Recently President Obama presented initiatives aimed at small business – primarily focused on hiring employees. He proposed tax cuts to encourage the hiring of employees, and that monies left over from the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) should be redirected toward small businesses.
OK, it sounds good from 60,000 feet – but does this idea really have legs? Continue reading
As business people, we can truly say that 2009 has not been pretty. Yet, all of us can be thankful for many of the blessings we enjoy.
This became very clear last week when I celebrated a very special birthday — 60. At the celebration, I was joined by my children from California and Texas along with long-time close friends, who really have become family. It’s these folks, and my spouse, who really are life’s blessings.
It’s this time of year, as we celebrate the holiday season and the upcoming New Year, when we can easily be consumed by the frantic pace, and the “what-ifs” of life. So, kick back and chill a bit. Look at the many positives in your life rather than focusing on the negatives — and we all have those! Don’t even get me started talking about back pain and arthritis *grin*
So, enjoy the season and let’s all look forward to a better 2010 — because it WILL be better.
Here’s wishing everone a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
“The printing industry is the single largest air polluter and the third-largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world after automobiles and steel manufacturing,” stated Re-nourish Founder and University of Illinois Design Professor Eric Benson. “On a typical day, [printers] use trillions of gallons of water that must be treated for its toxic chemical content and released back into our waterways.”
Meanwhile, adhesives, bindings, and foils used in printing and packaging can render the final product un-recyclable, virtually guaranteeing that it will end up in a landfill. There, petroleum-based inks can cause lasting damage to the environment, leaching volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause cancer and birth defects into the ground, contaminating soil, groundwater, and, upon evaporation, the air.”
Did I get your attention? Continue reading
On Monday, December 7th, we all got a bit of good news (I’m kidding!) from WhatTheyThink.com. In comparison to October 2008, sales in 2009 were estimated to be down by nearly $8 Billion. Dr. Joe Webb stated, “This year continues a trend of displacing print with new media on the part of retailers and others. In today’s dollars, those October 1994 shipments would be more than $11 billion.” Shipments had not been below $8 billion in an October since 1994.
That same day I also had a conversation with one of our industry leaders who was remembering the way it “used to be” and noting that the “old days” are probably gone. His sense of frustration was palatable. Thus, it’s probably best for all of us to reboot and dump all that stuff out of our memory; otherwise, it’s just going to frustrate us.
To quote the “other” Joe (Webb), “While there is a compelling case for print media as a part of a total communications strategy, the size, scope, and frequency of print use has been changing. It’s up to each printing business to join in this communications chaos with new ideas, compelling services, and creative approaches directed to individual client objectives.” It truly is chaos, and it’s not just printers who are affected. Dave Torok, with Padgett Printing, shared with me a conversation he had with a photographer. “Now I know what the typesetters felt like,” stated the highly-experienced photographer who is watching high-end photography lose its value just as the typesetters saw the Mac replace the million dollar front-end systems of the ‘80s.
If we keep on looking in the rear view mirror and waiting for the “way it was,” we may miss out on new opportunities to reshape our business and succeed. Granted the rules will be different, but we’ll still be in the game.
I read an interesting “tidbit” from Dick Gorelick the other day. Although many find Dick’s critical cynicism bothersome, I find it refreshing. He challenges the status quo and that’s a good thing. His comments were based on research by Princeton Survey Research Associates International which found that when individuals were informed about the methods used to gather data in order to personalize advertising (tracking of activities on websites, history of behavior on websites previously visited, offline shopping behavior, and history), as many as 86% of respondents said they do not want that advertising. Almost 70% support a law that would allow consumers to access all the data known about them due to Internet tracking, and 92% favor a law requiring websites and marketers to delete all stored information about a consumer upon request. Gorlick’s question was “what does this portend for the model of 1:1 marketing and the future of the print/marketing provider utilizing digital technology?”
I think this is a valid discussion – many will not want to hear it because we are creating an entire industry (or reforming it) based on the ability to customize the message. From the marketer’s perspective, it’s equivalent to the Holy Grail. To the individual who does not like direct marketing in his mail box; does not like phone calls from phone solicitors; and dislikes spam (doesn’t that sound like most of us?), he or she will have a very strong message which can be sent to legislators regarding privacy.
This topic should be very important to firms who are beginning to embrace the Marketing Services Provider (MSP) model. As these firms travel down the path of dealing with “soft” issues like marketing and buyer perceptions rather than “hard” issues like dots and paper, life becomes much more complex. We’re no longer in Kansas, Toto.