Tag Archives: BEB Texas

A World Without Facebook

I read such an interesting article by The Economist the other day.  It was called; “What would happen if Facebook was turned off? Imagine a world without the social network”

30% of the world’s population (2.3billion people) engage with Facebook every month. Economists estimate that it yields trillions of dollars’ worth of value for its users. Facebook is also blamed for all sorts of social horrors: from addiction and bullying to the erosion of fact-based political discourse. This article outlined some new research that suggests that it may be time to consider what life without Facebook would be like.

Hunt Allcott, of New York University, and Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer and Matthew Gentzkow, of Stanford University, published results of an experiment where they recruited several thousand Facebook users and sorted them into control and treatment groups. Members of the treatment group were asked to deactivate their Facebook profiles for four weeks in late 2018. The researchers studied what happened.

On average, those that disengaged enjoyed an additional hour of free time. They tended not to use those additional 60 minutes to flock to other websites or social networks.  Instead they spent time with friends and family or watched television. They also consumed less news, and as a result became less aware of events.  In turn they also became less polarised in their views about events than those still on the network. Leaving the social network boosted self-reported happiness and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Monetizing Car Data

A massive amount of data is being generated as privately owned vehicles continue to use sensors and become increasingly connected to each other and to an external infrastructure. Yet while gathering such data is now routine, actually identifying insights that can be monetized is still in its infancy. McKinsey Automotive & Assembly published an interesting report called Monetizing car data. They analyze consumer perspectives on the prospect of accessing car-generated data, and identify the value and requirements of possible car data-enabled use cases. They predict that the global revenue pool from car data monetization could be as high as $750 billion by 2030. Check out the report here.

Facebook’s AI Research

Facebook is focused on advancing the field of machine intelligence.  They are creating new technologies to give people expanded ways to communicate. As Facebook puts it; they’re trying to solve AI.
Facebook Artificial Intelligence researchers seek to understand and develop systems with human-level intelligence by advancing the longer-term academic problems surrounding AI. Their research covers the full spectrum of topics related to AI, and to deriving knowledge from data: theory, algorithms, applications, software infrastructure and hardware infrastructure. Long-term objectives of understanding intelligence and building intelligent machines are bold and ambitious, and they are approaching this research in a very collaborative way.  They are actively engaged with the research community through publications, open source software, participation in technical conferences and workshops, and collaborations with colleagues in academia.

Facebook AI researchers work from offices around the globe.  Check out this very interesting video by FB.

Helping the Blind to See

 

Direct Mail Basics

With Easter just around the corner, many of you are putting your direct mail campaigns together now. We’re sharing some basic tips to ensure your campaign is a smashing success!

KEEP THE DESIGN SIMPLE
The digital world is filled with constant change, complexity and instability. Many audiences want a return to simplicity.  In 2019, minimalism is the way to attract attention.  An image with a clear purpose will prevail every time. Keep your text short and on point. Maximize white space and find a layout that’s simple, clean and authentic.

SIZE MATTERS
When picking up mail from the cluster box, don’t forget that large pieces command attention. It doesn’t cost any more postage to mail a 6X11 postcard than it does a 6X9 and the difference in paper cost is nominal. The only real differences are that you get more real estate to promote your message and your piece will stand out in the mailbox.

INCORPORATE INTERESTING FOLDS
Create a fun mail piece by adding folds.  These go beyond touch by requiring people to manipulate the piece. It creates an urge to see more by building up people’s curiosity. BE CAREFUL THOUGH!  Make sure you don’t lose your automation rates by placing a fold or an open part of your mail piece in the wrong spot.  Have your creative team contact us for guidance.

TELL THE STORY THRU CONTENT & PICTURES
Storytelling is a crucial aspect of direct marketing. Think about using strong and compelling visual images to convey your narrative. Combine your images with precise and well written copy.

BE COLORFUL
Color is key. Your choice of color can make or break a good print design. Colors have the power to change moods.

Red – This color typically used to create a sense of urgency, which may be why you often see this color used during clearance sales. Red is also associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – This color is often used by brands to promote trust in their products and services because this color is associated with security, peace, and reliability. Blue is also the preferred color of male consumers.

Green – Brands sometimes use green within their stores to relax customers because this color creates harmony within the brain and encourages balance. This color is also often associated with power, nature, and tranquility.

Orange and Yellow – These colors are more cheerful colors that promote a more optimistic attitude while also creating a sense of urgency that can cause more impulsive buyers to act.

Purple – This color has been known to stimulate problem solving and creativity within the mind.
Purple is also associated with respect, intelligence, and royalty, which may explain why it’s often used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.

United Socialist Suds Republic

In the interest of increasing the viability of post offices and attracting additional money to
modernize their network, the Murmansk post department, located in far north Russia, reported that it started selling low-alcohol drinks.

Northern Russians aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a chaser with a purchase of a stamp. The Saratov Region (located to the south) has also experimented with sales of beer and the fermented bread drink called kvass.

Post press secretary Daniil Skidan told Russian radio that they plan to roll out beer sales at 3,200 post offices across the country with the main focus on rural branches.  Russian Post has come under government pressure to modernize in recent years, given frequent complaints of
inefficiency and even mail theft.

Comments about beer sales via the Post on Russian Social Media has been mixed with  exasperation and humor.  Some noted that it was comforting to think that at least they “won’t get bored in the queue anymore”.  Others think it is only a matter of time before the post office starts selling kebabs too.

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