Monthly Archives: October 2012

When should I use digital printing versus traditional offset?

Digital or Traditional?

When it comes to print these days we are often faced with an early decision. Should I print this digitally or should this go on a traditional offset printing press? I have found there are several factors to take into consideration, and that even drive the decision making process.

Run Length. Generally speaking, print runs under the 500 quantity would be good candidates for the digital process. But, the finished size of the piece has to be considered here. Most Xerox type printers have a maximum sheet size of about 12 x 18 inches. So if your postcard announcing your upcoming event is 8.5 x 5.5 or smaller you could run 4 or more on a press sheet. It really is the number of press sheets that makes the biggest impact. Why? Because digital presses generally bill out at a static “click” rate and there is no economy of scale as volume increases.

Quality / Appearance. As of this writing, many digital print devices produce what I call “pleasing color”, in other words, most untrained eyes cannot tell the difference between a Xerox color copy and a traditionally printed page. However, to the disconcerting eye there are vast differences. Most digital presses use toner, a polymer that is fused to the paper with heat, leaving the appearance of plastic sitting on top of the paper. Traditional offset printing uses soy based inks which are pressed into the paper with pressure, the ink actually impregnates the paper, and once dry the surface appears flat with the surface of the paper.

Turn Around / Deadline. Generally speaking turn around times are much quicker in the digital realm. This is because there is little to no make ready, no plates to make and mount, etc. I often have requests with 24 – 48 hour turns that simply have to go on the digital press or the deadline could not be met. If quality is really important to you, and in particular if the run length exceeds 500 – 1000 a little pre planning will yield you a far superior result at less expense.

Finished Size. As I mentioned above, most digital print devices are limited to 12 x 18 inches, although I have heard about a new device in the market that prints 23 x 29, however I have been unable to locate such a device in my local market to date. So, if your item is larger that 12 x 18 then you must print on the traditional device no matter what the run length is.

Personalization. One of the most fascinating features of digital printing is the ability to customize each individual piece, information such as names or locations, as well as the ability to swap images appropriate to your target demographic make digital printing very attractive to marketers. Personalization on direct mail using the traditional print process is done post press and adds expense.

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Finding a company that values relationship is one of the most important factors in establishing a long term ongoing business relationship. There are many factors that contribute to a solid business relationship. One of the most important is having your print partner on the same side of the table with you when it comes to marketing your business. In other words, most printers are happy with producing a quality printed piece in a timely fashion at a competitive price.

But how many printers actually are invested in the results precipitated by that marketing effort?The sad reality is that the only reason you might hear from your printing vendor again will be so see when the next project is coming up, not how successful the recent campaign was.

Here  at Colorprint, we offer an integrated, multi-channel marketing program that generates measurable results, YES you heard rightly, we can tell you exactly how many of your direct mailers were actually recieved, how many of those responded to the offer, and just how deeply they might have explored your website, or your call to respond.In Fact, when we sit down at the table with our client on projects of this nature, we start with the intended objective, and work from there. Questions like, who is your intended target, and why would they want the product or service you offer. What connection can we make to their existing desires, values and dreams that will have them take the next step and reply to your offer?


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What if I want to Self Publish a Beautiful Casebound Book?

If you would like to learn more about producing a beautiful case bound book, I suggest you read on!

Folger Graphics received a Grand Award for the production of this title

Folger Graphics received a Grand Award for the production of this title

One of my most satisfying projects is the recently produced Pirate & Hoopoe. Karima Cammell commissioned me to help her mastermind this incredible book. Her team successfully raised $15K on to help finance the project. Take a peek at her site to see great video and visuals and the saga of how one woman took her passion and produced an amazing book! Karima has been an inspiration to me, and I was totally honored to be at the controls on all production details.

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Why should I market with Direct Mail?

Why Should I consider marketing with Direct Mail?

With the advent of email marketing, direct mail has taken a back seat over the last decade or more, but I believe direct mail is on the increase. There are sound reasons for this. In response to aggressive telemarketing techniques, telemarketing firms must honor “do not call” lists. Likewise, our email software has learned to identify SPAM, the nasty twin of telemarketing. That has left businesses with the good old mailbox as an avenue to promote their goods and services and win the hearts and minds of their prospects.

Assorted Direct Mail Images

Assorted Direct Mailers

Direct Mail develops brand recognition for your company, reinforces your networking efforts, differentiates you from the competition, and drives customers to your business.

A few statistics: Direct Mail increased company sales by 702 Billion in 2010,  and US advertisers cumulatively spent $167 per person on direct mail to yield $2095 in sales, a 1300% return on investment. Direct Mail brings in 78% of revenues for Non-Profit Organizations.

Should you decide that Direct Mail is a viable vehicle to promote your business what are some of the details you should know? First and foremost, understand your market, know why your customer comes to you and what their hot buttons are. Secondly, understand the elements of a well designed mailer. Have a clear call to action. Stick to one main thrust of your mailer, do not try to cover all bases thereby clouding your message with too much information. I once heard it said that if a person threw you three balls at once you were likely to catch none of them, whereas one ball thrown on target gets caught every time! Part of a great call to action is presenting your recipient with a free offer, or significant discount.

Integrated Marketing: Ideally you want to drive people to your website to redeem this gift or free offer and obtain their permission to email market to them with items like your monthly e-newsletter. There are very cost effective tools on the market to embed into your website that provide metrics and auto responders, (some with video) to welcome your new contacts to your opt in list, while advising you that you have a new subscriber.

Size Matters – the size of your direct mailer is important. The US Postal Service has regulations on the size of your mailer, and the postal rate varies on weight and size. I like to recommend the maximum letter rate size of 6.125 x 11.5, It tends to stand out from the rest of the mail and gives extra room for those eye catching graphics and brand elements you have developed with your design team.

Your Mail House: there is significant value in working with a qualified mail house. Not only will you get personal service, but tips and marketing experience from a team that does this on a daily basis. Acquisition of mailing lists, determining the demographics of your target audience, and weighing the differences between targeted marketing (sharpshooter) vs. blanket marketing (shotgun approach) are important details. Professional Mail Houses work closely with the USPS to obtain the very best postal rate for their customers, and since postage can often be the most costly component of any direct mail program it is paramount to obtain the best postal rate.

How Often? I believe it is important to have a system of repeated contact with your prospects and existing customers. Multiple exposures build brand recognition and touching them every couple of months is a great way to insure that they will find your information handy when they are ready to buy.

Follow Up: the most effective direct mail campaigns have a follow up system, this can be electronic, or via telephone. But most preferable is the personal contact to make that human connection to your customer. With all of the electronic/robotic responders these days, talking to a real human being is tremendously refreshing.

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