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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and holidays such as Hanukkah and Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on this year’s accomplishments. You’ve been working extra hard to achieve your goals, improve your marketing strategies and dedicate yourself to bringing in new clients. Remember all the sleepless nights, the overtime you put in on weekends and the valuable moments with your family you’ve invested in attracting new clients? Let me ask you this: How often did you take out the time to show your old and current clients your appreciation? Research has shown that it takes 8 times the investment to win a new client as it does to retain an existing one. So don’t make the mistake and overlook your present and past customers as they build the foundation of your business and without them; your business would not exist. To get your creative juices flowing, we at Officense would like to share our top 10 ideas for your own client appreciation campaign that will create a remarkable impression. keep calm because you're invited MP 1. HOST A CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT A client appreciation event is a great opportunity of getting some face-to-face time with your former and current clients. Contact OFFICENSE to find out more about our yearly appreciation luncheon in December. 2. SEND GREETING CARDS ON UNIQUE HOLIDAYS How many times are we overwhelmed by the piles of holiday cards we receive for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years? Lessen the chance your card gets overlooked by sending it to customers on a unique holiday. Ground hog day, National Chocolate Day just to name a few… Now it’s time to get innovative. 3. A PERSONAL CALL There’s no need to break the bank with a lavish gift to thank a customer. By simply picking up the phone and saying “Thank You” or “Happy Holidays” you will make a powerful statement and unique impression. pick up phone 4. SEND A HANDWRITTEN NOTE Some might call it Old School others unique. Let’s switch it up a little and send a personal handwritten note instead of an email or tweet. You’ll make your customer’s day—everyone loves receiving real mail! 5. DISCOUNT THE BILL OF YOUR LONG-TIME CLIENTS, JUST BECAUSE Send a note telling your client you’ve taken a few bugs off their June bill as a way of showing your appreciation for their loyalty. 6. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – SHARE IT! You’re the expert on your product and service, so show it off a bit to provide useful information and educate your customers. An email newsletter or blog would be a great start. 7. MAIL HEALTHY SNACKS TO THEIR OFFICE Who doesn’t like snacks during a busy day at work? By sending a healthy snack variety you show more than just appreciation. Thank you in different languages 8. CREATE AN HONOR ROLL ON YOUR WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE Even though it’s not The Nobel Prize or The Grammys, you can still make your clients feel special by highlighting your best customers. 9. SEND SMALL GIFTS OR GIFT CARDS Cupcakes from your local bakery, a Starbucks gift card, and even movie tickets are a great way to say “Thank You”. The better you match your client’s personality the more you show just how well you know them. 10. GIVE REFERRAL REWARDS One of the most valued compliments you can get is a referral to your business. Of course our list could go on and on, but now it’s up to you. Try out some of our tips or incorporate your own ideas to make a positive statement. We can guarantee that it will set you apart from competitors, cultivate client retention and build relationships that will last a lifetime. For more information call (410) 814-7500. Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving 11.26.14 mP Written by MP
voteFor voters, Election Day is anticipated as the day their voices may finally be heard as state and federal representatives are elected. For others it’s just another Tuesday in November. In these modern times of absentee ballots, Election Day has evolved to embrace early voting as much as weeks in advance. Have you ever wondered why elections are held on a Tuesday in November to begin with? Well it all began in 1845… Election_Day_1815_by_John_Lewis_KrimmelPrevious to 1845, states were allowed to hold elections at any time of year, as long as the elections took place within a 34-day period, and that the period ended prior to the first Wednesday in December. As you can imagine, this system created critical flaws to the electoral system.  To begin, the elective results for states which voted earlier in the year had the potential to affect the ‘voter turn-out’ in states holding later elections. More so, the opinions of voters in these late-casting states could be swayed by the results of early-voting states. As a result, Congress originated the current Election Day with the intent of having a consistent and efficient voting model. ballot1888In 1845 congress decided to streamline an election day. The first Tuesday in November may not seem the most logical selection now, but back then it specifically appealed to 19th Century American farmers. You see in the 1800s, most citizens worked in the agricultural sector and lived quite far from their polling places. Generally, it would take these farmers at least a day of travel just to cast their ballots. Given that travel time alone was a full day, congress knew they needed to allow a two-day window for Election Days. But, still, why a Tuesday? Well, weekends weren’t practical since many voters spent their Sundays in church and Wednesdays were “Market Day” for farmers. It just so happened, Tuesday was the first opportune and most convenient day of the week to hold elections.Harry Truman Now you know why Election Day is on a Tuesday, but you may still be wondering why elections are held in November. Believe it or not, you can blame farm culture for this one too. Throughout the spring and early summer months, it was planting season and so an Election Day during those seasons would overlap with the farmer’s sowings. Meanwhile, late summer and early fall elections would impede with the farmer’s harvest season. As you can see Congress was quickly running out of seasons, because as you can remember, travel in the 19th century was no easy feat, and this was especially true during harsh winter weather. Congress was essentially left with the late fall month of November as the best choice, perhaps only choice, to host Election Day; after the fall’s harvest and before winter weather could delay voters and their travels. Nancy ReaganOver 150 years later, we still vote on the first Tuesday in November.  Why elections are still being held on this date is a mystery and some have contested that moving the date to the weekend would increase voter turnout. Until then, you at least have all the history you need about Election Day to share with your polling place as you fulfill your civic duty tomorrow! Before you cast your ballot, remember to update your Officense status so you can “vote”-assured that your business’s calls are being answered and packages received. Your friendly Officense receptionists have sent in their absentee ballots so we can be here greeting your clients and maintaining your business image while you vote for the laws affecting your business’s operations!Democracy Happy Voting!
In the Time magazine article, “Kmart Unleashes Season’s First Christmas Ad”  the airing of Kmart’s first Christmas commercial mere days within the Labor Day holiday, caused an uproar with consumers. The releasing of premature holiday ads kicked off in September of 2013 only mere days behind the NFL’s kick off date! This year K-Mart is at it again with a “Non-Christmas” ad which is more than a little reminiscent of the holiday. Meanwhile, consumers appalled by the premature marketing, took their frustrations to social media:

NBC-Clock-nightmare-before-christmas-17526564-2560-1714“What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?” one commenter posted. “Stop with the Christmas commercials ALREADY!!” Another raged, “Why don’t you just start this on 1st each year! This is ridiculous and if I see an ad on TV I will never stop in your store!” Kmart’s “Non-Christmas” Ad

In light of this, we are dedicating our latest blog, in a most-timely fashion, to Halloween in Charm City! Whether you’ve been on the prowl for a ghost sighting or it’s the candy that you crave, Baltimore has got you covered! From family-friendly scares to adults only events, below you’ll find a miscellany of local activities sure to amplify your Halloween’s fear factor. Fells Pt Relish in the cool crisp air of fall weather and take a stroll through one of Baltimore’s most widely contested haunted neighborhoods. The award winning Mount Vernon Ghost Tour allows thrill-seekers to appreciate the community’s historical architecture while guides, dressed in period-attire, escort you through the spirited neighborhood. If it’s another type of spirit that you’re after, check out the Fells Point Haunted Pub Crawl! Ghost-sightseers can sip on a pumpkin-ale while your tour guide accounts tales of spirits startling the local taverns workers and patrons. For a gravely different experience, visit the reportedly most haunted city in the state of Maryland and one of the most haunted cities in the United States, Frederick. This year, Candlelight tours will be extending a historic cemetery tour in addition to their nationally acclaimed ghost tours. ZoobooCandy seekers can get their fill at the Maryland Zoo. October 24-26 marks the return of the Maryland Zoo’s Zoo-Boo event! Besides trick or treating, kids can enter in costume contests, participate in craft making, play carnival games, or visit their favorite animal. Food and live entertainment will be available. FrightfestNow through November 2, Six Flags America will be hosting its annual Fright Fest! Here kids can enjoy a pre-Halloween trick or treat trail, Halloween-themed shows, haunted houses and all the usual thrill rides. Fright Fest isn’t just for kids though; check the schedule, as the park is closed to children several evenings for adults-only events, and several new attractions have been added for the 2014 season! pumpPonyFor family friendly events that won’t put your children at risk for nightmares, Baltimore has several festivals that guarantee fun for all ages. The Harbor Harvest commences its Halloween inspired festivals on October 19. The 7th annual, two day, waterfront festival will be featuring a hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting, live music, pumpkins patches and even pumpkin decorating! The event takes place between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and both admission and activities are free. LanternparadeFinally, the 15th annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival: Kaleidoscope in Baltimore is no ordinary costume parade. Creative Alliance will be hosting this true community art project where visitors are encouraged to build their own lanterns, learn to walk on stilts, and even participate in the parade as puppeteers! Live music, hay rides, food trucks, various workshops, and the parade of course will be taking place on October 25 between 3:30-9 p.m. Whatever ghoulish plans you may partake in, you can find comfort in knowing Officense is signing for your packages, screening your calls, and setting your appointments. Likewise, if you need an office to tie up some last minute business, we are conveniently located in the Inner Harbor for you to quickly return to your Halloween festivities!

WestJet ChristmasA few days ago many travelers had never heard of WestJet Airlines. Then WestJet spent time, money and some marketing elbow grease to make themselves heard. They didn’t rent extraneous billboards. They didn’t advertise a huge promotion on social media. They didn’t even max out your spam folder limit with emails.

They gave.

Travel weary passengers checking in for their flight were surprised by an invitation to say what they wanted for Christmas. These amused airway trekkers requested everything from tube socks to flat screen TV’s to tablets. Yet the last thing they expected was what awaited them in the baggage claim of their destination— wrapped, personalized gifts that exactly matched their wish list. christmas-box-71758_640

Some are skeptical of the gesture, cynical about the lengths companies will go to expand their marketing reach.  However, during this season, the most important concept is the gift of giving and many are saying the WestJet embodied the spirit of Christmas by their decision to give back to their clients rather than asking for something from them, especially when there is no immediate gain for the company.

Yet even the toughest cynics would have to admit that in terms of holiday marketing standards WestJet hit the nail on the head. So let’s look at it from a consumer perspective.  We remember commercials

From MasterCard’s “There Are Some Things in Life that Money Can’t Buy” campaign to the Campbell’s Soup “Snowman” commercial, sentimentality makes us connect and remember a company with a sense of fondness or at least familiarity. It’s something we discuss with our family and friends.

snowmanAnd people are definitely talking about WestJet. With an initial expectation of about 800,000 views of their YouTube video, “Christmas Miracle“, the company actually achieved a view count of over 19 Million international hits—and counting. This viral spread has in effect expanded the market reach of the company by this make us identify with the company.

So this holiday season don’t forget the power of giving and connecting on a personal level with your clients. You may not have the resources to pull off a marketing effort like WestJet’s Christmas Miracle but you would be surprised how much your business can grow from simple giving. Many have found that volunteering at the soup kitchen or giving to holiday charities like Angel Tree can make a world of difference.

Opportunities like this may not build your business, according to some skeptics or they may not raise brand recognition; but it can always build the spirit of giving in your team and help them feel a kinship with each other. And sometimes giving is its own reward.



Need a helping hand to get all your business needs taken care of while you embrace the spirit of giving? Call Officense! We can provide office space, answering services, video conferencing or a professional business address. 410-814-7500


With today being one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, James Lyne, cyber security contributor to Forbes, offers very sound advice for your holiday online shopping excursion. Sales today are expected to yield a staggering $1.8 billion in sales. So be sure to shop smart and keep your finances protected when shopping for that PS4 or the Xbox One.


“Stores online are expected to be at their busiest this Monday with online shopping hitting a high for the year (it is a shame that Amazon Prime Air delivery drones aren’t quite in service yet). As with any noteworthy event on the Internet cyber criminals will be out to make the most of shoppers’ click happy fingers with all manor of fake products, discounts and phishing mails to distribute their own evil wares. Most of the cyber-crime that occurs on days like today tend to be due to people making basic mistakes rather than elaborate hacks that look like a scene from the movie WarGames. Whilst you are shopping you might want to take a look at these top tips to keep yourself and your friends safe – spread the word and remember friends don’t let friends hand over credit card details to cyber criminals.

1. Make sure your computer is patched and up to date. Your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X for example) should be updated to the latest version and you should make sure your web browser and major applications are fully up to date. This will help prevent malware being installed on your computer without your permission. You can find more information on how to check this here (or click check for updates in most applications).

2. Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail from AmazingShopping.tld offering you 70% off an iPad it probably won’t go well for you. We all like a good deal, but be a little cynical and remember if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

3. People lie on the Internet. Really. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your bank or from a common provider like Amazon don’t use the link but rather go directly to the website by typing it in to your browser. If you are really unsure you can call the bank/provider but get their contact details directly from their site – don’t trust the ones in an e-mail.

4. Configure your web browser to help you stay safe. Whether you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer they each have features to detect scam sites and malicious code. For example, Internet Explorer information can be found here. Check these controls are enabled to prevent you visiting a nasty page. Some endpoint security suites also have browser protection capabilities.

credit card 5. Use a credit card, not debit. Whilst I’m not one to advocate debt, always use a credit card rather than debit. Credit cards have more insurance by default than debit cards so if a criminal does steal your details you are far more likely to get your money back. Double check the terms and conditions with your bank before taking advantage of those deals. You could also look at alternative providers like PayPal. Be aware that some secure payment schemes where you enter a pin or password when you buy have terms that waiver the responsibility in the event of fraud so you take the hit – double check and save yourself some money.

6. Use websites that support encryption. A website where you log in or share financial information should start with ‘https://’ and should have a padlock icon. If this is not present the information being sent is not encrypted and may be intercepted by third parties who steal your information. Be aware though, some cyber criminals also encrypt their websites so you need to both check for the ‘https://’ and be aware of the legitimacy of the brand you are dealing with.

7. Ask your friends and check with other Internet users. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a website or a provider try searching for them on Google. Have others dealt with them successfully? Have your friends and family heard of them? There is safety in numbers when it comes to shopping online.

8. Run good endpoint security software including anti-virus. SophosLabs [Disclosure: I work for Sophos] sees over 250,000 new pieces of malicious code every day circulating on the Internet and decent security software can help filter out the majority of these before they get anywhere near your data.

Computer Password Security

9. Give a quick thought to password security. A number of these providers will store your financial information or passwords and whilst they mean well they might lose this information (or have it stolen from them). Make sure you use a different password on each website so that if one provider is hacked criminals can’t make it in to your entire digital life, just one part of it.

10. Backup. If it all goes wrong you will want to make sure you can recover your data and easily cancel your cards with the bank. Some malicious code once installed will hold your data to ransom and the damage can’t be undone. So why not just prepare in advance and press that little backup button just in case things go wrong.

With all of that said enjoy shopping on Cyber Monday… “

And have a happy holiday season.

Be sure to check back often for interesting tips and informative articles. We love referrals, so spread the word about our premium Class A meeting/office space and professional live answer service at great prices.


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