Managed Print Services 101: Why You Need to Give Your Office a Print (Eco)System Upgrade [Infographic]

The typical office printing environment can get messy, and messy is costly. Managed print services (MPS) is defined as the outsourced management of business risks associated with large volume printing within companies that have scaled their business. MPS enables businesses to gain visibility and control over their printing environment, which cuts overhead costs and improves productivity.

The total cost of managing the printing environment include:

  • Paper, ink, toner and other supplies used by employees
  • Power consumption
  • Hardware downtime, help-desk and maintenance
  • Floor space and equipment footprint

 

 

Optimize your printing resources. Save your organizations money by turning your printing environments over to specialists. Ask us about MPS today.

7 Audio-Visual Technology Trends to Stay Ahead of the Curve [Infographic]

Your competitors are using technology to increase their sales, equip their team, and gain an industry advantage. Take a look at these audio-visual technology trends to see how they can be applied to your own business success.

  1. Lamp-less projectors: These use LED lights, reducing waste by lasting longer than their typical projector lamp counterparts. They’re also much more energy efficient, which is good news for your electric bills and the environment.
  2. Video screens: Thinner frames create better engagement and a better experience. Technology manufacturers are also increasingly moving towards bezel-less displays, which provide sleek and seamless viewing.
  3. Presenter tracking: Technology is making video conferencing more accurate by focusing on movement and only featuring one speaker at a time.
  4. 4K UHD video: The standard HDTV clarity isn’t good enough anymore. 4K video has a data rate of 4x what you’re used to.
  5. Augmented and virtual reality: Advances in virtual reality can revolutionize how companies train employees, do walk-through tutorials for their clients, and more. It’s changing the landscape for education.
  6. Wireless everything: We’re used to wireless Internet, but audio speakers, lighting, and even air conditioners can be controlled remotely. This stands to make entire office buildings more efficient and convenient.
  7. Interactive panel displays: You and your shareholders will be able to write and move objects on a screen using a finger, which is has the potential to increase UX and virtual communications.

The Importance of Technology in Modern Marketing

Technology strategic plans often prioritize the wrong areas for improvement, too many activities at once, or fail to explain why one improvement is more important than another. Ineffective prioritization ends up wasting money and opportunities.

Technology evolves rapidly, and can change characteristics of society from national security to our daily lives. The Strategic Role of Technologies aims to understand how technology and innovation is transforming the world we live in.

Technology such as the web, mobile phones, social media, and customer relationship management systems greatly affect modern marketing. Tech helps businesses grow and prosper, create relationships, strengthen the effectiveness of organizations, allow people to learn about one another, and greatly affects the way companies communicate with prospective customers. Every marketer is starting to view technology as an important factor when it comes to development and growth.

Technology is definitely an important and strategic tool to increase your overall efficiency and stay on top of the competitors. Though the role of marketing has not changed due to technology, which is the dynamic power in buyer seller relationships, the corporate attitudes toward the marketing function and marketing approaches have all been impossible to separate save for the change brought about by rapid evolution of technology.

Through the use of the Internet, consumers have gained access to multitudes of data from around the world; data that is timeless, critical and verifiable. With just a click of a button consumers can gain meaningful insights about companies and their products. They can compare products, find lower prices, read reviews and even communicate with other users thru forums about product quality and buyer satisfaction.

The evolution of marketing from the past years will find that technology started as a minor role player, and evolved into the star of the show.

How the Internet Changed the Marketing Landscape

Promotion, one of the 4 P’s of marketing, includes any means of spreading the word about a product or service. Identifying groups of potential customers is just the first step in selling; an equally important component of any marketing strategy is the selection of communication tool that will be used to carry the marketing message. Companies rely heavily on mass media advertising to communicate to their customers, simply because the cost of advertising per viewer is very low. Although creating a television ad might cost millions of pesos, the ad will also be viewed by millions of people. However, mass media offers the lowest level of trust among audiences. After years of being bombarded by television and radio commercials, many people have developed a resistance to the messages conveyed in the mass media. In fact, the majority of people just mute their TV sets or switch channels during commercial breaks.

Recently, the Internet has become a very popular venue for companies to reach out to their customers. Marketers have recognized that Internet marketing is capable of delivering high-trust communication to their target audiences. Some companies have experimented with different communication modes, such as blogs. A blog is an example of how companies can use the Web to engage in communications that closely resemble the high-trust personal mode of communication versus the low-trust mass media mode, without incurring the high costs that both methods entail. Other examples of Internet advertising are banner ads, pop-up ads, site sponsorships, e-mail marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More recently, companies have been utilizing social media such as Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat to communicate to their target audience, who are almost always online on these platforms.

Many have considered social media as a passing marketing interest, probably because it appeared and gained popularity a little too quickly. However, for some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is a powerful trend that must be taken advantage of. Social media has demonstrated huge potential for boosting a company’s sales by reaching the correct market. There are almost 1.23 billion monthly active Facebook users, 757 million of which use the platform daily. Imagine that number seeing your brand every day; you gain access to potential customers, current customers and even lost customers. It makes a brand very familiar and recognizable. Personally, I can think of a couple of times when I tried a new product just because I kept seeing it on my Facebook news feed.

When used properly, social media is an effective communication channel. It is the fastest way to disseminate information related to your brand. It is also an avenue to demonstrate a company’s customer service level, which in turn will enrich its relationship with the customers. Communicating to your customers is a personal experience that lets them know you care about them. Other than this, the nature of the Web, with its two-way communication features and traceable connection technology, allows firms to gather more information about customer behavior and preferences than they can when using micromarketing approaches. As a company, this improves your customer insight. Information such as which pages are often viewed, how long each page was viewed, and other similar date can be easily tracked. This data helps firms analyze customer behavior, preferences, needs and buying patterns, which in turn they can use to determine prices, create promotions, or add product features. This connection to the audience helps in creating an intense feeling of loyalty toward the company and its products or services.

While the Web and social media seem like a marketing team’s dream, one must also be wary of the consequences brought about by using them as a marketing tool. If not addressed properly, these can be detrimental to your business. The sheer number of people using the Web and social media means that there are all sorts people lurking in cyberspace, including negative and malicious ones. These include spammers, scammers, and internet trolls who go all out just to ruin somebody’s online reputation. Also, as easy as it is to disseminate good and positive information about your brand, it also takes that small amount of time for negative and malicious content to spread online. A bad promotion or even something as small as a marketing material with an embarrassing typographical error can spread like wildfire once it’s been published online. With the advent of screenshots, it can be a challenge to remove anything that has been available in the World Wide Web. Lastly, compared to traditional methods of advertising such as TV commercials and print ads, the Return on Investment (ROI) of Internet marketing efforts is harder to define. Companies need this type of feedback so they can evaluate accordingly if their marketing efforts generate the result that they are gunning for.

At the end of the day, companies should ensure that their online marketing initiatives are always aligned with their traditional marketing efforts. For example, print ads should include a company’s website and social media accounts. Likewise, companies should exert extra caution when using online marketing, most especially through social media platforms. Online marketing, social media marketing in particular, when done right can lead to more customers, more site traffic and increase in sales. However, if done badly, it is also a surefire way to damage brand identity and kill customer loyalty.

Printer selection: How to choose the right one

Whether for a home or office use, printers are widely used everywhere for creative endeavors, legal documents, even travel applications. This article will help to guide you in your printer selection.

Do you want a standard stand-alone printer, or a multi-function all-in one device, which includes a scanner and copier (some models even have faxing capabilities)?

If you just want to print documents, a stand-alone printer is more affordable and will suit your needs. However, if you plan to scan photos to preserve them, copy birth certificates for visa purposes, or anything like that, go for the multi-function printers.

Do you want an inkjet or a laser printer?

Inkjet printers uses ink cartridges, liquid dye or pigment based material. The ink cartridges are loaded into the print head, which is fitted with numerous microscopic ink nozzles. As the print head moves back and forth across the paper, the nozzles create the image with droplets of ink.

Inkjet printers have become the standard for home computer use. If one typically prints a combination of text, graphics, and photos, an inkjet is the better choice. For convenience, they usually have two cartridges; black and tri-color ink. Special inkjets for photo printing can have individual color cartridges, normally black, cyan, yellow, magenta and photo ink. Some inkjets can also make borderless prints, most commonly on 4×6 (4R) paper. There is a new inkjet printer innovation using the ink tank system technology, suitable for users printing high volume, instead of cartridges, it makes use of individual ink tanks to be refilled; ideal for small-medium businesses. However, this is not suitable for typical home printing, since the ink will evaporate and dry up if not used for a period of time.

Another option for those who want the volume of laser printer, but still want to use ink cartridge technology, HP has Officejet models, while Canon has Maxify.

Printers

Laser printers makes use of toner cartridges, a powder based printing agent. A laser printer first draws an electrostatic template of the image onto a rotating metal drum inside the printer. The drum, which is covered in photosensitive material, starts out with either a positive or negative charge. An extremely precise laser alters the electrical charge in certain spots according to data fed from the computer. The drum is then coated in magnetically charged toner, but the fine particles only adhere to the areas where the laser previously defined the image. Next a sheet of paper, which has also been magnetically charged, rolls past the drum and draws the toner away. Lastly, the fuser sets the image by warming and melting the plastic particles.

Lasers are usually associated with office environments and volume printing, where they produce sharp, smudge-free printouts quickly, quietly and economically, using toner cartridges, but this can be just as useful at home or in a home office.

Options are monochrome laser for text printing, or a color laserjet for those who want to print images.

Printer

Printing technology has improved substantially, with different brands making innovations in their manufacturing processes and developing quality tested printers and cartridges. Over the years, we have seen printers become more affordable and increasingly full-featured.

USBs today: Technology explained

A USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used for connection and power supply between computers and electronic devices. USBs were designed to standardize the connection of computer peripherals (including keyboards, pointing devices, digital cameras, printers, portable media players, disk drives and network adapters) to personal computers.

USBs have become commonplace on other devices, such as smartphones, PDAs and video game consoles, and have effectively replaced a variety of earlier interfaces like parallel ports and separate power chargers for portable devices.

Nowadays, USBs are mostly used as storage; a tool to transfer files from one computer to another. The storage space in USBs start from 8GB and go as high as 1TB (we expect even higher capacity soon), and prices go from hundreds of pesos to thousands. Gone are the days of using floppy disk/ diskette’s or CDROM. These tiny USB devices that area easily kept inside purses and pockets allow us to go about our day and come home with data.

Gadgets like keyboards with USB ports are easy to use because you only need to plug them in, and they work. You can use USB cords to charge smartphones, watch TV programs, save games, and more.

Certain types were also released; from 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 and now type C, varying from speed, security and ease of accessibility. Higher models are usually compatible with earlier ones, so for example, 3.0 is compatible to 2.0.

Below is a chart for different types of USBs.

USBs

With the fast paced movement of technology, and growing demand for USBs, we can be assured of more innovation, lower price and higher availability with new releases of models. As with any gadget we can also be assured of competitive prices as they roll out.

How Technology Changed Marketing in the Philippines

Classified as a lower-middle income economy, the Philippines is unsurprisingly not on top of the latest trends when it comes to technology. However, thanks to a global network of partners, a growing economic sector, and increasingly accessible new technology, we are fast catching up. These leaps and bounds mean that we now have access to modern, sophisticated tools for everything from education, business operations, and marketing.

The three main ways that technology is changing marketing in the Philippines include a shift in portability, improved and editable aesthetics, and advanced tracking.

Portability

Now that laptops are more lightweight and come with new operating systems designed to work quickly and efficiently, marketing can be done from anywhere. A powerpoint can be reviewed from a cellphone, a survey can be taken on a tablet, and data can be analyzed with just a laptop and reliable Internet connection on the beach. As a country with insufficient infrastructure and traffic jams that can take hours, being able to utilize your commute time to close deals and refine marketing materials will play a key role in innovation and improvement.

Here are some tools that can help you turn your marketing team into a mobile workforce.

  • [insert laptop, link to Versatech product]
  • [insert smartbro pocket wifi, link to Versatech product]
  • ChargeTech portable battery pack – This powerbank allows you to charge everything from your cellphones to your laptop, and it even includes a three-prong outlet to plug into.

Editable design materials

Aesthetics has always played a large role in marketing, from the ad campaigns in the 90s to the billboards we see plastered across Manila today. What catches your eye catches your interest, and that is where the money goes. With new technology, creating an aesthetically pleasing marketing piece is easier than ever, and it makes design more accessible to marketers who may not have a background in graphic design or the arts. Small edits don’t take an entire graphic design team anymore, which means with the right software a copy edit only takes a few seconds versus back-and-forth email directions.

Here are a few online tools that allow you to create beautiful designs.

  • Canva – This is an online tool that allows non-designers to create everything from social media images, to posters, to blog graphics, to greeting cards. You can create custom sizes, upload your own photos and elements, edit fonts and backgrounds, and much more. With such an easy-to-use interface, this tool is great for people with any level of design experience.
  • Piktochart – This tool is especially useful for creating infographics. One of the most useful features is that team members can collaborate on a graphic by leaving comments and messages.
  • Unsplash – Finding high-quality stock photos to use in your websites, brochures, and other materials is hard, and sometimes expensive. Unsplash answers this problem by providing a database of beautiful, high-resolution images that are free to use under the CC0 license.

Advanced tracking

Finally, and possibly most game-changing, is the effect technology has on monitoring and metrics. Just a few decades ago, we could only submit our marketing efforts into the void and hope they got us some customers. Now, we can not only track each campaign, we can monitor the return on investment on every detail of a marketing campaign. With UTM tags, we can now see exactly where each website viewer comes from, so we can monitor our biggest traffic drivers. Instead of relying on your customers to tell you how they discovered your business, you can track the success rates of affiliate and referral programs.

Below are a few tools you can use to track and analyze the ROI of your campaigns.

  • Google analytics – Google Analytics allows you to track multiple levels of your website. You can see the demographics of your website visitors, who follows a call-to-action, where your website traffic is coming from, which webpages or blog posts are most popular, and more.
  • Facebook insights – This internal Facebook tool shows you statistics like reach, engagement, and follower demographics. You can also add a CTA to Facebook, like a “Buy Now”option or “Download app” button. Facebook allows you to track the clicks to this CTA.
  • MailChimp – MailChimp is an email campaign service that helps you keep in touch with your audiences via email. Once you send a campaign, MailChimp will show you metrics like how many emails were opened, your best subscribers, how many people click on links within your email, and more.

By taking advantage of portable and efficient technology, marketing departments will be able to operate on-the-move and from anywhere. This will create a fast-moving shift towards agile marketing, paving the way for innovation and allowing us to keep up with industry trends. Marketing departments will have more control over design, allowing for beautiful and functional pieces with less turnover time. Finally, marketing teams have more access to metrics and measurement systems. This means we’ll be able to gain valuable insight into our target markets like never before.