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Protecting Your Credit Cards

RFID Credit Card Sleeves

Protecting Your Digital Footprint

Technology has given us wonderful things and freedom but has also opened the opportunity for crooks.  It’s a sad but real truth, thieves are developing new and clever ways to steal your valuable financial information.  Criminals can secure your credit card data simply by walking past you with an electronic scanner or conceivably a cell phone.

This threat is due to the implementation of radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) or Near Field Communications (NFC) chips being embedded in all new credit cards and ATM/Debit Cards. (Ironically to make identify theft more secure)  Even large financial institutions can run in to this issue as Barclay’s Bank did in Great Britain as this video shows

 

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Is the danger a significant threat to you? Probably not (at the moment) but a simple fix can ease your mind.  By inserting your cards into a protective sleeve (shown top left) that has a protective internal foil, scanners can not read your cards.  Think an aluminum hat to keep the aliens or the government from scanning your brain… same thing!

This product is a great promotional product for your company also… especially if you are in any type of security or financial company.  They are inexpensive and a valuable tool for you and your clients.

Self-Promoted Exhibiting

Trade Shows

Self-Promoted Trade Shows are an excellent opportunity to present your company and products in a environment where people expect to see and speak with you. Eagle Print Dynamics does this in several ways.  Our major trade show is our Annual Marketing and Branding Expo where we bring in over 30 of our top factory representatives to present all of our major product lines from branded apparel, promotional products, signage and everything printed.  One of the best things is seeing the newest corporate fashions and cool decorating methods available. This type of exhibiting allows us to market us as the comprehensive marketing and branding experts.  It also let’s our clients and potential clients see us in a non-selling mode but just trying to help them grow their businesses as a partner.  Click Here to hear what past attendees say about the expo.

Another new exhibition idea we are trying our is our Beer and Branding mini trade-shows in the San Diego area.  These are small, intimate gatherings at various craft breweries in San Diego County, the capital craft brewing!  We will be hosting these at excellent breweries around San Diego County like Riptide Brewery, Societe, 

If you are in San Diego or plan on coming down, our first Beer and Branding events are:

September 

 

 

Click Here to RSVP to Rodger Price  The first beer is on us! 

 

Check Back at Eagle San Diego Beer and Branding Events regularly for dates.

It’s a Dogs World

Dog

               Sherlock

My daughter recently pet/house sat for a lady going out of town for a convention.  As the person really didn’t know my daughter (17 years old), there had to be some anxiety (even if a little) on her behalf to leave her dog. let alone her house, with a total stranger, even though she found my daughter through www.nextdoor.com .   I told my daughter to send her text pictures and updates of Sherlock (a beautiful and rambunctious 14 month golden retriever).  My daughter did me one better.  Not taking her duties lightly, she took Sherlock far beyond walks and to the beach. Sherlock’s owner said he was afraid of the ocean but he jumped right in and had a wonderful time.   My daughter texted pictures of Sherlock at home but sent videos of the ocean walks.  The owner was ecstatic to see her dog having fun and more importantly, well taken care of, above and beyond what she expected.  

In this age of technology, how hard is it for you to use texts, e-mail, photos and videos to touch base in a very personalized manner.  As you can see in the video shot on an IPhone, the quality and editing doesn’t have to be great.  It’s all in the connection.  Let use know how you use video and texting in your marketing.  We would love to hear and give you a plug!

Do Business Cards Still Matter

Primal Marketing, Rodger PriceIn this age of overwhelming digital media, do business cards still mean anything?  For that matter, even to people under 35 years old who could just “Bump” information (of course if there is a WiFi signal present… oh and if “Bump” still existed!)  But back to business cards, “Why yes Virginia, they do!”  More than ever business cards are just as important as when they first began being used in the 18th Century as Calling Cards or TradeCards. Attend any trade show, business mixer or business meeting; the business cards are flying fast and furious.  

Don’t take my word for it, check out what graphic designer Roberto Blake says in this video.    If you want to check out some cool business card transformations, click here or give us a call to see the newest in business card materials and imprint methods.

Goals … we don’t need no….

I believe that setting goals is… well… … a worthless waste of time.

no-goal-setting

I heard Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) speak at a luncheon yesterday.   What he responded to a question from the audience was priceless.   He was asked if he set goals down to get where he is today.  Jillette responded that he never set goals other than he wanted to “make a living” as a performer.   This was his only goal, set in his mind not on paper.  I have heard and read from countless “experts” and laypeople that you must write your goals down to achieve your dreams.  I always wanted to believe it but I was always too busy being successful. I set in my mind what I want to do and did it. Working backward from a goal to the steps needed to achieve it is not my style.  I always have worked forward.  Do I take a misstep along the way?  Of course.   That’s how I (any I’m sure most people) learn.  I make a daily and monthly checklist but I always know what my goal is, small or large, and know I must move forward.

Jillette also spoke about putting in your hours, taking what you do best and perfecting it with practice, adding in new “material” along the way but always looking for ways to improve. Author Malcolm Gladwell writes about the people who are successful at something have put 10,000 hours into getting there.  I’m not sure whether that is totally true (as a Princeton University study indicates) but I believe that those who practice do better.

I guess what I am saying is, you know your overall goal.  Don’t spend time working backwards to start.  Start working and practicing now to put in the time.  The late Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn spent hours watching film, practicing his swing and working on his fielding. He knew his goal was to be the best he could be and he knew what he needed to do to get there and beyond.  Isn’t it time you stopped dreaming and setting endless goals and just did it?

 

 

Is Direct Mail Dead?

Direct Mail

Direct Mail is Dead – Long Live Direct Mail! The notion that direct mail is a thing of the past is a delusion. The arrival and rapidly expanding growth of the Internet, digital and social media fuels the flames on this misconception.

Stories of the United States Postal Service losing 15 billion dollars per day only add to this fallacy. It is true that direct mail has lost much of its punch and percentages of lead generation/sales over the past few years, but much of that is due to improper marketing beliefs in a shotgun blast approach of awareness marketing that leads no one to interest, desire and action. Correct and assertive direct mail can be a forceful part of an accurate integrated marketing system. 

Is direct mail always a homerun?… No. This doesn’t signify direct mail is not important to the marketing mix. As any other marketing tool is utilized in a marketing mix, be it a web site, digital media, social media, etc., testing, challenging, tweaking are all part of the process.

Long Live the Direct Mail King/Queen/Gender of your specification.

Direct Mail in an Internet World

The consumer’s mind is rarely idle—at least, not subconsciously. As TV shows break for commercials, we surf the Internet. After we check email on our smartphones, we swipe to browse Facebook. From one platform to another, users are blanketed with advertising and delivered messages. But despite the consumer’s digital dependency, offline marketing isn’t dead. Businesses can’t deny the influence of new age digital advertising, and they also can’t deny the value of traditional direct mail marketing.

Direct Mail Lives On

Direct mail isn’t obsolete; it’s evolving. In a study testing the effects of various marketing mailings, marketing agency RAPP Germany and global measurement company Nielsen found that consumers indeed value physical mail. Among an estimated 1,800 participants, 84.5 percent of recipients opened a custom-manufactured printed envelope and read its advertising contents. In addition:

  • 73 percent of U.S. consumers prefer direct mail
  • 62 percent enjoy checking their mailboxes for postal mail
  • 59 percent agreed that they like receiving mail from brands promoting new products, according to marketing services firm Epsilon

Power of Direct Mail Tech Trends

Direct mail recently adopted technological advancements that have increased its influence upon consumers. Dave Erlandson of Caslon & Co., a firm specializing in the effects of digital printing on new business opportunities, told whattheythink.com about two high-speed inkjet technologies that have enhanced the direct mail industry. Inkjet heads and presses add marketing value and lower costs by producing printed materials with full and variable color.

Relevant imagery and messaging drives superior results. A message with a customized, high-quality color image can serve as the vehicle for larger response rates. One case study found that full-color images of cell phones have increased marketing value. In the insurance industry, color pictures of local agents enhance communication with policy holders and prospects.

Before you think about replacing your direct mail marketing budget entirely with online advertising and digital marketing tactics, Erlandson explains that high-tech printing delivers the following industry improvements:

  • Color heads use design specifications and serve as low-cost options for producing fully variable color
  • A color digital press optimizes the printing process; for example, you can create holiday cards to send to clients or personalize envelopes for sending customer invitations can be performed in a single step, thus eliminating steps for offset printing, storage and handling preprinted forms, which provides cost savings
  • Inkjet presses can perform on-press co-mingling jobs and forgo the step of using a cost center for co-mingling, which also enables savings

Cross-Channel Integration

Direct mail is the most trusted channel for marketing and advertising, according to the Epsilon 2012 Channel Preference Study. For optimal communication and engagement though, cross-channel integration supports direct mail marketing initiatives. Complementing direct mail marketing with social, mobile and video marketing strategies will maximize your campaigns and help achieve goals.

Technologies such as QR Code connect online and print. A piece of mail with a quick response code is a convenient marketing tool and can increase conversions, Erlandson explained on WhatTheyThink.com. Cross channeling mail and QR codes exemplifies how traditional direct mail is a vehicle that drives more powerful digital marketing. Invisible codes are also expected to become tech marketing tools that connect to online content. Direct mail and print ads work in tandem, not against, digital marketing and mobile ads.

Liar Liar Pants On Fire!

The following is the copy from an article I wrote for the local San Diego Better Business Bureau Blog.

Guest Blogs: Sometimes the Scam Comes from Employees

10/30/2013 – A recent  San Diego Union-Tribune article on insider theft reminded me that not all scams come from third world countries or swindlers in our own country; they can come from people you know very well… or thought you did.

I learned this from a friend long ago who could not stand the guilt and confessed to her boss that she had setup fake vendors and paid them, which in fact were setup by her and paid to her. Sometimes she paid herself more than her salary but changed the amount to the normal amount correcting and retyping the lower amount. She plead guilty in court, paid her boss back and was put on probation. I think she got off fairly lucky.

I took this lesson into my own company and setup simple measures to prevent issues like this. Though I trusted my accounting employee, I still thought it best to do modest procedural changes.

Following are ways to protect your company:

  • Review all checks for vendors you do not recognize. Ask for the Purchase Order and documentation on questionable checks. There were many times I forgot the vendor but verified it with the additional paperwork.
  • Personally sign the checks manually – do not use a rubber stamp or signature machine.
  • If you receive copies of your cashed checks in the mail, do not let anyone open. Do it yourself and check each check for discrepancies.
  • If paying electronically, speak with you bank how to set up protective measures.

If you suspect you may be a victim or if you want to get a better grip on your financials:

  • Review a year of past checks.
  • Print and review your vendor list for unknown vendors.
  • Use an outside agency for payroll and audit the paperwork each month for hours, issues.
  • Have your accountant or outside agency audit your books.

Don’t think this could happen to you? It can happen to any company, association, group, small or large companies along with many other groups such as Little League and other sports leagues have lost millions to embezzlers and thieves, all by people they trusted.

Check out the linked article and see how a trusted employee embezzled 5.7 million and put the company out of business. It can happen to anyone.

What Color is Your Sky?

I like to joke with my family, kids, wife, friends and even clients when they go off into something… well weird… and I ask them, “What IS the color IN the sky in your world?”. I deal with color every day and it can be one of the most frustrating things to explain to clients who don’t have the background. Colors are in the eye of the beholder.  I am not speaking metaphysically but literally.  What you see is not necessarily what I see. Let me explain.

If I am sending a proof for a printing job, whether a brochure, flyer, business card, label or tag and it is in color, every proof will look different to everyone.

  1. It will be different on every computer screen, even if they are the same model.  All screens have variances and usually have different color settings;
  2. If you print it, the same goes for color printers, add the fact that one of the ink colors may be running low;
  3. Perception IS in the eye of the beholder and colors can look different to different people;
  4. Last…what you think is a great color for the job may not be what the client envisions.

How can you eliminate this issue?  You can’t… but you can mitigate it by:

  1. Educate your client (gently) that there are differences (as outlined above);
  2. Educate them about  colors on different substrates (e.g. Coated vs. Uncoated Stock);
  3. Advise them that other substrates (e.g. Kraft label paper) WILL affect the true color;
  4. Show them PMS Color Chips (if it’s spot color) to show as close to true color as possible;
  5. Let them know PMS colors (even on repeats) can vary between jobs due to mixing the inks;
  6. Processes matter also. Digital, CMYK Offset, PMS Spot all produce color variances.

Bottom line… as a print or as a customer… understand that everyone’s “sky”… can be different.

 

 

 

Sometimes it’s the Little Things

My wife and I just returned from Hawaii… I know, I’m a bragger… but actually we received the trip free as a sales award for my wife from her company Silpada Jewelry! Silpada always goes out of it’s way to give the top 4% who earn this award the best on the annual “SOAR” trip and even more to the 1% who earn the upgrade each year like my wife.

But sometimes it’s the little touches that matter and you remember. This year we walked into our room at the Waikiki, walked to the window and looked out on the beautiful beach and ocean from a high floor, but what we remember was the bathtub. Silpada had the hotel staff “paint” the word “Aloha” and the Silpada logo. Pretty simple huh? But memorable and probably free or very inexpensive to do.

So the question is, what little things can you do  for your clients to be memorable? Something as simple as a handwritten thank you card (yes, handwritten), maybe some donuts, flowers, something cool and useful. What have you done to impress a client?  Let me know.