Tag Archives: BEB

Preparing Your Business for What Lies Ahead

These are uncertain times. Our daily life has suddenly changed and in a dramatic fashion. One certainty lies before us. Rough times are ahead. Remember, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors. Economic downturns are part of the natural cycle of business and if you take time to prepare, your business will not only survive – it can flourish.

Sailing through an economic storm is an endurance test. You will need to manage your business through big waves and battle crew fatigue. People often get nervous and become distracted when business slows down. Distractions can cause errors or reduce quality output. You can combat this by being open with with your employees. Let them know what you anticipate without painting a bleak picture, Operations should never be slow in the traditional sense. Make housekeeping a priority during downtime. Every business can use a good spring cleaning and busy employees with a purpose are usually happier.

Look for opportunities amid the crisis. This is the perfect time to solidify relationships with existing clients. Be sure that the lines of communication are open between you and your valued clients. Listen for their pain points and think out of the box. You may find a means to service their needs in ways that had not been considered before.

For over 70-years our business has focused on serving our customers with deliberate and precise execution combined with flexibility to support our clients  in multiple ways. Simply translated, agility and nimbleness are essential. The downturn environment is constantly changing, which means your clients needs are in a state of flux. Make sure your business can manage the ebb and flow of needs to solidify partnerships with your clients and vendors.

Published by North Sails, an international sail maker, I recently read a blog that outlined how to safely sail through a storm while at sea. The author wrote a conclusion that mirrors exactly what a business should do during an economic storm.

“Although everyone will remember it differently years later, a long, wet, cold sail through a storm can be miserable. As skipper, you need to make the best of it: watch over your crew, offer relief or help to those who need it, and speak a few words of encouragement to all. “This is miserable, but it will end.”

Take the time to marvel at the forces of nature, and at your ability to carry on in the midst of the storm. Few people get to experience the full fury of a storm. It may not be pleasant, but it is memorable.”

 

2020 Census – How it Works

You will receive an invitation in the mail on or between March 12 – 20, 2020. Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail, or by phone.

Depending on how likely your area is to respond online, you’ll receive either an invitation encouraging you to respond online or an invitation with a paper questionnaire.

Letter Invitation

  • Most areas of the country are likely to respond online, so most households will receive a letter asking you to go online to complete the census questionnaire (or to respond by phone).
  • The US Census will work with the USPS to stagger the delivery of the invitations over several days so they can spread out the number of users responding online or over the phone.

Letter Invitation and Paper Questionnaire

  • Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with their invitation. The invitation will also include information about how to respond online or by phone.

THE TIMELINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every household that hasn’t responded by the request dates will receive reminders and will eventually receive a paper questionnaire. It doesn’t matter which initial invitation you get or how you get it – the Census will follow up in person with all households that don’t respond.

For more information click here.

Direct Mail Case Study

The power of direct mail is amazing. Let that sink in for a minute.

We hear about the might of marketing on digital channels through social media, search words, and email; and all of those channels are excellent resources for making sales. Combine those resources with the super power of direct mail and you will see simply amazing results.

We were asked to help one of our client’s research the ROI on a marketing campaign conducted last spring. At the start of the campaign, we were invited to help research and identify criteria of their ‘perfect’ client.  This customer is a membership-based organization, and once we were clear on the demographics; we went to work on obtaining a multitude of databases (including their own house list).

The mailing list is hands down, THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT of a direct mail campaign.

The client put together some beautiful graphics and powerful messaging combined with a CALL TO ACTION and we were ready to launch.

We used 14 different lists including the client’s lapsed member list, shared lists and seven purchased lists from a wide variety of sources.

The mailing was sent to 330,000 people and produced over 5,200 memberships (1.6%). They collected over $780,000 in membership revenue and 29% of that came from new members which represents projected additional earnings of  $650,000 over three-years.

The entire job including postage cost approximately $98,000 to produce and netted over $780,000 in revenue. That represents a 698% return on the investment.

The power of direct mail is amazing.

 

YouTube – 10 Things You May Not Have Known

Using a combination of public opinion surveys and large-scale data analysis, Pew Research Center studied YouTube in recent years to better understand the content that gets posted to the site and how the U.S. public engages with it.

  1. Around three-quarters of U.S. adults (73%) say they use YouTube.
    • And among 18- to 24-year olds, 90% say they use it.
    • The only other social media platform that approaches YouTube in terms of its reach among Americans is Facebook, which was used by 69% of U.S. adults.
  2. YouTube channels generate a massive amount of content every week.
    • As of January 2019, nearly 44,000 YouTube channels had at least 250,000 subscribers.
    • They uploaded 48,486 hours of content and received over 14.2 billion individual views in the first week of 2019 alone.
    • The average video was 12 minutes long and received nearly 60,000 views in the seven days after it was posted.
  3. The Most popular YouTube channels don’t produce content in English.
    • During the first week of 2019, 56% of popular YouTube channels uploaded at least one video. Of those that did, just 33% uploaded a video in English.
    • Across all of the videos these channels uploaded during the week, just 17% were completely in English.
    • Large majority of videos from popular YouTube channels came from a small share of producers
  4. A small number of channels produce the majority of content, and a small number of videos generate the majority of views.
    • Among channels with at least 250,000 subscribers, the most active 10% were responsible for uploading 70% of all of the videos produced by these popular channels during the first week of 2019.
    • Across all of these videos, the most popular 10% drew 79% of all of the views during the week.
  5. Videos about video games are especially popular – and lengthy.
    • About 18% of English-language videos posted by popular YouTube channels in the first week of 2019 focused on gaming.
    • The median number of views for videos about video games was 34,347, compared with 11,174 for videos focused on other topics.
    • These videos were 13 minutes long at the median, compared with 5.2 minutes for other videos.
  6. Children’s content and videos featuring children are also very popular.
    • While just 4% of all English-language videos posted by popular channels in the first week of 2019 were clearly aimed at children under the age of 13, these videos received more views than other videos. And videos that featured children who appeared to be under the age of 13 – regardless of target audience – drew even more engagement, averaging more than three times as many views as other types of videos.Videos featuring children under the age of 13 were associated with more views and more channel subscribers, regardless of target audience.
  7. Roughly eight-in-ten parents with children age 11 or younger (81%) say they at least occasionally let their child watch videos on YouTube, including 34% who say they do so regularly.
    • Among parents who let their young child watch videos on YouTube, 61% said they have encountered content they felt was unsuitable for children. The survey did not ask parents whether they allowed their child to watch the standard YouTube or YouTube Kids, which is a special product with greater levels of parental control and monitoring.
  8. Most YouTube users in the U.S. say they at least occasionally encounter false or troubling content on the platform.
    • Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adult YouTube users (64%) say they at least sometimes encounter videos that seem obviously false or untrue while using the site.
    • A similar share (60%) reported at least sometimes seeing videos that show people engaging in dangerous or troubling behavior.
  9. Many Americans use YouTube to stay informed and learn new skills.
    • Half of U.S. adults who use YouTube say the site is very important when it comes to figuring out how to do things they haven’t done before.
    • It’s also common for Americans to get news on YouTube. In a 2019 survey, 28% of adults said they get news there, behind only Facebook (52%).
  10.  YouTube recommendations push users toward progressively longer videos.
    • Around eight-in-ten adult YouTube users in the U.S. (81%) said in the 2018 survey that they at least occasionally watch the videos suggested by the platform’s recommendation algorithm.
    • In a study of the algorithm itself, we found that YouTube recommends progressively longer videos – at least when it lacks information about the viewer needed for more personalized recommendations.
    • After a chain of just four video recommendations, the algorithm was likely to suggest a video more than five minutes longer than the one it originally started on.

Why is Instagram Hiding Likes?

Last November, Instagram began a test to hide “likes” for U.S. users, and announced that it will be rolling out the change everywhere in the world.

This upset some (really) big influencers including Nicki Minaj who tweeted that she was going to stop posting on the platform because of the decision. She hasn’t posted on her Instagram account since then either.

Based on a survey of 502 consumers poled from The Mainfest, more than half (55%) said they don’t have an opinion regarding Instagram’s decision. About 20% of people supported the decision to hide likes, while 25% oppose the decision.

Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri  says the move to hide likes is to reduce stress and anxiety on users. They want to try and depressurize the platform and make it less of a competition by giving people more space to focus on connecting with people they love and things that inspire them. Creators will still be able to see like counts on their own posts, but Instagram will not display those publicly.

Interesting that Instagram that is continuing to make follower counts public which is arguably an even more important metric for gauging popularity and traction.

Some believe that Instagram is hiding likes because user engagement has been waning and that the change stems from core business reasons.

Some believe that by hiding likes, Instagram will help alleviate the negative backlash that comes from declining organic engagement on a platform over time as well as protect their reputation as Facebook’s more engaging social media platform. In addition, by making likes private, Instagram will control the flow of that data.

Facebook IQ, What Is It?

Facebook IQ is a culmination of a year’s worth of research and insights. The team explored thousands of topics from January 2018 to June 2019 on Facebook. Where patterns emerged, they looked to third-party research and media sources to inform and validate their findings.
New in 2020, they reported trends beyond the US to 13 new countries in four regions:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the
Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the UK.
For each topic of conversation, they relied on aggregated, anonymized, country-specific data from January 2018 to June 2019 for people ages 18 and older who use Facebook. All topics chosen to be featured grew from June 2018 through June 2019. The topics are presented in the original language as they appeared in their data set.
The analysis covers trends across six categories: Art and Design, Beauty and
Fashion, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Mind and Body and Travel /Leisure.

Facebook IQ 2020 Annual Topics Report delivers insights to understand consumer
behavior, drive more effective marketing and transform the way your business
reaches people. Learning from the billions of people on their platforms and
the millions of businesses that advertise with Facebook, the report provides insights into
behaviors across generations, markets, devices and time.  Click here to read the report.

 

USPS Robotic Arm Patent Approved

In August, the USPS was granted a patent for a sorting robot intended to work inside a delivery truck’s freight bay while making deliveries.

The robot will grasp items and move them between storage bins, grouping mail and packages together to be delivered to the same address and shrink wrapping them.

It is suggested that the robotic arm would be able to pass items through a window from the freight bay into the cab of a delivery vehicle to the driver for delivery, and one or more robotic arms could be used in a single vehicle.

The robot outlined in the patent is not complicated. The arm would have some dexterity, commonly seen in today’s manufacturing environment already, but it could replace some of the work generally performed by humans. Most mail and parcels come to a local post office presorted by zip code but must be further grouped by route and address from there. Performing the final phase of this sorting while driving to the delivery point, could cut down on delivery time and labor.

Just because a patent is granted does not mean a technology will ever see the light of day. However, labor has been a source of financial strain for the USPS, so technological solutions are being considered with more weight than in previous times.

The patent states that current methods of delivery are expensive, at least in part due to labor costs. Methods and systems to reduce the human workload along a delivery route are needed to reduce the cost.

Where is Houston Informed Delivery?

If you’re part of the estimated 800K+ subscribers to the USPS Informed Delivery program in the Houston metropolitan area, or a marketer utilizing it from other parts of the country, you’re probably wondering where it went?!  It’s another casualty of Tropical Storm Imelda, but don’t worry – it will soon be back on track.

The USPS is working on linking the subscribers from the Houston area market to the seven facilities outside of the area that are processing mail since last week after the North Houston facility roof caved in during the storm. (For details on the contingency plan and where your mail is being processed, click here.) We anticipate the uploading of subscribers to be completed by the end of this week.

As soon as the subscribers are linked and Informed Delivery for Houston is fully operational, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Tag 57, Where Are You?

WHAT IS TAG 57?
Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing is a red container tag designed to provide added visibility to
Political Mail from Postal acceptance to processing operations. It can be placed on trays, sacks,
and pallets.
WHAT IS POLITICAL MAIL?
Political Campaign Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices for political campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, a campaign committee (federal, state, or local), or a committee of a political party (e.g., Democratic National Committee or Republican Congressional Campaign Committee) to promote political candidates, referendums, or political campaigns. Political Message Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices by a PAC, Super PAC, or other organization engaging in issue advocacy or voter mobilization. Political Mail may be sent for any public election—partisan or nonpartisan—for which there is a ballot.
WHAT KIND OF MAILINGS CAN USE TAG 57?
Both Political Campaign Mail and Political Message Mail described above can use Tag 57.
In addition to mailings sent by PACs (Political Action Committee) or Super PACs, etc., lesser known types of Political Message Mail also qualify for Tag 57 use. Here are some examples:

  • An organization mails a monthly newsletter with 10 articles in it. If one article references a
    political topic, the mailing qualifies to have a Tag 57 attached.
  • A hardware store mails a monthly advertisement of hardware specials. The current
    advertisement includes a note that “We support Mary Hill for County Commissioner.”
  •  A grocery store places a note on its flier that says “Vote on November 4th.”

HOW WOULD I USE TAG 57 FOR MY MAILINGS?

  • Affix a Tag 57 to each tray, sack, and pallet of political mail when packaging it for delivery
    to your postal facility.
  • When completing Postage Statement Form 3602 (electronically through Postal Wizard®
    or via hard copy), be sure to mark “Yes” when asked if your mail is Political Mail.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

  • Your mailings will be more easily identifiable.
  • Accepted mailings will be segregated from other mail in the Business Mail Entry Unit.
  •  The tags will provide added visibility as your mail enters the Postal Service™ processing centers.