We hope that you and your family enjoy a safe and happy 4th of July this year!

MEDiAHEAD will be closed on Friday, July 3rd to start the celebration early!

Happy 4th of July

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Why do women always say they’re sorry? It seems like we apologize for everything, even when we didn’t do anything wrong. It’s the weirdest thing, and I am so guilty of it. So, I made a deal with myself. I am going to do my best to STOP saying it.

Why? Because I usually haven’t done anything wrong and it’s ridiculous how many times I’ve caught myself saying it. Once it was on my radar, I started realizing just how often I apologize unnecessarily.

University of Waterloo, Canada study found that women tend to apologize more often because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive.

I found this awesome poem, and really wanted to share it with you.

Stop apologizing.

You don’t have to say sorry for how you laugh, how you dress, how you speak. You don’t have to be sorry for being yourself. Do it fearlessly. It’s time to accept, this is you and you have to spend the rest of your life with you. So, start loving your sarcasm, your awkwardness, your weirdness, your unique sense of humor, your everything. It will make your life so much easier to simply be yourself.

– Author Unknown

I'm Sorry! (Women may apologize too often.)Practice Self-Awareness

Realizing that you are apologizing all the time is the first step. A good way to figure out if this is an issue is to keep track of how many times throughout your day you apologize. Over the next few days, write down each time you say the word, “sorry.” You might be surprised how many times you apologize without even realizing it.

Change Your Vocabulary

Do you have a project at work that is weeks overdue? Apologizing for missing a deadline is reasonable. But there are plenty of situations where using the words “I’m sorry” aren’t necessary.

  • “Sorry, could you send me that report?” could be changed to, “Please send me that report.”
  • “Sorry, I won’t be able to make it on Wednesday.” could be, “I wish I could make it on Wednesday. Keep me on the list for next time!”
  • “Sorry, could you repeat that?” might be, “Excuse me, could you repeat that?”

As you become more self-aware, replace the word “sorry” with more appropriate words and phrases. You may be surprised how much confidence this gives you once you figure it out. Good luck!

Rob GarzaBy Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD

What interesting new challenges we’re facing. For me, meeting current clients and prospective clients virtually is challenging. And that will likely continue. But I’ve learned from past experiences that I like new challenges. No, I won’t be training for an Ironman or bodybuilding event… but the time at home is an opportunity to improve our lives. I’m going to dust off my drawing tablet (from a previous life in design) and try some new recipes in the kitchen with my daughter.

Like many, I’ve been working from home for the past couple of months. I’ve had to find new ways to help others, not only in business but for my friends and family who are all in the same boat. The quote I mentioned in my last blog was “We’re all in this together”. This applies not only to work, but family and others you’re close to.

Hollis Renewal Center in Kansas City, Kansas

Recently, I was at the Hollis Renewal Center. It’s a quiet place I like to go to unplug. I stay at one of their cabins with limited phone service and no TVs. You’re surrounded by wildlife, hiking trails and nature. I took my daughter, her fiancé and other loved ones. Though we are family, we’re also a health care provider, an HVAC essential worker, an educator and a student. One doesn’t always think about that when getting together with family. But this year was different. Conversations focused on how they’re coping with each day, how they see new patients, new protocols to follow, and new restrictions when you have to enter a house or place of business.

At Home

Kids are learning through workbooks and online meetings with their teachers as well as social media platforms. (You still have to make sure they’re being taught and prepared for next year.) High schoolers still have homework and if they’re still in a scholarship program, they’re required to meet and keep up with their goals. Adults have to stay on top of our game for work as well as staying healthy by avoiding too many snack trips to the refrigerator. It’s a stressful time added to what everyone already had on their plates before COVID-19.

New Normal

Our new normal is to stay in touch with clients, prospects and family through social media, emailing, texting or with phone calls instead of meeting at their office, having coffee or lunch. This is hard for me personally because I like meeting people, going to new places, and trying new restaurants. I know this will all pass in time, but things will probably be different moving forward.

Men’s Group

Rob's Men's GroupAnother thing helping me through these interesting times is my men’s group. On Sunday mornings, I meet with my church men’s group via Zoom. We usually start off sharing how the week went, give family updates, and talk about new things we’re doing. Even though it’s a video conference, it’s nice. It’s personable and we really get to know each other better. From there, we discuss a spiritual awareness topic the meeting leader sends out a few days prior. We discuss the topic and challenges it has in our daily lives. How each person interprets the topic can be pretty interesting at times. From there, we veer off course to talk about sports and how golf games are coming along. I look forward to seeing everyone and listening to their perspectives.

Patience is a virtue.

Those words are so true. I have friends and family who say that I have patience for a lot of things, but this certainly has tested my limits. I do meditate and find calm when I can… more so than I used to. I’m staying active, though I really would like to get back to the gym and the friends that I see there.

I’m not comfortable with some of the personal changes I’ve noticed during this time at home. My affectionate personality is diminished, which I’m not happy about. Washing my hands for no apparent reason is also becoming bothersome even though I know it’s necessary.

We all have challenges during this time. It’s a great time to set some goals. Tackle that project you’ve been meaning to get done. Start learning a new skill or dive into a new hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue. Make sure it’s something different and not too easy. Make it part of your routine. Most importantly finish it because life happens and you can’t stop it but you can control it.

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Research suggests that on an average, companies across the globe feel that 26% of their address data is inaccurate. This contributes to enormous loss. In fact, bad data costs the average business 15% to 25% of revenue and in the US economy over $3 trillion annually.

There are two things that really irritate me when looking through the mail. At home, it’s getting mail addressed to my previously married name. I mean come on, that was 16 years ago. When I get something that has that name on it, guess what? It immediately goes to the trash!

Then, when I go through the mail at work, what really irks me is getting mail for people who have not been with the MEDiAHEAD for more than 20 years. And it happens regularly. I’m consistently thinking, “Where do these lists live, and why is no one looking at them? Why has no one updated them for 20 years?”

Data cleansing is so important.

Clean up your data!Improving your data quality increases overall productivity. After your data is cleansed, the outdated information is removed, and you have good, clean information to move forward. Today, nearly 67% of businesses rely on CRM data for growth of their bottom line. However, an amazing 94% of B2B businesses suspect inaccuracy in their databases.

So how do you manage this?

What is the value of marketing analytics these days? It’s so high apparently, that companies plan to increase budgets for marketing analytics over the next three years by 198% according to a recent CMO survey. Marketing analytics offers a treasure trove of customer information and performance insight to overall business success. Which is why you would think that managing marketing data with tools like a CRM database and other analytics systems would be a more agile and rigorous process than it actually is.

Since 70% of marketing leaders expect to make the majority of their decisions using data for everything from building, personalizing and executing the next campaign to targeting, reaching and forming deeper customer segments – there should be a way to overcome the data cleaning roadblock. There are data cleansing tools/software applications that will help to clean and correct lists and databases by identifying incorrect, inaccurate, irrelevant data and clean your data accordingly.

Here are some best practices when it comes to creating data cleansing processes:

  • Standardize Your Processes
  • Validate Accuracy
  • Scrub for Duplicate Data
  • Use it to Analyze – for business intelligence and analytics
  • Communicate with the Team – Keep it clean
  • Get Your ROI from your Data

Big DataWhen managing your data, keeping on top of it consistently and accurately are two underlying jobs you have to deal with every day. The steps above should help make it easier to create your daily protocol. Once you’ve completed your data cleansing project, you can move forward using that data for deep, operational insight now that your data is accurate and reliable.

Large corporations invest so much into advanced information systems that collect, store and analyze their data. Collecting data isn’t the goal… it’s the means to the end. The real opportunity is the customer intimacy. How well can you get to know your customer? How will you leverage this knowledge to improve their experience and satisfaction?

Quality over Quantity

There must be some method to the madness, right? To be of service to an organization, data must be more than just prolific; it needs to be useful. It should provide strategic insight and support data-driven decisions. And the quality of the data is crucial. You should be able to measure everything from the number of views to the number of clicks. This helps your sales team as well as providing customer success stories.

Clean data is of utmost importance. Without it, leadership can’t make strategic decisions. Dirty data inevitably leads to dissatisfied customers, and that’s a dangerous slope to start down.

Keep your data clean!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

This simple sentence is a philosophy that came from Patrick Mahomes when asked how he remained so calm during the Super Bowl. It’s the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.

We all need this time to decide how we are going to pivot and re-focus our goals, both in business and at home.

Stepping Up

It warms my heart to see so many companies giving their time and expecting nothing in return.

I’ve done Zooms with Novella Brandhouse on marketing, Grant Gooding with PROOF Positioning on narrowing your focus and the Women Who Mean Business on pivoting and refocusing on what small businesses can do to survive.

MEDiAHEAD is continuing to print and distribute adult and child coloring books to non-profits here in KC.

Little girl with a MEDiAHEAD coloring book

We also have a new fun COVID19 comic book that Scott Emmons wrote and produced with eleven local artists that contributed illustrations.

Coloring Book 11 Artists

We’ve continued to print 3D N95 masks for KU nurses and now a funky little thing that you can use to open the door for a fun giveaway.

Special thanks to Rieger Distillery

The hometown hero is Andy Rieger, owner of J Rieger Distillery. Four weeks ago, when they lost nearly all of their normal revenue streams overnight, their team rallied to quickly pivot their entire business to hand sanitizer in 36 hours. They had the first bottle of sanitizer to the public on March 19. Because of the hand sanitizer, 65 hard working members of their team have remained employed full time. In just over three weeks they have produced and distributed 200,000 individual bottles of hand sanitizer… that’s 72,000 gallons! They have also given/donated 20,000 liters of hand sanitizer to hospitals and first responders.

Rieger's Hand Sanitizer

We are pivoting this week to bottling Rieger’s Remedy with a co-branded logo for our customers, available in 1 and 2oz. We are also supplying our portal clients “back to work kits” with masks, protective eye-wear, gloves and hand sanitizer.

It’s very stressful at work, but I’m having the most fun being cooped up with John and Amy.

Cheese Board during COVID19

We’ve planted a huge garden, played games, puzzles and fun trivia with The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. We have spent so much time in the backyard, which we never did before. Cocktails at 6pm with cheese from The French Market on our deck has become our daily ritual.

 

From my friend Becky Blades – “in the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

Becky Blades' Artwork

 

Stay safe and healthy!

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.

Vacant
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!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragementword of encouragement can help to calm us and make us stop to analyze what’s going on in our life. It has the power to make us see the situation from a better perspective.

Have you ever known someone who believed in you, someone who frequently spoke words of encouragement and praise? The kind of person who made you feel you could do it, whatever it was?

Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly scary period in my business, my father started sending me letters with words of encouragement and pictures that he drew.

He used phrases like Go Girl Go, WE ALL Knew you could make it, Today is Good- TOMORROW WILL BE BETTER!

And finally, this letter when things got better:

Congratulations!

“I don’t know what you DID…but I think you DID GOOD! You went down on the count of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and then you rose up to living and came (ROARING) back.

YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF. I KNOW WE ARE!

Signed, A Proud Father

I will always treasure these letters and I have them hanging in my office along with all the other words of encouragement that clients and friends have sent me.

MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragement MEDiAHEAD: Words of Encouragement

MEDiAHEAD: Words of EncouragementNow more than ever…

I think right now, more than ever, we need to have words of encouragement around us.

There will be times we feel powerless and out of control — but we can fill that space with kindness and be a part of the solution to a world problem. We can create healing by learning how to be kind and take care of each other and ourselves during this time.

Let’s all make a plan to check on our friends and clients and try to lift them up with encouraging words right now.

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

Taking care of aging parentsWhen we were growing up, I never really thought about that day when I would need to start taking care of my parents. We were too busy being kids and teenagers. Then we got to our twenties and it was all fun and exciting. Many of us got to our thirties and started thinking about settling down and having kids. Forties and Fifties we were raising those kids and sending them off to college (or at least getting them out of the house.)

Did you ever think during all those years that the day would come when you’d be taking care of your parents?

Maybe just one of them… or both of them. It’s an eye opener for sure. Things start to happen. They might get sick and can’t do things for themselves. Or their vision goes and they can’t renew their driver’s license. That’s huge. Think of all the places you drive to on any given day.

When parents lose the ability to drive, the responsibility has to fall on someone… most often it will fall to you. The good news is there are lots of delivery services. (Hallelujah!)

Then there are the doctor’s appointments.

You might have a parent that’s sick and having trouble remembering things. You really need to go to these appointments with them each and every time. This can be several appointments in any given month.

It’s stressful when you get to the point where you have to start making decisions on what assisted living, nursing home or memory care facility they need to move to.  Getting them settled in and then checking on them daily to make sure everything is going well. Taking them activities to do, or food they might like, or simply sitting with them just to talk so they are not lonely or feeling forgotten in a strange place.

This is all part of taking care of a parent, even though we might not be mentally prepared.

Taking care of aging parentsI think it’s important for all Generation X’ers to know that several of us are going through this right now. There’s a great support group out there. Our friends, neighbors and co-workers might be going through similar situations or have gone through it already. Lean on them, get the support you need, and talk about it. Help like this can guide you through anything that you may be dealing with.

It’s extremely difficult to go through the process. But knowing others have gone through the exact same thing can be a huge help.

I’m going through this right now with my mother.

You would not believe the support system I have all around me. It’s unbelievable, and much needed.

Another great organization that I can’t put enough words in this blog about is Hospice. The team that they have and the people they employee are “Angels from above”.  If you have had to interact with a Hospice organization, you will undoubtedly agree with me.

This hasn’t been my typical blog post about digital printing or portals. But I wanted to talk about it because I’m sure that people around me are going through the same thing. I wanted to make sure you knew you’re not alone. And as the roles change, it’s important to show our parents we love them as much as they showed us when we were growing up.

Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and lucky this month realizing how far we have come in the last thirty years.

Most people are not aware of how we got our start in Kansas City.

I was a print salesperson for two very large web printing companies in the 1980’s. And I split my time between Dallas and New York City, flipping cities every Saturday and traveling several other days a week.

I got married when I was 30, and this didn’t put an end to my traveling – but giving birth in 1989 certainly changed my priorities.

Starting a Printing Company

We knew we wanted to start a printing company, but we weren’t sure where. Since I had grown up in south Florida and lived in Dallas and NYC, I had no intention of moving to Kansas or even visiting Kansas City. My husband was from the Midwest and had been to several of the basketball tournaments, so he was familiar with KC.

After an exhaustive search all over the country, my husband convinced me to visit Kansas City over a weekend.

No one was more shocked that I was, that I immediately fell in love with Kansas City and wanted to move here. The friendly Midwesterners, the beautiful neighborhoods, The Plaza, the booming art scene and the wide variety of businesses that were headquartered here all helped convince me that Kansas City was the place to go.

We bought a newspaper for the Want Ads on Sunday. (Yes, back in those days that is how we bought and sold things, even companies!)

There was an ad for a small printer that seemed too good to be true.

It turned out there was a reason for that. The owner was going to jail for counterfeiting and he had to report to Leavenworth in 2 weeks.

We went home, quit our jobs, packed everything we owned on a truck and moved here not knowing anyone in Kansas City, but so hopeful for our future.

MEDiAHEAD's Start in Kansas City

A New Printing Concept

We had a different concept that we knew would be successful in Kansas City. At that time, there were only quick printers and very large printing companies. No one was doing high quality, short run color, which I knew agencies were interested in.

I picked up the Yellow Pages and started calling advertising agencies – starting with ‘A’ and working my way down. We joked the first year all of our clients were ‘A’ through ‘M’ because that was as far as I got before we got really busy.

I have to mention that after Bones got out of Leavenworth (his nickname they gave him there because he tended to the graveyard) he came back and worked for us for over 10 years. He was one of the best employees that we every had, a true craftsman and nice guy.

Sometimes, something wonderful comes out of something bad. We believe in second chances. And we’re really glad that we chose Kansas City all those years ago.