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Direct Mail is Marketing's Workhorse

Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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The following article was originally published by Target Marketing. To read more of their content, subscribe to their newsletter, Target Marketing Financial Services.

Though many marketers label direct mail costly, they recognize its value — often noting its ROI. About 69% of marketers continue to use it, according to Target Marketing’s newly released study, “Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016.”

In 2016, that 69% figure was joined by a single-digit response of marketers cutting back in the channel. Six percent of marketers responding to the survey cut back on direct mail spending in 2016 — which notably doesn’t include eliminating the channel from the marketing mix.

The research touting those numbers is the result of Target Marketing analyzing years of “Media Usage Survey” data. This “Direct Mail” section of the report is part of a benchmarking of marketing media channels, technology and tactics included in the Target Marketing/NAPCO Research study. Both Target Marketing and NAPCO Research are NAPCO Media brands.

Direct Mail, Marketing’s Workhorse

This is an excerpt from Target Marketing’s research, “Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016.”

Related story: The Marketing Mix 2010-2016: 6-Year Study Reveals Key Budget Trends

Direct response marketing’s workhorse continues to work, with 69% of respondents either increasing or maintaining their use of it during 2016, a level comparable with results from the past five years. In 2016, granted, more marketers kept their level of use steady and fewer increased it than in years past. Of note, however, is that only 6% cut back on it — the lowest such level in half a decade.

Apparently the mid-year postage rate increases, which fell heavily on First Class letters and flats, weren’t enough to deter marketers, especially given the drop in First Class Metered Mail rates. The continued strength of direct mail is also reflected in personalization’s continued use: Recipients react well when offers are clearly tailored to them.

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Real Books Are Back: E-Book Sales Plunge 20%

Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Are physical books the new vinyl?

New data suggest that the reading public is ditching e-books and returning to the old fashioned printed word.

Sales of consumer e-books plunged 17% in the U.K. in 2016, according to the Publishers Association. Sales of physical books and journals went up by 7% over the same period, while children’s books surged 16%.

The same trend is on display in the U.S., where e-book sales declined 18.7% over the first nine months of 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. Paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%.

“The print format is appealing to many and publishers are finding that some genres lend themselves more to print than others and are using them to drive sales of print books,” said Phil Stokes, head of PwC’s entertainment and media division in the U.K.

Stokes said that children’s book have always been more popular in print, for example, and that many people prefer recipe books in hardback format.

“Coloring books were a big trend over the past few years… and giving a book as a gift is far less impressive if you are giving a digital version,” he added.

Experts say that many people are also trying to limit their screen time.

U.K. regulator Ofcom found that one third of adults had attempted a “digital detox” in 2016 by limiting their use of smartphones, tablets and other devices.

The return to paper is also hurting device manufacturers.

Sales of e-readers declined by more than 40% between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International.

“E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiraled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note.

According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in the past year, compared to only 28% who read an e-book.

A quarter of the population hadn’t read a book of any kind, whether in print, electronic or audio form.

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3D Print Manufacturintg Adopted Faster Than Anticipated

Posted Monday, May 1, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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In March 2016, Semper CEO, Dave Regan wrote an article on how 3D printing would impact the world. The feedback from that article was mixed. Some readers thought the 3D print advancements the article explained would not happen for decades. Others were so intrigued, they wanted to know how to incorporate this technology into their business sooner rather than later.

The March 2016 article described a future where recycling 3D products occurred immediately after use and the raw material was utilized to create another 3D item. Also, it looked at how 3D print technology would impact society in general and business in particular.

3D Print and Clothing Industry

Last year, the fashion world played around with designing and producing 3D printed clothes for their top end lines. Expensive pieces manufactured in small batches lend themselves to accretive technologies.

Recently, a more mainstream implementation of 3D print in fashion was put on display by high-end retailer Ministry of Supply at its posh Boston location. The clothing retailer is touting its custom 3D Print-Knit blazers made right in the Boston store. The 3D Print-Knit process at Ministry of Supply is streamlined and modern. No mass manufacturing but instead custom orders produced in the store.

Athletic Shoe Giant Leveraging 3D Print

3D print in the fashion and business officially moved up to the big leagues when Adidas announced it would mass-produce a 3D-printed shoe in 2018. The global athletic shoe company will be able to make batches of its custom Futurecraft shoes much faster with the help of 3D print technology. For Adidas, it’s not just about manufacturing efficiency as they are working to develop a better shoe design with the 3D print technology.

It’s a big leap for many companies to think about integrating 3D print into their everyday operations. A lot of businesses may be unsure how the technology can effectively impact the various facets of their production process.

Caterpillar: An Implementation Example

Caterpillar, a global manufacturing giant has successfully added 3D printers to its research and development department and manufacturing process. Caterpillar’s 3D implementation process was recently detailed on as a prudent model to follow while allowing for moderations based on your business size.

3D Print and Caterpillar Pre-production

Caterpillar’s engineers use desktop 3D printers for early iterations and designs before any advanced manufacturing begins. Before the desktop 3D printers were installed, company engineers utilized stereolithography machines in their rapid prototype lab. Now instead of going to the lab, engineers have the ability to make models at their own desks.

3D Print and Caterpillar Manufacturing

Start Small: The mantra Caterpillar said was key to follow when adding 3D printers to their manufacturing process. The mantra can be applied to the number of machines purchased or to the training programs needed for employees to get up to speed on the new technology.

Over time, Caterpillar provided their employees with 3D printer training summits. The education and camaraderie among the company’s 3D print employees has blossomed since the technology was first introduced. Caterpillar holds 3D design competitions on a regular basis and encourages employees to participate.

3D Print and Caterpillar Product Development

3D print is having a positive impact on Caterpillar’s significant aftermarket business (Making new parts for equipment that is several years old) and its costs in time and labor. With their 3D printers, Caterpillar is looking to scan some of their inventory in order to better support their aftermarket products that need parts after decades in the field. Then when an aftermarket order is needed employees can refer to the 3D scan and print out the parts requested.

3D print technology is enabling Caterpillar’s products to be made in less time and at a cheaper cost. The industrial printers work so efficiently that they saved the company $160,000 on a project producing track links.

Caterpillar is only one corporate example of how 3D print technology will be the next technological business revolution. The large companies have started the trend and it will spread to companies of all sizes with different applications for the technology.

Want More Info?

Do you want to know more about 3D printing in business? Or do you need 3D print employees?Contact Semper today at

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5 Ways to Help Employees be #PrivacyAware

Posted Monday, April 17, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Data Privacy Day is here and an important reminder of the value of privacy and security when it comes to protecting our data, both at home and within the workplace. Getting our employees involved in the conversation about being #PrivacyAware is a good place to start in creating a culture of privacy within your organization. Follow Kirkpatrick Price on Twitter @KPAudit to join the conversation and share how you help employees be #PrivacyAware.

In the meantime, here are a few tips we’ve come up with. What other ways are you encouraging employees to be #PrivacyAware?

1. Create a Culture of Privacy

When trying to create any kind of culture, it’s important to recognize that the impact is greater when the stakeholders and leaders are clearly invested. So, when trying to create a culture of privacy within your organization, it’s important to remember that it must start with the tone from the top.

Other great ways to encourage Privacy within your organization can be things such as hanging posters around the office with tips and best practices for ensuring the privacy and security of data.

2. Talk frequently about Privacy and Security

Continuous conversations surrounding privacy and security and what is expected of employees when it comes to protecting sensitive data is a great way to keep these things on the forefront of employees’ minds. How is privacy and security important to your business and what role do your employees play in achieving these business goals? Regular meetings or updates on new privacy and security trends and reminding employees of best practices is a good way to keep the conversation going and keep it relevant.

3. Teach Employees to recognize Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks

Every minute, someone becomes the victim of a phishing attack. Ransomware and social engineering attacks are constantly evolving as the cyber threat landscape grows. It’s more important than ever to teach employees to recognize phishing and social engineering attacks so they can be prepared to avoid giving out sensitive information that could lead to a breach or loss of data. Phishing emails and fake links that look like legitimate websites are still the most common form of attack. Social engineering is another common way to manipulate others into giving out sensitive information and employees should be taught to never give sensitive information out over the phone such as passwords and usernames without thoroughly vetting and verifying the identity of the person on the other end of the line.

4. Utilize a secure wireless network at work and at home

Connecting to free/public Wi-Fi leaves your information vulnerable and at risk. Be sure to connect only to secure networks to ensure data security during transfer over wireless networks. Consider subscribing to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to reduce the risk of your sensitive information being stolen by cybercriminals. Securing your home network so that others can’t access your wireless network is another best practice for managing privacy and security. It’s important to remember that it’s equally critical to secure the privacy of your data at work and at home.

5. Regularly install updates

Keeping operating systems and applications updated to the latest version is a critical task that must be done to ensure privacy and security of data. Updates are complete with the latest patches for vulnerabilities and bugs, which can be used to exploit your network and gain access to sensitive data. When possible, enable automatic updates to add an extra layer of security and help reduce the risk of being vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks.

Follow Kirkpatrick Price on Twitter @KPAudit and share how you’re helping your employees to be #PrivacyAware.

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Why Aren't Top Salespeople Automatically Great Managers?

Posted Monday, April 17, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Solutions to the Sales Leader’s Problems

Most of us would agree that the sales leader sets the tone for results. However, do sales leaders get the support they need to ’make it happen’? One of my trusted colleagues, Suzanne Paling, has some great ideas from her new book, ’The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver’. The below interview with Suzanne will reveal some startling realities that you might recognize.

What inspired you to write The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver?

Every year, I see successful salespeople get promoted to a sales leadership position. They receive little or no training and are expected to excel at their job on day one. These sales leaders put in long hours, trying to figure out what to do.

While they need guidance on handling common sales management problems, few work with a mentor who has real sales management experience. Most wish they had a toll free number for a sales management hotline so they could talk to someone and ask questions. I hope my new book The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver provides some of that help and assistance, coaching and mentoring.

Why don’t companies offer sales managers training?

Two reasons:

Sales training gets put in the budget, sales management training does not.

Most sales managers are former salespeople. Company leaders think the former rep is segueing into a very similar position and if they were good at sales they will be good at sales management. They’ll figure things out. They don’t need training.

In reality, the two jobs have almost nothing in common.

How do these untrained sales leaders attempt to solve problems?

Sales leaders have a “heart to heart” with a rep about a problem. The rep improves for a period of time, the sales manager gets busy, the rep reverts to their old behavior and they’re back to where they started.

The other reps see this happen and start taking the manager less seriously. A culture of non-accountability develops.

What prevents sales leaders from solving a problem?

Three primary causes for this situation exist:

The sales leader knows how to lecture and threaten but lacks the skills to solve the problem.

Busy answering 300 emails, sitting in endless meetings, and getting bogged down with all the data in the CRM system, they can barely keep up with the job as it is. It takes time they might not have to address a problem with a rep.

Then you have the hiring dilemma. Right now, there’s a shortage of good salespeople. If they address the problem and the rep doesn’t start improving, the rep will quit or the sales leader will have to terminate their employment.

Either way, how many weeks or months will that take to find a suitable replacement? The sales leader decides that putting up with the rep might be the better option.

Why do sales leaders keep hoping things will change?

If the company has a decent product, good benefits and a lucrative compensation plan, many sales leaders feel like that should be incentive enough. They say to the rep, “During the interview process you said you were money motivated. So go do what’s necessary to hit quota.” They hope the rep wakes up, realizes what a good situation they have and starts doing what’s necessary to achieve their sales goals.

What do sales leaders need to understand to be successful?

Among many, many other things you must:

  • have a repeatable recruitment and hiring process
  • schedule regular coaching sessions with reps
  • understand each salesperson’s individual motivations
  • devote most of your efforts to top performers

But above all else, managing sales people means sitting in judgement. You have to be able to hold reps accountable and take appropriate action when goals aren’t met. Some people find that concept very difficult to deal with.

Another Solution for Sales Managers

Jump start your executive selling efforts by giving your sellers the book that is guaranteed to enhance their sales performance. The TOP Seller Advantage: Powerful Strategies to Build Long-Term Executive Relationships includes proven strategies to ensure sellers develop long lasting executive access.

The C-suite executive perspectives at the end of each chapter reveal exactly how senior leaders view sales encounters and what would cause them to keep the door open for follow up meetings. Check it out at

About Lisa Magnuson:

Lisa Magnuson is an expert in corporate strategic sales and TOP Line Account™ revenue building. As a respected sales consultant and author, Lisa works with clients to build successful strategic sales programs that drive revenue from large new accounts and enable growth from existing high value customers. Learn more at

Lisa D. MagnusonCorporate Sales

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