Archive for the 'Printing' Category

Promotional Products Speak for Your Company

Posted on September 20, 2016

put your logo on your trade show give aways

Attend any trade show and you are bound to walk away with a bag full of loot. The goodies range from cheap pens to nice ball capsThere are Post-It note pads, rulers, letter openers, paperclip holders and a myriad of other products.

So many logoed cheap items end up in the trash can of hotel rooms and never even make it home from the showThen, there are the practical items of high quality that actually serve a useful purposeThe latest promotional trend is the cellphone holder as shown This practical device cradles your cell phone on your desk allowing you to see texts as they arrive without picking it upIt forces the user to look at the logo of the company each time their phone lights upSubliminal messaging at its finest.

If you end up going the cheap route on a promotional product you are basically making your company look cheap You do not want promotional products to reflect badly upon your company as it is counter-productive and leaves people with a bad image of your company or worse yet, no image as the items ends up in the trash.

Another favorite practical promotional product is the envelope openerIt is of high quality and includes a business card from the person who gave it away Her name and the company name are seen every single business day since not a day goes by without mail to be opened The one shown is a nice heavy duty plastic version that will last for years While many people give away letter openers, may buy the cheapest, most inexpensive version on the market These are usually so small they are hard to hold in your hand and frustrating to use and end up in the garbage like other cheap items Not that there is anything wrong with cheap but there are just so many varieties given away at trade shows that it’s not practical to keep them unless you have a lot of desk space available.

The baseball cap is probably the most coveted of giveaway items However, think about what the goal of the giveaway is Are you giving them the hat simply to have something to give away or do you actually want them to wear it? Look at the two hats shown in the photo The one on the left is a high quality Flex Fit hat The material is good and the color stands out This is a hat that anyone would be proud to wear The hat on the right is of such low quality that even the manufacturer doesn’t attach their name to it It is not a hat that most people would want to wear Spend the money on a good quality premium gift and it will be used day in and day out

Industry’s Powerhouse Marketing Company, Create-A-Card, Inc. becomes the largest full-service traditional and digital marketing company with its acquisition of Innovative Marketing Concepts

Posted on March 7, 2012

[March 7, 2012, St. James, NY] — Create-A-Card, Inc.’s Founder and President, Arthur Messina announced today that his company has acquired its long-time competitor, Innovative Marketing Concepts (IMC).  This acquisition enables Create-A-Card to further advance its position as the pinnacle of global marketing in the chauffeured transportation industry.

According to Mr. Messina, the acquisition will fuel what has already been exceptional business growth in revenue and market share. “This acquisition is just a part of Create-A-Card’s continuing expansion,” he said.  “With the technology and creative talent of our team, Create-A-Card, delivers the full spectrum of marketing services and support – from corporate identity development and public relations, to cutting edge digital projects and social media.

Already positioned to lead the industry in innovation, Create-A-Card will provide the companies’ combined customers a wider range of services and value.  Create-A-Card brings superior strengths and assets that you won’t find available at any other company.  According to Messina, “This is a great opportunity to leverage our market position to address customer needs in new service segments and technologies. By focusing purely on the delivery of marketing services to the chauffeured transportation industry and always delivering expert advice, this acquisition is a strategic move that we believe will position Create-A-Card for additional expansion and sustained growth.”

IMC brings world-class marketing people and an established client base to Create-A-Card, Inc. and the acquisition assures their clients that they are in excellent hands.  More importantly, Messina believes that combining the resources of both companies will provide an important strategic fit. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with such a high quality organization. We look forward to the positive sales and earnings contributions that this acquisition affords now and in the years ahead,” said Messina.  IMC feels that that this acquisition is in the best interest of their clients and feels that they will have the opportunity to be working with a superb organization.

About Create-A-Card, Inc. Create-A-Card, Inc. has, under the leadership of Arthur Messina, evolved from a specialized printing company in 1986 into what is, today, the industry’s leading full-service marketing strategy and solutions provider. For over two decades, Mr. Messina has taken a leadership position in ground transportation and has built a reputation as an industry innovator and the preferred partner for market-leading transportation companies.

For more information, please visit the www.createacardinc.com company website, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, or contact Arthur Messina @ 631-584-2273.

Upcoming Postal Increase Update

Posted on November 4, 2011

USPS First-Class Rate Increase: .45 cents

It’s been officially announced, there will be a First-Class rate increase in January 2012 from the current .44 cents to .45 cents. Prices also will change for other mailing services including:  Standard Mail, Periodicals and Package Services.

The highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail increase are as follows:

  • Letters (1oz.): .01 cent increase to .45 cents
  • Letters additional ounces: unchanged at .20 cents
  • Postcards: .03 cent increase to .32 cents
  • Letters to Canada or Mexico (1oz.) .05 cent increase to .85 cents
  • Letters to other international destinations: .07 cent increase to $1.05

For more information regarding the upcoming rate increase please visit: 2012 USPS Rate Increase

Have You Seen These?

Posted on July 15, 2011

These curious little black and white squares have literally been popping up everywhere. You’ve probably seen them in ads, catalogues, brochures and more. What are they and what do they do?

U.S. Postal Service is offering a 3% discount on standard mailings that include a QR (quick response) code in July & August 2011

 
Quick Response (QR) codes

are specific matrix barcodes that are digitally encoded with information that both barcode readers and smart phones can read. The QR code can contain a link to a specific web page (URLs), text or other types of data. A more sophisticated QR code can be used to embed other useful data like videos, music or promotional campaigns. A QR code is capable of 360 degree (omni-directional), high-speed reading.

Most smart phones (as of 2011) allow you to download a free “QR reader” that enables any phone to become a QR code scanner. Beginning in 2011, some phones already have this app as part of its standard software.

Having a QR code in your promotional materials grabs attention, leading users to high-quality, high-value content instantaneously. Skillfully using this tool in conjunction with social media marketing, video marketing or a high-quality (mobile) web site can help companies stand out in a marketplace that craves variety. Many businesses use QR codes innovatively to reach consumers via posters, billboards, ads, etc. to provide information regarding consumer campaigns, promotions and other company information.

QR codes can be a great branding tool. Mobile phone users can be directed to web sites where users can download ads, ringtones, logos, videos and flash presentations. Using QR codes on packaging is another innovative way to advertise products or offer information.

For businesses looking to differentiate themselves from their competition, QR codes should be on their radar. By integrating QR codes and a mobile friendly web site into their campaigns, businesses can leverage the needs and attention of the smart phone user more effectively. 

Let Create-A-Card, Inc, your marketing specialist for the transportation industry, help you capitalize on this unique marketing opportunity and begin leveraging the potential of Quick Response codes in your business today!

Thwarting Waste with a File Format That Can’t Be Printed

Posted on June 3, 2011

Digital documents (made out of ones and zeroes) are a lot less wasteful than paper (made out of carbon-eating trees). To minimize unnecessary printing, some people add a reminder at the bottom of emails that says something like “Please consider the environment before printing this.”

But the folks at the World Wildlife Fund have another solution. This week, they released a new file format—WWF, of course—which is, essentially, “a PDF that cannot be printed out.” Drop by Save as WWF, Save a Tree to download software that will add a “Save as WWF” option to your print menu. Any WWFs you create can be opened by programs that open PDFs—but can’t be printed.

Will you really save a tree every time you use this new file format? Obviously not. But the campaign does provide an effective reminder that a lot of paper gets wasted out of plain old carelessness.

Direct Mail Marketing Tips

Posted on February 22, 2011

Direct mail can be an effective marketing tool if you learn how to use it to your advantage. Limousine companies can use direct mail to get new clients and keep them. Transportation companies are more local than most other businesses that advertise. This makes direct mail an especially effective way to reach the target audience. Mailing a well-designed card is a great step towards building a loyal customer clientele. When people receive a card in the mail that is noticeable, they are more likely to save it to reference in the future. Anyone can create a unique, memorable card for their direct mail advertising campaign with a few simple guidelines in mind.

1. Make your card an attention-grabber.
You only have a few seconds to convince the recipient to learn more about your company. When designing a card for your business, make bright colors your best friend. People are attracted to vibrant, exciting images. Your initial goal is to have the recipient look at your card long enough to be interested in seeing what you have to offer. If you don’t use eye-catching colors, your card might get tossed aside.

2. Keep the text brief and to the point.
If you put too much writing on your card, you risk losing the recipient’s attention. Small fonts and too much text tend to overwhelm people. Write a first draft of what you want to say and then think about how to shorten it to a few key phrases. Include a phrase that will encourage people to contact you. Make sure that your contact information is clearly visible.

3. Look for inspiration everywhere you go.
Pay attention to the images you see daily. People see hundreds of advertisements a day. Be conscious of which ones you like the most. Learning what images impress you can help you figure out what kind of visuals work. Use the techniques you’ve noticed are effective for creating your own card.

4. Create a brand and stick to it.
Decide how you want to present your business and stay true to it. In order to be successful, you need to be consistent with the message you are sending. People don’t trust businesses that change their slogans often. They see them as unreliable. Create your own tagline that sums up what you want the recipient to know about your company in one short sentence.

5. Don’t clutter your card.
While using bright colors is a must, make sure that the overall effect isn’t overwhelming. Your card should still look professional. Use white spaces for text. Don’t make the mistake of putting your text on a colorful background. It might blend in and be too hard to read.

4 tips to help you launch a successful direct marketing campaign

Posted on November 22, 2010

According to a  new study by Epsilon Data Management, U.S. adult consumers are more trusting of offline sources of information than what they find online. What’s more, 79% of respondents said they prefer to receive creative direct mail because it’s more convenient than email as a delivery method. When done correctly, opt-in direct mail can help you reach a market you may be having difficulty connecting with.

Here are a few tips to help you launch a successful direct marketing campaign:

  1. Narrow your focus. Marketing experts says it takes at least three pieces of mail per month for your customers to really notice your direct mail efforts. That may sound overwhelming, but the price tag and energy of sending 5,000 fliers to 5,000 different customers or 5 fliers to 1,000 customers over five weeks is exactly the same. If you narrow your focus, you can increase your effectiveness without any extra effort.
  2. Provide incentives. Include coupons, free samples, or special deals to spur your target audience to respond to your offer. It doesn’t have to be a major budget buster; you could also offer something based in time rather than money. For example, if you own a small community bank, consider a free consultation with a financial professional. Or if you own a high-end clothing store, offer the VIP treatment — as in a special shopping experience.
  3. Don’t go it alone. Shared mailers (catalogues or coupon-filled envelopes compiled by third-party companies, featuring advertisements from multiple businesses) are another effective way to get your company’s message into consumers’ mailboxes. Co-op mailers can also provide you with data by area code to help you better market your product or service.
  4. Keep goals realistic. Measuring success against average response rates or other direct mail statistics is not always the best practice. Set goals that make sense for your specific business, keeping in mind your product and your price point. For example, you could track the traffic to your website to see if there was a significant spike in the weeks after your mailer went out. The bottom line: stay focused and realistic to ensure that direct mail marketing is working for you.

Create-A-Card, Inc. is Featured in Limo Digest: More than Meets the Eye

Posted on October 6, 2010

Below is a cover article that is in the current issue of Limo Digest, featuring Create-A-Card, Inc.  You can also download it here.

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More than Meets the Eye

 Create-A-Card Thrives on Strong Client Relationships

 By Liz Hunter

There seems to be no shortage of experts in the limousine industry. Operators have vast resources to tap when it comes to what software to implement or what insurance to purchase. But for one of the most important aspects of running a successful business—marketing—there are only a handful of suppliers that are truly familiar with our industry and getting the message out. One in particular has emerged as a go-to company for transportation marketing advice and materials.

For nearly 25 years, the name Create-A-Card has been synonymous with “marketing” in the limousine industry. Arthur ­Messina started Create-A-Card (CAC) to capitalize on a new trend: picture business cards. After attending college and graduating with a background in food and business, Messina worked for The Marriott Corporation, only to realize 18 months later that a career in hospitality wasn’t where he wanted to be.

He looked in magazines like Entrepreneur and picture business cards were something new and exciting. Messina was suddenly enthralled by the thought of working for himself and running his own business.

Setting up shop in his kitchen—like many limousine operators did themselves—Messina kept his filing cabinet in a closet and the fax machine on top. When it came to deciding what industry or business would benefit most from these picture business cards, Messina immediately thought of limousines. “It was the heyday of the industry, and people were spending lots of money for vehicles and they needed ways to market them,” he says. “One of the first business cards we did was for a limousine company down the street.”

Anyone who knows Messina will tell you that he is certainly not shy, even back then.  So, it should be no surprise that he simply walked to that limo business down the road from his house and asked to borrow a limousine to make sample business cards. “The owner, James Ficcarra, of Richard James Limousine, was open to it. We took the car to a park, shot photos, and that was one of the first samples I had,” Messina says. Even though CAC has branched out to other niches like restaurants and entertainment—one of his clients is the famed Peter Luger’s Steak House in New York City—CAC’s business is still concentrated in the limousine and transportation-related industries and his list of clients reads like a who’s who: Reston Limousine, Partners Executive Transportation, Broadway Elite Chauffeured Services Worldwide, The Limousine Connection, Worldwide Transportation, Overland Limousine, and more. One of its first five clients, All Star Limousine Service in Lindenhurst, New York, is still a customer today, something that both owners are proud of.  “We work together on a daily basis,” says Messina of All Star owner Jim Powers. “It’s nice to see some of us have survived together.” Powers, who started his business in the basement of his parents’ home, now has a 40,000-square-foot facility and operates 106 vehicles. “Create-A-Card has been a tremendous asset to All Star,” says Powers. “He has helped us with a successful direct mail program that gets us a 3 to 4 percent return on investment. We have a strong business partnership and friendship.”

CAC may have started with just business cards, which is why Messina chose its name, but the moniker stuck even as the company evolved its offerings into various types of marketing collateral including brochures, meet-and-greet signs, website design, and today, all kinds of digital media. “We are really Create-A-Card and more,” says Messina. “The name and brand are extremely strong and it’s one of those things, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” CAC operates based on the same philosophy it recommends to its clients. Messina believes that one of the most common mistakes that companies make involves brand identity. “Some companies have two or three different names that they use depending on what market they are trying to reach,” Messina says. “People are confused by that. I tell my clients to establish a single brand—which includes a logo, colors, tag line, etc.—and stick with it over a long period of time to promote the company. A key component of marketing is consistency. People have to see you over and over and over again before they start to remember you, much less begin to trust you.” On the branding front, CAC recently worked with the company we now know as Broadway Elite Chauffeured Services Worldwide based in New Jersey. The product of a merger, Broadway Elite needed its name and brand to reflect its level of service as well as its connection to the industry’s biggest market: the New York metropolitan area. COO Jason Sharenow says, “Arthur and his team have been instrumental in everything Broadway Elite has done from business cards to brochures to lapel pins. They have done everything possible to help us move the company to the next level.”

A great deal of CAC’s business comes from referrals. When he has a new client, Messina needs to know what the market is. “Sometimes people want to be everything to everyone. I look at the type of vehicle, location, how far it is from the airport, things like that,” he says. “People will often tell me they want to do a corporate brochure. Then I ask them about their fleet and find out that they have 16 stretches and 2 Town Cars. Corporate business just isn’t the right market for them, especially since I know who their competitors are. I try to point them in a different direction, like focusing on retail with some airport business mixed in.” Messina says operators often have their blinders on because they are so busy with their businesses.

CAC clients can count on Messina’s honesty. “I have no problem telling it like it is,” he says. “It’s their business but I am going to tell them what will work based on my experience. My goal isn’t just to sell my customers a brochure—if they aren’t targeting a viable market, exploiting a competitive advantage, and aren’t taking advantage of all the marketing techniques that are available to them today, they are probably going to fail. If they fail, I lose a customer. I want each and every one of my clients to be successful, so they can always count on me to tell them the truth.”

Messina is thankful for the success both he and his customers have had in business. “I have learned over the years that there is a lot of trust between CAC and our clients. When we get testimonials, it reinforces the fact that we’re not the company that does your business cards and then says ‘See ya later.’ For me, personally and professionally, that is really important.”

Beyond their business relationships, Messina and his clients are truly friendly with each other. “Maintaining friendships beyond business is really key to succeeding,” he says. “I make it a point to see clients outside of work. Actually, I go out of my way to make it happen. When we are in the office, we’re always ‘on’ and 9 times out of 10 we’re distracted. I like to get away from the day-to-day and just relax and hang out.” He enjoys attending baseball games with Alex Pope of LSA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Washington, DC, or golfing with Sergio Sanchez of Partners Executive Transportation and, well, eating with just about everyone. “The truth is,” says Messina, “I really like my customers. I have known some of them for years and we have a good time together, respect each other, and are all pretty driven—we work hard and play hard—you really can’t ask to meet a better group of people.”

You’ve most likely spotted Messina at your local association meeting or seen pictures of him at various industry events in the pages of Limousine Digest. To the unknowing observer, Messina would seem to spend little time working—but that is in fact the opposite of reality. According to his wife Kathy, Messina is always working somehow, even on vacation when his kids often tease him for picking up countless travel brochures in hotels and on cruise ships. “I have my eyes open for new things wherever I go,” he says. “There are only so many ways to say the same thing for the limousine industry, so I’m constantly looking for new ways to get the message out.” And yes, Kathy also confirms that Messina suffers from the dreaded disease “iPhone-itis.” She says, “He goes absolutely nowhere without it, and does not hesitate to use it, whether we are at one of the kids’ games, in a restaurant, at an airport—with Arthur, he always finds a way to mix business with pleasure.”

When he is in the office, a typical day means spending at least five hours on the phone with clients, strategizing, planning, and consulting. “It’s almost like therapy,” says Messina. “We talk things over and figure out the best way to get the message to customers.” The rest of the day is spent on overseeing CAC’s own marketing efforts, including website maintenance and managing a growing presence in social media. CAC not only has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but the CAC weekly blog has become a popular marketing read for many of the company’s followers and an important tool in keeping CAC’s website ranking high on the search engines. “Social networking and blogs are creating a real business structure we can all use,” he says.

Messina has embraced this new method of marketing and is encouraging his clients to do the same. “Some of my clients don’t quite believe in it yet,” he says. “But those who have are already seeing that there is value in it—if done correctly.” Messina doesn’t see the purpose of having a Facebook page that lets his clients know he just had coffee, for instance. “I use Facebook strictly for business information. If I see something interesting in the industry, I’ll post a picture. On our CAC Facebook page, we post marketing tips every day encouraging people in the industry to look at their marketing plans and reminding them to update their website content. It’s all worthwhile information,” he says.

Despite his enthusiasm about social media and digital marketing efforts, Messina says print collateral should still be the foundation of every marketing program. “Print must still be the linchpin of every campaign,” he says. “First of all, business cards are no longer optional. If you don’t have a business card, you are not serious about being in business and no one is going to take you seriously. Your business card is the first—and sometimes only—impression that a prospect will have of you. What’s the impression you want to leave with that person? Cheap suit or high-quality operation? We make sure all of our client business cards deliver the high quality impression they want portrayed.” 

In his experience, Messina has seen several companies attempt the transition of printed collaterals, including newsletters, postcards, and brochures to completely digital formats. “Those who are going completely digital or moving everything online are realizing it’s just not working. Why? You have to deliver information to your prospects and customers in the format that they want to receive it in. Some of your customers want to read a paper newsletter or brochure. Other customers don’t care if they ever see another piece of paper again.” Messina doesn’t believe you should lose the opportunity to reach any customer or potential customer just because of your own personal preferences. 

No matter which method of marketing works best for your company, Messina urges clients and all general industry members not to stop marketing during a tough economy. “The first thing companies want to cut from a budget is marketing,” he says. “But don’t assume that your customers or prospects are going to remember who you are or all the services you offer once the economy rebounds. People don’t retain information for long. You need to make sure that your current clients and prospective customers are repeatedly informed on all of your services, no matter how bad the economy. Of course we understand needing to cut spending, but maybe you should start an e-mail newsletter or social networking program or enhance your website. You can’t stop marketing completely or else people will forget who you are and move to your competitors who are making positive noise.”

After spending his days helping limousine companies market their services, one might think it would be an easy transition for Messina to think of strategies for CAC. “At the end of the day, it’s actually harder for me to sit down and come up with ways to promote my business,” Messina says. “I have many of the same marketing issues that my customers have only I don’t have me to call,” he jokes. “But there are a couple of us, almost like a ‘20 group’ of suppliers, that get together and brainstorm or reach out to each other for help. Pat Charla, president of LEAP, is a good friend and one of the best marketing strategists I know. When I am stuck on a concept or even just a word, I’ll call Pat, we’ll knock around an idea and before you know it we’ve come up with a new ad, or headline, or whatever.” His industry relationships are, just like his customer relationships, a two-way street. “I am always happy to do whatever I can to help Arthur and his team at Create-A-Card not only because they are friends, but because I know that I can always depend on them to go above and beyond the call of duty for me as well,” says Charla. “My customers, (and I) like many people, tend to do things at the very last minute. Arthur has never not pulled out all the stops and delivered; and, delivered without whining or complaining.”

Messina may be the face of CAC, but it is not a one-man show for sure. He has a core team of staff that he knows he can—and more importantly, his clients—can trust. Marian Abrilz, VP of customer relations, has been with CAC for 13 years. “Marian is, in a word, indispensable,” Messina says. “She has worked incredibly hard over the years to build her own client base, and her success has been a great help to CAC.” Messina adds that the fact that so many clients feel so comfortable with Marian allows him to spend as much time on the road as he does meeting customers and developing new sales opportunities. “I am only one person. When I am on the road, I know that the people who call the office are going to get the correct information and feel comfortable with my team.”

Jolanta Bak joined CAC 4 years ago as its art director. Despite coming in as a student right out of college, Bak was a quick learner, according to Messina. “She is extremely talented and has become an industry specialist in a short period of time. She has great ideas and designs and it’s amazing that she is just 27,” he says. “Jolanta is much more than our art director today, she is our lead designer, and most of the logos, brochure designs, and rebranding efforts we present to clients are based on her concepts.”

CAC is also a family business. Messina says that his wife Kathy provides him with balance, advice, and plays a big part in planning the strategic direction of the company. Their oldest son, Andrew, just finished his master’s in mathematics at Hofstra University and while looking for a job as a teacher, he is pitching in at CAC. “He is always willing to do whatever he can to help, is great with customers, and really knows the business after working so many summers in the office,” says Messina. “I could easily see Drew running the business one day if he decided that it was something that he would be happy doing.”

CAC clients have nothing but nice things to say about the staff. Alex Pope, owner of LSA Corporate Car Worldwide Transportation, has been a CAC client since 2003. “The customer service from Arthur’s team couldn’t be better,” Pope says. “They are committed to the point where you almost feel like you’re the only customer.”

With a solid team at the CAC office, Messina admits that he spends a lot more time out in the field meeting clients than he did in previous years, but he feels that the face time with existing and potential clients is invaluable. In the last few months Messina has traveled to meetings of the Long Island Limousine Association (LILA), Limousine Associations of New Jersey (LANJ), New England Livery Association (NELA), Limousine Association of Houston (LAH), Dallas/Fort Worth Limousine Association (DFWLA), Virginia Limousine Association (VLA), and the National Limousine Association (NLA) board meeting. Why the heavy association involvement you wonder? “I feel that contributing my expertise to association members is my chance to give back,” Messina says. “The industry has been great to me and my family, allowing us to build a livelihood. I can tell associations what is going on in other markets and what is working.” CAC client or not, Messina wants to help the industry. He is an NLA vendor board member and the time he dedicates there is on a volunteer basis.

The information sharing doesn’t stop there. Messina was one of the first editorial contributors to Limousine Digest when it began. “We’ve been a supporter of Limo Digest since day one. It’s amazing to see how far we both have come,” says Messina. He is currently a regular contributor to the magazine writing articles about various marketing topics. In another showing of support for Limo Digest and its annual Show, Messina made a generous contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, bidding on the cover of the magazine. “I thought it was a great way to help out the organization,” he says. “I was truly touched by the video shown at the event and it made me very thankful that I have been fortunate that my kids are healthy. It was time to pay-it forward and help out others in need.”

When he’s not focusing on CAC or its clients, Messina spends a lot of time with his family. Besides Andrew, Messina also has a son Ryan and a daughter Kristin. Ryan will be entering the University of Tampa this fall and Messina spent several weeks this summer watching him play college baseball, including participating in the National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) College World Series in ­Toledo, Ohio. Kristin is a sophomore in high school and Messina attends her volleyball games and track meets while trying to figure out how to deal with a teenage daughter. For himself, he prefers golfing. “I enjoy playing it whether it’s in an association tournament or for fun. It’s very relaxing and I do play with many of my clients. You’re always working even when you’re not.” And don’t forget Messina’s best friend his loyal King Charles Cavalier Spaniel “Rookie Rose” who is now 6 years old.

The Messinas will be celebrating a major milestone soon: Arthur and Kathy will be married 25 years in September. The two will be sailing on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise to celebrate. For Kathy’s sake, we hope he leaves the iPhone at home.  LD

Marrying Offline and Online Marketing for Maximum Results

Posted on October 5, 2010
To stay competitive in today’s ground transportation business, it is crucial to have professional help designing a marketing strategy that seamlessly incorporates your traditional media outlets and your printed material with your web presence. By coordinating and focusing all your advertising, marketing kits and press releases into a cohesive unit, you can make the most of both your online and offline campaigns instead of expecting them to function independently.
Here are some tips on integrating your offline and online marketing efforts:

Remember, your basic goal is to keep your existing client base from being lured away by other limo companies while attracting the interest of potential customers. So you need to devise a campaign that succinctly explains why your limousine service is superior.

Keep your initial message direct and simple (it is easier to tie together all aspects of your media campaigns.) The ultimate aim is to get interested clients to your website where they can access a wealth of details and services to get their questions answered quickly so they will place orders with your limousine service first.

All of your offline print media — from business cards to brochures to full color glossy ads — should be designed to have a consistent look, feel and message so your audience can establish brand identification at a glance.

Don’t burden your print advertising with too much detailed information. Instead, concentrate on eye-catching images and quick, easy to remember messages that attract attention and prompt action.
Make sure that each piece of printed material  prominently displays your website address. Whenever possible, use special promotions to direct readers to your website for more details.

What you need to concentrate on achieving is to peak your customer’s interest enough so they will visit your website for more information. It is much easier to track the success of your advertising campaigns on your website and to get feedback on what works — as well as what doesn’t — using online marketing resources.

Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are invaluable for connections–make sure your website makes it easy for customers to connect with you on all the social networking sites.  Remember the easier it is to find you, the more inclined they are to spend their money with you.

Integrate a blog into your website and write (or have written) blogs articles. which will increase your visitor traffic to your website. 
Articles, press releases and comments on related stories can also be used to spread your message. Make sure to set up proper key words and develop concise Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to keep your business ranked high on services like Google.

Why Printed Materials Are Still Key Marketing Techniques in a Digital World

Posted on August 27, 2010
At Create-A-Card, we have noticed how often we have to convince our clients that their advertising budget must have a healthy slice delegated for printed materials. Apparently, the success of the Internet has given the impression that it should be able to handle the bulk of the promotional business. We remind them that the print industry has survived the onslaught of radio and television successfully, and is now meeting the challenge of the Internet as a direct competitor for its customers.

A recent study conducted by the California Polytechnic State University entitled “The Reality About the Promise of Printing in the Digital World” discovered that the printing industry is making radical changes to demonstrate how effectively they can compete with digital marketing and concluded that “the results make it clear that print will survive as a medium of choice in advertising, marketing, and communication….” They quoted a 2004 audit by the Magazine Publishers of America who found that “on average subscribers pass along their printed issue to an additional 3.6 industry decision-makers. So even the elite of the IT world recognized and benefit from print. What’s more, specific magazine content can be spotlighted and passed along on a one-to-one basis. A Magazine Publishers of America survey found that 24 percent of readers typically pass an article along to someone else while 23 percent save the article for future reference, and 13 percent visit a related Web site.”

Print media is keeping pace with modern trends by offering on-demand, customer-oriented services, especially in promotions where digital media is inappropriate. By integrating modern computer technology and Internet accessibility, print shops have developed the ability to make the best of both worlds. Clients can now design their own promotional material, add the graphics, include Internet links and even specify paper and ink preferences, usually without ever entering the print shop.

Direct mailing campaigns are an excellent example of a print strategy that still is effective and has verifiable results. These “old-school” techniques continue to bring in the clients because there is still a certain appeal to a piece of mail that was sent to your address with your name on it and has a special offer just for you. All the flashy Internet advertisements you can devise will not replace this kind of personal attention.

Business cards are another aspect of marketing they should always be trusted to a printer. You should avoid the temptation to “make your own” business cards on your personal printer like the plague because it will make you look like an amateur. Once again, print shops have risen to the occasion and offer complete online services that take you step by step through the process so you get just the card you want.

Also keep in mind some of your clients may still not be Internet savvy and won’t appreciate the fancy social networking sites, flash players and PDF links that you have spent so much money on, in fact they might find them downright irritating. They would much prefer to sit down with a hard copy of your report or proposal than squint at a computer screen with no ability to make notations in the margins.

All in all, the print industry is here to stay and maintains its vital role in a well-rounded marketing campaign. Smart business managers realize that they must reach beyond the impersonal digital market to keep that one-on-one connection with their customers that got them in business in the first place. The key is to balance your promotional budget to take full advantage of all the avenues available to connect with customers.