Commercial Printing News & Notes

By Ryan Printing 13 Jun, 2017
When we think about motivating consumers to make a purchase, we think about using the right mailing list, creating the right offer, and having a compelling call to action. Whether creating a direct mail piece, a sales letter, or a magazine advertisement, those elements are critical. But the reasons people buy can also be more complex.

Particularly in the B2C environment, emotional factors are often at play. For example, if you are selling exotic vacations, you aren’t just selling a cost-effective hotel with great food and a seafront view.
  • You are selling relaxation. 
  • You are tapping into the desire to escape from the daily grind of meetings, presentations, and child rearing. 
  • You are selling the desire to be catered to. 
Tapping into these deep emotional wells can help you sell more. Instead of mailing a postcard with the headline, “Get 25% off plane tickets today!” Try, “Don’t you wish the office were a Thousand Miles Away?” Or, “Isn’t It Time that Someone Pampered YOU?”
Think about a parent dreaming of excitement beyond the children’s homework, playing shuttle for soccer practice, and meetings for the PTA. A trip offering whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving might tap deep emotional needs for adventure. Try a postcard with an image of the face of a skydiver, wide-eyed and exhilarated—cheeks flapping in the wind—that says, “You, too, can FLY!”

Whether you are developing direct mailers, sales letters, or magazine ads . . .
  • Think about unmet frustrations and deeper emotions that might drive recipients to make a change.
  • List the potential motivators. To be recognized at work? Get a promotion? Be challenged? Break out of the mold? Feel empowered, youthful, and sexy? 
  • Show — don’t tell. Use the power of graphics to tell a story. 
Emotions are powerful marketing tools. Emotionally driven purchases tend to be less price-sensitive and more spontaneous. The medium of print has the ability to tap into those emotions and motivate behavior in a way that no other medium can do. Take advantage of it!
By Ryan Printing 18 Apr, 2017
Event marketing, including trade shows, seminars, and conferences, offers unique opportunities to engage customers and increase the visibility of your brand. Direct mail, email, social media, and other marketing channels each have a role to play in raising awareness about your company, but events have the ability to put everything together in a way that no channel, by itself, can do.

A recent infographic by NCFE (Northern Council for Further Education) highlights three key benefits of event marketing every marketer should keep in mind.

1. Events humanize your company.
Events do more than showcase your products and services. They showcase your brand's personality. People like to buy from people, not just companies, so get consumers to like your brand's personality, and you will increase sales and win customers' long-term loyalty.

2. Events embed product information more deeply.
Events offer a multi-touch, multi-sensory experience that embeds information more deeply in customers' memories. Studies of post-trade-show experiences, for example, show that consumers who have physically interacted with a product (such as in a product demo) are more likely to remember that product and remember it in more detail than products they learned about in a passive environment. Events let your target audience engage with your product in a dynamic way that increase their ability to recall it later.

3. Events let you gather more demographic information.
Events create a fertile environment for gathering contact and demographic information you can use to target potential customers long after the event is over. Use registration forms, interactive booth or seminar games, badge scanning, and other techniques to gather as much information about attendees as possible. After all, they have just pre-qualified themselves as being high-value leads, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Want to learn more about event marketing and how to use booth graphics, displays, and marketing collateral to support your event marketing efforts?  Let us show you how. 
By Ryan Printing 31 Jan, 2017

Recently, Joe Schemer, specialty digital product manager for Mohawk Fine Papers, spelled out five key points about the evolution of digital papers in Printing Impressions magazine.

  1. Digital stocks are available in a full range of sizes to fit today’s press formats. From 8 ½ x 11” to 14 x 26” is standard. If you have a specialty need, just ask!
  2. Prices for digital sheets have come down. By request, even less common sheet sizes can be produced economically when ordered in volume. 
  3. Whether it’s extremely lightweight or card stock, or specialty finishes like linen or felt, there is a paper compatible with the press on which you will be printing . We offer the two leading digital printing solutions in the industry, iGen from Xerox and Indigo from HP, to ensure we always have the best way to produce your product. 
  4. Digital papers are more geared to productivity and quality than ever. Regardless of the individual paper mill or the presses on which their stocks will be printed, all are working to provide stronger ink adhesion, less cracking on the fold, minimal jamming on press, and minimal build-up on press. 
  5. Despite advances in substrates and engineered coatings, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Digital production still requires matching the paper to the press and taking into account issues such as static, image quality needs, and paper grain direction.
Need help selecting the right paper for your next project? Work with us to make sure that you are getting the right sheet to produce outstanding results.
Source: “When Heat Hits Paper” (Printing Impressions )

By Ryan Printing 22 Dec, 2016

With 2017 almost upon us, we hope that you've been busy planning your marketing strategies for the upcoming year. Whether you are using direct mail, email, mobile, and social media, or wide-format signage and graphics, here is a quick checklist to make sure you've hit the basics.

1. Define your objective.
What are your marketing objectives in 2017? Apply numbers to your goals. If it's to increase sales, what's your target? 10%? 15%? Is it to increase customer retention? Boost conversions? Deepen engagement? By what percentage? Applying specific numbers to your goals helps you measure success.

2. Know your audience.
Detailed knowledge of your audience goes beyond basic demographics to what makes your audience tick. For example, one of the trends now is "experience marketing." People increasingly respond to how products make them feel rather than the details of what they do. Insurance makes people feel secure. Freedom to travel makes people feel adventurous and independent. Developing personas rather than just demographic data can make a great investment.

3. Plan for the sales funnel.
Marketing isn't a one-off thing. It's a process that includes discovery, education, decision-making, and (hopefully) the ultimate purchase. Every company has a different sales funnel, however, so understand how your customers navigate yours. Also take the time to understand the benefits of each communications channel. Where does print fit? Email? Social media? Video? Which channels work best to move your prospects from one stage to the next?

4. Personalize.
This is the "me" generation, and tailoring marketing content to your target audience is critical. This can be done through highly personalized and data-driven communications that match images, messages, and offers to individual recipients. Or it can be done through strategic targeting and segmentation.
5. Channel mix.
With so many channels available, from direct mail to email, mobile, and social media, understand which channels your target audience prefers for different types of communications (billing, marketing, alerts). By honoring their preferences, you have a much better chance of getting your message heard.

6. Create a timetable.
When and how do you intend to deploy the components of your marketing strategy? It's not just getting the right message in front of the right audience. It's getting the right message in front of your audience at the right time. Create a strategic plan about what content to deploy, using which channel, and when.

Need help with implementation when print is part of the mix? Give us a call. That's why we're here.
By Ryan Printing 21 Nov, 2016
Most successful printing projects don't happen by accident. They start with a good plan. Here are 5 steps to ensuring that everything goes smoothly and on budget.

1. What is the goal of the printed piece?
Is the goal of the piece to entertain or inform? To impress? Your marketing goals influence the design and quality of the piece. Certain ideas may have a significant impact on turnaround or cost. For example, some binding options can take extra time, and certain trim sizes might incur extra expense. Paper choices can also affect the project cost and turnaround time.

2. Who is the audience, and how will they use the piece?
If you are designing a flyer for a theatrical opening, it will look different than one promoting a rock concert. People read a book differently than they read a poster. Before setting anything in stone, talk to us to determine how your design decisions can affect the project budget and schedule.

3. How many suppliers are involved?
Take into account the schedules of any outside service providers. For example, if you are using a freelance illustrator or label designer, you need to take his or her availability into consideration. If you're adhering a label to a bottle, you need to work with the bottle company to ensure that the bottles are available when you need them.

4. When does the piece need to arrive?
Always plan backwards from the delivery date. It's particularly important to involve us in this part of the planning process so we can schedule your project. Because we juggle many jobs at any given time, your project needs gets to press in time to meet your deadline. If not, your job may get rescheduled behind other jobs, and especially if those jobs are large or complex, that can affect its mail or delivery date significantly.

5. How much "fudge" do you need?
Finally, you need to incorporate "fudge factor." Always add in buffer time to accommodate slippage in the schedule. The larger the project, the more buffer you will need.

The moral of the story? Good print planning starts with communicating early—and often.

By Ryan Printing 01 Nov, 2016
Personalization and targeting are powerful tools in direct mail, email, and other marketing channels, but they only work when they create relevant communications for the customer. That’s why top brands incorporate cultural and lifestyle context alongside targeting and personalization.

The 2016 BrandZ ranking of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, released by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, highlights the success of top companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook in doing just this.

“It is interesting to note the successes driven by many of the brands leading in innovation and disrupting the conventional ways of doing business, thereby transcending their category,” notes Bart Michels, head of Kantar Consulting U.K. “They are using a form of cultural strategy to stand out on an emotional level.”
A great example can be seen in the “Superstitions” ad for BMW’s compact crossover, the BMW X1. This television ad features four 30-somethings headed to watch “the big game,” replicating everything they did the last time in order to ensure victory this time, too.

“We’re all wearing our lucky socks, right? We have the blue cooler? The green cooler? Lucky rabbit’s foot?”
Then the plug: “Last time we won, we were sitting in different seats!”
But when three of the friends jump out of the car to do the switch, the driver settles in with his hands locked on the wheel. When his friend tries to open the door, the driver looks at him, locks the door, and rolls up the window.
“Okay,” says his friend. “We’re gonna lose.”

Four guys, bonded in sports manhood—an unbreakable bond. Except when it comes to driving the BMW X1, the luxury vehicle that creates a love so strong that it transcends even this epic bond of manhood.
In any multichannel campaign, whether using direct mail, in-store signage, or email, tapping into cultural relevance is critical to engaging your customers. How do you do that?
  1. Understand the key cultural drivers of your audience. 
  2. Position your brand as having a unique and key role in that social and cultural environment. 
  3. Reinforce the message in creative ways using multiple channels, including print, email, and mobile. 
Need help? Give us a call!

By Ryan Printing 04 Oct, 2016
Want better results in business and marketing communications? Use fewer words and more images. Consider these stats:

  • Without images, people remember only 10% of what they hear. With relevant images, they remember 65%*. (Lifelearn) 
  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without them. (QuickSprout) 
  • 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their marketing—more than video, infographics, or illustrations. (CMO Council)

Visual information does not just communicate your message — it gets your message remembered. Make sure your images look their best!
Trust us to print your images with the highest quality to get you the maximum results.

* After a period of three days
By Ryan Printing 18 Aug, 2016
1. Plan smart. Simple mistakes often can be avoided with a little planning. Take time to communicate with us about your budget and deadlines, but also the more interpretive elements of the project so we can discuss any challenges we foresee.

2. Gang your runs. By placing many projects on the same sheet, or piggybacking on an unused portion of a sheet, we can reduce manpower, plates, and prep time.

3. Think "down the line." Changes become more expensive the further along you are in the print job. Everyone who needs to approve your files should do so before you submit them for printing. Proofread your copy multiple times. Confirm that you've prepared your digital files properly, keeping in mind that the resolution of digital files varies greatly.

4. Tweak your paper. Paper can account for 30%–50% of your printing costs, and there are a number of cost-saving measures you can take without adversely affecting your results.
• Reduce the size and number of pages. By targeting and segmenting your mailings and information packets, you can often save a lot of money over time.
• Use thinner paper. Changing the weight can save 10%–15% of your paper costs.
• Opt for the house paper. Paper prices fluctuate often, but you can save time and money by using papers we purchase in high volume. Ask us for samples.
5. Talk to us early and often! When it comes to print production, you want your print job to be uneventful once it hits the pressroom. To make this happen, keep the communication flowing from the earliest stages of your project.

Need more ideas? Give us a call!
By Ryan Printing 02 Aug, 2016
If marketing experts know one thing, it's that consistency and repetition build brand awareness. That means keeping your brand images, messaging, and marketing themes consistent across multiple channels.

Whether it's print or digital marketing, let's look at several elements of a good brand strategy. According to John Jantsch, marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine, these four elements should always be front and center:

Business name : Your business name should be simple, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. It should be repeated frequently, and if possible, include keywords that will make it easy for people to find you on search engines.

Logo : Your logo should be professionally designed and work across multiple media and physical configurations. Strive for something that is simple and yet communicates a story. When the charity organization Lifewater International decided to redesign its logo, for example, it tapped into the concept of a water drop with three segments—each one representing an area of its mission: life, health, and hope.

Colors and typography : Jantsch recommends that, for greatest brand impression, you use a limited and consistent pallet of colors and fonts so that you are instantly recognizable. Who can't pick out Tide in the detergent aisle from 100 feet away? Or have their eyes instantly drawn to the Starbucks logo when whizzing down the highway? We would add that, when it comes to brand color, close isn't good enough. Tide orange is different from Home Depot orange. Those brand colors are carefully protected and produced to extremely tight color tolerances. Yours should be, too.

Tone and keywords : What is your company's tone of written and digital communications? Is it edgy? Playful and fun? Serious and professional? No one would mistake the irreverent humor of Duluth Trading Company for the corporate speak of Fidelity Investments. Your communications should have a personality and tone, too. Maintain that tone across all channels and include keywords that will help people find you online.

Creating and maintaining a strong, professional image takes work, but it will pay off in the end. Talk to us about how our creative, production, and workflow experts can help you create a consistent and powerful brand image that makes you stand out and be remembered.
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