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Print in the marketing toolbox

What to consider when looking for a print professional…

Print when correctly done is a very powerful tool in any business/organisations marketing arsenal. Having the right printer on board is essential, when they understand you, your needs and objectives they can help you achieve more.

Supporting you to get the best from graphic design, production requirements, and your distribution and usage methods. Finding the right print partner can make this easier for you.

Building a great relationship with a printer, you might want to consider the following points

Competence and Quality

Competence and quality are often the most critical factors in weighing commercial print options. Although it can be challenging to evaluate skill levels before you’ve worked with someone, there are several indicators to look for. Look at online reviews, who is talking about the work a printer has done. Look up key staff on Linkedin, this will speak volumes, how much experience have they got? What are they verified for on Linkedin? Request to see samples of jobs done for other customers. Inquire about areas of specialization and if bundled pricing or services are included. Also, ask your printer what work steps they see as critical for obtaining good results. If you know in advance how they prefer to manage projects, it helps ensure good workflow and communication along the way.

Production Capacity

This might seem an odd statement, “real or fake?” be aware of print brokers, professing to print themselves. (A good print broker will have a raft of trade suppliers to help achieve great pricing and performance for you) Does a printer’s social media /website show an actual print studio/press hall? Does their website have a Plant List on it? This will then dictate their specialities and show their potential capacity to perform.

Collaborative power

In this day and age, print companies fall into 2 categories, small artisan boutique or big internet sheds. This will show how they do customer service. The smaller sized firms you will find that the person you are dealing with is hands-on. Equally the bigger the business, you are more likely to have dedicated account handlers. This will affect the style of communication you will be engaged with. Ultimately if you want a relationship which will flex with you, the smaller establishment, once you’ve built up a rapport will reap more results for you.  

Service and performance

When dealing with any printer, they know they are a service industry. Their production capacity will be geared up to meet customer needs (providing they are realistic). However, a valid point to note, if you do require express service, expect to pay a premium, if a business is re-scheduling their work to accommodate you this is a reasonable request. A well-established print house will be able to facilitate a lot more than just print, their connections with logistics and postage services will be advantageous too. 

Environmental Responsibility

A good print house will be committed to environmentally friendly standards and procedures. A wealth of products are available to meet your expectations when it comes to eco-standards, from the specification of paper and ink, and carbon capture. A good print partner will be able to tell you a lot about their processes and their impact. We are signed up to “Printers against plastic” and offer alternatives where possible to plastic in products.

Locality and national reach

For some clients, having a print house in easy reach is essential, it helps them to perform and deliver the right solutions at the right time for their businesses. Equally, some clients do use us from a distance, distance is nothing now with video conferencing. Coupled with efficient courier networks, how you chose to work is down to you. We assist our clients from all over the UK.

The remit of a good printer isn’t just getting the image on the paper. Helping you to achieve more with your marketing or communications is at the heart of what we do. Understanding your organisations brand is key to us. We will ask questions to understand more, make suggestions to further your offering, above all ensuring you get the right results.  

Getting the partnership between you and your printer can drive results which last for years.

How not to specify and design a flyer for a door drop.

Well if only the businesses knew what I did when they dare to deliver tat to my door.

One local estate agent canvassing for business sparked this, a poorly specified and equally un-inspiring single-sided flyer. So, what did they do wrong and what can you do to avoid doing the same mistakes?

1) It was a flyer! Flyers are not a product for door dropping. Flyers are for handing out and inserting into packages. The 130gsm gloss art paper just spanks of being cheap and nasty, which it is. The first thing which I think is they do a cheap and nasty service, so think about the specification, does it match your service or product?

2) Again, the specification let this down, as to get it through a letterbox, it had to be scruffily folded down to a stupidly small size, so again making the item look insignificant or worthless – I’m sure they don’t offer a service which matches or do they?

3) The most significant part of this campaign probably would have been the distribution, even if they had got their cousins’ son to walk the streets, it’s still a big investment in time and money. So why only a single-sided flyer! You have a second side to tell more of your story or provide another call to action point.

4) On scrutiny and a closer eye reading the flyer, there were 4-5 grammatical errors on the page. Yet again, if you are trying to get a high-value ticket sale, attention to detail matters. All these small points matter as your brand is at the heart of the message, if these small points add up, what is the message you are delivering?

So, what could they of done better….
1) Specified and designed correctly. Understanding how something is going to be used and received is essential to get your message across correctly. We don’t just put ink on paper, we ensure you your message right and it sits correctly for you and what you are doing. Using a thin card stock would have been better, equally, they wouldn’t have needed the A5 size, it could have been A6 or DL, which would have equally worked.

2) Relevance, there was nothing relevant about the flyer to me, or to where I was. Huddersfield is a big place, I could be in Holmfirth or Birkby and I would engage very differently to it. So, think about who is receiving it and what’s important to them. No imagery on the flyer created any sense of locality, you state Huddersfield, but you could be in a back bedroom in Leicester for all I know.

3) The offer showed no sign of being time-limited or restricted, so why do I need to act now. The call for action, was a non-call for action, why should I engage now?

We have many more tools for creating empowering engagements with customers. Estate Agents, we can help you more than you think, as we can bring locality, bring data to convince vendors to sell or let. Unfortunately, this Estate Agent was using a scattergun approach, which equally will not result in any significant return. A keyword in marketing is targeting, if you have a target audience, drive messages to them to convince them, the key is them.

So if this agent was feeling like they wanted a campaign which would have returned them good enquiries and leads we would suggest

–           Localisation, bring it down to the area, Almondbury, Netherthong, wherever. If you want to be more specific and the Estate Agent has a pedigree selling in the area, use the street name. This will further engage the recipient, create a value, show respect and understanding of the area and its properties.

–           Use statistics and facts. People like to know if they are going to put their biggest asset on the market, they are doing the right thing. Demonstrate any increase in value for the postcode, which reinforces their hunches. The estate agent needs to demonstrate their ability to sell the property, so the time from going on the market to sale completion. 

–           Use the right product if you are door dropping, you know the areas, what the values are, so be reflective in the product you door drop. Here we can help you with an array of solutions.

How do we do it, we are a digital print house, and thus can vary data on flyers and door drops. Even if they are short runs with specifics, we are set up to manage and control this. 

So don’t be like the un-educated, be smart marketeers, focussed targeting, use relevant products to engage your audience appropriately to create higher levels of engagement. Which result in better enquiries and sales. Start your smart print solutions journey with us.

Interesting times

Many people are saying the world will be a different place and things will change. However, you can take a different view on how things will progress. People’s attitudes and value sets will have significantly shifted during Covid-19 lockdown. I am watching people “craving” after the smallest of things on Facebook, and much of this is physical things which people have missed. 

We are at a unique point where the button has almost been reset. You can be the individual, business or organisation that shifts thinking or leads, creating the way you want to be remembered for engaging with them. The quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi has a real resonance as your actions can be key. Many people would have heard me say, it’s not the “What” but the “How”

We use as the premise of how we talk about marketing as it’s about educating your customers, users, members about what you offer in your product or service. Educationalists often use a framework of Visual Auditory and kinaesthetic learning techniques. So whilst your audience has been bombarded with Visual and Auditory during Covid-19 lockdown, the opportunity lies with the kinaesthetic or physical engagements. In-person is very limited, with social distancing, and hesitance, getting physical with your marketing and communications will fill the void.

Last week, we had multiple conversations around this subject, with some very clever advisors and consultants to some interesting audiences. All with the same views around excessive online had dulled the message that the respective audiences were receiving. In every case the realization to change the communication method was key, yes that is the “what” but in every case, we turned to the “how” which resulted in different methods. All stemmed around the use of physical direct mail. Whether marketing communications or CPD educational programme resources, the need to engage and add value is at the heart of the message. 

Yes, you can follow the sheep, be bamboozled by the rhetoric, understanding how people engage, will only ensure you can get a result from your investment in communications. Speak to any seasoned marketing and communications professional, they will talk about the tools in the toolbox, one tool does not do everything. So if you want to get more physical and kinaesthetic, why not consider a conversation with us to add some magic back in your toolbox?

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