Don’t send me a birthday card…

I bought a new car a few years ago and the sales man was nice enough, friendly and helpful. When I arrived to pick up the car he apologized that there was only one set of keys. He said that he would locate the other set. Over the next few months I called often only to be told he couldn’t find the extra set. I mentioned that I bought a car that should come with two sets and to order another….he said he would.

A few months after that I had a birthday and received a card in the mail from this sales man. I didn’t want a birthday card from him, I wanted my second set of keys. Why would he think that I would appreciate getting a personal card from him? I don’t know him, don’t want to know him, and sending such a personal card on my personal day is kinda creepy to me.

More months went by and I was in a car accident…ouch…my car was totaled. We decided to replace the car with the same car and went back to the same car lot. We didn’t buy the second car from the sales man…so much for a birthday card.


Updates ~

It’s time for some updates, partly because I miss Ty and want to share what is going on in his world.

We heard from Ty briefly about a week ago. He did say that he had been to the hospital for a bacterial infection. They put him on an IV for 4 hours and gave him meds for 4 days and he’s fine. The hospital bill was only $50.00 and the staff spoke English.
He’s been up in the mountains helping the remote church so he hasn’t had any internet access. He only fired off that one email and by the time I read it he had gone back up the mountain. He lives in a shack too. Tyler, my darling son, lives in a shack on a mountain in Honduras. Never thought I’d type or say that. lol.

My Zumba CD’s did arrive and I’ve gone through the 20 minute introduction. It was fun, but my old hips hurt a bit. As soon as my feet know what they’re doing I’ll be ready to throw my arms up in the air. Yes, with abandon.

What if…

What if you could double the number of online buyers simply by using catalogs?

This is the title of a brochure printed by the United States Postal Service. (lol…at first I typed United States Poster Service.) Anyway, this brochure came in the mail awhile ago, but it was so well done (design and print) and packed with statistics, I kept it with a future blog in mind. The stats are provided by comScore who was commissioned by the US Postal Service to study the findings of the relationships between online merchants and printed catalogs. Here are some of their findings:

Twice as many online purchases are made by catalog recipients.

28% more money is spent online by catalog recipients.

163% lift in revenue for websites supported by catalogs.

76% of consumers are directly influenced to buy an item or service thanks to Direct Mail.

These stats prove beyond a doubt that Direct Mail influences, or why don’t we just say Direct Mail reminds us where to look on the web.

Fire Up Those Presses ~ Print versus Online

The arguments typically made for online versions of marketing material is that the information is free. Is that really true? Besides the actual printing costs, the gathering and displaying of the information is still the same, somebody must write, illustrate and design the brochure. Then, the piece is uploaded and placed on the company website. There. Done. Now, everyone will come and view the information and no money will need to be spent on printing. Okay, there you are Mr/Mrs. Business Owner….tap, tap, tap, (insert a significant amount of time)…how will anyone know the information is there on your website ready to be read and appreciated?

Online companies and marketers are realizing the competition they have on the web is staggering. Not only competition, but the adage “out of sight – out of mind” comes into play. Will they try to reach their customers with free emails? Sure, but response rates for email marketing has fallen 57% since 2004, but response rates from direct mail has risen 14%. Think about it, when was the last time you opened every email in your in-box from on-line marketers? I used to, but now I delete them and often take the time to unsubscribe. Don’t get me started on the green agenda and environmental issues for the argument that digital is more green. It’s not, so stop it already.

I’ll stop my ranting now that I’ve reached my limit on how much of my own blather I’ll read in a day. Hopefully you’ll hang with me as I get on my soap box for a bit and defend an industry that I love and who many are saying to abandon and run, run fast from. Nope ~ I’m not giving up that easy.

Our Changing World~

I slept 11 hours last night and I’m almost embarrassed by this admission. But I was exhausted from the stresses of this last week; knowing the owners and management team were facing decisions that keeps them up at night, keeps me up at night too.

Some co-workers lost their jobs yesterday to keep company costs in line with our current sales. While adjustments in spending happen on a personal level, sadly they happen on a business level too. Can’t afford to keep the status quo? Neither can most companies when sales dollars fall short of covering expenses. The fall out is sadness and concern for friends who must now adjust their personal spending even more. Ussery is not alone in this. I can call around nearly every print shop in town and they’re all struggling with sagging sales and uncertainty as the information that was printed on paper now moves to the internet.

This transition of information to the internet will work for many companies, but some will discover that nobody will care enough to search out their on-line information…let alone have the patience to read it. There are statistics that prove an increase in on-line sales when printing is used to drive consumers to the internet. The stats are on my desk in Irving, Texas and I’m not, so, next week I will post some interesting statistics and figures that prove why printing should be a significant part of a companies sales strategy.

Will this be enough to return printing to the levels of yester-years? I’m fairly certain that answer is no. But, I am confident that our industry will level out and find a new place in this changing world. But, for the wonderful talented people of all companies who find themselves without a place to call work, they will need more than extended unemployment benefits.

Good News For Printing…I’ll Take It!

John & I had lunch today with John Lucas our #1 son. We talked about his industry; technology, and our industry; printing. John Lucas always asks great questions and soon our conversation veered towards how we were coping in an industry besieged with competition from the internet.

We talked about the misconceptions concerning paper and the blog posted today by one of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin. The idea that most forests are harvested for paper for the printing and publishing industries is completely wrong. Actually the majority of harvested trees are used for energy and lumber. I don’t see many people getting in the face of electronics manufacturers about their green agendas. That would include computers & cell phones, and nobody can be without a computer or cell phone. But don’t argue that it’s about the environment when the facts don’t support the argument.

Most everyone will have an opinion on how they want to receive their news and read their books. That’s fair because it’s subjective and you can make your own decisions, either electronic or paper. But, don’t try to eliminate a billion-dollar industry based on misconceptions. Especially since digital avenues are not always effective. Case in point. John Lucas told us over lunch that a board he serves on has gone back to paper billing through the mail. Why? Well, seems the email for their dues collection had nearly a zero response rate. The traditional form of collecting their dues works. It’s not free, but it is effective.

Do You Know The Facts?

Of the wood extracted from the world’s forests, 53% is used for energy production, 28% is used by lumber mills, and only 11% is used directly by the paper industry.

There are 12,000,000 more acres of U.S. forestland today than 20 years ago.

The U.S. Pulp & Paper industry has reduced its energy use by 42% in 25 years.

62 Trillion spam emails are sent every year, that’s the equivalent of 2 billion gallons of gasoline.
Source: McAfee, The carbon footprint of email spam report

In terms of carbon footprint, spam emails sent annually is equal to driving a car around the world 1.6 million times
Source: McAfee, The carbon footprint of email spam report

The energy used by the average data center could power 25,000 households.
Source: McKinsey & Co.

The United States now dumps between 200-300 million electronic items per year. Less than 20% are recycled. Electronic waste represents 25% of waste in U.S. landfills, and 70% of their toxic waste.
Source: US EPA

What does this all mean? Printing is actually the greenest thing going.