Like many of you and surely the rest of America, our economy and, dare I say it, the stimulus — or whatever they're calling the bill on Capitol Hill — now seems to have pervaded my daily consciousness. The very life, or habit, of the consumer seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis. The certainties about our customers now are variables, and the presence of these variables have mysteriously become, well, a certainty. The surprising one percent gain in retail sales this past January, ending a six-month decline, proves that nothing is quite certain in these trying economic times. However, such good news is not expected to last long, with the Labor Department reporting a 7.6% unemployment rate in January as well as an expected rise of 1.2% of this figure in the final three months of the year, according to a survey by Bloomberg.
With the unemployment rate skyrocketing dangerously and the much-feared word "depression" not far from our minds, we all know that it's time to get serious. In a time when your customers are cutting back and picking what bills to pay, loyalty is king. But as we all face those dreaded cutbacks to keep the doors open, the question is: Can you keep this loyalty with what resources you have left? The reality is that to survive in this business environment, the mantra to live by is "do more with less." Doing so may mean reevaluating lines of business, processes, tactical alignment, etc. In fact, it might force you and your organization to think outside of the box and leverage resources you might never have noticed.
These challenges are certainly not small, and, certainly, we at DOCUMENT face the very same obstacles. We understand that these days, your desk is piled high with pressing and complex tasks. But DOCUMENT remains dedicated to helping you find the strategies and solutions to serve your customers more effectively. However, we too realize that these solutions need to reflect the times and challenges we all face. Just like you, we need to push ourselves in order to serve our customers — you! With this in mind, you will notice that the magazine has been slightly reorganized. Though no less in-depth and application- specific, we are introducing eight new departments and columns. We have drilled down to the most important information that you can take right to you boss's desk for a rapid-fire rundown of the points to apply in your own enterprise. And we haven't stopped just there; we are also excited to announce the relaunch of our document portal of information, www.DOCUMENTmedia.com, where we have added new functionalities, including daily updates on news, exclusive feature articles, product briefings, store items, our first interactive online Professional Community, our very own Twitter microblog and so much more. There's a lot at stake for all of us, and we've put it all on the line so we can make you successful. Here's to your success!