Author Archives: bebtexas

PIGC Women in Print

We had a fantastic time today at the PIGC – Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast #WomenInPrint luncheon at Harold’s in the Heights. Our very own Joy Zehrbach was the feature speaker!  The topic? Social Media Blitz.

Women representing the printing and graphics arts community of Houston gathered today for networking, education, and comradery.  Our Angel Vierna & Veronica Comisso were there too.  Participating in industry education and networking events is a priority to for us.  Our Joy Z also serves on the Board of the PIGC, and Angel & Veronica serve on the Graphic Excellence Awards planning committees.

Carlson Sues the USPS Over Rate Hike

Self proclaimed Postal Watchdog Douglas Carlson is suing the USPS over the five cent increase on the First Class Stamp.  He sites that the increase will be the largest increase in history for the one postage price that most Americans pay. As a percentage, the 10-percent increase is the largest since 1991, and it is about four times the average increase since 2006.  Read more here.

USPS Q1 RESULTS

WASHINGTON – February 8, 2019 – The U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $19.7 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 (Oct. 1, 2018 – Dec. 31, 2018), an increase of $553 million, or 2.9%, compared to the same quarter last year.

First-Class Mail revenue declined by $81 million, or 1.2%, on a volume decline of 428 million pieces, or 2.8%, compared to the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, Marketing Mail revenue increased by $218 million, or 4.9%, on volume growth of 1.0 billion pieces, or 4.8%, compared to the same quarter last year. Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $516 million, or 8.7%, on volume growth of 93 million pieces, or 5.4%, compared to the same quarter last year.

Total operating expenses were $21.2 billion for the quarter, an increase of $1.6 billion, or 7.9%, compared to the same quarter last year. Excluding the impact of the $621 million non-cash workers’ compensation expense increase resulting from changes in interest rates and actuarial assumptions, operating expenses would have been $20.6 billion for the quarter, an increase of $939 million, or 4.8%, compared to the same quarter last year. The remaining operating expense increase was largely driven by increases in compensation and benefits of $657 million, due to additional hours and contractual wage adjustments, and transportation costs of $207 million, due to higher fuel costs and highway contract rate inflation.

The net loss for the quarter totaled $1.5 billion, an increase in net loss of nearly $1.0 billion compared to the same quarter last year.

“We continued to drive growth in our package business and expanded use of the marketing mail channel during the quarter. Nevertheless, we face ongoing financial challenges. We remain focused on aggressive management of the business, legislative reform, and pricing system reform, all of which are necessary to put the Postal Service on firm financial footing,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Our nation is best served by a financially sustainable Postal Service that can invest in its future and meet the evolving mailing and shipping needs of the American public.”

The controllable loss for the quarter was $103 million, compared to controllable income of $353 million for the same quarter last year.

“Overall volumes increased this quarter driven primarily by growth in Marketing Mail and our package business, which resulted in total revenue growth of $553 million,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive VP Joseph Corbett. “This growth was offset by increased work hours and related salaries and benefits, increases in transportation costs due to these higher volumes and the continued focus on meeting customers’ needs.”

First Quarter Fiscal 2019 Operating Revenue and Volume by Service Category Compared to Prior Year – READ MORE HERE

Run for Rama 5K

We are going after it again in 2019!  We are gathering a team to walk/run in MD Anderson’s Sprint for Life event on May 4th.  We affectionately refer to this race against Ovarian Cancer as The Run for Rama 5K to honor our 40-year associate, Rama Moore, who lost her battle with this deadly disease on Christmas day in 2017.

Last year we had over 40 participants travelling from as far away as Alaska to take part in this highly emotional and very positive event.  We are trying to raise $1,200 in Rama’s memory to help combat this devastating disease.  Won’t you please join us in our march against Ovarian Cancer?  Join our team and walk with us on Saturday, May 4, 2019 or make a generous donation to our fund.  CLICK HERE or go to runforrama.com for details and donations.

 

TASK FORCE REPORT RELEASED

The Administration released the long-awaited postal task force
report in December.

The Alliance Board met and discussed the report and actions of the task force in detail.  The general reaction was negative.

A primary concern is that the proposed business model is to divide
mail into “essential” and “non-essential” categories.  The task force proposes that the essential types of mail would continue to be protected by price caps, while the non-essential group would be priced at a market rate.

The task force believes the previous business model is outdated and enables urban areas to subsidize rural regions. They want the new model to create a subsidy of essential mail by non-essential mail.

Under the current model, everyone pays uniform rates. The proposal would make “non-essential” mailers pay much higher rates based on someone’s judgment of what is “essential.” The Alliance Board has stated that the “proposed system is not workable, legally, politically or practically.”

Raising prices above inflation without addressing the cost issues will drive away direct mail and package volume which is currently supporting a profitable USPS. As we all know, they have generated operating profits in each of the last six fiscal years and only the miscalculated retiree health benefits charges have dragged the USPS financials into a loss. We will keep you abreast of this as it moves along.

The Story on Stories

200 million Instagram users use Instagram Stories each month. With millions of daily views across multiple social media sites, the stories format is likely to become the primary social sharing feature, overtaking the News Feed layout. This is why social media marketers have to pay attention to the rise of the story feature as a primary way of information circulation.

Mobile usage and shorter attention spans will continue to increase the popularity of short-lived content in the coming year, especially with millennials and Generation Z. Those groups are thriving on relationships with brands.Social media marketing strategies should include short video messaging which encourages the user to engage and help to establish a kind of “fear of missing out” with your audience.

Ash Read of Buffer, (a software program that allows for social media management over multiple platforms), believes that social media content in 2019 will continue to become more personal. Facebook has reported that the Stories format will overtake the News Feed as the default for content consumption soon, which means we’ll see more brands embrace more in-the-moment content vs. prepackaged content. The focus will be on the people and personalities behind the brands. Using video, stories and images to connect your audience with the human – maybe even vulnerable – side of your business is key.

For example, you could “take your audience behind the scenes” by showing the work your company does day-to-day. If you’re a coffee shop, create a story of how to brew the perfect cup. If you’re a service business, take your followers on a tour of the office or show your team working. The key is to experiment. The stories format is still very young and as the content lasts only 24hrs, there are tons of chances to try new things without it lasting forever on your profile.