By Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD

Rob GarzaI would’ve never thought that watching my dad draw cartoon characters out of the newspaper when I was 5 years old (thinking that was really cool) that I would be where I’m at today. Growing up, that’s all I did. Whenever I had a chance, I would be drawing something. Countless awards and going to college with a fine arts degree, still loving to draw.

How things have changed the past 50 years.

From computers, applications, printing, and social media. Trying to keep up is endless, but it’s what I love to do. I’ve worked for a small amount of companies spread out over the Midwest for the past 25 years. I settled down in Kansas City and left the corporate world in 2012 to start my own design business.

I had always wanted to start my own business.

I come from a family owned Mexican restaurant franchise in Omaha with four restaurants and a factory serving most of the Omaha and Lincoln Metro area. Yes, that includes the Nebraska Cornhuskers football stadium for many years. My uncle was the cornerstone of Make-It, Take-It pizza. Like any food restaurant you see, design businesses are similar. “What makes your business different than others” is the tough question. And you’ve got to get your company name out there. And “tasting” your product is not always an easy task.

Running a business is a whole new can of worms.

On top of designing, you have sales, marketing, social media, networking, accounting, registering your business, and the list goes on if you want to make it. Countless hours and  working the weekends never stops. Sales efforts never stop no matter where you’re going… with family, friends or a night out on the town. You’re constantly getting a feel for the water and prospecting in the back of your mind, even getting fresh ideas along the way.

Separating myself from other designers I had to be innovative, getting certified with City and State was a start. Meeting larger companies and corporations started consuming my daily routine. I was scheduling meetings and receiving contracts to teach clients how to use different applications. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people. People tell me that I’m easy to talk to. I prefer to get to know clients as people first. The “business” can happen later.

Today’s designers, marketing agencies, and printers always have to be at the top of their game. To be competitive, we have to hire the best designers. We’ve got to bring fresh and innovative ideas. And we’ve got to invest in the latest equipment, up-to-date applications, faster services, faster printers, and everyone wants it right now! There’s no time to talk to another company or sales rep about new business opportunities. Even if that opportunity would help their business maintain a competitive advantage.


A few months ago, I met Kat at a city contract meeting we were both awarded. Kat’s an easy person to talk to about anything, and she knows a lot of people. We got along right off the bat.

A few months later, I had a company call me out of the blue wondering if I’d be interested in selling for them. This was a vendor of mine I’d used in the past. I had never really thought about going into sales, but I do like meeting new people. I was unsure where to start to see if that role would fit. I called Kat and met with her to get her thoughts over coffee. One week later, I started working for MEDiAHEAD. Interesting how things work out, right?

MEDiAHEAD’s office is up-to-date, clean, innovative, everyone is easy going, the equipment is state of the art, plus their vision is way ahead of other printers. And they’re a 100% minority owned business. Meetings were going to be once or twice a week to go over leads, new clients, and new ways for MEDiAHEAD to be seen. The decision was easy. We really do have a great team.

My first month was going well. Making calls, visiting clients and letting them know who I was. I started getting samples together and writing notes to leads in different cities and states. And I started getting on the road to visit potential clients. Some were expecting me, and some told me they were too busy to meet. I hear, “you drove all this way to see me?” It made an impression. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. I introduced myself, let them know a little about MEDiAHEAD and what we can do to help, gave them a gift, and always thanked them for their time. And two weeks later, COVID-19 hits us all.

Working from home

I’m currently working out of my house and have been for the past 3-4 weeks now. We still have weekly meetings. MEDiAHEAD is helping with donations of activity books we designed and printed for hospitals and anyone who was sick and just needed a little help. We’re also setting up to be a distributor of hand sanitizer to help larger companies and clients where they’re still mandated as a needed service. I’ve been contacting potential clients letting them know how we can help, letting them know about our custom portals and printing. Sometimes I’m just letting them know we’re here to help. Of course we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Reading more

I’ve started reading more during this time from “Success through Positive Mental Attitude”, “Bear Grylls-SOUL FUEL” to “Worth every Penny” and “You are a Badass” which is one of my favorites.

Here’s a quote that really resonates with me during this crisis: “Your job isn’t to know the how, it’s to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how. Keep your thoughts directed at your goal, do everything that you DO know how to do to make it happen, and be on the lookout for opportunities. AND love yourself. Because we’re all in this together.”

And that’s it! I hope you know more about me after reading this spotlight. I hope we get a chance to talk soon. If you or someone you know needs on-demand digital printing, I know just the company that can help.

COVID-19 Update from Izzy

COVID-19 Update from Izzy

Hi friends, it’s me Izzy.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m getting pretty hungry down here at MEDiAHEAD. With most of the employees working at home, there is not an abundance of food for me to steal and Fun Friday Lunch has been cancelled till further notice. Sad doggy face.

Yesterday, I stole a lime from Kat’s wastebasket and it didn’t turn out well.

My dad, Bill, took this picture of me in my new office – I had my choice of any of our offices, but I picked this one with no windows so I can sleep all day. I also wish I didn’t snore so much during the Zoom meetings when I’m sitting on Bill’s lap – it makes it look like he’s not paying attention.

Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe out there – I’m looking forward to seeing you in June, or maybe on a Zoom!

Love, Izzy

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

The lyrics from the song by Elvis:

I gave a letter to the postman, he put it in his sack. Bright and early next morning, he brought my letter back. She wrote upon it: return to sender, address unknown. No such number, no such zone.

Well, I can’t count the number of times we receive mail at our office with names of people who have not been with the company for YEARS. It’s crazy!

Did you know?

USPS Mail TruckSimply put, First-Class Mail is more expensive, but it will be delivered faster and comes with additional services like return service. First-Class Mail is intended for personal or business communication. Standard Mail is used more for advertisements and mass communication. Both qualify for discounted, bulk mail rates.

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is delivered faster by the USPS than Bulk or Standard Mail. Also, First-Class Mail is generally delivered in 1-3 days locally and 3-5 days nationally by the USPS. First-Class Mail is also more expensive than Bulk Rate Mail. Rates are based on size and weight — you can mail up to one ounce at the lowest postage rate.

Certain types of mail must be sent via First-Class Mail, such as invoices, statements, and other personalized mail. First-Class Mail is also forwarded automatically or returned to the sender if it isn’t deliverable.

First-Class Mail is generally perceived to be of higher importance by the recipient, so it generally gets looked at more closely by the recipient. First-Class Mail can be pre-sorted to qualify for discounted bulk mail rates, but a minimum of 500 pieces are required.

Standard Mail

Bulk (Standard) Mail is generally delivered by the USPS in 2-5 days locally, and 1 – 4 weeks nationally.

Many companies use Standard Mail because it is less expensive than First-Class Mail. Bulk mail is not automatically forwarded or returned to the sender if it is undeliverable (though you can pay extra to receive these services.)

Rates for Bulk Mail are also based on the size and weight of the mail piece; in general, you can mail up to 3.3 ounces at the lowest Standard Mail rate. There’s a minimum quantity of 200 pieces in order to mail at bulk rates.

Non-Profit Mail

United States Post OfficeNon-Profit organizations qualify for discounted bulk postage rates.

Non-Profit Mail is treated as Standard Bulk Mail and is usually delivered in 2-5 days locally, and 1-4 weeks nationally. Authorization by the US Postal Service is required to receive Non-Profit mailing rates, and only applies to Agricultural, Educational, Fraternal, Labor, Philanthropic, Religious, Scientific, Veteran organizations, as well as some political committees.

Ref: Action Mail Marketing and Direct Mail Services.

So back to Returned Mail…

Why do we get returned mail? Here are a couple reasons.

  1. Missing forwarding information. If the addressee on the mail piece no longer resides at that address and USPS does not have a current forwarding (change-of-address) on file, the mail piece will most likely be returned.
  2. Missing secondary information (apartment, suite, number, etc.) is invalid or missing, the mail piece may be returned.

If you get returned mail with both the address and the yellow non-delivery sticker, you can usually find out why it wasn’t delivered.  The sticker has a code on it. You can find the official definitions of all the message on the USPS site, but here are a few of the common one’s for you:

Not Deliverable as Addressed – Unable to Forward
Somebody moved but didn’t tell the USPS to forward their mail or forwarding period ended.

Attempted Not Known
This means the letter, as it was addressed, was delivered (or attempted) but then put back into the mail stream because the recipient didn’t match the one currently at the address.

Addresses marked as “Vacant” reached the destination but were then returned as undeliverable because the mail carrier marked the address as vacant. The USPS can sometimes take up to 90 days to get a vacant status into their system.

Insufficient Address
This means the address is just plain bad. You should verify your address.

As our lives become more and more consumed by digital media (especially now that we’ve been ordered to stay at home) we give less time and attention to the messages we receive. The average lifespan of an email is 2 seconds. Brand recall after seeing a digital ad is just 44%. Direct mail on the other hand has a brand recall of 75%.

Mailing is perceived as a more trusted, personal form of communication. Think about who in your life would love to get a letter from you. Make sure you have a good address for them!

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

With new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to rise each each day, it makes total sense to abide by the city-wide Stay at Home orders currently in place in St. Louis, Kansas City, and many other parts of the country. Social distancing is one of the most important defenses we have against this new “invisible enemy” and these new laws should not be flouted for selfish purposes.

COVID-19: Washing Your HandsThis is also a time to take a look at your own personal hygiene routines. Frequently washing hands and spraying down surfaces with disinfectant are helpful measures to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus. But less has been said about your cell phone.

For many, a cell phone can feel like an extension of our body. And yet, while many of us have been fanatically washing our hands, have many of you have also been cleaning your phone on a regular basis?

Phone Harbor More Germs Than Most Surfaces

Cleaning your phone during COVID-19 PandemicThe average American checks their phone 96 times a day. To give that some context, that’s once every ten minutes! Whether we are watching videos or listening to podcasts on our morning commute, or when we’re occupying time in between meetings, we spend a great deal of our existence tapping and touching our smartphones.

But when was the last time you cleaned your phone? The research shows that very few of us take the time to clean our cell phones, despite the fact that they are roughly ten times dirtier than the average toilet seat. You wouldn’t dream of touching a toilet seat 96 times a day, every day, without cleaning. So why do we have a different attitude toward our phones?

How to Keep Your Phone Clean?

Luckily, keeping your phone clean is quite simple. The first step you must take, which many of us are guilty of, is leaving our phones OUTSIDE of the bathroom. When you take your phone into a bathroom, you expose it to all types of bacteria including the very dangerous E. coli. So it’s a good idea to leave it stowed somewhere safe during bathroom activities.

Secondly, when it actually comes to the cleaning of your phone, you can use a soft microfiber cloth to remove germs. Or if you’re looking for a deeper clean, you can create your own cleaning solution (60% water, 40% rubbing alcohol) before dipping a cloth into the liquid and subsequently using it to disinfect the surfaces of your phone. This isn’t something you need to do every day; once a week should suffice.

Use Your Clean Phone to Call Me for Your Next Printing Run

With so many US citizens currently cooped up at home under orders from the State, there’s never been a better time to run a targeting direct mail campaign. Not only will it result in a bump in brand awareness, but it can also provide a slew of new leads, business inquiries, and ultimately sales. With direct mail campaign responses on the up, it makes sense to pivot your marketing strategy to better reflect the current conditions we find ourselves in as a nation.

So once you’ve undertaken a deep clean of your phone, make sure to use it to contact myself or a member of the team and we’ll be more than happy to help you grow your business in spite of this challenging environment.

I hope that everyone you know remains healthy and safe during these unprecedented times!