World’s Largest Post Office Does More Business

World’s Largest Post Office Does More Business

Than Post Offices in Top Five Media Markets Combined • Usps.com Sales Eclipse $1 Billion

By USPS

usps

Customers are always at the front of the line at this Post Office that never closes. With a click of the mouse customers can conveniently ship from their homes to any location by scheduling a next-day package pickup — saving a trip to the Post Office.

During fiscal 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014-Sept. 30, 2015) usps.com generated more than $1 billion in sales — a major milestone for the 15-year-old site. The sales exceeded that of all Post Offices combined in the following media markets: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas.

“We’re everywhere so you can be anywhere,” said U.S. Postal Service Acting Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Jim Cochrane. “With usps.com, your Post Office is as close as your desktop or smartphone, so doing business with us is fast and convenient during this busy holiday season and all year long. Our dedicated employees are ready to serve customers with prompt service at nearly 32,000 Post Offices nationwide. We also provide convenient access at more than 70,000 grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, ATMs and other locations where customers can buy stamps and other postal products.”

Usps.com can provide virtually any service offered at a brick- and-mortar Post Office.

  • Track Packages — My USPS is an easier way to receive updates for incoming packages with real-time delivery notifications which are available within a few minutes of the delivery scan for select packages. My USPS filters updates for all incoming packages in one central dashboard, which is accessible on mobile devices and desktop computers.
  • Purchase Shipping and Mailing Supplies — Visit the Postal Store to purchase the Charlie Brown Forever stamps and other stamps, and order free shipping supplies, including boxes.
  • Schedule a Free Package Pickup — Schedule a Pickup, and a carrier will get the package during regular delivery. Multiple pickups can be requested once an account is created on usps.com.
  • Ship Packages — Consumers can use Click-N-Ship as a stress- free tool to pay and print postage for gifts from a mobile device or desktop computer. Sign up to start creating shipping labels and pay for the postage online.
  • Hold Mail — Going away? Take advantage of the Request Hold Mail Service. All your mail is kept safely at the local Post Office until you return.
  • Forward Mail — For a fee, mail can be held, packaged, and shipped weekly by Priority Mail using Premium Forward Service.
  • Ship Internationally — Depending upon the type of service selected, save money off retail prices when printing a shipping label from home. Use the built-in address form to transfer information into country-specific customs forms.
  • Calculate Postage — The postage price calculator provides estimates for sending packages, domestically or internationally.

Customers can do all of this — all from the comfort of their homes — by going to usps.com or downloading USPS Mobile on iOS or Android devices. These services can be accessed with the tap of a finger.

Customers can complete the steps to change an address on the USPS mobile app by simply clicking on the Change of Address icon. This convenient feature for USPS Mobile customers is in addition to others, including: USPS Tracking, My USPS, Ship Online, Buy Stamps, Find a Post Office Location, Calculate (or Look Up) Prices, ZIP Codes, Schedule a Pickup and Hold Mail.

Content-first Multichannel Publishing for the Win

By Charles Groce, CEO Pearl Street Consulting

I recall back in 2009 while working as an IT manager at a commercial printing company which handled a lot of publication work how excited we were to start offering our customers “flip-book” or “eZine” versions of their printed publications. This was, we thought, really getting into the business of internet publication. And the best part of it all was that we could obtain flip book licenses at a relatively low cost and without much additional work added on to our prepress workflow, allowing us to tack on another invoice line item. It was great! We didn’t even need a web designer!

Then came the rise of the smart phone, with some 35% of internet users today only consuming online content on their mobile devices. PDFs designed for printed publications, whether in flip book format or whether read simply using a PDF reader, didn’t provide a pleasant reading experience on mobile because of the multiple column format of most well-designed publications. Users of smart phones simply do not want to zoom in to read and zoom out to navigate. Consumers of content get a much less distracting reading experience with the mobile responsive web, which automatically formats text and graphical content as single-column while maintaining a look consistent with the full web version.

The undeniable importance of web and mobile publishing today begs the question: Is it possible for publishers and their partners in the printing industry to start with a workflow strategy which begins with content intake and produces from this process not only a fully designed printed publication, but also a mobile-responsive web site, and perhaps even email marketing content?
The answer is yes, of course. We could just add more people to the process. But money is made when processes are done efficiently, and in the world of digital information this means leveraging software intelligently to create workflow automation.
I’ve written a lot about open source solutions and how they can satisfy a whole range of operational needs for companies in the printing industry. Open source technology can also be used to vastly extend the reach of publication content, and this can benefit both printers and content creators alike.

Think about it. Many magazine publications in the abstract are really just a set of articles, each of which represent one of the many goals of the publishers. In academia, this goal may be recruitment to individual programs like nursing or film making. In business, publication content may be promotional in nature and designed to attract new customers. On behalf of institutions, content may be more informational in design.

Regardless of the end goal of content, in the internet world, each of these articles would necessarily have their own associated URL or web link, allowing users to consume ideally only the content in which they’re interested.

Article URLs can then be posted to and promoted on social media channels like Facebook. Social media channels offer unparalleled demographic targeting and tracking capabilities, two things not yet fully realized in print + direct mail, allowing content distributors the ability to deliver articles to a much more granular audience than can be offered by saturation mailing. The result is a very powerful, affordable way to target the right audience with the right content.

Email marketing offers similar benefits, with link tracking and targeting capabilities inherent in the more popular email marketing platforms. All of these require reformatting and re-purposing the original content for each platform.

You may be thinking this all sounds great but it also sounds enormously time consuming and expensive! Your graphic designer may not have the time to format all that content for the web, for email consumption, or for social media. Your graphic designer may not even know HTML!

But with technology, in business anyway, anything is possible. And the one thing you can count on is that a more efficient way of doing things will eventually arise out of the production process. Open source, community built solutions exist today which will allow the conversion of a print-centric, traditional content intake workflow into something more flexible, automated, and efficient at zero dollars in licensing costs. Such an extension of publication content (content which took a lot of work to produce in the first place!) vastly extends the reach of your publication message.

And the benefits of taking a content-first approach to publishing aren’t just limited to just publishers. Printers who offer these capabilities to their publication customers will find that their customers no longer think of their company as simply another provider of printing services. Rather by providing these value-added services, printing companies become more and more partners to publishers. More services strengthens the vendor-publisher relationship and helps ensure it will last longer. Offering these types of value-added services to publishers at low cost by utilizing technology means printing companies can actually make money doing this.

About the author: Charles Groce is the CEO of Pearl Street Consulting, a Michigan-based IT, web, and software consultancy. Charles is also the owner/operator osforprint.com, an open source technology solutions provider for the printing industry.

Where is VR going?  And why you need to know.

Where is VR going? And why you need to know.

By Kevin R. Donley, kevin@multimediaman.org

vrOn November 2, video game maker Activision Blizzard Entertainment announced a $5.9 billion purchase of King Digital Entertainment, maker of the mobile app game Candy Crush Saga. Activision Blizzard owns popular titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero—with tens of millions sold—for play on game consoles and PCs. By comparison, King has more than 500 million worldwide users playing Candy Crush on TVs, computers and (mostly) mobile devices.

While it is not the largest-ever acquisition of a game company—Activision bought Blizzard in 2008 for $19 billion— the purchase shows how much the traditional gaming industry believes that future success will be tied to mobile and social media. Other recent acquisitions indicate how the latest in gaming hardware and software have become strategically important for the largest tech companies:

• September 2014: Microsoft acquired Mojang for $2.5 billion. Mojang’s Minecraft game has 10 million users worldwide and an active developer community. The Lego-like Minecraft is popular on both Microsoft’s Xbox game console and Windows desktop and notebook PCs. In making the purchase, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year.”

• August 2104: Amazon acquired Twitch for $970 million. The massive online retailer has offered online video since 2006 and the purchase of Twitch—the online and live streaming game service—adds 45 million users to Amazon’s millions of Prime Video subscribers and FireTV (stick and set top box) owners.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said of the acquisition, “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

• March 2014: Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. Facebook users take up approximately 20% of all the time that people spend online each day. The Facebook acquisition of Oculus—maker of virtual reality headsets—is an anticipation that social media will soon include an immersive experience as opposed to scrolling through rectangular displays on PCs and mobile devices. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Mobile is the platform of today and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

• March 2014: Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. Facebook users take up approximately 20% of all the time that people spend online each day. The Facebook acquisition of Oculus—maker of virtual reality headsets—is an anticipation that social media will soon include an immersive experience as opposed to scrolling through rectangular displays on PCs and mobile devices. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Mobile is the platform of today and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

What is VR?

Among the most important current trends is the rapid growth and widespread adoption of virtual reality (VR). Formerly of interest to hobbyists and gaming enthusiasts, VR technologies are now moving into mainstream daily use.

A short definition of VR is a computer-simulated artificial world. More broadly, VR is an immersive multisensory, multimedia experience that duplicates the real world and enables users to interact with the virtual environment and with each other. In the most comprehensive VR environments, the sight, sound, touch and smell of the real world are replicated.

Current and most commonly used VR technologies include a stereoscopic headset—which tracks the movement of a viewer’s head in 3 dimensions—and surround sound headphones that add a spatial audio experience. Other technologies such as wired gloves and omnidirectional treadmills can provide tactile and force feedback that enhance the recreation of the virtual environment.

vr-3Recent events have demonstrated that VR use is becoming more practical and accessible to the general public:

• On October 13, in a partnership between CNN and NextVR, the presidential debate was broadcast in VR as a live stream and stored for later on demand viewing. The CNN experience made it possible for every viewer to watch the event as though they were present, including the ability to see other people in attendance and observe elements of the debate that were not visible to the TV audience. NextVR and the NBA also employed the same technology to broadcast the October 27 season opener between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans, the first-ever live VR sporting event.

• On November 5, The New York Times launched a VR news initiative that included the free distribution of Google Cardboard viewers—a folded up cardboard VR headset that holds a smartphone—to 1 million newspaper subscribers. The Times’ innovation required users to download the NYTvr app to their smartphone in order to watch a series of short news films in VR.

Origins of VR

Virtual reality is the product of the convergence of theater, film, television, science fiction and digital media. The basic ideas of virtual reality go back more than two hundred years and coincide with the desire of artists, performers and educators to recreate scenes and historical events. In the early days this meant painting panoramic views, constructing dioramas and staging theatrical productions where viewers had a 360 ̊ visual surround experience.

In the late 19th century, hundreds of cycloramas were built— many of them depicting major battles of the Civil War—where viewers sat in the center of a circular theater as the timeline of the historical event moved and was recreated around them in sequence. In 1899, a Broadway dramatization of the novel Ben Hur employed live horses galloping straight toward the audience on treadmills as a backdrop revolved in the opposite direction creating the illusion of high speed. Dust clouds were employed to provide additional sensory elements.

Contemporary ideas about virtual reality are associated with 3-D photography and motion pictures of the early twentieth century. Experimentation with color stereoscopic photography began in the late 1800s and the first widely distributed 3-D images were of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and taken by Frederic Eugene Ives. As with present day VR, Ives’ images required both a special camera and viewing device called the Kromskop in order to see 3-D effect.

3-D photography was expanded and won popular acceptance beginning in the late 1930s with the launch of the View-Master of Edwin Eugene Mayer. The virtual experience of the View- Master system was enhanced with the addition of sound in 1970. Mayer’s company was eventually purchased by toy maker Mattel and later by Fischer-Price and the product remained successful until the era of digital photography in the early 2000s.

Experiments with stereoscopic motion pictures were conducted in the late 1800s. The first practical application of a 3-D movie took place in 1922 using the Teleview system of Laurens Hammond (inventor of the Hammond Organ) with a rotating shutter viewing device attached to the armrest of the theater seats.

Prefiguring the present-day inexpensive VR headset, the so-called “golden era” of 3-D film began in the 1950s and included cardboard 3-D glasses. Moviegoers got their first introduction to 3-D with stereophonic sound in 1953 with the film House of Wax starring Vincent Price. The popular enthusiasm for 3-D was eventually overtaken by the practical difficulties associated with the need to project two separate film reels in perfect synchronization.

vr-6Subsequent waves of 3-D movies in the second half of the twentieth century—projected from a single film strip—were eventually displaced by the digital film and audio methods associated with the larger formats and Dolby Digital sound of Imax, Imax Dome, Omnimax and Imax 3D. Anyone who has experienced the latest in 3-D animated movies such as Avatar (2009) can attest to the mesmerizing impact of the immersive experience made possible by the latest in these movie theater techniques.

vr-7It is widely acknowledged that the theoretical possibility of creating virtual experiences that “convince” all the senses of their “reality” began with the work of Ivan Sutherland at MIT in the 1960s. Sutherland invented in 1966 the first head-mounted display—nicknamed the “Sword of Damocles”—that was designed to immerse the viewer in a simulated 3-D environment. In a 1965 essay called “The Ultimate Display,” Sutherland wrote about how computers have the ability to construct a “mathematical wonderland” that “should serve as many senses as possible.”

With increases in the performance and memory capacity of computers along with the decrease in the size of microprocessors and display technologies, Sutherland’s vision began to take hold in the 1980s and 1990s. Advances in vector based CGI software, especially flight simulators created by government researchers for military aircraft and space exploration, brought the term “reality engine” into use. These systems, in turn, spawned notions of complete immersion in “cyberspace” where sight, sound and touch are dominated by computer system generated sensations.

The term “virtual reality” was popularized during these years by Jaron Lanier and his VPL Laboratory. With VR products such as the Data Glove, the Eye Phone and Audio Sphere, Lanier combined with game makers at Mattel to create the first virtual experiences with affordable consumer products, despite their still limited functionality.

By the end of the first decade of the new millennium, many of the core technologies of present-day VR systems were developed enough to make simulated experiences more convincing and easy to use. Computer animation technologies employed by Hollywood and video game companies pushed the creation of 3-D virtual worlds to new levels of “realness.”

An offshoot of VR, called augmented reality (AR), took advantage of high resolution camera technologies and allowed virtual objects to appear within the actual environment and enabled users to view and interact with them on computer desktop and mobile displays. AR solutions became popular with advertisers offering unique promotional opportunities that capitalized on the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets.

Aside from news, entertainment and advertising, there are big possibilities opening up for VR in many business disciplines. Some experts expect that VR will impact almost every industry in a manner similar to that of PCs and mobile devices. Entrepreneurs and investors are creating VR companies with the aim of exploiting the promise of the new technology in education, health care, real estate, transportation, tourism, engineering, architecture and corporate communications (to name just a few).

Like consumer-level artificial intelligence, i.e. Apple Siri and Amazon Echo, present-day virtual reality technologies tend to fall frustratingly short of expectations. However, with the rapid evolution of core technologies—processors software, video displays, sound, miniaturization and haptic feedback systems—it is conceivable that VR is ripe for a significant leap in the near future.

In many ways, VR is the ultimate product of media convergence as it is the intersection of multiple and seemingly unrelated paths of scientific development. As pointed out by Howard Rheingold in his authoritative 1991 book Virtual Reality, “The convergent nature of VR technology is one reason why it has the potential to develop very quickly from a scientific oddity into a new way of life … there is a significant chance that the deep cultural changes suggested here could happen faster than anyone has predicted.”

How Great Salespeople Follow Up and Reap the Benefits

How Great Salespeople Follow Up and Reap the Benefits

By Joe Rickard, Intellective Solutions

vrSpending many hours researching and writing about the transition taking place in B2B direct selling, I have found that the value of networking and relationships still remain paramount. More than a few Decembers ago, I remember a specific deal where a relationship of my father-in-law helped me finish the year strongly.

After a promotion to sales manager for a Manhattan-based team of savvy and seasoned pros, I was faced with a dilemma. My sales team was reluctant to share information about their prospects or bring me in to meet their large prospects. It seemed they were testing their new and young sales manager. At this time, members of my sales team were engaged in a very large sales opportunity at a prominent publishing company. Because of the size of the deal, it had high visibility in my company. My boss repeatedly quizzed me on the status of the prospect. An order here would immediately propel my sales team and me from mediocrity to stardom.

I understood we had strong support and agreement from within the account. The barrier according to my salespeople was gaining agreement from a tough VP of Finance, a long-term employee who had a reputation akin to “Attila the Hun”. Not only was my team terrified of him, but the account’s employees were as well. Nothing of significance was ever approved without a scrupulous and contentious review by this tyrannical VP. One member of my sales team suggested we wait until he retired.

Over a weekend, my retired father-in-law gave me an encouraging talk on his experiences dealing with tough decision makers. Years earlier as a printing salesman, he sold to the very same publishing company. He talked with great fondness about a print buyer who gave him his largest order. He viewed the order as a reward for persistence and professional selling.

Consequently, the buyer became his friend and they spend many hours together. My father-in-law described the buyer as a “wild man”. After his retirement, he lost track of the buyer. Upon hearing the man’s name, I was excited as I realized that his last name matched my invincible VP of Finance. The first name my father-in-law remembered was a nickname and was not the same as the formal first name we knew. We decided, given the disparity in first name and the apparent difference in personality, the man was probably not our VP of finance.

The year-end approached, we had our final meeting to defend our proposal and close the deal. I forced my reluctant sales team to bring me along. This was my first visit to the account. There wasn’t too much pressure, since no one expected us to win the deal. As I entered the conference room, I took a chance. I whispered my father-in-law’s name in the VP’s ear. The VP smiled broadly. He pulled me from the room and spent the next fifteen minutes asking about his old friend. As we re-entered, the meeting participants were stunned.

Although no one knew how I “broke the ice” with this reluctant buyer, we got the order. My sales team was impressed. I gained their confidence, and the VP and my father-in-law renewed their friendship.
Some things do not change. The value of relationships is very powerful.

About the author: Joe Rickard is the founder of Intellective Solutions. Intellective Solutions (www.intellectives.com) works with printing and technology organizations to improve their sales, marketing and operational effectiveness. Joe can be reached at 845 753 6156. Follow him on Twitter @joe.rickardis.

Adrian Frutiger (1928 – 2015)

Adrian Frutiger (1928 – 2015)

By Kevin R. Donley • kevin@multimediaman.org

usps

Adrian Frutiger died on September 10, 2015 at the age of 87. He was one of the most important type designers of his generation, having created some 40 fonts, many of them still widely used today. He was also a teacher, author and specialist in the language of graphic expression and since his career spanned metal, photomechanical and electronic type technologies Frutiger became an important figure in the transition from the analog to the digital eras of print communications.

Frutiger was born on May 24, 1928 in the town of Interseen, near Interlaken and about 60 kilometers southeast of the city of Bern, Switzerland. His father was a weaver. As a youth, Adrian showed an interest in handwriting and lettering. He was encouraged by his family and secondary school teachers to pursue an apprenticeship rather than a fine arts career.

uspsAt age 16, Adrian obtained a four-year apprenticeship as a metal type compositor with the printer Otto Schlaeffli in Interlaken. He also took classes in drawing and woodcuts at a business school in the vicinity of Bern. In 1949, Frutiger transferred to the School of Applied Arts in Zürich, where he concentrated on calligraphy. In 1951, he created a brochure for his dissertation entitled, “The Development of the Latin Alphabet” that was illustrated with his own woodcuts.

It was during his years in Zürich that Adrian worked on sketches for what would later become the typeface Univers, one of the most important contributions to post-war type design. In 1952, following his graduation, Frutiger moved to Paris and joined the foundry Deberny & Peignot as a type designer.

During his early work with the French type house, Frutiger was engaged in the conversion of existing metal type designs for the newly emerging phototypesetting technologies. He also designed several new typefaces Président, Méridien, and Ondine in the early 1950s.

San Serif and Swiss Typography

San serif type is a product of the twentieth century. Also known as grotesque (or grotesk), san serif fonts emerged with commercial advertising, especially signage. The original san serif designs (beginning in 1898) possessed qualities lack of lower case letters, lack of italics, the inclusion of condensed or extended widths and equivalent cap and ascender heights that seemingly violated the rules of typographic tradition. As such, these early san serif designs were often considered too clumsy and inelegant for the professional type houses and their clients.

kabelAlong with the modern art and design movements of the early twentieth century, a reconsideration of the largely experimental work of the first generation of sans serif types began in the 1920s. Fonts such as Futura, Kabel and Gill Sans incorporated some of the theoretical concepts of the Bauhaus and DeStijl movements and pushed sans serif to new spheres of respectability.

However, these fonts—which are still used today—did not succeed in elevating san serif beyond headline usage and banner advertising and into broader application. Sans serif type remained something of an oddity and not yet accepted by the traditional foundry industry as viable in terms of either style or legibility.

futuraIn the 1930s, especially within the European countries that fell to dictatorship prior to and during World War II, there was a backlash against modernist conceptions. Sans serif type came under attack, was derided as “degenerate” and banned in some instances. Exceptions to this trend were in the US, where the use of grotesque types was increasing, and Switzerland, where the minimalist typographic ideas of the Bauhaus were brought by designers who had fled the countries ruled by the Nazis.

gillAfter the war, interest in sans serif type design was renewed as a symbol of modernism and a break from the first four decades of the century. By the late 1950s, the most successful period of san serif type opened up and the epicenter of this change emerged in Switzerland, signified by the creation of Helvetica (1957) by Eduard Hoffmann and Max Miedinger of the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein.

It was the nexus of the creative drive to design the definitively “modern” typeface and the possibilities opened up by the displacement of metal type with phototypesetting that brought san serif from a niche font into global preeminence.

Frutiger’s Univers

bauhaus schoolThis was the cultural environment that influenced Adrian Frutiger as he set about his work on a new typeface as a Swiss trained type designer at a French foundry. As Frutiger explained in a 1999 interview with Eye Magazine, “When I came to Deberny & Peignot in Paris, Futura (though it was called Europe there) was the most important font in lead typesetting. Then one day the question was raised of a grotesque for the Lumitype-Photon [the first phototypesetting system]. …

“I asked him [Peignot] if I might offer an alternative. And within ten days I constructed an entire font system. When I was with Käch I had already designed a thin, normal, semi-bold and italic Grotesque with modulated stroke weights. This was the precursor of Univers. … When Peignot saw it he almost jumped in the air: ‘Good heavens, Adrian, that’s the future!’ ”

final version of frutigerOriginally calling his type design “Monde” (French for “world”), Frutiger’s innovation was that he designed 21 variations of Univers from the beginning; for the first time in the history of typography a complete set of typefaces were planned precisely as a coherent system. He also gave the styles and weights a numbering scheme beginning with Univers 55. The different weights (extended, condensed, ultra condensed, etc.) were numbered in increments of ten, i.e. 45, 65, 75, 85 and styles with the same line thickness were numbered in single digit increments (italics were the even numbers), i.e. 53, 56, 57, 58, 59, etc.

Univers was released by Deberny & Peignot in 1957 and it was quickly embraced internationally for both text and display type purposes. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, like Helvetica, it was widely used for corporate identity (GE, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank). It was the official promotional font of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Frutiger explained the significance of his creation in the interview with Eye Magazine, “It happened to be the time when the big advertising agencies were being set up, they set their heart on having this diverse system. This is how the big bang occurred and Univers conquered the world. But I don’t want to claim the glory. It was simply the time, the surroundings, the country, the invention, the postwar period and my studies during the war. Everything led towards it. It could not have happened any other way.”

Computers and Digital Typography

Had Adrian Frutiger retired at the age of 29 after designing Univers, he would have already made an indelible contribution to the evolution of typography. However, his work was by no means complete. By 1962, Frutiger had established his own graphic design studio with Bruno Pfaffli and Andre Gurtler in Arcueil near Paris. This firm designed posters, catalogs and identity systems for major museums and corporations in France.

Throughout the 1960s, Frutiger continued to design new typefaces for the phototypesetting industry such as Lumitype, Monotype, Linotype and Stempel AG. Among his most well-known later san serif designs were Frutiger, Serifa and Avenir. Frutiger’s font systems can be seen to this day on the signage at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports and the Paris Metro.

The penetration of computers and information systems into the printing and publishing process were well underway by the 1960s. In 1961, thirteen computer and typewriter manufacturers founded the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) based in Geneva. A top priority of the EMCA was to create an international standard for optical character recognition (OCR)—a system for capturing the image of printed information and numbers and converting them into electronic data— especially for the banking industry.

By 1968, OCR-A was developed in the US by American Type Founders—a trust of 23 American type foundries—and it was later adopted by the American National Standards Institute. This was the first practically adopted standard mono-spaced font that could be read by both machines and the human optical system.

However, in Europe the ECMA wanted a font that could be used as an international standard such that it accommodated the requirements of all typographic considerations and computerized scanning technologies all over the world. Among the issues, for example, were the treatment of the British pound symbol (£) and the Dutch IJ and French oe (œ) ligatures.

Other technical considerations included the ability to integrate OCR standards with typewriter and letterpress fonts in addition to the latest phototypesetting systems.

In 1963, Adrian Frutiger was approached by representatives of the ECMA and asked to design OCR-B as an international standard with a non-stylized alphabet that was also esthetically pleasing to the human eye. Over the next five years, Frutiger showed the exceptional ability to learn the complicated technical requirements of the engineers: the grid systems of the different readers, the strict spacing requirements between characters and the special shapes needed to make one letter or number optically distinguishable from another.

In 1973, after multiple revisions and extensive testing, Adrian Frutiger’s OCR-B was adopted as an international standard. Today, the font can be most commonly found on UPC barcodes, ISBN barcodes, government issued ID cards and passports. Frutiger’s OCR-B font will no doubt live on into the distant future—alongside various 2D barcode systems—as one of the primary means of translating analog information into digital data and back again.

Adrian Frutiger’s type design career extended well into the era of desktop publishing, PostScript fonts and the Internet age. In 1989, Frutiger published the English translation of Signs and Symbols: Their Design and Meaning, a theoretical and retrospective study of the two-dimensional expression of graphic drawing with typography among its most advanced forms. For someone who spent his life working on the nearly imperceptible detail of type and graphic design, Frutiger exhibited an exceptional grasp of the historical and social sources of man’s urge toward pictographic representation and communication.

As an example, Frutiger wrote in the introduction to his book, “For twentieth century humans, it is difficult to imagine a void, a chaos, because they have learned that a kind of order appears to prevail in both the infinitely small and the infinitely large. The understanding that there is no element of chance around or in us, but that all things, both mind and matter, follow an ordered pattern, supports the argument that even the simplest blot or scribble cannot exist by pure chance or without significance, but rather that the viewer does not clearly recognize the causes, origins, and occasion of such a ‘drawing’.”

The Traditional Sales Rep Can Survive!

The Traditional Sales Rep Can Survive!

salesWe all hear that with the change to become Marketing Service Providers or Print Communications Companies, our selling strategies need to change also.   Sales reps need to expect longer sales cycles because now we are selling projects, not jobs.  We need to sell to different people in our customers’ companies, not the print buyer but the marketing manager.   We’re told not to sell our equipment but our solutions. . .  and we’re told that the traditional print rep is a thing of the past.

But many of us are still really commercial printers that are selling more services such as design, digital, mailing, and fulfillment, and aren’t ready to be Marketing Service Providers or Cross-Media Publishers.

What do our sales reps do now?

Traditional sales reps can still be very successful but they do need to adopt some different selling strategies.   There is no future in being just an order taker selling a commodity based on price, but there is a solid future for the sales representative who recognizes how his or her buying world has changed.

Your goal needs to become a trusted advisor to your customers, not a sales person.  You do that by learning and understanding your customers’ business.   Then ask questions about their marketing communications, be able to understand their answers and help them improve their results:

• Why are you producing this mailer?

•  Who is it going to and why?

•  What were the results of the last mailer?

•  Is it part of a larger cross-media promotion? And more…

Tell your customers and prospects about innovative solutions you have made for other customers.  Become an expert in your field, whether it’s in mailing, personalized marketing, social media, database management or fulfillment.   Educate your customers in these areas to demonstrate how you are thinking on their behalf.

Yes, it will take time to learn what you need to know and to position yourself as an expert advisor.   Your sales cycle may become longer and you will need to be talking to others besides the ‘print buyer’.   But you will have set yourself apart from your competition by being able to improve your customers’ business and provide them with solutions that work, not just take their orders.

An Often Missed Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that Drives Results

An Often Missed Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that Drives Results

With the wide acceptance of CRM and sales performance reporting, we regularly see sales managers review a variety of performance indicators ranging from what’s in the pipeline to how many deals were won in a specific time frame.

Data readily available from salespeople can be a huge help for not only the sales staff but also the marketing and senior management teams. For instance, if there are not enough deals in the pipeline, then an early alert is given to all in the organization that corrective actions must be taken or suffer the consequences of a missed sales or profit objective.

Now that the year end is near, it’s is a great time to take stock in the effectiveness of your sales program.

Based on our observations working with a variety of commercial
printing companies and equipment manufacturers, there is one
indicator that is rarely leveraged. It is deals won divided by
proposals generated where customers actually made a decision
to act. We use decisions where customers actually acted because
we expect great salespeople to qualify opportunities before
generating proposals.

The simple formula is:

Deals won/total deals where customers actually made a
decision to act = sales effectiveness

5 deals won divided by 25 customer opportunities where the
customer actually acted equals 20% effectiveness

We recommend using this KPI to give everyone in the
organization a view of what is vital. Detailed analysis
of sales effectiveness could lead to adjustments on
sales coverage, skills, compensation, marketing and
management.

Here are some key questions to ask:

* Of the proposals generated how many were a response to “blind” RFPs – That means situations where salespeople had no significant involvement prior to the RFP being developed? Are these opportunities worth responding to?

* How many proposals were enabled from leads generated by the company’s marketing e.g. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, trade shows?

* How many of those were won? Do we need to do more marketing? What role does the salesperson have in creating and developing leads?

* How many proposals and wins were generated by sales people where the lead was mainly enabled, developed and qualified by the hard work and skill of the salesperson? What can be done to create even more opportunities?

* Are we in enough opportunities that are qualified and the customer is ready to act

Organizations need to understand where opportunities come from, why some proposals are won and some are lost. Most importantly, how companies and salespeople can add more value to win more deals. The answers to questions can only be developed through using and managing the data that is readily available to marketing and management teams.

Rudolf Hell (1901 – 2002)

Rudolf Hell (1901 – 2002)

Electronic engraving, typesetting & color scanning

by Kevin R. Donley

Hell-252x300During the twentieth century, printing technology made a major transition from mechanical to photomechanical and analog electronic to digital systems. The process took decades and by the 1990s all the technology of graphic arts production was impacted: design, text and image acquisition, typesetting, prepress, printing, binding and finishing. The result of this innovation was a dramatic improvement in the speed, quality, variety and complexity of printed material.

It is remarkable how the pace of electronic advancement—beginning with Marconi’s December 1901 wireless trans-Atlantic radio broadcast—accelerated throughout the century and influenced every industry and occupation. There were many important theoreticians, scientists and engineers that participated in this progression. A few of the most familiar names from the early 1900s are Planck (quantum theory,) Fleming (diode) and Einstein (relativity).

Rudolf Hell, whose life spanned the entire twentieth century, was an outstanding representative of the generation of engineers who participated in the electronics revolution. Particularly after World War II, Hell was responsible for many critical inventions related to the image reproduction aspects of printing. The truth is that Rudolf Hell is such an important figure and his inventions are so numerous—he is credited with more than 130 patents— that it is only possible to focus here on the most significant of his achievements.

Early Years

Rudolf Hell was born on December 19, 1901 in Eggmühl, Germany, about 70 miles northeast of Munich. Rudolf’s father Karl Hell was the train stationmaster for the Royal Bavarian Railway at Eggmühl. The family lived in the romantic style station building and it was here that Rudolf had early exposure to the telegraph.

Rudolf’s mother was the daughter of a brewery owner and he would later describe her as “vivacious.” It seems that Rudolf inherited his entrepreneurialism from his mother since his father was very much “a proper official” and “quite relaxed and Bavarian in character.” When Rudolf was six years old, his father relocated the family to the town of Eger—now a border town in the Czech Republic—to become the stationmaster of an Austro-Hungarian freight station, an important transfer point to the Saxon and Bohemian railway lines. Rudolf attended school for twelve years in Eger.

While in high school at the Rudolphinum Oberrealschule, Hell earned high marks in math and science. He would later explain, “I was always the best in physics, and in mathematics too. I was mediocre in languages, and poor in the subjects that required me to study a lot.” Just before age eighteen, Rudolf enrolled in the Technical University at Munich (THM) to study electrical engineering.

In 1923, he received a masters degree from THM in electrical engineering at the age of 22. He then became Assistant to Professor Max Dieckmann, a specialist in wireless telegraphy at the university. While continuing his studies, Hell worked with Dieckmann on innovations in radio direction finding and television technology.

Germany is home to the invention of the CRT (cathode ray tube) and the oscilloscope by Karl Ferdinand Braun in 1897. This device is the foundation of the first functioning television systems that were invented more or less simultaneously by Takayanagi (Japan), Farnsworth (US) and Zworykin (USSR and US) in the mid-1920s. For many people, the idea of transmitting moving pictures through a wireless medium was a fantasy. Such was the case with Dieckmann’s superiors at THM who forced the professor to rename his course in “wireless television” to something less provocative.

This did not stop Rudolf Hell. In 1925, he filed a patent along with Dieckmann for a photoelectric scanning tube that was basically a primitive television camera. The concept behind this device—the “image dissector tube”—was that im- ages or scenes could be broken up into small picture elements and transmitted to a receiver for viewing. In that same year, Hell and Dieckmann presented a complete radio-based television system at the Transport Exposition in Munich that included a reception station.

Rudolf Hell’s “image dissection,” transmission and reassembly of picture elements (pixels) is at the heart of his remarkable career. To understand the significance of the accomplishment, it is useful to put it into a modern day perspective. In 1925, Hell’s “image dissector tube” was understood by a handful of engineers and physicists; today, the concept and its practical application are familiar to billions of people all over the world in the form of “megapixel” cameras in their mobile phones.

In 1927, Hell received a Ph.D. for his dissertation on “direct- indicating radio direction finder for aviation.” Far ahead of its time, this system enabled pilots to navigate their flights in poor visibility conditions by homing in on a radio beacon. While initially ridiculed by “experts” because “no one flies in the fog anyway and when the weather is clear you don’t need it,” Hell’s invention became the technical basis of all automatic guidance systems and aircraft autopilot technologies. Rudolf Hell received the present-day equivalent of $750,000 from firms in Germany and the US for the license to use his invention in their aviation equipment.

Hell-Schreiber (Precursor to the Fax)

The young Rudolf had always said he did not want to remain in academia as an “ivory tower scientist.” He ended his time as Assistant to Max Dieckmann, took the money he had earned and founded his own business called Dr.-Ing. Rudolph Hell Company in May 1929 in Neubabelsberg near Berlin. It was here that Hell began work on a project that would bring him significant worldwide recognition.

On his 1929 patent application, Hell called his new invention a “device for electrically transmitting written characters” and it was later renamed the Hell-Schreiber. The device—in which originals were broken into dots and electronically transmitted, received and reassem- bled—later became the basis of the fax machine. Rudolf sold the patent for his invention to Siemens for the equivalent of $500,000 and he used the money to invest in his business.

At 28-years-old and married, Hell hired about a dozen employees to work in his company machine shop, design office, laboratory and business office located in a house that he bought in Berlin-Dahlem. In 1931, Hell expanded the pro- duction operations of his company to accommodate the growth and influence of the Hell-Schreiber. By 1934 the device was being used by news agencies across the globe including the major German agencies, Reuters and TASS.

When World War II started, news organizations and governments alike used the Hell-Schreiber because it was not susceptible to transmission disturbances that were frequent during wartime. By the end of the war, Hell had sold more than 50,000 units and expanded the offerings of his company to include radio position-finding equipment, radio compasses and encryption devices.

As a businessman who refused to leave Germany during the war, Rudolf Hell chose to maintain his company and its two factories and 1,000 employees throughout the conflict. In the end, the bombing of Berlin between 1940 and 1945 resulted in the partial destruction of the Hell manufacturing facilities and the business was lost.

Post-War Printing Technologies

Rudolf Hell declined an offer to relocate his enterprise in Britain after the war and instead elected rebuild in the city of Kiel in the north of Germany. Beginning in 1947, Hell started on a path that would lead to important contributions to electronic graphic arts technology.

The reestablishment of The Dr. Ing. Rudolf Hell Company in Kiel was difficult since resources, materials and tools were in limited supply. Hell’s first post-war contract was with Siemens and he worked on several projects including a fax machine with a spin- ning drum and a flatbed scanner/printer. These projects were way ahead of their time—Japanese companies such as Canon successful developed and marketed these technologies 20 years later—and Siemens decided abandoned them.

Rudolf Hell’s previous discoveries and accomplishments in image dissection led him in the 1950s to explore electronic systems for the graphic arts that would replace the previous generation of mechanical and photomechanical methods. The following are the most important of Hell’s inventions in this field:

• Klischograph (1951): Hell first tested this device that scanned originals and converted them electronically into an engraved printing block. The Klischograph, which was released commercially to the newspaper industry in 1954, dramatically reduced the production time required to make half- tone plates by combining three stages of production—film processing, screening and etching—into one operation.

• Digiset (1956): In the early 1950s, Hell developed a technology called Digiset. Different from the technology of other phototype-setting equipment of the era—where complete characters are projected onto photo- graphic material from a negative—the Digiset built each characters from digital elements and projected them onto a CRT and then this image was projected onto photosensitive material. With this system, Rudolf Hell invented the first “bitmap” fonts that would become standard technology in desktop publishing three decades later. The system was launched commercially in 1965.

• Colorgraph (1956): By the late 1950s technology firms were locked in an international race to invent an electronic scanning system that could produce process color separations. Rudolf Hell was well positioned to compete. He put significant resources into the development of a flatbed scanning system that could convert an original photographic transparency or print into fully color corrected separations all in one step. Hell launched the Colorgraph system commercially in 1958.

• Helio-Klischograph (1961): In October 1959, Hell was approached by a representative of a major German publishing company and asked to devise an electronic system for auto- mated engraving of gravure cylinders. By 1960, Hell had developed a prototype system on a lathe that employed the Klischograph engraving head. Hell’s solution—that enabled mass production of gravure cylinders for illustration, decorative and packaging printing—was debuted at DRUPA in 1962. The Helio-Klischograph system replaced approximately ten separate manual steps in gravure cylinder preparation and is still in use today.

• Chromograph (1963): Throughout the 1960s, Hell perfected the successful scanning and cylinder tech- nologies of the Klischograph and Colorgraph. Striving for the most advanced drum scanning technology of the era, Hell was in a rivalry with John Crosfield of London for the first system to market. By 1967, Rudolf Hell had filed a patent application for his daylight drum scanning technology and the Chromograph DC300 system was brought to market in 1970. Hell drum scanning technology became the standard for high quality color reproduction in the printing industry for the next three decades and some of these systems remain in use to this day.

These inventions taken as a whole represent a stage in the transition of print technology from the mechanical to the digital age. Later referred to as “proprietary” systems, the self-contained computerized solutions of Rudolf Hell—and others like Crosfield, Scitex and Linotype—in the 1950s, 60s and 70s were the precursors to the desktop publishing revolution of the mid- 1980s.

Rudolf Hell, who is sometimes called the Thomas Edison of the graphic arts industry, continued to develop these early electronic technologies —along with others like the electronic page composition system called ChromaCom—right up to the 50th anniversary of his company in 1979.

Rudolph Hell retired from the management of his company but remained active as chairman of the board in 1972. In 1981, he sold the business to Siemens and became honorary chairman of the supervisory board. He officially retired in 1989 and the firm was sold again to Linotype creating the Linotype-Hell Company. The assets of Linotype-Hell were acquired by Heidelberg in 1996 and the technologies pioneered by Rudolf Hell were incorporated into the Heidelberg prepress and press systems.

Hell was the recipient of numerous accolades and honors dur- ing his lifetime including the Gutenberg Award (1977), Werner von Siemens Ring in recognition of achievements in the natural sciences and technology (1978) and Honorary Citizen of Kiel (1979) and a Kiel city street was named after him (2001). Rudolf Hell died in Kiel on March 11, 2002 at 100 years old.

Connecting the Dots with Open Source Software

Connecting the Dots with Open Source Software

Reorient your business, strengthen customer relationships, reduce costs, and supercharge your IT

by Charles Groce, CEO of Pearl Street Consulting

OpenSourceOpen source technology is changing the business landscape in every industry. For business leaders, recognizing which technologies are emerging standards and which technologies will only slow your business down will become a critical market differentiator in the very near future.

What is open source technology? I like to think of open source technology like an automobile. If you want to work on your car, you’re free to do so. Pop-open the hood and fix a problem yourself. Make the car yours by installing a new stereo, better tires. Change your own oil and save a few bucks.

Closed source technology, in contrast, is like an automobile in which the hood is locked. Popping the hood on your own violates your warranty. If you want access to what’s under the hood, you have to drive down to the dealership and pay them for the key. Sound ridiculous? That’s exactly what closed-source software does.

This doesn’t mean closed source technology doesn’t play a important role in your IT arsenal! Quite the contrary, closed source, highly specialized systems often serve mission critical functions. The key is integration between key closed source and open source systems, and filling in the gaps with open source software where closed source systems come up short.

Open source software is often community maintained, and supported by hundreds or even thousands of developers. Developers profit from supporting these systems by offering premium plugins, or contribute simply for the added credentials of having contributed to a successful open source project.

Most importantly to business leaders, open source software is often free to install and deploy onto any network. IT staff can tweak the systems as they see fit. Businesses can even resell open source software solutions, as long as they abide by the spirit of open source embodied in open source licensing. This licensing model orients the entire open source software industry to providing Software as a Service solutions, or SaaS, and it ensures a very rapid production cycle. Many open source software solutions have new releases every day.

You’d be amazed by the breadth of problems solved today by open source software, and the list keeps growing with every year. Technology solutions that only the big boys of industry could provide, like digital storefronts, are now solved with completely free, open source eCommerce solutions that are built from the ground up for customization. Companies used to have to pay web hosting providers on a per-page basis for edits that anyone who can use a computer can do now with do-it-yourself web publishing platforms.

And  the  same  goes  for  other,  more  cutting  edge  technology solutions.  Take cloud-based file storage.  Think only Google and Dropbox  can  offer  that  kind  of  solution?   Think  again.   There are  very  sophisticated  free  and  open  source  cloud-based  file exchange platforms.  Some of them even come with their own mobile apps for Android or iPhone, which you can brand with your company logo, and tie in to your information systems.

What  about  Customer  Relationship  Management  (CRM)?   The open  source  community  has  solved  this  problem  too  and because you can integrate an open source CRM with virtually any system out there, including your management information system (MIS) or your scheduling system, these solutions are in many respects vastly superior to what’s available on the proprietary market.

Furthermore, if you think CRM is really just a spreadsheet of company-wide contact data, think again. Open source has evolved the concept into a highly flexible workflow automation solution, complete with integration with email servers and a powerful  scheduling  engine  for  rules-based  task  assignment and reminders.  This allows businesses to automate processes today that used to require managers to oversee, such as adherence to  compliance  standards  like  those  required  for  FSC  paper certification.

And the list goes on and on.

Even the major players of the technology industry like Microsoft and Apple are watching with a certain amount of horror as Google open-sources its way through the mobile operating system market. In 2009, Android powered 2.8% of the mobile market globally. By 2012, Android powered 75% of the mobile market.  Today it’s even higher.

Why is this good for Google? Because they can add on premium services, like enterprise-level Google Maps for mobile  developers, and charge for them. They’re not just players in the mobile market, they are the market.

It’s good for consumers because mobile phones that are powered by Android don’t have the added cost of the operating system, which brings the overall price of the device down.  This is why Android phones are so much cheaper.

One common criticism of open source is that solutions are not mature enough or stable enough to provide companies with reliable solutions.  Open source projects are portrayed as amateur projects.

Google disagrees. Even Microsoft is starting to disagree, although in terms of the mobile operating system market it’s too little too late.

Open  source  is  here  to  stay. Companies that understand these vital lessons will be the companies that differentiate themselves in the market. Companies that utilize open source solutions to satisfy customer needs can offer lower pricing,  just  like  Google  does,  passing savings on to their customers, and undercutting the competition. Companies that adopt open source technology internally enjoy the  efficiencies  that  arise  from  community-maintained, continuously developed solutions.

5 Common Website Mistakes to Avoid

by John Foley, Jr., CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially

In today’s technology-driven world, your company’s website is arguably its most important marketing tool. As such, the content and design of the website should accurately reflect your vision, services, brand, and ideals. A poorly designed or dysfunctional website could cost your business a substantial amount of potential revenue.

It’s time to take a good look at your website. The first step to- wards improving your corporate website is knowing which critical mistakes you’re currently making, and how you can fix them. Does your company or organization need a website makeover? If you’re not sure, here’s how to tell.

1. Poor Design Mobile: There’s nothing wrong with wanting a unique website, but too much creativity in design can result in a loss of clarity, focus, and appeal for your organization’s target audience. Your target audience must play a key role in influencing the design of your website. Younger markets may be more attracted to websites with youthful imagery and color schemes, while older target audiences may prefer a larger font size and simpler designs. By clearly identifying your target audience in advance, you will be able to create a website that speaks directly and efficiently to your customers. This, in turn, will provide them with a positive business experience.

A corporate website design should be relatable to the user and make him or her feel in control. Images and animation are a plus when used properly. The excessive use of images, however, will only detract from the website’s focus and clarity. A good idea would be to incorporate visual banners that feature your target markets and highlight specific products and services. Banners can be changed and updated regularly to maintain relevancy. The right font is also important for legibility; small or atypical fonts make text difficult to read, defeating the purpose of using the website as a marketing tool. Readability is a crucial element of any successful website.

Pop-up windows, advertisements, and auto-playing videos or sounds are other distractions that can detract from a website’s function and design. Think of yourself as a consumer; do you like websites that have pop-up advertisements or images flooding each page? Chances are the answer is no. A simple design that’s well organized, has visual appeal, and utilizes readable fonts will be more effective in the long run.

3. Disorganized, Non-Relevant Content: A website’s design may attract attention, but it is the content that will ultimately drive consistent traffic to a site, and keep people engaged while visiting it. Content can ultimately determine the success or failure of a new website. Homepage content should be well structured and designed to accurately reflect what your company has to offer. A cluttered or overly flashy homepage can turn potential customers off from the start. Can visitors determine what your company or organization does within seconds of reaching the homepage? If not, it may be time to consider a re-design.

Text that does not utilize page titles, headings/sub headings, bullets, or paragraphs makes it more difficult for users to find the information they need. Quality, not quantity, is what consumers want from contemporary business websites. According to Forbes Magazine, visual options are more effective when kept to a minimum. Also, remember that the copy used on your website also directly impacts its search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. This is so crucial because prospective customers should be able to find your website online simply by using a quick search.

Website content should also be up to date and relevant to the visitor. Unnecessary or outdated content reflects poorly on a company’s image, giving visitors the impression that your business has little interest in meeting the needs of the public. By posting regular, updated content, your company will benefit from greater consumer interest and a higher ranking on Google’s search engines to generate even more traffic to your site.

3. Lack of Inbound Marketing Opportunities: In order to convert website visitors and build your online following, you need to be taking advantage of inbound marketing opportunities. Inbound marketing allows prospective customers to fill out forms or landing pages that are directed to your sales team. This way, prospects are coming to you willingly, and the need for outbound, direct marketing campaigns is eased.

As important as inbound marketing is, many businesses and organizations neglect to include these calls to action on their website. A call to action may be a request to purchase a product, download content, register for more information, subscribe to a newsletter, share comments, or more. The ultimate goal of inbound marketing and calls to action is to encourage users to initiate an inquiry and become a lead for your sales team to follow up on. Your inbound marketing devices and calls to action should be simple, clear-cut, and placed in strategic locations on the website where they can easily be found.

4. Flawed Navigation: Successful websites are quick and easy to navigate, so visitors don’t become frustrated and waste their time looking for information. A clear sitemap and simple navigation are important aspects of your corporate website design, as they enable visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for within a short amount of time. When using text for navigation, remember to be brief and“to the point.”Hyperlinks should be clearly visible; dead links should be avoided at all costs. The use of headers, footers, and a main menu should be consistent throughout the site. All subpages should be easily accessible also.

In addition, your website should include links to relevant content throughout all pages. Never hand your audience the chance to walk away without making an impression. At the end of each page, suggest other relevant pages and interesting content. Your sitemap should also be designed so visitors can easily navigate their way back to the main pages, including, but not limited to, the home, contact, and services pages. Easy navigation makes a business website more efficient and provides clarity to its users.

5. Lack of Mobile Capability: Today’s average consumer is very busy, which should not be a surprise to anyone. Now more than ever, accessibility is a must for any successful website. As people are constantly multi-tasking and obtaining information on the go, there is no arguing the importance of responsive web design. Your audience expects instant connectivity wherever and whenever they desire. This includes web browsing on the go via mobile devices.

A Google study by market research firms SmithGeiger and Sterling Research revealed that 67% of consumers were more likely to conduct online business with companies that had a mobile compatible website. A great deal of Internet browsing today is conducted via mobile devices. If your website lacks mobile compatibility, you could very well be losing out on valuable revenue opportunities to competitors.

Does Your Website Pass the Test?

Ultimately, your website should be the hub of all marketing efforts for your company. It is your organization’s face to the world, and often provides your target audience with a first impression of your business. For this reason, it’s essential to keep your website up to par with your audience’s expectations. So, with that said, take a long look at your company’s website. Is it making any of the mistakes listed above? If so, it may be time for a new website. The bottom line is to invest in a quality website. It will pay off.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

BCBSM has individual health insurance plans available to PIM members. Association Benefits Company, an authorized independent agency with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, is here to help you take care of your families and your employees. Call them today to discuss the individual and group options available to you. They work with all agents!

Description for Individual Coverage:

Introducing MyBlueSM– Individual Coverage direct with BCBSM

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here for eligibility, review plan options and to enroll on line!

Description for Group Coverage:

Employers providing health insurance for employees

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here to get started with our BCBSM/BCN Administrator!

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Fee Schedule

Fees schedule for PIM Active Membership

Annual sales volume Monthly Membership Dues
Under $100,000 $25
$100,001 – $200,000 $25
$200,001 – $250,000 $25
$250,001 – $300,000 $25
$300,001 – $350,000 $30
$350,001 – $400,000 $35
$400,001 – $450,000 $40
$450,001 – $500,000 $45
$500,001 – $550,000 $50
$550,001 – $600,000 $55
$600,001 – $650,000 $60
$650,001 – $700,000 $65
$700,001 – $750,000 $70
$750,001 – $800,000 $75
$800,001 – $850,000 $80
$850,001 – $900,000 $85
$900,001 – $950,000 $90
$950,001 – $1,000,000 $95
$1,000,001 – $1,500,000 $105
$1,500,001 – $2,000,000 $115
$2,000,001 – $2,500,000 $125
$2,500,001 – $3,000,000 $135
$3,000,001 – $3,500,000 $145
$3,500,001 – $4,000,000 $160
$4,000,001 – $5,000,000 $185
$5,000,001 – $6,000,000 $195
$6,000,001 – $7,000,000 $210
$7,000,001 – $8,000,000 $230
$8,000,001 – $9,000,000 $260
$9,000,001 – $10,000,000 $280
$10,000,001 – $11,000,000 $300
$11,000,001 – $13,000,000 $315
$13,000,001 – $15,000,000 $340
$15,000,001 – $17,000,000 $365
$17,000,001 and over $390
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