organization now would be an excellent time to start.

Healthy Employees and Productivity: Facts and Figures

According to a series of studies that were recently conducted on the subject, healthy employees may be a whole lot more valuable than you’ve even realized:

  • On average, employees who eat healthy foods (or who at least make an effort to do so) tend to be about 25% more productive than those who do not.
  • Employees that exercise for at least a half hour each week are an impressive 15% more likely to have higher job performance than those who do not.
  • Healthy employees also take fewer sick days, which is not surprising. The true revelation, however, is just how far this benefit goes: absenteeism is a massive 27% lower in employees who A) eat healthy, and B) exercise regularly.
  • The most important statistic of all is the fact that overweight and generally unhealthy employees cost employers in the United States an astounding $73.1 billion collectively per year, part of which has to do with the fact that they tend to file twice the number of workers’ compensation claims than those who do not.

At this point, the answer to the question “how important are healthy employees?” becomes resoundingly clear: very, very important. But saying that you value your employee’s health is one thing. Actually taking steps to show that this is true is something else entirely.

How to Value Health at Work

Luckily, valuing healthy employees is simply a matter of a series of small choices. You can begin by making sure that healthy snacks are available for employees in the office who may be “burning the midnight oil,” for example. If you’re one of the many workplaces around the country that has a vending machine on-site, consider restocking that vending machine with healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables instead of the traditional potato chips and sweets. People will absolutely start to eat them, especially if they don’t really have an alternative.

You’ll also want to consider emphasizing health in terms of things like employee benefits packages. Consider throwing in a free gym membership to a local fitness club that employees can take advantage of after they’ve worked with your organization for X number of weeks or months. It may not be something that everyone uses, but those who do will benefit greatly. You’ll also benefit, too, as this is a clear sign that you actually care about the health and fitness of your employees – something that will make it easier to attract top talent in the future.

Also remember that according to one report by Quantum Workplace, employees tend to be 14% more engaged when they are provided some time off to “recharge their batteries,” so to speak. So the next time you think it’s a good idea to make people work incredibly long hours week after week, you may want to think again.

Ways to Protect Your Brand in the Real-Time Information Age

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A brand is more than just a company logo, and it’s bigger than any one particular product or service. Instead, it’s the feeling that people get when they think about your company. It’s what goes into the instinct they have regarding whether or not to make a purchase.

 

A brand is also massively important in terms of how successful your marketing efforts will be in the long-term. The impression someone has of your brand is something that occurs almost immediately.  48% of consumers say that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand if their first experience is a positive one, regardless of whether or not that experience actually took the form of a purchase.

That means your brand must be protected at all costs, particularly in the real-time information age that we’re now living in. People are being marketed to from nearly every angle. If you don’t work hard to strengthen and hone your brand, you run the risk of being lost in the shuffle. Hope is not lost, however, as there are a few key things you can do to protect your brand as much as you can.

Consistency is Key

One of the most important things you can do to protect your brand is focus on something that real-time information doesn’t provide: consistency. According to one study, 90% of consumers expect that their experience with a brand will be similar across all channels – whether you’re talking about print, in-person interactions, or digital content.

Don’t Wait For Your Audience to Come to You

Another study estimates that, on average, you really need about five to seven positive brand impressions with a consumer before they start to remember your brand in a similar light. This is good, but you need to remember that in a real-time information age, you don’t necessarily have the time to wait for a consumer to initiate those impressions.

Also, consider the fact that brands that are consistently presented are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility. YOU must be reaching out to your audience by way of consistent, enjoyable and helpful experiences whenever and wherever you can. Increase the frequency of the print marketing collateral that you’re putting out there and focus on being helpful, educational, and informative.

The Unmistakable Benefits

Give people as many opportunities to experience your brand as you possibly can and your entire identity will benefit as a result. If brand visibility is something of a numbers game, you need to play those numbers as well as you possibly can. Don’t wait for someone else to hopefully do it for you.

Successful branding brings with it a wide range of different benefits, from increased customer loyalty to an improved image, to a relatable identity and beyond. But in an age where information is everywhere, your brand is something that you also need to work hard to proactively protect. If you don’t, you run the risk of watching those important relationships with your audience begin to deteriorate

Maintaining a Work/Life Balance: Why Perspective Is Key

ThinkstockPhotos-697895326.jpgWork/life balance? No problem, right? But then those daily tasks start to add up and your nights start getting longer. You start going in on the occasional Saturday, then the “frequent” Saturday. Pretty soon you’re so bogged down with your “to-do” list that you can’t even think about taking that vacation with your family.

Maintaining a proper work/life balance is a challenge, sure – but it’s also a lot easier than you might think.

Enjoying Life is a Task, Too

When the pendulum that is your work/life balance begins to swing decidedly in the direction of “work, work, work,” you start to encounter a few key problems almost immediately. You’re trying to do too much at the same time, and the quality of work tends to suffer. You’re also getting burned out, which leads to less getting done because you lack the motivation to push on when you need it the most.

This is a large part of the reason why experts agree that you should look at downtime for what it is: a mission-critical task that you need to preserve your productivity throughout the week.

As you begin to build your schedule each week, make sure to add leisure activities at strategic points when you’ll need them. Don’t be afraid to add “go to the movies” to your calendar for Thursday, or pencil in that lunch with your old college friend on Monday afternoon.

If You Want to Move Up, Plan Some Down Time

Human beings NEED downtime to stay efficient. It’s a way to periodically re-charge our batteries. It’s the reason why people say you shouldn’t cram all your studying into the night before a big test in college and should instead break your coursework down into smaller, more manageable chunks in the weeks proceeding that moment. The former is an absolute recipe for disaster, and the latter supports the way your brain operates.

If you add in leisure items to your list of things to do, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of being able to check them off said list throughout the week. When you do this, it releases endorphins into your brain – meaning that you get a boost of satisfaction from having accomplished something, anything, and you get to take a mental breather at the same time.

None of this is difficult advice to follow – all it requires is some perspective about the things that matter most in life. Yes, work is important, but actually living your life is important, too.

Binder Cover Inserts

GIVE YOUR BINDERS A PROFESSIONAL TOUCH

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Whether you use binders to organize your internal information, provide hands-outs at presentations, or simply distribute binders to help customers to track their product or warranty information, custom binder cover inserts are a great marketing tool that can provide custom branding and give your information a professional touch.

When a binder is sitting on a shelf, its spine is the only way to know what’s inside. Ensure that your important information is used and remembered. Our creative team can help you design a binder spine and cover that’s easy to identify and so enticing, the binder won’t sit on that shelf for long.

We can also help you make organizing even easier. Don’t forget we can also print your three-hole drilled pages, inserts, and custom tab dividers. If you have questions or would like a custom quote, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

Marketing Habits To Break

COMMON MARKETING MISTAKES MANY BUSINESSES MAKE

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Here are a few of the common marketing mistakes many businesses make:

  • Jumping on the bandwagon. Some marketers blindly follow new social media trends because “everyone is doing it,” regardless if it is right for their business and product line.
  • Not tracking campaign performance. Whether you are using print media or email/social campaigns, it is important to track coupon codes, click-through rates, engagement rates, leads, and more.
  • Linking to a random website page rather than creating a landing page that is specific to your campaign. Increase conversions and ensure that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for by creating a custom landing page.
  • Set it and forget it. Always remember: if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Regularly review Google AdWords and other paid social campaigns frequently so you can adjust as needed.
  • Using the wrong types of content on social networks. For example, you should use images on Instagram and Pinterest. Use videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat. Publish industry news, white papers, and company updates on LinkedIn, Twitter and forums.
  • False scarcity. Avoid pressuring people to buy with messaging such as “Buy Now! Limited Quantities” especially if this is not true and you plan to promote something for more than a few days.

Focusing on product features, not benefits. Customers want to know how a product will solve their problem and what value it will offer them.

3 Signs to Help You Identify if Your Market is Changing

ThinkstockPhotos-495668090.jpgSo much of your marketing success depends on your ability to get the right message in front of the right people at exactly the right time. To accomplish this, you need to know your audience – and the market that they inhabit – as intimately as possible.

But what happens if one day, suddenly and without warning, that market begins to change? Worse yet, what happens if this trend started while you weren’t necessarily paying as much attention as you should have been? The answer is both unfortunate and straightforward: you’ll be stuck playing “catch up.”

This is a situation that you do NOT want to find yourself in. Here are a few key signs that indicate a market change may be taking place.

Product Innovation Is No Longer a Key Value Driver

You’ve worked hard to build a robust and stable business and nobody offers what you do in quite the same way. You’ve had a tremendous amount of success relying on this type of innovation up to this point as a result. However, if things start to shift in the opposite direction, you may be looking at a market change that you’ll want to adapt to as fast as you can.

Simply put, product innovation – that is, the quality of what you do and how you do it – should always be the key value driver for your business. If you start to have to fall back on things like your prices, the reputation of your brand, or simply your ability to “out market” your competition, it’s likely that your audience is reaching a maturity level that will represent a challenge in the future.

Look to Your Competitors

Competitors are not always a hurdle to be overcome. Oftentimes, they can be the “canary in the coal mine,” so to speak, especially in a situation like this one. Take a look at some of the leaders in your industry, especially competitors that are larger than you are. What are they doing? Are they growing or retracting? Are they doing something that nobody else is doing because they can see something coming down the road that nobody else does? Keeping an eye on the health of your larger competitors can be a great way to stay ahead of the larger market trends that may be right around the corner.

Listen to Your Customers

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to identify signs that your market may be changing requires you to see your marketing strategy as a two-way street. You’re not just communicating with your audience; your audience is also communicating with you. If you’re having a hard time getting solid insight into the direction of your industry and market alone, cut out the middleman and go right to the source: ask your audience what they see as their future needs in the areas you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.

Send out surveys or questionnaires asking for raw, honest insights into the questions you’re asking yourself today. Take a current client or customer out for dinner and ask them what they see for the next five or even ten years in your industry. Never forget that without these people, your business wouldn’t exist – so it’s in your own best interest to listen to them as often as possible.

Print Advertising Feels Like Printing Money

ThinkstockPhotos-122424050.jpgWouldn’t it be great if you could print your own money? Life would be so much easier, right? Well, maybe not, but here’s a little secret that feels like printing money: print advertising.

Print Advertising is Like Printing Money

Good advertising can go a long way for your business. Sometimes it’s hard to explain what good advertising is, but you know it when you’ve seen it. Whether it’s a heartfelt image or a tagline that makes you think, there’s just something about incredible advertising that has a way to move and motivate you.

Good print advertising can inspire you to make a change, donate to a cause, or purchase that cool, new tech device. It provides everyone who passes it, holds it, or takes it out of a mailbox the chance to see that printed information. And, since print advertising is often locally targeted, it means that you can create a far more personal connection to your community than you can with digital ads.

Every time someone sees your printed advertisement and, in turn, goes in and buys a product or service from you, you’re essentially printing your own money! These customers may have never come to your business and purchased your product or service without seeing the advertisement.

You Like What You See, You Buy What You Like

Picture this: You’re walking down the street. Maybe you just finished grabbing a coffee with a friend, and you’re heading back to your car. You check your watch to make sure you’re still on time to pick up the kids from school. You look up and there, on the side of a building, is a poster for a brand new product one of the local boutiques is offering. It stops you in your tracks as you gaze up at it. It’s incredible! How come nobody else ever thought of that before! You pull out your phone and snap a picture, so you remember to pick up the item later.

All of this is the power of print advertisement. People pay little mind to online advertisements, and TV ads are often on while the viewer is off grabbing another beverage from the kitchen. Print ads, however, are there regardless of what a person is doing and how often they pass a certain intersection. And every time someone sees the advertisement and buys something, you’ve just printed more of your own money.

So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to start printing your own money in the form of print advertising!

Boost Your Marketing Prowess with Perfect Postcard Design

POW! PUNCH! POSTCARDS!

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Postcards are an excellent way to grab attention, partly because you can get your message across to the reader without requiring them to take action like opening an envelope or an email. With a postcard, your message is always front and center as soon as the printed piece hits their hand.

However, readers can easily be turned off by an unattractive postcard design or miss key information if it’s not well-presented. Keep these perfect postcard design tips in mind to boost your marketing power and encourage your audience to take action on your message.

Get to the Point

You should have one obvious call to action for your postcard and create the rest of the design around driving home that point. Do you want customers to take advantage of an expensive offer for a high-end brand? Or are you looking for a fun response to a social media inquiry?

Understanding your audience and what you’re trying to accomplish will help drive design direction for your postcard. Each detail of the postcard, from the fonts and colors used to the size of the card itself and the finish, should all build the look and feel that will reinforce your brand and message.

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Attention-Grabbing Design

Even the classiest of postcards can be attention-grabbing, whether it’s font size, bright colors, or added pops of foil or other special treatments. Try experimenting with different cardstock options or graphics and put them together in creative ways. Look at your design in real size from across the room. Are you able to easily tell the main point, and does the postcard design look like something that would catch attention at a glance? If not, try again!

Don’t Be Boring

People receive dozens of pieces of mail in a week, and you have only a split second to catch their attention. One of the best ways to do that (other than the design) is to have fun with the message and the layout. A bright pop of color is great, but having that integrated around a fun message will keep them reading once they’ve picked up the postcard. Don’t overstuff the postcard space with text, but look for a good balance that provides enough information for the reader to take action. Here are some quick tips that will help:

✔ Be brief: Less important details can be relegated to the back, to keep the front clutter-free.

✔ Be unique: Consider postcard designs that are extraordinary such as odd shapes or sizes.

✔ Be clear: Providing a specific call to action and benefits to your audience will help them engage with your message.

✔ Be engaging: If one postcard is great, a series of postcards can provide you with an even greater impact.

If you liked these tips, our postcard pros have tons more. They’re standing by to help you design the right postcard to meet (and exceed!) your business goals. Contact us today at 856.429.0715 to learn more and get started writing your postcard success story!

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Want to Be Successful? Take Time to Dream

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One of the most famous dreamers of our time is Steve Jobs, the Co-founder and CEO of Apple, an iconic visionary who believed so deeply in the power of his dreams that he was able to bring them to life for millions of people. Jobs believed that the era of mediocrity was over and that you should put in the work on every project to make it great. His famous recommendation to a Disney retail executive to “Dream bigger” when it came to Disney stores resulted in a new type of store experience that continues to delight children of all ages. How can you leverage these same tactics and take the time to dream big in your own life?

Dream Fearlessly

Individuals often lose confidence in their dreams because everyday reality creeps in and has a way of tamping down your passion. Big dreamers are different. Even if you think they’re relentlessly optimistic, it requires constant hard work and commitment to make dreams come true, and a fearless need to be successful.

Believe in Yourself

Constantly second-guessing yourself doesn’t leave a lot of time for forward movement, making self-confidence a critical requirement for living your passion. You have to identify every element of your vision down to the smallest detail, and then break it down into the small steps required to make it happen. Professional athletes are very familiar with this concept, as they are coached to visualize making a basket, getting a hole in one, or nailing a complicated gymnastics floor exercise.

Take Action

Dreaming is great, but once the dream is solidified it is time to begin moving! Harness your beliefs and stay focused on reaching your goal. There will be others who will support you along the way — great! There will also be those individuals who are constantly looking to undermine your skills, your ability, and your passion. Graciously ignore them, and keep taking steps to move your dreams forward into reality. Pausing too long to consider the consequences can often result in a missed opportunity, which may not come around again.

Compete to Win

Successful dreamers are by nature quite competitive. They’re always looking around for how their competition is doing something and finding a way to improve upon the concept, or better yet — revolutionize it in their own way. Solving problems for your customers is a daily devotion, allowing you to rise to any challenge and overcome it as you follow your dreams.

Leave Space for Dreaming

What can you stop doing (immediately, next week, in six weeks) that will free up additional time for dreaming? It can be incredibly difficult to fuel your passion when you’re so caught up in everyday activities and overall busyness that you aren’t able to stop and think. Actively look for ways that you can create space in your daily activities that provide a block of time in which to think about the future and how you’ll get there. Your future self will thank you!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, persevere. When things don’t work out exactly as you had planned — keep going. Remind yourself that nothing good comes overnight, and success can take years to achieve. Stay resilient, be patient and keep dreaming!

The Path

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One day long ago, a calf decided to cross a thick forest to return to its pasture. Not knowing where it was going, it forged a twisted, confusing path full of turns that went up and down hills. The next day, a dog came by and used the same path to cross the forest. Then, a sheep took the same path, which was followed by its fellow flock, and various other animals.

Later, a group of travelers came along and decided to take the path that was well worn. They went left, right, around deviating obstacles, and complained about the terrible path the entire way, but did nothing to create an alternate route. After many years, travelers continued along that same, well-worn path, each time taking three hours to cover a distance that would normally take 30 minutes had they forged a smarter path.

Here’s the way I see it: Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

Solar Charging Tips

TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHARGE

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Solar charging can be a great solution for powering your cell phones and other mobile devices when on the go. The angle of the panel toward the sun, cloud cover, and time of year all affect the quality of the sunlight that reaches the panel. Here are a few tips to maximize your charge:

  • Bright sunlight at a 90-degree angle to the panel will convert the most light into electricity and charge devices the quickest.
  • Keep your phone cool and in the shade. If your phone is in the direct sunlight, it can overheat and be difficult to charge.
  • Windows may affect your charge. For example, energy efficient windows block sunlight.
  • Charge when the sun is strong for best results. Heavy cloud overcast may not provide enough sunlight to create a strong charge.
  • Avoid moving around when charging. If your screen turns on and off again, it could drain your battery quickly.
  • Check the wattage rating to see which devices you can effectively charge. For example, a small handheld charger may not be powerful enough to charge a laptop.

If you need help ensuring print materials are powering at full strength, our creative team is here to help! Give us a call today at 856.429.0715.

What Leadership Really Means in the Era of Working Remotely

ThinkstockPhotos-614419830.jpgMore employees are working remotely than ever before. According to research conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, roughly 50% of the workforce in the United States holds a job that is “compatible” with at least partial telework. Of those people, about 20 to 25% of them actually do work remotely at some frequency.

More than that, a further 80 to 90% say that they would really like to work remotely at least part time – pointing to a trend that is only going to get more popular as time goes on.

Employees who are all able to work from home (or wherever they’d like, really) sounds fantastic… if you’re an employee. But what if you’re an employer? More than that, what if you’re a leader? How do you continue to do your job of bringing people together to benefit the greater good if they’re all spread out over a potentially massive geographic area?

The Job Hasn’t Changed…

The “good news” is that the leadership qualities required to steer any organization towards success have not changed, nor are they likely to ever do so. You still need to be an excellent communicator, making sure that everyone is on the same page, that they know what “success” looks like, and that they all still feel like they’re contributing to something much more powerful and important than themselves.

You still need to be willing to lead by example, never asking someone to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself. You still need to inspire people to give their all not because their paychecks depend on it, but because they just can’t help themselves.

… But the Tools Have

Things have changed, however. In terms of communication, for example, you need to be willing to adapt your process to rely less on face-to-face interaction and more on the digital resources that you have available to you. Collaborating on a project no longer involves sitting in the same room and hammering out ideas. Now, it’ll involve using some cloud-based solution to give everyone editing access to the same files at the same time.

This type of thing will require an adjustment from your perspective, but it is one that is undoubtedly worth making. Typical telecommuters tend to be much happier with their jobs than people forced to come into the office every day, which will directly affect both productivity and work quality in a positive way. 73% of telecommuters say that they’re more satisfied with their company than they’ve ever been before. Most of them work more than 40 hours per week. They also tend to work harder to create a friendly, cooperative, and positive work environment – something that you’re also trying to do by being the best leader you can be.

In truth, how you’re able to change your management style to keep up with the demands of the modern telecommuting workforce will go a long way towards deciding what type of leader you’ll be today, tomorrow, five years from now, and beyond.

Event Tents

SPREAD THE WORD AT INDUSTRY EVENTS

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Event schedule table tents are an excellent way to spread the word about various happenings at industry events, such as conferences and trade shows. For example, trade shows may offer an expo timeline, different speaker tracks, meals, social events, and much more.

Event tents are a convenient way to keep everyone informed and also encourage social collaboration visiting with other attendees about upcoming events.

Table tents can easily be displayed on counter tops, social gathering areas, bar tables, registration areas, presentation conference rooms, and much more. When placed in hard to miss locations, table tents are sure to get noticed and read. And, because event tents are so affordable, they can easily be changed daily to keep up with busy schedules and keep your messaging fresh.

If you’d like help creating the perfect table tent for your upcoming event, give us a call today at 856.429.0715!

The Persisting Power of Loyalty

 

What is loyalty? Loyalty is words combinedThinkstockPhotos-484012828.jpg with actions. It is devotion tested by time. It is steadfast security that grows from a most prized character quality. Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is better to be faithful than famous.” American author Elbert Hubbard agreed: “If put to a pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.”

Relationally, loyalty builds trust, security, affection, and the ability to thrive. The same is true professionally – only as we build loyal customers and employees will we begin to see business prosper and flourish to its fullest potential. So how can you grow something so intangible, yet so critical, to the foundation of your organization?

Three Primary Pathways

The good news is, you already have buy-in at some level. Whether you have a small business or thousands of employees, customers and co-workers have entrusted you with their money, their well-being, or their future. And people who have “bought in” are looking for reassurance that they’ve made a good decision! How can you move them from the point of trial commitment to a place of wholehearted ownership? Here are three pathways to press into:

  1. Cultivate Loyalty. Being so focused on bringing prospects through the front door, sometimes, you can forget about those going out the back. Enduring connections happen when you urge your clients and employees to stay the course by encouraging them to renew their commitments and helping them VALUE what is VALUABLE.
  2. Celebrate Loyalty. This can be as simple as a Christmas card or as heartfelt as a personal phone call. As a company, be sure to set tangible goals and conspicuously celebrate the progress that’s been made. Look for strategic ways to cast vision, gather testimonies, craft impact pieces, and honor important milestones. Creatively appreciate your clients and co-workers, and publicly commemorate a job well done!​
  3. Reward Loyalty. According to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, and they typically spend 67 percent more than first-time clients. Additionally, persuasive personal recommendations are most likely to flow from your base. What are you doing to reward that devotion? Aren’t your most valuable clients or employees worth a little extra expense? Consider personalized incentives, tailored service packages, or preferential terms, discounts, or benefits. Give these influencers personal access to your leadership and go the distance to meet and exceed their expectations. Don’t forget, authentic personal relationships are a powerful motivator.

Prioritize People

Are you looking to cement your customer base so your organization can flourish to the fullest? Prioritize people as you cultivate, celebrate, and reward loyalty. Companies that can do this will experience enormous benefits through a thriving reputation, consistent customer retention, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Your Company’s Waste Makes This Man Rich

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Matt Malone would probably be considered an odd fellow and maybe even mentally ill by those seeing him on the street. However, for those who know Malone personally, they might think that he’s a genius.

Malone is, in modern terms, known as a dumpster diver. That involves essentially going into large dumpster bins and rummaging around to see what people have thrown away.

Malone was first introduced to the practice by accident when working in a company that got rid of far too much valuable, working equipment. What he realized at first was that the items were still usable, valuable, and most importantly, functional. However, when he took them home and started making inventions with the items, he realized something more – people wanted what he was finding and were willing to pay real cash for the items.

Diamonds in the Rough

Today, Malone is at an expert level, finding gems in the rough and converting them into sales of hundreds and even thousands of dollars. In fact, he makes more in dumpster-related sales than he does in his regular job.

However, this article is not about Malone’s success. It’s about the fact that Malone’s earnings are possible because businesses regularly throw away thousands of dollars of perfectly fine commodities and equipment simply because it’s not needed, no longer perfect, or no one knows what to do with it in the office. As a result, companies small and large are bleeding expenses daily without seeing the full benefit from what was bought. And that makes Malone a rich man.

Whether it’s security cameras, unused ink toner, or usable furniture, companies move out perfectly viable goods and products to their collective dumpsters every day. And this obvious waste and loss of company money is because there is no incentive within most companies to try to make things stretch further. Don’t need that toner anymore? No problem, buy a new one and throw the old one in the box in the hallway. The janitor will take care of it regardless of the fact we spent $300 to buy it on the last office supply order.

Reuse, Resell, Recycle

People regularly make fun of the TSA and government airport security, but the security agency has one step up on some of the smartest companies. Instead of adding more trash to landfills with all the nail clippers, pocket knives and nail files they confiscate from travelers at the security gates, they bundle them into large bins and sell them on eBay, recouping actual cash from free confiscations. How many companies actively recoup funds by reselling what they don’t need? Not enough, which is why Malone and dumpster divers like him are becoming rich people.

Many parts of the world look at the U.S. and see it as synonymous with waste and laziness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A simple bit of attention on equipment and inventory can change behavior dramatically in every office and program.

General Motors got smart and now saves a $1 billion a year. By simply making it clear not to waste and to proactively consolidate extra material for reuse or resale, companies can add a small, but valuable additional revenue stream to their bottom line. That may be bad news for Mr. Malone, but he’s likely not too worried. So many businesses are throwing away so much product daily, he’s unlikely to run out of free trash discoveries and supply for a long time.