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International Label Mfg.
 

HR Corner: Expert Advice on Staffing and Social Media in Your Print Company


By Claudia St. John, president, Affinity HR Group LLC

Q: At what point does a small company need a dedicated HR person? Right now our payroll person is handling HR issues. She does an OK job, but I wonder if we are missing something.

A: Many small companies that cannot afford an HR person divvy up HR duties between other administrative staff. It is not uncommon to have an administrator, finance or payroll person handle critical needs such as making sure people get paid and enrolled in benefits. Unfortunately, given the myriad federal laws that apply to even the smallest companies, everyone needs experienced HR support from time to time. The rule of thumb in the industry is once you hit 50 employees, you probably need an HR professional, and you generally need a professional for every 150 employees (so you would need two HR professionals if you have 300 employees).

If you think she's doing a good job, maybe what you need is just a quick audit of your HR function to make sure everything is going well. She will probably learn a lot, and you will have the peace of mind to know that your HR ducks are all in a row.

Q: One of our employees posted something very disparaging about our company on his Facebook page. He did this on his personal time; are we able to discipline him for this? His comments have gone viral, and I'm worried about the damage it will do to our reputation in the community. Please help.

A: This is a very familiar story that has become more and more common with the popularity of social networking. First, if you don't already have one, you need a social networking policy, which outlines what employees can and cannot do with the Internet and social networking sites in relation to their job. The law in this area is quickly changing, and employer rights are not so clear. You may want to seek help from an attorney or HR consultant to help you draft a policy or help you in interpreting your rights as an employer. They can guide you in the best way to deal with the offending employee. If you are considering disciplining or terminating an employee, I strongly recommend you seek counsel before doing so.

Affinity HR Group LLC is a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies.

In this section of the
Print Solutions e-Newsletter, St. John responds to recent human resources-related questions that may impact you and your business. Have a question for Claudia? Send your query via email and your question may be answered in a future edition of HR Corner.

All PSDA member companies receive discounted pricing on Affinity HR Group's wide variety of services. For more information, visit the group's website.
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Ennis, Inc.
 

PSDA News

PSDA's On-Demand Training Offers Comprehensive VDP Program

PSDA's On-Demand Training is a newly launched web-based program featuring a diverse content library including a series of five courses on variable data printing. Developed by industry experts, these courses serve as an extensive overview of how to approach variable data projects from start to finish. Courses can be purchased individually or as a complete bundle.

View a demo of the Variable Data Printing 101 course or click here to learn more about each of the courses and to sign up.
Get Down to Business with PSDA's New Online Sourcing Guide

Have you visited PSDA's Online Sourcing Guide? This newly launched directory provides member companies with a comprehensive resource of providers of products, services and solutions. Utilize this resource as you research and identify channel partners. The Online Sourcing Guide supplements PSDA's proprietary sourcing program, including the annual Print Solutions Sourcing Guide issue, PSDA's members-only sources listserv and phone-in Source Hotline resources. This easy-to-use directory is available 24/7 from any computer, tablet or web-enabled smartphone. Log into psda.org and visit the new PSDA Online Sourcing Guide today.

Special thanks to the following members for their initial sponsorship of this valuable industry resource: Data Label Inc., Datatel, The Flesh Company, Folder Express, MAR Graphics, Team Concept Printing, Ward/Kraft and Wilmer.
An Industry Fast Fact from PSDA Partner Two Sides

Because forest products — including paper — can require little or no fossil fuels for production and store carbon throughout their useful life, they can have inherent climate change advantages over all other materials with which they compete, provided they are produced in a sustainable manner. —World Resources Institute

For more print and paper myths and facts, click here.


Boise Inc.
 

Member News

Custom Index Acquires Thompson Paper Products, Expands Line of Products

PSDA member Custom Index, a manufacturer of custom index tabs and file folders based in Totowa, N.J., recently acquired Thompson Paper Products of Houston. The acquisition, announced by Custom Index CEO Nafees Rahman, expands the company's line of file folder products for its dealer network, which serves a multitude of industries (medical, automotive, schools, legal, manufacturing and more). All operations will be incorporated into Custom Index's Totowa facility. “There is a lot of synergy between our two companies — from the products we manufacture to our shared commitment to superior customer service — so this transaction makes good business sense for our firms and our customers,” Rahman said. Thompson Paper Products, established in 1961, has cultivated strong customer loyalty and relationships, just as Custom Index has done since its founding in 1982, Rahman said.

At a time when corporations are still growing slowly or holding off on major investments, Custom Index has bucked the trend under Rahman's leadership. The company continues to seek out opportunities to gain new markets and build its product line. Last year, Custom Index bought a former supplier, Color-Trac Labels, which made color-coded labeling systems; Custom Index now distributes all labels from its New Jersey factory. “We continue to look ahead, to diversify and expand our product offerings and provide greater value to our dealers,” Rahman said. “As a leader in our industry, we are proving that manufacturing is alive and well in America.”

For more information about the custom and stock filing and labeling solutions available from Custom Index, visit the company's website or contact Anthony Presti, director of business development and marketing, by phone at 800.291.3865 or by email.
Wilmer Adds Combination English/Spanish Sign-In Sheets to Product Line

Wilmer, a wholesale trade manufacturer and PSDA member, recently added combination English/Spanish sign-in sheets to its health care product line. Health care facilities serving Hispanic and English populations can now welcome patients with a bilingual health care sign-in system that processes as many as 3,125 patients in compliance with HIPAA privacy regulations. Both languages are featured on the same sheet. Each package contains 125 blue forms, with numbered sign-in lines from 1-25. Professionally designed, the combination English/Spanish Healthcare Sign-In System is priced the same as the English-only version. For additional information, call Wilmer customer service at 800-4WILMER (800.494.5637).

Apex Color Adds to its Equipment List, Now Offers Digital, Direct Mail and UV

PSDA member Apex Color of Jacksonville, Fla., recently added Konica Minolta's C8000 Bizhub and 1200 B&W to its equipment list. Both offer inline booklet maker, pamphlet maker, and punch and stapler and have full-variable capability. This gives Apex Color full digital and direct mail capability. Apex Color has also added Tec Lighting's offline UV coater and now offers flood UV for both commercial offset and digital products. “We are very excited to offer our customers entirely new products and capabilities. Adding digital gives us the ability to be a true one-stop shop for short to medium runs on the color side of our business," said Eric Adloff, vice president of sales and marketing for Apex Color. For more information, contact Eric Adloff at 800.367.6790, ext. 124, or by email.
SAGE Replaces MAPPS by SAGE Trade Show with Revamped SAGE Show for 2013

PSDA member SAGE, a provider of information, marketing and business management solutions for the promotional products industry, recently announced the SAGE Show™, a larger version of its long-running MAPPS by SAGE trade show. The new event, to take place February 26–28, 2013, at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas, will replace MAPPS beginning in 2013. “[More than] 33 percent of the industry's distributors are located in the central U.S., but there hasn't been a national-scale show in this area in quite some time,” said David Natinsky, president of SAGE. “We've spent a lot of time studying what changes we could make in order to make the show the best it can possibly be. We are excited to be able to deliver an event like the SAGE Show to the central United States without adding another show to an already overcrowded calendar. It's definitely going to be a must-attend show for suppliers, distributors and clients in 2013.”
Graphic Dimensions Launches Stock Deposit Book Line

Graphic Dimensions, a PSDA member trade manufacturer of business documents, recently launched a line of stock deposit books. These designed books are economically priced and available in quantities as low as 100 tickets. The stock deposit books contain multiple features, including guaranteed CAR boxes, a decorative cover and a distributor reorder notice. To request samples and pricing, call or email Graphic Dimensions.

Industry News

What Mailers Need to Know About Changes at the USPS
MyPrintResource (07/01/12) Dediemar, Nancy

Network optimization, or the downsizing of production capacity, at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will entail significant revisions to area mail processing and delivery standards. Mailers must be prepared to contend with these changes, and the first effect of processing center closures will be changes in postal destinations as displayed in labeling lists. These changes will be made by mail list management software vendors, and they may happen more often than they have in the past. Mailers also will need to boost customers' awareness of changes in delivery standards since the mailing schedule may be affected by the removal of overnight service for first class and periodical mail.

As of next January, all mailers claiming automation discounts will be mandated to use the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). Mailers can use either basic or full service IMb between January 2013 and January 2014; but starting January 2014, full service IMb will be obligatory for automation discounts, and the IMb basic service will be phased out.

The USPS has designed a new product to assist companies with their marketing initiatives. The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia is a redesign of the presorted first class or standard mail indicia. A company can use the indicia area of the mail piece to promote their brands with Picture Permit. The indicia still must show the class of mail, the permit number, city and state or name of the company using a company permit, but these components can be arranged around the logo or other graphic. The image must be color-printed, and the required text has to be at least eight-point type and OCR readable. In addition, the mail piece must use full service IMb. Using the Picture Permit will cost a penny more in postage per piece for first class and two cents per piece for standard mail.

Emerging Trends to Keep Growth Going
ProPrint (06/01/12) Romano, Frank

Challenges that printers are facing with the increased adoption of digital print include selling something that differs from offset, as the digital printing market is short run, on demand and personalized in some instances, said Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Frank Romano. He wrote that selling both digital and offset printing is often impossible for offset salespeople because they are acclimated to longer runs. The shortness of digital printing runs necessitates the use of an automated workflow.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of all digital printing placements are based in-house and at corporate reproduction facilities, and on-demand book producers, commercial printers and other organizations respectively comprise 30 percent, 20 percent and 15 percent of all placements, according to Romano. Globally, 56 percent of printers have some type of digital printing, with digital constituting approximately 30 percent of all print volume and expanding at double digits every year as volume increasingly migrates from offset to digital.

Romano provided several examples of opportunities for printers to maintain their lead over rivals, including highly automated workflows that boost productivity while reducing labor, and staff who possess the technical training for automated printers and workflows. He also observed that digital print costs have fallen over the last two years thanks to technology and competition, which make it critical for printers to create value-added services that they can charge more for, such as special finishing, database, design fulfillment and mailing.

Trends in digital printing that Romano foresees include the expanding market for on-demand books, the increased use of targeted direct mail and digital printing used to produce more than 50 percent of all promotional printing.

Wave the Flag: Unfurl New Profit Potential With Textile Printing
Wide-Format Imaging (07/12) Steele, Jeffrey

The owners of the 2012 WFI Top 40 Shops view fabric graphics as a niche market that is destined for major industry growth this year. The trade show and exhibit industry is only the start of a potential market for printed textiles, considering the materials are also sought by interior designers, retail stores and sportswear manufacturers. "Textile printing has been very big in Europe and South America for a number of years, and it's now doing the same here," said Randy Anderson, product manager for textile with Mutoh America in Phoenix.

Print service providers (PSPs) starting out in the fabric market should meet with their existing suppliers and distributors, who are likely to offer different fabrics and can be good sources for what is selling, said Harlan Roberts, national sales manager for Big Mountain Imaging in Philadelphia. PSPs should buy equipment based on the fabric products they can sell to their current customer base; for example, providers with clients that need pop-up trade show exhibits will need a wider printer. Equipment options include Mutoh America's 1628TD and 2628TD; the Xennia Jade, Osiris and Emerald textile printing systems; Durst Image Technology's Rhotex 320; and Hewlett-Packard's HP Designjet L26500 and the HP Designjet L28500. PSPs will have to stay on top of the learning curve to master capability, troubleshooting daily issues that arise, performing proper maintenance, and changing and advancing technology. They will also need a facility to accommodate efficient production flow.

Direct Mail Advertising Hurt Less by, Rebounding From the Recession Says IBISWorld
Printing Impressions (07/05/12)

IBISWorld industry analyst Kevin Culbert reported that the recession caused demand for the direct mail advertising industry to slip as businesses reduced costs to maintain profit. Customers trimmed marketing budgets, causing a decrease in revenue at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent during the five years to 2012, when it amounted to $12.9 billion. The sector also was hit by growing competition from other below-the-line promotional tools, such as the Internet and text messaging. Culbert noted that in the five years to 2012, the number of direct mail firms is expected to shrink at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent to 3,035; yet the revenue decline was relatively mild in the context of the broader advertising services industry, and the sector is poised for further expansion this year.

Programs deployed by the U.S. Postal Service to encourage commercial mailers are expected to work to operators' advantage this year and contribute to revenue growth of 1.2 percent in 2012. Direct advertising is frequently more cost-effective than traditional advertising for marketers seeking to target a specific group or niche market, and direct mail advertising exhibits relatively low volatility and suffers less in a recession because many businesses substitute their traditional advertising methods with cheaper, broader-reaching promotional strategies.

Marketers resort to more cost-effective and targeted forms of promotion when the economy slows and businesses reduce marketing budgets. Although less money is apportioned to marketing across the board, the portion allocated to direct mail expands. IBISWorld predicted that industry revenue will increase in the five years to 2017, but while profit margins will improve, competition will continue to impede growth. As more and more consumers turn to the Internet to find bargains and coupons, increasing numbers of companies will offer services online. Continued consolidation among companies is expected to cause the number of operators to decline in the five years to 2017.

A Holiday Discount Is Possible for Catalog Mailers
Multichannel Merchant (07/05/12) Parry, Tim

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has submitted a proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission for another 2 percent upfront postal discount for mail containing mobile barcodes. The promotion period time would be between Nov. 7 and Nov. 21. To qualify for the promotion, the mobile barcode, when scanned, must lead to a mobile optimized website and allow for purchase of the advertised product. The promotion will be available for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail letters, flats and cards (presort and automation).

Mailers may qualify for an extra 1 percent rebate on their qualifying mailings if a portion of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail between Nov. 9 and Dec. 31. These orders also must be labeled with a unique and trackable barcode, such as an Intelligent Mail barcode or a delivery confirmation barcode. To be eligible for the rebate, mailers will have to show that during this fulfillment period, the number of Priority Mail packages delivered to customers exceeded 0.5 percent of the total number of qualifying mailpieces sent during the promotion period.

QR Code promotions enable catalog mailers to prospect right as the holiday season is kicking off, drive catalog readers to the smartphone and indicate that the USPS wants to work with catalog mailers and get more catalogs in the mainstream.

Digital Package Printing Now Used for More VDP Projects
MyPrintResource (06/04/12) Whitcher, Joann

Graphic providers initially saw digital package printing as a way to respond to customer needs for short runs, but they now view the technology as a means to meet requirements for very intricate designs and complicated variable data projects. Alliance Graphics Printing in Houston purchased an HP Indigo press for commercial work in 2006, and its success with that digital printer led the company to buy the EFI Jetrion 4830 for label printing in November 2011.

"We saw what happened with the Indigo and how digital printing over the six year period was adopted within the commercial sector," said Jeff Birmingham, majority owner of the $10 million shop. "We knew the same would be happening in the label market." The "sweet spot" for the Jetrion keeps moving up, with Alliance noting that its quality surpasses the level achieved with flexo presses and adding that it can handle the greater versioning needs of customers. Nosco migrated into digital with the purchase of an HP Indigo 4000 in 2004 and partnered with HP and Esko to develop a package that serializes labels or cartons, giving them a unique identifier. Many customers are looking to print unique barcodes on every carton or label, in anticipation of government legislation involving serialization in 2015. According to InfoTrends, converters worldwide spent $166 million on color digital presses used to print labels and packaging in 2010, and the figure is expected to rise 10.3 percent at an annual rate through 2015.
InfoTrends

Check out the article in the May 2012 issue of Print Solutions magazine by InfoTrends' Barb Pellow on "Building Better Relationships with Data-Driven Marketing."

Remember: PSDA members receive a discount on InfoTrends products and services. For more information, click here.



More Goods Come From 3-D Printing
USA Today (07/11/12) P. 1B Davidson, Paul

Digital technology in the form of 3-D printers could potentially give new life to U.S. manufacturing and even bring more jobs back to the United States. The machines look and function like document printers, and they use printing materials such as plastic or metal powder to give objects three-dimensional shapes.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3-D printing has been used since the late 1980s to make prototypes, but the technology is increasingly being used to crank out limited runs of actual parts for products. Part production accounted for nearly a quarter of the $1.7 billion in sales of 3-D printing products and services in 2011, doubling its share from 2007, said Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates. The consulting firm expects part making to represent 80 percent of the $6.9 billion in revenue projected for 3-D printing products and services by 2019. Entrepreneurs and hobbyists are buying a relatively new class of printers that cost $2,000 or less to make jewelry, toys and other knickknacks, but manufacturers have made up most of the surge in the technology as printing speeds increase and product quality improves.

There are some concerns about the cost-effectiveness of the technology for large production runs, but a growing universe of industrial parts is expected to be printed rather than bolted, bent or molded in the years to come. "It's difficult to name an industry that won't be impacted," said Wohlers.

Study Finds Strong Correlation Between Analytics and Loyalty Program Success
Chief Marketer (06/26/12) Levey, Richard H.

A report from SAS and Loyalty 360 has found that marketers are concerned about the effects of their retention programs on customer loyalty. Only 24 percent of marketers believe in the effectiveness of their efforts toward delivering desired results. Another 22 percent indicate that their programs are having a neutral impact or worse. "Customer analytics are among the top two things that help [respondents'] loyalty programs," said Pamela Prentice, chief research officer at SAS. "The first is rewards [at 42 percent], and the second is customer analytics [38 percent]." Trailing behind those factors are social media and online communities.

Survey respondents who reported integrating customer data with loyalty programs were much more likely to report effectiveness in their programs. When it comes to retention, top-performing organizations have a chief marketing officer who is somehow transitioning from the CMO role to a chief loyalty officer role. SAS's paper favors "planting the seeds of loyalty earlier in the buy cycle" by applying analytics when prospects are still considering a purchase. "If the marketing person does a good job upfront, and uses the analytics and data they can gather, and can do good segmentation, and matches the company with the right customers, all that happens before the lifecycle [begins]," Prentice noted. "Companies are still struggling to determine which segments are their best." Not every consumer is a potential customer, and not every customer should be in a loyalty program. Organizations may want to release some customers from these programs to invest in better matches.
PSDA Blog

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Unilever Pushes Sustainable Growth
Labels & Labeling (07/09/12) Jerschefske, Danielle

A key theme of a recent Unilever seminar was the company's sustainability push for products that inspire consumers to cut energy and water consumption through clever packaging design. The seminar, held concurrently in Washington, D.C., London, and Sao Paulo, detailed the company's progress in its Sustainable Living Plan launched nearly two years ago. "We are finding that when you look at the normal business processes — product development, sourcing and manufacturing — through the lens of sustainability, it actually opens up a way for innovation and also cost reduction," said Unilever North America president Kees Kruythoff.

The program has already helped Unilever trim its overall environmental footprint by 10 percent via supply chain efficiencies and achieve $250 million in cost savings, and the novelty of the company's strategy resides in its assumption of responsibility not just for its direct operations but also for its suppliers, distributors and consumers who use brands such as Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Lifebuoy and Pureit each day. Spurring consumers to embrace new sustainable products and habits is vital to realizing the Sustainable Living Plan's objectives.

Unilever's sustainability push is key the company's future. "Sustainable growth will be the only acceptable model of growth in the future," said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. "Unilever grew well in 2011, but what is encouraging is that the brands which put sustainability at the center of their propositions, like Lifebuoy soap, grew faster than the average."

Goals outlined for 2020 by the Sustainable Living Plan include Unilever helping more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being, slashing the environmental footprint of product manufacturing and consumption in half and sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials.

Grocery Retailers Slow to Digitize, Socialize
Marketing Vox (07/09/12)

A new study from Valassis reveals that 90 percent of grocery retailers use weekly circulars for promotions, and 75 percent realize increased results from print circulars. More specifically, the Supermarket Media Usage Study of 60 leading grocery decision makers indicates 50 percent increased sales, and 25 percent increased customer retention. The national and independent grocers and chains use eight media methods, but they value print the most, in the form of weekly circulars via newspapers, weekly circulars via shared mail and direct mail. Internet display and email rank fourth and fifth in value, respectively, followed by TV, radio and mobile and cellphones.

The study conducted by Stagnito Custom Media still shows that print is losing its reach, with 26 percent of respondents reporting an increase in the use of promotions delivered via email or offered online in response to declining paid newspaper circulation. Circulars distributed via newspapers have declined overall during the past year. Two-thirds of respondents expect to increase use of social media and digital marketing during the next five years.

Smart Design for Labels, Packaging
Labels & Labeling (07/05/12) Houghton, Carol

Label and packaging designers are beginning to take how they can integrate smart technologies into their customers' brands into consideration. Design agencies are witnessing a migration toward engaging consumers in a "deeper, two-way brand dialogue" using smart technologies, according to Imagemme's Amina AlTai. "It used to be we would work with textures and finishes predominantly to arouse the tactile, visual and olfactory senses," she said. "Now consumers want to be involved in the brand virtually." AlTai anticipates that near field communication (NFC) will be an especially strong agent for change in this packaging paradigm shift. "NFCs, essentially the consumer version of RFID, allow smartphones to engage with tags embedded in packaging, or other printed material, to immediately engage the consumer in an authentic and controlled brand experience," she said. "They are already appearing everywhere from posters and press kits to packaging as they appear to answer many of the shortcomings seen with QR Codes and snap tags."

Still, NFC tags cost as much as 50 cents each, while additional production costs are inherent in the fact that tags cannot presently be applied on the package printing press. "Smoothly incorporating NFCs into the design of the packages can pose another challenge," AlTai said. "The NFC forum has created its own logo so that shoppers can quickly identify which packages have these tags. The logo is making strides in consumer awareness but some design agencies are finding that integrating such logos into the design of the collateral can be somewhat discordant."

"The look and feel of a package will always be important because our brains respond to visuals and colors before they decipher words," AlTai said. "However, an evolved experience that stimulates the modern consumer is necessary to engage them in an ongoing dialogue. NFCs are a great way to do this."

Looking Good—Better Than Ever, Actually
Wide-Format Imaging (07/12) Vruno, Mark

Digital photography and printing have enabled photographers, artists, photo labs and fine art reproduction businesses to bring gallery-quality wall art to the masses more than ever before. Nationally acclaimed aerial photographer Mike Gustafson, who also is a printer, specializes in photos of the Chicago skyline, cityscapes and sports venues, and his 27x39-inch lithographs are available online. Ines Hulftegger, an artist in Switzerland, has launched a fine art reproduction business to boost profit margins. Hulftegger's company, IN_EX design, uses the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer along with the HP Artist Solution for Nikon, and she said that the systems significantly streamline the process for manipulating images and making multiple prints to ensure accurate color.

"This new streamlined approach ultimately translates to cost savings and more time to process jobs, positively impacting our bottom line," Hulftegger said. EFI responded to the increasing demand for higher image quality capabilities at production level speeds by announcing the VUTEk QS2 Pro UV hybrid printer at drupa, and Epson has especially conceived its new large-format Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 printers for art prints and proofs. On a lower scale, shoppers will see breathtaking framed prints and posters along the aisles of retail stores, such as Target.
drupa 2012

Check out the July issue of Print Solutions magazine — coming to your mailbox soon — for part one of contributor Ivars Sarkans' two-part series on drupa 2012.

How Clutter Is Killing Online Media
UTalkMarketing (06/18/12) Ivey, Giles

Leading Internet advertisers are looking for ways to stand out from the growing online clutter. Research using eye-tracking technology and surveys to better understand users' responses to online advertising recently found that consumers spend more time looking at ads and have better brand recall when ads have beautifully presented, legible content on uncluttered, clean pages that focus on one brand at a time. In the eye-tracking study, fully 100 percent of the respondents looked at the ads on clean website pages versus 89 percent who looked at ads on pages with several ads for one brand, and 76 percent who looked at ads on cluttered sites with several ads from different advertisers. Moreover, if the consumer felt the site was uncluttered, they viewed ads for more than 13 seconds. Meanwhile, ads on clean pages were viewed for 6.4 seconds, and ads on cluttered pages were viewed for 3.2 seconds. Consumer intent to purchase also was rated higher in uncluttered environments, suggesting that advertisers may be willing to pay a premium to place ads in uncluttered environments that contain valuable content.


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July 26, 2012
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