Change – It Does A Body Good!

Recently, a national magazine was looking for readers to respond with thought-provoking articles on a major life-lesson learned. It caused me to sit back a moment and try to think about the most important lesson I have learned in my life. Over my 61 years, I have learned many lessons:
  • Do not play with matches, as the lingering sulphur smell makes it pretty clear to Mom that someone was doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Result – Time out!
  • If you hit first, you are likely to be hit back. Result – Pain from being hit and a spanking from the parents.
  • Do not lie, as there will always be something that trips you up and Dad will figure it out. Result – Grounded!
  • Do not try to dye your hair blonde and then reverse it back to brown in the same day. Result – Your hair will not survive.
  • Do not speed. Particularly, after your father has told you that your license will be removed if you do. Result – License removed for 30 days!
I’m sure you can see the trend. For every action there is a consequence. For bad actions, there are bad consequences like being grounded, having your hair fall out or losing your driving privileges. Of course, those were all teenage actions and teenage consequences. But, as I aged, I learned that consequences never leave you. For good decisions, you had good consequences and for bad decisions, bad consequences. After much thinking, I came to the realization that embracing change is probably the most important life-lesson I have learned. I started out my professional career as a printer and we all know what the internet did to those who made the decision not to change. Some of those printing companies are still sitting around waiting for the recession to end and everything to get back to “normal”. They are defining “normal” as the industry they knew 10 years ago. That kind of “normal” will never happen. Some of them are not sitting around waiting for the return of “normal”. Instead, their consequence for not changing has caused them to close their doors. They were not willing to consider that their industry was changing and that they needed to adapt to survive. Our world has changed from the beginning of time. We use to have dinosaurs roaming the earth, but today they are nowhere to be found except in picture books or museums. There was a time before television was invented and today we have thousands of channels to choose from. Remember the days of buying and listening to your favorite songs on 45 rpm records? Today, you can pull up Pandora and have thousands and thousands of songs available to you at no charge. The list of things that are different today from 20, 30 or 40 years ago is extensive. There has even been dramatic change over the last 5 years. Mobile marketing was just a dream in someone’s head and today, over 50% of all cell phone sales are for Smartphones, capable of mobile marketing. So, change is inevitable. This is why I believe the best life-lesson I have ever learned was to embrace change. To love the thrill of learning a new skill or how to best incorporate a new technology into our business. Change is only frightening to those who want all things to remain the same. Lack of change may make life seem more stable and more predictable, but, in my opinion, lack of change equates to boredom and the death of personal growth. You know the old saying, “Keep doing what you’re doing to keep getting what you’re getting.” In other words, if you’re looking for something better, something new, something different – then change is where you’ll find it! Embrace it! www.multi-craft.com

New Postal Regulations On The Horizon

For all of you who depend upon direct mail as one of your marketing channels, be aware that there are new postal regulations coming from the United States Postal Service. The USPS is under tremendous pressure to cut costs, boost efficiency and identify new sources of revenue. This pressure is also the catalyst for these new regulations. Here are some of the changes you need to know about:
  1. Closing of 229 USPS processing facilities. Here in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, we were thrilled when our Bulk Mail Entry Unit was one of those that was announced to remain open. If the decision had been to close it, we would have lost postal discounts or been forced to truck our mail to other BMEUs, thereby increasing costs, which we likely could not pass on to our clients. The USPS has announced that no closings will occur during September-December to avoid disruption in the holiday mailing schedules.
  2. The POSTNET Barcode will be discontinued starting January 27, 2013. To be able to obtain automation discounts, mailers will need to use the Intelligent Mail Barcode
  3. Self-Mailers will have new requirements for length, height, thickness, minimum paper weight, maximum weight, shape, maximum number of panels, closure methods and folds. For the full list of regulations, visit http://ribbs.usps.gov/fsm.
  4. The USPS is offering marketers a way to make their mail more effective by allowing logos, trademarks and brand images to be included in the indecia. However, there will be a surcharge of .01 per piece for First Class Mail and .02 per piece for Standard Mail.
  5. Only non-perforated wafer seals and tabs will be acceptable. If you elect to use glue dots or strips, there are placement requirements that must be met.
These are just a few of the changes that will affect mailers. So, before designing your next mail piece, be sure to talk to your mail provider for full details on the requirements that must be met to obtain the best postal discounts. We hope this brief update has been helpful and will assist you in putting your direct mail ideas in motion. www.multi-craft.com

Post recession, women made more connections

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Women-owned companies across the country are rebuilding after the Great Recession, with many using new marketing strategies to grow their business.

A recent study by Chase Card Services, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Center for Women’s Business Research found the 50 precent of the firms surveyed said they now use social media while only 4 percent used it before the recession.

The study, called “The Small Business: Lesson of the Recession,” was a telephone and online survey conducted between March 28 and April11, 2012. It polled a total of 760 business owners. Results were released in June.

The fact that many women-owned companies are small businesses likely gave them more flexibility during the economic downturn, said Debbie Simpson, president of Newport-based Multi-Craft Inc. Multi-Craft is one of the TriState’s largest women-owned business with roughly 50 employees.

“The smaller you are, the more agile you can be” said Simpson, also co-founder of the Women’s Initiative of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The study also found that 39 percent of women-owned business increased their involvement during the recession in civic, social or school activities as a way to boost exposure for their business while giving back to the community. Simpson said that’s a common – and smart – strategy among the women business owners she knows.

“Involvement in the community is huge,” she said. “Getting business and retaining business is all about getting your name out there and making sure people know who you are and what you do.”

And she knows a bit about that. Simpson will become a volunteer chairwoman of the Northern Kentucky chamber’s board in 2013.