June 4th, 2013
Let me start off by saying that I am not a printer, I am a digital marketer who happens to work for a commercial printing company. I spend my days blogging, tweeting, and pinning. And I absolutely love my job. That’s right, I love doing all the things you may consider a waste of time. You can dismiss me as a byproduct of the misguided millennial generation, but please hear me out. I think you’re missing out on a lot of amazing opportunities to get leads, boost sales, and position your brand for long term success. No, I’m not trying to sell you on my marketing services (I don’t do freelance work). I’m trying to sell you on yourself. I think your company has a lot to offer; I would love for you to teach me about the technical and creative aspects of the printing business. But since I work for a perceived competitor, you won’t follow me back on Twitter or like my status updates. At first I felt hurt by your protective stance. Then I realized that you’re shunning me because you don’t really believe in yourself.
You’re afraid that if you retweet my blog post it will detract from your own articles. You won’t pin my designs because your creative team can’t take credit for them. You refuse to connect with fellow print professionals on LinkedIn because you think they’re out to steal your ideas. What you don’t realize is that by fiercely safeguarding your online presence, you’re constricting your own growth.
I’m not asking you to connect with every single printer you run into. You can afford to be careful about your online associations. You may have to step outside your comfort zone at first, but soon you’ll discover a new-found sense of confidence from networking in the social sphere.
6 Reasons to Engage With Other Print Providers Online
If you still don’t see the value in interacting with your peers through social media, let me spell out what’s in it for you:
1. Exposure: In online marketing, we refer to eyeballs on your content as impressions. Research suggests that consumers have to interact with your brand 4 times before making a purchase. When you engage with your peers online, you are increasing your impressions, which may ultimately bring in new business.
2. Credibility: Consumers consider online content less credible than print media. This counts double if you spend all of your time online talking about yourself. Building a friendly repartee with your printing peers shows your brand’s personality, which makes consumers more receptive to your marketing messages
3. Inspiration: Believe it or not, you don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. Your peers are posting tons of interesting articles and amazing artwork that might ignite your imagination or improve your workflow. And when you’re finished with a project they inspired, they will love to hear how they influenced you!
4. Referrals: This is a big one for commercial printers. From time to time, my company gets customer requests for niche products and services that we can’t fulfill. We don’t want to send our clients away empty handed, though. If you offer something we don’t, we’ll gladly refer our client to you. But not unless we feel confident in recommending you!
5. SEO: If you manage a company blog, then you’re probably trying your hand at content marketing. But great content only goes so far without backlinks. Fortunately, social media lets you meet other writers with similar websites, who may want you to share your expertise as a guest author.
6. Thought Leadership: You’ve probably heard this term on LinkedIn to describe an individual or a company with innovative ideas. Thought leadership is about educating people and implementing solutions, so it’s an inherently social role. You can be one of the acclaimed, but you have to start by helping others.
Interested in similar topics? You may want to check out:
- How to Increase SEO and Generate Sales Leads
- Four Ways Brands Can Avoid Losing Followers
- To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Are You Old or New School?
- Are Online Ads Less Effective Than TV and Print Ads?
- Stop, Look, and Listen: Social Listening with your Customers
Katherine is a professional copywriter and social media manager at PrintFirm.com. She fell into online marketing in 2010, and built her career around this dynamic field. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge (Summa). When she’s not writing, Katherine enjoys photography, skateboarding, graphic design, and chasing her dog around with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.
May 2nd, 2013
Written by Gordon Kaye
Editor, Graphic Design Magazine USA Magazine
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Google+ Hangout on the future of print design and the value of design in business. Xerox was the host and sponsor, appropriate because it has long been an advocate for print and Xerox products have done so much to advance the graphic arts industry. Google+ Hangouts are an interesting new option for meetings; I found the technology reasonably easy to adapt to, and it invites a relaxed and informal give and take. My sense is that the camera put about 10 years on me – maybe twenty. Just kidding. I can’t blame Google for the extra years, though I would if I could.
The heart of our hangout was an exploration of the myth that “print is dead.” Luckily, our magazine, Graphic Design USA, has been polling on this issue for half a century, and had just completed our 50th annual survey on just this topic. So I was loaded with rebuttal information. And, luckily, no one loves the feel and smell of a printed piece more than me.
The conclusion we reached during the Hangout is simple but profound: print is unique and powerful because you can touch and feel and hold it. Print creates a human connection missing from the ephemeral and desensitizing media world of digital communications. Designers value print for its classic strengths – tangibility, sensuality, permanence. The good and great designers know how and when to employ these traits to advance a message, a brand, an emotion, an idea, a cause, a sense of authenticity. That is the fundamental take-away; all the rest is but a footnote.
That said we collectively managed to mine several other nuggets about the strength and prospects of print. Among them:
- Print is practical. It is portable, convenient, accessible, easy to read, unplugged, it goes anywhere.
- Print is crucial to how designers make a living. 93 percent of designers work in print as part of their mix, and 75 percent of their time is spent on print-related work.
- Print is a team player. Print may no longer be the superstar, but it is an excellent complement and collaborator, a vital component in the marketing mix. From print to inbound telephony, or online to direct mail, print drives and motivates consumers.
- Print is getting smarter. New technologies to customize, personalize, sharpen, target, interact and integrate are wringing out the waste and infusing responsiveness.
- Print is novel. As the digital deluge, the online onslaught builds; print will be even more effective because it is fresh, rare, different, and welcome.
- Print is sustainable. I hate the canard that print is dirty and digital is clean. I ran out of time to harangue the Hangout audience on this point so let me do it now. Print and paper are becoming “greener” and more transparent up and down the supply chain; the online world should only be as honest about its energy use and other sustainability issues.
GDUSA has been conducting our Print Design survey for 50 years. So let me close with a question. What do you think designers will be saying about the role of print 5, 10 or even 50 years from now?
Interested in other topics similar to the practicality of print, its many benefits, and its future? Check out:
- Enduring #PowerofPrint: How Print Stays Relevant in a Digital World
- Promoting Value of Print: Communication that is Environmentally and Socially Responsible
- Optimism about the Future of Print Highlighted by Printers in Survey
- A trip to Dusseldorf paints a global picture for the future of print
Gordon Kaye is editor and publisher of Graphic Design USA magazine. He joined GDUSA in 1990 after a first career as communications lawyer for a private law firm and then for the NBC Television Network where assignments included NBC News and Saturday Night Live. He received a BA from Hamilton College, and a joint degree in law and public policy from Princeton University and Columbia Law School. Gordon lives in New York City with his wife Susan and has two daughters, Sasha and Charlotte.
November 26th, 2012
Written by Rik Haynes
Online Marketing and PR
Solopress.com was established in 1999 and specialises in printing premium quality business cards, leaflets, brochures, stationery, posters, banners and other promotional materials for next day delivery anywhere in the UK. We’re based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex – just 45 miles away from central London – and turned over £8.5m last year. Solopress.com currently employ a friendly team of 120 handpicked people, each with a passion for printing.
With a growing customer base of over 80,000 businesses and individuals from across the UK, we needed a digital printing solution to help us meet our demanding print schedules and volumes, all while complementing our lithographic printing equipment. In the end, the Xerox iGen4 digital press was the perfect choice for us. When we first dipped our toe into digital printing in 2006, Xerox was the first port of call because of the company’s history, advanced technology and our existing business relationship using Xerox copiers. They haven’t proved us wrong. Two Xerox 700s and five years later, we needed a high performance digital printer in 2011 to cope with our increasing number of daily orders. As it was a big investment for Solopress.com, we did look at alternatives such as the Indigo. But the high speed iGen4 was the perfect fit for our business module of fast 24-hour turnaround products that still retain the highest print quality possible.
The iGen4’s reliability was another huge contributing factor in our decision. With such incredibly tight deadlines, we simply can’t afford to have downtime. Even though it is a large, industrial looking machine, we were very pleased that the iGen4 maintains simplistic characteristics similar to that of a small Xerox copier – such as easily replaceable parts, which saves us from having to wait for an engineer. Within two weeks our staff were fully trained up on the iGen4. Soon we were printing higher run lengths on it, rather than running them on our Heidelberg Speedmaster 74/5 litho presses.
In our experience, the iGen4 is particularly good at printing brochures, flyers and leaflets with true colours and near perfect registration. We’ve now added a second iGen4 to our digital department, doubling our capacity in an instant and also enabling us to introduce a new customer order deadline of 2pm for next day delivery to anywhere in the mainland UK (customers have always been able to order up to 8pm for next day delivery to London and the surrounding areas as it’s so close to our factory).
We’re now on the way to making 10 million impressions on Solopress.com’s two iGen4s over the next 12 months. Our iGen4 ‘twins’ are a big part of the Solopress.com family and success story… you can even spot one of them in a video showcasing the Solopress capabilities. So the next time you’re in the UK and need any printing in a hurry, we invite you to visit Solopress.com and our ‘twins’ to see first-hand how we are staying true to our promise of ‘print delivered in 24 hours’
May 2nd, 2012
Written By Bill Michael
You know them: hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste. At drupa, each of your senses will be put to great use, as you will:
- Hear: The excitement of the 1000s of attendees in the print industry having conversations on a variety of topics.
- See: Technology and software that represents the future of our industry
- Touch: Printed samples with specialty media, innovative finishing, and special toner
- Smell: toner, ink and paper in the air as you walk by every vendors stand.
- Taste: German cuisine (maybe for the first time) and perhaps a few brands of German beer with some friends and colleagues.
At the Xerox stand (Hall 8b), your senses can best be used by seeing and touching the applications that we’ll be showcasing live in our stand, including many Best-of-the-Best winners. These winners include: IOS (Digital and Offset), Mediaware (Digital Packaging), MBA Group Limited (TransPromo), Telemail, S.L. (TransPromo), Easy Print (Photo Publishing), Printshop (Photo Publishing). Three additional winners include:
|DG3 Europe Limited
(Best Overall Solution, case study)
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the largest youth charity in the UK, wanted to enable their award winners to create and order personalized Achievement Packs online. They approached DG3 Europe Limited, who mapped out an end-to-end solution using FreeFlow Process Manager™ and the iGen4 with a Xerox FreeFlow™ Print Server – resulting in a 637% increase in usage of the achievement pack.
(Digital Packaging, case study)
Recognizing the growing area of digital packaging, De Budelse built FotoChoco.nl to enable orders of personalized boxes of chocolate. Using the iGen4 and FreeFlow Print Server, they were able to sell over 11,000 boxes of chocolate. (your sense of taste!)
(Direct Marketing, case study)
Using the Xerox Color 1000 Press, CopyCat used clear dry ink and personalized cross media to drive new business. The campaign generated a 10% response rate and helped bring in 20 new orders from new customers.
Please stop by Xerox Stand in Hall 8B to see and touch these great applications. We’ll find other ways to exercise your other senses!
February 8th, 2012
Once in a blue moon, a print application will cross my desk that catches my eye. The reasons differ: stunning design, elaborate finishing, personalization, or maybe its vivid color. However, a particular photo book titled, “Anthony’s Prayers,” caught my eye because of the simplicity of its design and more importantly because of story and the content within. I’ve always believed, “content is king.” This was proof.
The Author, Anthony Torrone, has an intriguing story. Anthony is developmentally disabled, the result of a flu-like sickness when he was a young boy. One day, he decided to write about all those things for which he was thankful. His writing is simple but so profound and the photo book pairs his writing with photos that have been taken of Anthony through his interesting life.
I could put my “print industry” hat on and comment on the quality of the finishing and how Color House Graphics did an outstanding job of creating a high quality application using the iGen4 but for me Anthony’s story and the writing he has developed is the bigger story. Color House Graphics and others were enablers for Anthony and his amazing story.
Content is king. Creating bodies of work that capture amazing stories is what makes the print industry so appealing. We are very privileged to not be just print operators, marketers and graphic designers but story tellers and dream makers that enable others to tell an even better story.
Have any other examples of great print applications that tell a story? I’m sure you have many…please share your stories.
August 23rd, 2011
Written by Christy Buchman, Marketing Services at Lexinet Corporation
Fast forward to marketing in the year 2011. Lincoln’s quote might be something like this, “The things I want to know are all around – on numerous web pages, in books, in blogs and in the emails I receive every day. My best resource is the one who gets all of the new and relevant information in one easy place to read and understand.”
There are so many exciting and innovative tips and tools that can be incorporated into multiple channel marketing campaigns today – QR codes, personalized URLs, search engine optimization tools, crowd boosting tools, social tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+. How can you keep up with it all? And, more importantly, how do you determine what makes sense for your marketing campaigns? And do they work?
There’s no need to panic. Just as Abraham Lincoln wanted to find a great source, you should do the same. Find a source of information that gives you valuable resources for free. Start with one and then if needed, add to your collection. An example of a valuable customer resource center can be found at http://www.lexinet.net/CustomerResourceCenter.htm.
A valuable customer resource center should include industry relevant articles, case studies and industry reports that illustrate new technologies and tools and report the results of campaigns that used those tools.
Another valuable resource is an online user group. LinkedIn has thousands of groups in their network that join people in the same industry or looking for the same information providing a forum for sharing and gathering information.
Don’t worry about all of the blog posts, web pages and emails that you “ain’t read.” Simply find a single source of valuable information to provide you with the knowledge you crave.
Get even more valuable tools by registering for the InterACT! Virtual Conference & Expo held on August 23, 2011 from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Register by clicking here.
June 15th, 2011
Written by Joel Basa, e-Marketing Manager at Xerox Corporation
[11:00] – Running a little late here. The customer panel discussion will start in I’m guessing 20 minutes. I’ll keep everyone posted.
[11:20] – Not started here yet….sorry for the delay.
[11:30] – Waleed Ashoo (CEO, LitheExcel Communication), Eric Cosway (CMO, Quantum Digital) and Karen Keenan (Director of Marketing Associates International, Inc.) have taken the stage for our customer panel. Here we go!
[11:34] – Question to all panelists “What are the biggest change you’ve made with your company in today’s world?” Quantum’s response points out that 30% of their business is focused on IT and data. Associates responds by pointing out the challenges that their company worked through to combine their “digital” business with a conventional business and create a workflow that works. Again, a good percentage of their staff is IT based. A changing dynamic. LitheExcel points out that staffing needs have changed. They are looking at those with marketing backgrounds and specifically looking at individuals with vertical market experience.
[11:38] – Question to the panel: “Are there particular verticals that took to change much easier?” LitheExcel’s response: the gaming industry (casinos, etc) have taken to the changing dynamics of the print industry. Also, the healthcare industry (specifically managed health)
[11:46] – Interesting comment from our audience, “Is the average printer able to change its dynamics to become a specialist in data, personalization, etc? or is it too late?” Waleed responds by saying that the advantage an average printer has is that it can leapfrog to incorporate the new areas such as data, technology, analytics, etc.
[11:48] – Great conversation occurring here. Lots of comments about the importance of specializing in data to be successful in today’s business environment. Seems like many printers are realizing this need and are investing resources in this area.
[11:50] – Question to Waleed, “Do you believe to make a transition to a Marketing Service Provider that specialization is required (niche marketing)?” Waleed agrees that specialization is much better to be able to make the transition from traditional printer to a full service marketing shop. The business model is very different now.
[11:52] – Great comment about Workflow automation. Automation allows a printer to create efficiencies that can allow them to re-allocate resources to grow from traditional printing to full service providers.
[11:54] – Great comment, “Its not about the box. Its about helping our customers be more successful and provide a set of full services.”
[11:56] – All three customers are talking about moving away from a “Quoting” model. IT and Marketing is the true focus and to move away from the “printed page” approach.
[12:00] – “Are there offerings from Xerox that helped you be successful?” AI and LitheExcel responds: Process Manager, ProfitAccelerator, and BDCs have helped them be successful. Quantum adds the color consistency of the iGen4 has allowed us to be successful.
[12:02] – Wrapping up here with this great discussion. Wish I could of just streamed this content out as there was so much that hard to capture in this format. What I really took away from this was that traditional printers need to make a transition to a full service provider and much of this starts with moving away from the “printed page” model and moving towards services that focus on data (IT) and marketing.
[12:04] – Thanks to Waleed, Eric and Karen for helping lead this great discussion!