A Generation of Late Payers

March 14th, 2019

Did you know that Gen Z is having a hard time understanding and paying their bills? A recent consumer survey conducted sponsored by Visa shed some light on the current “epidemic”.

According to Forbes, the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, which they defined as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, make up 32% of the global population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials.

Here is what we learned:

They Don’t Understand Bills

When it comes to reading and understanding bills, 30% of Gen Z find their bills to be confusing. Additionally, this generation has more anxiety than any other age group when it comes to paying their bills. This translates into calls and late payments.

They Forget To Pay

In the last 12 months 53% of Gen Z payed a bill late. The reason behind it is that they have not developed the financial habits to promote prompt on-time payments. For Gen Z its not a matter of not having the money to pay their bills, they simply forget.

Gen Z Needs Bill Paying To Be Easier

Companies aren’t meeting the needs of Gen Z who are looking for easier ways to pay their bills.

Suggestions:

  • Format bills for mobile devices. 87% of U.S. consumers use smartphones
  • Personalize messages and keep them short and sweet
  • Innovative payment methods, such as text message payments. Text messaging is now the preferred customer service channel of Americans.
  • Accept payment with credit cards. Some companies do not yet accept them in every way consumers could interact with them (mobile, web, live chat, in person, phone). This is a frustrating experience for all consumers, with Gen Z being the most frustrated at their inability to pay by card.
  • Engage them and convert them to a recurring payment plan. Consumers using recurring payments have 70 percent lower delinquencies.

All data comes from consumer survey sponsored by Visa and conducted by Aite Group.

Fun and Appreciation

March 8th, 2019

We gathered the team up recently and headed to Brewport for an Employee Appreciation and get together to celebrate the successful results of a busy production challenge. We celebrated the hiring of 22 new employees in the past year and several work anniversaries. The evening was filled with trivia where staff won all types of prizes (think grills, chairs, speakers and more).  We celebrated with music, pizza and some choice craft ales. Warm thank you to the staff of Brewport. Thank you all for another great year!

Bills, Statements and the Security of Your Customer/Patient Information

February 8th, 2019

In today’s data driven environment, companies and their vendors are handling sensitive files that include personally identifiable information (PII).   What are printing and mailing companies doing to protect your information and mitigate your risks?

First and foremost, you want to partner with a vendor that recognizes and embraces the need to protect your data.  They must be committed to formal information security audits and certifications.  This helps companies demonstrate their commitment to improving and maintain strict guidelines and procedures to protect your valuable information.

The following are two of the most important audits your vendor partner should participate in to demonstrate their compliance:

HIPAA

What is HIPAA?   HIPAA is the acronym used for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act instituted in 1996. The act requires organizations that work with sensitive health-related information to adhere to national standards for code sets, unique identifiers, and data security. This act is in place to protect sensitive information (as related to health and identity) belonging to individuals.

How can your provider be HIPAA compliant?

Third party companies assess current data security and help make corrections to make the organization HIPAA compliant. It is a great way for non-medical industry organizations to show that they understand HIPAA regulations.

  1. Employee Training.

For handling documents with sensitive medical information, employee education is essential. HIPAA training and testing guarantee that staff know and understand the correct ways to handle sensitive information.

  1. Secure Facilities.

The facility must also be secure for printing, assembly, and the mailing of sensitive medical information. The facility must also put an emphasis on keeping passwords, network access, and electronic files safe and secure.

 

HITRUST CSF (Certification)

HITRUST CSF certification is a security and privacy framework.  It is a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management.

Achieving this certification demonstrates a high level of due diligence and shows that you are doing everything you can do protect the data for which you are responsible. If you’re managing sensitive data, it’s critical to protect yourself from risk in order to maintain a strong relationship with your clients who are also trying to mitigate their risks. The HITRUST CSF is certifiable and attractive to covered entities because they know it’s a great way to measure, mitigate, and control risks.

Because the HITRUST CSF incorporates elements of other frameworks, it aligns itself nicely with the frameworks that different companies need.  HITRUST CSF was built on the primary principles of ISO 2700/27002 and has evolved to align with a growing number of standards, regulations and business requirements including HIPAA, COBIT, NIST, PCI, ISO, and more.

Unlike a SOC report, a HITRUST report comes with a certification. HITRUST is a much more detailed report with about five times the number of controls, incorporating requirements from the variety of standards (mentioned above) included within the HITRUST CSF framework.

 

We printed and mailed over 50 million documents with PII in the past year.  Our customers recognize our commitment to quality, accuracy and information security.   For more information about our programs and certifications, contact me at shuban@premieruplink.com.

 

6 Prepress Tips For Print Ready Files

January 15th, 2019

1) Double-check spelling and grammar

Reduce typos by proofreading your copy in reverse. Start by reading the last word on the page and then move left and up. By doing this you are forcing your brain to look at the words without automatically filling the words and letters in.

2) Convert text to paths

Depending on the printer outlining fonts is a good practice to get into before sending your art. By outlining your font you are ensuring that the pre-press specialist will not need to have a copy of your fonts to setup the file for production. Unless the printer needs to edit your copy before production, most prefer all the fonts to be outlined in your print-ready file. Turning Fonts to outlines effectively means that the text is no longer text – it has become a graphic, and the text cannot be altered. The Mac shortcut is CMD+A (to select all copy on page), SHIFT+CMD+O (outline fonts). Once you have outlined your fonts save the file with a new name so your original file is still editable. If you are unsure if you should outline your text give your printer a call and they will be able to tell you the best way to save your print ready file.

3) Include linked images

If you are sending your native art files (Illustrator, InDesign, etc.) to your printer it’s a good practice to make sure all linked graphics and fonts are included. Packaging a file puts the native file, fonts and any linked images into one folder that you can zip and send. Illustrator also has the option of embedding links and makes any placed graphics a native part of your AI file.

4) Different apps for different uses

Many of us can tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to designing in our favorite applications. However, what’s good in Photoshop isn’t always good in Illustrator and vice versa. This chart helps provide an overview of which Adobe Creative Cloud application is best for different types of work. Following these general guidelines can make your work easier and make for a smoother process when it’s time to print your graphics.

 5.) Define Bleed

Taking your design from the digital to print involves making sure your file’s bleed, crop and cuts are lined up properly. These marks indicate the edges of your design and where cuts should be made once things are printed.

Crop marks indicate where your design will be cut, and the bleed is where parts of text or objects extend past the page boundary to compensate for trimming. By not adding the bleed you the risk of having a white border along the sides of you piece, where the paper extends beyond your digital design. Also your printer will most likely send back your artwork to add the bleeds.

6) CMYK vs. RGB

Print ready files should have all images converted to CMYK as RGB is the color standard for monitors. The RGB color gamut isn’t ideal for print as most of the colors can not be replicated with inks. If images aren’t set to CMYK you may see a color shift occur during the production process which can lead to unsatisfactory results.

For more information on how Premier can help you with your next printed piece. Contact us at info@premieruplink.com

2019 USPS Postage Updates

December 28th, 2018

United States Postal Service rolled out the new postage changes that will go into effect January 27th, 2019. These new rates show an overall increase of 2.5% for mailing or market dominant products. The most important areas to note are First-Class Mail and Presorted First-Class Mail.

The largest change we will see is in Commercial First-Class Mail with the largest increases for single-piece letters. Metered single piece rates will now be $0.03 below stamped pieces.

First-Class Mail®

  • First-Class Mail® Letters up to 1 ounce will increase from $0.50 to $0.55
  • First-Class Mail® Flats up to 1 ounce will stay the same ($1.00)
  • First-Class Metered Mail will increase from $0.47 to $0.50

Presorted MailUSPS Presort can save you money off your annual postage bill. Presort is a discount for customers who have their mail sorted before it is sent over to the USPS. Presorting offers discounts based on service level, mail shape, and weight. If you send over 5,000 pieces of direct mail at a time then switching to presorted mail is smart.

  • Mixed AADC (MAADC) automation letters and AADC automation letters has increased to $0.428 & $0.412
  • Automated presort flat rates increased to $0.383

For USPS Marketing Mail the average increase is about 2.5%.

US Postal Service Postage Highlights:

The good news is that the USPS has continued its use and expansion of the mailing promo incentives. These can provide up to an additional 2% savings.

We will go into detail on how you can take advantage of these savings in the next post. These new postage changes go into effect January 27th, 2019. For more postage changes visit the USPS: https://pe.usps.com/pricechange/index

 

For more information on how Premier can help you, please email us at info@premieruplink.com

9 Times Makes An “Impression”

December 20th, 2018

We are pleased to announce that for the 9th year in a row we have made the Printing Impressions 400 list. Premier continues to climb the list thanks to our growth in areas of high-speed inkjet digital printing, direct mail, variable card printing, and fulfillment. Premier has seen 100% growth since 2010 and that number continues to rise.

This list is the industry’s most comprehensive listing of the leading printing companies in the United States and Canada ranked by annual sales volume.

The PI 400 provides recognition to the companies that are included in the rankings, along with offering a glimpse at how the industry is changing each year. This year a major trend in 2018 has shown that companies that have targeted specialties like packaging, direct mail, wide-format digital printing and inkjet printing have grown the most organically.

For more information on how Premier can help you, email us at info@premieruplink.com. Better yet, send us some examples of your current work and we will provide ideas for effective enhancements and redesign at no cost!

5 Ways To Measure The Success Of A Print Campaign

December 4th, 2018


With the abundance of data and metrics collected from digital marketing efforts, print campaigns would seem to be left in the stone age. Did you know that Direct mail response rates still top those of other mediums; the average direct mail response rate is 3-5x greater than that of email, internet display and paid search. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 69% say they prefer print and paper communications to reading off a screen. Below are 5 ways to measure the success of your next print campaign:

Analytics:

Monitor your website traffic while running your print campaign. When looking over your analytics look for changes in website traffic, If there are spikes in traffic during your print campaign then it has effectively reached your consumers. However, you’ll start to muddy your results if you direct your print campaign traffic to the same landing page that receives traffic from other digital marketing efforts. The best way to track traffic to your print campaign is to direct traffic to a specific page via a “vanity URL” that links to a landing page on your site. Set up the landing page with Google Analytics to track traffic from your print campaign so you can analyze it alongside other traffic sources.

Hashtags:

Create a hashtag that customers can use on social media that is attached to your print campaign to track the success and increase of online engagement. By doing this you can encourage customers to share your print campaign hashtag if there is an offer or incentive attached to using it, such as a discount, special offer or a cause they care about. Some examples are: #NationalFriedChickenDay by KFC to promote a calendar event, #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola that is used year round, and #LetsDoLunch by Domino’s Pizza. The most vital part of running a hashtag campaign is coming up with a hashtag that can easily go viral. A good rule of thumb is not to combine more than 3-4 words together and Don’t make your hashtag entirely about your brand. Also Use trending topics, but don’t solely rely on them.

Trackable Code:

Use a trackable promo code, they can be used during online and offline checkouts. Including a promo code in a print ad won’t tell you how many offline impressions the campaign received, but you will be able to track sales that were a result of the ad campaign.

QR Code:

QR codes are very useful for tracking print campaign reach, and the best way to use them with print is to lead customers straight to a landing page. Trackable codes that take the customer to a landing page are trackable with Google Analytics and will give you insights to how effective your print campaign is at driving site traffic to the address linked to the QR code.

Survey your Customers:

Ask your customers for feedback or send a survey to see if customers are seeing your campaigns. Customer feedback is always helpful, and it is important to hear a viewer’s perspective. Surveys can give you graphable results when using quantitative questions to give you feedback for statistical analysis.

For more information how Premier can help you with your next printing campaign email us at info@premieruplink.com

Top 15 Common PDF Errors

November 23rd, 2018

 

In a recent survey about PDF files in the graphic arts industry, 1100 respondents said the top 15 issues they ran into when working with PDF’s from clients were:

  1. Low Image Resolution
    Low image resolution leads to a loss of sharpness. When the resolution is low images are ‘pixelated’ showing a sawtooth effect. The standard resolution for print is 300 DPI and resolution for images on the internet is 72 DPI. Images downloaded from the internet and added to art for print will print with low resolution and should be avoided.
  2. Use of incorrect or unwanted color spaces
    When sending a file to print, your printer will request CMYK files as any PDF file containing RGB will be incorrect and unusable for print. RGB is the color profile for screens and monitors, not paper.
  3. Bleed is missing
    Unless bleed is added to the document a thin white line may appear along the trimmed edge of your finished piece, bleed is used to bring your documents art edge to edge.
  4. Fonts are not embedded in the PDF
    This can lead to the text being printed with a wrong typeface. When fonts aren’t embedded, the text will change to a default font which can cause the spacing and font size issues.
  5. There are problems with transparency
    Design applications split up a page into small square areas, called atomic zones. The effect of transparency is then calculated for each separate atomic zone. The stitch between atomic zones can sometimes show up on-screen (and even in output) as thin white lines. A file can also contain transparent objects with different color spaces. For instance, adding a drop shadow to a spot color element that sits on top of a CMYK background (or vice versa) is an example of a design that challenges workflow and creates a problem with transparency.
  6. The PDF file contains an incorrect number of spot colors
    Printers who ask for pure CMYK files sometimes get PDF files with spot colors in them. When spot colors are expected, the same color might appear multiple times in a document but each time with a different name.
  7. There is an issue with overprint
    The inappropriate use of overprint is an issue by itself. Issues with overprint can cause page elements to disappear or change color. Small text can become difficult or impossible to read. Overprint is when one color object overlaps another on the printed piece, this is normally used for special effects within the design.
  8. Total ink coverage is too high
    This can cause issues on press because the ink can’t dry properly. This can lead to set-off where the ink of a still wet area rubs off on whatever is stacked on top of it. Too much ink can also lead to muddy browns in neutral areas.
  9. Incorrect ICC (In Color Management) profiles are used
    The use of incorrect profiles can lead to printing the incorrect colors of the finished piece.
  10. The dimensions of the PDF do not match the requested size
    When sending in PDF files to print they should be to size. For instance, if you are printing a 4”x 5” postcard the PDF file should reflect that size plus bleeds. Print ready artwork should always be the size you want to print to avoid errors when printing.
  11. There are issues with flattened transparency
    Flattening can cause thin white lines to appear, shifts in color or make text appear fat. Flattening can also cause white rectangles to appear in graphic elements such as artwork or images. Flattening divides transparent artwork into vector-based areas and rasterized areas.
  12. Colors are not reproduced correctly
    Most pure blue colors are out of gamut for CMYK printers. In other words, the color cannot be accurately reproduced. The same is true for many RGB colors such a pure bright green. It is a good rule of thumb to check these prior to attempting to print or create a PDF for workflow that requires CMYK printing, to view use the Proof Colors function. You’ll see a rendition of what content will look like in the CMYK color space. This doesn’t mean you export RGB as CMYK, but rather this is what will render when printed.
  13. The output intent is missing or wrong
    An example of this is the use of US-specific output intent such as SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) for files printed in Europe. This can lead to incorrect color separations when printing.
  14. The conversion of spot colors to CMYK differs from the expected result
    When converting any color to CMYK the colors will be slightly off. Especially spot colors which are pre-mixed PMS colors and require the use of one of the press units to be printed in combination with CMYK printing. It is highly advised to avoid converting these colors for printing.
  15. Technical elements are not defined properly
    A document may need to contain data for die cutting, embossing, spot varnishing or other finishing services. A die line should be defined as a spot color and named ‘dieline’ as well as being set to overprint. If a die line is not in the file and is required, it will need to be add in prepress or a new PDF file must be supplied.

Understanding and knowing about these 15 common errors should make outputting files for print more manageable. For more information on Print ready PDF files contact info@premieruplink.com and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

2018 Valor Awards Ceremony

November 5th, 2018

Premier Graphics received a 2018 Valor Award from The Work Place & Port 5 Naval Veterans on Nov.1st. The award was for Outstanding Employer for hiring veterans. The 6th annual Valor Awards recognized and honored outstanding individuals and organizations that make up and support the veteran community in Connecticut. The program was put on by The WorkPlace’s Support Services for Veteran Families program and Port 5.

 Opening remarks were made by the Mayor of Bridgeport Joe Ganim, State Representative Steve Stafstorm, and The WorkPlace’s Joe Carbone. After opening remarks the Port 5 Rifle Squad entered the ceremony and Senator Carlo Leone gave thoughtful remarks on the meaning of Veterans Day afterwards Tom Long of The WorkPlace welcomed the Keynote Speaker, Colonel Jennifer Hicks-Mcgowanfrom the U.S. Military Academy West Point.

 

 Awards and citations from the Connecticut General Assembly and the United States Senate.

Representatives of Premier Graphics accepting the Outstanding Employer Award for hiring local veterans.

Valor Award recipient Zofia Szwarc being recognized for making strides through a successful career change and making significant strides towards her personal goals.

  

Premier is committed to the enrichment and growth of the surrounding community and strongly believes providing jobs to the community encourages growth.  We are especially proud of our veteran employees who work hard day in and day out, and certainly, perform their jobs with a sense of pride.  We look forward to these employees having long, fulfilling careers in our organization.

Premier Expands Customer Service Team

October 22nd, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Annie Cantilena has joined Premier Graphics as Senior Project Manager. Annie brings more than thirteen years’ experience in project management and creative operations.

Annie is looking forward to learning all the steps in the project lifecycle at Premier. She hopes to use this knowledge to help identify areas of the process needing improvement.

Annie lives in Greenwich, CT with her spouse and 2 year old son.

“We are excited to have Annie join our growing team. She brings talent and experience that we need to achieve our aggressive plans for the years ahead. The addition of this new position will allow us to better serve the growing needs of our clients” – Cesar Garcia, President of Premier

  • Recent Posts

  • Like Us On Facebook

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Follow Our Blog

    Receive new post notifications via email.
  •  
    error: Content is protected !!